Is Obama Administration's Attack on Rush Limbaugh a Distraction From More Serious Issues?

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 6, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Now for the top story tonight: reaction to the radical left on the move.

With us now, Ann Coulter, author of the big best-seller "Guilty." Ms. Coulter is actually debating the aforementioned Bill Maher Monday night at Radio City here in New York. And from Washington, attorney John Flannery, a former federal prosecutor.

You don't favor these witch hunts do you, counselor?

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JOHN FLANNERY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I don't favor witch hunts, and I don't think this is a witch hunt. I think that what it is, it's more like the far right on defense, desperate defense than it is the march to socialism that you say. I applaud the Bush administration and Karl Rove for agreeing to finish up this old business of whether or not there was corruption in the Justice Department by allowing Karl Rove to talk…

O'REILLY: All right, but that's a different issue. I'm not talking about that issue now. We'll deal with that down the road.


O'REILLY: Look, by all accounts, the Bush administration defeated Al Qaeda, all right? Al Qaeda was marginalized, been downgraded as a threat to the world. So we won the terror war. We won the war in Iraq, at great cost no doubt. No doubt. But we won.

So now these idiots want to go back and they want to find something, fish, throw that line out there, reel in anything they can reel in to embarrass the administration that kept us safe, you safe, your family safe. And it's despicable. And you can't say it's the far right. Most Americans oppose. Only 40 percent of Americans want any kind of this criminal witch hunt business. Sixty percent do not. Come on.

FLANNERY: Well, let me say this. I think that the recent election set the record straight on what we think we did wrong.

O'REILLY: That's the economy.

FLANNERY: And I don't think we need…

O'REILLY: It's the economy. It had nothing to do with the War on Terror.

FLANNERY: Well, no, it's also about torture.

O'REILLY: It's the economy…

FLANNERY: It's also about torture.

O'REILLY: Yeah, baloney.

FLANNERY: It's also about torture, Bill. It's about illegal detention. It's about warrantless wiretapping. We all know what the problems are.

O'REILLY: Every — I'm a fact-based guy, unlike you, counselor. And every poll showed Obama won because of the economy. It was the overwhelming reason people voted for him. Let's go to Ann Coulter.

FLANNERY: It wasn't the only issue and because the economy...

O'REILLY: Counselor, come on now. I've got to get to Ann.

FLANNERY: Because the economy's in such danger.

O'REILLY: I got to get to Ann.

FLANNERY: Well, I think it's because the economy's in such danger it also argues that we should focus like a laser beam on the economy…

O'REILLY: All right, counselor.

FLANNERY: ...and on the problems, the contingents in the Middle East.

O'REILLY: All right, thank you. You, your turn. You've been very quiet over there. I admire that.

ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, "GUILTY": I'm very polite.

O'REILLY: OK, far left on the march.


O'REILLY: No. 1, how dangerous are they?

COULTER: No, I thought that was a very good opening. I completely agree with everything you said. A couple of points on that. Not only could you imagine Lincoln and Sherman, how about FDR, who brought…

O'REILLY: Harry Truman.

COULTER: …solely for purposes of regime change against a country that had not attacked us and then carpet-bombed Germany and killed German civilians. Now he would clearly be a war criminal. I wrote a book about impeachment, my first book. Impeachment is not for policy disagreements. This is what the Democrats always want to use it for. Curiously enough, John Conyers wanted to impeach Reagan. He wanted to impeach Bush the first.

O'REILLY: Well, OK, but…

COULTER: When we finally had a president worthy of being impeached in Clinton…

O'REILLY: How dangerous are they though? Look, we got Ayers and we got Churchill and we know they're nuts.

COULTER: Not only did he not want to impeach Clinton, but he wanted to impeach me, a private citizen. I included a letter he wrote to me, demanding all of my private files and all of my private correspondence…

O'REILLY: But you're speaking to the choir. I don't think there's one person…

COULTER: in my last book.

O'REILLY: ...watching me now that thinks Conyers is right, OK. I don't think there is anybody…

COULTER: You're speaking to the choir.

O'REILLY: But how dangerous is this movement that is gathering steam in economic circles and in political circles?

COULTER: I think what's dangerous if people know how crazy they are. As for example, John Conyers trying to impeach a private citizen. I don't have the ability to put someone in jail or take their money. He was trying to drag us before the House hearing in a letter I reproduced in my second to last letter. These people are crazy.

O'REILLY: Second to last book.

COULTER: Second to last book.

O'REILLY: I think — hold it, hold it.

COULTER: And I think you are right that it's distracting from the big issue. One other thing I'd say about the economy vs. terrorism. If, you know, Bush is so bad on terrorism, I don't know why Obama's continuing all of his policies, which he is. It's on the economy that Obama...

O'REILLY: Not all.

COULTER: ...and Krugman wants to — oh, he's changing the names on the policy.

O'REILLY: Well, he's changing Guantanamo and…

COULTER: No, he isn't. Guantanamo is still open for business, Bill.

O'REILLY: All right. So you say on a scale of…

COULTER: It's the economy he wants to socialize.

O'REILLY: ...1 to 10, scale of 1 to 10, far left, 10 is the worst, 1 is the best. Far left danger to the country right now?

COULTER: Oh, even the Democrats don't take these people seriously. I don't know why John is pretending to.

O'REILLY: OK, you don't, OK.

COULTER: The Washington Post doesn't even report on this.

O'REILLY: Do you…

COULTER: But they are trying to distract your rights like Rush Limbaugh. I mean, they are trying to distract…

O'REILLY: Well, it is a distraction.

COULTER: ...from completely redistributing wealth and socializing health care…

O'REILLY: OK, let's get to the counselor, then we'll give you the last word. The Rush Limbaugh thing, do you see it as cover or serious stuff?

FLANNERY: Limbaugh as much as a joke as Ayers and Churchill are. They are not serious elements.

O'REILLY: So why would the White House engage him…

FLANNERY: I mean, anybody who says the present — what?

O'REILLY: Why would the White House engage him if he's that much of a joke? Why?

FLANNERY: Oh, come on. Well, you know, in public debate we're allowed to talk. And…

O'REILLY: Well, why — if he's that much of a joke, why would they bother?

FLANNERY: People say stupid things.

O'REILLY: Why would they bother if he's that much of a joke?

FLANNERY: Well, for instance, let's take the conversation right here. Judges have decided that Conyers is asking the right questions. And I spoke to Bob Luskin this afternoon. And he said he thought as Karl Rove's lawyer this was a legitimate area of inquiry.

O'REILLY: All right, you're off into the U.S. attorneys again. But we will get to that some day, Flannery, but not tonight.

COULTER: So you're driving the viewers away with that.

O'REILLY: I'm giving Coulter the last word.

COULTER: You're driving the viewers away with that.

O'REILLY: Go ahead, last word.

COULTER: I just want to say they are — Rush Limbaugh's last book sold one million copies, 20 million listeners a week, to Ayers or Churchill last book sold six copies, no listeners. It's like calling Rush Limbaugh poopy head. This is the extent of argument we get from the left now.

O'REILLY: Do you think it's cover?

FLANNERY: You said it.

O'REILLY: Do you think it's cover?

COULTER: I totally think you're right about that, yeah.

O'REILLY: OK, it is cover.

COULTER: The economy is terrifying.

O'REILLY: Right. Divert the people.

COULTER: I mean, look, even Kramer is going crazy over this.


COULTER: And he's a liberal Democrat.

O'REILLY: Yeah, I think…

COULTER: It's dangerous what they are doing and yet, they are trying to distract.

O'REILLY: You know how I know that? Because Carville came up with this scheme, and he's the best.

COULTER: And I'm debating Bill Maher…

O'REILLY: He's the best.

COULTER: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.

O'REILLY: Yeah, and then we are going to have the National Guard there when Coulter debates. They will be there. So there's no fear. All right, Ann, Mr. Flannery, thank you.

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