Krauthammer on Cain's Campaign Woes

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," November 8, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight: Let's wrap up this very intense political day by bringing in our pal Charles Krauthammer from Washington. First of all, do you think the Cain campaign can survive?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think it can, but it won't be easy. It's going to require repeated exertions like the one today when Cain had his press conference. It's a high-wire act. I think today he crossed the wire just about intact.

I think he made one mistake, and that mistake is to blindly -- to blame it on what he called the Democratic machine. You can't go around making charges if you don't know if they're true or not. Remember, last week his chief of staff on the "Special Report" blamed the Perry campaign, and they had to sort of walk that one back.

O'REILLY: He didn't walk it back last night, Charles.

KRAUTHAMMER: Typically for a guy who's under attack himself and saying he's the subject of unsubstantiated charges should be a little bit careful about attributing that.


KRAUTHAMMER: On the substance I thought he defended himself in a way that was rather effective.

O'REILLY: Yes, it was authoritative, and if he's telling the truth, I mean, he certainly put the other side on the defensive because he said flat-out he didn't do anything wrong, and it's bogus, and he didn't even know this woman who came forth.

Now, last night I had all the presidential -- Republican presidential contenders on the radio, and Cain didn't -- did not walk it back. He said he is convinced the Perry campaign began this cycle, and now he believes that he's being piled on. That every opportunist in the world is coming out of the woodwork for whatever reason, because it's an easy play, and it is.

The media can't get enough of this story. We've done all kinds of studies on how the media is covering the Cain story as opposed to the John Edwards story, as opposed to Bill Clinton story in the '90s, and it's just astronomical. CNN is just making -- you know, they've turned it into the Cain network. It's the Cain network now over there. And so, you know, Herman Cain has got a really, really tough road to hoe because the establishment Republicans, as you know, weren't on his side to begin with.

KRAUTHAMMER: Yes, but the establishment Republicans are not the ones behind this. In fact, as you said, Cain himself isn't even sure who it is. Is it the Perry campaign? That's not a Democratic machine. It's one or the other.

I think he should stop throwing out accusations and simply talk about the substance. And as you said at the top of the show, this is a situation that is inherently one that you cannot adjudicate because you don't know; it's a private event.

COOPER: You can't with any fairness at all.

KRAUTHAMMER: And it requires humility. Because we can't know, you have to have some sympathy with all sides, even though it requires sort of illogical gymnastics since you know that one side or the other is lying. But since we can never know in principle, at least you ought to have some my humility in not judging the players here.

O'REILLY: You're talking to the audience now, correct?

KRAUTHAMMER: I'm talking to the audience. You mean the electorate.

O'REILLY: OK. You're saying that we should all step back, take a deep breath because nobody knows what happened?

KRAUTHAMMER: As a responsible citizen -- as a responsible human, look, all of us in a sense are on a jury in this case. Except that there's no way of knowing what actually happened. In a case like that, we should exercise some intellectual humility and some human sympathy. We don't know, and we shouldn't throw stones.

O'REILLY: But -- but that's not the country we live in now. We -- and I'm saying this because I respect my audience more than any audience on the face of the earth. We live in a country where instant judgments are made based on nothing, and people are destroyed. And obviously some people want to destroy Herman Cain. You know, they want to destroy him. All of these people came out 15, 16 years after the fact; want to destroy the man. They know he's going to be destroyed. They know his family, everything. They don't care. They don't care.

KRAUTHAMMER: But it's one thing to say there are people who want to destroy him and another to say it's the Democratic machine, when you don't know that.

O'REILLY: No, I agree with you. I wouldn't have put that out either.

The Ohio walk-back on the union restrictions. That will probably pass because of the big money injected into Ohio. That's an Obama victory, right?

KRAUTHAMMER: It is. It's a union victory. They're outspending the opposition three to one. I think there were some tactical mistakes that Ohio Republicans made that, for example, in Wisconsin was not made. Wisconsin very cleverly exempted the police and the firemen from these restrictions and, in the absence of that, they scored a victory. In Ohio, the opposition to this restrictions on government employees, the opposition ran an ad where a grandma was saying that her grandchild had been saved by the firefighters...

O'REILLY: And the fire department might get laid off.

KRAUTHAMMER: …and that's an effective ad that's very hard to counter.

O'REILLY: All right, Charles. Thanks very much.

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