Krauthammer supports drone program?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 18, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY: Now to the "Top Story" tonight, another controversial situation for President Obama. This weekend he played golf with Tiger Woods. The press was banned from covering it.

Joining us now from Washington with reaction Charles Krauthammer. Now this may seem like a trivial thing but there's a couple of things in play, press access and the image of the President of the United States playing with Tiger Woods who is a controversial guy. How do you see it?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think you were right at the beginning. It is a trivial issue. But the guy wants to play golf. The guy deserves a couple of days off. He wants privacy -- big deal. This is -- this is the biggest non-media, non-story that the media have created since the Kardashian weddings.

You know, he's got a long way to go before he plays half as much golf as Eisenhower, so a pretty good President you have to admit. This -- I don't understand what the story is and what the outrage is.

O'REILLY: Ok the press being banned from covering his leisure activities, you don't care?

KRAUTHAMMER: Absolutely not. You want to watch him shank and slice?

O'REILLY: I don't want to watch it. I mean I'm kind of with you on this, I don't care.


KRAUTHAMMER: Why do we need to - why don't we -- what we'll do is we'll look at his score card and that's enough.

O'REILLY: Yes I mean look. I think it's a big deal but obviously Tiger Woods' resume, you know dubious and then the President lends his prestige to Mr. Woods in a sense. So I can understand why people might not like that.

KRAUTHAMMER: I don't think Obama is out there with Tiger receiving marital advice. I think he is out there receiving advice on how to line up a putt.

O'REILLY: All right, that's a good point. He's a good golfer. And you know if I want to know how to hit a baseball I'll talk to Mark McGuire even though he's a steroid guy he knows how to hit the baseball.

Ok now you wrote a column and said that Charles Krauthammer supports the presidential authority to drop drones on terrorists and kill them, a very controversial issue. Briefly do you understand why a lot of conservatives are against it, they don't want to give the President that kind of authority life and death?

KRAUTHAMMER: I do understand it and I received a lot of incoming since the weekend when I published the column. I understand it. But the problem is this, under the constitution the commander-in-chief conducts wars. Lincoln did, FDR did, every president is the highest authority when it comes to deciding who lives and who dies.

Look, Lyndon Johnson picked out targets on which we dropped bombs in Vietnam. FDR and Truman decided what cities, entire cities we would wipe out. There was no review, there was no committee there was no input anyone else. In the end --

O'REILLY: But that was a declared war, though, we don't have a declared war --

KRAUTHAMMER: No, it is a declared war. What we have is the authorization for the use of force passed three days after 9/11, which as in the Gulf war and as in the Iraq war is the modern equivalent of a declaration of war. You do that and we declared who the enemy was. The people who did 9/11 and all those who harbored or abetted them and that declaration --


O'REILLY: Do you think that -- do you think that if Mitt Romney we're elected president, it's a hypothetical but it's in context to the discussion -- if Mitt Romney have been elected president I think he would have continued the drone program. Do you think there would have been as much conservative opposition if it were Republicans dropping the drones as opposed to Obama? Isn't this about Obama?

KRAUTHAMMER: No, I don't. I think it would be the same amount of opposition. I think it's a principled opposition. These are people who worry about the extent of the power of government. It would have been the same in Bush administration. The real hypocrisy here is the liberals. If this had been the Bush administration dropping drones onto even Americans - -

O'REILLY: Oh I mean, but we've done that. You know.

KRAUTHAMMER: Al Qaeda I mean you would know that.

O'REILLY: Absolutely.

KRAUTHAMMER: No I think there are principles at stake. I respect the opposition on this issue, but I don't see any alternative to having unity of command in the conduct of the war. And the principle here even if you attack an American as we did al-Awlaki, if you take up arms against the United States, even if you are a U.S. citizen.

O'REILLY: That's treason.

KRAUTHAMMER: You forfeit the privileges of citizenship including the protections of the Constitution and the Fifth Amendment due process. And once you do that by being an enemy combatant we can drone you the way that we do an Afghan or a Saudi or a Yemeni. There is no difference.

O'REILLY: All right Charles Krauthammer everybody. Thanks as always.

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