This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 24, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight: another new Rasmussen Poll that says 67 percent of Americans now disapprove of the Democratic senators in Wisconsin fleeing that state. No surprise there. That undermines democracy.
So, what should Governor Walker do now? Joining us from Washington, Fox News analyst Laura Ingraham. So you're the governor, Miss Laura. What do you do to break this impasse? These people don't look like they're coming back.
LAURA INRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: No, they're on that curvy slide at the Best Western in Illinois. Bill, look, February 25 is the drop dead date, right? Where they need to do the refinancing for the rest of the year on the debt that they owe…
INGRAHAM: …in the state. It has to be done by the 25th. They are not coming back. You're right. I think the governor has no choice but to move forward on the policies that he campaigned on and that's going to require, sadly, because the government -- the government can't proceed without the Democrats, to start laying off state workers. And this can be a temporary measure, Bill. It doesn't have to be permanent. We would hope it wouldn't be permanent, if these are essential employees. But something is going to happen here. This -- this little -- this little bargaining through the media, as interesting as it is for you and -- for you and me, it can't continue for the state of Wisconsin. Seventy to 80 percent of all public employees cost to the -- to the state of Wisconsin goes to personnel costs. OK? That's -- that's a big figure.
O'REILLY: All right.
INGRAHAM: The governor is right to move the way he's moving.
O'REILLY: So you would -- you would say, all right, if you don't come back, Democratic senators, and they really have to come back tomorrow.
O'REILLY: And we have a couple of Democratic senators lined up for "The Factor" tomorrow, by the way.
INGRAHAM: Oh good. From an undisclosed location, or are they're going to reveal where they are?
O'REILLY: Yes, well, you know and we have them lined up, so we'll see.
O'REILLY: But you would say, look, if you don't come back, you're forcing me to lay off state workers. Now the layoffs wouldn't take effect until July.
O'REILLY: And as you said, they could be rescinded…
O'REILLY: …if reason prevails. So I think that's probably what Walker is going to have to do.
INGRAHAM: I think it's what he's going to do, Bill. And I think he's laid the narrative pretty well over the last week or so. He -- he can do a few more things I think to make it more about true reform in the state and not just about the money because if it's about the money, well, OK, it's about the money but you really want to push up against these unions.
O'REILLY: Well, that issue has already been settled though.
O'REILLY: The issue about money has already been settled. It's about…
INGRAHAM: Yes, it's the whole future of the state.
O'REILLY: …collective bargaining now. And here -- and here is an interesting deal.
O'REILLY: Our pal Dick Morris…
O'REILLY: Did you know he has a website, DickMorris.com?
INGRAHAM: I -- I heard that. And he has a new -- he has a new book out, too.
O'REILLY: Ok, he now -- has a new book out Tuesday.
INGRAHAM: And he's coming on my show, yes.
O'REILLY: But he also has a new polling -- he has a new polling operation. Dick Morris polling. He polled Wisconsin because the press there isn't polling in Wisconsin, which is stunning.
INGRAHAM: No, they don't want to know.
O'REILLY: There is not one single media poll out of Wisconsin. So, Morris has a new polling outfit. And here -- this is pretty interesting. On the issue of limiting collective bargaining to just wage and benefit issues, the people of Wisconsin break with Governor Walker opposing that 54-41. Now, in all of the other givebacks, Morris found that the majority of Wisconsin citizens support the governor but not on banishing collective bargaining. And it's pretty big: 54-41.
INGRAHAM: Well he's not banishing. Yes, right.
O'REILLY: That gives the Democrats some hope.
O'REILLY: That gives the Democrats some hope.
INGRAHAM: I think it does. But he's made -- I think he's made the case, look, we have to decouple these things, right? We -- we -- you can -- you can collective bargain on wages. You can do that. But what's killing us in the future, and he's talking about long-term solvency to try to save this state. Forget -- forget saving the teachers; how about the whole state and the future of public education in the state? He's saying in order to do that we have to separate these issues; he's right about that. And I think he is right to say look, I -- I'm not -- I don't want to stop all collective bargaining. That's what Chris Christie has done brilliantly in New Jersey. Chris Christie has said, look, everybody needs to take a haircut here. The unions need to take a trim. And everybody else in the private sector, we're all going to have to pay.
O'REILLY: OK, but – but…
INGRAHAM: I think Scott Walker needs to do a better job.
O'REILLY: According to this poll, if you believe the Morris Poll…
INGRAHAM: Yes, 480 people.
O'REILLY: …Walker has not won -- what?
INGRAHAM: It's about 480 people I think in the poll that I saw.
O'REILLY: Well, yes, yes. All right, if you and look, polls are subject…
INGRAHAM: This is not -- it's not insignificant but I'm not sure that's the be all end all.
O'REILLY: …polls are subject to belief or disbelief.
O'REILLY: But according to this poll, Walker has not won the hearts and minds of his citizens in limiting collective bargaining. He has not.
INGRAHAM: Well, but he won the election campaigning on it.
O'REILLY: In everything -- everything else he won, he's winning, but not in this.
INGRAHAM: Yes, again, governing -- governing by polls is also quite difficult, as you said. It's difficult to measure. I don't -- do you know anyone who answers their home phone to even do a poll? So, you know, they're -- they're fascinating until -- until you realize that he campaigned on this very point to restore fiscal order and sanity to the state. You cannot do that.
O'REILLY: But he didn't campaign on limiting -- no, no, no. He did not campaign on limiting collective bargaining. He did on fiscal responsibility.
INGRAHAM: Right. But Bill…
O'REILLY: And Ohio Governor John Kasich made a very good…
INGRAHAM: …in two months.
O'REILLY: …case last night. But he didn't campaign on collective bargaining. He did not.
INGRAHAM: He -- he campaigned on doing -- no, he campaigned on using every tool at his disposal to try to save his state from dire consequences of massive layoffs, huge cutbacks in public education, other public programs. And he's doing that. And it's not popular in all quarters, and I'm sure people say well, why can't we have this, that and the other thing? Well, guess what? I mean, they can -- they can throw him out of office in few years if they don't like what he does. But right now, I still think -- I think he has the upper hand, and I think more importantly than anything I think he's doing what you have to do to save the state in the future.
O'REILLY: All right.
INGRAHAM: And I want Wisconsin to be around.
O'REILLY: Both Laura and I agree that the governor is going to have to announce layoffs of state workers.
O'REILLY: And big, big layoffs. If the Democrats…
INGRAHAM: 1,500, Bill.
O'REILLY: …don't come back.
INGRAHAM: Yes, possibly 1,500.
O'REILLY: Probably. It might even be more than that.
O'REILLY: All right. Laura, thanks very much. We appreciate it.
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