Report: White House 'scrambling' to contain VA controversy

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," May 20, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Eric Bolling, along with Andrea Tantaros, Bob Beckel, Jedediah Bila and Greg Gutfeld.

It's 5:00 in New York City. And this is "The Five."


BOLLING: President Obama and his administration think you're so stupid that you'll actually believe President Obama is learning about the massive failure by his veterans administration for the very first time from hearing about it in the news just like he did every other scandal on his administration's watch.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I heard on the news about this story that Fast and Furious.

Let me take the IRS situation first. I first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this.

REPORTER: When did the president find out about the Department of Justice's subpoenas for "The Associated Press?

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He found out about the news reports yesterday on the road.

REPORTER: When was the president first made aware of these problems, of these fraudulent lists that were being kept to hide the wait times?

CARNEY: I think were reported first by your network out of Phoenix, I believe. We learned about them through the reports.


BOLLING: Well, Carney, Obama, and the rest of the clowns better stop pretending they don't know what's happening in this country. Maybe there are community organizer lackeys will buy this baloney, but not anyone with a brain, and definitely not the FOX viewers.

Does anyone at this table believe these guys?

Bob, I have to ask you, really? All these scandals, after scandals. We're supposed to believe that President Obama is finding about it because he watches the news or read to the paper.

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: Well, first of all, I think you ought to be a little careful to call the president of the United States a (INAUDIBLE). But I'll leave that aside.

Look, at least we know they're well read. I mean, they follow it carefully. That's probably a good thing. But I will say this, the only defense I can come up with here is that about every scandal I know of, political scandal is always broken by the news first, whether it's Watergate or Teapot Dome or go on down through the list. It's always been the news that's broken that and administrations react to it.

In this case, they are a little bit though, because they were told when they came into office in 2008, there was a real serious problem in the V.A., so they knew about it in advance, and the fact that nothing was --

BOLLING: So, we're not excusing the administration. We're just saying they are like other administrations. Is that the defense?

BECKEL: Well, I think there is certainly -- yes, like other administrations that talk about it in the news --

BOLLING: Ands, I don't buy it. I don't buy it. I don't buy -- for one second I'll buy that they didn't know about the IRS. I don't buy that they didn't know about snooping at "The A.P." and James Rosen. I don't buy any of this stuff. Do you?

ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: I don't. I think they were very well aware of the situation and you also have to look at their response time to these scandals.

So, let's go back and look at his presidency. So, it took him three days to comment on the IRS scandal. He also said he read about it in the paper.

Five days to comment on the crotch bomber. Remember he was in Hawaii, and too busy eating shaved ice and golfing to comment on that terrorist attempt in Times Square. Nine days to comment on the BP oil spill.

Why does it take him so long to react? Especially with something to important and radioactive like our veterans and to say he read about it in the newspapers, the only excuse I can think would be worse was that he was on the phone with George Clooney or, you know, Beyonce and Jay-Z told them the other night at dinner. Because reading it in the newspaper means that there's been a dereliction of duty, that he promised to tackle a problem out loud, and that he was made aware by memos, numerous memos, not just one, and he didn't do it.

But maybe, Eric, just maybe, if one of these veterans would have come out of the closet as a former NBA player and, guess what, I'm gay everybody and I can't get medical care, maybe the president would comment, just a little bit faster.

BOLLING: Are you buying that the president just reads about this stuff? I don't know, in "The Times," I guess "The New York Times" --

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: He says he gets it from the news and you guys are getting it wrong. It's Huey Lewis and the News. That's where he gets all of his reports.

TANTAROS: We'll have Huey Lewis --

GUTFELD: How can you not love him?

The V.A. represents what's called a forgotten priority in the modern era where patriotism is secondary to pigment. In this age, it's the selfie, not the selfless.

So, when you hear about veterans, it's kind of like it's antiquated as hearing about rotary phones, it's not as important. And the scandal, I guess -- the only good thing about scandal it reminds us of what matters and it's privileged, it's people.

We have to remember, remind that they are people who are still out there who are willing to fight for this country and we understand war, they understand war. When they go to war, there's a risk that they could die, but you don't compound that risk when they come home. The danger is supposed to be out there. It's not supposed to be when you come back here.

Your evil should not be an incompetent bureaucrat. It should be the person you are fighting. And I think that's the positive aspect of this -- and there is one -- is that it reminds us of what our priorities are and it will always be the people who protect our country.

BOLLING: Or should be and maybe the priorities is a little bit misplaced right now.

Jed, 2008, President Obama warned there was problems with the V.A. in the waiting list. 2010, he was warned a second time. 2013, he was warned a third time.

Do you buy it that he just is finding out about this in the news?

JEDEDIAH BILA, CO-HOST: No. I mean, he obviously knew, that even if he didn't know this particular situation, he knew there were problems in the V.A. and he promised everybody that he was going to fix them. How can you all of a sudden say I'm learning about them in the news? It makes no sense.

And also, it's stunning to me that he's not embarrassed to say that. Does he not know that he's supposed to be running the show? I keep saying we need to remind the president that he's the president because I don't thinks he realizes he's responsible for all of this stuff that happens under his - - on his watch.

BOLLING: Bobby, I want to do this. I know, I hate to cut you off, I apologize profusely. But we have a lot of sound.

BECKEL: Sure, you do.

BOLLING: We have three more -- at least three, maybe four more sound bites.

Greg, quick reaction to all this. Take a listen to Charles Krauthammer, who doesn't seem to buy President O. on how he was unaware of the scandals. Listen to Charles.


CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: He acts as if and this is the same at IRS, with the eavesdropping on "The A.P.," with all these other scandals, with the about ObamaCare launch as if he stumbled upon the presidency and discovered all of this horrible stuff is happening.

He's in charge of these departments. At some point, you've got to ask where has he been and where is the competency, elementary competence he promised when he ran in 2008?


BOLLING: Quick round the table on Charles' thoughts.

TANTAROS: I would compare it to my student body president when I was in high school. But even he responded quicker when he had a trash can shortage at the senior prom. It reminds me of a student council.

But on a competent run student council. And it's true -- again, why they are waiting so long to react on something that is critical and we're coming up on Veterans Day. So, the president is scheduled I believe to make remarks on Monday. I'm assuming this is where he's going to weigh in on this issue, a little too late in my estimation.

And I predict that they're cropping a speech now where he's going to come out and he's going to say, Eric, this is an outrage, I'm mad, I'm very mad. He said he's mad about a lot of different things. He's very angry about this and he's going to say that we need to invest in our veterans and he's going to propose even more spending.

The problem with this, Eric, is that it's not a spending problem. They have been spending exorbitant amount of money at the V.A. It's an incentive issue. There's nowhere else to go for this care just like Medicaid, so you can pile all the money you want, this is not a problem that's going away. And the horror stories are going to continue to pile up.

BOLLING: Bob, let me give you the numbers Andrea is pointing. In 2008, the outlays for the V.A., $85 billion. The estimated for 2014 -- are you ready for this -- $154 billion, almost doubling.

BECKEL: It ought to be because it's that kind of problem. By the way, one thing I'm really glad to see we have Charles Krauthammer back as one of our --

TANTAROS: Co-hosts?

BECKEL: Yes, co-host here because we very rarely use Charles Krauthammer - -

BOLLING: So, do you want to weigh in on the fact that President Obama --


BECKEL: I want to weigh in. The question was asked of him about Phoenix and what happened in Arizona. John McCain is a senator from Arizona is very acutely aware what's going on with veterans. It's not a surprise that the president of the United States did not know about that particular issue in Phoenix.

BOLLING: I'm glad you said that. Let's move on to this sound very quickly. Take a listen to then-Senator Obama in 2008 saying the truest test of our patriotism is how we treat our vets. Watch.


OBAMA: At a time when we're facing the largest home coming since the Second World War, the truest test of our patriotism is whether we will serve our returning heroes as well as they have served us.


BOLLING: Hmph, '08.

BILA: Yes, I think he thinks he's going to get away with this. I really do. I think he counts on the media to not ask tough questions, to not bring up these clips and say, hold on, you said, it doesn't make any sense now that y8ou're all of a sudden in the dark. I think he's counting on that I think for the veteran issue. I think he's going to be in for a big surprise.

I think a lot of people on both sides of the aisle is saying, enough is enough. You made a promise. You knew what was going on. You are the guy in charge. Accountability now and it starts with you.

BECKEL: What do you people think? Do you think this guy doesn't care about returning veterans? That he really doesn't care --

BILA: But why did he say he was going to address the issue and prioritize the issue and not do that then?

BOLLING: Let's put it this way -- I don't think he's outraged. I don't think his head is exploding every time he hears some of these things.

Greg, you're going to weigh in?

GUTFELD: Well, it's about the definition of the job, and he has a different definition of the presidency than we would like. His presidency is based on the idea of righting the wrongs of a country that he feels is deeply flawed. This doesn't enter into the top ten of that. He believes that that there are certain things that maybe we're fundamentally a prejudiced country and we need to address those things, which accounts for the phone calls to athletes once they come out of the closet.

To that, to him, in his world, that is a priority. In this case, this isn't so much. When you've spent many, many years in school being told that one of biggest problems of the United States is a military, and that we are going around telling people what to do, he's more interested in fixing us, and not caring about how we treat our own vets.

BOLLING: Let's -- yes?

TANTAROS: I also don't think -- I also don't think he can. If he comes out to lecture about the problems at the V.A., then he undermines his own greatest achievement which is ObamaCare, right?

So, you hear the headlines, thousands of patients denied surgery or had it delayed as waiting list piddles. Catalog of deception affecting thousands of patients, this only emerged because of complaints from patients who had been waiting 23 months.

This is from "The Guardian." This is a daily headline that happens in England where they have public options and socialized free medicine. That's what happens when it's free. You have people flooding the system and they can't get treatment.

BECKEL: ObamaCare is not free medicine.

TANTAROS: The first lady is smarter than her husband and one of her missions is military families. I'm shocked that the first lady who is smarter that President Obama has not come out to weigh in on this. Instead, the headline today talks about how she's pushing for her Let's Move Campaign to get lunches reinstated in schools.

BOLLING: She's smarter (ph)? She's smarter.

TANTAROS: How about let's move on this?

BOLLING: You know who else is outrage? Who agrees with you 100 percent, Ands? Jon Stewart. Take a look at --

TANTAROS: That's a new one.

BOLLING: -- him taking apart the White House. Watch.


DENIS MCDONOUGH, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The president is madder than hell, and I've got the scars to prove it.

JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: Oh. Yes. No, I'm sure the story of how you got those scars really impressed the guys waiting at the V.A. for treatment. Oh, you lost a leg down there to an IED in Fallujah. Well, I got this when some spittle hit me in the eyebrow. So --


BOLLING: Yes, Greg, when you lose the left, you are losing the battle.

GUTFELD: Yes. But, see, even a corrupt cop has to make an arrest now and again, so it looks like he's doing his job. So going after and condemning this scandal somehow excuses the negligence that they have had toward other scandals. So, finally now, well, join the club.

BOLLING: The media.

GUTFELD: Yes, yes.

BOLLING: The media excusing all the others.


BOLLING: Do you see the outrage? I mean, do you see the outrage coming from the White House that you would expect?

They are heroes coming back from battle.

BILA: No, I mean, even Shinseki's delivery. I mean, you know, I'm madder than hell or whatever he said on this, mad as hell. He looks like he's bored. He doesn't look like he's mad. I mean, show us a little bit of emotion about this.

If the other one at this table can call for a little bit of emotion and disgust, you would think that he would able to do so, too. The president needs to make a statement. I think you are right. I think the first lady on this issue needs to make a statement.

This is not a partisan political issue. It's about our veterans.

BECKEL: It is a partisan political issue.

BILA: No, it's not.

BECKEL: The chairman of the Armed Services Committee in the House of the Representatives has responsibility for the Veterans Administration, at least part of it. And they've said nothing. Boehner said -- I've not heard a single -- all of a sudden you are all outraged about this.


BECKEL: Bob, hold on. You know what it was. Shinseki, when he first was called to speak on it, said it was an isolated incident or a couple of isolated incidents.

We're finding out 19 different states are having issues where there are veterans on waiting lists and now we found an email -- CBS uncovered an email saying, listen here's what you don't want to do, you don't want to get the V.A. officials ticked off at you so you play around with people on the waiting list. You don't report them on a list until you are within two weeks.

BECKEL: And that's --

BOLLING: But we're finding out more and more, and the problem is, Bob, we're outrage but where is the outrage coming from the White House?

BECKEL: Where is the oversight from Congress?

BOLLING: Where is the outrage coming from the White House?

BECKEL: Well, I'm asking where --

BOLLING: He's the commander in chief.

BECKEL: The oversight should come from the Congress. That's the whole idea of the Constitution. And we haven't heard a single thing because the Republicans have dropped the ball.

BOLLING: Hold on, hold on. You're going to tell us that there aren't Congress people on both sides of the aisle who are outraged about this.

BECKEL: Oh, I think the outrage now. I didn't hear much about it before. Before the story in Phoenix broke, did you hear the chairman of Armed Services Committee?

BILA: I think that's a fair point. I don't think that diminishes the responsibility of the president.

BECKEL: No, I agree with you on that.


TANTAROS: You know why Congress is hiding, Bob? Because they passed a bill a couple of year ago that gave these local hospitals lots more autonomy and lots more distance from Washington, D.C. So we blame both parties on this one numerous times. You are aware of that Bob.


BOLLING: One more piece of sound here. It's a big block. It's important block to us.

Here's a daughter of a V.A. victim on what she would say to the president of the United States if he were to call her.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: What would you say to the president of the United States and gave that speech right there in Phoenix, if he called you tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he called me tonight, I would simply say you are a liar. You don't trust you.


BOLLING: That's the American people talking, Bob.

BECKEL: That's one person talking. I would say --


BECKEL: bunch of your camera out and ask people who went to Veterans Administration, I supposed where there are dedicated doctors and dedicated nurses, and a lot of good things happen, taking care of people who are badly injured because of battlefield medicine. I think that's very nice of you to run --

BOLLING: What's the problem there? What's the problem? I'm not disputing that there's some good doctors and some good nurses and assistants, whatever in the system. What's the problem?

It's not money. It's not money.

I'm sorry?

GUTFELD: I don't think that you get anywhere deciding who is more outraged than the other. I think what you can agree upon is this reestablishing priorities that we've lost over the past, I don't know -- and it's not just Obama, we've lost these priorities in a while and I think Bob is right, in a lot of ways about the fact that there is a lot more that the V.A. is dealing with than it ever has before with returning vets who normally won have survived and that's a lot -- that's a lot of pressure.

But I don't think screaming about who is more outraged helps anybody and parading people out there, we know they are upset. What's important is finding someone -- electing a candidate who will reestablish the priorities and make these people the number one priority.

BOLLING: Well, can I ask you, if the president says he still has confidence in the head administrator of the V.A., Shinseki, doesn't that send a signal?

GUTFELD: Well, it sends a signal that maybe, instead of complaining, elect somebody who will do what you like them to do.

TANTAROS: But I don't -- I agree with you on -- calling for Shinseki to step down, and that outrage you hear from politicians, what's that going to do? OK? So, he steps down. You still have a deeply flawed V.A. where there's no competition.

And you know what, Eric? It's great. Socialized medicine is great until you get sick.

So, you ask the veterans, do you like the V.A.? I do. Have you gotten sick yet? The answer is very different.

BOLLING: I would like to see -- I would like to see coming from the top down, from chief -- from Obama to chief of staff, straight down the line, an outrage where heads do roll.

BILA: The problem is that it's a pattern. The problem is that it's a pattern. There's no accountability on anything. So, it's not just about this issue.

It's about an administration that has zero accountability for anything that they do. It's always somebody else's fault. That's why people point fingers.

BOLLING: All right. We're going to have to leave it right there.

Directly ahead: Sarah Palin slams the liberal media for hypocrisy for trying to shut down questions about Hillary Clinton's health. We'll see Palin's scathing critique after the break.


TANTAROS: Well, Karl Rove raised questions about Hillary Clinton's health and age as she weighs a possible 2016 presidential run and the left wing critics went wild.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, first of all, the Karl Rove effort was pathetic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought his remarks just were outrageous and over the pale, whatever the expression is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's start, Robert and Margaret, with shocking, and I'll say, I think reprehensible comments from Karl Rove.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all, I think that's -- may I say, I think that's vaguely sexist.


TANTAROS: Now, Sarah Palin is weighing in, slamming the liberal media for hypocrisy. Palin said she wasn't spared questions when she was the GOP's vice-presidential nominee and in a Facebook post, Palin writes, "Hey, Hillary's brain is off limits. Leave her health records alone. Democrats are right. Scouring records of female candidate is just politics of personal destruction and for the media, to engage in it would be unfair, unethical and absolutely unprecedented. Bunch of sexist, big meanies engaging in something heretofore unheard of, for shame."

So, what do you think, Greg? I mean, Palin was critiqued. They were rooting through dumpsters in Wasilla, Alaska, looking for anything they could. Does she have a point?

GUTFELD: Well, first of all, Hillary should be happy. It's better that we talk about her big brain than her husband's little one.

Sarah Palin is wrong.

BECKEL: (INAUDIBLE) little brains.

GUTFELD: Sarah Palin is wrong. There isn't a double standard because there was never a standard to begin with and it's not sexist because the media never considered Sarah Palin a woman, much less even a human being. They treated her like an alien cartoon, because no one in the media had ever come in contact with anybody like Sarah Palin. Yet, they are constantly surrounded by people like Hillary Clinton, which are petulant progressives with a thirst for power. Those are the people they were (INAUDIBLE), that they were used to, and when Sarah Palin came into the picture, it was very easy to dehumanize somebody if you don't think they are human to begin with.

So, you could go after her children. You could say incredible things about her personally but it doesn't matter because she's not human. So, I don't think you can compare these two at all.

TANTAROS: And if I could compare them, if you'll allowed me to, just on their kids. Remember when the Clintons came out, Eric, and said, Chelsea is off-limits, don't talk about our kids, they certainly talked a lot about Sarah Palin's kids.


TANTAROS: Her child with Down syndrome and her daughter's teen pregnancy.

BOLLING: And that was really the most disgusting thing that the left did, the media, and frankly a lot of people on the left were delving into that at point. They speculated on whether Trig was actually Bristol's child and not Sarah Palin's. It was just disgusting what they were doing, and no one said anything about it. It didn't blow up.

But Karl Rove asked a very legitimate question, and if she hit her head and if it did take her, Karl Rove said, a month to recover, Bill Clinton clarified and said, no, no, not a month, six months to recover, it's fair game. It's a legitimate question whether there's any lingering damage to her brain or not. I mean, decision making matters. We should get a doctor to tell us -- explain exactly what a concussion that's so severe it takes six months to recover from, are there any lingering, you know, synapse problems that would create a problem going down the road in the decision- making process.

But she's right, they are both right. First families, second families are off-limits and shouldn't be attacked.

TANTAROS: Bob, I don't think that asking or questioning a candidate's health is off limits. We certainly did it with other presidential candidates. But do you think that Karl Rove was the right messenger to put that out there? Do you think it helps the Republican Party to have Rove float this idea right now?

BECKEL: No, because it looks too political.

Bu let me say, I do think Sarah Palin got a bad rap during her run for the vice presidency, when it came to a lot of things, that the media went overboard with. But if some reason Republicans think that they're not going to have the scouring of a presidential candidate's medical records, Hillary Clinton will be put through the ringer whether Karl Rove said anything or not, because when you run for president, that's one of the first things that the media goes after and they want to know everything about your medical history.

I know, I've been there. I've had to supply it to the media before. It is nothing that's new. It is not -- and the only thing that's new about it is that Karl decided to roll it out at this time in the campaign, you know, two or three years before it's going to happen, and I think it's very political.

TANTAROS: Well, Jedediah, while I think it is fair game, isn't it exactly what the Clintons want? I mean, to me, when see Karl Rove come out, who is an enemy of the right, and make a comment like that, if I'm the Clintons, I'm delighted. This is exactly what they want. They love to have their enemies define them. So, it's the Clintons versus Karl Rove.

Shouldn't Karl Rove just have just gone away and shut up and let someone else bring it up?

BILA: Well, I think it might have come across better if somebody else brought it up, no doubt. However, I do think it's totally insulting to Hillary Clinton if the media is going to baby her. I mean, this is a woman who I hate to break it to everyone, out there in media, is very capable of answering tough questions. She's smart. She's capable. Yes, her record is a little iffy. But she's perfectly capable of answering for herself.

Now, I don't think character attacks should be out there, the way they were with Palin. I would never say that you should, you know, have any character attacks against a candidate or anything, but hard questions that's what she's there for. If she's going to contemplate running for president and you are not going to ask those hard questions because she's a woman, how insulting to women in general would that be?

GUTFELD: I'm worried about the head injuries we've all had over the last six years after dealing with this couple.


BOLLING: Can I make a very quick thought, though? I'm not sure the timing is actually great either. I know what he's doing. I agree with you it's political.

But the Republicans have a very good shot at not only holding the House or getting the Senate right now. Why don't just run that clock out? Why play around with 2016 right now? Let's just focus on, you know --

BECKEL: Because if she runs, she's such a big formidable candidate, they have to start chipping away at her now.


TANTAROS: And now they can say, we already talked about the health issue with Karl Rove, that's so old news --

BECKEL: Let's assume she doesn't have a health issue. The Republicans don't have a person to put up against her that stands a chance.

BILA: That's why, because the Republicans have lost two presidential elections. So, I think there's a rush to talk about 2016 and potential GOP candidates and all of that, because there's a fear among us that there's not going to be a --

BECKEL: Yes, for good reason.

TANTAROS: All right. Coming up, new research on e-cigarettes show that they can actually help smokers kick the habit for good. Greg says that he is leaving proof of the benefits of vaping. He'll explain, up next.


GUTFELD: New researchers shows that smokers who try to quit using e-cigs are 60 percent more successful than when using other stuff, like patches and strippers.

But I knew this. I haven't a smoke in months, thanks to vaping, which is basically inhaling a nicotine mist minus all the bad stuff.

And yet, bureaucrats still want to restrict vaping, due to fears that it might normalize smoking. What the hell does that mean? It means that it doesn't matter what you do but what you appear to be doing.

It's like sending a child home for making a gun motion with his hand or a wearing a sombrero on May. With outrage, it never matters what you meant: it's what others decide it means. And they're always dumber than you and me.

Here in New York, we banned indoor vaping to appease the screechy outrage junkies and their need to feel important. But they might as well ban helmets, vitamin C and air bags. Why not kill everyone?

But when the urge for action is untethered by fact, it transforms into a shrill mob that shuns scientific inquiry for an orgy of fake concern. You see this now with the purges of commencement speakers who aren't to the left of Mao. Instead of welcoming debate, disciples obliterate. Once you give into the mob, rage trumps reason.

So for those of you who still think vaping is no big deal, you're wrong. It's another example of feeling feelings, silencing fact, and limiting freedom and yet another dismal defeat for science. It's so depressing I might take up smoking.

So this is good news, Andrea. Why do they still persist on attacking the innocent vapor?

TANTAROS: Because the innocent vapor in the eyes of its enemy -- maybe big tobacco, all the industries that make lots of money off smoking -- see it as a threat. And so what they'll do is -- and I only know because I used do this -- they'll spend a lot of money to commission surveys on behalf of, you know, some organization that they create.


TANTAROS: Right? There's nothing to do with the tobacco company. And they funnel the money to these organizations. And then the organization will find someone to do a study, and then they'll come out and they'll say, "E-cigarettes are bad for you."

But if you look at the money trail and you look to see who the clients are, of the public affairs firm doing this, it's usually one of the big tobacco firms or somebody who's threatened -- maybe the patches, the medical device folks, who create the biggest enemy to your friend.

GUTFELD: Yes. Bob, the beauty of this is that it shows you it's just not a high; it's a habit. It mimics smoking, which means you could get off smoking cigars if you starting doing this.

BECKEL: Yes, I probably could.

You inhale that stuff, by the way?


BECKEL: What I don't understand here is, if these things work and they take people off of cigarettes, and cigarette smoking is responsible for half a million deaths a year in the United States, what is their problem? I mean, I don't get it. I mean, if you could smoke cow dung, and it would help you not smoke, then smoke cow dung.

GUTFELD: Are you telling people to smoke cow dung?

BECKEL: Absolutely.

GUTFELD: Don't do that.

BECKEL: It's probably pretty good for you.

GUTFELD: No, it's not.

BECKEL: What I can't -- what I can't understand is, how could you be faced with this thing, knowing that it works -- and by the way, the tobacco companies have started to buy into these companies -- but why -- what's the argument? I mean, I don't get the argument.

GUTFELD: The argument is, Eric, that it -- because it appears to look like smoking, it will influence people to smoke more. So you could do that with anything.

BOLLING: And I think the tobacco lobby is huge and probably behind a lot of the studies. And don't forget: the lobbyists also hang out with the politicians. They feed their campaigns so the politicians say, "You know what? Maybe we should pull vaping out of the restaurants" in whatever in New York, or wherever they go.

But there's another group, too. It's the health-care lobby. There are a lot of health-care people who may be actually funding studies that would say that's dangerous, so that people continue to smoke.

Look, 450 million -- 450,000 people a year die from smoking. Do you know how much -- hundreds of billions of dollars annually, I've got to think -- see, that's a risk to the bottom line.

BECKEL: That would be a huge scandal. If you can trace money back and say that the reason they're doing this is to perpetuate lung cancer, I mean.

GUTFELD: The other, though, is if you also say people die on average maybe 10 percent earlier from cancer -- I mean, from smoke-related diseases, that's a lot of people you don't have to take care of later in life as well. What do you make of this?

BILA: The fear I think some people feel is that then becomes the new crutch, right? So that, instead of quitting cigarettes completely...


BILA: ... you spend 10 or 20 years smoking these, and that we don't know the real dangers...


BILA: .. because it's a new product. But I say, hey, it's still better than smoking the cigarette.


BILA: So if you can transition to something better, whether it's temporary or not, go for it.

GUTFELD: Yes, I mean, what is wrong with a crutch? Try telling that to somebody with a broken leg, you know, "That's just a crutch. You're going to have to lose that."

BECKEL: You think you'd still be smoking cigarettes if you didn't have that thing?

GUTFELD: Absolutely. And this has reduced the desire for smoking.

TANTAROS: And a lot of the politicians who are antii-e-cigarettes are pro smoking pot, which doesn't really make sense.

GUTFELD: Yes, that's an odd little contradiction.

BECKEL: Speaking of which, can you put pot in one of those things?

GUTFELD: I wouldn't know.

BILA: Good question, Bob.

BOLLING: You can retool that to put weed in there. And there's a lot of weed oils and waxes that they are smoking.

BECKEL: We've come a long way. That's good.

GUTFELD: We learn so much here on "The Five."

BILA: We do, and we share it with America.

GUTFELD: All right. We've got to move on. Directly ahead, rapper Macklemore -- he calls himself a rapper -- lands in hot water for wearing this costume at a concert. Nice nose. He's apologized, but not everyone is buying it. Who could he be? Next on "The Five."


BILA: Rapper Macklemore made millions off of his hit song called "Same Love," which stereotypes Republicans as being anti-gay while also slamming the Bible. Here's a clip.


MACKLEMORE, RAPPER (rapping): The right-wing conservatives think it's a decision and you can be cured with some treatment and religion. Manmade rewiring of a predisposition, playing God. Oh, now, here we go. America the brave still fears what we don't know. God loves all his children is somehow forgotten, but we paraphrase a book written 3,500 years ago.


BILA: It turns out the Grammy winner isn't the poster boy for tolerance. Macklemore posted an apology on his Web site, saying he didn't mean to mock Jewish people by wearing this costume that some say was anti-Semitic during a performance in Seattle last week. The singer claims the hat, big fake nose, black beard and wig were, quote, "a random costume thrown together so he could walk around unnoticed and surprise the crowd with a short performance of his hit song, "Thrift Shop."

Greg, should we be upset about this costume, or should we be laughing at it?

GUTFELD: I -- I'm just so happy that now it's finally OK to hate this untalented rip-off artist whose one hit song was ripped off by a better rapper named Le1f. He's a 9/11 truther. He blamed the World Trade Center on our government. He's scum, but he used the veil of tolerance to allow him to spew this garbage. And it shows how really, really dumb people like him can fake intelligence by -- through the costume of tolerance.

He's a racist boob. What else was he trying to do there?

BILA: I mean, Andrea, do you think he gets away with this kind of hypocrisy? Or do you think the public's going to hold him accountable, his fans?

TANTAROS: I don't think they're paying any attention. Although I will say he does look like a cab driver in my dad's hometown in Greece. You could confuse him a little bit. I don't know if he was trying to be Jewish or what he was trying to do. Who knows?

GUTFELD: He was being a shmuck.

TANTAROS: I actually -- right. I actually don't care what he wants to sing about. He can sing about whatever he wants. But to Greg's point, don't lecture about tolerance then. Don't lecture me about being tolerant. Rap about whatever you want, but if you're not going to hold yourself to the same standard, I really don't want to listen to your music, and it's not very good anyway.

BILA: Now, Eric, do you believe him, that he just sort of went and found a weird costume? The song is called "Thrift Shop." Do you think he's telling the truth here?

BOLLING: OK. Let me clarify -- qualify this with my wife is Jewish.

BILA: Yes.

BOLLING: He hit every Jewish stereotype with that costume right there. He went with the orthodox beard. He went with the nose thing that people sometimes say. And then he talked -- he put this on for "Thrift Shop." I mean, you hit every single one.

I'm trying to figure out why he thought that was a good idea to do it. I mean, there's so many ways to disguise yourself.

GUTFELD: And you know what he did after he did that "Oh, but some of my best friends are Jewish." He wrote, "I have hella good Jewish homies." He is a bigot. Only bigots do that. Like, "Some of my best friends are black."

BOLLING: Jewish homies.

GUTFELD: Yes. Only bigots do that. They always go, "Oh, wait. Some of my best friends are Mexicans.

BILA: Now Bob, Seth Rogen, celebrities held him accountable for this on Twitter; responded and said, "Sorry, but this is not acceptable." Does that surprise you that Hollywood responded that way?

BECKEL: You've got to understand something here. I didn't know who this guy was until just now. And when I listened to that song, how anybody could sell that garbage and people would actually buy it is beyond me. I mean, you know, call me old-fashioned, because I am old-fashioned. Rap music is about the lowest form -- I mean, you can do that by going into a junkyard and just throwing rocks at it and make noise.

BILA: All rap music.

GUTFELD: There's fantastic rap and hip-hop music. The interesting thing is there's a guy named Le1f, who's a fantastic rapper, one of the best. And he, this guy appropriated his music. That's the bigger crime.

BOLLING: Ant the other thing is, you know how many little suburban Jewish kids download this guy's music?

BECKEL: I'm sure.

TANTAROS: Well, if he wanted to be truly courageous and talk about tolerance, then he would talk about the Muslims.

I mean, it's so -- you don't have to be -- you're a real coward in this country if you come out criticizing Republicans. Ooh, wow, that's so macho of you. You really want to do something daring? Go after Islam.

BECKEL: Does this guy actually draw people to his concert? Does he draw people?

BILA: Yes, heroes. All right. Let's see how this goes.

Up next, a mayor is defending himself after landing in hot water for saying bullying victims should, quote, "grow a pair." But does he have a point or did he cross the line? That debate after the break.


BECKEL: California mayor ignites a firestorm for criticizing a proposal to set up anti bullying safe zones in the city. Here's Porterville mayor Cameron Hamilton.


CAMERON HAMILTON, MAYOR, PORTERVILLE: I'm against bullying, but I'm getting tired of it getting used for a mantra for everything and the ills of the world when all most people have to do it grow a pair and stick up for themselves.


BECKEL: Mayor Hamilton defended his controversial remarks on "FOX & Friends" this morning.


HAMILTON: In my mind, there is just so many different ideas out there that tell us that it's a bullying situation when in fact it's not a bullying situation and it takes away from what is bullying situation. And it takes away from what is a bullying situation and what needs to be addressed in our schools as well as families.


BECKEL: Doesn't he look like Wilford Brimley, whoever his name is? Does he not look like him?


BECKEL: All right, Greg. What do you think? Does he have a point?

GUTFELD: Well, we cut him off. When he said grow a pair, he was talking about the fruit. And then to give the fruit to the people who bully you as a way to appease their anger.

The fact is, the point he's making is legitimate, but he makes it in a lousy way. And I go back. I say this all the time. It's good to be right, but you've got to be persuasively right. Because we do agree with him. There's situations where bullying is overplayed. But there's also real bullying. You just don't want to tell people to grow a pair, to like, a 10-year-old girl to grow a pair. It doesn't work that way. At least biologically.

BECKEL: Yes. What do you think about that, Andrea? Is that something that offends you, just the use of the term "grow a pair"?

TANTAROS: I've been sitting next to you for over three years on this show and been debating you on TV, so I'm a little desensitized to it, Bob.

BECKEL: I can understand that. That's good. See, that's good for you. Maybe that's healthy.

TANTAROS: No, I think in these instances that he's referring to, there is legitimate cases of, I would call it assault. There was one instance where someone was jumped. He probably shouldn't use the phrase "grow a pair" and try and dismiss it as bullying.

But I do think he does make a point: People do throw around the word "bullying" in instances where I don't -- I actually don't think that it applies. To me, bullying is a very unique case. It's pervasive. But now, everybody uses it.

BECKEL: Well, you bully me all the time, Eric. What do you think about this?

BOLLING: I don't bully you, Bob.

BECKEL: Yes, you do.

BOLLING: We just have a difference of opinion sometime.

I actually like this mayor. I like what he's saying. I do see that -- what Greg and Andrea are saying. You have to -- you have to pick and choose where that -- where that theory works and where it doesn't work, and it is -- "bully," that word is just overused. But I do think we've got to teach our kids to, like, toughen up a little bit.

BECKEL: Jedediah?

BILA: I'm trying to figure out what an anti-bullying safe zone is and how you would create that and even attempt to enforce it if you wanted to without censoring people. I can't even imagine in an outside place how you would enforce that kind of thing.

But look, there are serious cases of legitimate bullying. People's lives are threatened. Of course, you have to take that seriously. And there's numerous incidences where kids are really being babied beyond belief and they can't stand up for themselves any more. That's a big problem.

GUTFELD: Shouldn't the whole world be a safe zone? I mean, like, is there somebody there that's going to go, "No, I'm sorry, you can't come in. You're a bully"?

BECKEL: That guy clearly was bullied, though, when he was a kid. No question about it. I'd like to bully him right now.

"One More Thing" is up next.


BOLLING: All right. It's time for "One More Thing." I'm going to kick it off. Remember Charles Barkley got in trouble for saying the ladies of San Antonio were a little chubby? Well, last night Oklahoma City visited San Antonio Spurs. Watch what happened.


CHARLES BARKLEY, NBA HALL OF FAMER: Let's go get it. Oh! That woman ain't from here. They flew her here from Dallas. I guarantee you. Those girls are not from San Antonio. Oh, boy. Good camera work.


BOLLING: Charles, Charles, digging away, digging away.

All right, Jed, you're up.

BILA: The Media Research Center quizzed students at George Mason University about pop culture and Benghazi, and take a listen to what they had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know the reason why Benghazi is in the news?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Benghazi, it's a place in Afghanistan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, is it with the Save the Children?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My answer is going to be weird, but it reminds me of a guy I work with at the gym.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who hits the sing the hit song "Happy"?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pharrell Williams.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pharrell Williams.


BILA: And this is why I worry for the future of the country.

BOLLING: All right, Gregory, you're up.

GUTFELD: I don't -- kids are into pop music in college.

Anyway, I want to thank everybody for sending some cards and e-mails and stuff, because as you know, I've been away visiting my mother, who's in assisted living now. And she's very happy to receive the cards and stuff. So I want to thank you for that.

BOLLING: Very cool. Very cool. And.

TANTAROS: All righty. Well, if you don't follow "Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak on Twitter, you should, because he bought a lot of vowels and consonants the other day and spit them right out at California Governor Jerry Brown, for saying that the recent wildfires in California were caused by global warming. Sajak tweeted, "I now believe global warming alarmists are unpatriotic racists, knowingly misleading for their own ends. Good night."

BOLLING: Was he hitting the sauce a little bit?

TANTAROS: No comment.

GUTFELD: I think he was using hyperbole, because they use hyperbole.

TANTAROS: I do, too.

BILA: Yes, he was.

BECKEL: I think it's -- he's actually right. He was right. It is global warming the cause of that.

I want to congratulate -- excuse me -- chipolt -- how do you pronounce it?

GUTFELD: Chipotle.

BECKEL: Chipotle for banning guns in their restaurant. Some whackos went in with their assault weapons and scared the hell out of their patrons, so they said no more guns. And you know who did that before that, Starbucks. Congratulations to them.

Every restaurant out there, every business ought to just ban these damn things, because the whackos who've got them are going to shoot each other. Well, maybe that wouldn't be so bad.

GUTFELD: Yes. There's evidence of that happening all over. Right, Bob? Can you cite any?

BECKEL: I sure can.

GUTFELD: it's like people going into stores like Starbucks and shooting people.

BECKEL: Absolutely.

GUTFELD: What about police officers with their guns? Are they allowed to go in?

BECKEL: They're allowed to go in. They're allowed to go in.

BOLLING: All right. We're going to continue this in the break. In the meantime, you can stay tuned and watch Bret Baier. He's coming up next on this network.

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