Reviewing the Cheney/Edwards Debate

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," Oct. 6, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST:   Now for our "top story" tonight, the way the campaigns stand now. Coming off the VP debate, joining us from Hartford, Connecticut, Fox News analyst Juan Williams.  And from Los Angeles, conservative radio talk show host Tammy Bruce.

Tammy, we'll start with you, because you're much better looking than Juan with all due respect.

TAMMY BRUCE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  I don't know about that.  I like Juan.

O'REILLY:  Well, Tammy, trust me.  I'm the arbiter.  Good looking people here, you win.

BRUCE:  All right, thank you, sir.

O'REILLY:  All right, "Talking Points" memo, did I go wrong there any way?

BRUCE:  You're right.  The difference is, though, when it comes to where they faltered, Americans are not wringing their hands over Halliburton.  They care about Iraq and they care about what the Kerry campaign is saying about it.  And they don't necessarily like what they're hearing.

Cheney in a way doesn't need to answer because people aren't losing sleep over that issue.  John Edwards came off as a lightweight dilettante. And I think when you're looking at the position those two men are in with their president, that we're looking at not only can they be president, but it means that they're moving into that position, that  something disastrous has happened to this nation.  And I think the debate did a great deal for the Bush campaign.  But you're right...

O'REILLY:  All right, but I have to disagree.  I didn't think John Edwards came off as a lightweight dilettante at all.  I think he had...

BRUCE:  I think...

O'REILLY:  ...good command of the issues.  And he didn't answer some of the questions he needed to answer, but certainly Edwards was engaging. And I don't know, a lightweight dilettante, Tammy?

BRUCE:  Well, you can be charming.  And what it showed is you can slam the slogans into anyone.  And they can say them.  I think Cheney did what the president should have done Thursday is he put Kerry's record on the table.  And he made it clear how much of a lightweight John Edwards really is.  And I think people...

O'REILLY:  He didn't make it clear today.  I have to say.  And...

BRUCE:  He did to me.

O'REILLY:  ...I'm always on the lookout for lightweights, by the way. I want to get those lightweights, but...

BRUCE:  Sure.

O'REILLY:  ...he didn't make it clear to me.  Go ahead, Juan.

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST:  No, I think that what you see here is two guys who realized they had to come out and do the attack dog routine.  And so, that's why this was such an intense debate, especially coming after what had happened between Senator Kerry and President Bush last week in Miami, where I think President Bush was the one that stumbled.  I think there was a sense that Dick Cheney had to come back.

You're right, Bill, when you say, look, in terms of stopping the bleeding, here came Dick Cheney.  You know, he was like a good corner man. He went in there, stopped the bleeding.

But if you add up the total, the total still is Kerry-Edwards, ahead on points as we continue in this fight.  The big points that were made, I think, the best point made by Dick Cheney was when you think about the judgment exercised by John Kerry over his time in the Senate, the fact he voted against the first Gulf War, the fact that he says he's a guy who can, you know, this is a wrong war, wrong time, wrong place and then says he's going  to bring the allies in, well, why would they come in for a wrong war?  And that's where the two-step you mentioned from John Edwards came into play.

O'REILLY:  Yes, that was outrageous.  But look...

WILLIAMS:  OK, but then — wait, wait.  Let me finish this.

O'REILLY:  Go ahead.

WILLIAMS:  And then I think you come back to the best point that John Edwards makes.  And John Edwards best point was, look, you keep talking about your long experience, your voting record, but you know what, your long experience has led to bad judgments.  And I can't take four more years...

O'REILLY:  But Juan, you made one mistake.  You said that Kerry's ahead, and he isn't ahead.  Bush is still ahead.  In almost every poll, Bush is ahead.  And the electoral college, he's ahead.  But here's where...

WILLIAMS:  No, no, no.  What I was saying was in terms of these debates, as we go into the final weeks.

O'REILLY:  Yes, all right, but nobody cared — nobody's keeping track of the debate scorecard.  They want to know who's ahead in the polls.

WILLIAMS:  No, but you're keeping track of momentum, right, Bill?

BRUCE:  Even after...

O'REILLY:  It's flat now.  It's flat.  But...

WILLIAMS:  And fellows, even after...

O'REILLY:  ...wait, wait, wait.  Tammy, hold it.  We need this question.

WILLIAMS:  Yes, Bush was up.

O'REILLY:  I want to pose this question, because this is an important question.  "The New York Times," off the chart, pro-Kerry.  I mean, they just ought to just take — put Kerry's — here's what they ought to do every day, put Bush's picture on the front page and say he's the devil and then Kerry's picture saying we love the greatest guy in the world.  Every day, just put it there so we all know and we're reminded.

They said, you know, Cheney looked tired and grouchy, whatever.  But here's what I say.  If I'm Usama, and I have the cable TV in my cave, OK, and I'm watching the debate, and I want you both to answer this question, we begin with you Juan, I want everybody at home to answer this question, I'm Usama and I'm in a cave, cable TV coming in, Fox News channel, all right?  I know he loves “"The Factor"”.  You got Cheney and you got Edwards sitting at the table.  Who are you more afraid of?  Who are you more afraid of, Juan, Cheney or Edwards?  Come on, no spin.

WILLIAMS:  Are you kidding in me?  You expect me to say that he's more afraid of Dick Cheney?

O'REILLY:  No spin.  Who — if you're sitting in that cave, you got Cheney sitting there and you got Edwards.  Who are you more afraid of?

WILLIAMS:  Bill, what kind of rhetoric is this?  This is like Cheney saying if you elect Kerry-Edwards...

O'REILLY:  No, it's a serious — look...

WILLIAMS:'re more likely to be hit again.  That's not — look, the fact is John Edwards...


WILLIAMS:  ...has said he's going to kill the terrorists.  If I'm Usama bin Laden...

O'REILLY:  I don't care what he says.  Opie can say he's going to kill the terrorists.  It's not going to scare me.  And it was a frivolous question, but it's serious.  If you — and this is why Cheney did well. Cheney — if I'm sitting there, Tammy, and I'm looking, and I'm a terrorist, which one of these guys...

BRUCE:  Well, I think it comes down to...

WILLIAMS:  That's not real.

BRUCE:  No, it's the issue of who is Usama seeing as a lightweight? And he's not seeing Cheney as a lightweight.

O'REILLY:  Well, you don't know that.

BRUCE:  And what Cheney has done, also, what we'll see on Friday, Bill, is the fact that I think George Bush is going to be himself on Friday.  He saw Dick Cheney be himself and win.

O'REILLY:  All right, but Tammy, look...

BRUCE:  And he's going to be himself on Friday.

O'REILLY: may be Miss Cleo, but we don't know what's  going to happen.  Let's stay away from that.  OK?  You dodged my question.

WILLIAMS:  Let me make a point to you, Bill.

O'REILLY:  Go ahead, but you dodged my question, Williams.

WILLIAMS:  No, I didn't dodge your question.

O'REILLY:  You dodged my question.  It's a valid question.  Those terrorists don't want any part of Cheney.  He's too mean.

WILLIAMS:  You know what, Bill?  You're a no-spin guy, but that was a spin question.

O'REILLY:  No, it wasn't.

WILLIAMS:  That was a leading question.

O'REILLY:  It wasn't.

WILLIAMS:  Here's the — you know why it was leading?  Because it doesn't speak to reality.  The reality is that when you saw Senator Edwards say you know the problem here?  The problem is that you guys aren't being straight with the American people.  The American people can turn on "The O'Reilly Factor"...

O'REILLY:  How many times do we have to hear that?

WILLIAMS:  ...and see things aren't going well in Iraq.

BRUCE:  The polls already indicate the people believe George Bush is telling the truth.

WILLIAMS:  Hang on a second, Tammy.  Let me finish this point.

O'REILLY:  Go ahead.  Go ahead, Juan.

WILLIAMS:  Tammy, let me finish this point.

O'REILLY:  Go ahead.

WILLIAMS:  And when he starts to cite Republicans, Republicans beginning with Paul Bremer and says we should have had more troops, when he starts talking about what Senator Lugar, Chuck Hagel, John McCain are saying, when he says there are more deaths month after month after  month...

O'REILLY:  You're going — Zell Miller against — you can go Zell Miller against...

BRUCE:  May I?

O'REILLY:  ...come on.  All right, Tammy, wrap it up.

WILLIAMS:  That — come on, come on.

BRUCE:  Juan, come on, Juan.  Here's what the...

O'REILLY:  Tammy, you wrap it up, but no propaganda, Tammy.  Just go.

BRUCE:  Not at all.  All the — as you know, that all the polls are saying the American people have George Bush ahead by double-digits in leadership and what he's doing with the war in Iraq, which means they're not buying a lie.

O'REILLY:  All right.

BRUCE:  And that he's lying to them.  They trust him.

O'REILLY:  If I'm Usama watching “"The Factor," and I see those two guys, I'm more afraid of Cheney.  That's all I know.

Tammy, Juan, thank you very much.  We have a brand new poll question that will be interesting for you.  We asked you so far, does “"The Factor"”'s election coverage favor one candidate over the other?  As you know, we get plenty of mail,  asserting it from both sides.  So your choices in the poll, yes, "The Factor" coverage favors Bush; yes, "The Factor" coverage favors Kerry; and no favoritism at all.  All right?  We'll give you the results at on Friday.

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