To watch "The Talking Points Memo" in the Screening Room click here.
O'REILLY: Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly, reporting all this week from Los Angeles. Thanks for watching tonight.
We're out here to get a feeling for the war from the west coast, and opinions are flying around like crazy. One of the big questions people are asking me... Should Americans boycott French products? That is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.
Once again, today French President Chirac said he would veto any Security Council resolution to remove Saddam by force at this juncture. And beyond that France has sent diplomats to Angola, Cameroon, and Guinea to try to convince those countries to act against the USA and the U.N.
While Russia, China, and Germany also oppose America's position, they have not nearly been as proactive as France. So my conclusion is that France wants to embarrass the United States even as it is protecting a killer like Saddam.
Now, we are all soldiers in the war against terror here in America, and our weapon is our wallet. If France does, indeed, veto a new U.N. resolution, I will support a boycott of their products, and even if it doesn't come to that, I myself will think long and hard before I buy anything made in France.
Remember, that country also opposed President Reagan when he bombed Libya in the '80s, and it opposed the bombing of Belgrade, which led to the removal, of course, of Milosevic.
My one hesitation about a French boycott is that some Americans will get hurt. Companies like Peugeot, Evian, Lancome, Maybelline and dozens of others employ thousands of Americans. Did you know that Motel 6 and Red Roof Inns are owned by French conglomerates?
So I don't call for economic sanctions against France easily, but at this point, it looks like the only way we can send a message to that country which is hurting us. France sends $28 billion worth of stuff to America every year. We send $19 billion back to France, so they're making big money from us. French economy is stagnant, and American tourism there is falling fast, down 20 percent last year alone. It will be down more this year.
If France wants to prop up Saddam, that's their right, according to the United Nations, but in my opinion it is morally wrong. Once again, if France, Germany, Russia, and China supported the USA, Saddam would be already gone.
So Talking Points is about to say good-bye to Roquefort dressing, farewell to Louis Vuitton, au revoir to Yves Saint Laurent. Sorry, guys. We're going to miss you. And say farewell to Pierre Cardin, while you're at it.
France has now hurt the USA, and for many of us, payback time has arrived.
And that's The Memo.
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day"...
Last week, we told you about a lawyer in Albany, New York, who was arrested in a shopping mall for wearing a peace T-shirt, charged with trespassing. We thought that was foolish. Americans have a right to express themselves even in a shipping mall.
Well, now the charges against Stephen Downs have been dropped, and the security guard who hassled him has been fired. Robert Williams was let go by the mall, and we think that's ridiculous as well, as Williams was responding to a request from Macy's.
It looks like there's chaos at that mall. We suggest it do the right thing for once and hire Robert Williams back. Just doing his job.