Should Hillary respond to latest Clinton smear campaign?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 13, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly.

In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, a new book that levels serious personal charges against Hillary and Bill Clinton (search). It's due out in a couple of weeks.

Its author, Ed Klein (search), is a colleague of mine on Parade magazine. He's been on the program before, but I won't put him on to discus this book. That's because I didn't put on Kitty Kelly (search) to discuss her book, which was full of personal attacks on the Bush family. So if I didn't do that, I can't in good conscience reverse myself in this situation.

Now, many of us are very tired of personal attacks and the people who make money using them. Howard Dean's (search) conduct, for example, is disgraceful. And the smear merchants who use the media to slime their opponents on both sides should be shunned.

But this new book about Hillary is going to get a lot of media attention. The question is how should she handle it?

With us now, Naomi Wolfe, who once advised Al Gore and is the author of the brand-new book, "The Treehouse: Eccentric Wisdom from My Father on How to Live, Love and See." And from Washington, Kiki McLean, the former communications director for the DNC (search).

I bet you're glad you're not there now, Ms. McLean, aren't you?


O'REILLY: I know, but you'd have to have, you know, kind of ether to put over Howard Dean's mouth if you were there now.

All right, now, look, this is not about politics. I want everybody watching this to know this. It's not about politics. This is about an increasing trend in this country to destroy people with whom you disagree. Now, I mean destroy. Not beat, not out debate. I mean come into your house, destroy you and your family.

And it's going to have to be dealt with at some time or another, Ms. McLean. How would you deal with it?

MCLEAN: Well, you know, it's — it's actually appropriate that you have Naomi on because eventually, Bill, you do what your mom and dad taught you when you were a kid. And that is you prove them wrong. You continue to focus on your responsibilities, your work.

I think in the case of Senator Clinton, she should and probably will continue to serve with dignity and character and fight for the things that she believes in and continue her role as an advocate for families in America. And that's really the best thing to do...

O'REILLY: All right. So you wouldn't...

MCLEAN: ... when you have somebody who is engaged in a trash for cash campaign, and really somebody who's really trying to line their own pockets at the expense of the Clintons.

O'REILLY: All right. We know that. We know that and there's no debate about it.


O'REILLY: But other media will run with this all over the place. And they will put it on page one in the newspapers.

MCLEAN: Well, I think the media needs to stop and think about their responsibility.

O'REILLY: They're not. They're not — let's stay in the real world. I don't want to enter the Land of Oz. The media is not going to stop. They're not going to think. They're not going to be ethical. They're not. The media is — are basically savages in this country, all right?

Now, would you advise Mrs. Clinton to ignore this book, as President Bush did in the case of Kitty Kelley?

MCLEAN: I would advise her to ignore it, and I think she's proven over her career in public service and public life that she just does not give the time of day to people who are engaged in this kind of trash.

I think the reality is that there are people, actually other members of the media, The New York Post, for instance, a shared member company here with FOX News, who are writing about this author's, frankly, questionable ethics and questionable tactics in this book.

O'REILLY: Yes, The New York Post is very skeptical in its...

MCLEAN: So hopefully, there will be some self-correction in the media.

O'REILLY: Well, don't count on it.

MCLEAN: And Senator Clinton shouldn't engage in that.

O'REILLY: Don't count on it.

MCLEAN: And I don't expect that she will.

O'REILLY: Don't count on it, OK? What they'll do is the game they play is they'll be tough on Klein. Klein will come in and they'll go after him. But all the tawdry stuff he says will get out. It's already been out.

How do you see this, Naomi?

NAOMI WOLFE, AUTHOR, "THE TREEHOUSE": I was — first of all, can I just say thank you for drawing a line because...

O'REILLY: Are you trying to be nice to me?

WOLFE: I'm not trying. I am nice. But I'm trying to make a point, which is there is — when Hillary Clinton (search) said there's a Republican attack machine, she sounded like she was coming from an extreme position. But in fact, time has...

O'REILLY: This has nothing to do with the Republicans.

WOLFE: True, but...

O'REILLY: This guy is not a Republican.

WOLFE: True. Exactly. But I just want to say that both the Republican attack machine — there's a Democratic attack machine that's not as sophisticated — and the media have taken this stuff to a new low. So I agree with you and I applaud you for drawing the line.

O'REILLY: We're just trying to be fair to everybody, which we have from day one on this program.

WOLFE: OK. Now, I respectfully disagree with Kiki. I think Democrats tend to make a fatal error, and the Clinton-Gore administration tends to do this habitually. When there's a powerful attack, and I have to say partisan, the Bush administration, in my view, stoops to unbelievable lows.

O'REILLY: Let's stop with that stuff.

WOLFE: You can stop. I'm not going to stop.

O'REILLY: All right, but look, I'm not going to attack the Bush administration under the guise of giving Hillary Clinton advice. That's not fair.

WOLFE: All right. Fair enough. That's a new low.

O'REILLY: All right. So you would say, "Senator Clinton, here is what you should do." What would that be?

WOLFE: My recommendation is to take — and let me say in praise the Bush administration tends to do this. They take every attack as an opportunity. Democrats should learn from them.

Mrs. Clinton should take this attack as an opportunity to go out and draw a line and say, "You know what? This is just the beginning. If I throw my hat into the ring, it's going to get worse and worse and worse. There's no low to which people will stoop to try to stop me from focusing your attention on health care, Social Security."

O'REILLY: You got it. So address it generally but not specifically?

MCLEAN: I don't think Naomi and I disagree that much. I think — I think the point that I made, which is you continue to prove them wrong, you continue to — to push off and move on.

O'REILLY: No, but it's a matter of when you get...

MCLEAN: What her — ultimately what her enemies want to do, Bill, ultimately what her enemies want to do is try to knock her off balance from the things she cares about.

O'REILLY: Of course, I mean, I have to go through this every day myself. I know what they're trying to do.


O'REILLY: They do it to me every single day of my life. But what I'm trying to get at is you say ignore it totally. Naomi says deal with it in a general sense.

Now, here's why I think it's going to help Mrs. Clinton. You can answer this. I think it's going to make her a victim, whereas, you know, a lot of people are going to go that's too much. This is too much. It may even help her.

WOLFE: Can I say I was — I was the victim of the Republican attack machine during the Gore 2000 campaign.

O'REILLY: Why? Because they said about your earth tones? Come on. Stop.

WOLFE: They said — yes, made up all kinds of nonsense. But the campaign made a mistake. I would have liked to go out and say, "This is what I'm here for. I'm advising on the women's vote. It's what I've been doing for 12 years." But their tactic was not to reply.

I think Mrs. Clinton should go out there and say, "This is a new low. They're going after my family. I'm going to stand up for my family and all of your families, and they're trying to distract you from the damage that they're doing to your future."

O'REILLY: And then she goes on the attack, but that would negate any kind of sympathy.

MCLEAN: But you know what, Bill?

O'REILLY: Kiki, I've got to give you the last word now. You've got it.

MCLEAN: I have to tell you, in 1992 on the campaign as a staffer, I stood in a room with Mrs. Clinton where she was yet again under attack. And she looked at me and she said, "Understand this: I'm not a victim. I wasn't raised to be a victim. And it's not how I think."

O'REILLY: All right. But remember, I think this book may make her sympathetic, but also to be fair, the Clintons give as good as they get.

MCLEAN: I think people will respect her stature.

O'REILLY: I mean, these people also have launched attacks on other people. Not to justify this, but we want to be fair.

Naomi, thank you.

WOLFE: Thank you.

O'REILLY: Kiki, as always.

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