Taking on O'Reilly

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 14, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight, another "Bloviate with Bill" segment, where everyday Americans come in and debate an issue with me.

Tonight, children born out of wedlock. For white Americans, 25 percent of babies are in that category; for black Americans, almost 75 percent.

With us now, Ruth White from Henderson, Nevada, who had her first child when she was 16. Two others born out of wedlock, as well. She's currently married to Steven White, her husband of the past 25 years. He helped raise the three kids.

How did you get pregnant so young? I mean, didn't you know that you were in a high-risk state there?

RUTH WHITE, "BLOVIATE WITH BILL" CONTEST WINNER: It had nothing to do with high risk. We didn't even know statistics at that point, but the point is I was falling in love. I fell in love with someone and thought that he was going to be around. He promised me the picket fence and all of that and then moved on when I got pregnant.

O'REILLY: But 16 is pretty young, though, even if you fall in love and infatuation.

WHITE: Probably.

O'REILLY: I mean, taking on adult responsibilities at such a young thing, that couldn't have been a good thing for you.

WHITE: It wasn't but I have learned through it.

O'REILLY: You got through it.


O'REILLY: But what I'm trying to do here is to prevent girls from getting into the situation that you're in or were.

WHITE: And I agree with that.

O'REILLY: You do?

WHITE: I agree with that; 100 percent I agree with you. And I don't think that you're racist, because I know a lot of people think that you are, based on some of the things that you say, but you're not. You're talking about an issue that I feel, too, about women who get pregnant out of wedlock.

However, the statistics that you quote are — they're incorrect. And I can tell you why I believe they're incorrect. No. 1, a lot of these statistics talk about they don't know the difference between race, nationality, ethnicity or color of skin.

O'REILLY: But this comes from the National Center for Health, which is really the bible of all — not just teenage pregnancy — but of all diseases.

WHITE: Is that a disease? You consider that a disease?

O'REILLY: But I'll tell you this. They haven't been challenged at any scientific level. So we have to assume that there's an epidemic in the African-American community of out-of-wedlock births, and surely this leads to poverty and crime.

WHITE: But I'm just trying to tell you that it was hard for me, but there are many other women like me who raised the children, whose children went to college, whose children are not out there...

O'REILLY: You can do it.

WHITE: But many of the women that I know of have done it. Most of the women you guys talk about that have children are gang members and on third generation welfare, most of those people I don't know anything about.

O'REILLY: Because you don't live in those neighborhoods. And you were lucky enough to meet your current husband, who helped you raise the three.

WHITE: But I still have women friends who are not married.

O'REILLY: It's anecdotal. It's anecdotal. Look, the statistic is, and this comes from the "Journal of Marriage and Family." Being a single mother doubles the risk of delinquency by age 14. And it makes sense, because if you're a single mother you have to work to support your children, usually. Did you work to support?

WHITE: I did.

O'REILLY: OK. So they're unsupervised. You have to give them to the supervision of strangers.

WHITE: I agree.

O'REILLY: So habits can be accumulated.

WHITE: They can, but I was not going to accept it. And most of the women that I know that raised their children did not accept it either.

O'REILLY: But don't you know, Ruth, that you're stronger than most of the other women, that you had a determination? Because Ruth's three kids all got married, right?

WHITE: They're all married. My oldest son...

O'REILLY: All professionals?

WHITE: My oldest son is a brokerage house consultant.

O'REILLY: But you did that from within, and not everybody is as strong as you.

WHITE: Yes. And I'm hoping by even doing this show, Bill, because now the women that I talked to were almost crying. And they were saying finally something somebody is putting a face on us who have good children whose children are — and so they were glad about it.

O'REILLY: That is an excellent point. What is the solution so that people don't have to go through what you went through?

WHITE: I think that there needs to be that family, not only family but friends in the neighborhood, people that work and communicate the way that they did when I was young. I had my mother. I had neighbors down the street. If I was going into trouble. Sure, I did things. I snuck out and did other things, but it does have to do with hiding...

O'REILLY: There should be within the African-American community some peer pressure not to get pregnant at 16.

WHITE: I agree, 100 percent.

O'REILLY: I mean, that's what I'm trying to get on.

WHITE: Exactly. I believe in traditional family values.

O'REILLY: Right.

WHITE: I made a mistake. I don't want anybody else to make a mistake.

O'REILLY: Why aren't black leaders like Jesse Jackson and other people emphasizing that you have to get back to the traditional way to improve all lives? Why aren't they doing it?

WHITE: Well, I really honestly don't know if they really care.

O'REILLY: They don't care?

WHITE: I really don't.

O'REILLY: Because as you pointed out in the beginning of this debate I get attacked.

WHITE: Right.

O'REILLY: And I'm trying to make the situation better.

WHITE: And that's what's good about you, Bill. That is what's good about you. You keep on doing this. You keep on being strong. You want us to be all equal.

O'REILLY: I want all Americans to succeed.

WHITE: Exactly.

O'REILLY: Hey, Ruth, we really appreciate you coming in to bloviate with us. And we admire the fact that, you know, you have cut through it and raised three great kids, 25 years of marriage.

WHITE: Are you going to vote for me for president for 2008?

O'REILLY: Ruth may run for — listen, you could do worse than Ruth White for president, I'll tell you right now.

WHITE: Thank you.

O'REILLY: Thanks for coming in, Ruth.

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