The Ingraham Angle

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," December 20, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "week in review" from "The Ingraham Angle" segment tonight, an interesting question. Should political candidates answer personal questions? CBS news anchor Katie Couric asked all the candidates this question.


KATIE COURIC, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: Harry Truman once said a man not honorable in his marital relations is usually not honorable in any other. Some voters say they don't feel comfortable supporting someone who has not remained faithful to his or her spouse. Can you understand or appreciate their point of view?


O'REILLY: Now President Bush played it smart when he ran. He refused to answer questions about his past behavior, but all the candidates did address Ms. Couric. And I think John McCain gave the best answer.


JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's up to each person's personal view of the individual. And everybody has a different view. I say that because you and I know that there have been some leaders in American history, the latest information about Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I happen to still think that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was an important president at a time in our history when we needed some courage. And so, it's — that's just frankly a judgment that I leave to others.


O'REILLY: And I could throw in there JFK and a number of other presidents.

Joining us from Washington to analyze and to announce her "person of the year" selection, radio talk show star and FOX News analyst Laura Ingraham, author of the book, good Christmas gift here, "Power to the People."

O'REILLY: All right now, I wouldn't — as I said, if I were to run for president, I'm not going to answer any personal questions. I'm going to do just what President Bush did, say look, you know, nobody's perfect. I'm leaving it to you to sort it all out. What do you want to know about taxes or the border?

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Well, I thought it was - yes, I thought...

O'REILLY: What say you?

INGRAHAM: ...Bill, it was really kind of a pathetic ratings ploy on the part of CBS. Obviously, "CBS Evening News" struggling, struggling badly. And I think this was a way for them to sort of ah, get people like us to talk about it. And so — and to that extent, it's not really surprising, but it is surprising that every candidate really did answer the question.

O'REILLY: Every one. Every one.

INGRAHAM: I mean, no one kind of said, you know, Katie, thanks but no thanks. And...

O'REILLY: Would you have said that, though, if you were advising the candidate? Would you have told...

INGRAHAM: It's a tough call, I think because in today's culture, in today's 24/7 media culture, people say well, if you didn't answer it, well, what does that mean? And that rumor about you on the Internet might be true. And that tabloid story could be true.

And that's what I think is really sad here. Because we're not talking about, frankly, what's happening with the Chinese economic threat to this country. And we're not talking about what's happening to the average family and their own economic anxiety or their concerns about health care, what's really happening with the rise of radical Islam.

Instead, you know, we're talking about this issue. And I'm not saying it's not an important issue. It obviously is an important moral issue. But does the mainstream media really sit around at night going oh, wow, we're really concerned about traditional morality? No, they're concerned now because they want ratings.

O'REILLY: Oh, I agree with you. It was a ratings ploy. But it was funny that Ms. Couric raised Harry Truman, who was vice president under FDR. And I — as a historian, would have said well, what do you think about FDR with all the little dalliances. He's one of the greatest presidents. And Harry Truman sitting there? Come on.

INGRAHAM: Of course.

O'REILLY: But I really think - and this is advice to all the presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle — don't answer any of these questions. It's a swamp you will never get out of.

INGRAHAM: And it's a distraction. It's a no-win situation.

O'REILLY: Right. Right.

INGRAHAM: It's a total distraction.

O'REILLY: It is not. Now Putin Time man of the year. I assume you weren't real thrilled about that?

INGRAHAM: Well, Time magazine, by the way, the last time I read it was when I had my wisdom teeth removed as far as I could tell. I was trying to remember the last time was I read "TIME." It's been a while.

But they say that it's not an endorsement. And it doesn't mean that, you know, we think this guy is a great guy. And in fact, Time magazine was bold enough to state, Bill, that Vladimir Putin is no boy scout. OK, so in case you thought he was a boy scout.

O'REILLY: Well, you know, it's a magazine. And had Hitler and Stalin on the cover.

INGRAHAM: Of course.

O'REILLY: But I didn't think it was a bad choice.

Well, I think Petraeus, David Petraeus, the general in Iraq, is far and away the man of the year.


O'REILLY: But I understand why they didn't - look, if they put Gore on the cover, which they desperately I think wanted to do...


O'REILLY: ....they would have lost a lot of subscriptions. And they can't handle that...

INGRAHAM: But look, Bill, if they put Petraeus on the cover, what would that be an implicit admission of?

O'REILLY: Absolutely, absolutely.


O'REILLY: Who's your man of the year or person of the year?

INGRAHAM: Oh, I think it would have been a - I'd like to do the "person of the year" in rehab. I thought it - you know, we could have done Lohan. We could have done - you know, it's a tabloid culture that we live in.

O'REILLY: OK, so it's basically the umbrella, the person of the year.

INGRAHAM: Yes, Kiefer Sutherland. You could do the whole gamut.

O'REILLY: Fighting back.

INGRAHAM: Yes. I mean, really if we want to embrace this tabloid culture, let's really do it. This whole Putin thing. I mean, come on.

O'REILLY: You're being facetious, but I believe that you would have picked Petraeus.

INGRAHAM: I would have picked Petraeus...

O'REILLY: Right. That's what I thought.

INGRAHAM: ...because it is the triumph of the surge and the success of the surge. And the media...

O'REILLY: And a very difficult situation.


O'REILLY: All right, last question is Jamie Lynn Spears.

INGRAHAM: Speaking of tabloids.

O'REILLY: Yes, and I know you don't like these stories.


O'REILLY: And I respect that, but I think there may be a message here that could be helpful to American kids.

INGRAHAM: Well, I think she's 16 years old. And she obviously was sexually active. And she's not having an abortion. I mean, she could have gone off and quietly had an abortion. Probably no one ever would have found out about it. She's keeping this child. I think that...

O'REILLY: But then the mother couldn't have sold the pictures of the new baby for a million bucks.

INGRAHAM: Well, yes, well, you know something, it's Christmas. And I do like to take something positive away from this, because this is a life. And this is going to be a young life. And we wish this child the best.

O'REILLY: But I think that every parent in the country should take that — that picture of Jamie Lynn Spears and bring it in, Jamie Lynn Spears, and bring it in to their teenager or young daughter and say hey...

INGRAHAM: Now watch it.

O'REILLY: ...sit down and have a long conversation about this deal. I think that would be the best thing to do.

INGRAHAM: Yes, absolutely. Well, that's a given. But I think it's — we should at least say that it's good that she's having the child.

O'REILLY: Merry Christmas to you, Laura Ingraham. I hope you have a very nice one.

INGRAHAM: Merry Christmas, Bill.

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