'The Obama Chronicles' Investigates MoveOn's Support of the Senator

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 6, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In "The Obama Chronicles" segment tonight: the far-left organization MoveOn and the senator.

Move On, of course, is the group that smeared General Petraeus and generally raises money for far-left causes. They are fanatically progressive. As far as Obama is concerned, MoveOn has spent close to $4 million in support of the senator this year, and another $1.2 million attacking John McCain. Also, MoveOn will spend an astounding $38 million to bring out Democratic votes on Election Day.

Joining us now from Washington, Matthew Vadum, senior analyst at the Capital Research Center, a conservative non-profit group.

So I asked Senator Obama about MoveOn in my interview with him, and he didn't really say much other than that he criticized them harshly for the Petraeus deal, which he did. But other than that, there hasn't been a lot of discussion about Barack Obama and MoveOn in either quarter. Did I miss it?

MATTHEW VADUM, CAPITAL RESEARCH CENTER: I don't think you missed it. I think that it's out there. It's just that the media doesn't want to cover it in any great degree. MoveOn is a very effective political machine, much like the Chicago political machine that helped put Barack Obama in power back in the state Senate and into the U.S. Senate.

They are not just about bringing money to help Barack Obama get elected. I think that's very important to understand. They are about organizing meet-ups, they're about organizing bake sales, they're about motivating people, get out the vote efforts. They are about voter registration. They are about getting people excited about their issues and political agitation. Rubbing raw the sores of discontent, to borrow the phrase that Saul Alinsky used in "Rules for Radicals." And Alinsky, as we all know, was a role model, a hero of Senator Barack Obama.

O'REILLY: I don't know about that. I don't think Obama would categorize it that way.

Be that as it may, MoveOn is a — you are right, absolutely powerful George Soros money in there, tremendous, tremendous clout. But they have tried to help Howard Dean and it didn't work. And they tried to help John Kerry and it didn't work. Is there anything they are doing now, MoveOn, differently for Barack Obama?

VADUM: I think a lot of things have broken their way. The war is unpopular. You have had the stock market collapse. And you know, there is a general air of discontent in the country and they are capitalizing on it. But I think that you are downplaying the significance of their role, particularly with respect to Howard Dean.

Howard Dean went from being a virtually unknown governor of a state that most people don't think about. It's a very nice state. They make good ice cream there, Vermont, and maple syrup. But Howard Dean went from being a virtual unknown to being a front-runner in a fairly short period of time, thanks to the savvy and the organizational skills and the Internet knowledge — the Internet savvy of MoveOn.org. They are very effective. It's just that it didn't break their way before.

O'REILLY: But it's a legitimate question to ask if they're doing anything differently now than they did with Governor Dean and John Kerry. Is there a corresponding Republican operation to answer MoveOn?

VADUM: Not really. There was Freedom's Watch. And there was a new group that started up, the American Issues Project, AIP, that was running the ad, "Do you know enough to elect Barack Obama" re-emphasizing his ties with Bill Ayers and so on.

O'REILLY: These aren't at the level of MoveOn.

VADUM: These are relatively puny. They're not as significant as MoveOn. MoveOn is a very significant organization.

O'REILLY: Because of the money that they command.

Now, is there any evidence of direct ties, you know, like communications between the Obama campaign and MoveOn?

VADUM: Not really, as far as I know. What happened is they basically — campaigns typically send signals through the press and through intermediaries indicating whether they want political activist groups to be active or to stand down. And Obama was of the view a few months ago that he didn't really need the 527 committees, for example. And then a few months later he changed his mind and the campaign sent signals that they could actually use the 527s' help. Those are the committees that are allowed to accept unlimited contributions.

O'REILLY: You don't believe that there's any — that the MoveOn people talk to the Obama campaign and back and forth, they strategize together?

VADUM: I'm sure that there are a lot of friends and they get together and have beers together.

O'REILLY: I would like to know that, if there is contact between Barack Obama or his people, and the highest level of MoveOn.

VADUM: There is probably overlap.

O'REILLY: I would like to know that.

VADUM: There is probably overlap, but I don't know if there is enough to do anything legal about it.

O'REILLY: Because they are not supposed to have any contact.

VADUM: They are not supposed to have any contact, but it's very easy to send signals through the press.

O'REILLY: It's easy, but we will see. Mr. Vadum, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

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