This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, September 24, 2003. Click here to order the complete transcript.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thank you for watching us tonight. No "Talking Points Memo" this evening so we can get right to our top story.
The Bush administration under some pressure to stabilize the Iraq situation. With us now, Dr. Condoleezza Rice (search), national security adviser to President Bush. Dr. Rice was a chief (UNINTELLIGIBLE) officer at Stanford University prior to working at the White House. She's also the author of three books on foreign policy.
Last March, I stuck up for you guys. After Colin Powell (search) went to the United Nations -- and I said on "Good Morning America" that I believed that we were right to go to war, the United States, based upon weapons of mass destruction and the danger that Saddam posed. And I also said to "Good Morning America" if the weapons found to be bogus, I'd have to apologize for my stance.
Do I have to apologize?
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: No, Bill, you don't have to apologize. We went to war -- the president has led (ph) the people to war because this is a dangerous tyrant who had used weapons of mass destruction before. This administrations, every intelligence service in the world, the United Nations knew that he had those weapons. He wouldn't account for them. He had used them before.
We're now in a process to find out precisely what happened with weapons of mass destruction, but the world is a much better place because Saddam Hussein (search) is gone. Because allowing that threat to stand would not have been good for (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
O'REILLY: But are we going to find out what happened to the weapons of mass destruction?
RICE: Well, David Kay is a well respected former weapons inspector. The president told David Kay, he said, "David, I want you to go out and I want you to put together the coherent picture. I'm not going to pressure you for when it gets finished."
David Kay has miles of documents to go through. He has hundreds of people to interview. We're getting more and more tips by the way from Iraqis about this program, about what happened here. He's getting physical evidence.
He's going to put together the picture, and we will know precisely what became of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. But I can tell you that going into this war, the president knew that this man was a threat. He knew that his weapons of mass destruction and the programs were a threat. And, yes, we did the right thing.
O'REILLY: All right. But on March 30, 2003, Donald Rumsfeld, secretary of defense, said this, he said, "We know where the WMDs are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad." That turned out to be a mistake.
RICE: Well, they're still searching. The areas around Tikrit and Baghdad happens to be one of the most difficult areas, of course. It's in the Sunni triangle (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
O'REILLY: Is that where Saddam is headed (ph)?
RICE: Quite possibly.
O'REILLY: You don't know where he is?
RICE: We've been close apparently on occasion. But since our people try not to raise our hopes very much, they don't always come in and say, well, we're going to find him tomorrow. We will find him.
O'REILLY: He's in Iraq?
RICE: We will find him. They believe he is in Iraq, yes.
O'REILLY: Where's Osama?
RICE: Probably where he's been the entire time, Afghanistan, Pakistan, someplace in that area.
O'REILLY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Musharraf send in a couple of divisions and get him?
RICE: If somebody wants to hide, particularly somebody who is willing to hide in caves and use tribal contacts, it's just hard to find them. But we will find them.
And about Osama, let me say this. We have found and either killed or disabled or captured just two-thirds of his leadership.
O'REILLY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in the USA (UNINTELLIGIBLE) send a couple of divisions up there, in conjunction with American Special Forces, and (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?
RICE: We have very good cooperation with the Pakistanis. That's why we are being so optimistic (ph)...
O'REILLY: I don't mean to sound (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
RICE: Probably not the right word (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
RICE: Probably not the right word (ph).
O'REILLY: The world's most wanted terrorist is not (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?
RICE: It is a combination of intelligence and the ability to strike quickly.
O'REILLY: Will the fundamentalists overthrow him if (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?
RICE: I think that Musharraf has been remarkable in the way that he has prosecuted the war on terror. You have to remember that one of the areas that we're talking about up there, the parts of Pakistan we're talking about, haven't really been entered by anybody in the entire history...
O'REILLY: Obviously, the American forces could enter that area if the Pakistanis would cooperate.
RICE: We want to do what's effective. And we believe that what we're doing is going to be effective.
O'REILLY: All right. You know we've got to get these guys. You know that.
RICE: I -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE) understand, certainly.
O'REILLY: Why don't you send a couple of American divisions over to get Jacques Chirac? Can we do that? And...
RICE: We're always going to have our differences with the French. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
RICE: It mostly comes about when we get into high theory. When we are talking practical things, like cooperating on proliferation or cooperating, as we are, on the war on terror, since we have really good cooperation with France on the war on terrorism, law enforcement, intelligence. It's going to get into high theory about who is going to...
O'REILLY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that Chirac's plan to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in France, that he's going to stand up to the big bully, the USA, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
RICE: I think sometimes the French have a set conception of somehow trying to balance the United States. It's really not helpful. We've said that.
O'REILLY: Did you know we were boycotting French goods here on THE FACTOR?
RICE: We told the French that there's a backlash against France in this country.
O'REILLY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) having French wine, are you?
RICE: I always drink California wine. I'm a Californian.
O'REILLY: Good answer. Good answer. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Jacques Chirac and France have hurt this country and put our servicemen in jeopardy. Am I wrong?
RICE: Well, I think that the French position is not one that we would have taken. We think that...
O'REILLY: But they put our service people in jeopardy.
RICE: And we think, Bill -- and I think this is what Americans are reacting to -- after all that was done to liberate France in World War II...
RICE: ... that we could have expected better cooperation. But that's behind us now.
O'REILLY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) American servicemen.
RICE: No, I don't...
O'REILLY: If Jacques Chirac would cooperate in the post-war, our people would be safer.
RICE: I think the French will cooperate in the post-war.
O'REILLY: Do you think you're going to get this U.N. resolution passed?
RICE: I believe we're going to get the U.N. resolution passed.
O'REILLY: All right. How about a couple of divisions to get Ted Kennedy up in Hyannis (ph)? Can we do that? American divisions?
RICE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) American politics. But I think that...
O'REILLY: He's an American citizen. Look, I'm not a partisan guy. I mean I'd vote (ph) for anybody. But I think Kennedy is saying that President Bush -- and you work with him very closely -- contrived the war in Texas for political gain. I mean...
RICE: I think that's a very unfortunate comment, because this president went to war against an enemy that's been there -- been our enemy for 12 years. This is somebody who was still shooting at our aircraft, somebody that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) President Clinton bombed in 1998.
O'REILLY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Madeleine Albright (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Why would Kennedy do that?
RICE: I don't know, but it was not civil, and it's not helpful.
O'REILLY: Are you angry at him?
RICE: I don't get angry about these things.
O'REILLY: You don't?
RICE: I would just ask everybody to be civil. Everybody should be pulling together now to deal with the situation that we have in Iraq. This is a historic and important moment for American security, and certainly we can get past our differences and support the policy.
O'REILLY: All right. You know there are some people actually rooting against the Bush administration for political purposes. They want to see chaos in Iraq. They want you to fail so that the president won't be reelected and somebody else will.
What do you think? Is that un-American to carry that point of view?
RICE: Bill, I think we can have debates about anything. About policy, about how we've handled it, how it's going to turn out. I think that's perfectly American, and it's a good thing to do.
Let's just keep it civil and let's keep it at the level of debate...
O'REILLY: All right. (UNINTELLIGIBLE), right? Maybe I would. No, I wouldn't.
All right. When we come back, we're going to talk about Iran, North Korea and (UNINTELLIGIBLE), all right? Back with Dr. Rice, and we're pleased to have her here on THE FACTOR. And we'll be back in just a few moments.
O'REILLY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) top story and our conversation with Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser to President Bush.
All right, Iran -- and there are two big problems with Iran. Number one, they have nuclear weapons. At least they found plutonium-grade weaponry there. And they're harboring al Qaeda, according to CIA, anyway.
They've got some al Qaeda big shots. And they even admit they have them. So why aren't we doing anything about it?
RICE: Well, we are. We are talking to all kinds of people who are talking to the Iranians. Look, we don't have real contact with the Iranians. We've from time to time, when we've needed to raise something with the Iranians, we've been able to do it. We've raised it, we've said to the Iranians, "You have no reason to keep al Qaeda in your country. Let them go to their home countries, or to us, or something."
And we're still working on that. The Iranians had...
O'REILLY: Are you going to give diplomacy more...
RICE: That's to give diplomacy...
O'REILLY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a time when...
RICE: This is the situation that we think is best with (ph) the way that we're dealing with it. And as far as the nuclear programs, we were the ones who a number of years ago said that the Iranians, under cover of civilian nuclear programs, were trying to build nuclear weapons.
O'REILLY: Yes, but Putin gave them all the nuclear (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
RICE: But there are a lot of people who traded with Iran. And Iran had a program for civilian nuclear use that was sanctioned by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The problem is that the Iranians seem not to have been living up to the obligations that they undertook. And what we've done now -- and this has been very effective -- is that the Iranians are going to have to make a full accounting for what they're doing.
O'REILLY: What do you mean they're going to have to?
RICE: ... they are now -- they've been given until October 31 to do that.
O'REILLY: Did you go to the U.N. and ask them whether (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?
RICE: We're going to go to the U.N. We've got to try to make these international organizations and international approaches effective. We've got to try to do that.
O'REILLY: But don't you understand -- I mean, I'm sure you do, and I know you have to be diplomatic -- there's not this sense of urgency on the part of many countries in the world to help the United States. We're at risk here. We're target number one. In Belgium, they don't care.
RICE: Can I tell you something, Bill? This president, because he's strong and steadfast and speaks the truth, is making more progress on getting international pressure on Iran than was made in the last...
O'REILLY: I read "The New York Times" today. And "The New York Times" said that President Bush is a total buffoon and nobody likes him and he's not making any progress.
RICE: Bill, I'll tell you, when you sit with him with these foreign leaders, and you realize how much he's changed the world, and...
O'REILLY: Then why isn't "The New York Times" telling me the truth?
RICE: Well, I can't account for what gets said and gets written.
O'REILLY: Do you accept that...
RICE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) come on and talk about something here, because we need to...
RICE: ... the tremendous difference that this president is making. People told us that the international community would never come together about Iran's program. They gave Iran an October 31 deadline. People told us that we'd have to deal with North Korea bilaterally.
We're now dealing with North Korea in six-party talks...
O'REILLY: Is China going to help us with North Korea?
RICE: China is being extremely helpful on North Korea.
RICE: Russia, South Korea, Japan. You know when the North Koreans went to those six-party meetings in Beijing a few weeks ago, they found themselves isolated. They found that everybody said you have to get rid of your nuclear program.
O'REILLY: But they're still not.
RICE: But, if we're going to have a chance to resolve this peacefully -- and the president believes that we can resolve it peacefully -- although he doesn't rule out any options. He believes we can resolve this peacefully. The president believes that having others at the table with the North Koreans is the way to do it.
And all of those who said, you know, you're going to have to talk to them bilaterally, were just wrong. We're not talking to them bilaterally.
O'REILLY: You got everybody involved...
RICE: We've got everybody involved.
O'REILLY: Well, there is a good chance you might be able to break through...
RICE: I think there's...
O'REILLY: ... because they need fuel and they need food.
RICE: Well, and they need relations with China and Japan and South Korea.
O'REILLY: Right. All right.
O'REILLY: And this is national security. Polls say that 70 percent of Americans want the borders tightened up. The Bush administration hasn't done it.
Now you know (UNINTELLIGIBLE) put some more border patrol on there, but it's still a fairly open border for illegals and narcotics. Is there an explanation of why you guys wouldn't seal the border down?
RICE: Well, first of all, it's because we're an open country. And because we don't want to lose sight of who we are in what we do to protect ourselves. But I think if you talk to Tom Ridge, since the creation of the Homeland Security Department, and you talk to Tom Ridge about his relationships with his counterparts in Mexico and Canada, you would see tremendous progress on our perimeter.
O'REILLY: In what way? (UNINTELLIGIBLE) illegals in this country running around. We don't know who they are.
RICE: The focus on border control, the focus on in enhancing the borders, on technology borders -- you know President Bush was, of course, the governor of Texas. And he...
O'REILLY: And should know that he hasn't dealt with it successfully, with all due respect.
RICE: Bill, the fact of the matter is, as the president is fond of staying, family values don't stop at the Rio Grande. We've got to have a long-term plan also to make Mexico a more attractive place for Mexicans to work there.
O'REILLY: But if I'm an al Qaeda, I know I can get into Canada with phony I.D. I know I can sneak across the border, and I know I can get...
O'REILLY: But it's a lot better than that. I mean, that's really not a reflection of the way that this is progressing. We have made tremendous progress with both Canada and Mexico on border control, on smart borders.
Tom Ridge and his colleagues signed accords about a year and a half ago. They're using technology. We had excellent cooperation on the border between our...
O'REILLY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on the border. I agree with you on North Korea. I'm not sold on Iran. I think that they're going to do bad things. I'm certainly not sold on the border.
RICE: OK. Well, one out of three isn't bad.
O'REILLY: No. Listen, the mail is going to say, although you're an idiot, we love Dr. Rice. I know what the mail is going to say.
Last question for you. President has dropped 21 points in the favorability polls since last spring -- 21 points. Why?
RICE: The president?
RICE: Because this president is dealing with America's problems. And he's a president who is in touch with Americans.
O'REILLY: But why would he fall 21 percent?
RICE: The president -- first of all, I think one has to look at polls. And he was at astronomically high levels. But see, when you go out there and you talk to Americans, they trust this president. They know that this president is doing everything that he can on the war on terror.
O'REILLY: Has he made any mistakes, you think?
RICE: They know that the economy is starting to recover. They trust this president. And, you know, polls come and go. But, as the president is fond of saying, the most important poll will be next year in 2004. And I think he'll do very well.
O'REILLY: Well, that's true. That certainly is true. Dr. Rice, nice to see you. Thanks for coming in to the No Spin Zone.
RICE: Nice to be with you.
O'REILLY: And you're welcome any time. We appreciate it.
RICE: Thanks, Bill. Good to be with you.
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