U. of Wisconsin Is Not Planning to Cancel Churchill Lecture

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," Feb. 11, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight, as you may know, “The Factor” got involved with the Ward Churchill story, because Hamilton and other colleges were paying the guy to spread his hateful anti-American rhetoric. I feel that's kind of dubious, don't you?

After our initial reporting, everyone canceled Churchill, except for the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. Now we called Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle (search), but he is "unavailable," as they say.

But joining us now from Madison is Wisconsin State Assemblyman Steve Nass.

This just came in over the wire, Mr. Nass, interestingly enough. You know, the Hamilton College (search) [lecture] is what started this whole thing for "The Factor." He was going to speak there. And we got on to the story and they canceled him.

Well, the woman who invited him to speak there, Nancy Rabinowitz (search), has now resigned her position as the director of the project that brings in these kinds of speakers. So that's good.

You object to — we don't know what Doyle does. The governor is not stepping up here. — You object to Churchill. Why?

STEVE NASS (R), WISCONSIN STATE REP.: Well, quite frankly, Churchill is using very volatile language. And specifically, he's talked about the World Trade Center (search) and when that was destroyed, the people in there, and comparing that to Adolf Eichmann (search). He uses very divisive comments.

And this, quite frankly, is over the top. It is not free speech. It's hate speech. And that's where the line has to be drawn. And the university needs to withdraw their invitation for him to speak.

O'REILLY: OK. The university's going to pay him $4,000, plus expenses. They say it's private donation and student fees. But student fees are student fees. That's outrageous.

You know, see, I don't want to reward this kind of bad behavior. That's my big thing. I think this guy can talk whenever he wants. I don't care about that. Free speech. But to reward it — but I'm interested in Governor Doyle.

You know him. I mean, why would he not step up as Governor Owens has in Colorado and say we don't want this kind of stuff? Why would he not?

NASS: I think, quite frankly, we have a Democrat for governor who supports the university system, is attempting to maintain the funding. And it's basically the liberals are on many of the campuses. Not so much with U.W.-Whitewater, though.

And so I think for that reason, he doesn't want to wade into this, because his political base would turn around and probably bite him.

O'REILLY: See, I disagree with that. I think the good people of Wisconsin, whether they're Republican or Democrat, don't want this guy to be rewarded with a $4,000 honorarium. And I think Doyle is making a huge mistake. I think that, you know, his office will be flooded with calls and letters after this saying, hey, governor, you know, there's a sense of decency that the state of Wisconsin really should adhere to. Am I wrong?

NASS: I think you're correct. I think the good people of Wisconsin, whether they're Republican or Democrat...


NASS: ...they do recognize this.

O'REILLY: This is just something wrong with rewarding bad behavior.

Now tell me about the Whitewater campus at the University of Wisconsin. There was a big controversy there about investing in Israel. What's going on? Is this a radical crazy campus or what?

NASS: No, it really is not. And this is actually — this particular incident is quite shocking, quite frankly to me, because I would not expect that from an institution that I have two degrees from.

O'REILLY: Is that right? You — I didn't know that. You went there?

NASS: Yes, I did.

O'REILLY: Well, wait. I mean, what's the matter with these people? I mean, Hamilton cancels him. Wheaton College, another liberal thing cancels him. A whole bunch of other colleges bail out. And this is the only one left standing.

NASS: I think what has happened is U.W.-Whitewater has been duped, quite frankly. An invitation was extended. And now we find out that his — Churchill's academic background is being challenged by people in his own field. He claims he's a Native American. He is not a Native American. He was invited there in part by the Native American students. And I think that the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater...

O'REILLY: You think you're being duped? I can't — I don't believe that. After all this publicity, but let me read you something. This is the chancellor Jack Miller. Do you know this guy, Miller? You know the chancellor?

NASS: Yes, I do.


NASS: Yes, I do.

O'REILLY: He says I believe we — let's see... I want to get to the pithy part of this. Our Native American community in particular and countless others in general, appreciate being challenged by controversial ideas. What? I mean, to say that some of the 9/11 victim were little Nazis, the Native American community in Wisconsin wants to hear that?

NASS: Certainly not. And where I think they're being duped is that what is starting to roll out now, the university just doesn't have the backbone to say we have found out more since your invitation was extended...


NASS: ...but we are afraid to cancel your invitation.

O'REILLY: Well...

NASS: And in fact...

O'REILLY: ...where — I believe after they hear from the American folks, both the governor and the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, they might get a little backbone. Let's hope they do. And we'll follow the story, Mr. Nass. Thanks very much. We appreciate it.

NASS: You're welcome.

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