Who Will be the Political Hatchet People in the 2004 Presidential Race?

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thanks for watching us tonight.

Who will be the political hatchet people in the upcoming presidential race?  That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo." Al Gore (search) will be the go-to guy for the Democrats.  Once again today, he took to the airwaves to blast President Bush.


AL GORE, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.:  Right from the start, beginning very soon after the attacks of 9/11, President Bush made a decision to start mentioning Usama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein in the same breath in a cynical mantra designed to fuse them together as one in the public's mind.

He repeatedly used this device in a highly disciplined manner  to create a false impression in the minds of the American people that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11.  Usually he was pretty tricky in his exact wording.  Indeed, President Bush's consistent and careful artifice is itself evidence that he knew full well that he was telling an artful and important lie.


O'REILLY:  Well, indeed.  This is the fourth time in recent weeks Mr. Gore has launched personal attacks against the president and it's no accident.  It's tough for a presidential challenger to get down and dirty this early in the race.  It would be foolish for John Kerry to start throwing bombs.  So somebody else has to do it.  And it looks like Mr. Gore is the guy.

It makes sense.  Al Gore is obviously angry about the Bush administration's performance.  And he's not shy in saying so.  Thus, Al Gore is now the Democratic hatchet man in the upcoming presidential race.

The Republicans, of course are no slouches in this department.  But who's it going to be?

The likely candidate is Vice President Dick Cheney, but his negatives are very high.  And if he starts to slash Kerry, chances are the vice president will become even more unpopular.  And the GOP doesn't want that.

The feisty John McCain could do it, but he kind of likes Kerry.  Rudy Giuliani has a temperament, but that would open the former mayor to personal attacks by the left, which he doesn't want.

So the Republicans are without an antidote to Al Gore at this  point.  And Gore's attacks have to be countered.  In this day and age, all personal attacks must be met with a counterattack right away or else the propagandists put the truth label on it.  And there's no shortage of propagandists running wild in this country.

So "Talking Points" will be curious to see how the Republicans will respond to Al Gore.  Whoever they pick must be able to get media attention -- very  important -- and also be pretty vicious.  Where is Michael Moore when the right needs him?

And that's "The Memo."

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day"...

This coming on Sunday, there's an interesting item in "Parade" magazine, the most widely read periodical in the world.

In the celebrity column a reader asks: "Pundits Bill O'Reilly and Al Franken have been feuding since Franken said O'Reilly lied about his upbringing and about winning an award.  Who is telling the truth?"

And the answer: "It's nitpicking.  Franken cited an inaccurate report that O'Reilly was raised in middle class Westbury, New York, not nearby working class Levittown.  We saw the deed to the house and it says 'Levittown.' And O'Reilly, a 'Parade' contributing editor, did win the two Emmys and other awards listed at his FOX News Web site.  But his 'Inside Edition' won a Polk award, not a Peabody, as he stated.  O'Reilly admitted the error after it was brought to his attention."

And by the way, that was a year-and-a-half before Stuart Smalley's defamation.  This is one of those cut-and-save moments in life.  And I know the apologies will soon come rolling in from places like "The New York Times," "The Washington Post," "The San Francisco Chronicle," "The Oregonian" and many others, all of which that printed Smalley's garbage as truth.  I also expect to receive an apology from Smalley's publisher, Putnam Books.  To not get one would be ridiculous.  And thanks to "Parade" magazine for setting the record straight.