Why the Far-Left Is Using Meghan McCain as a Political Pawn

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 18, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS GUEST HOST: In the "Unresolved Problem" segment, the left-wing smear machine strikes again. And this time yours truly is the target.

Now, we told you in the "Talking Points Memo," after a satirical bit on my radio show about Meghan McCain, the far left has gone on the attack. I'm used to it.

With us now is Jill Menin, a Democratic commentator and FOX News radio host, and I've known him for so long I don't want to admit, John Gibson. Both of you, great to see you.


INGRAHAM: John, I know you have been through this. You host a radio show. When you do a show every day, you do three hours a day, five days a week, that's 15 hours to fill minus commercials. Is this an attempt to demonize and marginalize critics of the Obama administration?

JOHN GIBSON, FOX NEWS RADIO HOST: I have been studying this. When Obama has a bad day, somebody else has a worse day. You know, whenever he gets in trouble, they either roll out Bush and flog him or roll out Rush and flog him or roll out Michael Steele and flog him and then you got in the rollout.

So this -- all this is, is the politics of distraction. Let's find something else we can talk about because we don't want to talk about all the other stuff that Obama is up to his eyebrows in.

INGRAHAM: Julie, if Meghan McCain were a Republican attacking Barack Obama, do you think she'd get a guest spot on "The View" or be invited on "The Rachel Maddow Show" or any other MSNBC show?

MENIN: Listen, I think she got the spot because you targeted her weight. And you can...

INGRAHAM: No, no, no, no, no. You're out of order -- out of order. No, out of order. You've got to get the facts right. A lot has been distorted in the last week. I'm not going to let it happen on this show.

She wrote a column criticizing Ann Coulter, saying the Republican Party needed to go moderate...

MENIN: Right.

INGRAHAM: ... to attract women.

MENIN: Right.

INGRAHAM: OK. That's what she did. She got invite on "The Rachel Maddow Show."

MENIN: Right.

INGRAHAM: I then did a riff on how cable bookers are desperate for guests and just keep recycling the same guests, taking her on Rachel Maddow. Then I did a satirical bit, which I do a lot on talk radio. And that is what happened. This diversion about -- oh, it's about her weight. My point was she has no real world political experience to make the case for moderation.

MENIN: Here is the issue, Laura. Is that when women talk about other women and they talk about their weight, that is bad for women. It's degrading.

INGRAHAM: Did I call her fat?

MENIN: Well, you said she was plus size. There's no other -- there's no other way to get around it.

INGRAHAM: No, no, no, no, that's wrong. I was channeling Meghan McCain, because she has herself talked about her weight struggles. And I was targeting the reality shows that obsess on that.

MENIN: Let me -- let me...


INGRAHAM: I am going to ask you something. Because this is what happens in some of your writings. Because what she writes about, as you know if you research for this segment, is tattoo shopping and her dating struggles. OK. That's funny and it's cute and she's an attractive woman. But she's not exactly David Brooks writing in The New York Times. God bless her.

But what happened with the Sarah Palin controversy? Let's think about this, Julie. Sarah Palin was called every name in the book. I scoured your column on the Huffington Post. I didn't see you once come to her defense. Instead, I saw what you wrote...

Watch the segment

MENIN: Because it had nothing to do with weight or her appearance.


INGRAHAM: It's cruelty and mean-spiritedness, which I have been accused of. And you said that Palin only serves to reinforce negative stereotypes about women when she complains about the press, when people ask her a legitimate question.

MENIN: That's exactly right, because she claimed that the left -- she basically claimed that the elite media was attacking her.

INGRAHAM: Trailer trash.

MENIN: I didn't call her trailer trash at all.

INGRAHAM: "Christianista," the things you were saying about her.

MENIN: I didn't call her that.

INGRAHAM: Just an off-hand comment. You've known me for years. You know that my radio show is about different political opinions.

MENIN: But let me say one thing. What I think is very -- let me...

GIBSON: Julie, if you're upset with weight, why did you -- have you ever criticized the people that call Rush a big fat idiot.

MENIN: It's a different issue. Let me tell you why it's an issue. For women in politics, there's a big barrier to women entering politics. It's why the United States ranks 72nd in the world in terms of women. It has nothing to do with distraction. It has to do with trying to create positive role models for women and not going below the belt.

INGRAHAM: Nobody said -- she said this is preposterous.

MENIN: Plus size means fat. That's what it means.

INGRAHAM: Do you say, then, that damsel in distress is what you need to call when someone has an off-hand comment in a five-minute riff about somebody's lack of experience?


MENIN: You said plus size. You didn't say it was comedy.

INGRAHAM: ... impersonation. And people not think it's funny, but what I think is rich here is that the same people who write into Web sites like Think Progress, "I hope Ingraham gets a plus-size tumor recurrence." I am a cancer survivor. "What an ugly disgusting excuse for a human."

MENIN: And those are despicable, too.

INGRAHAM: Laura Ingraham's daughter, maybe she'll...


INGRAHAM: I didn't do that.

MENIN: Those are despicable. Those are despicable comments as well.


INGRAHAM: ... moral indignation. This is ridiculous.

GIBSON: You better get used to it. This is going to happen over and over and over. Obama is going to have trouble, and they're going to be looking around. Who else can we go after?

If you say "plus size," you're going to get it. If Rush Limbaugh gives a speech, he's going to get it. If Michael Steele gets a gym, he's going to get it.

MENIN: Listen -- listen, women can be much better than that. The idea of women fighting and a cat fight is bad for women.

INGRAHAM: What about women in charge has she made that I can rebut? What substantive argument?

MENIN: She talked about the Republican Party.

INGRAHAM: What substantive argument?

MENIN: She said that Ann Coulter is basically too extremist. If you had gone back and said, "No, she's not too extremist, no." You decide to do the comedic riff. It just changes the topic.

INGRAHAM: Every part of a three-hour radio show is not an essay. Some of it's humorous. Some of it's entertaining.


INGRAHAM: Should I not do an impersonation of Nancy Pelosi? Is that allowed?

MENIN: It's the comments about someone's weight that is an issue.

INGRAHAM: So you can never...

MENIN: And it's degrading to women.

INGRAHAM: OK, so Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot is fine, because he's a man and he's a conservative.

MENIN: That's not what I'm saying at all. I think when people make personal pejoratives attacks...

INGRAHAM: How about George Bush is a stupid -- George Bush is a stupid frat boy? That's basically the Will Ferrell show on Broadway. Is that OK?

MENIN: Listen, when people have to make pejorative, personal attacks, they can't attack them on substance. It's much stronger. You're a lawyer; I'm a lawyer. Attack them on substance. It's much better.

INGRAHAM: I do that. I do that for most of my radio show.

GIBSON: Don't they feel bad about calling him the idiot in chief? Or whatever.

INGRAHAM: I do selective moral indignation. People know what it is. They're smart enough. Julie and John, I appreciate it.

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