Why Won't General Wesley Clark Talk to 'The Factor?'

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

General Wesley Clark, that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."  With the presidential race well underway, "The Factor" wanted to talk things over with General Clark.  It's only fair.  We've chatted with Lieberman, Edwards, Gephardt, Kerry and Sharpton.

Governor Dean won't speak with us.  And we understand.  He's running far to the left.  He got hammered by Tim Russert (search).  He's most likely gun shy about tough venues, but Clark is supposed to be a tough guy, a military man, a war hero, a man who needs the votes of independents.  And millions of independents watch and listen to "The Factor."

So why is General Clark afraid?  I don't know for sure.  I can only put forth an educated guess.  Number one, he's not running his own campaign.  Unlike Dean, Gephardt, Edwards, and Lieberman, who are definitely calling their own shots, Clark is not.  He's been handled by advisers of President Clinton.  And those folks don't like me very much.

General Clark is new at the political game and is deferring to the spinners and consultants.  This does not bode well for Clark.  Americans don't want a potential president who's not in charge.  Also, while the general does media interviews all the time, he usually chooses soft venues, even though the no-spin zone of course is anything but soft.

Now on paper, General Clark is perhaps the biggest threat to President Bush.  His resume is stellar and Americans admire patriotism.  The general, however, must define himself and he has not done that.  In the past, he has voted Republican on many occasions.  So I would ask him about his core beliefs.  Just who is this guy?

But it looks like the general is in full retreat from "The Factor."  Believe me when I tell you we've done everything short of going to his house to try to convince him to come on here.  And don't give me this bull about unfairness.  Every politician in this race has been treated fairly by us.  And most of them want to come back.  They're all welcome.

We are leaving the door open for the general.  And we would be pleased to have him reconsider his avoidance of "The Factor."  But we are disappointed in Clark and believe he is making a major mistake, just as Al Gore did.

"The Factor" audience thinks for itself as intensely interested in public policy and is fair.  Clark could gain much here, but it would take some courage.

And that's The Memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

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

An update on the book race between "Who's Looking Out for You?" and Hillary's book.

Right now, after being out a little more than three months, my book has sold approximately 800,000 copies.  Thank you all very much.

Senator Clinton's book, as far as we can determine, as information is very hard to get, has sold about 1.1 million.  However, the Democratic National Committee (search) has bought a ton of her books and gives them away for contributions.

Nothing wrong with that, as she's obviously a Democratic force, but the DNC books will be deducted from this race as only books bought by real people will count.  So I've written a letter to DNC chief Terry McAuliffe (search) asking exactly how many copies his organization has purchased of Hillary's book.

Now, to be fair, we sent a similar letter to Republican chief Ed Gillespie (search) to see if the RNC is buying any books.  We know they're not buying Hillary's.

We'll report back in two weeks and let you know what we find out.

By the way, at least five Web sites, including the DNCs, have made some big purchases of some of the smear books, which is not only ridiculous, it's disgraceful.