Will Pres. Bush Support a Constitutional Amendment Defining Marriage?

This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, February 20, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.

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Now for the top story tonight, will President Bush endorse a constitutional amendment to declare marriage exclusively between a man and a woman?

Joining us now from Washington, Bay Buchanan, president of the American Cause (search) organization, a traditional conservative group.

You know, today in New Mexico, they started issuing marriage licenses to gays. And it's over now. The dam is burst and every little municipality who wants to defy the law will. And what do you think Bush is going to do about it?

BAY BUCHANAN, THE AMERICAN CAUSE: You know, Bill, it's astounding  that these leaders have taken so long already to respond. What's he going  to do about it? I believe that George Bush is in total agreement with the  millions of Americans that feel the sanctity of marriage does need to be  preserved in this country, that it's the backbone, that its tradition is  the backbone of this nation, its strength is the nation's strength.

And I think that he will come out in favor of it. But the key here is  we need him to do more than that. We need him to be a leader, and to take  charge of this, and to spearhead it, and be a voice for millions and  millions of Americans, and to make certain that this amendment passes so  that marriage is preserved. We need him to take the kind of leadership on  this issue, on this war, as he has done in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Yes, but he clearly has not done it in four years. He has  not been a culture warrior. All right? Meantime, the secular forces have  made enormous gains. And you're seeing that now.

You know, out here in California, one of the most liberal states in  the union, if not the most liberal, you know, prop passes, direct vote,  marriage between a man and a woman. Two-thirds of Californians say, yes,  that's what we want. They agree with you, Ms. Buchanan. And then Newsom  gets elected and he says, look, I don't care what they want. I'm going to  do what I want. Schwarzenegger goes and hides. And Bush is not an  aggressive guy in the culture war.

BUCHANAN: It's almost -- it's incredible to me. It's such an easy  issue that could be presented here, as you pointed out. The majority of  Americans are obviously with us on this. It's an extremely important issue  and paramount to the base of George Bush.

But you know, when you go out there to San Francisco, what should  happen? Somebody should take that guy and recognize what he's doing. He  has no respect for the law. Neither respect or regard...

O'REILLY: You say -- what do you mean somebody?

BUCHANAN: He should be locked up. He...

O'REILLY: OK, yes. But we know...

BUCHANAN: ... costing California millions and millions of dollars.  There are going to be lawsuits left, right, and center. And for what?  Because this guy has a personal selfish objective he's pursuing?

O'REILLY: But Ms. Buchanan, look, you can say he should be locked up,  but the truth is we've been out here all week covering this.


O'REILLY: Nobody is going to do it. The attorney general's not going  to do it, Schwarzenegger's not going to do it, and the feds really don't  have any jurisdiction here. I mean, they can't come in and do anything.

BUCHANAN: I understand that.

O'REILLY: And it should have been done through the courts. If Mayor  Newsom thought it was a violation of the California constitution, we  respect that. Go through the courts, have your city attorneys litigate it.  And that's how we are in this country.

But now we have unilateral action. But you know, Ms. Buchanan, I'm  going to be -- go back to my "Talking Points" memo. There is no leadership  on the traditional side. The only people who really speak out are the  religious people themselves, Robertsons and the Falwells. But in the  public arena, there's just nobody there. Nobody.

BUCHANAN: You know, that's not quite true. There's enormous...


BUCHANAN: ... strength in the states. There's enormous movement.

O'REILLY: All right, give me leader? Give me one elected leader  who's a leader to protect traditional values? Give me one.

BUCHANAN: The problem with your question is you used the word  "elected." If you want to talk about...

O'REILLY: Yes, that's -- but isn't that a problem?

BUCHANAN: ...(UNINTELLIGIBLE), no, there are...

O'REILLY: We have a Congress -- we have a president -- all right,  look, we have both houses of Congress controlled by Republicans and a  Republican president. And Ms. Buchanan...

BUCHANAN: I'll tell you what...

O'REILLY: You cannot name one leader...


O'REILLY: ... that will stick up for traditional values. That  means...

BUCHANAN: Tom Tencredo out there.

O'REILLY: ... you're going to lose the war.

BUCHANAN: Tom Tencredo...

O'REILLY: That's an immigration war.

BUCHANAN: Well, no, no, he's good on all issues. But let me just  make this point. There are leaders in this country, not all of them are  elected. And there's millions of Americans that listen to those leaders.  And this is a key issue. There's a coalition they put together. And we  want to see marriage preserved. And we're willing to fight for it on every  single front, Bill.

And what we're going to be talking to the president of the United  States --we've talked to them now. We understand he's going to support us.  If there's hesitancy, as there has been this last week, he is going to be  in trouble on election day. Now I don't expect that because the most  important thing is to have him with us and spearheading this.

O'REILLY: All right, let me ask you one more question. Why is there  hesitancy on the part of President Bush to get out in front of this issue  and the culture war in general?

BUCHANAN: I believe there's clearly -- there's different messages  coming out of that White House. There must be an internal battle going on  over there as to what the proper thing to do is.

What George Bush has got to understand is he's got to look into his  heart and soul and recognize he's been put in this position as president at  a critical time for this nation. And this issue is one of those issues  he's got to spearhead. He's got to present real leadership on, or he will  falter because this is what he's called upon to do right now. He can't  listen to the pollsters. He can't listen to his strategists. He has got  to do what is right.


BUCHANAN: He is a decisive, bold leader. That is his greatest asset  is his leadership quality. He's...

O'REILLY: Well, he's decisive and bold on terror issues. He has not  been decisive and bold...

BUCHANAN: He has not.

O'REILLY: ... on security issues inside this country and on the  culture war.

BUCHANAN: They are intimidated.

O'REILLY: Ms. Buchanan, thanks very much.

BUCHANAN: Thank you very much.

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