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Kick ‘Em When They're Up, Kick ‘Em When They're Down - Part 1 of 3

Reported by Marie Therese - November 22, 2004

For two days last week Bill O'Reilly devoted a large chunk of his show to Bill and Hillary Clinton in the context of the opening of the Clinton Library. As of last night FOX had not published any transcripts. Since these interviews are quintessential O'Reilly (as are several others on the subject of the Fallujah shooting) I decided to transcribe all three of them, in the interests of accuracy and to give those of you who do not watch the inimitable Mr. O a taste of his bloviating style.

This particular interview illustrates that, on the one hand, FOX as RNC shill is trying to lull the centrist REDemocrats into believing that the Bush administration is really interested in a lessening of hostilities between the two parties. The hidden purpose, of course, is to con at least five REDemocrats into jumping ship on the vote for Supreme Court Justices. The other goal is to put the Clintons - especially possible candidate Hillary Clinton - on notice that newly elected Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will be nosing around into the financing for the Clinton Library sometime in the next four years.

Here's the first one, featuring Geraldo Rivera, that aired on November 18, 2004, the day the Clinton Library opened.

On Thursday, Bill O'Reilly opened his show by calling the event a "huge dog and pony show" in his Talking Points Memo. He then went on to note that "behind the scenes there is controversy" because, on the one hand, the impeachment display was billed as "The Politics of Persecution" which Mr. O sees as promoting a theme that "a bunch of right wing fanatics tried to topple Clinton with little justification." On the other hand, O'Reilly noted that "there is the Mark Rich pardon. Mr. Clinton pardoned the biggest tax cheat in the country in return for huge donations for the library." According to O'Reilly "Ashcroft was supposed to investigate" but that "didn't happen" so "we the people deserve an explanation, don't we?"

O'Reilly: "Now, I have nothing against Bill Clinton. I don't dislike him and I think he did a decent job as President. The economy was good. He succeeded in the Balkans and Northern Ireland. Welfare reform is a good improvement. Mr. Clinton tried hard to accomplish some worthy things. But his honesty is in question and those Americans who love him cannot deny that."

Later in the show he interviewed Geraldo Rivera, FNC host of At Large, who had attended the ceremonies in Little Rock.

O'Reilly: Big day for you. Number one, you were sittin' next to Barbra Streisand, who loves me, by the way. I believe I've heard ..

RIVERA: Yeah, she said to say "Hi" (laughs) Not really!

O'Reilly: Not really??!!! You mean the woman doesn't like - so anyway, you're sittin' next to Babs .. and you actually talked to Clinton as well, right?

RIVERA: "..It was a wonderful day, Bill, and I think we should put aside these issues of what was in, what was left out. The fact of the matter is you had President Carter, first President Bush, the current President, all of the First Ladies, President Ford was too ill to come, but he sent his regards, all of the relatives of every President going back to the Johnson era. It was just a wonderful day. ... I sat next to Bill Frist, the majority leader of the US Senate and he quoted the Lithuanian Ambassador of all people saying: "You know, this is amazing. Two weeks from this bitterly fought election and look at the Republicans and the Democrats, the two sides getting together to honor this man in this wonderful sense of everyone in it together, fraternity, patriotism, we're all Americans, and it was just a day to put politics aside."

O'Reilly: Now did you sing Kum-ba-Yah?

RIVERA: It was almost like that.

O'Reilly: ..Look I have nothing against this dog and pony show. Look, I'm gonna go down to that library as soon as I can, but surely, as an investigative reporter, don't you want to know about the Mark Rich pardon deal?

RIVERA: Not today.

O'Reilly: Not today?

RIVERA: I really didn't

O'Reilly: Tomorrow?

RIVERA: (garbled) .. the President, the 42nd President of the United States and he looked pale and he looked tired, having just recovered from the heart surgery, this life threatening surgery...

O'Reilly: Right.

RIVERA: But he was very happy. He was honored that all of these people had made the trip. Four planeloads of Congresspeople from both sides of the aisle, people from all walks of life were there. Hollywood was very well represented and so was the country at large and that was, I think, the real message.

O'Reilly: Did you look at the impeachment display? Did you go in and look?

RIVERA: Erica and I toured the entire library which is a magnificent building. But it does not bug me ...

O'Reilly: No. Well, you were one of his biggest defenders.

RIVERA: You and I, I was going to say, truth in lending...

O'Reilly: Look. I never went after him for the Lewinsky situation. I was just teed off when he didn't tell the truth under oath...Professor (Richard Shenkman, a presidential historian) Geraldo's right. This puts a very good face forward to the world, that you have Republicans and Democrats - people who are very, very intense rivals - coming together, but I'm wondering what...what sense of history or is this just smoke and mirrors here?

SHENKMAN: These libraries serve two functions...putting on a good-face-to-the-public function, which is what you had today...there's this other function, which is the scholarship, the archives. In the archives are all the memos related to the Mark Rich pardon and we'll eventually get into those.

O'Reilly: We should have it already. It's outrageous we don't know what happened there that is - we can't be havin' this kind of stuff. Geraldo, I understand what you're sayin'. You don't want to mar a nice occasion with all kinds of investigative reporting and probing questions and I understand that. That's my job. I have to do it. It's in context and I'm not sorry I brought those points..

RIVERA: Go! Go get ‘em, Bill!

O'Reilly: But surely you want to know what happened there? Surely you want to know if that library -

RIVERA: I saw something today. I saw John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry sitting three feet away from George W. Bush as George W. Bush not only acknowledged Senator Kerry but obviously said some very nice things, as his dad did, about President Clinton.

O‘REILLY: Good, That's classy.

RIVERA: And I said to myself: Look at this wonderful country that we have, that after all we have been through, they can sit as gentlemen, as people who really have a larger sense of the big picture and you know, this amazing fraternity that exists among the past Presidents is something that is undeniable and to see it in action and to...

O'Reilly (cuts him off, petulantly): Alright. I got it. I got it. And everybody knows what you're saying and we'll all feel good about it, and, you're right, but there's one sinister element here - that this library might have been built partially off dirty money. And we can't be just throwin' that out the window!

RIVERA: Well, listen. I think that there is a time and a place for everything.

O'Reilly (loudly): It's FOUR YEARS LATER, GERALDO!

RIVERA: But not on the day that this just recently recovered President

O'Reilly (interrupts): We can't get answers from ....

RIVERA (continuing with his thought): opens his wonderful ...

O'Reilly: We can't get answers

RIVERA (plowing ahead): ... it resurrects the whole of downtown Little Rock.

O'Reilly: Alright. We want a resurrection. We can't get answers from Ashcroft or Bush or you and anybody and I'm teed off about it. I'll give you the last work, Geraldo. You're his buddy. You go ahead.

RIVERA: I'll go around you, Bill, and speak right to your audience. Remember what Bill said in his set-up piece about what the President did about the economy and the deficit and bringing people off welfare. This man achieved a lot. He had some flaws. One of the reasons I relate to him as much and as emotionally as I do, is that, so do we all. History will remember those things, weighing him in the balance. But..

O'Reilly: You're not gonna cry, are you, Geraldo? You're tearin' up here, and I don't want you to break down.

RIVERA: Thank you.

Interview ends with the usual civilities.


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