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O'Reilly vs Weldon: Flame Out at FOX's No. 1 Show

Reported by Marie Therese - June 23, 2005

As I reported earlier in the week, on Monday June 20th, Bill O'Reilly banned Republican Congressman Curt Weldon from The O'Reilly Factor forever because the Congressman was a no-show. Naturally, Rep. Weldon did not like that one bit and struck back on Tuesday June 21st by hauling O'Reilly over the coals in front of the House of Representative and placing the remarks in the Congressional Record. Last night O'Reilly shot back a response in his T-Points Memo.

However, as usual, Bill neglected to air the entirety of Weldon's remarks, so his audience did not get the whole story. (We news Hounds are all too familiar with the creative cutting techniques used on The Factor.) So, as a public service, here, complete and unedited, are Rep. Weldon's remarks and O'Reilly's rebuttal.

It will be interesting to see if Judge Andrew Napolitano was right Monday night when he said: "This is a career-threatening mistake that [Weldon] made." Will FOX News management and the GOP allow O'Reilly, FOX's major ratings grabber, to ostracize an important Republican Congressman,who has written a book that sets the stage for the next war with Iran? Stay tuned. We'll let you know what happens.

REMARKS OF CURT WELDON
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD
June 21, 2005

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, in this job, all of us are used to misinformation, lies and distortions and manipulation by the media. We refer to that as spin; but, Mr. Speaker, I never expected such spin to come from the no-spin zone of Bill O'Reilly.

Mr. Speaker, on Friday my staff confirmed that I was to do a television show with Mr. O'Reilly last evening. It was initially scheduled to be seven o'clock. I had a 5:15 meeting scheduled with the Secretary of Energy.

At some point in time yesterday morning, the O'Reilly show changed that appointment to 5:50. My 5:15 meeting was still in place. My staff was fully in touch with the O'Reilly show. We gave them the information, and I attended a very important meeting with Secretary of Energy Bodman in his office, a classified meeting, on the specific problems with the threats of the nuclear program and capabilities of the former Soviet states.

That meeting ran over, partly because the meeting was interrupted several times by important phone calls the Secretary had to make.

Following that meeting, which ended somewhere around 6:15, as my colleagues know, we had a series of six votes on the House floor.

Mr. O'Reilly proceeded to tell his national audience last night that I ``snubbed'' him; that I failed to call him; that I was inconsiderate; that I was rude.

Talk about spin, Mr. Speaker. So today, I sent a memo to Mr. O'Reilly explaining the facts, and I would remind Mr. O'Reilly that the Secretary of Energy and an important meeting on nuclear issues in the former Soviet States takes my top priority.

[Time: 18:00]

So do the six votes I had to pass last night on the defense appropriation bill for 2006.

Mr. O'Reilly, we do not need more spin. We need honesty and candor. You call for it every day. Now perhaps your staff is not providing the appropriate level of service to you.

Mr. Speaker, because I had some contacts from constituents and Members, I would put the summary of my statement to Mr. O'Reilly and the notes of my staff about their contact with Mr. O'Reilly's show into the Congressional Record.

* [Begin Insert]

BILL O'REILLY, I have now witnessed the ultimate spin -- from, of all people, you.

My scheduled taping last evening between 6-6:30 pm was pre-empted by a prolonged 5:15 pm meeting with the Secretary of Energy Sam Bodman regarding important National Security issues related to non-proliferation activities in the former Soviet states and by a series of 6 recorded votes on the Floor of the House that started at 6:30 pm and lasted until 7:15 pm.

Contrary to your spin, my staff did give notice to your staff of both conflicts and kept them informed of my status during the scheduled taping. In addition my staff offered for me to appear as soon as votes ended. Finally when I tried to personally reach you, your staff was not willing to provide my staff with a suitable number.

As much as I would have enjoyed returning to your show, my job as a Member of Congress and as Vice Chairman of both the House Armed Services Committee and Homeland Security Committee is to cast my recorded vote on issues that affect our nation, in this case, the 2006 Defense Appropriations bill and related amendments which will fund our troops through 2006.

I hope you understand these obligations and I apologize for any inconvenience this unanticipated series of events caused to you and your staff.

CURT WELDON.

As of Friday, O'Reilly was marked as tentative on the PR calendar and CW's calendar at 7:00 pm.

After I left on Friday the DOE meeting was set up for 5:15 pm.

At some point on Monday morning, O'Reilly was confirmed by PR and changed on their calendar to 5:50.

At 12:35 pm, I was notified of the change via e-mail from Kristina.

I spoke to Peter on the phone and asked if O'Reilly could be moved to later given Curt's 5:15 meeting. He informed me it couldn't but not to worry if Curt wasn't there right at 6:00.

The change was made to CW's calendar at 1:25 pm.

I spoke to Porter around 1:30 and informed him of Curt's schedule prior to O'Reilly (i.e. a meeting with the Sec. of DOE). I told him Russ would be with him and gave him mine and Russ' numbers.

From 5:45-6:30 Porter called me looking for Curt and Russ. I informed him they were still in the classified meeting and I was not able to get in touch with him.

Around 6:15 I asked if they need to cancel--Porter said that wasn't an option.

* [End Insert]


TALKING POINTS MEMO
June 22, 2005

O'REILLY: Nobody likes us and that's the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo. Listen up all you Kool Aid liberals who think this program flacks for the right. Here's proof positive you are wrong.

Republican Congressman Curt Weldon was invited to appear on this broadcast two days ago. He accepted. Weldon's pushing a book.

Now we expected the congressman to show up for the interview in our Washington bureau. About 15 minutes before airtime, we received an e-mail from his chief of staff Russ Caso that Weldon was on his way. One problem - Weldon was not on his way. In fact, Weldon never showed up. He stiffed us! Apparently the Congressman had some late votes, and that happens all the time, but most people call. They don't stiff us!

So I went on the air and told you exactly that Weldon did, and that he was banned from future appearances on The Factor. Well Weldon took exception to that and actually went to the House floor yesterday and said this:

Begin VIDEO CLIP, Curt Weldon, June 21, 2005: "Mr. Speaker, in this job, all of us are used to misinformation, lies and distortions and manipulation by the media. We refer to that as spin. But, Mr. Speaker, I never expected such spin to come from the no-spin zone of Bill O'Reilly.

(splice)
"Mr. O'Reilly proceeded to tell his national audience last night that I 'snubbed' him, that I failed to call him, that I was inconsiderate, that I was rude. Talk about spin, Mr. Speaker. So today, I sent a memo to Mr. O'Reilly explaining the facts, and I would remind Mr. O'Reilly that the Secretary of Energy and an important meeting on nuclear issues in the former Soviet states takes my top priority.

(splice)
"So, Mr. Speaker, for the record, because I had some contacts from constituents and members, I would put the summary of my statement to Mr. O'Reilly and the notes of my staff about their contact with Mr. O'Reilly's show into the Congressional Record." [End VIDEO CLIP]

Amazing. What a colossal waste of the people's time! Now look Congressman, man to man, me and you, OK? We have an e-mail that proves your staff didn't tell you the truth, and your own publisher apologized to us! Don't embarrass yourself any further, sir!

This, of course, is not important in any way except to demonstrate that the truth is elusive in America. When folks make mistakes, they should not attack, as Weldon did, they should try to correct the mistake. Every human being is fallible and we should stop the blame game! Let's all own up, all of us, instead of being a country of excuse makers and personal attackers. Talking Points has nothing against Curt Weldon. I actually feel bad his staff is so chaotic. But enough's enough with the propaganda. Let's stop the nonsense and you can put that in the Congressional Record, Congressman! And that's the Memo.

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