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Carville & Begala Stay Calm With O'Reilly

Reported by Deborah - January 25, 2006

James Carville and Paul Begala were plugging their new book, Take It Back, on the Factor tonight and both Crossfire veterans managed to maintain dignity and graciousness throughout the interview. Specific topics were avoided and O'Reilly maintained a very tight control on the discourse but it was clear that both these guys were pros and knew exactly how to handle the situation.1/24/06

O'Reilly was doing more of an interrogation than an interview quizzing them on how Democrats should handle certain situations. He started with Carville wanting to know how he would make the Democrats look better than Bush in fighting terrorists. He made a big deal about the polls favoring Bush in this area but never mentioned the other areas where Bush is way behind Democrats. Every point that Begala and Carville made, O'Reilly criticized and tried to avoid letting them complete a thought acting as if he was a far better political strategist.

At the start of the second half of the interview, O'Reilly was trying to pick a fight with his opening comment.
"You made one mistake with your book. You have 638 footnotes and the problem is that many of your sources come from people like David Korn and Robert Sheerer, These people are bomb throwers! Can't do that."
Begala strongly defended Korn and Sheerer but O'Reilly was already on his roll telling them that Korn is "as partisan as they come" and they would alienate the middle associating with the "far left".

Bill quickly launched into Jessica's Law thinking he could nail them claiming that Democrats are too easy on sex offenders. Begala reminded him that Senator Nelson,D., Fla., had just sponsored a federal Jessica's Law and it was co-sponsored by Hillary Clinton. Begala added that his Mother had worked with victims of abuse throughout her career so it was an important issue in his family. Then Begala reminded Bill of something Jesus had taught that pertained to the issue. O'Reilly knew he was beaten on that point so he made a joke about the ACLU getting on his back if they talked about Jesus. Everyone had a hearty laugh and O'Reilly was thanked graciously by his guests.

comment: O'Reilly may have thought that he came out on top of this exchange because he controlled the discourse but that's exactly what Begala and Carville wanted. I think it was more important to them to convey a specific image to the O'Reilly audience. It was more about putting a new face on the Democratic Party than scoring points.O'Reilly's audience is constantly pounded with negative commentary about Democrats and the Left but there was no way that Carville and Begala could be placed in O'Reilly's narrow box tonight.

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