Bill O'Reilly: House of Representatives Should Investigate Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee
Reported by Marie Therese - February 3, 2006
On last night's O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly posited that there is a "good chance that California Congresswomen [Lynn] Woolsey and [Barbara] Lee intentionally tried to sabotage the State of the Union address" because they arranged for Cindy Sheehan to receive a spectator's ticket. He went on to demand that the House of Representatives investigate both women as to what their true motivations were. However, I've been having a lot of difficulty finding any mention of Barbara Lee's involvement in the Sheehan ticket incident, so I must assume that O'Reilly lumped her in with Woolsey for other reasons. Perhaps it was this item in yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle:
Sheehan's arrest prompted angry outcries from Bay Area lawmakers.
"Since when is free speech conditional on whether you agree with the president,'' Woolsey said. "Cindy Sheehan, who gave her own flesh and blood for this disastrous war, did not violate any rules of the House of Representatives. She merely wore a shirt that highlighted the human cost of the Iraq war and expressed a view different than that of the President.
"Stifling the truth will not blind Americans to the immorality of sending young Americans to die in an unnecessary war, against a nation that posed no threat to our security,'' she said.
Added Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland: "It is symptomatic of an administration that only ventures out of its bubble to meet with hand-picked audiences that a T-shirt displaying the number of American troops killed in Iraq could be cause for arrest. Doesn't the president understand that free speech is central to democracy?''(sfgate.com, 2-1-06)
Or, perhaps Bill targeted Congresswoman Lee because she and Ms. Woolsey issued a challenge to the State of the Union address the day before the speech was to be delivered.
Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairwomen Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and Lynn Woolsey, D-Santa Rosa, painted an alternative state of the union picture Tuesday as a precursor to President Bush's much-anticipated evening speech.
The 62-member caucus' platform features a range of policies from bringing troops home from Iraq, and instituting congressional ethics reforms, universal health care and anti-poverty programs. (Contra Costa Times, 1-31-06)
He devoted two segments - the Talking Points Memo and Top Story - to an assault on these two women.
Here's my transcript of yesterday's Factor bash-fest.
O'REILLY (Talking Points Memo): Far-left Bay Area Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey gave antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan her ticket to the State of the Union address last night, gallery 5, seat 7, row A. But Miss Sheehan never got to hear the President's address because she was arrested by Capitol police beforehand. It seems she was wearing a T-shirt that protested the war. Another woman, Beverly Young, wife of Republican Congressman Bill Young, was also removed from the speech because she had a shirt expressing a pro-military message. The law states demonstrations of any kind are not permitted on Capitol grounds. Today, charges against Miss Sheehan were dropped but she says she's suing.
Well, Bill and the Capitol police both got it wrong. There is no LAW regarding attire.
O'REILLY: Now, talking Points deplores the actions of Congresswoman Woolsey and Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who were both iin on the Sheehan episode. These lawmakers should be investigated by the House and reprimanded, if the evidence dictates.
Note how Bill did not call for an investigation of Congressman Bill Young over the actions of his wife, whose T-shirt broke the rules just as badly as Cindy Sheehan's. Additionally, Beverly Young was not led out in handcuffs, nor was she jailed by the Capitol police.]
O'REILLY: Cindy Sheehan is, of course, a militant bent on embarrassing the President. If she had not been confronted by police, anything could have happened during the speech. This is simply unacceptable. Miss Sheehan and the Congresswomen are entitled to protest anything they want in the appropriate place, but this was a set-up, pure and simple. Both Lee and Woolsey represents the San Francisco area which has become increasingly radicalized and is now actively undermining the war on terror and, indeed, the law itself.
San Francisco voters by a 60-40 margin told the military it's not welcome to recruit in city schools. The Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, married scores of homosexuals in violation of state law. He only stopped when the California Supreme Court demanded it. And next week the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will discuss a call for the impeachment of President Bush. Talking Points could go on and on.
It's clear the City by the Bay has uncoupled itself from the rest of the U. S. A. and is bent on establishing a quasi-far-left nation within city limits. Now it's actually interesting to watch this process but it's also disturbing in the middle of a terror war. There is a good chance that California Congresswomen Woolsey and Lee intentionally tried to sabotage the State of the Union address in order to embarrass the country.
Here Bill used the words "embarrass the country." Later on in the discussion, he changed it, indicating that, to him, "embarrassing the country" and "embarrassing President Bush" are one and the same. I've got news for him. That's true only in dictatorships and monarchies, not in democracies.
O'REILLY: Now that kind of destructive action may be acceptable in San Francisco but it shouldn't be in the rest of the country. And that's the Memo.
O'Reilly then was then joined by two women - Debra Saunders, a conservative columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and Republican strategist Karen Hanretty - whom he claimed would offer two "other views" on this topic.
!!!!!! OTHER views??? What a joke!
Henretty sprang out of the chute by commenting that "the city of San Francisco is the only city in America that actually pays for sex changes for its city employees as part of the health care benefit."
It was downhill from there!
HENRETTY: ... What I find really disingenuous and perhaps offensive - well, I do find it offensive - is that Representatives Woolsley (sic) and Lee both tried to make a political statement with one of their guests at the President's State of the Union address. Put the T-shirt aside. I don't know if they knew that Sheehan was going to wear this T-shirt or not, but the fact is ...
O'REILLY: Oh, sure - sure they did! Absolutely!
HENRETTY: It's almost irrelevant because they know that Sheehan in and of herself is a political statement. CNN would have had their camera on her the entire time.
O'REILLY: Aw, there's no question it was a set-up. I mean, there was no question that - nobody knew - certainly I don't know - but nobody knew what Cindy Sheehan would have done during the ceremony but anything is possible. These Congresswomen didn't care what she did. ...
SAUNDERS: [Cindy Sheehan] set herself up to be taken out because she hid her T-shirt under her coat and then she's escorted out. Why? Because it's to feed this delusion that the antiwar left and the Bay Area has that they are being censored. Now in a way it's a good thing that Bill Young's wife also shows up in a pro-war shirt and they don't let her on the floor either but - so that sort of puts the lie to that. But there's this delusion that people have. I mean, Pete Stark, Congressman from the Bay Area. He called this "Bush's gestapo" getting rid of them. ...
O'REILLY: Well, they dropped the charges and maybe she should have been allowed to sit there. I'm not even gonna get into that. What I do know is that the Congresswomen Woolsey and Lee wanted something to happen, wanted to embarrass President Bush. And now we want to know who these women are, Miss Hanretty. Are they crazy women or who are they?
HANRETTY (laughing): Well, Lynn Woolsey, of course from Marin and if there's any place perhaps more liberal than San Francisco it's probably Marin County.
Oops! Better check your facts there, Miss Hanretty! According to her Congressional bio, Lynn Woolsey lives in Petaluma, which is in SONOMA county.
HANRETTY: But, you know, I think that, more than embarrassing the President - because I don't think they embarrassed the President, they're really embarrassing their own party.
O'REILLY (overtalking last 6 words): No, but they could have. If Cindy Sheehan had started screaming or stood up or did something like that ...
HANRETTY: I think she would have embarrassed ...
O'REILLY (ignoring her): ... the whole world would have seen that and I'm tellin' ya' I don't put that past the woman. I don't put it past her.
HANRETTY (sticking to her talking point): Sure. But I think that she would have embarrassed the Democratic Party much more so because he's got the support of the people behind him. Look. You've gotta wonder when Nancy ...
O'REILLY (overtalking last 6 words): No, I don't believe that for a second. Worldwide?
HANRETTY: ... Nancy Pelosi ...
HANRETTY: You don't think ...
O'REILLY: I gotta disagree. Miss Hanretty ...
HANRETTY: I don't care about the rest of the world. I don't care what France thinks ...
O'REILLY: ...I know you don't care ...
HANRETTY: ... about the United States.
O'REILLY: ... but this would have been used by Al Jazeera, the French press, everybody else to say: "Look, Americans hate him. He can't even give a State of the Union address with them screaming at him." And that was the intent.
HANRETTY (still trying to finish her talking point): Well, that's like Nancy Pelosi
O'REILLY: That was the intent. And I just think this is so insidious.
Remember, folks, O'Reilly and Hanretty are merely SPECULATING about something that MIGHT have happened (but really didn't). What a tempest in a teacup!
HANRETTY (finally succeeds): Well. OK,. but that's why San Francisco Representative Nancy Pelosi owes an explanation, I think, to the people of America - because, after all, she is a leader in the Democratic Party - about what she thinks about all of this. And what does this speak about the Democratic Party as a whole. You've got a woman who was invited to the State of the Union who just the other week was in Venezuela hanging out with Hugo Chavez ...
HANRETTY: ... and Harry Belafonte and if that's - if that is the caricature that Pelosi and her party want of the Democrats, it continues to bode why they keep losing.
O'REILLY: OK. Debra, how did your paper cover this Sheehan thing today. The San Francisco Chronicle probably thought this was swell, right?
SAUNDERS: Well, you can imagine. We did have Pete Stark talking about Bush gestapos and everything else. We have a story up on sfgate.com right now that's a follow-up story on it. You know, let me stand up for California Democrats, which I'm not used to doing. Senator Feinstein's office can't be happy about this because Cindy Sheehan is talking about running against Senator Feinstein. So what you really have are two far-left members of Congress - Barbara Lee, who is my Congressperson, and Lynn Woolsey - just going off in a way that embarrasses the centrists. I mean, frankly, I am a Republican. There's nothing I would have liked better than to see Cindy Sheehan sitting there, because I think it would have had a lot of moderate voters looking at this and seeing the theatrics of censorship that the Democrats put up and I think it would move them toward Bush.
O'REILLY: Maybe. Alright, ladies, very interesting discussion. We appreciate it. We hope the House investigates the two congresswomen and finds out what their intent was.
I repeat: These people were spinning gossamer webs, connecting dots that werent' there, discussing "embarrassing" possible motivations by two Congresswomen and whining that Cindy Sheehan didn't get to shriek at the President. What a great example of right wing spin.