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O'Reilly interview with McCain reveals McCain lie, now or then?

Reported by Chrish - May 9, 2008 -

Bill O'Reilly led off his "major policy discussion" with John McCain last night 5/8/08 by allowing the Republican to frame his presumed Democratic opponent, Barack Obama, negatively: "What's his main weakness?"

Not surprisingly, McCain answered with the talking points we've heard all along: inexperience and lack of judgment, and "vision." McCain thinks speaking to Ahmadinejad (or Castro or Chavez) enhances their prestige. Conflating judgment with Wright and Ayers, O'Reilly asked McCain if he'd bring it up during the campaign. "With all due respect," (as he apparently knows that's what O'Reilly has promised to do), McCain is not going to make them an issue (the right-wing media will take that on independently).

O'Reilly brought up John Hagee in a rapid monotone (so he can say he did) and after McCain repudiated Hagee's positions, that was the end of it - "OK," said O'Reilly, and moved on. Another "reverend" whose endorsement McCain sought, Rod Parsley, was not brought up at all even though revelations of his anti-Muslim stance have been known for months. Parsley's views are anti-gay and anti-Muslim Americans, offensive to millions - where's the commensurate outcry?

O'Reilly gave McCain the opening to state his toughness: is he ready for the viciousness of this campaign? The New York Times has a squadron of reporters to dig up dirt on him. That last story (about the lobbyist) must have been hurtful to his wife, no? As McCain tried to take it in stride, O'Reilly tried to get him more indignant. McCain, clearly uncomfortable, said he doesn't discuss it any more. McCain leaned forward to confidentially tell O'Reilly that he's been through worse, my friend, and BOR commiserated, saying they're going to smear and slime you like crazy. Obama's gonna get it too, he said, and gotcha'd McCain with "be careful what you wish for!" with McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform. McCain said that had nothing to do with it, it only raised the cap on personal donations, and O'Reilly dragged out boogeyman George Soros. Now, insisted O'Reilly, he can use his "$350 million apparatus" to attack McCain. McCain replied that 527s are already a violation of 1974 law, but didn't want to get into that "minutiae," though he did say he's not going to "unilaterally disarm," meaning he does and will continue to benefit from them as he condemns them.

O'Reilly brought up Arianna Huffington (who wrote Monday that McCain had said he did not vote for Bush in 2000). McCain nervously laughed through the rest of the segment, claiming not only did he vote for Bush in 2000 and 2004, far more important than a vote he campaigned for him throughout the country. When O'Reilly concluded that "she lied," McCain did not agree or disagree, he merely said he spares himself reading that site. But this morning both the the NYTimes and Washington Post confirm that McCain did tell Huffington and others at a private party that he did not cast a ballot for Bush in 2000, and the LATimes reports that neither did Cindy McCain.

Now either McCain lied to the dinner guests then or he is lying now. Doesn't matter which; he's just caught. No wonder the nervous laughter. Since the interview was pre-recorded we'll likely not see a correction or Factor Investigation into the issue - as far as BOR's misinformed viewers are concerned, Huffington's the liar. Nice.

After the break they discussed McCain's proposal to suspend federal gas taxes this summer. In theory O'Reilly's fine with it but he contended that the oil companies would just jack up the prices and pocket the difference; McCain said "they'd keep an eye on it" to make sure that didn't happen; he just wants a little relief for the folks. No one addressed the issue of all that lost highway revenue and where that would come from; presumably we go further into debt or more roadwork and bridge repair doesn't get done. We pay, one way or another - it's such an empty, pandering gesture.

O'Reilly blamed both parties, citing Clinton and Gore specifically, for not devising an energy policy to get us off oil and develop alternative energy. No arguments here or there. He said in an accusatory tone that McCain voted against ANWR drilling, and McCain said he'd also vote against drilling in the Grand Canyon or the Everglades. O'Reilly whined that "nobody lives there" and McCain replied that it's pristine, to which O'Reilly the self-proclaimed environmentalist answered "So what? Who sees it?"

McCain's biggest difficulty with conservatives, per O'Reilly, is his stance on illegal immigration.
Will McCain crack down on "sanctuary cities?" McCain doesn't approve, but sees a larger picture where the federal government has failed to enact meaningful immigration reform. We need to secure the borders, have a guest-worker program with bio-metric ID, and deal with the 12 million already here.

There was an abrupt edit - did O'Reilly get into a shouting match? Next we saw him say "Health insurance..." He misrepresented Obama's plan, saying he's going to "give" everyone insurance, "the government's going to take it over and everything's gonna be swell," but "mean guy McCain, he's not gonna do dat." (Why does he revert to My Cousin Vinny talk?) "It's a pretty attractive proposition, having the government pay all the bills. You're not gonna do it"

McCain didn't dispel the ridiculous frame, and said it's not the quality of American healthcare, it's cost and availability. If your employer provides healthcare, you don't worry about cost. If you get a tax credit of $5000, you'll shop around. O'Reilly summed up "What you're proposing is complicated, what Obama's proposing is simple. He's gonna take care of it, pick up the tab; you're gonna give 'em 5 grand, they're gonna shop around. I'm just pointing that out. "

McCain said he's going to release his medical records in a week or so. He hopes to work with Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) to pass a GI Bill that will take care of veterans and provide incentives for people to extend their military service. Good, because O'Reilly "wants to get this done quick."

Part I:

Part II: