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O'Reilly And Morris Gang Up For Another Obama-Smear Session

Reported by Ellen - March 13, 2009 -

Bill O'Reilly and Dick Morris got together for a Democratic-bashing session on The O'Reilly Factor last night (3/12/09), featuring one of O'Reilly's recent pet attacks, Nancy Pelosi's plane, now revamped as a vehicle to attack Barack Obama, and Morris' old chestnut, "Obama's a secret socialist" (though Morris did not use that term last night). With video.

O'Reilly began by disingenuously saying “There is concern in Washington over Nancy Pelosi's travel on military jets.” A Google search indicates that the real concern is at the conservative organization Judicial Watch, conservative blogs and on FOX News. As Politico reported earlier in the day (and I posted yesterday), there's “little support for the charge that Pelosi has racked up unnecessary expenses.” O'Reilly noted the report but added, “For us, the problem is, her office doesn't seem to know how many trips she took and exactly where she went.”

Well, so what? That would seem to be the kind of thing the military unit in charge of flying her would keep track of, not her office. If I called O'Reilly's secretary and asked how many times he had taken a private car service or the subway or a plane, I would not expect him or her to have that information, either. And furthermore, why should Pelosi's office track down such irrelevant information just to please the hell-bent-on-attacking-her FOX News? Clearly, if O'Reilly really wanted that information, he would have tried to get it from the military, the people in charge of the plane.

After complaining that Pelosi's office refused to send him an itinerary for her recent trip to Europe, O'Reilly asked, “Question: Will this story blow back on President Obama?” In other words, after milking this “issue” beyond its natural life, FOX News thought they might be able to use it to smear Obama.

The guest for the segment was Dick Morris.

“Blowback potential here?” O'Reilly asked.

No, said Morris, before making the dubious claim that the only reason the Speaker of the House uses a military plane is because Pelosi's predecessor, Dennis Hastert, “wanted it and Bush signed off on it.” According to O'Reilly, Obama is not going to take it away from Pelosi (no mention that neither did Bush in the two years he was president while Pelosi was Speaker). Morris called it “ludicrous” that the second-in-line to the presidency fly in a military aircraft. Funny, I can't recall any outrage over this when Hastert was Speaker.

O'Reilly claimed not to “begrudge” her the plane but he argued that people do care about this because they don't want someone “imperious” in power.

O'Reilly then said, with obvious hope, “Here's what really, really gets me angry and I think the vulnerability for the president lies in this area: We called up Nancy Pelosi's office and said, 'Can you please tell us exactly the flights, where you went in Europe, how many people went?' And they just basically will not do it.” He added that Bush didn't “want this stuff out, either. I don't think any of these people... in Washington want to tell US anything they do."

Which leads me to suspect that the real issue for O'Reilly is that he was not treated with the deference he thinks he deserves.

It didn't take Morris long to get to his attack points against Obama. “I think that what is developing now with Obama is the issue of competence. All he's good at is spending money.” Morris neatly overlooked Obama's many other actions since becoming president (such as reversing restrictions on stem cell research, banning lobbyist gifts to executive employees and directing military leaders to end the Iraq war) and O'Reilly didn't correct him.

Morris concluded by saying, “When you come to the reality, the real conclusion? It is terrifying. That we're dealing with a president who I believe does not care what happens to the markets and only a little bit cares what happens to the economy. I don't think he cares (about getting re-elected)... I think what he wants to do is to leave his mark on the government and the economy by moving it to the left. And if within that context he can get re-elected, great. But if not, we finally have a president who's gonna put principle above politics, but it's the wrong principle.”

It was obvious that even O'Reilly didn't buy that theory.