Thursday, January 05, 2006



UPDATE: Although I’m deeply indebted to the link above for the transcript, I can’t really handle the typos, so I’m posting up my proofed and enhanced version of it. I just really want you all to experience the thing. Here it is.

Letterman: Our first guest is the host of cable television's number one news program, The O'Reilly Factor. It can be seen five nights a week on Fox News. Ladies and gentlemen, here's Bill O'Reilly. Bill come on out. Welcome back.

O'Reilly: Thank you.

Letterman: Happy New Year. Welcome back to the show. Tell me and people what you did before the O'Reilly Factor, Fox News thing.

O'Reilly: I was running the deli downstairs with that guy they have.

[OUTRAGE! Rupert Jee is NOT ‘that guy they have’, you insensitive boob! – Elanor reads Dave’s mind too.]

Letterman: Is that a fact? [YOU COCK]

O'Reilly: So, you can build on that career he's making.

Letterman: Yeah, but seriously. [If you go there again, I will cut you. Rupert Jee is quintuple the man you are. Move along, creep.]

O'Reilly: I did a show called Inside Edition. Then, before that, I was a correspondent for ABC News, Peter Jennings, and before that CBS News.

Letterman: So, you're a life-long news journalist? [Best. Joke. Ever.]

O'Reilly: Yeah.

Letterman: How were your holidays? Good?


O'Reilly: I had a nice Winter Solstice, yeah.

[long pause and laughter]

Letterman: Okay.

O'Reilly: You can't say - you can't say Christmas.

Letterman: You can't say Christmas?

O'Reilly: No.

Letterman: Why is that?

O'Reilly: Because it is politically incorrect and we did a lot of reporting on this and uh, that was the big thing we were doing leading up to that. While you were in St. Barts, we were leading up to the Christmas holidays by saying ‘hey, how come we can't say Christmas?’

Letterman: I wasn't aware that you couldn't say Christmas. When did this happen?

O'Reilly: Sears Kmart started it, said no more Christmas. It's all Happy Holidays or Winter Solstice. I actually got a card from a friend of mine, it said have a Blessed Winter. I live in New York. You know what you can do with your blessed winter. You know what I'm talking about? Are you with me Dave?

[Absolutely not.]

Letterman: I wasn't aware that this had happened.

O'Reilly: You weren't aware of the Big Giant Controversy over Christmas?

Letterman: Well, I ignore stuff like that. It doesn't really affect me. I go ahead and do what I wanna do, and you know, I say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, Happy Hanukkah.

O'Reilly: Here's why it matters - you with me on this?

Letterman: Yeah.

[Except not.]

O'Reilly: Okay. Ridgewood elementary school in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. The song Silent NightSilent Night, you know? Knocked out the words and told the little kids to sing: ‘cold in the night, no one in sight, winter winds wind and bite, how I wish I was happy and warm, safe with my family, out of the storm.’ They replaced the words to Silent Night with that. Now, with all due respect, I even think the baby Jesus would say, ‘gimme a break’. You know? You want another one?

Letterman: No, but let’s - I don't…

O'Reilly: Whoa, whoa, whoa. When great tradition…

Letterman: But what does this prove? It proves that one community…

O'Reilly: It proves there are pinheads at the Ridgewell, uh, elementary school in Wisconsin.

Letterman: Right.

O'Reilly: That's what it proves.

Letterman: Right.

O'Reilly: Here’s another one. You want another one? Or are you bored with this?

Letterman: I'm kinda - think we should move on… I mean, but isn't this the kind of thing, uh, once or twice every twenty years, somebody gets outraged and says ‘oh by god, we gotta put diapers on horses’? Isn't it just about… it's just, So What. Let it go, it'll take care of itself.

O’Reilly: No. There is a movement in this country by politically correct people to erode traditions and this Christmas tradition is the most cherished in the country. Look. How absurd is it?

Letterman: But I don't -

[talking over each other]

Letterman: I don't feel threatened.

O'Reilly: It's not matter of you feel threatened.

Letterman: I don't think this is an actual threat. I think this is something that happened here and it happened there and so people like you are trying to make us think that it's a threat.

O'Reilly: Wrong.

Letterman: Because nobody said Happy Holidays to me and then said ‘Merry Christmas… oh I can't say Merry Christmas’.

O'Reilly: Well, here's why it gets to be more than that, because it's in court. There are lawsuits. In Plano, Texas, another grammar school, umm the kids were told not to bring in any Christmas colours, like napkins that are red and green. That's in court. That's being litigated. Now, you can say ‘oh that's just a little thing, it doesn't affect you’, but it isn't. The erosion of the culture and the protection of tradition is important in this country.

Letterman: Yeah, but are we really describing an erosion here? It’s two examples, one in Wisconsin and one in Texas.

O'Reilly: I got a million of them.

Letterman: Oh you got a million of them. Okay. Fine.

O'Reilly: Umm and they're funny ones. Memphis, Tennessee - bible belt - library they have a little display where you can, say you are in a duck hunting club you can bring in a dead duck and put it there and advertise your duck hunting club. We kill ducks. Show up at 9 o’clock and we'll blow some ducks out of the air. Okay. There was a church that wanted to advertise a Christmas pageant so they brought in the manger scene and the library said, ‘you can have the manger scene in Memphis, Tennessee, but you can't have the baby Jesus, Joseph, or Mary or the wise men. We’re not sure about the shepherds’. That was a big debate. Now how stupid and crazy is this?

Letterman: I don't believe you.

O'Reilly: It's true

Letterman: I don't believe you. I don't...I don't believe you.

O'Reilly: You think I'm making this up?

Letterman: I do.

O'Reilly: Then I could write for your show. This mine?

[referring to mug of beverage]

Letterman: Yes. Let’s talk about your friends in the Bush Administration. Things seem to be darker now…

O'Reilly: [interjects] They don't like me.

Letterman: …than they might have been a year before. How do things look to you?

O'Reilly: It's pretty rough, but they're not my friends in the Bush Administration. They're not kicking the door down to be on my show. In fact you have an easier time getting President Bush to come on here than I have getting him to come on the Factor. But I think that the Iraq thing has been full of unintended consequences, and it’s a vital thing for the country and it's brutal, it’s absolutely brutal. We should all take it very seriously. This simplistic stuff about hating Bush or ‘he lied’ and all this stuff, does the country no good at all. We've got to win this thing. You have to win it. And even though it's a screw-up, giant, massive, all right - right now, for everybody's protection, it's best for the world to have a democracy in that country functioning and friendly to the West, is it not?

David Letterman: Yes, absolutely.

O'Reilly: Okay, so let's stop with the lying and the this and the that and the undermining and ‘let's get him’. That is putting us all in danger. So our philosophy is, we call it as we see it. Sometimes you agree, sometimes you don't. Robust debate is good. But we believe that the United States, particularly the military, are doing a noble thing. A noble thing. The soldiers and Marines are noble. They're not terrorists. And when people call them that, like Cindy Sheehan, called the insurgents 'freedom fighters’, we don't like that. It is a vitally important time in American history. And we should all take it very seriously. Be very careful with what we say.

Letterman: Well, and you should be very careful with what you say also.

[audience applause]

O'Reilly: Give me an example.

Letterman: How can you possibly take exception with the motivation and the position of someone like Cindy Sheehan?

O'Reilly: Because I think she’s run by far-left elements in this country. I feel bad for the woman.

Letterman: Have you lost family members in armed conflict?

O'Reilly: No, I have not.

Letterman: Well, then you can hardly speak for her, can you?


O'Reilly: I'm not speaking for her. Let me ask you this question.

Letterman: Let's go back to your little red and green stories.

O'Reilly: This is important, this is important. Cindy Sheehan lost a son, a professional soldier in Iraq, correct? She has a right to grieve any way she wants, she has a right to say whatever she wants. When she says to The Public that the insurgents and terrorists are 'freedom fighters’ how do you think, David Letterman, that makes people who lost loved ones, by these people blowing the hell out of them, how do you think they feel? What about their feelings, sir?

Letterman: What about, why are we there in the first place? [applause] The President himself, less than a month ago, said we are there because of a mistake made in intelligence. Well, whose intelligence? Was it just somebody got off a bus and handed it to him?

O'Reilly: No.

Letterman: No, it was the intelligence gathered by his administration.

O'Reilly: By the CIA.

Letterman: Yeah, so why are we there in the first place? I agree to you, with you, that we have to support the troops. They are there, they are the best and the brightest of this country. [audience applause] There's no doubt about that. And I also agree that now we're in it it's going to take a long, long time. People who expect it's going to be solved and wrapped up in a couple of years – unrealistic. It's not going to happen. However, however, that does not eliminate the legitimate speculation and concern and questioning of why the hell are we there to begin with?

O'Reilly: If you want to question that, and then revamp an intelligence agency that's obviously flawed, the CIA, okay. But remember, MI-6 in Britain [he pronounces it 'M-one-six'. Wrong.] said the same thing. Putin's people in Russia said the same thing, and so did Mubarak's intelligence agency in Egypt.

Letterman: Well then that makes it all right?

O'Reilly: No it doesn't make it right.

Letterman: That the intelligence across the board makes it alright that we're there?

O'Reilly: It doesn't make it right.

Letterman: See, I'm very concerned about people like yourself, who don't have nothing but endless sympathy for a woman like Cindy Sheehan. Honest to christ!

[audience applause]

O'Reilly: No, I'm sorry.

Letterman: Honest to christ!

O'Reilly: No way. [waits for applause to die down] No way you're going to get me, no way that a terrorist who blows up women and children…

Letterman: [interjects] Do you have children?

O'Reilly: Yes I do. I have a son the same age as yours. No way a terrorist who blows up women and children is going to be called a ‘freedom fighter’ on my program.

[mild audience applause]

Letterman: I'm not smart enough to debate you point to point on this, but I have the feeling, I have the feeling about 60 percent of what you say is crap. [audience laughter. Paul yells “AAA-AH!” in a so-Paul way.] But I don't know that for a fact.

[more audience applause]

Paul Shaffer: Sixty percent.

Letterman: Sixty percent. I'm just spit-balling here.

O'Reilly: Listen, I respect your opinion. You should respect mine.

[not going to happen]

Letterman: Well, ah, I, okay. But I think you're - […scum]

O'Reilly: Our analysis is based on the best evidence we can get.

Letterman: Yeah, but I think there's something - this fair and balanced. I'm not sure that it's, I don't think that you represent an objective viewpoint.

O'Reilly: Well, you're going to have to give me an example if you're going to make those claims.

Letterman: [delivered impeccably] Well, I don't watch your show so that would be impossible.

O'Reilly: Then why would you come to that conclusion if you don't watch the program?

Letterman: Because of things that I've read, things that I know.

O'Reilly: Oh come on, you're going to take things that you've read? You know what they say about you? Come on. Watch it for a couple, look, watch it for a half hour. You'll get addicted. You'll be a Factor Fan, we'll send you a hat.

Letterman: You'll send me a hat. Well, send Cindy Sheehan a hat.

O'Reilly: I'll be happy to.

Letterman: Uh, Bill, it's always a pleasure.

O'Reilly: Thank you very much. Happy New Year.

Letterman: Same to you.

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