Morris: McCain "doesn't have to" engage in Willie Horton-like campaign because O'Reilly is already doing so
After airing portions of a controversial sermon by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, former pastor of Sen. Barack Obama's church, Bill O'Reilly -- who described Wright's comments as "anti-American, to say the least" -- asked Dick Morris, "If you were [Sen. John] McCain, do you use this against Obama?" Morris replied, "He doesn't have to. You just did. And the talk radio people around the country" will. Morris continued: "[T]he other media, the other conservative media can make a big deal of it."
On the March 13 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly and Fox News contributor Dick Morris discussed controversial statements made during a sermon by Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- former pastor of Sen. Barack Obama's church, Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. After airing a video of portions of Wright's sermon, which O'Reilly described as "anti-American, to say the least," O'Reilly asserted, "This is Willie Horton , who was used to destroy [1988 Democratic presidential candidate] Michael Dukakis' campaign ... times a thousand." He then asked Morris: "If you were [Sen. John] McCain, do you use this against Obama?" Morris replied, "He doesn't have to. You just did. And the talk radio people around the country" will. Morris continued: "[T]he other media, the other conservative media can make a big deal of it."
From the March 13 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: And today, there's yet another race issue from the other side. This man, Chicago preacher Jeremiah Wright, is Barack Obama's pastor. He even married the senator and his wife. Well, Fox News has obtained portions of Reverend Wright's sermons that are anti-American, to say the least. Viewer warning, some offensive material coming up.
WRIGHT [video clip]: Barack knows what it means to be a black man living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people. Hillary can never know that. Hillary ain't never been called a [expletive].
Hillary is married to Bill. And Bill have been good to us. No, he ain't. Bill did us just like he did Monica Lewinsky. He was riding dirty. The government gives him the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law, and then wants us to sing "God Bless America." No, no, no. Not God bless America. God damn America. That's in the Bible for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating us citizens as less than human.
We bombed Hiroshima. We bombed in Nagasaki. And we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon. And we never batted an eye. We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans. And now we are indignant, because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yard.
O'REILLY: In other words, the USA brought 9-11 on itself. Reverend Rice [sic] recently retired. And today, Barack Obama's office issued this statement:
"Senator Obama ... profoundly disagrees with some of the statements and positions of Reverend Wright. ... Senator Obama deplores divisive statements," unquote.
Now there's no question that Reverend Wright is a problem for Senator Obama. How big a problem remains to be seen. Most Americans love their country and believe it is noble. That kind of extreme rhetoric, the kind that Wright traffics in, is only acceptable to the far left. So Senator Obama will have to deal with this. Just how will be very interesting. And that's the Memo.
O'REILLY: And now, let's get to the Republicans. This is Willie Horton -- who was used to destroy Michael Dukakis' campaign, a criminal in Massachusetts -- times a thousand. If you were McCain, do you use this against Obama?
MORRIS: He doesn't have to. You just did. And the talk radio people around the country --
O'REILLY: No, but people will forget about it --
MORRIS: Not if --
O'REILLY: If the -- make a series of political commercials --
MORRIS: Yeah, no, no. He who touches this rail dies. It's a third rail.
But you -- but the other media, the other conservative media can make a big deal of it. But I want to just --
O'REILLY: So you say McCain can't directly do it? His campaign can't take this man --
O'REILLY: -- and associate him with Barack Obama?
MORRIS: You've got to let the rest of the movement do that.