O'Reilly repeated 12-year-old myth that pro-life Democrat was forbidden to speak at 1992 convention


Reviving an old myth, radio host Bill O'Reilly claimed, during his June 22 broadcast, that former Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey was forbidden to speak at the 1992 Democratic National Convention because he opposes abortion rights.

From the June 22 edition of The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:

O'REILLY: I think the Democratic Party has developed its own counterpart in the so-called secular left, as [New York Times op-ed columnist David] Brooks called it, which -- especially on the abortion issue, but on other issues -- which you know, exercises a kind of veto power. Which I think led to the, I think, a very serious mistake that the Democrats made at a recent convention in denying the right of the -- the president and the governor -- the current governor of the time of Pennsylvania, Bob Casey, from even addressing the convention because of his pro-life position.

But the account of Casey and the 1992 Democratic National Convention (not exactly "recent") that O'Reilly repeated is apocryphal. The New Republic's Michael Crowley set the record straight in a 1996 article:

According to those who actually doled out the 1992 convention speaking slots, Casey was denied a turn for one simple reason: his refusal to endorse the Clinton-Gore ticket. "It's [Casey's claim that he was denied a convention speech because of his pro-life views] just not factual!" stammers James Carville, apoplectic over Casey's claims. "You'd have to be idiotic to give a speaking role to a person who hadn't even endorsed you." "Why are you doing this to me?" moans Paul Begala, who, with Carville, managed two Casey campaigns before joining Clinton's team in 1992. "I love Bob Casey, but my understanding was that the dispute was not about his right-to-life views, it was about the Clinton-Gore ticket."


Furthermore, a slew of pro-life Democrats, including Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley Jr., Senators John Breaux and Howell Heflin, and five governors, did address the delegates in 1992. Though the speakers didn't dwell on abortion, party officials say they weren't barred from mentioning the issue.

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