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On the October 10 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, while discussing Democratic presidential candidates' positions on terrorism, Time political analyst Mark Halperin asserted that if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY), Sen. Barack Obama (IL), or former Sen. John Edwards (NC) "get[s] in" to the White House, "I think they're going to have a come-to-Jesus moment where they sit down with Dick Cheney and George Bush." Host Bill O'Reilly interjected, "And change their minds." Halperin continued: "And get a little bit of an eye-opening about just what's on the line every day in that job now, post 9-11 -- how hard it is." O'Reilly then turned to Democratic strategist Liz Chadderdon and asked whether she would be "very disappointed" if this happened. He added: "You don't want aggressive action against the terrorists, do you?"
O'Reilly later asserted, "But if I'm the GOP, all day long, I'm going after that terror warrior concept." Halperin responded: "Don't worry. The minute the Democrat gets in, if the Democrats win, they're going to see some things they're not expecting."
Further, during the "Talking Points Memo" segment of the show, O'Reilly stated that the "Democratic Party can easily be branded soft on terrorism," and asserted: "[N]o way Edwards will ever win the presidential election. Kid Rock has a better chance."
From the October 10 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: So, just talking about your personal security, would you support President John Edwards? Remember, no coerced interrogation, civilian lawyers in courts for captured overseas terrorists, no branding the Iranian guards terrorists, and no phone surveillance without a specific warrant.
"Talking Points" believes most Americans reject that foolishness. And it has become a problem for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Senator Obama is much closer to the Edwards' view than Senator Clinton is, but the Democratic Party can easily be branded as soft on terrorism. It's tough to make distinctions in this area.
Six years after 9-11, I am simply amazed at how soft some Americans have become when it comes to confronting the jihadist killers. This isn't a game. This is life or death -- and the cemeteries here in the New York area prove it. Again, no way Edwards will ever win the presidential election. Kid Rock has a better chance.
But just the fact that his misguided view of the world is so attractive to the left media and others is disturbing, to say the least. And that's the "Memo."
O'REILLY: Ms. Chadderdon, what I think the GOP is going to do, and you see it with Rudy Giuliani already primarily, and Mitt Romney will take up the drum as well, is say, look, these people aren't going to protect you against terrorists. They're all a bunch of touchy-feely liberals. They're not going to do anything. They live in a world of theory. And you're going to be danger. And Osama bin Laden has a John Edwards bumper sticker on his cave wall. I mean, that's what they're going to do, are they not?
CHADDERDON: Well, you know, if that's what they do, then I think we're actually going to beat them worse than I think we're already going to beat them. I mean, the bottom line here is that no one is trying to make it easier for terrorists. And no one is trying to make America less safe.
But frankly, the Bush-Cheney administration has made this country less safe by forging into a war that has done nothing but create more terrorists.
O'REILLY: All right. So, you're going to go back to the Iraq battlefield. You know -- and I understand why the Democrats are going to do that. I don't know if that's going to resonate. Things seem to be getting better in Iraq.
But you said something very interesting: "The Democratic Party is going to make us safer." You believe that the Democratic Party would make us safer in the world? How can then you explain a vote against branding the Revolutionary Guards in Iran non-terrorists? How can you explain a vote like that?
These are terrorists all day long. Everybody knows it. Yet, Obama voted against this. Did Hillary vote against it? I'm not even sure. Did she vote against it? Did she?
HALPERIN: She voted for it. Obama didn't vote, but said he would have voted against it.
O'REILLY: OK, so we got Edwards and Obama, Liz, not wanting to brand this terrible organization terrorists; Clinton playing it more conservatively. So, I mean, how can you tell the American people that that's a smart vote?
CHADDERDON: Well, because as you pointed out at the beginning of your show, part of the wording in that vote was aggressive action. That's just Bush-Cheney code for wanting to invade Iran. And the last thing that anyone wants to do is give this out-of-control administration free rein to go invade another country and drag us into another huge war.
O'REILLY: All right. So you think the Democratic candidates are going to tell the American people that even if Iran continues its misbehavior, develops a nuclear weapon, tries to dominate the Persian Gulf, we're not going to take aggressive action against them. Is that what the Democratic Party's going to do?
CHADDERDON: At this point, I think that America is smarter than to realize that going into another no-win war is the right thing to do, and --
O'REILLY: OK, so we can't defeat Iran then. Is that what you're saying? Is that -- the Democratic candidates are going to get up there and say --
CHADDERDON: I don't think we can --
O'REILLY: -- "Look, we're afraid of them. We can't defeat them." You think that's a winner?
CHADDERDON: That's ridiculous. No one is saying that we can't defeat them. What we're saying --
O'REILLY: You just said it's a no-win war. Why would it be ridiculous?
CHADDERDON: Are we winning the war in Iraq?
O'REILLY: I don't know.
CHADDERDON: How long we been there? We've been in the war in Iraq --
O'REILLY: I mean, I know we're not losing it.
CHADDERDON: -- longer than we were in World War II, and we don't seem to be winning there.
O'REILLY: All right. I think you might want to rethink that. I think if a Democratic candidate, Mark, gets up there and says, "We can't win a war in Iran," that's a loser [inaudible].
HALPERIN: Democrats would go for broke, Bill, no matter who the nominee is. They're going to say their policies are going to keep America safer. That they can --
O'REILLY: What policies? What's John Edwards' anti-terror policy? What is it?
HALPERIN: He's got a couple things he's talked about. I could tell you if you want. But you're right. You're right.
O'REILLY: No, no, no. Give me his big one. What's John Edwards' anti-terror policy? What is it?
HALPERIN: He's for better communication with countries --
O'REILLY: Ah, better communication -- that'll do it.
HALPERIN: -- with countries around the world for coordinating intelligence. That's one of the things he's for. But you're right. He's basically got a critique saying, "Bush is wrong on Guantanamo" --
HALPERIN: "Bush is wrong on" --
O'REILLY: This is bad, this is bad --
HALPERIN: This is bad.
O'REILLY: This is bad.
HALPERIN: That may work to help him in the Democratic Party. I think you're right, in the general election, he'd be opening himself up to attacks.
O'REILLY: Well, you know --
HALPERIN: But let me say one more thing. If he did get in or if Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, I think they're going to have a come-to-Jesus moment where they sit down with Dick Cheney and George Bush --
O'REILLY: And change their minds.
HALPERIN: -- and get a little bit of an eye-opening about just what's on the line every day in that job now, post-9-11 -- how hard it is.
O'REILLY: But Liz would be very disappointed if the come-to-Jesus moment happens, wouldn't you, Liz? You don't want aggressive action against the terrorists, do you?
CHADDERDON: I don't want to see more young men and women dying for reasons that we, at this point, simply can't explain. That's what I don't want to see.
O'REILLY: Do you think the jihadists want to kill a soldier? Do you think that Iran is in bed with these people and they want to cause damage to America?
CHADDERDON: I think our behavior, like torture, and kidnapping, and waterboarding, has definitely led to the creation of more terrorists.
O'REILLY: OK, so it's our fault?
CHADDERDON: I think we've made it worse, yes.
O'REILLY: OK. Now you really think that some presidential candidate running on a platform that the war on terror is our fault is going to win? You really believe that?
CHADDERDON: No. What I'm saying is, is that by continuing the Bush-Cheney policies of torture and kidnapping and not allowing counsel to those victims in Guantanamo is not the American way. If we're going to say we're the greatest country in the world, then we need to act like it.
O'REILLY: OK. Well, I think it's a loser, Liz, but I'm going to give Mark the last word. I mean, if I'm going to take what Liz just said to me, and I'm going to tell the American people that we don't really have a plan to fight terrorism other than communication -- that's our plan.
You know, we're a torture nation -- and we're bad. And we really brought a lot of this terrorism on ourself. Mark, do you really believe that that candidate's going to win?
HALPERIN: You and Liz both went right at the reality, though. In this election, Iraq is going to trump that. If there's not another terrorist attack, the Democrats are going to be able to say, "You didn't know how to handle Iraq, therefore you don't know how to handle the war on terror."
A negative critique just the way the Republicans critique the Democrats' health-care plan is mostly a negative critique. It could work.
HALPERIN: It might be enough.
O'REILLY: Might be enough. But if I'm the GOP, all day long, I'm going after that terror warrior concept.
HALPERIN: Don't worry, the minute the Democrat gets in, if the Democrats win --
HALPERIN: -- they're going to see some things they're not expecting.