O'Reilly said he's "still looking" for the homeless veterans Edwards (and the VA) say are "out there"

››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN

Bill O'Reilly again baselessly challenged John Edwards' claim that "200,000 men and women who wore our uniform proudly and served this country courageously as veterans will go to sleep under bridges and on grates," telling radio host Ed Schultz, "[W]e're still looking for all the veterans sleeping under the bridges, Ed. So if you find anybody, let us know. ... They may be out there, but there are not many of them out there." Schultz replied: "Well, they're out there, Bill, don't kid yourself." According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, they are, in the approximate numbers Edwards asserted.

On the January 15 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly again baselessly challenged Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards' January 3 claim that "tonight, 200,000 men and women who wore our uniform proudly and served this country courageously as veterans will go to sleep under bridges and on grates." As noted by the blogs Crooks and Liars and The Carpetbagger Report, O'Reilly was discussing Edwards with radio host Ed Schultz when he said, "[W]e're still looking for all the veterans sleeping under the bridges, Ed. So if you find anybody, let us know. Because that's all the guy said for the last ... " When Schultz told O'Reilly, "Well, they're out there, Bill, don't kid yourself," O'Reilly replied, "They may be out there, but there are not many of them out there, OK? So if you know where one is, Ed ... if you know where there's a veteran sleeping under a bridge, you call me immediately, and we will make sure that man does not do it, is not there." Schultz then gave O'Reilly "his word" that he would "do that."

As Media Matters for America documented, O'Reilly said on the January 4 edition of The O'Reilly Factor that Edwards had "no clue" and then aired his claim about homeless veterans.

In fact, Edwards' claim that there are 200,000 homeless U.S. veterans is supported by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA website's "Overview of Homlessness" states, in part:

About one-third of the adult homeless population have served their country in the Armed Services. Current population estimates suggest that about 195,000 veterans (male and female) are homeless on any given night and perhaps twice as many experience homelessness at some point during the course of a year. Many other veterans are considered near homeless or at risk because of their poverty, lack of support from family and friends, and dismal living conditions in cheap hotels or in overcrowded or substandard housing.

The Washington Post reported that it had confirmed the veracity of Edwards' claim, noting on January 7:

Several readers have asked us to check this surprising statistic, often used by Edwards. The language may be overly dramatic, but the figure is an official one, from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The department believes that one-third of the adult homeless population of the United States "have served their country in the Armed Services." A posting on the department Web site says that about 195,000 veterans are "homeless on any given night" and perhaps twice as many experience homelessness at some point during the course of a year.

From the January 15 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

SCHULTZ: As far as John Edwards is concerned, I think his message is strong and he's got tremendous conviction. But I think he needs a little bit more material than just the "two America" talk. He's got to get --

O'REILLY: Well, we're still looking for all the veterans sleeping under the bridges, Ed. So if you find anybody, let us know. Because that's all the guy said for the last --

SCHULTZ: Well, they're out there, Bill. Don't kid yourself.

O'REILLY: They may be out there, but there are not many of them out there, OK? So if you know where one is, Ed--

SCHULTZ: Well, actually -- now, wait a minute -- two hundred and five --

O'REILLY: -- Ed -- Ed -- if you know one where -- if you know where there's a veteran sleeping under a bridge, you call me immediately, and we will make sure that man does not do it, is not there.

SCHULTZ: I will do that. I will do that. You have my word on that.

O'REILLY: OK. All right. Now, who do you loathe -- who do you loathe in the presidential race?

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