On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly aired a portion of a speech in which Sen. Barack Obama said in part, "[T]here's never been anything false about hope." O'Reilly then stated: "Got it. Faith and charity are good, too. We love hope, faith, charity, all that. But that doesn't wipe out the Taliban inside Pakistan or pay for a trillion-dollar entitlement, universal health care." But contrary to O'Reilly's suggestion, Obama has outlined a strategy to combat terrorism in Pakistan and laid out how he plans to pay for his health-care proposal.
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During the February 13 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly aired a portion of Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) February 12 speech in which Obama said in part, "[T]here's never been anything false about hope." O'Reilly then stated: "Got it. Faith and charity are good, too. We love hope, faith, charity, all that. But that doesn't wipe out the Taliban inside Pakistan or pay for a trillion-dollar entitlement, universal health care." O'Reilly then urged Obama and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to "[g]et real on tough issues. Get solutions that will benefit the entire country. With the primary season winding down, rhetoric should be replaced by creative solution." Later in the program, during an interview with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), O'Reilly asserted that Obama is "not getting micro into what he'd do with Pakistan or Iran or how he'd pay for the entitlement of universal health care. But the folks in America seem to be willing to say, 'We're going to give him a chance. We don't really care whether he has a lot of experience or if he spells out his platform.' " But contrary to O'Reilly's suggestion, Obama has outlined a strategy to combat terrorism in Pakistan and laid out how he plans to pay for his health-care proposal.
During an August 1, 2007, speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., Obama specifically addressed Pakistan's current role in the struggle against terrorism and its responsibilities in the future. Obama also addressed the U.S. diplomatic strategy in dealing with Pakistan. Concerning counterterrorism operations in Pakistan, Obama stated: "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorists targets and President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will." Obama emphasized what he said was the need to make "hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional" on Pakistan's "mak[ing] substantial progress in closing down the training camps, evicting foreign fighters, and preventing the Taliban from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan." On the topic of U.S. financial support to Pakistan, Obama also said: "As the Pakistani government increases investment in secular education to counter radical madrasas, my Administration will increase America's commitment. We must help Pakistan invest in the provinces along the Afghan border, so that the extremists' program of hate is met with one of hope." Obama also stressed the need for electoral reform in Pakistan, stating: "[W]e must not turn a blind eye to elections that are neither free nor fair -- our goal is not simply an ally in Pakistan, it is a democratic ally."
Q. How will we pay for the Obama plan?
A. The Obama plan will realize tremendous savings within the health care system to help finance the plan. The additional revenue needed to fund the up-front investments in technology and to help people who cannot afford health insurance is more than covered by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for people making more than $250,000 per year, as they are scheduled to do.
Moreover, during the February 1 Democratic presidential debate in Los Angeles, Obama stated:
OBAMA: So I've already said a sizeable portion of my health care plan will be paid for because we emphasize savings. We invest in prevention.
So that as I said before, the chronically ill that account for 20 percent -- or the 20 percent of chronically ill patients that account for 80 percent of the costs, that they're getting better treatment. We are actually paying for a dietitian for people to lose weight as opposed to paying for the $30,000 foot amputation. That will save us money.
We can conservatively save...
... $100 billion to $150 billion a year under my plan. That pays for part of it.
Part of it is paid for by rolling back the Bush tax cuts on the top one percent.
Despite complaining that the presidential candidates have not been laying out "specific solutions to difficult problems," when given the opportunity to interview Huckabee, O'Reilly did not ask a single policy question. Rather, O'Reilly asked Huckabee questions about the likelihood that he will be the vice presidential nominee, McCain's comments about Huckabee following the February 12 primaries, and his view of Obama's candidacy.
From Obama's August 1, 2007, address at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.:
It is time to turn the page. When I am President, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy with five elements: getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing the capabilities and partnerships we need to take out the terrorists and the world's most deadly weapons; engaging the world to dry up support for terror and extremism; restoring our values; and securing a more resilient homeland.
The first step must be getting off the wrong battlefield in Iraq, and taking the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
As President, I would deploy at least two additional brigades to Afghanistan to re-enforce our counter-terrorism operations and support NATO's efforts against the Taliban. As we step up our commitment, our European friends must do the same, and without the burdensome restrictions that have hampered NATO's efforts. We must also put more of an Afghan face on security by improving the training and equipping of the Afghan Army and Police, and including Afghan soldiers in U.S. and NATO operations.
We must not, however, repeat the mistakes of Iraq. The solution in Afghanistan is not just military -- it is political and economic. As President, I would increase our non-military aid by $1 billion. These resources should fund projects at the local level to impact ordinary Afghans, including the development of alternative livelihoods for poppy farmers. And we must seek better performance from the Afghan government, and support that performance through tough anti-corruption safeguards on aid, and increased international support to develop the rule of law across the country.
Above all, I will send a clear message: we will not repeat the mistake of the past, when we turned our back on Afghanistan following Soviet withdrawal. As 9/11 showed us, the security of Afghanistan and America is shared. And today, that security is most threatened by the al Qaeda and Taliban sanctuary in the tribal regions of northwest Pakistan.
Al Qaeda terrorists train, travel, and maintain global communications in this safe-haven. The Taliban pursues a hit and run strategy, striking in Afghanistan, then skulking across the border to safety.
This is the wild frontier of our globalized world. There are wind-swept deserts and cave-dotted mountains. There are tribes that see borders as nothing more than lines on a map, and governments as forces that come and go. There are blood ties deeper than alliances of convenience, and pockets of extremism that follow religion to violence. It's a tough place.
But that is no excuse. There must be no safe-haven for terrorists who threaten America. We cannot fail to act because action is hard.
As President, I would make the hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional, and I would make our conditions clear: Pakistan must make substantial progress in closing down the training camps, evicting foreign fighters, and preventing the Taliban from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan.
I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges. But let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will.
And Pakistan needs more than F-16s to combat extremism. As the Pakistani government increases investment in secular education to counter radical madrasas, my Administration will increase America's commitment. We must help Pakistan invest in the provinces along the Afghan border, so that the extremists' program of hate is met with one of hope. And we must not turn a blind eye to elections that are neither free nor fair -- our goal is not simply an ally in Pakistan, it is a democratic ally.
From the February 13 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Now on to Senator Obama. After six months, I believe most Americans understand that hope is good.
OBAMA [video clip]: Some people will tell you that I've got my head in the clouds, that I am still offering false hopes, that I need a reality check, that I'm a hopemonger. But you know, it's true, my own story tells me that in the United States of America, there has never been anything false about hope.
O'REILLY: Got it. Faith and charity are good, too. We love hope, faith, charity, all that. But that doesn't wipe out the Taliban inside Pakistan or pay for a trillion-dollar entitlement, universal health care.
As with Senator McCain, the folks want specific solutions to difficult problems. How will illegal immigration be dealt with? What happens if Iran threatens Saudi Arabia after you pull American troops out of Iraq? That kind of thing.
Now call me crazy, but I'd like a president to put forth a health-care package that includes me not being blown up by Muslim killers currently hiding in Pakistan. File that under preventive medicine.
So the advice "Talking Points" is giving -- the love we are sharing, if you will -- is the same for both Obama and McCain. Get real on tough issues. Get solutions that will benefit the entire country. With the primary season winding down, rhetoric should be replaced by creative solution.
O'REILLY: Continuing now with our campaign '08 coverage, joining us now from Pewaukee, Wisconsin -- not Milwaukee, Pewaukee, primary state next Tuesday, as you know -- Governor Mike Huckabee.
So, you gave a little scare to John McCain last night in the -- you know, I think the ghost of [Rev.] Jerry Falwell might have helped you out in those counties in southwestern Virginia. But in the end, McCain is, you know, up big in delegates. And so what's your game plan now?
HUCKABEE: Well, we had a good night in the sense that we won everything outside the Beltway. We didn't think we'd win the Beltway. I mean, that's John McCain's territory, but we're winning the heartland, Bill. And that's why we're in Wisconsin. It's why we're going to compete here. Our game plan is to continue showing that people in places like Wisconsin and Texas and Ohio, they ought to have a choice, and they ought to have a voice. And the only way they can do that is have an election. If we have a coronation, they lose their voice, they lose their choice, so --
O'REILLY: OK. And, listen --
HUCKABEE: And we feel like that this needs to go forward.
O'REILLY: I think that's the American way. I think competition makes all of us better.
HUCKABEE: I agree.
O'REILLY: And people who are saying you should drop out should shove it. You know, as they say in Brooklyn. You have a right to stay in there. You're not going to win the nomination because of delegates and statistics. But certainly, your message is there. Now, John McCain was nice to you last night. I don't know whether you noticed, but he was very nice to you in his speech. And is this detente here? Are you guys now going to go fishing together? Or what's this all about?
HUCKABEE: I think the interesting thing, Bill, is that the two most civil campaigns in the Republican primary are the ones still on their feet. I'd like to believe it might maybe be the beginning of a different kind of politics, a politics that's more about civility and about talking about issues and making the contrast even where they're not a personal attack. We both carried our campaigns that way. I think it's a way people are frankly hungry for. I think it's also going to be a time to --
O'REILLY: All right, do you want to be VP? You want to be his VP? Is that --
HUCKABEE: No, I'm not interested in.
O'REILLY: No, you're going to say you're going to turn it down if they offer it to you?
HUCKABEE: It's like asking if you want to be the co-host for somebody else's show.
O'REILLY: No, that'd be impossible. I mean, I couldn't do that.
HUCKABEE: You want to be -- of course it would.
HUCKABEE: Of course it would be impossible.
O'REILLY: But are you going to say right now on the air here, Governor, that you're not going to take that if offered?
HUCKABEE: Well, it's not being offered. And besides that, right now, the nomination, even though everybody says it's mathematically impossible, it may not happen that he gets all of the delegates that he needs to become the nominee prior to the convention. This thing could go to the convention.
HUCKABEE: If it does, then I'll be there at the convention, trying to win the nomination there.
O'REILLY: You'll be there anyway, Governor. You and Chuck Norris will be there. Come on, we know you're going to be there.
HUCKABEE: You bet.
O'REILLY: All right, now --
HUCKABEE: Of course I'll be there.
O'REILLY: -- let's -- how do you -- what do you make of this Obama? Dick Morris just predicted he's going to win the nomination outright. Not going to go to the convention or any of that. What do you make of Obama? Why is he going to win? Looks like he's going to win 10 primaries in a row. Why?
HUCKABEE: Well, I think a lot of it is that people in this country want a new direction. The reason that I've ended up being on my feet longer than anyone thought is because I'm not a part of Washington. I'm not a part of the establishment. I think people are looking to the future, not the past. And they see in Obama the future, not the past. I think quite frankly, on many Republican fronts, people see me as part of a future and not part of the past.
O'REILLY: So you and Obama running as outsiders, you got fresh ideas. You're not beholden to the orthodoxy that a lot of people want to get away from. But it's undeniable that Barack Obama has run a campaign based on hope. We dealt with that at the top of the program. I mean, he's not getting micro into what he'd do with Pakistan or Iran or how he'd pay for the entitlement of universal health care. But the folks in America seem to be willing to say, "We're going to give him a chance. We don't really care whether he has a lot of experience or if he spells out his platform." Now, is that dangerous? Is it dangerous to give a guy the most powerful job in the world if you don't know what he's going to do?
HUCKABEE: Well, of course, it's dangerous. And that's why in the general election, we'll make sure that we sort out these issues. You know, somebody has to say are we going to play offense or defense when it comes to Al Qaeda? Somebody's got to say, will are our taxes go up or down? Are we going to help small business survive or are we going to kick them in the teeth? We have to understand. And these issues he won't be able to escape when we get in the general election. If he says we're going to give everybody health care, the next question, who's going to pay for it? And how much are we going to pay? And who's going to make the decisions about who your doctor is? Those are tough issues. You have to get down into the weeds when we get in the general election. So we can talk all we want in the generalities right now, but I promise you, whether it's John McCain or Mike Huckabee, whoever gets in that ultimate contest with the Democrat, there are going to be some serious discussions going on about the serious issues.
O'REILLY: Well, you'd have to. I mean, you have to go --
HUCKABEE: When you run for president, it's essentially putting a job application on the table.
HUCKABEE: And you better fill in the blanks.
O'REILLY: You got --
HUCKABEE: You can't just put your name and address down and say, "That's it."
O'REILLY: The only chance the Republican Party has to beat a guy like that, who's that charismatic and that good on the stump, is to do policy and say, "Hey, look, here it is. Make your choice." Governor, we appreciate your time very much. Good luck to you.