O'Reilly on Jimmy Carter: "He's 81 years old, and he's lost it"

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On the October 18 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Bill O'Reilly baselessly claimed that former President Jimmy Carter "sympathiz[es] with Iran," and concluded of Carter: "He's 81 years old, and he's lost it." O'Reilly was referring to a recent statement by Carter in which he advocated that governments try to negotiate with their adversaries, arguing that "the best way to drive them toward more nuclear programs is to threaten them militarily." Carter then concluded from their point of view, Iran may have pursued a nuclear weapons program "to prevent the United States from taking military action" against them.

O'Reilly declared that Carter "has lost it" because, according to O'Reilly, Carter said that "Iran is justifiable in trying to get nuclear weapons because they're preventing military action by the USA." In an audio clip that O'Reilly aired, Carter stated: "The stupidest thing that a government can do that has a real problem with someone is to refuse to talk to them and to let them simmer and to threaten them and build up animosity and fear ... I think what the Iranians have seen now is that the only way to prevent the United States from taking military action is to have a nuclear device of your own."

O'Reilly introduced the segment by claiming that "secular-progressives become dangerous when they start to talk about the terror war," immediately added that Carter "isn't really a secular-progressive because he's a man of faith" but then claimed that Carter's foreign policy "is a secular-progressive foreign policy." As Media Matters for America has noted, O'Reilly has previously described Carter as "clueless" and "a fool," and he has also declared that if Carter "were president today, we'd all be speaking Arabic."

From the October 18 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:

O'REILLY: Now, the secular-progressives become dangerous when they start to talk about the terror war. Jimmy Carter isn't really a secular-progressive because he's a man of faith. You know, the secular-progressives don't want anything to do with faith. Carter is a man of faith, but his foreign policy, which was a disaster during his presidency, is a secular-progressive foreign policy. Roll the tape on Carter.

CARTER [audio clip]: The stupidest thing that a government can do that has a real problem with someone is to refuse to talk to them and to let them simmer and to threaten them and build up animosity and fear. They don't respond positively to threats and intimidation and punishment. You know, the best way to drive them toward more nuclear programs is to threaten them militarily. We now have confirmed the policy of not people who disagree with us. So we don't talk to Syria, we don't, we don't talk to Hezbollah, we don't talk to others who disagree with us. And I think what the Iranians have seen now is that the only way to prevent the United States from taking military action is to have a nuclear device of your own.

O'REILLY: All right. So he's sympathizing with Iran. Now, he says we don't talk to people who disagree with us. Well, Hezbollah is a terrorist outfit, as Jimmy Carter has to know. They murder children. All right. Their intent is to destroy Israel, to wipe it out. Not to talk, not to negotiate. There isn't a land dispute, there isn't any dispute. What Hezbollah wants to do is kill every Jew they can kill. So it's not people who disagree with us, President Carter, with all due respect, it's killer terrorists.

It would be like having somebody who lived in Jimmy Carter's block in Plain [sic: Plains], Georgia, who go out and shoot little kids in the head. Would Jimmy Carter wanna sit down and talk with those people? No, he wouldn't.

So by saying this nutty stuff -- and Jimmy Carter has lost it. He's 81 years old, and he's lost it. By saying, "Well, Iran is justifiable in trying to get nuclear weapons because they're preventing military action by the USA." You have no military aspirations vis-à-vis Iran or North Korea. It's too big of a mess. I mean, I'm sure if we could go in and kill the mullahs and the idiot leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Il, we would, but it's not worth it. OK. So we're not gonna attack those countries.

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