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'What are you going to do when I'm gone?'
Viewers finally got the chance to see the parts of Bill O'Reilly's interview with President Obama that previously had been edited out.
By Steve Benen
Of that 10 minutes, literally about 9 minutes and 40 seconds of that total was spent on, in order, O'Reilly pushing for Kathleen Sebelius' ouster, focusing on Benghazi, talking up the non-existent IRS controversy, and reading a question from a viewer about Obama finding it "necessary to fundamentally transform the nation."
But that was the edited version of the interview. Last night, the Fox News host showed viewers unaired portions of the interview, in which O'Reilly asked Obama why he doesn't talk more about out-of-wedlock births in the African-American community; O'Reilly's belief that Keystone XL will create 42,000 jobs; O'Reilly wondering whether Obama is "the most liberal president in the U.S. history"; and a re-airing of some of the highlights from Sunday. The host even aired the Shulman/157-times claim that was debunked last May.
But that's not the funny part. One of the more interesting exchanges was about the issue of fairness.
O'REILLY: All right. Now, Fox News, I can't speak for Fox News, all right. But I'm, you know, the table setter here at 8:00. And you think I'm unfair to you? Do you think I've been giving you -- OBAMA: Absolutely, of course you are, Bill. But I like you anyway, Bill. O'REILLY: Ok but give me how I'm unfair. Give me how I'm unfair. Come on. You can't make that accusation without telling me.
The host seemed quite incredulous, as if the notion that he'd been unfair to the president -- ever -- was simply unfounded. Obama noted that O'Reilly had just spent a big chuck of the interview on Benghazi and IRS "corruption" that doesn't exist, which the host didn't see as proof of anything.
"But these are unanswered questions," O'Reilly said.
Obama soon after replied, Here is what I would say. I think regardless of whether it's fair or not, it has -- it has made Fox News very successful. Here's I think you guys are going to have to figure out: what are you going to do when I'm gone?"
But wait, it gets better.
The two eventually discussed the "welfare state."
OBAMA: You know, Bill, the point is we have not massively expanded the welfare state, that's just not true. When you take a look at it actually, that the levers of support that we provide to folks who are willing to work hard are not that different than they were 30 years ago or 40 years ago or 50 years ago. You and I took advantage of certain things. I don't know about you but I got some loans to go to college. O'REILLY: No, I painted houses. I didn't get loans. OBAMA: The -- well, I -- I painted houses during the summer, too. It still wasn't enough. So, the -- so my point is that that's not a nanny state, that's an investment in the future generation. GI Bill is that a nanny state? My grandfather came back from World War II -- you're about to write a book on World War II. The smartest thing we ever did was make investment in the American people when those guys came back from the war that's what created our middle class.
For what it's worth, tuition rates have exploded since O'Reilly first attended college in the 1960s. Most students in the United States would have to paint an exorbitant number of houses to even afford part-time tuition at today's colleges and universities.
Postscipt: Morgan Whitaker has more on last night's O'Reilly Obama interview.