Bill O'Reilly Schools George Stephanopoulos, Jeers Clinton's 'European' Blast at GOP

Former Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos threw Bill Clinton's recent attack on Republicans at guest Bill O'Reilly on Tuesday's Good Morning America, but O'Reilly would have none of it. "He [Clinton] says it’s Romney and the Republicans are going to bring European economics to America," Stephanopoulos revealed.

O'Reilly laughed off the remark. "How many drinks did he have? I mean this is insane," he blurted out. Stephanopoulos pressed on, though, correcting his guest that Clinton meant austerity measures and not European socialism. O'Reilly still didn't take that claim seriously.

"How does he know? How does he know?" he questioned Clinton's argument.

On Monday, Clinton hit Republicans for having "adopted Europe's economic policies." He added that their plan was "austerity and unemployment now, and then a long-term budget that would explode the debt when the economy recovers so the interest rates would be so high, nobody would be able to do anything."

O'Reilly brushed off that connection of Republicans to European austerity, instead framing the election in simpler terms. "And voters have to decide two things. Whether they want to continue to go with Barack Obama's big, top-down government stimulation, which has not worked so far," he explained.

"Or do they want to change to a much leaner, meaner, private sector-driven economy? That's what the voter has to decide in November. Simple as that," O'Reilly summarized.

He also cast Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's spending measures as a reform. "But it's basically a reform in a sense that right now – look at Illinois. Illinois didn't have any of that. And they're going down the drain. They're going to collapse."

A transcript of the segment, which aired on June 5 on Good Morning America at 7:11 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk some politics now. Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, all across Manhattan last night. And we saw –

BILL O'REILLY: (Laughing) All across Manhattan.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They were. They were everywhere.

O’REILLY: I know. I saw that they're out there looking at you right now.

(Laughter)

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you know, we saw a little jujitsu from Clinton. Republicans and conservatives have accused Barack Obama of European socialist policy. He says it’s Romney and the Republicans are going to bring European economics to America. And he said it would be calamitous for our country and the world.

O’REILLY: Alright, after how many drinks was this that he said that Romney was going to bring European –

STEPHANOPOULOS: C'mon, c'mon.

O'REILLY: How many drinks did he have? I mean this is insane. All of these guys. It's amusing to me and I'm sure it is to you although you’ll never admit it. This is all a bunch of theater. It’s guerrilla theater. They run around and they oh Romney's going to bring European Socialism to the United – does anyone believe that?  Anyone?

STEPHANOPOULOS: He didn’t say socialism he said European austerity. He said the cutbacks, the spending cuts that Romney will bring austerity now. And he says the tax cuts will blow up the deficit in the future. That’s his argument.

O’REILLY:  How does he know? How does he know? Look, the economy's terrible right now. And voters have to decide two things. Whether they want to continue to go with Barack Obama's big, top-down government stimulation, which has not worked so far. It might work. Who knows? Or do they want to change to a much leaner, meaner, private sector-driven economy? That's what the voter has to decide in November. Simple as that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And one of the things we’ve seen since Friday, that jobs report that came out Friday, which really seemed to crystallize a new conventional wisdom that one the race is completely tied. And Romney has a real shot. If you're giving him some advice, what does he need to do to seal the deal?

O’REILLY: Well I write in my column, my newspaper column that if the election were held tomorrow, Romney would win. And the reason is because people are afraid. They’re afraid.  It's not ideological like it is in Wisconsin. It’s they're afraid. So if I were Romney, I'd get out of the way. I mean, don't be overbearing. And he has to perform well in the three debates. He has to basically be calm. He has to put himself through as authoritative. I'm going to solve these problems. All right? We gave the president three years. It's a mess. If you want to vote again on hope, go ahead. But I have the ability to solve these problems.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you're saying basically a do-no-harm campaign.

O’REILLY: Right. He’s gotta – it's a referendum on President Obama. So, Mitt Romney has to be lower key. But then, in the debates, he’s gotta come on strong. That's where he's got to go, here's what I'm going to do, A, B and C, here’s where he’s failed. Because remember Barack Obama’s a great debater. Very quick.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He sealed the deal against John McCain four years ago. Let's talk about Wisconsin a little bit. I know you agree with George Will that this is probably the second-most important election in the country this year. But why should the rest of the country care about this? This is a Republican Governor, Scott Walker, facing a recall election.

O’REILLY: The big story in Wisconsin is ideology. If you look at on paper, Walker has done a good job. He’s brought the deficit down in that state, big-time. And unemployment is down a full percent in one year. So he's done a good job on paper. Okay? But the left hates him because he wants to reform how government workers are paid. Compensation.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's take away their collective bargaining rights.

O’REILLY: Well he wants to take it away. But it's basically a reform in a sense that right now – look at Illinois. Illinois didn't have any of that. And they're going down the drain. They're going to collapse. Alright, So Walker says, we can't continue to spend at this level. We have to reform it. We have to rein in the collective bargaining. So it's ideological. So again people are going to have to make up their mind. Do we want fiscal solvency or do we want to continue on this road?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Quickly, do you think he holds on to win?

O’REILLY: Yes, I do, I think he wins tonight. 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014