CBS anchor Harry Smith and Bill O’Reilly traded light blows with each other on Tuesday’s Early Show, as the Fox News Channel host marked his 100th consecutive month at the top of cable news ratings. Smith jabbed his guest about his 12 years on the same network: “Couldn’t hold a job at any other place?...Is this the longest continuous employment you have ever had?” O’Reilly didn’t take it lying down, however, and got in his own hits at Smith, such as joking about how the CBS anchor apparently hangs out with President Obama.
After beginning with his employment jab at O’Reilly, Smith asked the Fox News anchor about the piracy off the coast of Somalia. O’Reilly replied by recommending the arming of merchant ships and the posting of security guards onboard. He also got his first ribbing in at Smith: “A few security guards? Look, you got more security around you, Smith...here than they have in the boats.” The CBS anchor quipped back, “I need it....We’ve got guys like you coming in and I never know what’s going to happen.” O’Reilly further recommended that a blockade be initiated off the Somali coast.
Smith then brought up the reported proposal by the Obama administration of naming Caroline Kennedy ambassador to the Holy See. He twice asked, “Do you believe it’s true?” When O’Reilly replied affirmatively, the Early Show host responded in disbelief, “That sounds crazy.” The Fox News Channel star responded by getting in another jab at Smith:
O’REILLY: ...Here’s what disturbs me about Barack Obama. He’s a brilliant man. I know that. You’ve interviewed him, right? Okay.
SMITH: A couple dozen times.
O’REILLY: Oh, well, I’m sorry. That’s right, you guys vacationed together. That’s right.
SMITH: He sings Happy Birthday.
O’REILLY: I’m sorry, how stupid of me.
SMITH: You’re out of the loop. (laughs)
O’REILLY: He’s a brilliant man, right?
O’REILLY: But he makes these mistakes like bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia.
SMITH: Well, George Bush kissed him.
O’REILLY: That’s right.
O’REILLY: And look, if they want to date the guy, that’s fine, but let’s -- let’s have a little decorum.
Later, the CBS anchor shifted to a related issue -- the upcoming commencement address by President Obama at the University of Notre Dame. O’Reilly thought the Democrat should speak at the Catholic institution: “You know, look, he’s the president of the United States. I didn’t like it when George Bush was disrespected by people, saying he was a killer, and this, that and the other thing....Barack Obama is the president. He should go and he should speak.”
Near the end of the segment, after Smith brought up the new dog at the White, O’Reilly returned to hitting Smith over his “vacation” with the President:
SMITH: How about the White House dog? Is that the right choice?
O’REILLY: The White House dog?
SMITH: The White House dog, yeah.
O’REILLY: But you know him better than I do. You hang with Barack.
SMITH: Oh, no, no -- not about the dog. Your pal Brit Hume said this is --
O’REILLY: Are you serious about a dog? Come on, you hang with him. You just blew me off because I didn’t know that you went on vacation with him --
SMITH: No, no.
O’REILLY: Tell me about the dog.
SMITH: I haven’t interviewed him since he was elected.
O’REILLY: He looks like a cute dog. But is a dog a left winger? I don’t know.