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Video: O’Reilly: ‘We need leadership in this country’

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    >>> on monday it the obama unveiled his plan to fix the housing crisis. here to talk about that and the gop field is bill o 'reilly, host of "the o'reilly factor" on fox news and author. president obama unveiled this new slogan yesterday, "we can't wait." when you consider the economy right now and what president obama is facing, couldn't that also be a republican bumper sticker, we can't wait until november?

    >> i can't wait until the debates are over.

    >> you've had enough of the debates?

    >> 97 defwats. i debates.

    >> it's going to be a new cable channel , all republican debates . they have their slogans and rallies and they've been doing this forever so it's nothing new.

    >> ten days after he took the oath of office , sat down with barack obama he said look if i can't fix this economy in three years it's going to be a one-term proposition. you look, there's 9.1% unemployment, 2 million homes fell into foreclosure this year, 10 million are underwater. is there any reason right now in this snapshot in time that the republicans should not be able to beat barack obama ?

    >> no.

    >> in the election?

    >> if the election were held tomorrow the president would probably lose but you know, a year is a long time and the economy could get better, things could rise up and president obama is a nimble guy, a smart guy , so the republicans would be foolish to count him out but of course they have the advantage. the president's going in very weakened.

    >> over the last 20 years or so, bill, it seems republicans have run on a perception that they are tougher on national security , that they're the ones who can keep americans safe. we've seen that in campaign ad after campaign ad . when you consider over the last several months barack obama oversaw the killing of osama bin laden and awlaki and gadhafi is now out of power and in fact dead, has barack obama done a lot to erase that perception, that idea that republicans have run on for so long?

    >> yeah. it's all about the economy. i don't think foreign affairs is going to be much next year although iran is a wild card . if iran causes trouble in iraq because the president is withdrawing all of the troops at the end of the year that could become a campaign issue but right now it's all about the wallet.

    >> right now you're saying republicans have no right to claim the mantle of we are the party that's tough on national security .

    >> they can claim whatever they want, lauer , but i think president obama has done a good job on the war on terror with the exception of iran .

    >> how do you think he played libya?

    >> played it well. we didn't lose anybody, cost us between $30 million and $50 million to bomb -- you know, look, all it is is nitpicking. american is on the decline of power, there's no doubt about that but it's all economically based.

    >> last friday president obama announced he pull all u.s. troops out of iraq by the end of the year, fulfilling a campaign promise from 2008 .

    >> right.

    >> when you heard him say it, bill, did you think wow that is great military strategy or pure political strategy?

    >> look, the reason he had to do it is because the iraqi government wouldn't give the united states troops a pathway to be tried by the usa. they wanted to try them in iraq if somebody misbehaves over there. no commander in chief could agree for that. the iraqis made it possible to keep his force there is. he should have kept 20,000 there to make sure iran doesn't misbehave and turkey doesn't brutalize the kurds in the north. he had to do what he did.

    >> let's talk about the gop field. if you look at a lot of the polls right now, herman cain is leading the republican pack by a couple of percentage points. he's a guy who has basically turned his back on the early primary states, new hampshire and iowa. he does not have an infrastructure to speak of. he's outselling a book. is he a serious candidate?

    >> he's serious but he's doing it in an unorthodox way. if the election were held tomorrow mr. cain would not be the nominee

    >> serious in terms do you think he really wants to be president?

    >> yeah.

    >> 27% of the people polled on the fwop sigop side say we would vote for this guy.

    >> herman cain what you see is what you get. who wouldn't want to be president? you get a jet, live in a great house, but cain is running a populous campaign. i don't think can he win but i was wrong last year. i didn't think obama can beat hillary.

    >> can mitt romney win?

    >> of course he wican win.

    >> is he a true conservative?

    >> if he's smart he's america's ceo that will restore the economy and put people back to work. that's all he's got to do. guys like you and me make a living out of it but the folks don't really care. they want somebody to get the economy back on track.

    >> that's the question, say he goes on and wins the white house .

    >> yeah.

    >> is he as a moderate republican , going to face an incredibly uphill battle against conservatives? is it going to make the john boehner tea party look like child's play?

    >> romney's been around for a long time. he makes deals, okay? he governed massachusetts and he had to make deals with those pinheads there.

    >> it's not a particularly deal-making period in our history.

    >> it doesn't matter. could he govern? yes. can he win? yes.

    >> rick perry in the last eight weeks has lost about half of his popularity according to the polls. what happened to him?

    >> he was in inarticulate in the debates and perception is reality. i got perry coming on "the factor" tonight for the first time. we tried to book him for months and he stayed away from the venue so we'll see what he's got tonight. can he make a comeback yes. he's got a lot of money. he's much more conservative than money.

    >> do you think his flat tax --

    >> i don't know.

    >> do you think that's the kind of thing that can help him claw back?

    >> flat tax is what people want. tax code has to be revised. if he's decent, he'll get some currency, pardon the pun.

    >> you get the new book --

    >> you didn't read it, lauer , because you're in bed at 5:00 in the afternoon.

    >> i'm reading things for other guests.

    >> you're not reading things for other guests.

    >> it's a best seller , i know you haven't mentioned it on your show yet. "killing lincoln the shocking assassination that changed america forever."

    >> right. we need leadership in this country and abraham lincoln is the gold standard , the best american president ever. we need to find somebody with that kind of fiber to bring us back and this was a departure for me, i took less money for this book but i wanted people to know in an accessible way, not some pinheady book, i'll send you an audio so you can listen to it, lauer .

    >> on my commute in.

    >> he goes to bed at 5:00, he's old. 5:00 in the afternoon he's in bed but that's why i wrote it. i wanted people to really understand what good leadership is. it's not a knock on obama , bush or clinton. we need somebody special to bring us back because we're on the decline, there's no question.

    >> bill o 'reilly good to see you.

    >> all right, matt, good to see you man.

    >> you called me matt, you slipped.

    >> lauer sounds good.

    >> 7:15, now here's savannah.

    >> all right, lauer , thanks.

Henry Holt and Company
TODAY books
updated 10/24/2011 1:51:27 PM ET 2011-10-24T17:51:27

The shocking assassination of Abraham Lincoln is one of the most dramatic stories in American history.  Bill O’Reilly recounts the story of how one gunshot changed the course of America in his new book. Here's an excerpt.


FRIDAY, APRIL 14, 1865
3:30 P.M.

“Crook,” Abraham Lincoln says to his bodyguard, “I believe there are men who want to take my life. And I have no doubt that they will do it.”

The two men are walking down Pennsylvania Avenue, on their way back to the War Department for their second meeting of the day. Lincoln wants a short session with Stanton to discuss the fate of a Confederate ringleader who very recently made the mistake of crossing the border from Canada back into the United States. Stanton is in favor of arresting the man, while Lincoln prefers to let him slip away to England on the morning steamer. As soon as Lincoln makes his point, he aims to hurry back to the White House for the carriage ride he promised Mary.

Hear an excerpt from Bill O'Reilly's audiobook, 'Killing Lincoln,' courtesy of Macmillan audio

William Crook is fond of the president and deeply unsettled by the comments.

“Why do you think so, Mr. President?”

Crook steps forward as they come upon a group of angry drunks. He puts his body between theirs and Lincoln’s, thus clearing the way for the president’s safe passage. Crook’s actions, while brave, are unnecessary — if the drunks realize that the president of the United States is sharing the same sidewalk, they give no notice.

Lincoln waits until Crook is beside him again, then continues his train of thought. “Other men have been assassinated,” Lincoln says.

“I hope you are mistaken, Mr. President.”

Abraham Lincoln's long road to success

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“I have perfect confidence in those around me. In every one of you men. I know that no one could do it and escape alive,” Lincoln says. The two men walk in silence before he finishes his thought: “But if it is to be done, it is impossible to prevent it.”

At the War Department, Lincoln once again invites Stanton and telegraph chief Major Thomas Eckert, the man who can break fireplace pokers over his arms, to attend Our American Cousin that night. Both men turn him down once again. Lincoln is upset by their rejection, but he doesn’t show it outwardly. The only indication comes on the walk back to the White House, when he admits to Crook, “I do not want to go.” Lincoln says it like a man facing a death sentence.

Inside the White House, Lincoln is pulled into an unscheduled last-minute meeting that will delay his carriage ride. Lincoln hides his exasperation and dutifully meets with New Hampshire congressman Edward H. Rollins. But as soon as Rollins leaves, yet another petitioner begs a few minutes of Lincoln’s time. A weary Lincoln, all too aware that Mary will be most upset if he keeps her waiting much longer, gives former military aide Colonel William Coggeshall the benefit of a few moments.

Finally, Lincoln marches down the stairs and heads for the carriage. He notices a one-armed soldier standing off to one side of the hallway and overhears the young man tell another, “I would almost give my other hand if I could shake that of Lincoln.”

Lincoln can’t resist. “You shall do that and it shall cost you nothing, boy,” he exclaims, smiling broadly as he walks over and grasps the young man’s hand. He asks his name, that of his regiment, and in which battle he lost the arm.

Only then does Lincoln say his farewells and step outside. He finds Mary waiting at the carriage. She’s in a tentative mood—they’ve spent so little time alone in the past few months that being together, just the two of them, feels strange. She wonders if Lincoln might be more comfortable if they brought some friends along for the open-air ride.

“I prefer to ride by ourselves today,” he insists. Lincoln helps her into the barouche and then is helped up from the gravel driveway to take his seat beside her. The four-wheeled horse-drawn carriage features two facing double seats for passengers and a retractable roof. The driver sits in a box seat up front. Lincoln opts to keep the roof open, then covers their laps with a blanket, even though the temperature is a warm sixty-eight degrees.

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The war has been hard on their marriage. Mary is delighted beyond words to see that Lincoln is in a lighthearted mood. She gazes into her husband’s eyes and recognizes the man who once courted her.

“Dear Husband,” she laughs, “you startle me by your great cheerfulness. I have not seen you so happy since before Willie’s death.”

“And well I may feel so, Mary. I consider this day, the war has come to a close.” The president pauses. “We must both be more cheerful in the future — between the war and the loss of our darling Willie we have been very miserable.”

Coachman Francis Burns guides the elegant pair of black horses down G Street. The pace is a quick trot. Behind them ride two cavalry escorts, just for safety. The citizens of Washington are startled to see the Lincolns out on the town. They hear loud laughter from Mary as the barouche passes by and see a grin spread across the president’s face. When a group calls out to him as the carriage turns onto New Jersey Avenue, he doffs his trademark stovepipe hat in greeting.

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Throughout the war, Lincoln has stayed in the moment, never allowing himself to dream of the future. But now he pours his heart out to Mary, talking about a proposed family trip to Palestine, for he is most curious about the Holy Land. And after he leaves office he wants the family to return to their roots in Illinois, where he will once again hang out his shingle as a country lawyer. The “Lincoln & Herndon” sign has never been taken down, at Lincoln’s specific request to his partner.

“Mary,” Lincoln says, “we have had a hard time of it since we came to Washington, but the war is over, and with God’s blessing we may hope for four years of peace and happiness, and then we will go back to Illinois and pass the rest of our lives in quiet. We have laid by some money, and during this term we will try to save up more.”

The carriage makes its way to the Navy Yard, where Lincoln steps on board USS Montauk. His intent is just a cursory peek at the storied ironclad, with its massive round turret constituting the deck’s superstructure. But soon its crew mobs Lincoln, and he is forced to politely excuse himself so that he can return to Mary. Unbeknownst to Lincoln, the Montauk will soon serve another purpose.

Lincoln offers a final salute to the many admirers as coachman Burns turns the carriage back toward the White House. It’s getting late, and the Lincolns have to be at the theater.

John Wilkes Booth is expecting them.

Reprinted from "Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever" by Bill O'Reilly © 2011 by Bill O'Reilly. Used with permission of the publisher, Henry Holt and Company, a division of Macmillan.

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive


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