Popular Fox News political commentator Bill O’Reilly argued in downtown Montgomery Thursday that former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney did not want to win the 2012 presidential race, but said he should have won.
The author and controversial conservative commentator, speaking at a dinner to raise money for scholarships at Faulkner University, also talked about an ongoing rift in the Republican Party and his new book which was released on Tuesday.
“That man Mitt Romney did not want to win that election,” O’Reilly argued. “I do not know why. … He did not want to be president.”
He criticized the candidate for not questioning President Obama about the deaths of Americans in Benghazi during their debate on foreign policy.
The commentator said Romney has since gone underground and questioned where he is located.
“I have never seen a guy disappear like that in my life.”
O’Reilly argued that “Barack Obama should have lost the election,” stating that Romney led in polls about eight days earlier, but then Superstorm Sandy hit the nation’s major media center in New York and New Jersey. People applauded O’Reilly’s comment about Obama losing, but he said he was talking about tactics.
He argued Obama should have lost because, other than killing Osama Bin Laden, the president did “not deliver much to people in his first three years” and the economy is still struggling.
O’Reilly said they had access to Fox polling and to internal polling from the campaigns and those indicated the Romney lead before the storm. Some other polls, however, did indicate Obama with a lead in swing states in the days leading up to the election. But he argues the momentum swung the other way as Obama was able to become presidential and respond to the disaster. He joked about Obama traveling to New Jersey and walking the beach with Gov. Chris Christie, but not being able to see Obama because of Christie’s size.
“It blows Mitt Romney right off the front page, right off of television,” O’Reilly said. But he also said Romney refused to go on television programs including his in the waning days of the campaign.
O’Reilly said it is moronic for people to still blame President George W. Bush for the ongoing economic issues.
“If the University of Alabama had five losing seasons in a row, you would burn Saban at the stake,” he said. “We’ve had five losing seasons under Obama … It’s your fault. You can’t get it going because you’re taxing people to death.”
O’Reilly, who refused to talk to reporters, said he had not been to Alabama in years and only speaks at three universities a year. The self-professed Yankee said he appreciates the South, saying he thinks he knows the “rhythm of the area and the state” and that it coincides with his more self-reliant thinking.
O’Reilly, who taped his popular show Thursday afternoon before flying to Montgomery, said he disagrees with former President Clinton that the nation is so polarized because of cable news.
“It’s politics,” he said and added there are two very different views about the future of the nation between those who want more from the government and those who are more self-reliant.
O’Reilly said it is “fascinating” to see the current war within the Republican Party with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin who “want to blow up the whole thing” and others who argue that if the new health care law fails “people will finally wake up.” He agrees that could turn 2014 in the direction of Republicans if there is “mass chaos” with the implementation of what is commonly referred to as ObamaCare, or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
O’Reilly, a best-selling author with 12 straight New York Times bestsellers, talked briefly about his new book “Killing Jesus,” which he said sold 120,000 copies on the first day when it came out Tuesday.
O’Reilly, who has also written similar books on Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, said the latest was the “toughest book I ever wrote” and is a historic book about the “most famous person that ever lived” and is not a religious book. He said, while he is not a moralizer and is the “biggest sinner on the block,” he believes it is not good for the nation for it to move away from its Judeo-Christian philosophy and founding.
The commentator said some are arguing he is going to hell because his book is not religious and that the secularists hate it because “it draws attention to Jesus” and argue there is no new information, which he does not agree with.
The dinner was essentially a sellout with close to 2,000 people attending, said university spokesman Dave Hogan. He said he was unsure how much the event would raise.
O’Reilly is the latest conservative figure to speak at the annual university fundraising dinner. Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin spoke in 2010, raising more than $1 million. Former President George W. Bush spoke two years ago, raising close to $1 million.
The university raised closer to $750,000 last year with former first lady Laura Bush speaking.
The cost to attend the dinner ranged from $150 to $100,000 to be a naming sponsor that would receive 20 tickets to a reception and for four people to be in one photo with O’Reilly.
– posted by Sebastian Kitchen