Bill O'Reilly says President Obama's "grasp" of potential support for the economic stimulus package that's been running into roadblocks in Congress may be lacking, and the president may not be "living in the real world" if he thinks the bill that was put before lawmakers could pass.
On The Early Show Thursday, the conservative commentator and host of Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor" told co-anchor Harry Smith, "I don't know if his grasp of the bill is what it should be. And I'm not saying that in any mean-spirited way.
"But for President Obama to expect the nation and the Republican Party to accept a bill that (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and the far left put together that rewards unions, that spends billions on global warming research, that goes into all kinds of social engineering -- if Barack Obama thought the American people, who are really suffering, were going to take all of this and say, 'Oh, yeah!' he's not living in the real world. So, it's partially his fault for not understanding the mood of the nation right now."
O'Reilly said Mr. Obama's "job as the leader is to get everybody to say, 'OK. They've got it under control. We'll ride it out for a year or two. But it will get better.' Not to have all of the 630-page bill that nobody can understand, OK? That's why I want President Obama to be a leader, to be a leader. And right, now I think he's confused."
Asked by Smith if it's time for the president to go before the American people, Ross Perot-style pie charts in hand, and explain where the money in the stimulus measure would go, O'Reilly replied, "I wouldn't do it yet. See, I think they rolled it (the bill) out too fast. He's only been in office for two weeks. It seems like two months! But I wouldn't do it yet.
"When you have the chart ready so that even I can understand it, 'Alright, here's where the money's going,' then do the chart. But right now, it's chaos. You know, they're fighting it out, they're this, they're that and the other thing. But I'm worried about it. I'm worried about the folks, and I'm worried about Barack Obama losing control of the process."
"In some circles on the right," Smith pointed out, "there are people who would suggest they don't want to see the president succeed. Do you want to see this president succeed?"
"Of course I want to see him succeed," O'Reilly responded. "I'm not an ideologue, you know that. There's an industry of right-wing conservative politics. If you live in that industry, if that's where you're getting paid, you don't want to see him succeed. There's an industry of left-wing politics. That's where you are."
"Wait a minute!" Smith objected.
"Not you, you!" O'Reilly remarked. "I'm just saying you, the Latin plural, OK? What I'm trying to do is look out for the folks here. So, if the folks are getting hurt, you want Obama to succeed so they don't get hurt."
As far as the failed nomination of Tom Daschle to be health and human service secretary, O'Reilly didn't hold back, saying, "That's ridiculous. I mean, why would you not -- this is, what, the fourth guy (nominee) going down? Again, where's the leadership? He doesn't vet them, Obama. He has his staff do it. So somebody ought to get yelled at. You know what I'm talking about?"
O'Reilly's latest book, "A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity," has been on The New York Times bestsellers list for 17 weeks.
To read an excerpt, click here.