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Centerstage O'Reilly Quotes

04/06/2010 11:07 AM ET

Bill O'Reilly listens to a question from CenterStage host Michael Kay. (YES)
Bill O'Reilly, political commentator and host of Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor, is Michael Kay's guest on an all-new GMC Presents CenterStage premiering Wednesday night after Yankees Post Game. Here are a few highlights from the conversation, including O'Reilly's opinions on President Obama and comedian/political satirist Jon Stewart.

O'Reilly on Comedy Central's Jon Stewart
He is a good guy. He comes in, we mix it up. Everybody wins. I like Stewart, because I don't think at his base he is malicious-like so many of them are. I also think he is very talented. And, I like talking to him. It's a spirited deal. I respect his opinion.

O'Reilly on President Barack Obama, and on the difference between true socialism and the type of policies Obama is trying to enact here in America.
I get hammered by Limbaugh and these guys because I am not going to call Barack Obama a socialist. Look, the hard-core socialism-and I have been to 72 countries, I know what hard-core socialism is. That's not what we have here. What we have here is a very liberal president. He is a very liberal guy-committed liberal guy-who wants to impose "social justice" on the country by economic means. That's not socialism, that's two steps down from socialism. The two steps are Western European style governance, as they have in Sweden in France. And then Venezuela or Vietnam-that's hard-core socialism, so everybody is clear. If Obama were a socialist, he'd be looking at you and he said, "You know what? We own your house. We, the government, own your house. Now you do what we say, you can keep it if you don't, we are taking it away. But right now, what he is, is a committed liberal, using the power of the federal government to impose "social justice," the way he sees it. That's not socialism.

On standing up to CBS 60 Minutes' Morley Safer in the company cafeteria
Now, Morley is like 5-3, and I am 6-4, and he just cut [in front of O'Reilly in line at the cafeteria]. I go, "Hey Morley, the line is back there." It was, like, silence, but Morley went to the back of the line. That's O'Reilly's charming personality. 60 Minute icon, crummy little reporter of the local news, "Back of the line, Morley." That was me. That is me.

O'Reilly's run-in while at WCBS-TV (New York) with then-New York Governor Hugh Carey after O'Reilly questioned Carey about his wife's being a political liability. And how O'Reilly is subsequently reprimanded by WCBS-TV's general manager.
Hugh Carey, Governor of New York. Marries a woman-a Greek woman-Gouletas, somebody like that. New Yorkers hate her. So Carey, on St. Patrick's Day, is at Bloomingdales at this big Irish reception. And I am there covering it. So he comes down the receiving line, and I go "Governor, there is a new poll out today, Daily News poll, that says that your approval rating is slipping big time. You are down about 40 percent." And he goes, "Bah bah bah bah bah bah, you know, I don't care." And I go, "And do you think your wife...could that be hurting you?" Now, I didn't do it disrespectfully. He goes nuts. He goes, "Get out of here. Bah bah bah bah bah," and he starts to yell at me. "You are the worst reporter in the world, and you are this..." Just, you know, what people are saying in their living rooms now watching The Factor, he was saying to my face. Now, this is gold! You know, I am going, "Keep going, keep going," So we run back to Channel 2, 11:00 o'clock news, [Former news anchor, Jim] Jensen is there. And I go, "Hey, you gotta lead with this! This is hot!"

He leads with it there I am on the set: "Well, I don't know why I upset the Governor, but..." Boom! And we run the whole tape. And well, you can imagine-all hell breaks loose. So anyway. Carey calls Paley, William Paley, who owns CBS, and goes, "You better fire this guy, blah blah blah," all this. Now, I come in the next day, and the news director comes over and he goes, "You have to go to see the general manager." I go, "Hey, I am getting a raise! This is gonna be great! Now, I should have picked up that the news director was looking at his shoes. So we get in there, and then the general manager-who looked exactly like Heinrich Himmler, the SS chief. And he goes, "You better not ever do that again." I go, "What?" He goes, "You were disrespectful to the Governor, blah blah blah blah blah." Now, that was bull. It was bull. It was absolutely legitimate journalism, I was respectful, the Governor went crazy, we showed it. That's what you do in journalism. And they still tell that story over there at Channel 2.

The McCain-Palin divide during the last Presidential campaign
Obama ran a very generalist campaign. And John McCain just wasn't energetic enough to say, "Hey, here is who this guy really is." He didn't do it-and that drove Palin crazy.

On Howard Stern
I knew Howard. I knew Howard, because he was the only guy in the school [Boston University] taller than me. And he has a big 'fro. He was always stoned. When I was walking around, I would go, "Oh, there is Howard," you know? We, of course, didn't know he was going to be a big media star, we just hoped he could get to the bathroom. I know what it took for Howard Stern to become successful, because he is like me. No uncle in the business, had to work his way up, cut through a whole bunch of BS. And I admire that. Would I do what he does? No. Do I object to what he does? No.

On growing up in Levittown [Long Island] with Billy Joel
Billy Joel was in my neighborhood, and he was in the Hicksville section-the same age as me- and he was a hood. He used to slick it [his hair] back like this. And we knew him, because his guys would smoke and this and that, and we were more jocks.

His thoughts on the four presidents that he has met (Ford, George W. Bush, Clinton and Obama)
The first one was Gerald Ford, and I thought that he was more of a technician than a leader. Then it was Bill Clinton. And now, I have never interviewed him, but I know him. I have spoken to him. Brilliant man. Off the chart. Works the room well. Likes working the room. But, for whatever demons he has in him, he couldn't quite control those demons. So, that's my assessment of him. George W. Bush I know fairly well, and I think he is an honest man-very honest man. He went to Harvard Law, and he went to Yale, so he is not an idiot. I would talk to him a lot about, "Well, why don't you fight back against the people who are demonizing you?" And he goes, "Oh, I don't care." The mark of a leader is basically to step up and convince the folks that what you are doing is right. Bush didn't do that. I felt that that was his biggest down draft. Barack Obama, brilliant-another brilliant man. I mean, I don't know who is smarter- Clinton or Obama. But again, Obama is more single minded; he is like "This. I am gonna do X, Y and Z. And the chips are gonna fall, and wherever they fall I'll take it." That's interesting, because they are not falling his way right now.

On how he came up with the name for his new book
My third grade teacher ruined my self-esteem at St. Brigid's School in Westbury [Long Island] and said, "William, you bold fresh piece of humanity." What I was actually doing at the time was, and this is actually true, we had inkwells back in the late '50s when I was in third grade. Inkwells, where you dip your little pen in it? And I was dipping the girl's pigtail in the inkwell.

Creating fake media credentials while attending Marist College which resulted in to access Yankee Stadium, etc.
So we invented a press organization called The Intercollegiate Press. Before we left Marist, we printed up "Intercollegiate Press" paper and business cards: "Bill O'Reilly, Correspondent, Intercollegiate Press," sounds great. Didn't exist. So we typed out letters to all of the media people-including the Yankees-sent 'em there and asked for credentials. Which we got! So I had season tickets to the Yankees. When we would go down to Miami, I had season tickets to the ABA Floridians. I had Dolphin access to Don Shula and all of this. And, and they would go, "Who are you with?" "Oh, we are with the Intercollegiate Press." "Oh, oh yeah, OK." You know, it was bogus. Bogus! We got into The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on the Intercollegiate Press pass. They gave us food, front row seats. It was great! It was tremendous. Then I said, "You know, I have got to get into the media after this."

"What we have here is a very liberal president. He is a very liberal guy-committed liberal guy-who wants to impose 'social justice' on the country by economic means. That's not socialism, that's two steps down from socialism."
— Bill O'Reilly

On why he chose Marist College
Football. Pure and simple. And I wasn't a good enough football player to play at a place like a Villanova, or someplace like that. And it was club [club football vs intercollegiate] when I got there. But we had a good team at Marist, they didn't have a kicker, and their quarterback was OK but he wasn't great, so I am thinking, "You know, I got a shot here." But I looked at some other colleges, but I was never going to play. And that was really why I went to Marist. And it was two hours away in Poughkeepsie. And then I showed up. I hadn't played high school ball because I was a hockey player at Chaminade. And I went through a boot camp that was unbelievably painful. But the funny thing about the Marist club football team was there weren't any intercollegiate rules. So most of our team was made up of people who just paroled from Dutchess County prison. They were tough boys. I mean, this was a tough team. And I went, "Whoa, these guys..." I thought it was going to be kinda like genteel. And we played Kings College in Pennsylvania, coal miner guys. I mean, there was one guy on Kings College-I'll never forget it. I kicked an extra point and the guy slammed into me to the ground. And the guy threw a flag, roughing the kicker. I went up and I looked at this guy and I go, "How old are you?" "35." I go, "This is college!"

Not fitting in while attending private Chaminade High School on Long Island.
And it was expensive for him to do that. Now, I didn't like Chaminade, because you had to wear a tie and a jacket, you had to take Latin. I used to go to the teacher, I would go, "Do you not understand, no one speaks Latin anymore?" "Do you, do you understand that civilization is wiped out?" "Why are we doing this?" It was hard. You had to study, you had tons of homework. And then you had the rich kid factor. So I had one sport jacket from Modell's, which cost eight dollars. They had cashmere and this. And, there was some snooty, looking down at people like that-there was. comments

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