Bill O’Reilly says he was ready to give Mitt Romney a full hour of prime time on the night before Election Day to make his case for the presidency.
But the Romney campaign turned him down, O’Reilly told Jay Leno Thursday night on NBC’s “Tonight Show.”
“I was amazed,” O’Reilly said, “because I told [Romney's reps] they were going to lose. I told them. I said, ‘You guys are going to lose unless you do something dramatic unless you make …’ And we would have given him the whole hour the night before [Election Day]. We would have given him the whole hour, because we did invite the president. They turned us down. Romney would have had an hour in prime time on the highest-rated show in the country on cable news and he didn’t take it.”
This “whole hour,” of course, would have been on “The O’Reilly Factor,” seen weeknights at 8/7c on Fox News Channel.
In the above quote from “The Tonight Show,” O’Reilly did slip in the statement that he also invited President Obama to appear on “The Factor” as well, though O’Reilly didn’t make it clear whether the President would have gotten an hour, or if the President’s appearance would have come on Election Eve.
He told Leno the President’s reps declined the invitation because they knew O’Reilly would question the President about the deadly terrorist attack on the American Embassy in Libya, and that was the last topic the President’s people wanted their boss to be discussing so close to Election Day.
On the subject of the President’s reelection victory, O’Reilly told Leno the deciding factor was Hurricane Sandy. “Eight days before the election, the [polls indicated] Romney probably would have squeaked it out,” O’Reilly insisted. “As soon as the hurricane hit, the Romney campaign disappeared for seven days and the President put on his President jacket, went to New Jersey [and] met with Chris Christie… Meanwhile, Mitt Romney disappeared because he couldn’t get into the news cycle and things started to change rapidly.”
Generally speaking, O’Reilly said Romney was not passionate enough to tip the scales in his favor in an election in which the President won by 3.5 million votes (according to O’Reilly). “I think if Mitt Romney had shown more passion, if he had made his case in a more urgent way, he would have won,” O’Reilly said.
O’Reilly stayed on “The Tonight Show” for two segments. He and Leno discussed a number of topics, including O’Reilly’s annual focus at this time of year on the cultural phenomenon he calls the “war on Christmas”; Bob Costas’ news-making commentary the other day about the “gun culture” in America; O’Reilly’s current bestseller, “Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot”; and, believe it or not, the Gangnam phenomenon.