Rocky tangles with FOX's O'Reilly over impeachment call

Published March 21, 2007 8:36 am
"You are a kook," right-wing pundit says of Salt Lake mayor
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Posted: 6:47 AM- Unable thus far to debate Sean Hannity, Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson gamely took on another right-wing FOX News pundit last night - Bill O'Reilly.

And neither Anderson, who has demanded impeachment of President Bush over the Iraq war, nor the "No Spin Zone" host offered any quarter. Arguably Utah's leading Democrat, Anderson no doubt knew what was coming when O'Reilly introduced the segment as the "Far Left On Fire."

Anderson and O'Reilly immediately dove into a heated exchange over whether the president's alleged misleading of the nation over causes for the now 4-year-old war amounted to the "high crimes and misdemeanors" the Constitution requires for impeachment.

O'Reilly insisted that language, in effect, demands crimes equal to felonies for impeachment to proceed. But Anderson was having none of that.

"You don't know your constitutional history, Bill," the mayor said, insisting Bush's purported "abuses of power" and "breaches of trust" left both him and Vice President Cheney vulnerable to impeachment proceedings.

"You don't know what you are talking about!" O'Reilly countered. "You are foolish and you are subverting your own country. . . . You are a kook."

Anderson smiled at the retort: "Classic Bill, isn't it? [You] invite guests on to call them names. . . . Where I'm from, we ask people questions and give them the courtesy of answering without being interrupted."

O'Reilly then insisted he was not calling Anderson names, that he meant to say, "Your interpretation is kookie."

The mayor then said a failed Middle East policy has hurt America's image abroad, especially in the Muslim world. "We are creating more and more enemies every single day," Anderson warned.

O'Reilly switched his attack, trying to nail down Anderson on whether military force should be used to keep Iran from developing nuclear weaponry. The mayor agreed Iran could not be allowed to possess such weapons, but preferred "dialogue" as the first resort for U.S. foreign policy.

At any rate, Anderson added, he would not trust White House assessment of Iran's nuclear abilities. Given past deceptions, he said, assurances on intelligence reports would first be needed.

O'Reilly's response? "I don't think the president is a liar," he said.

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