Lis Wiehl, FOX News legal analyst and regular co-host of Bill O'Reilly's radio program, claimed that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) "lied about going to the funerals" of victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Her accusation is false. Wiehl was referring to O'Reilly's own misleading on Clinton following 9-11 over her alleged failure to attend "any funerals for the regular people killed." In fact, Clinton attended several funerals and memorials, including one for 79 restaurant employees.
On the February 10 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly, Wiehl responded to O'Reilly's accusation that she would vote for Clinton "no matter what":
O'REILLY: You would vote for her [Clinton] no matter what she did, correct?
WIEHL: That's not true. I didn't like the fact that she lied about going to the funerals and things -- the 9-11 --
O'REILLY: You didn't like it.
WIEHL: No, no --
O'REILLY: But that wouldn't disqualify you from voting for her. Who broke that story, by the way?
WIEHL: Okay, you -- [cloying voice] "Oh, Bill, you're so wonderful!"
O'REILLY: I am -- the bell there? What she's talkin' about is after 9-11, Mrs. Clinton didn't go to any funerals for the regular people killed. None. She's the only major politician in New York not to attend. And then we asked why, and she attacked me. Now, what does that say about her? You make up your own mind on that. But I broke the story.
In fact, Clinton never "attacked" O'Reilly for criticizing her. Rather, on the December 15, 2001, edition of CNN's The Capital Gang, Clinton simply commented that O'Reilly "assails me for something nearly every day, and I ... feel sorry for him" in response to a question from panelist Albert R. Hunt. O'Reilly played the clip of Clinton's Capital Gang remark on the April 24, 2003, O'Reilly Factor:
HUNT: TV talk show host Bill O'Reilly is assailing you now for what he charges is indifference to the families of 9-11 victims. He says you have only attended three memorial services. Your response?
CLINTON: Well, you know, he assails me for something nearly every day, and I -- I feel sorry for him. I have done everything I can, not only attending the memorial services that were held in New York and in Washington, going to the funerals of the people that I knew personally. I do not believe, after a long lifetime in and around politics, that people should thrust themselves into private grief just because they're politicians.
Since his original attack on Clinton on the November 27, 2001, edition of FOX News' The O'Reilly Factor, in which O'Reilly complained that "the only events we know she attended were three highly publicized memorial services," O'Reilly has regularly summarized the controversy, much as he did in the above quotation, by explaining simply that "Hillary Clinton didn't go to one funeral or one memorial service of any of the regular folks killed at the World Trade Center, even though she's a senator of New York" (O'Reilly Factor, 5/13/02). But he rarely mentions that Clinton attended several memorial services or explains why the victims commemorated by the events she attended were not "regular folks."
In fact, Clinton delivered a eulogy at a memorial for 79 employees of the rooftop restaurant atop World Trade Center Tower One, according to an article in the October 2, 2001, New York Daily News. She also attended the memorial for Reverend Mychal Judge, chaplain of the New York Fire Department, whom she had met at a White House prayer breakfast. On the January 17, 2002, edition of CNN's Greenfield at Large, she added, "I also have visited in the hospital one victim and met with many, many, many other victims who were either out of the hospital or who lost a loved one."