Fox News host Bill O'Reilly said on the March 18 edition of The O'Reilly Factor that President Obama “had nothing to do” with the killing of Osama bin Laden, but in the days following the raid, O'Reilly repeatedly gave Obama credit for ordering the attack.
During a discussion about a Playboy magazine interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney, O'Reilly said there was “not one” foreign policy accomplishment that President Obama could cite. Guest Jessica Ehrlich, a Democratic strategist, said “Osama bin Laden,” to which O'Reilly replied, “He had nothing to do with that. That was U.S. intel and the Navy SEALs taking him out. He just said 'do it.'”
Those comments stand in stark contrast to the praise O'Reilly gave Obama in the days following the SEAL raid that killed the terrorist.
On the May 2, 2011 edition (via Nexis) of the O'Reilly Factor -- the day after the raid -- O'Reilly said in the course of a discussion with guest Michael Scheuer that “we do give credit to President Obama's national security team” for the raid. Later in that episode O'Reilly characterized the operation as “a big victory” for Obama and told guest Brit Hume that “this certainly bolsters [Obama's] resume” on national security, adding, “If you're going to call him soft on national security or soft on terrorism, he can look at you and go, 'Hey.'”
Fox News analyst Col. David Hunt on that same episode described the operation as “from start to finish, from the CIA standpoint, political standpoint, and obviously from a military standpoint, a perfect operation.” O'Reilly agreed, noting, “It was. It was amazing, especially when you compare it to that debacle that happened under Carter in Iran.”
The following night, May 3, O'Reilly continued to praise President Obama's role. During a discussion with Bernie Goldberg about media coverage of the raid, O'Reilly said, “I do believe the president did a gutsy, good job on this.” He later said Obama “deserves credit” for the raid and it was a “gutsy move,” concluding that the Obama administration “did it the way they should have done it.”
O'Reilly also noted that “if the right starts attacking” Obama over the raid, “that's just nuts.” He added that to do so would be “crazy” and “unreasonable.”
On the same episode (via Nexis), a viewer wrote in to O'Reilly and said, “Osama's dead not because of the president, but despite him.” In response, O'Reilly said, “I believe that's an unfair assessment.”
On May 9, O'Reilly said “There is no question Mr. Obama did the right thing, the gutsy thing in the bin Laden raid.”
It now appears that O'Reilly has questions.