Read more about the National Press Club event after the jump…
Reversing roles, Kalb declared at the outset to O’Reilly that “you are in my no-spin zone” and that O’Reilly would have to answer his questions.
The two played well off each other; Bill, having been a former A- student of Kalb’s at Harvard, jokingly referred to him as “Professor” throughout the show. Kalb seemed mostly interested in getting at what makes O’Reilly tick–why he’s so angry and how he sees the world.
At one point the two came to a heated disagreement over President Clinton’s foreign policy, at which point a frustrated Kalb joked that he should have flunked Bill in his class at Harvard.
Kalb had O’Reilly touch on current hot topics, from the Iraq War to gay rights. O’Reilly refused to reveal who he’s voted for in past presidential elections. He also said he’s working on getting Sarah Palin and Joe Biden on the O’Reilly Factor but that both had initially blown him off.
“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not acting. I couldn’t act for 13 years straight, I’d have to be Laurence Olivier. If I was acting all this time I’d make Marlon Brando look like Luke Perry.”
Marvin Kalb: “Do you ever have moments of humility?” O’Reilly: “Private ones.”
“It’s a war. It’s a cultural war. You’re going to have to decide which way you want to go [in the culture war between traditionalists and secular progressives], or else move to San Francisco.”
Near the end O’Reilly accused Kalb of being a Washington elitist– “You don’t know any ‘folks,’” referring to average Americans.
O’Reilly said that he’s already decided what words he wants on his tombstone: “He finally stopped talking.”