'Rich Guy' O'Reilly Presses 'Rich Gal' Clinton on Taxes

July 7, 2008 - 8:33 PM

(CNSNews.com) - "Before I vote for you, I want to know how much are you going to take out of my wallet," Fox News host Bill O'Reilly told Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) in her first appearance on his show Wednesday. (A video of O'Reilly's exclusive interview with Sen. Clinton can be seen here.)

"I'm paying 33 percent tax now. You're going to raise it to what?" O'Reilly asked.

"I'm going up to what we had in the 1990s," Clinton replied.

"Thirty-nine (percent), 39-1/2," O'Reilly interjected.

"Thirty-six (percent), 39," Clinton agreed. "It's only for the people making more than 250,000 a year," she added.

"I'm very happy that you're going to pay more," Clinton told O'Reilly, "so that we can cut middle-class taxes on people who get up every day and do hard work to keep our country going."

Clinton said she has not made any commitment on cutting the payroll tax. But she also said she would not raise the payroll tax on "people who are already paying more than they should."

"I am not in favor of lifting the cap," she insisted. Obama is, she added. (Payroll taxes include state and federal income taxes as well as Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from employees' wages.)

Clinton said she'd learned a lesson from former President Ronald Reagan and former House Speaker Tip O'Neill on using bipartisan commissions to tackle the tough issues, suggesting that she might do the same thing on tax questions.

O'Reilly accused her of "waffling." "I am saying I am not going to impose additional burdens on middle class families, Clinton said.

That prompted alarm from O'Reilly, who portrayed himself as wealthy, thrifty and worried: "I'm a rich guy," he protested.

Clinton admitted that she's rich, too: "And you know what, rich people -- God bless us -- we deserve all the opportunities to make sure our country and our blessings continue for the next generation."

Targeting wealthy people for tax hikes is income redistribution, O'Reilly said. He said Clinton wants to take from the wealthy and give to the less affluent, and "that's why some conservatives don't like you," he said. He called it "socialism."

"No it isn't," Clinton said. "Was Teddy Roosevelt a socialist?" she asked.

Clinton said she wants to "get back to what worked in the 1990s" (when her husband was president and a rising economy lifted most Americans).

"In the 90s, we had one of the strongest, fairest economies we've ever had. Yes, did people like you and me pay a little bit more? We sure did. But so did everybody else benefit, because middle-class taxes stayed pretty even."

Clinton said typical American families are "net losers" under the Bush economy, whereas they were "net winners" under her husband's administration.

Both Clinton and O'Reilly appeared to enjoy their sparring.
Clinton said typical American families are "net losers" under the Bush economy, whereas they were "net winners" under her husband's administration.

Both Clinton and O'Reilly appeared to enjoy their sparring. But according to the San Francisco Chronicle, some liberals were not happy with Clinton's appearance -- nor with Barack Obama's appearance on Fox News Sunday this past weekend. One critic said by appearing on the cable network, Clinton and Obama were helping to "legitimize Fox" as a news source.

"Bill O'Reilly has a big audience, and Sen. Clinton is in the business of reaching out and talking to people even if they don't agree with her 100 percent of the time," the Chronicle quoted Clinton spokesman Isaac Baker as saying after O'Reilly's show aired Wednesday night.

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