Conservative allies Bill O’Reilly and Laura Ingraham got into a debate on Tuesday morning’s Fox & Friends over pundit Michael Savage, who O’Reilly called a “crazy right-wing talk-show host.”
The Associated Press reported that Savage is not being broadcast on Talk Radio Network following an arbitration settlement last week. But O’Reilly used him as an example of what Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney should not do when he debates incumbent President Barack Obama Wednesday.
MediaMatters posted video of O’Reilly sharing his belief that Romney should try to channel former President Ronald Reagan during the debate.
“The way that Reagan did it was, authoritative, but folksy,” O’Reilly said, repeating a talking point he also made on NBC’s Today Show. “I don’t know if Romney can be folksy. You gotta take the edge off. You gotta be a little bold and fresh out there. But you gotta do it more of a twinkle in your eye than a malice.”
Ingraham tried to enter the discussion at this point, seemingly supporting O’Reilly, asking why his show, The O’Reilly Factor and Fox & Friends were popular, when O’Reilly interrumpted her.
“I don’t show malice, and I’ll tell you why,” said O’Reilly, who has called abortion providers “baby killers,” called Sandra Fluke “smug and immature” and been criticized for bullying both co-hosts and guests. “One of these crazy right-wing talk-show hosts is now off the air … Savage? Is he off the air?”
O’Reilly called Savage “malicious” before Ingraham stepped in.
“First of all, Michael Savage — you might not like him, he has millions of people who follow him,” Ingraham pointed out. “He is a talented broadcaster.” Then O’Reilly cut her off, suggesting that if people sense “malice” coming out of Romney in the debate, it could hurt him.
“I’m sorry, Laura, you’re wrong,” he told a visibly frustrated Ingraham.
“When has Romney ever done that?” she asked. “You’re creating paper tigers, Bill.”
The video, originally aired Tuesday, can be seen below.