Recently, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly attacked former senator John Edwards for noting the 200,000 homeless veterans who “go to sleep under bridges and on grates” every night. “The only thing sleeping under a bridge is that guy’s brain,” quipped O’Reilly. O’Reilly continued his attack earlier this week, claiming “They may be out there, but there’s not many of them out there.”
Last night, however, O’Reilly pulled an about-face, acknowledging to National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse President Joseph Califano that there are upwards of 200,000 homeless vets in America:
CALIFANO: We have 200,000 veterans who are homeless.
O’Reilly admitted Edwards’ claim was right, but still refused to admit his own inaccuracies. He also continued to attack the former senator, calling him “a liar” and “a charlatan.” O’Reilly insisted that homelessness “has nothing to do with the economy” and is “mostly because of addiction and mental illness.”
“So if the poor are not destitute in America, and they obviously are not,” declared O’Reilly. “John Edwards owes us an apology.”
UPDATE: Robert Greenwald at Fox Attacks has more on O’Reilly’s war against “non-existent” homeless veterans.
UPDATE II: Crooks and Liars has more.
UPDATE III: Brandon Friedman writes “Bill O’Reilly just needs to go.”
O’REILLY: To hype up this class warfare, Edwards is now bringing in homeless veterans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDWARDS: Tonight, across this country, 200,000 men and women who wear our uniform and can serve this country patriotically, veterans, will go to sleep under bridges and on grates.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’REILLY: Now I’ve said on this program that we will pay for homeless veterans to be taken to the Edwards mansion in North Carolina for shelter. Of course, that’s an immature remark, I know that, but there’s a reason I’m saying it. Certainly there are homeless veterans, but it’s not because of the economy. It’s mostly because of addiction and mental illness, something politicians can do little about. But if Edwards admits the truth, it takes away the class warfare issue, which is his only issue. [...]
O’REILLY: Yet according to the government census, poor households in America have lots of stuff. 97 percent have a color TV, 78 percent a DVD player, 80 percent an air conditioner, 73 percent a car or truck, 63 percent cable or satellite TV, and 43 percent of poor households in the USA own the home they are living in.
So if the poor are not destitute in America, and they obviously are not, why are so many veterans sleeping under bridges, John Edwards? The answer again they’re mostly addicted or mentally ill. It has nothing to do with the economy.
Edwards is a charlatan, a man either too uninformed or too dishonest to be elected to anything. I am tired of hearing this nonsense from him and other callow politicians. We deal with facts here on The Factor, not fiction. John Edwards owes us an apology. [...]
JOSEPH CALIFANO: We have 200,000 veterans who are homeless.
O’REILLY: Right. [...]
O’REILLY: But this is wrong for a major presidential candidate to demagogue this issue and try to tell the people it’s America’s economic system that’s causing this problem, is a lie, it’s wrong, he should be called on it. [...]
CALIFANO: This is not the only issue that happens to, Bill. Let me just say there’s enormous denial about this.
O’REILLY: I’m not in denial. I don’t think any…[...]
CALIFANO: I – well, they don’t want – they don’t to – they don’t recognize that substance abuse…
O’REILLY: They recognize.
CALIFANO: Drives all our social ills.
O’REILLY: Edwards knows this. He’s lying. He’s lying. He knows it. Everybody knows it.
CALIFANO: I don’t believe that John Edwards is lying.
O’REILLY: Then he’s dumb.
CALIFANO: No, he’s not.
O’REILLY: One or the other. [...]
O’REILLY: But I hope you understand my anger. It’s an anger that if you want to solve the problem for the veterans, let’s be honest about it. Let’s not demagogue it like Edwards is doing.