Late Night: Bill O'Reilly reluctantly high-fives David Letterman
David Letterman has never been shy about his dislike for Bill O'Reilly. In O'Reilly's previous "Late Show" appearances, Letterman has called the Fox News host "a goon" and suggested that "60% of what you say is crap." But last night, the longtime adversaries finally found something they could agree on: The war in Iraq never should have happened.
It all began when O'Reilly explained that Dick Cheney refuses to appear on his show because "he thinks I'm a punk, essentially."
"I think Cheney is a punk," Letterman countered.
Given the opportunity, O'Reilly would like to confront Cheney about his now-infamous assertion that the U.S. would be greeted as liberators in Iraq. "Were you wrong? Why was the assessment this way?"
Letterman agreed, and pushed O'Reilly even further: "Also, we didn't really solve the problem of terrorism. In fact we made Iraq a hotbed of terrorism that heretofore likely wasn't a hotbed of terrorism."
Somewhat miraculously, O'Reilly agreed that the war was "something that should not have happened in hindsight," but he also justified his support for it. "All the reportage was that Saddam Hussein did have these weapons," he said.
Letterman didn't want his rhetorical victory to go unacknowledged, stood up and asked O'Reilly to give him a high-five. "C'mon! Up high! Get up here! C'mon, Billy, let's go!" he taunted.
O'Reilly clearly was not amused. "We're having a good conversation, sit down," he ordered, sounding like a short-tempered dad quelling a car full of rowdy kids. "I'm not high-fiving you on a war."
But when the audience started booing, O'Reilly stood up and gave Letterman what might have been the least enthusiastic high-five in history. It was hardly a "Kumbaya" moment, but it still felt like a milestone.
— Meredith Blake
Photo: Bill O'Reilly. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times