O'Reilly And Beck Attract Thousands In Tampa - Obama, Not So Much
By Renee Burrell
Fox cable news show hosts Bill O'Reilly and Glen Beck brought their Bold Fresh Tour to Tampa for two sold-out shows on Friday, January 29. Sixteen thousand well behaved fans showed up at the University of South Florida Sun Dome, having paid $45, $65 or $120 for seats. In addition, thousands nationwide were able to see a screening of the Tampa evening show at movie theatres January 31 and February 2.
In contrast, President Obama and Vice President Biden, fresh from the President's first State of the Union Address, were in town a day before O'Reilly and Beck on Thursday, January 28, for a free, open-to-the-public town hall meeting at the University of Tampa. Tickets for the 'town hall' meeting were dispersed the day before for two hours on a first-come, first-served basis. An estimated 3,000 people attended. "One thousand were protestors", noted Beck, a former 970 WFLA Tampa radio host who was quite at home with the audience.
O'Reilly and Beck offered not only their conservative views about the President's healthcare reforms and other hot button topics, but also comic relief to those angered and worried about the direction in which the country has been moving. They took to the stage separately, and then after a break appeared together to take questions and answers from each other.
Beck assured the crowd that they are not alone in thinking that the country is being transformed away from what the Founding Fathers intended and that America needs to be "Refounded". "America will stand. The constitution will stand", he explained, "Because we are remembering." Beck invited the audience to stand with him at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on August 28. On that day Beck intends to spur on a new national movement to restore the country's greatness and unveil "The Plan", a book that will provide specific policies, principles, and steps for individuals to take to play a role in the Refounding.
During his monologue O'Reilly told the audience, "Beck is pretty worried and thinks the whole thing is going south. But I have hope. The folks are smart."
O'Reilly relayed how impressed he was with Obama during the campaign and knew he'd win, "But finds it interesting to see how the public lately has turned against him". "There is a philosophical difference between Barack Obama and me and that's "Big government".
Each brought up former McCain running mate, Sarah Palin. Beck said, "I have to tell you I really like her…I don't know if she wants to run or will run but she is looking at things like you and I are and thinks this has got to change and people have got to step up."
O'Reilly said he asked Sarah Palin why she and McCain didn't try to define Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign and make a bigger deal out of Jeremiah Wright, Obama's former church pastor who was taped damning America from his pulpit. He said Palin said she wanted to, but McCain's people wouldn't let her.
During their Q&A session, one of the questions Beck asked O'Reilly was: "You think Obama is really smart. I think you are a smart guy. How long would you have sat in Reverend Jeremiah Wright's church?" O'Reilly speculated that the church served Obama's purposes politically prior to his run for the presidency and that if he was John McCain, "I would have went at him with that." O'Reilly said his upcoming book, "Pinheads and Patriots-Where Do You Stand?" examines McCain's non-action.
Both opined that the president needs to accomplish something big by November.
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