Calling this year's pregame Super Bowl interview with President Barack Obama, "the toughest interview of my life," Fox News' Bill O'Reilly
told ABC late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel
he has nothing but respect for the commander-in-chief.
O'Reilly said he told Obama ahead of the 10-minute live interview
, "You know it's me, OK? This isn't, I'm going to ask you one question, you're going to fly with your spin. That's not going to happen. This is more of a conversation. And to his credit, he said OK. And he delivered."
O'Reilly said he likes Barack Obama as he did George W. Bush.
"I think they're both patriots, OK? Now, you may not agree with their policies. You may think that they're not managing well. That's fine. Everybody has an opinion. But as human beings, I think they're both trying to do what's best for their country. So I admire that. I respect that."
Some liberals criticized O'Reilly as being disrespectful to the president by interrupting him and challenging him. O'Reilly said if he hadn't, Obama would have used the whole 10 minutes saying whatever he wanted.
Critics on the right thought he wasn't hard enough on Obama. But O'Reilly said he doesn't believe any president should be put into a category that they're trying to subvert the nation unless there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
"Now, that being said, I'm the toughest guy on the block when it comes to holding them accountable for what they do," he told Kimmel.
O'Reilly, who is basing his show out of Los Angeles this week instead of New York, was on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" to promote his latest historical novel, "Killing Jesus."
Kimmel, who was an altar boy as a youth, complimented O'Reilly on the book. But he wondered whether Jesus would watch Fox News if he were on earth today.
"Now if you met a guy like this nowadays," Kimmel said, "if he happened upon your television show, don't you feel like you'd be one of the first guys to say, 'Oh, this guy's a nut, he's a hippie, he's a weirdo. Get him the hell out of here'?"
"Well, then he'd turn me to stone, so that wouldn't be good," O'Reilly said. "You gotta respect that."
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