by Nicole Flatow
Following widespread media coverage of Bill O’Reilly’s promise to American Constitution Society President Caroline Fredrickson that he would “apologize for being an idiot” if the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act as Fredrickson predicted, O’Reilly delivered a begrudging apology on his show Monday night.
“I’m not really sorry,” he said, “but I am a man of my word, so I apologize for not factoring in the John Roberts situation. Truthfully, I never in a million years would thought the chief justice would go beyond the scope of the commerce clause to date and into taxation. I may be an idiot for not considering that.”
This is a curious answer from O’Reilly, since he did consider the tax argument when Fredrickson explained during that same March 26 segment that the Affordable Care Act could be justified under the Constitution’s power to tax.
In response, O’Reilly told Fredrickson she would “lose and your arguments are specious” and predicted the Supreme Court would strike down the individual coverage provision by a vote of 5-4.
The following night, O’Reilly raised Fredrickson’s tax argument yet again, saying:
This tax thing is completely bogus. It’s a penalty. And that means the government is punishing us if we don’t conform to the federal demand to purchase what they want us to purchase. That ladies and gentlemen, is flat out unconstitutional.
O’Reilly also tried to delegitimize the calls for an apology by dismissing Media Matters, which publicized the Fredrickson/O’Reilly exchange, as “far-left kooks" and MSNBC’s Howard Kurtz as “doing their bidding."
But when O'Reilly turned to Fox News Contributor Bernie Goldberg for support, Goldberg told O’Reilly he “should have seen this coming” when he made a “big, loud prediction" that the Affordable Care Act would be struck down.
Watch the full segment below.