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Fox News host responds to Jimmy Kimmel's health care takedown

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Fox News host Brian Kilmeade, one of the subjects of Jimmy Kimmel’s fiery Wednesday night monologue on health care, responded to the late-night personality’s remarks on both Fox News Radio and Fox & Friends on Thursday.

During a segment on Kimmel’s response to the latest Obamacare replacement effort, Kilmeade led the discussion by referring to Kimmel as one of the “Hollywood elitists” “pushing their politics on the rest of the country.”

Kimmel was “particularly” annoyed by this recent development because Kilmeade “kisses my ass like a little boy meeting Batman” when they see each other, he said.

Kimmel continued, “Oh, he’s such a fan. I think he’s been to the show, he follows me on Twitter, he asked me to write a blurb for his book — which I did — he calls my agent looking for projects. He’s dying to be a member of the ‘Hollywood elite.’ The only reason he’s not a member of the ‘Hollywood elite’ is that no one will hire him to be one. And you know, the reason I’m talking about this is because my son had an open-heart surgery and has to have two more, and because of that, I’ve learned that there are kids with no insurance in the same situation. I don’t get anything out of this, Brian, you phony little creep. Oh, I’ll pound you when I see you. That is my blurb — that would be my blurb for your next book: ‘Brian Kilmeade is a phony little creep.’”

Speaking to his radio audience, Kilmeade began, “Jimmy Kimmel, definitely like him. Don’t know him personally, but I liked his show before it was popular.” He explained how he filmed recaps of American Idol with the winners and runners-up years ago across the street from Kimmel’s talk show studio in California. His team would “call up” Kimmel to “try to do an interview behind the scenes.”

“I thought he did a good job, even though he struggled at first in the ratings,” Kilmeade added.

“For him to go out and attack me personally and try to get into my personality and wants to be a Hollywood celebrity, I’ve never,” he said. “I was out there [in California] for a while. I was doing sports, came back here, and after doing sports for 20 years [I’ve] been at Fox. Why would I ever leave the No. 1 network in all of cable, not only news, and the No. 1 morning show in the country through all these consequential events to go out to Los Angeles and do entertainment? I mean, what point is that? ‘No one’ll hire him’? That’s not even based in fact.”

Kilmeade suggested Kimmel do what he did by reading as much as possible and interviewing the senators behind the bill.

“See, I went and did research, and I know you can be a comedian and say whatever you want but you’re obviously extremely bright and extremely passionate about this issue,” he said. “Why don’t you call Cassidy and yell at him? … I’m not telling you to be a journalist, but why don’t you be fully informed about a program before you say how bad it is and call the guy that spends his free time operating on people for free as a surgeon, who is liked by everybody … you basically call him a liar without ever talking to him.”

But that was the impetus for Kimmel’s monologue. Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, one of the men behind the health care bill, said Kimmel just “does not understand” the situation. So the comedian read up.

“Oh, I get it. I don’t understand because I’m a talk show host, right? Well then, help me out. Which part don’t I understand?” he said in his monologue. “Is it the part where you cut $243 billion from federal health care assistance? Am I not understanding the part where states would be allowed to let insurance companies price you out of coverage for having pre-existing conditions? Maybe I don’t understand the part of your bill in which federal funding disappears completely after 2026; or maybe it was the part where the plans are no longer required to pay for essential health benefits, like maternity care or pediatric visits; or the part where the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Hospital Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, Lung Association, Arthritis Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis, ALS, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the March of Dimes, among many others, all vehemently oppose your bill. Which part of that am I not understanding?”

Kimmel hosted Cassidy on Jimmy Kimmel Live through a video chat on a May show. Back then, the senator said he agreed that all Americans with pre-existing conditions should be covered and that there should be no caps on how much an insurance company can pay out. “This guy, Bill Cassidy, just lied right to my face,” Kimmel said on an earlier show.

Kilmeade’s Fox & Friends remarks on Kimmel began with, “Hope your son gets better. I hope your son gets all the care he needs. I’m glad you’re interested [in the health care debate]. You’re doing a great job bringing the dialogue out, but [you] should actually do what we’re doing: talk to the people that wrote it, Senator Graham [and] Senator Cassidy…”

“About me and you personally,” he added, “I did this thing called ‘request an interview for an up-and-coming talk show host,’ who did a great job on Fox Sports and even when you weren’t getting great ratings, I thought you and your show were excellent… I didn’t kiss your butt, I thought you did a good job, and I thought I’d highlight behind the scenes of an up-and-coming talk show. As me trying to get you to blurb the book, a little mistaken. I actually tried to get you in this book [The Games Do Count] in 2003.”

Watch Kilmeade’s responses in the clips above.