Bill O’Reilly and I go way back.

When Bill first got started at Fox News Channel, I went to meet this up-and-comer to exchange ideas and see if we had any common ground.

I remember his first question to me was: “How do you describe WorldNetDaily?” (Back then, that’s what we called WND.)

“Independent,” I explained. “We’re America’s No. 1 independent Internet news source.”

Bill liked that.

“That’s me, too,” he exclaimed with excitement. “I’m independent.”

I knew we were finding common ground.

I asked Bill what his top three professional goals were. I’ve asked this question to many people over the years. Most people struggle with an answer. Bill didn’t. He rattled off three goals like he had been thinking about it all day long.

“I want to have the No. 1 cable news show,” he began. “I want to have the No. 1 best-selling book in America. And I want to have the hottest syndicated column in the country.”

Just like that. No hesitation. Not a minute to think about it.

“Well, Bill,” I said. “I think we can help you achieve all three of those goals very quickly.”

We agreed that day to launch a weekly column by O’Reilly in WND, to help him promote his first non-fiction book and to work out a synergistic, mutually beneficial plan to promote his show.

Within three months, Bill O’Reilly had achieved all three of his professional goals – No. 1 cable show, hottest syndicated column and No. 1 best-selling book.

Bill even called me up to thank me for what we had done to achieve those goals and to do it so quickly. We worked on many other projects after that, and, for several years, Bill O’Reilly’s column ran first in WND.

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With that somewhat lengthy background on the table, let me tell you just how badly I think my old friend performed in that pre-Super Bowl interview with Barack Obama.

So disappointing was his performance that this is the second column I am writing to talk about it. Last time, I focused on Bill’s closing remark to Obama: “I think your heart is in the right place.” I don’t want repeat all the reasons Obama’s heart is not in the right place. Instead, I want to point out that O’Reilly hit on only the most obvious questions Obama has faced countless times. Granted, he never provided good answers before, but he was practiced at dodging subjects like Internal Revenue Service political abuse, Benghazi and Obamacare. And Bill didn’t make any progress on those subjects.

Why on earth wouldn’t Bill hit Obama upside the head with something he hadn’t been asked about before – something new, something fresh, something right out of the news?

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about the indictment of Dinesh D’Souza on ridiculous, penny ante campaign finance violations.

Imagine this line of questioning:

Bill: “Mr. President, last week the nation was surprised to see a guy who was arguably your No. 1 critic during the 2012 campaign, Dinesh D’Souza, indicted by your Justice Department on campaign finance violations. Was this payback for D’Souza’s very successful documentary?”

After Obama says he knew nothing about it and had no involvement in the indictment, Bill could have come back with this:

Bill: “But Mr. President, I want you to picture yourself observing something like this happening in 2004. George W. Bush is running for re-election and Michael Moore makes a nasty documentary about him. A year later, Bush is back as president and Moore gets indicted. How would you have viewed these same circumstances if the roles were reversed?”

Of course, Bill didn’t do that.

He took the easy way out – the predictable way. He didn’t ask the tough questions. And then he told Obama his heart was in the right place. Really? I wonder if Dinesh D’Souza feels that way.

See the film that put D’Souza in the feds’ cross-hairs: “2016: Obama’s America.”

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