BILL O'REILLY (HOST): Now, tone, tone. If history is any barometer, the Clinton campaign will go after you through surrogates. MoveOn, these sleazy left-wing websites are going to tear you up. Are you going to respond to that if Hillary Clinton takes the high road and doesn't do any of that?That was kind of brilliant, now, wasn't it? He's not saying he likes the low road or that he'd choose the low road, just: If she or her people take the low road, they'll be on the low road with him and he knows how to handle it. He had 17 people in the primary, taking whichever roads they were taking on any given day for nearly a year, and he dealt with it. So he's warning the Hillary people: You do not want to take the low road with me. That can't possibly warn Hillary and all her proxies off the low road, but he's staked out his position: It won't faze me — "I'm fine with that" — and you will lose.
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I'm going to be able to figure it out. We had 17 people just now and I figured that out and I will be able to figure it out with Hillary. It depends on where she is coming from. If she wants to go the low road, I'm fine with that. And if she wants to go the high road, which probably I would prefer, I would be fine with that.
O'REILLY: But wait. You're fine with the low road? Most people don't want to go on the low road?
TRUMP: No, I can handle the low road if I have to do it. I mean, we've had some low roads over the last few months.
TRUMP: I'm fine with it if we have to go that direction. Maybe you haven't noticed.
O'REILLY: You know what? I hope you don't have to go it. I would like to see you and Mrs. Clinton in a spirited campaign about issues without the low road. I know the media likes it. I know they like all that stuff but I don't. I would like to see you, you know, you guys just fight it out over issues.
My link goes to Media Matters, which mangles the meaning in its headline: "Trump Tells O'Reilly He's Ready To Take The 'Low Road' Against Hillary Clinton In The General Election/Bill O'Reilly: 'You're Fine With The Low Road? ... I Hope You Don't Have To Go To It.'" They completely omitted the main idea, that he wouldn't choose the low road, but he's prepared to operate on that level if his opponents choose it.
What was so striking about the rhetoric — and I almost don't blame Media Matters for screwing up the interpretation — is that Trump seemed to enjoy saying "low road" and exhibiting his comfort with that place. Also Trump avoided the original question, which specified that Hillary herself would take the high road and those sleazy proxies would do the dirty work. Trump declined to see Hillary standing apart from her surrogates.