• With: Newt Gigrich, former House speaker

    HANNITY: Let me ask you this, is the rise and fall of a lot of the candidates, is it becoming Romney versus maybe the Tea Party? Because it seems like Mitt Romney still has to struggle to explain over and over again, and it came up last night, Romneycare. Do you think that is where the divide is? Because he stays steady, he is 20, 25 percent regularly at the top of all polls.

    GINGRICH: Look, I think that Mitt is a very competent manager and I think he's a very talented guy. He's been working on this for six years. He certainly has a base, it's a big base by any reasonable standard he is probably the frontrunner and can raise more money, he can put together more things.

    The challenge is pretty simple. The reason I think he has a hard time getting above 24, 25 percent. This is a party, which decided starting in 1964 with Goldwater and then repeating it in 1980 with Reagan, we are a conservative party. We want to change Washington very dramatically. I think that Governor Romney has a more difficult challenge convincing people that a Massachusetts governor is necessarily the guy who represents that core value. And that's why if you watch Bachmann rises and falls, but the votes don't go to Romney. Pawlenty rises and falls, but the votes don't go to Romney. You know, Perry rises and falls, but the votes don't go to Romney.

    So for some reason, there's about 60 or 70 percent of the party that continues to look for the "not Romney." And I think it essentially goes back to Reagan and Goldwater and this core divide between the North Eastern moderates and the rest of the party. Mitt is a good guy, understand. He would be a vastly better president than Barack Obama. But I think the challenge he will face, whoever is in the final round, I obviously hope it will be me, is going to be this philosophical distinction about where America needs to go.

    HANNITY: All right, Mr. Speaker, thanks for being with us. We will see you on the campaign trail.

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