This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," February 2, 2008.
PAUL GIGOT, FOX HOST: Up next on the "Journal Editorial Report," the amazing 2008 race for president. As voters in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. get set to go to the polls, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are battling for every delegate. But can some emerging Democratic divides be healed before November?
And with Mitt Romney out, John McCain continues his march toward the Republican nomination. But can he close the deal with conservatives.
Newt Gingrich is here.
Plus, our weekly "Hits and Misses," but first, these headlines.
GIGOT: Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
Tuesday's so-called Potomac primary now takes center stage in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton battling it out for each of the 168 delegates at stake in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. This, as Republican John McCain fights an ongoing battle of his own for the hearts and minds of conservatives.
Here to help make sense of it all is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, author of the New York Times bestseller "Real Change."
Newt Gingrich, welcome. Good to have you here.
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER & AUTHOR OF "REAL CHANGE": Good to be with you.
GIGOT: One of the striking things about this primary season is how turnout has been so much greater on the Democratic side, almost two to one. That's a real enthusiasm gap. Should Republicans be worried?
GINGRICH: Yes. I think Republicans need to be taking seriously the fact that there is a huge difference between the energy and the enthusiasm and the money in the Democratic race and the lack of all three in the Republican race. And I think Senator McCain has to design his campaign for the fall breaking out of the normal Republican patterns and finding a way to communicate to the country that arouses a level of enthusiasm comparable to Senator Obama. I think it's a very real, very difficult challenge.
GIGOT: How does Senator McCain do that because, as you know, some of the conservatives really are unhappy with him and unenthusiastic. Does he have to map out a certain set of policy issues or is this about personality?
GINGRICH: Well, no. Look, I think that -- first of all, I think there's a very real possibility that Senator Obama is going to be nominee. And he has an usually charismatic ability to reach out to young people, in particular, and has drawn dramatic new crowds to the Democratic Party.
I think, to be able to match that -- and I describe this in "Real Change" in some detail -- I think Senator McCain ought to go to the heart of failures in America. He ought to go to the middle of Detroit, to downtown Baltimore, to Philadelphia, which has had 3,000 murders since 1988. He ought to outline policies and proposals that are real change and that offer a fundamentally better future and should challenge Senator Obama to meet him on developing real proposals.
And then, frankly, the Republicans in the Senate ought to challenge Senator Obama and Senator Clinton to help them actually pass real change and force them to go from slogans into practicalities. And I think will be -- there's got to be some kind of connection to reality. The people can look up and understand what all this means.
GIGOT: But if you look at Senator McCain so far -- indeed, the whole campaign has been fascinating to the degree to which it has not been, so far, a debate of ideas or policies. So much has been based on personality or biography or what your past resume was. And that's been true of Senator McCain's campaign as well. You're saying that he has to shift -- if I hear you correctly -- into a thematic campaign that looks at certain ideas and says I can solve these problems with these ideas.
GINGRICH: Well, I was very encouraged by his speech to CPAC this week because there he said this campaign will not be about small differences. This campaign will be about two fundamentally different visions of America. And he went through a series of examples.
I think if he could turn that into a vivid alternative, if he could communicate with people the potential for a dynamic entrepreneurial science and technology-based America that reformed its taxes, reformed its regulations, reformed its litigation, that went out and took head-on the things that aren't working -- as my book said -- from the world that fails to the world that works, I think he could suddenly galvanize a whole new interest in what is this race all about. And if he can make it real in the lives of people, I think he has a change of generating the excitement and the intensity that would allow him to match either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama.