This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," February 6, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: It's the day after Super Tuesday and when American awoke this morning with a political hang over, the presidential race seemed as hazy as it did last night. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are still locked in a dead heat, although there are reports today that the Clinton campaign is running short of money and Fox has confirmed that senior staffers are not getting paid because of that. And we'll have more on that with Kirsten Powers in just a few minutes.
On the Republican side, John McCain seems to be the front-runner, but neither Mike Huckabee nor Mitt Romney are completely dead politically. And tomorrow, McCain has to face the rotten fruit throwing conservatives at the annual CPAC conference in Washington, in what could be the most important speech of his political career. We'll also have more on that later in the show.
Joining us now is Fox News contributor, former speaker of the House, author of the "New York Times" best seller "Real Change," Newt Gingrich, who, of course, now likes the "New York Times" that's got his best seller. Mr. Speaker, not so bad, that "New York Times."
NEWT GINGRICH, AUTHOR "REAL CHANGE": Nice try, Alan. I like the page that has "Real Change." I don't particularly like the editorial page.
COLMES: You can't pick and choose. Let's get serious for a second. Are you surprised by what happened last night on either side of the political aisle?
GINGRICH: I don't know that I'm surprised because I went into it curious about what would happen. The only really big surprise to me was that in California you saw the impact of early voting, because my sense is that people who voted on election day were much more for Romney and for Obama, but that the number of votes that McCain and Clinton got before election day in absentee ballots, which are very big in California, really made a huge difference in the final outcome.
I guess the other surprise to me in California was that Obama actually carried both the white vote and the African-American vote. Senator Clinton survived by the Asian-American vote and the Latino vote, but lost both white and black voters to Senator Obama. That surprised me a little bit.
The other thing I'd say that I thought was a real surprise, I'm talking to you from Idaho, which is one of the states that Senator Obama carried. He did an amazing job of focusing on Minnesota, North Dakota, Colorado, Idaho, a number of states, Alaska, where he was picking up, I thought, very impressively, caucus after caucus, in states that don't have a very large African-American population, but clearly liberal activist whites had decided that Obama was their future.
COLMES: What happens now? We've got a few primaries and caucuses coming up. The ones immediately seem to favor Obama. The ones after that, like Pennsylvania and Virginia, seem to favor Hillary Clinton. How do you project things going on the Democratic side?
GINGRICH: I think it's a terrifically good question, Alan. My sense is that the Clintons are faced with a life and death decision, in terms of their ambitions. They cannot win a normal campaign against Senator Obama. He is going to attract more money, more support, more energy, more enthusiasm. The momentum for him is growing, and if they don't find a strategy in the next two weeks to break up his momentum, I think he's going to become the Democratic nominee.
The first try they made in South Carolina was so clumsy and so tinged with racism that everybody piled on and forced President Clinton to pull back from that strategy. So I don't know what they're going to do, but I think if you look at today's numbers, for example, where I saw one report that Senator Obama had raised three million dollars today alone on the Internet, he's going to be wallowing in resources, and she is going to be running out of resources. And that's very dangerous for the former front-runner.
COLMES: Let me point out the Gallup tracking poll out today shows a significant bump for Hillary Clinton, with a 13-point lead nationally. Of course, that's nationally, and doesn't necessarily address the particular states that are coming up, but it seems like there is a swing toward Hillary Clinton in the daily tracking poll.
GINGRICH: There could be. If you remember how last night went, early in the evening you had both Senator McCain and Senator Clinton winning big states in the east and the eastern time zone, and then you gradually saw a rebalancing during the night on the Republican side. Governor Huckabee and Governor Romney gradually began picking up more and more states.
On the Democratic side, Senator Obama began picking up more and more states. But for the average viewer, I suspect they went to bed about 8:00 or 9:00, or 10:00 at the latest, thinking that Senator Clinton and Senator McCain were bigger winners than they in fact were by the end of the evening. And I think by the end of the evening, Senator Obama had actually psychologically won Super Tuesday.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Mr. Speaker, thank you for being here with us tonight. I agree, I think by far that Barack Obama is now officially the front-runner for the Democratic party, but I want to go over two issues with you here. Not only did he out raise her two to one in the month of January, he's on track to do it again this month. He raised three million dollars today. She had to loan her campaign five million dollars, and she still had about half of what he took in for the month of January.
He won 13 states yesterday. She won three. And after the final count, he won more delegates yesterday. He won — he won the Super Tuesday primary by a pretty significant margin.
GINGRICH: Well, that's why I think that there's a real problem for the Clintons as a machine, because I think they thought they were going to — and as you know, I all along thought they'd win. So I'm surprised.
HANNITY: I know, we talked about it.
GINGRICH: In all fairness, I'm amazed that they have not found an answer to Senator Obama. And I'm beginning to think they're not going to find an answer. And I do believe last night the breadth of his support in the caucus states was probably as important as anything else. It wasn't just that he was carrying a place like Delaware or Alabama or Georgia, where there's a substantial African-American vote. He was carrying states with virtually no African-American vote, and he was carrying them because the activist reformers were clearly decisively moving his way.
And the fact that in California he carried both the white and the African-American vote, if I were the Clintons, I'd be deeply worried about how this momentum is building.
HANNITY: I think Alan accurately points out that the next round of primaries, if we go down the list here, certainly favors Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. As a Republican that would rather not see Hillary in the White House, I think Barack Obama is a stronger candidate. He may be the most liberal senator last year in the United States Senate. I don't think that's going to be enough to overcome this wide spread enthusiasm that he's been able to garner along the path. Do you agree with that?
GINGRICH: Look, I think he may be the most likable, most liberal senator, and I think that's a very formidable — that's a very formidable combination. You may get your wish of blocking Senator Clinton at the cost of elevating Senator Obama in a way that I don't think any of us could have imagined two years ago. This is a remarkable campaign. He deserves a great deal of respect. He has put together an amazing nationwide team.
HANNITY: If you were advising your friends, the Clintons, your old friends the Clintons, and if you were going to offer them any council or any advice on how to beat Barack Obama — I mean, for example, we know the race issue that was played by Bill Clinton, eight in ten African-Americans voted for Obama. What advice would you give the Clintons right now?
GINGRICH: They better find three issues on which they can fundamentally disagree with Senator Obama, where his record is clear and his position is clear, that move Democratic primary voters. If they don't find something like that to draw a clear distinction in a positive way, not being negative, not being mean spirited, they're going to lose.
HANNITY: We'll have more with Newt when we get back. We'll ask him about John McCain's relationship with conservatives. And then Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are in a virtual tie, so could the Democrats actually reach convention time with no clear winner? And what would that mean for the party? We'll break that down, more of our Super Tuesday post analysis coming up.
HANNITY: We continue with former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Let's talk about the possibility for the Democratic side that they're not able to decide or choose a nominee, and this goes all the way to the convention. You've got this question of Super Delegates, Mr. Speaker. Your thoughts.
GINGRICH: You have two big things. First, Senator Clinton won two primaries that currently have no delegates, Michigan and Florida. I can't imagine that Senator Obama is going to let her have those delegates without a huge fight.
Second, these political delegates, they're not Super Delegates. They're politician delegates. I can't imagine that if Senator Obama continues to win that they don't collapse and have to end up endorsing him, because you couldn't have the politicians as insiders thwarting the person who won all the primaries and caucuses, so I think that's going to melt down pretty rapidly.
HANNITY: Let me go to the Republican side, Mr. Speaker. I want you to analyze this and break this down, if you can here. I contend that both Governor Romney and Mike Huckabee are battling for the more moderate conservative wing of the Republican party. John McCain has an open field for the moderate liberal wing of the party. If you look at the numbers last night, Governor Romney won seven states, and five states for Mike Huckabee, and nine states for Senator McCain, but they were blue states for the most part, not states that are likely going to be in play for the Republicans come November.
Conservatives, 47-36 in Arizona, went Romney. Nationally, across the country, conservatives were not voting for Senator McCain. What does that mean for his candidacy should he become the nominee, this relationship with conservatives?
GINGRICH: Well, I think it's very important, and the speech at CPAC is going to be extraordinarily important. Senator McCain right now is in danger of becoming the candidate of the Dewey/Rockefeller wing of the party, successful candidate, but nonetheless, the candidate of the wing which has not had any kind of authority since 1964. If he doesn't find a way to build a bridge to the conservative movement, I think it will be very hard for him this fall to have a successful campaign, and I think —
I suspect that his staff and his consultants underestimate how deep this problem is and how deep the animosity is, and I think it could literally cost him the election.
HANNITY: And I want to delve into this more deeply. Is it that they're feeling where else are they going to go? What are conservatives going to vote for Hillary? There's a possibility they can stay home. But it's interesting, he's run the Straight Talk Express, but conservatives — for example, I've been written about a lot, about my substance disagreements. It's not on personality. I like him personally, to be honest with you, Mr Speaker. But there are substantive disagreements with Senator McCain.
My question then becomes that if he thinks he can do it without conservatives, I would imagine some conservatives may stay home, which would not be good for him.
GINGRICH: Well, I think it's worse than that. If he communicates that he will govern as a pure centrist, I suspect he will find an amazing part of the country that — conservatives turn and they focus on governor's races, Senate races, House races, they just ignore him. And this has happened before. And I think he should not underestimate that the conservative movement is a living, powerful system across the country. It has been historically since 1964 the most powerful single force in the Republican party.
He is currently winning the nomination to some extent on a fluke, great courage, great persistence, but without being able to re-unify the party. Tomorrow's his first opportunity to do that. And what I'll be curious about is I'm not sure that he has any sense of the rhythm of what it means to bring conservatives together.
COLMES: Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, as you point out, he speaks to Conservative Political Action Committee. I've never gotten that invitation. I don't know what happened. I think it's lost in the mail. He's going to speak to them. The story is he's going to show a film about Ronald Reagan comparing himself to Ronald Reagan. Is that good or bad for John McCain to use that tactic and present himself as a successor to the Reagan legacy?
GINGRICH: Well, first of all, I'm speaking at CPAC on Saturday. You have my invitation. I'd be glad to have you come and be with me on Saturday. And I guarantee you will get a nice, pleasant reaction from some people, maybe not everybody.
I think this is, frankly, a mistake. Senator John McCain is not Ronald Reagan any more than I'm Ronald Reagan or Mitt Romney is Ronald Reagan or Governor Huckabee is Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was a unique historic figure, and I think that we all — certainly Senator McCain and I when we were in the House together both tended to vote for President Reagan's programs.
I think what the conservative movement wants to hear from Senator McCain is pretty straight forward. What kind of cabinet are you going to appoint? What kind of policies are you going to follow? What kind of vice-president are you going to have? What's the Republican platform going to be like? And shmoozing us with Reagan films isn't going to get very far.
COLMES: Let me ask you this, he gets before CPAC and he sings from the conservative song book all of a sudden, and he says things that he previously hadn't said, and he comes around on certain issues where he hasn't been before. What believability is there at that point?
GINGRICH: Well, I don't think he has to come around where he hasn't been before. John McCain is not a left winger. He has a solid life-time conservative voting record that makes him a moderate conservative. He's been right on the Second Amendment most of the time. He's been right on right to life issues most of the time. A large part of this is attitude and tone. The fact that Steve Forbes endorsed him is a good sign. And I think he could offer a program conservatives might like.
COLMES: Mr. Speaker, I would be there, but my bullet proof vest is at the cleaners. But thanks very much for coming on our show tonight.
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