Newt Gingrich on Pennsylvania Primary

This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," April 21, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, CO-HOST: New attacks in closing arguments on the eve of the primary that could potentially decide the 2008 Democratic presidential race. The two candidates packing their schedules tight, trying to drum up last-minute support.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to really bear down. The last day is here and the entire world is watching. And I appreciate your having my back. I appreciate that very much.


KELLY: Meantime, Barack Obama says he is not predicting a win tomorrow, but he is predicting this race will be close.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: People really do feel like we've got to fundamentally change how Washington works, and that's what this campaign has been about. We've had a terrific contest between myself and Sen. Clinton.


KELLY: Presumptive GOP nominee, John McCain, kicking off his week- long time for action tour in Alabama today. First stop, Selma, where civil rights workers were tear-gassed and clubbed back in 1965.

McCain says he is touring communities that suffer from poverty and usually get very little attention from presidential candidates. His tour will include the hurricane and flood-ravaged ninth ward of New Orleans. Bill?

BILL HEMMER, CO-HOST: Megyn, you know, you average the polls together in Pennsylvania and Sen. Clinton leads Barack Obama by a bit more than six points. But political pundits say she needs to win by a landslide in order to have a chance and that's just in PA.

Here now, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a FOX News contributor and the author of the bestseller, "Pearl Harbor," that is just out in paperback. Mr. Speaker, good evening to you and welcome back here.

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: It's good to be with you.

HEMMER: What are you watching in Pennsylvania the day before the vote?

GINGRICH: Well, I have to watch, first of all, in the southeast to see how big is the African-American vote in Philadelphia where there have been, I think, 107,000 additional people registered. Then, you have to see whether or not Sen. Clinton's appeal, particularly to women voters has cut into Sen. Obama's support in the suburbs just outside of Philadelphia.

Then you get to a huge section of Pennsylvania - I was born in Harrisburg. The minute you leave the Philadelphia suburbs, you're in a very different state, a much more conservative state, and a state which I suspect will not be particularly friendly to Sen. Obama. He's got to build an enormous lead in Philadelphia to have a chance to win tomorrow night. My guess is he, in fact, will end up losing, and Sen. Clinton will be somewhere between six and 10 points ahead of him when the evening is over.

HEMMER: You know, you failed to mention the white voters over the age of 30. "Christian Science Monitor" went a long way today in describing in this article about how they are the key to victory for either Clinton or Obama. But why is this group considered still up in the air, Mr. Speaker?

GINGRICH: I think that they are wavering. I think that they would like to be for Sen. Obama. But the more they learn about him, the more uncertain they are. I think they are very leery of Sen. Clinton in repeating the '90s.

But I think in the end, if I were betting, the general principle has been in places like Ohio. Sen. Obama doesn't get any of the swing vote the last two or three days. He does very well in states that have very big college towns, that have a lot of intellectual workers. He does not do well in places where you got blue collar workers and you have a lot of people out there who are earning a living every day, doing something other than sitting in a college classroom.

And so I think that Pennsylvania is the kind of state where Sen. Clinton has a much bigger organization. She has Gov. Rendell who's a very popular governor. And I think she has the advantage, at least for everything I can tell - she has a pretty big advantage going into tomorrow night.

HEMMER: Let's say Barack Obama comes this close to beating her, maybe it's less than six points or maybe four or five in the final tally. Do the superdelegates get ready to cross over to his side Wednesday?

GINGRICH: Oh, I think if it's very close, the pressure of Sen. Clinton to start getting out of the race will be enormous. I think the challenge for the Democrats is - you know, on the other hand, if she beat him by 60-40, which is very unlikely, it will suddenly be brand new race.

I think the problem for the Democrats is that Sen. Obama keeps showing just enough weakness to make them worry about the general election, and not enough weakness to lose the nomination. Sen. Clinton is doing just barely well enough to stay in the race, but not well enough to have a knockout punch. And my personal guess is this is going to go on at least through Indiana and North Carolina, and could go on all the way through the end of the primaries.

HEMMER: All right, that is May 6. And what - Puerto Rico is the first of June, if I remember correctly. Roll this ad here quickly. This is put up by Hillary Clinton late over the weekend. It has the concluding line, "Who do you think has what it takes?" That's after going to these great events in history over the past century. Osama Bin Laden has a shot in there, too.

Is this kind of an ad effective for her in the closing minutes of Pennsylvania? I mean does it take you back to the closing days of Ohio when the 3:00 a.m. phone call ad came out?

GINGRICH: You know, I don't quite understand the Clinton campaign's strategy, because they keep trying to make it personal on a level that I don't think works for them. There is a big difference between Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton. She has a much clearer record about issues that matter to Pennsylvanians. Senator Obama has more and more questions about his background and more and more questions about what are his real beliefs, who are his friends, a whole range of things.

As you know, Sen. McCain got into the William Ayers story, the American terrorist who has not recanted for having bombed government buildings in the U.S. And I think that there is a way to say that in the end, Sen. Obama is just not going to make it through a general election.

But I think the ad you were just describing - it seems to me if you are already for Sen. Obama, you'd decide, you know, he is the guy that fits the ad. And if you're already for Sen. Clinton, you figure she is the person that fits the ad. And if you're undecided, you'd wonder why they're running the ad.

HEMMER: Yes. You're probably true on that. Thank you, sir. Good to have on. Newt Gingrich, from Washington tonight.

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