This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," June 9, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Well, the race is on, Senator Obama versus Senator McCain. Do you think either of the candidates ever thinks, I wonder what Newt Gingrich would do? Well, they should listen up tonight because earlier, we spoke to former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. And since Father's Day is almost here, don't forget the former Speaker is also an author of a new book, "Days of Infamy."
VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Speaker, nice to see you, sir.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It's good to be back.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. We hear all the time the evangelical vote is so important to Senator McCain. What does he do to win this vote, or does he already have it?
GINGRICH: Well, I don't think anybody can count on anything right now. You have for the first time in my memory, two insurgents who have now won their parties' nominations. McCain, in a sense, beat the regular Republican establishment. Obama clearly beat the Democratic establishment. And I don't think we know how the election is going to come off.
Senator Obama, in some ways, talks about his faith more casually, more easily than Senator McCain does. On the other hand, almost all of Senator Obama's positions on social issues are horrifying to people who are evangelical. So I think as this sorts itself out in September and October, it's pretty hard for me to see right now, in the end, how Senator Obama gets that vote. But Senator McCain has not made it very easy for people who are evangelicals to find a way to work with him and to be allied with his campaign.
VAN SUSTEREN: When Senator Obama talks about his faith, do you think that he can separate it out from Reverend Wright and Father Pfleger? Because that's -- when you said that, the first thing I thought of is that, you know, yes, it's very effective to talk about faith, but how many people don't like his association with those two?
GINGRICH: Well, it's going to become part of the key to his fall campaign. Is this the dynamic, charismatic, optimistic, disciplined unifier who draws 30,000 and 50,000 people? Or is this, in fact, the advocate of the hard-left radical policy that some of his friends clearly belong to over the last 20 years? And I think we don't know yet how that - - you know, how that story is going to be told.
Everybody on the right believes they know the answer. I mean, they all are convinced that Senator Obama is a very hard-left person. On the other hand, I think he's gotten tougher and tougher about dissociating himself and he's moved faster and faster to dissociate himself. It's not clear to me, frankly, who he is.
And so I think one of the great stories of the next five months is going to be, Who is Barack Obama? What are his decisions about vice president? What are his decisions about the platform? When you get down into the detail below the hopeful, positive, optimistic stuff, does he take hard-left positions, or in fact, does he take on his own coalition and adopt some policies that maybe jar them and make them a little uncertain?
VAN SUSTEREN: In terms of his experience, which is what I assume the Republicans will focus on, is that he was a state legislator and he was -- and he has been in the United States Senate, which is not an enormous amount of experience. If you look at the experience that our current President Bush had coming into office, he was the governor of Texas, but the Texas governorship is unique. It's not as -- it's not as -- it's not your typical governorship. It doesn't have as much power as most governors. Who has more experience?
GINGRICH: You know, it's funny to watch this. Senator Clinton spent a fair amount of time early in this campaign trying to make experience the issue, and you know, the telephone at 3:00 in the morning, and I think people just shrugged it off.
VAN SUSTEREN: Experience doesn't matter?
GINGRICH: I think people worry about Obama, in the sense that you don't really know what he'll do and you don't know who he will turn out to be over time. And in that sense, there are a lot of people -- I have people walking up to me today saying that they were genuinely frightened at the prospect of him as president. On the other hand...
VAN SUSTEREN: But that's Republicans, isn't it? I mean...
GINGRICH: Mostly Republicans, mostly conservatives, but people who look at it and thing about, you know, William Ayers, the radical former terrorist. They think about Reverend Wright. They think about the kind of people who are so radically anti-American.
But I think that what -- first of all, what Senator Obama can say is he has organized the largest group of contributors in American history. He's organized the largest Internet-based volunteer campaign in American history. He has brought together a very wide range of people. And he defeated the Clinton machine, which as you know, I thought was virtually impossible. So it's a little hard, by the standards of American politics, to say that he's disqualified by the fact that he's only been senator for a few years.
VAN SUSTEREN: We will have much more with former Speaker Newt Gingrich coming up.
And then news is breaking in Oklahoma, police searching for the killer of two girls, 11 and 13. Who viciously shot the two young girls and then coldly left their bodies in a ditch for families to find? Do police have a motive?
And later: Look at this unbelievable video, a house falling into a Wisconsin river and floating away. Now, that's someone's home completely destroyed by the pounding floods that have consumed so much in the Midwest. You will go live to Wisconsin.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's a new week and a narrowed field for the race for the White House. It is now down to two, Senator Obama versus Senator McCain. Earlier, former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich went "On the Record."
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now, you say that people have said they're afraid of Senator Obama. Probably people who are very -- who are liberal would not come up to you and say -- likely come up to you and say, I'm afraid of Senator McCain, he's -- because of his -- you know, because he has a different vision of how we should go about in Iraq. So that's true, right?
GINGRICH: I think on the left, as they think about McCain and as they look at McCain -- first of all, McCain is much more conservative than the news media maverick image. If you look at his overall voting record, he's historically four times out of five voted conservative. And if you want to pick fights from the left, you're going to find more than enough reasons to be unhappy with McCain.
I think what's fascinating about this year, though, is that, in a way that I don't think anybody that I of could have predicted, the American people are writing a new story. We have a project at American Solutions called Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less. It's a petition. And in two-and- a-half weeks, we've gotten over 450,000 signers from all over the country, including thousands of Democrats, some self-identified Democrats who signed this thing.
And I think it's part of the same process that led to McCain and Obama. What nobody has analyzed is -- forget the personalities of two people. The American people are telling us something. The American people are telling us they are fed up with the traditional power structure in both parties. They are fed up with politics as usual. They picked McCain over every other candidate, and they picked Obama against the leading and most powerful Democrat in the country.
VAN SUSTEREN: But can you -- I mean, can you really say that in terms of Senator Obama? Because, I mean, he lost the popular vote. He won the electoral vote, so it's not as though all the American people have said that Senator Clinton is not someone they want. I mean, she got more votes. So can you really make that analysis in the Democratic Party? I mean, it's extraordinary, the number of people he can draw to these events and extraordinary what he has done. I don't dispute that.
GINGRICH: Well, I mean, look, Obama's strategy, remarkably, was like Barry Goldwater's strategy back in 1964. Goldwater won the nomination by figuring out that there were a lot of small states nobody ever went to, and if you -- and they all had delegates. And so if you went to them and you got all those delegates, it turned out they could outvote the big states. And then (INAUDIBLE) sort of shocked (INAUDIBLE) realized, Oh, gosh, Barry Goldwater has all these votes we never heard of. And all of a sudden, Idaho and Utah and Montana became important.
VAN SUSTEREN: So it's incompetence of the Clinton campaign...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... I mean, that they didn't recognize that.
GINGRICH: For some reason, the Clinton campaign -- maybe it's because they're New York-centric now, which is ironic, considering Obama's from Chicago. But he's also from Hawaii and -- you know, and Obama's people sat down and they actually figured out, Here's how you get a majority of the delegates. And they went out and they organized, and they had a huge advantage from Moveon.org and the other hard-line anti-war left-wingers, all of whom were mad at Clinton because she voted for the war. And so they were able to network with college professors and left-wing activists and young people who were looking for somebody new, and all of a sudden -- I was in Idaho about a week after Senator Obama. And he had drawn the large crowd in the history of Idaho. And people were just stunned at the number of people. And they said, If you told us three months earlier that an Illinois senator could draw this size crowd in Boise, we'd have thought you were crazy.
VAN SUSTEREN: I never understood why the Clinton campaign -- and even I would expect from Senator McCain, say -- we haven't -- you know, why didn't you, you know, introduce something to get us out? Why didn't you do more when you're the senator? I mean, he ran on the fact that -- you know, I said from the very beginning we shouldn't have gone to war.
GINGRICH: Well, let me take the example because I think the same anomaly is true of McCain right now. By 79 to 18, in a poll we did at American Solutions a week ago, the American people prefer to see something done to lower the price of gasoline, rather than to do something about global warming. Now, you'd think 79 to 18 was a big margin.
VAN SUSTEREN: It seems big to me.
GINGRICH: Yes. And that's, by the way, a majority of Democrats, majority of independents, majority of Republicans. It's a tri-partisan majority. Yet all three of the presidential candidates announced they would have voted to bring up the Boxer/Warner/Lieberman bill, which -- and then the Boxer amendment would have raised the price of gasoline about a dollar a gallon. So here you have four out of five Americans telling you gas is too expensive, do something here at home, find a way to bring it down. And you have all the political elites over here saying it doesn't matter, that they're not going to listen to you.
And I think that's part of this ongoing story, and that's why I don't think we know right now -- I mean, Senator McCain could walk in tomorrow morning and introduce a bill to allow drilling, for example -- we have -- in the Rocky Mountains, we have three times the reserves of Saudi Arabia in shale oil, three times as much oil as the Saudis, sitting there locked -- legally locked up right now. Can't do it. The Brazilians just made two huge finds in the Atlantic Ocean, makes them independent of the Middle East. It's illegal to look in the Atlantic Ocean.
Now, so Senator McCain has the same opportunity as Senator Obama. He could walk in tomorrow morning and put the entire Democratic Party in a bind and say, Why don't we do something about the price of gasoline this week?
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me ask one quick question. What is Senator McCain's weakest point that Senator Obama should seize upon?
GINGRICH: I can't give that kind of advice. I'm for John McCain.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well...
VAN SUSTEREN: I just sort of figured...
GINGRICH: Nice try. There's no way I'd answer the question.
VAN SUSTEREN: Nice try? All right. All right. He's refused to answer it! Anyway, all right, always nice to see you, Mr. Speaker.
GINGRICH: Good to be here.
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