This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 30, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight: Is the United States becoming a one party country? The defection of Senator Arlen Specter to the Democratic party means an enormous advantage for the Dems on the Hill. And this insidious Al Franken may be coming next. He leads the Senate race in Minnesota by about 300 votes. And the state supreme court will make a judgment on that situation in the next few weeks. The fact that a dishonest individual like Franken could even get to this point is extremely disturbing and says something about the Republican party, I believe.
Joining us now from Washington, stalwart Republican, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. The new book coming out in a couple of weeks. "Five Principles for a Successful Life."
You know, you ought to change that to a successful Republican party here, because it looks like disarray. It looks like the party is in disarray. Now let's take the Specter thing first. You couldn't have been surprised that he jumped. He wasn't going to win the primary. You know Arlen Specter, savvy guy. So he's going over to the Democrats. But he gives Barack Obama an enormous amount of power. Does it not? More power than he has ever had.
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, it gives you a little more power but it also puts a lot of pressure on moderate Democrats. You know, what do the Mark Warners or the Blanche Lincolns, the Ben Nelsons, now instead of saying can they get two or three moderate Republicans to vote for cloture, they're going to have to produce all of their own, and they're going to have to prove how liberal the party is. Or they're going to find out they can't get to cloture even with 60 votes. So…
O'REILLY: Maybe, there might be a few Democrats that aren't going to go with the party line. But boy, oh boy does that hurt them as far as, you know, bringing the pork home to the state and all that. But look, Al Franken, have you ever met this man, Al Franken?
O'REILLY: OK, I mean, they don't come worse than this guy. I've known this guy more than a decade. They do not come worse than him. And I think that people of Minnesota know that because they crossed over, hundreds of thousands voted for Norm Coleman, a Republican, and voted for Barack Obama, the Democrat. They crossed the ticket because they didn't want this guy. But the fact that he could go up on the Hill, it's just — it sends a chilling message, I think to me and other fair-minded people who want to see effective government. It looks to me like the Republican party is just about done for now.
GINGRICH: Well, you know, I've been through this three times. In 1965, Lyndon Johnson was building the Great Society. The Republican Party was doomed. We began coming back in '66. And in 1968, for the first election for the next 40 years, no overt liberal could win because Lyndon Johnson went sour and people were tired of it Then Watergate came along. The Republican party was doomed. We were down to 17 percent party identity in the country. Jimmy Carter was more popular in the first three months than President Obama has been so far. And at the end of four years Carter made such a mess of it. Ronald Reagan was elected. The Soviet empire disappeared. Then President George H.W. Bush signed tax increase that infuriated fiscal conservatives. You had Perot as a third party candidate. The Republican party was in deep trouble. After two years of Bill Clinton and liberal Democratic Congress, we took control and had the largest one party increase in votes in the history of the United States. 9 million new votes in an off year election. So now we're back at the same stand. The Republicans failed over the last few years. They spent too much money. They weren't responsive. They didn't clean up bureaucratic messes. The country got tired of them. People like Franken got elected in really what I think was an election over performance. Barack Obama ran. And my daughter Jackie, who has co- authored this book with me, she had a column this week in which she said we went from change you can believe in, to trying to change what you believe, which was your point of your Talking Points" at the beginning of the show. I think President Obama may be personally popular. I predict by next year, the Republicans will gain a substantial amount of ground. And by 2012, we may be in a very different environment than we are right now.
O'REILLY: How will the Republicans gain? What will be the issue that turns people against the Democratic machine?
GINGRICH: Well, the first big issue that's already emerging is $9 trillion in debt. And the fact that this budget that just got passed means a 20-year-old this year may pay as much as $114,000 in additional taxes just in interest on the debt during the working lifetime. The same thing is going to happen. Those people are going to start noticing details. For example, this administration apparently intends to release from Guantanamo people who have been picked up as potential terrorists, not send them back home, release them into the United States.
O'REILLY: Now that would be a disaster.
GINGRICH: Have your tax money pay for it.
O'REILLY: You don't think he's going to do that though?
GINGRICH: The attorney general by the way was just joking in Europe that we were going to put him up at hotels. Now when you start telling people the person down the hall in the hotel may be a suspected terrorist that your tax money's paying for.
O'REILLY: OK, but I don't think Barack Obama…
GINGRICH: I think you're going to find people very…
O'REILLY: ...is that — you know, look, he pulled back on the interrogation investigations because of people like me, people like you, saying look, Mr. President, if you go ahead with this witch hunt, against people who have protected the country for seven years, if you go ahead, that's going to hurt you. He knows that. He's smart. He knows that if one terrorist from Guantanamo Bay gets released into the population of the USA, his poll number's going to drop 10 points overnight. So I don't believe he's going to make that kind of a mistake. Go ahead.
GINGRICH: Yeah, but here's where you and I - Bill, this is where you and I just see reality different. I think Barack Obama is personally very smart. I think the bureaucracy's not. Barack Obama wouldn't have flown Air Force one around New York at low altitude. The bureaucracy did.
O'REILLY: But the bureaucracy can't make a decision about releasing a guy. That's a big one. He has to be in on that.
GINGRICH: Well, the attorney - it is the attorney general who's law firm represents 17 of these people, who is quoted in Europe today.
O'REILLY: Yeah, I know. Look, we know Holder. We know Holder.
O'REILLY: .he was the Marc Rich pardon guy. I mean, we know, if Holder had his , but I - but anyway, look, so you're telling me that you — and you're one ever the Republican leaders, you may run for president next time, that you're confident that the Republican party is now on the ascension?
GINGRICH: I am confident that when you have candidates like John Kasich for Governor and Rod Portman for the Senate in Ohio, you have a ticket that in 2010 is going to be dramatically stronger than anybody would have suspected 30 days ago.
O'REILLY: All right, Mr. Speaker, thanks very much. We appreciate it.
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