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Hannity

Newt in 2008?

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 12, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Well, we're 29 months away from the next New Hampshire primary. People are already talking, for example, and some polls are coming out. The American Research Group released a poll yesterday that shows Arizona Senator John McCain leading the Republican field with 39 percent. But look who's making his move into second place, FOX News' own Newt Gingrich. So how does a former speaker of the House and author of the book, "Winning the Future," celebrate this big news? By visiting Iowa, of course.

This is getting a little suspicious, Mr. Gingrich. What has you in that fine state this evening?

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, let my say, first of all, it's great to be with you and Ollie. And I agree with Ollie. You've got yourself a pretty good partner here this evening.

COLMES: That's always true, yes.

GINGRICH: I'm going to go tomorrow to the state fair here to see the butter cow. There's also a butter Tiger Woods this year and there's a butter tiger. And then we're going to do a book signing for a couple of hours and, you know, chat with people and talk to folks at the fair.

It's the biggest day of the year at the fair, and they think they may have as many as 125,000 people.

COLMES: Let me ask you a question. Iowa is a beautiful state. Very nice this time of year, by the way. Were there not an Iowa Caucus or primary, would you be there now?

GINGRICH: Well, you never can tell. But I think it's fair to say, and I've been very open with folks around the state that, because I think the 2008 campaign should be about big ideas and big solutions, the two best places in the country to talk about that are Iowa and New Hampshire, because they do have a huge impact on, what do voters ask the candidates, what do voters talk to reporters about?

And Iowa plays, along with New Hampshire, the two decisive roles in sort of setting the stone for whether or not we're going to have a big election of 2008 about big solutions or we're going to have a trivial solution about, you know, 30-second attack ads, and whose consultant is clever, and all that stuff.

COLMES: Now, before we talk about Judge Roberts, which we want to do, you've been criticized by some on the right for cozying up, they say, to Hillary Clinton. You've worked with her on health care. You seem like you have a good working relationship.

Does this have anything to do with an upcoming '08 election perhaps, or do you two just like each other?

GINGRICH: No, look, Senator Clinton and I agree that, if you go to electronic health records, if you go to using modern information technology, we might be able to save as many as 100,000 Americans every year. That's the Institute of Medicine's estimate of how many people might be saved.

And we believe, if you could save 100,000 Americans by doing smart things with information technology, that there's no conservative or liberal fight, there's no Democrat or Republican fight, there's just a chance here, as Americans, to work together and get something done.

And I frankly will defend that anywhere in the country, to have some senior leaders who are willing to put the country first.

COLMES: Do you like her?

GINGRICH: I think she's a very competent, very hard-working, very tough person. And I think no Republican should underestimate how serious she is.

COLMES: All right. Ollie's going crazy. But he'll be up in just a second.

Let's talk about Judge Roberts here for a moment. And let's talk about how he has worked, you know, pro bono on behalf of a gay rights group, and helped fight for their equal rights, some would say special rights, but not Judge Roberts.

It also came out yesterday that he defended Playboy magazine, something to do with the Telecommunications Act of 1996. And they were fighting scrambling of cable channels. And he fought and won for them.

You know, if a liberal judge did this, conservatives would be going a little crazy about it.

GINGRICH: That's not true.

COLMES: So what do you say about Judge Roberts taking these positions for these clients?

GINGRICH: Alan, first of all, what you just said is just plain not true.

COLMES: What's not true?

GINGRICH: Well, when, in fact, a nominee to the Supreme Court happened to be the ACLU lawyer who had written an article saying that she thought that prostitution ought to be legalized, it was not used by a single conservative when she came up for nomination.

COLMES: She was the consensus candidate that Orrin Hatch recommend to Bill Clinton. And I keep hearing "ACLU lawyer," like the ACLU is, you know, code for left-wing, liberal lunatic. You've got Bob Barr there now and Dick Armey.

GINGRICH: I'm not arguing for lunatic, but I'll go left-wing liberal. I mean, I'm just saying that, in fact, judges may — I mean, lawyers may, in private practice, say and do many things.

From everything we know, Judge Roberts is a solid conservative. His advice during the Reagan years was very solid. His advice in the first Bush administration was very solid. And his practice as an appeal's court judge has been very solid.

And a person I lean on a lot, Chris DeMuth, president of the American Enterprise Institute, an attorney and a scholar of the court, regards Judge Roberts as one of the two best conservatives serving on appeals courts.

COL. OLIVER NORTH, GUEST CO-HOST: Speaker, is he going to get a straight up-or-down vote? I mean, I realize you come from the other side, the other House, as it were, but is there going to be a straight up-or-down vote on Judge Roberts?

GINGRICH: Well, Ollie, you know, it's always dangerous to predict the Senate, but I'm going to leap right in here. I believe that the seven Republicans who signed the letter to avoid a vote on changing the rules are now honor-bound.

NORTH: Part of the Gang of 14.

GINGRICH: If the Democrats try to filibuster Judge Roberts, I think they are honor-bound to vote to change the Senate rules. And I think the Democrats know that.

My hunch is, the Democrats will not filibuster. Chuck Schumer will make a lot of noise. He'll jump up and down. In the end, however, I believe that they're going to confirm Judge Roberts, and maybe with a surprising number of Democratic votes.

NORTH: You're out in the heartland of America right now. Let me kind of guess as to what the number-one issue on the minds of people out there in Iowa really is. And it's not Social Security reform. It's not Medicare reform. It might not even be the price of gasoline, although it's getting there. It's the war, am I right?

GINGRICH: Yes, I was going to say, Ollie, I mean, you really have your finger — as you often do — on what's going on. And I think the two things that are sort of rivals are, first of all, the war, because when young Americans are dying, it's very hard for that not to be the number-one topic, the number-one concern.

And it eats at people. And they want to know, what are we going to do to win? Some people, of course, want us to accept defeat and leave. But I think that's still a very small minority.

And then, second, though, is this rising cost of gasoline. And also, an underlying sense that relying for energy on Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Russia, is a dangerous long-term national security policy. And people just feel kind of uneasy about our current lack of a sophisticated energy strategy designed to make us less dependent on countries that are that unreliable.

NORTH: In the farm belt of America, is there a sense that the new energy bill is going to make, basically, corn and soybeans into gasoline?

GINGRICH: Look, I think there's a sense that it's a marginal help, but nobody I've talked to anywhere, in Washington or out here, thinks that the new energy bill is a strategic solution. They think it's a very small interim step in the right direction, but that we have a long way to go.

NORTH: Has the war eclipsed the president's agenda? And again, you're out there in the heartland and one of the first places it's going to have a primary out there. Is the war sucking the wind, if you will, away from the sails of what this president's agenda would have been?

GINGRICH: I think the war makes it much harder for the president — not that Americans aren't prepared to sacrifice, and not that Americans don't believe that we ought to get the job done. I still think those feelings are there.

But I think people are very perplexed. I mean, you're a Marine. And I know you've been over there, and you've served with these guys, and you've been in the crossfires. And I think, when you see 18 Marines killed in a weekend, as we did recently, it's very sobering to every American.

And they don't quite understand, how are we going to win it? It's not that they want to leave. It's that they want to make sure we're going to win.

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