This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," January 15, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: In the meantime, Newt Gingrich here to weigh in on this tight race and what we're getting from Michigan thus far, and that is fairly light turnout. Hard to quantify on how that sorts out for this race. Of course, Newt Gingrich is the former House speaker, author of "Real Change: From the World That Fails to the World That Works."
Mr. Speaker, good to have you.
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It's good to be with you.
CAVUTO: First off on today's politics and Michigan and lighter turnout, if that's true, who does that benefit?
GINGRICH: I don't think you have any way of knowing.
GINGRICH: It looks, the last I saw — and I heard you talking about the polls there — it looks like Romney is probably slightly ahead. We will find out this evening. And I will be back here later on tonight with Sean and Alan talking about it.
I think this is a race, this primary is a race that Romney has to win. It is a huge thing for him. It is an important thing for McCain. I mean, if McCain were to win today, having won in New Hampshire, then he would go south to South Carolina with a pretty good bit of momentum.
If Romney does manage to pull out a victory here, it kind of resurrects his campaign some. And he will be, at that point, the guy with the most delegates, because he won Wyoming outright and he came in second in both Iowa and New Hampshire. So, he would actually have more delegates than anybody else.
It sets up, I think, the most open Republican nomination process since 1940. That continues to be true and probably is going to be true, I think, until some time in March.
CAVUTO: What is the deal with the Republicans, though, that they all take a turn in the sun, right?
CAVUTO: I mean, Fred Thompson was the it guy for a while. Rudy Giuliani spent virtually all of last year as the it guy. Then he wasn't. You had Mike Huckabee and, like you say, John McCain maybe after tonight, Mitt Romney.
What's the deal?
GINGRICH: I think the average Republican voter is bouncing around, looking for somebody that they get attached to. And it is almost like being at a dance, where everybody gets to dance a little bit, and then says, well, maybe not; let me try again later.
And I think voters are — have not yet had the kind of emotional bonding that leads them to permanently give their loyalty. And, so, there is a tremendous amount of Republican shopping around, if you will, looking for the right candidate, whereas, on the Democratic side, it is increasingly clear that you're going to have a two-person race. And it's going to be between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton. I think it's a very different dynamic in the two parties.
CAVUTO: So, you have taken Edwards out of that?
GINGRICH: Oh, I think — I think it is very hard for Edwards to, in the end, be a credible contender in a situation where you have got two people of the stature of Senator Clinton and Senator Obama.
CAVUTO: But what if those two are just dividing the 20-some-odd Super Tuesday votes?
GINGRICH: Well, I think they could.
GINGRICH: I mean, listen, Edwards is wealthy enough. There's no reason for him to drop out.
GINGRICH: But I think it is clear that the primary debate, the primary drive is between Obama and Clinton.
CAVUTO: All right.
You write and talk a great deal about the economy, about the way the U.S. is seen in the world. Many are saying, particularly the Democrats, that they want to restore our imagine abroad.
President Bush takes great exception to that. And we had a nasty dustup with Madeleine Albright the other day when she all but said that this guy is a disaster.
So, let me ask you about that. How important is it to rebuild our image abroad, assuming it has to be rebuilt?
GINGRICH: Well, first of all, it is important to remember that Secretary Albright — and I don't mean this disrespectfully — but Secretary Albright ended up dancing with Kim Jong Il, the North Korean dictator.
Now, that's just plain strange. And, if that's what you mean by our image abroad, I don't George W. Bush, although he is doing a little bit of dance in Saudi Arabia, did a little bit of dance the other day with some Israeli children, I don't somehow see him going to dance with Kim Jong Il.
CAVUTO: You know, I brought up that very issue with her.
CAVUTO: And it was a little agita moment.
But I guess the perception among Democrats is that: Look, we can restore dignity — never mind the scandals during that prior administration, but — and that will be what we're about. What do you make of that, the global image?
GINGRICH: Look, it depends on what you mean by dignity.
Jimmy Carter thought that he was doing exactly the right thing by enduring a 444-day hostage crisis in Iran. And he felt very noble and very moral. The average American thought it was weird and they didn't frankly want to see the United States held hostage for 444 days. They voted for Ronald Reagan, and who was tough enough that, the morning he's sworn in, the hostages were released.
Now, people thought, OK, that's pretty good. Then Reagan said: I'm not going to try to get along with the Soviet Union. I am going to try to end it.
And, in — 11 years later, the Soviet Union disappeared.
Do you want a president who goes around and says, can I pander to you this week; please like me, or do you want a president who says, look, I stand up for the United States?
The idea that the latest dictatorship somewhere is unhappy with the United States somehow is not my idea of prestige on the planet. I will give you one simple test. Tomorrow morning, will more people try to sneak into the U.S. or sneak out of the U.S.?
What strikes me, if millions of people are trying to sneak into the U.S., we don't exactly have an image problem overseas.
CAVUTO: Who is the next president?
GINGRICH: Beats me. I think this — this is a country that is looking for real change. I think they are going to test these candidates, all of them, very intensely.
And I think one of the reasons you're seeing such difficult races in both parties is that people really, really want to have an opportunity to find somebody who will move the country forward.
CAVUTO: Can you see none of these guys getting it as they arrive for the convention — that is the Republicans — and they seek out a consensus candidate?
GINGRICH: I think it's very unlikely.
I think that the people who have had the courage, who have worked this hard, who have been out there, they are likely to get in a room with each other and say, wait a second, we are not bringing in a brand-new person who hasn't paid their dues. Let's figure out which of us gets to be...
CAVUTO: Although that's — that's happened, you know.
GINGRICH: It has happened before, but it is very rare.
Lincoln, you know, was running third, and came in third in the first ballot, ended up being the nominee. I could imagine a circumstance where you could have that kind of outcome here, and no one person would have a majority, and you would actually have to pick. But I think you would pick among the candidates.
CAVUTO: All right.
Newt, always very good seeing you.
CAVUTO: "Real Change" is the book, his latest bestseller to be.
Very good seeing you, my friend.
GINGRICH: Good to see you.
CAVUTO: All right.
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