OTR Interviews

Why Being Overshadowed in the Media Is Not a Bad Thing for Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney officially announced his campaign for president, but he still had to fight for headlines

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 2, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, former governor Mitt Romney making the obvious official, he's running and he makes the announcement that he's running for president. But another former governor steals his thunder as Governor Palin heads to New Hampshire, too, hosting a clambake along her "One Nation" book tour.

Joining us is former adviser to President Clinton, author of "Revolt," Dick Morris. Nice to see you, Dick.

DICK MORRIS, DICKMORRIS.COM: Good to be here in person. I always do your show remotely.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, and it is fun. Well, this certainly is quite -- this is quite stunning what's going on in politics. And now Governor Romney wanting to make the big announcements, and some say overshadowed by Governor Sarah Palin in the same state.

MORRIS: Well, yes, he is overshadowed in terms of coverage, but that's good for Romney. He's the frontrunner. He's got the largest vote share. In my own polling, I have him at about 25, Sarah Palin at 16 and Gingrich at 11 and everybody else at 8 or less.

You don't want all the scrutiny if you're frontrunner. You don't want the media tearing you apart. You want to advance in other people's shadows. Barack Obama got the nomination because everybody was thinking of Hillary Clinton. He won the election because everybody was thinking of George Bush.

And for the last four months, everybody's been thinking about Donald Trump. Now everybody's thinking about Sarah Palin. And in the meantime, Mitt Romney is raising money, recruiting volunteers, building his organization. That's not bad.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the polls have him as the frontrunner. They have for some time. But are polls fickle? Because, I mean, we're now hearing that maybe Governor Huckabee isn't out. I mean, there's -- there's some sort of rumblings there. And we -- and Donald Trump told us last night right here that maybe he'll run as an independent. Governor Pataki of New York might run. Governor Rick Perry might run. Mayor Giuliani is in New Hampshire. I mean, you know, so the names go on and on. And there's a congressman who also might throw his hat in the ring. So how much can we - - what can we take away from these polls?

MORRIS: And Senator Jim DeMint in South Carolina. Of the people you named, he's the only one that I think actually might. I don't think Huckabee is getting in, and I don't think Trump would run as an independent. I think if he did, he would reelect Obama, and I don't think he wants to do that.

The polls are very fickle. But the way this is going to evolve, in my view, is that you're going to have Romney against somebody. And it might be Palin, if she runs. It might be Gingrich, although I think his negatives sometimes hurt him. It might be one of the less known candidates, Bachmann or Cain or Pawlenty or Santorum. Be one of those people.

And there's a sifting-out process to determine who opposes Romney in the semi-final. Romney probably loses Iowa because he did last time and probably will again. And it's a real fight between Bachmann and Pawlenty and Cain and Palin, if she runs, for who wins Iowa. My own guess is that Bachmann probably does because I don't really believe Palin is going to run.

Then you go to New Hampshire, where Romney probably does win and maybe the person who won Iowa finishes second. And at that point, those two candidates, Romney and somebody else, duke it out straight to the end of the process. The interesting thing...

VAN SUSTEREN: But someone's going to get some wind behind his back in South Carolina, and you typically think that the voters in South Carolina are more in line with Iowa than they are in New Hampshire.

MORRIS: Yes. I think that's true. I don't think that'll be a decisive race unless Romney loses New Hampshire, in which case he could be knocked out.

The interesting thing about this, Greta, is that there are two Republican Parties now, the establishment and the Tea Party. The Tea Party and the evangelicals on the one side, the grass roots, and the Club for Growth, the Chambers of Commerce, the political establishment of the party on the other. And Romney will probably emerge as the candidate of the establishment. And somebody like a Palin or a Bachmann or a Cain will emerge as the candidate of the Tea Party and the evangelicals.

And then you'll have an interesting primary of the top against the bottom.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, it's sort of interesting, this whole idea that -- of the Tea Party. People think of them as, I think, disgruntled Republicans, and a good bit of them are. But I've talked to people and taken a poll on Gretawire, which is far from scientific -- I don't mean to suggest that. But I'm surprised how many people who are independents and Democrats, as well, who are essentially anti- establishment, like, throw the bums out, blame the Democrats, the Republicans both for getting us in this financial mess, not liking anybody. So it isn't just that they don't like -- it's not just disgruntled Republicans, but there's a lot of people out there who are really unhappy with both parties.

MORRIS: Very profound point. In Washington, people tend to look at everybody as left or right. But in fact, the most significant division is insider versus outsider. And an outsider Democrat who opposes the war and supports -- is a liberal on social issues has a lot more in common with a Tea Party patriot than with the leader of either the Democratic or the Republican Parties.

VAN SUSTEREN: The issues are different, but it reminds me a little bit of the '60s, where it's, like, just want to throw everybody out.

MORRIS: Yes, I...

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, the protests.

MORRIS: Yes, I think that's -- that's a good metaphor, more positive this time, but an interesting metaphor, but I...

VAN SUSTEREN: Maybe dress better, too!

MORRIS: But I think that you're going to have an outsider candidate and an insider candidate for the Republican nomination. Now, we always know how you that comes out in a Democratic primary. The outsider always wins. Obama beat Hillary. And in a Republican primary, it's the opposite. The insider always wins. Bush defeated McCain in 2000.

This time, I'm not so sure because the outsiders are not just the evangelicals, they're the Tea Party people and they're a very potent force. And in a real sense, the insider Democrats and the insider Republicans have a lot more in common. And the outsider Democrats and the outsider Republicans have a lot more in common.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's going to be fascinating and change every single day. Dick, nice to see you. Glad you're here in person.

MORRIS: Thank you.