Is GOP Finger-pointing Hurting the Party?

Laura Ingraham on Cain camp blaming Perry campaign for harassment leak


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," November 3, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight: There is a swirl going on in the Republican precincts. Herman Cain on the defensive, now accusing the Perry campaign of orchestrating charges against him. Also, there are reports the Perry campaign says Romney did it. The bottom line: Everybody denies harpooning Herman Cain, who remains under pressure.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's going to make a statement.

CAIN: I'm here with these documents and that's what I'm going to talk about. So don't even bother…

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wants to talk. Come on.

CAIN: …asking me all these other questions that you all are curious about, OK? Don't even bother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a good question though about the confidentiality.


CAIN: Excuse me.


CAIN: Excuse me.


O'REILLY: All right. Joining us now from Washington to analyze, Laura Ingraham, the author of the big best-seller, "Of Thee I Zing."

LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Yes. O'Reilly, it's like this, the Scarecrow in "The Wizard of Oz." Right, they're pointing this way, this guy, no this guy. I can't keep track of it.

O'REILLY: Is this damaging the Republican brand?

INGRAHAM: Well, I think right now it's not helping for this reason. The longer conservatives are kind of, oh you did it, oh you did it, what did you do 12 years ago? You're not getting your story straight. The more Obama gets to skate, right.

And if you're someone who doesn't much like Mitt Romney, you're thinking, wait a second, Romney is sitting pretty comfortably right now, right? I mean, he's just kind of watching this unfold, and he is enjoying himself. No pressure on Romney.

So the conservatives are fighting it out amongst themselves; Perry for the most part and Cain. Although Cain's folks turned the temperature down a little bit on Megyn Kelly's show today. But nevertheless that's a fight in the conservative ranks, and I think Romney benefits a little bit. But I think Obama in the short-term benefits a lot. You know he's over in Europe hanging out with Sarkozy and Merkel, but as far as can I tell no one is listening to him.

O'REILLY: No one is listening to him in Europe you mean?

INGRAHAM: Yes, because, you know, he doesn't have any -- he doesn't have any credibility on stimulus and creating jobs and, you know, he's giving a speech tomorrow on his jobs bill back in the United States. He is talking about how he is urging Congress to pass the jobs bill, but you know it's obviously not working.

O'REILLY: Well, I think it's fair to say the president doesn't have a lot of credibility on economic events right now.

INGRAHAM: No. Not in Europe and not here unfortunately.

O'REILLY: But let's -- let's get back to the Republican follies here. So you have a situation now where you have a debate coming up on Wednesday, next Wednesday. Do you expect anybody, any of the Republican candidates to go after Cain on this issue?

INGRAHAM: I don't really. I do expect all the focus to be on Cain and Perry because they -- they have generated the most heat and juice.

O'REILLY: Yes, because Cain is accusing Perry, one of Perry's guys, of leaking bad stuff about Cain.


O'REILLY: Because that guy worked for Cain way back.

INGRAHAM: Although, yes. Right, although they are walking that back a little. Here is what I think you should watch for next week. If the conservative candidates decide to turn fire on Romney, then things are going to start getting interesting. And unless they do that, then Romney -- and you know I love Intrade, Bill -- Intrade puts Romney at about 70 percent chance today of winning the nomination.

O'REILLY: This is the gambling thing you bet football every week on. Isn't that what you do?

INGRAHAM: Yes. Yes, I do. It's interesting because, you know, look, right now there is a Rasmussen poll that shows that Cain is up at 26, Romney is at 23 and Gingrich is at 14 percent, with Perry at eight percent, Bill. OK?


INGRAHAM: So -- so, Gingrich, if this Cain thing continues to kind of sap energy from the -- from the debate, who knows? Gingrich could be at the end, the last conservative man standing against Mitt Romney. That could happen.

O'REILLY: Well that's true. I mean, you know, because you've seen -- you've seen support go from Michele Bachmann to Rick Perry.


O'REILLY: And then go from Rick Perry to Herman Cain.


O'REILLY: And so if the Cain thing continues and people start to see it as a valid situation, which I do not at this point.

INGRAHAM: Right, I don't either.

O'REILLY: Then it would go over naturally to -- to the speaker.

INGRAHAM: Yes and…

O'REILLY: So right now though, I think President Obama is the happiest guy in town because, you know, the Republicans are once again feuding among themselves.

INGRAHAM: Yes and who -- and who has made that point consistently over the last two months? Newt Gingrich. He has said, look, we should be turning our ire and our focus on the failed economic policies of this president and the fact that America is currently in a state of terrible decline. Terrible decline. We're not talking about China; we're not talking about how we can grow this economy and compete with these growing emerging markets across the globe. And meanwhile, Obama gets to skate. He has made that point I think very well. And he's gotten a lot of notice. So this has built kind of gradually for Gingrich.

I would watch Newt Gingrich very closely. I think Cain's campaign has slowly become a little bit more disciplined. But on this story it took them a long time to get kind of more focused and kind of a little bit ahead of it but they've had a -- they've had a difficult few days no doubt about it. I know they've raised a lot of money. They've raised a lot of money, Bill, but I think it still -- it doesn't look like a well-handled crisis to me.

O'REILLY: Yes, sure. Well, Cain supporters are angry that he's getting harpooned like this so they are sending him more money. But I think you make a good point in the sense that Mr. Cain's campaign has to get better. You don't have -- that cigarette ad, as dopey as that thing was, that was unnecessary. It was unnecessary.

INGRAHAM: Well, I think to some folks, not to all folks, to some folks it starts to look a little bit unserious. And regardless of whether you are the greatest conservative or you have a great business record, people want to think that you're disciplined in your approach to foreign policy, China.

O'REILLY: That's right, and that you have it under control.

INGRAHAM: Yes and then you've got to…

O'REILLY: And certainly in that little scrum there, and Mr. Cain would be well-advised not to walk into a reporter cabal. Not to ever do that.

INGRAHAM: I like that, I didn't care about that at all. It's like he's with the doctors, and he's like, excuse me.

O'REILLY: No, it's…

INGRAHAM: But that -- if that's the toughest you can be with the reporters. Oh the reporters are crying about that. I thought Cain was fine. It didn't bother me.

O'REILLY: Look, I didn't feel sorry for the reporters. Who cares about them? I just don't think it's dignified. I think Mr. Cain should stay away from that if he can.

INGRAHAM: Yes, but he had real doctors around him, Bill.

O'REILLY: All right.

INGRAHAM: Remember when Obama had the doctors with the coats that they just flew in for the big press conference with Obamacare? Remember that? These are at least real doctors.

O'REILLY: All right. Laura, thank you.

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