This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," November 17, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Week in Review" from the "Ingraham Angle" segment tonight: A new Fox News poll very good news for Newt Gingrich. Right now Republican voters have the former speaker in the lead at 23 percent, Mitt Romney at 22, Herman Cain, 15. Obviously Mr. Gingrich has taken some of Mr. Cain's support. In a head-to-head matchup with President Obama, Mr. Gingrich looses 46, 41 but Mitt Romney defeats the president 44, 42. And one more interesting thing about the Fox News poll. When people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 were asked if they regret that vote now, just nine percent say they do. And that's good news for the president.
Joining us now from Washington, radio star and Fox News analyst, Laura Ingraham. Can Newt Gingrich win the nomination in your opinion, Ms. Laura?
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think he can. I think it's going to be really difficult. Look, the fact of the matter is, if you are going to be able to take it to, let say it's Romney who is the nominee. And I know you love it when I site Intrade Bill, but Intrade has Romney at about 70 percent today likelihood of his being the nominee.
O'REILLY: Are you -- are you a compulsive gambler with Intrade?
INGRAHAM: I -- well, only -- only before I come on this show. I bet whether I'm actually going to get the best of you in the segment.
O'REILLY: So I just want the people to know -- they don't know what you're talking about. This is an online betting site, you can bet pretty much anything, right?
INGRAHAM: Look, come on you can bet on anything and you can bet on who the nominee is going to be.
O'REILLY: Seventy percent on Romney right now. OK.
INGRAHAM: And about 12 percent Gingrich, OK?
O'REILLY: Now, what is it -- what is it -- that are holding the gamblers back…
INGRAHAM: Well, I think…
O'REILLY: …from supporting him?
INGRAHAM: Yes, well, I think on -- on someone like a Gingrich, they understand that regardless of how much, you know, people want there to be an alternative to Romney, in the end they think well, the kind of establishment type usually get their way in the Republican Party. That's the mindset.
And also, Bill, the reality that Gingrich is going to have to face, and he could triumph over this, is that he has to have a fairly strong organization in a number of states, beyond Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire, et cetera because Romney has the operation on the ground, right.
O'REILLY: Yes that's true. But -- the speaker is a smart guy. And he could put that together if he continues…
INGRAHAM: Yes, well.
O'REILLY: But here -- here -- this is an interesting question that I hope you will consider. First it was Michele Bachmann, all right, then she went.
O'REILLY: Then -- then Perry got in and it was Rick Perry. And then it was Herman Cain. Now, it's Newt Gingrich. The same conservative votes chased all four of those candidates. What does that say about conservatives?
INGRAHAM: Well, I think that it says the conservatives are not at all settled and comfortable yet with Mitt Romney. Nevertheless…
O'REILLY: No, no, no. But why -- why did they jump off those trains, see?
INGRAHAM: Why, OK, OK, here's what I think it is. I think people are desperate for passion, fight, some clarity, consistency, conservatism. I think they want all of that. They want someone who they believe is going to take the fight to -- to Obama in order to save America.
O'REILLY: Well, Gingrich would certainly do that.
INGRAHAM: Right and that's why…
O'REILLY: I mean, he would certainly take the fight to him.
INGRAHAM: Right, and Bill…
O'REILLY: But he's got the Fannie Mae -- the Freddie Mac thing now.
INGRAHAM: Yes, Bill. Well…
O'REILLY: Is that going to hurt him?
INGRAHAM: Now I think in the end I think it really will not. Maybe we'll learn more. But I mean, the media focusing on this Freddie Mac thing, it's is a legitimate series of questions. I interviewed Gingrich about it yesterday.
O'REILLY: What did he say to you?
INGRAHAM: Well, he said look, I didn't lobby. I directed them as to how to best bridge this public-private divide. And I said look, they hired you because you're former speaker. They didn't hire you because you're a private citizen.
O'REILLY: And $1.6 million right, $1.6 million?
INGRAHAM: Yes, it's a good deal. It's a good deal.
INGRAHAM: But look, that's -- consultants make a lot of money. In this campaign cycle they're going to make a lot of money, from now until the end of political time in the United States. That's how it works.
O'REILLY: Yes, I don't hold it against the speaker for doing that. He was running a consultant firm. I mean, I would have done the same thing.
INGRAHAM: No, but yes, but, Bill, the reason I don't think it's ultimately is going to have much of an effect on Gingrich is because they see him as a visionary, a fighter for conservatism and I think more and more people are understanding that we're in a serious and steady decline as a country.
O'REILLY: No doubt about that.
INGRAHAM: They believe -- they believe we need someone who is a visionary enough to take us out of that.
O'REILLY: OK, did you see Michele Bachmann's ad? We played it yesterday where she says that she is the only real conservative in the race and points to Newt sitting on a couch with Nancy Pelosi talking about global warming.
INGRAHAM: Yes, sure.
O'REILLY: Did you see that?
INGRAHAM: Yes, yes, I did. And -- and it's not surprising that Bachmann and many others have brought this up with Gingrich. I mean, that was an annoying ad for a lot of conservatives. He wrote that book "Contract with the Earth". And you know as again a very -- a little bit of progressive -- progressive agenda that still is, you know, conservative-leaning on the environment. But a lot of independents, I think, find that appealing. That would help him in a general. Nevertheless, I don't think these -- these micro issues or this ad or the fact that you worked with Democrats is going to hurt Newt Gingrich in the end when it comes down to being -- being the alternative for Romney. I think people realize you need experience in Washington. He has it, and he has worked with other people.
O'REILLY: Well Gingrich could well win Iowa. But after that Romney then has an advantage in New Hampshire.
INGRAHAM: Huge advantage, yes.
O'REILLY: But South Carolina, Gingrich could compete very well there.
INGRAHAM: It's a long road.
O'REILLY: All right, let's get to Secretary of Energy Chu. He testifies today in front of Congress about Solyndra. Go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. FRED UPTON, R-MICH.: Based on what you know and what's happened, who -- who is to apologize for the half a billion dollars that has been -- out the door?
STEVEN CHU, SECRETARY OF ENERGY: Well…
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: DOE?
CHU: It is extremely unfortunate what has happened to Solyndra. But if you go back and look at the time decisions were being made, was there incompetence? Was there undue -- was there any influence of a political nature? And I would have to say no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: Phooey. I don't believe that for a second.
INGRAHAM: Two words, two words.
O'REILLY: But the question is. What?
INGRAHAM: Yes, two words in response to that -- Steven Spinner. Steven Spinner is the guy who ran and runs the Energy loan department review, right? And he is well-known guy. He also happens to be someone who raised $500,000 for Obama. His wife, Bill, in her law firm made $2.4 million off of the energy loan review process from the stimulus program. Steve Spinner, Energy Department employee, wife and her law firm. Steve Spinner in e-mails was talking about "Why can't we get this thing done?" -- the second loan that Solyndra needed. "The vice president is breathing down my neck. The White House is breathing down my neck." If that's not political, then I don't know what it is, in addition to probably questionable -- questionable ethically as well because he signed an ethics agreement.
O'REILLY: Yes, it's a bad situation.
INGRAHAM: I mean, it doesn't pass the straight face test. I mean, it's a little more than an apology needed. We have $535 million of taxpayer money down the drain because this was going to be looking good for the president as a green jobs, you know, triumph and it obviously wasn't. That's more than -- than needing an apology.
O'REILLY: Yes. All right, Laura. Thanks, as always. We appreciate it.
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