Sign in to comment!

Talking Points

Eric Bolling: Is Gingrich Making a Strong Case Against Ron Paul?

By Eric Bolling

Six days and counting until the Iowa caucuses and the presidential candidates are working feverishly to rally support and attack the rivals. The twists and turns in this race could make your head spin. It seems as though every day there is a new front runner.

And tonight according to a new brand new CNN poll, its Mitt Romney, survey of likely Republican caucus goers shows Romney on top at 25 percent. Ron Paul has moved to second place with 22 percent. Rick Santorum shooting up to third place with 16 percent and Newt Gingrich falling to fourth place with 14 percent. With Paul being within striking distance in Iowa, former Speaker Newt Gingrich picked attacking him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": Now if he were to get the Republican nomination --

GINGRICH: He won't.

BLITZER: Let's say he were, could you vote for him?

GINGRICH: No. I think Ron Paul's views are totally outside the main stream of virtually every decent American. He's not going to get the nomination. It won't happen. The people in the United States are not going to accept somebody who thinks it's irrelevant if Iran gets a nuclear weapon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLLING: So is Gingrich just trying to diminish Paul's credentials? Joining us now from Des Moines, Iowa Fox News chief political correspondent, Carl Cameron. Carl, with the new CNN poll putting Romney on top, again, that 25 percent number that just keeps -- that's what seems to be what his number is -- but is he now the man to beat?

CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's one of them and realistically and historically Eric, Mr. Romney got 25 percent when he came in second in Iowa four years ago. So he's pretty much starting the 2012 cycle right where he wrapped up in second place in the '08 cycle.

And truthfully, for months, regardless of who the front runner has been, whether it was first Bachmann, then Perry or Cain, then Newt and perhaps now Paul, we have known and history has always shown that at the end in Iowa, it comes down to a very close race as the vast number of undecideds make up their mind, the polls tighten.

What we're looking at right now is a statistical tie. In that particular poll that you mentioned, Romney has got an edge. But there is another one today that shows that Ron Paul is ahead but still within the margin of error. And what may be far more important and more significant in this final few days is the other aspect of Iowa caucus history that seems to be playing out this time as well.

A dark horse come from behind surge from a candidate who had otherwise been ignored for most of the year. Pennsylvania ex-senator Rick Santorum seems to be having his moment. In fact, we sort of identified Santorum as a dark horse that people had to watch months and months and months ago, much the same way Huckabee seemed to emerge in the last few months four years ago to be in this position.

Not to say that he could win or come in second even, but Santorum's momentum, 11 points in some polls just in the last week and a half suggests that the momentum, at least, is with him. It may not be enough to put him into the first or second place, but watch Rick Santorum to exceed expectations that in the caucus it's not so much whether you win, it's whether you have momentum and have done better than expected. Rick Santorum may be on a track to do that.

BOLLING: And Carl what do we attribute to Santorum's recent rise in the polls?

CAMERON: Well in part, the fall of Newt Gingrich. Just as Newt Gingrich's rise in the polls was in part related to the fall of Herman Cain and in reverse engineering going all the way become to Michele Bachmann's surge that ultimately cratered and allowed Perry to rise. That is helping Mr. Santorum. Newt Gingrich has had problems. Questions about Ron Paul's long-term viability as a nominee are very real.

In fact, even in Iowa, amongst some of his supporters, folks are concerned that Ron Paul will not have the capacity to continue to win and stay in first, second or third place in subsequent states after Iowa. He's got the money. He's got the base of support. It's a real niche audience in the Republican, in the Ron Paul wing of the Republican Party. It's there and it's real.

But whether or not it can be sustained in the long haul perhaps not so much and let's be realistic, there has been a year of dissatisfaction expressed among Republicans looking for the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.

BOLLING: Sure, sure.

CAMERON: They've looked at four. They've sort of taken a pass on the first four.

BOLLING: Sure.

CAMERON: Rick Santorum is now the fifth. It may well be that he'll get that look. Whether he can sustain it and --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: And -- and Carl, let me just jump in here, let me jump in here even though it's good for Romney, he's leading at 25 percent. For me, I'm a numbers guy, he hasn't really gotten off the 25 percent mark. That means 75 percent of likely goers are anyone but Romney right now. If someone or if the vote coalesces around someone else, one person, Romney has got a -- he's got tough -- a tough road ahead. Right?

CAMERON: Well listen, you also got to remember that about 30 to 40 percent of Iowa caucus goers have not made up their minds. Some of them will probably go to Romney and it's worth noting that in Romney's case, he never expected never really wanted to be out front as a prohibitive front runner knowing that it would only bring more scrutiny. Every time one of these front running contenders has sort of really challenged him, Romney has gotten beaten up. So there has been some benefit in his strategy to sort of lay low.

You know this week is only his ninth time visiting Iowa all year. He hasn't played to win here until this week.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: All right.

CAMERON: Now he is. Were he to pull it off, there are some who think that Romney could run the table, win in New Hampshire, contend -- perhaps winning South Carolina and wrap this up quickly. Do not buy the hype. Republican voters have not been satisfied with this field all year. The idea that they're suddenly going to fully embrace one in the next contest misses the point. Iowa is first; 49 other states have caucuses and primaries.

BOLLING: Absolutely. Carl -- Carl Cameron --

CAMERON: The Hawkeye state gets to speak first, but not loudest.

BOLLING: Thank you so much Carl Cameron, I appreciate your time my man.