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Will Romney prevail over Gingrich?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 23, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY: "Personal Story Segment" tonight, many Republicans are choosing sides, of course: Gingrich versus Romney with Rick Santorum having just an outside chance right now.

Here to analyze conservative pundit Ann Coulter. So you're a Romney supporter, right.

ANN COULTER, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: Huge Romney supporter.

O'REILLY: Ok. No, I'm putting you in charge of the campaign (INAUDIBLE). What would you say to him? We don't want to talk about the ads and all that, they're going to take care of themselves. As far as his personal demeanor, keeping in mind that we just discussed that Gingrich is running as the avenger and expect him to have a little mask soon and a little hat. And come out and he's going to get the media, he's going to get the anti-God people, he's going to get Obama. He's going to get them all, ok? So how does Romney counter that?

COULTER: I think, I think he would just automatically say right after Romney lose -- not lose, he came in second. The same thing that he was polling at two weeks ago as he did in final results in South Carolina, and Gingrich came in what, fourth and fifth in the last two, suddenly Romney is doing something wrong.

I've been watching all of these debates and by the way, I think they stopped putting so much stress on the debates, there are going to be at most two debates between the Republican nominee and the President and it's not going to be a bunch of Tea Partiers in the audience. There are going to democrats, and based on Gingrich's past experience he sucks up to whatever audience --

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: Oh, he's going to yell at that. He's going to yell.

COULTER: He will not. No when he was asked about the Paul Ryan plan last year --

O'REILLY: But there's a difference. He's the avenger guy now.

COULTER: No, no. It's whatever the audience is. He loved global warming when he had that audience. He hated the Paul Ryan plan when he was in front of a mainstream media audience.

O'REILLY: I think he's found his groove and he's going to run it.

COULTER: He says whatever the audience wants him to say and I think these attacks on the media have been really, really depleting the well of sentiment against the liberal media. That is a serious issue when he keeps going to back to it to protect himself from his --

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: I thought you would like those attacks. You've written books on that.

COULTER: Yes, I have, because of that I think it's a serious issue. It's like Jesse Jackson going around accusing you know, people of racism, when his mistresses come out. What does Newt Gingrich use for a perfectly legitimate question, that he's shaking up the entire news media that John King, who was a fair and honest reporter -- I don't care if he works for CNN. He may be the only fair person over there starts about -- with the question he has got to ask.

O'REILLY: Yes. But he shouldn't have started with that first.

COULTER: I disagree. It's hanging over Newt Gingrich's head the whole debate otherwise.

O'REILLY: No. I would have never done that. I would have never done that.

COULTER: Oh, that is so picky and petty. And if this were a Democrat --

O'REILLY: I'll tell you where you're wrong. I'll tell you where you're wrong.

COULTER: -- if this were a Democrat, we'd be screaming bloody murder if that question had not been asked.

O'REILLY: Ok, look. I wouldn't be screaming anything, but you're wrong in the sense. That is old news. What ABC ran was old news and I told that to Brian Ross. It's no --

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: It's the headline on Drudge. It was the lead story -- here on Fox News.

O'REILLY: It's old news.

COULTER: Ok. And let's go to another really vicious mainstream media reporter Bret Baier who asked Newt Gingrich why his old staff abandoned him and does this suggest some sort of disorganization. And that Newt refused to answer attacking Bret Baier calling it a gotcha question. It's not a gotcha question.

O'REILLY: But Romney did the same thing with Bret Baier.

COULTER: My point is, this is a serious issue the way real racism is a serious issue but it has been wiped away by frauds and charlatans bringing up racism whenever they want a defense for something just like Newt Gingrich who doesn't want to answer a question, who wants to cover his sordid infidelities, who apparently can't answer on health care.

And another time he yelled at the moderator. I need three hours to answer that question. He's depleting this well of an important issue and the most important issue in this election isn't so much why I'm for Romney -- and I think he's the most conservative candidate of the four who remain right, and Gingrich the most liberal.

It is how do we get the most votes? Because if we don't defeat Obama in 2012, Obamacare is here to stay and Newt Gingrich will --

O'REILLY: Is "we" the Republicans -- is that you're talking about? Ok.

COULTER: I'm talking about the country because we will go the way of Western Europe.

O'REILLY: Ok. I think you're wrong, I think you're wrong on the media thing. I think that Gingrich understood the timing of this and the exploitation of it. Because there was no corroboration from what his wife said. None.

Coulter: He's admitted he's had two affairs.

O'REILLY: That wasn't it. The only thing that was taken out of that whole thing was the open marriage thing deal that she said. Everything else was the same.

COULTER: All he did was say "Do you want to respond?" And by the way, ABC was the first one to start reading from the Star report. They're the ones who had the first interview with Jesse Jackson mistress. They are not playing favorites here, by the way.

O'REILLY: I didn't say they were playing favorites. I just said the timing of it.

COULTER: It's the biggest story in the media.

The idea that he wouldn't be asked about that, and are you going to defend him on denouncing Bret Baier's completely legitimate question?

O'REILLY: I'm not going to defend anybody on anything. It's not my job to do that.

COULTER: The point is he is abusing --

O'REILLY: My job is to point out --

COULTER: He's abusing a real issue.

O'REILLY: Yes, we've got that point. Here is my job, my job is to be fair, all right? And he was ambushed by this, by ABC and by the lead question, that's not the most important question of day.

COULTER: Was he ambushed by--

O'REILLY: Yes.

COULTER: Wait, wait, wait.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: That question could have been asked --

COULTER: Ok, I'm moving on. I'm moving on. I disagree. We're moving on now. I disagree, we're moving on.

Was he ambushed by, you know, "FOX AND FRIENDS" on Saturday asking him to respond to, you know, the ethics violations?

O'REILLY: No. That was a legitimate --

COULTER: Well, he starts screaming at "FOX AND FRIENDS" and I thought Fox was fair and balanced. I'm getting sick of this because this is a real issue and you should care about this. And right wingers should care about this. But most importantly right wingers, who care, just close your eyes, look up at Newt and Callista, and think to yourself, are these people ever going to be president and first lady?

Because the answer is no, America, we need to get independent voters. He cannot possibly win.

O'REILLY: If they ride a populous wave. If they ride a populous wave and Romney doesn't come and bring something to stop them, they could get it.

COULTER: No, no. He can never be president.

O'REILLY: Look, I think the odds are still with Romney, I think to be fair he's got -- those are the odds.

COULTER: Look, after a few years when he was speaker--

O'REILLY: Gingrich did some serious damage to the Romney campaign in South Carolina, that's a fact.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: Last word. Last word.

COULTER: Look, he has only been elected in one small little Republican district. That's the only way he has shown that he can be elected any place. After a few years -- hang on, I get the last word.

O'REILLY: Do you change in Florida --

COULTER: After a few years as Speaker not only did this whole party turn against him saying you're road kill and you're ruining the Republican Party, but the vast majority of Americans in polls said he was scary and extremist, out of touch. Right now he's unfavorable --

O'REILLY: We get you don't like him.

COULTER: No, I don't like Obama, and this is going to be an historic landslide if Gingrich is the candidate.

O'REILLY: Ok. Ann Coulter everybody, e-mail her directly.

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