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Talking Points

Bill O'Reilly: The Mitt Romney surge in Florida

By Bill O'Reilly

The Mitt Romney surge in Florida, that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points" memo.

Here is the latest poll from Suffolk University taken over the weekend in Florida: Mitt Romney 47 percent, Newt Gingrich 27, Rick Santorum 12, Ron Paul 9. Most of the other polls have Governor Romney way out in front as well.

So what has happened since South Carolina? Well, Romney has spent millions on TV ads raising questions about Speaker Gingrich's history, mostly political but the ads are strongly negative. Gingrich has fought back to some extent but he cannot match the Romney cash. Also Governor Romney did well in the last debate slowing down the Gingrich momentum.

Nevertheless, the Speaker continues to warn about a possible Romney nomination. On ABC yesterday Gingrich listed his own accomplishments and then hammered Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All of this is wiped away by Romney's totally phony history, which he maniacally continues to repeat. And I can assure you that all the way to the convention we're going to have a fight over whether or not somebody can be fundamentally dishonest and try to hide their liberal record in Massachusetts and try to hide their past in terms of voting for Democrats and get to be the nominee.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: But the real reason that Mitt Romney is surging in Florida has to do with the Republican voter in the Sunshine State. Like New Hampshire, Florida is less ideological than Iowa or South Carolina. And there are two kinds of Republican voters nationwide: committed conservatives who vote on values above all else and practical Republicans who look at problem-solving and the ability to win.

"Talking Points" respects both of those voting blocs and knows that in Florida, the practical voters outnumber the ideologues, that's why Mitt Romney is ahead.

Now, I'm not saying it's not practical to vote for Newt Gingrich. Certainly he's a strong candidate and could take the fight to Barack Obama. There is no question about that but as we said last week, it is a matter of style over substance in the Republican primaries now.

There's not much difference in the way Romney and Gingrich would govern the country although both would never admit that. We believe Mitt Romney will win in Florida tomorrow and it will be hard for Speaker Gingrich to find a pathway after that to derail the Romney campaign. Once Florida voters speak, money will flow to Mitt Romney.

And so Newt Gingrich will have to wait until March 6th, Super Tuesday, before any massive change in sentiment could possibly happen. In politics that is an eternity. And there are just three debates scheduled between now and then. So at this point the long and winding road according to Paul McCartney is facing Newt Gingrich.

And that's "The Memo."

"Pinheads & Patriots."

Senator John McCain has had enough of the Republican debates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We've got to stop the debates. Enough of the debates because they are driving up our candidates, all of them, on unfavorability. We've had enough of that. It's turned into mud wrestling instead of exposition of the candidates' views on the issues. We've had enough of that. And it's time to recognize who the real adversary is, and that's not each other.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: New Rasmussen poll says 45 percent of likely voters say there have been too many Republican debates. Thirty-seven percent say the number is about right. Nine percent want more debates. Who are those people?

For his no-spin approach, Senator McCain is a patriot.