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Will the negative GOP primary help Obama?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 01, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: "Back of the Book" segment tonight. No question the Republican competition has been brutal in a negative way. So the big question becomes will that help Barack Obama in the general election?

Joining us now from Wasilla, Alaska, Governor Sarah Palin, who is closely watching this situation.

So Governor, you've got to assume that the Democrats and the Obama campaign and the PACs that are going to help him have cherry-picked stuff against Mitt Romney said by Republicans if, indeed, the governor is the nominee, and use it in the general election. How bad do you think that's going to hurt Romney and help President Obama?

SARAH PALIN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: You know that brutality. Say, for instance, what we just witnessed in Florida that brutality via $17 million in negative ads in a 65-to-1 negative ad ratio that was mounted against Newt Gingrich, which I think did result in him falling there in the polls and in that primary. That brutality will help Obama only if Americans can concede Obama's point that he recently made and that is that America has gotten lazy.

It is imperative that voters do not become lazy in this primary process, and we aggressively and ambitiously do our own homework. We vet the candidates ourselves, because we cannot rely on the media, the establishment, the super PACs and candidates who hide behind the super PACs to tell us what the truth is about these candidates.

O'REILLY: Well, OK, but people who watch this program listen to talk radio, read the newspapers. They're likely to do that. But that's not the majority of the American people.

And the majority of voters will be -- and I'm not being condescending; I'm being realistic -- ill-informed. And they're going to pick up, just as the voters in Florida did, trends on television. Negative advertising catches people's attention much better than positive does.

So the Obama campaign is being handed a gift by the Republican Party because of all of this campaigning. I think that there's no doubt about that.

PALIN: Well, then these candidates have got to be reminded they have got to focus. They have got to get back to what really matters. And that is how do we mount that -- mount that aggressive campaign via the most equipped fighter against Obama and his failed policies instead of the nitpicking, yes, against one another. We focus on the main thing.

O'REILLY: Yes, but that's not going to happen.

PALIN: And it does -- it does need to be that most equipped fighter. We need to -- it's not negative campaigning, as I said before, to call out an opponent's record, their associations, what it is that they have said in the past in order to figure out where do they intend to take us in the future.

O'REILLY: Come on. Governor -- Governor, you've got one guy, Gingrich, saying that this Romney is a corrupt midget, because he's making all this money and not looking out for the folks. He's a Massachusetts liberal. If he gets inside the White House, he's going to do what Obama does.

Then you have the other guy, Romney, saying Gingrich is a corrupt guy with Freddie Mac, and he's making money off the K Street lobbyists. It's - - you know, these guys -- it's too late. The old genie is out of the bottle. It's too late.

Look, I think the Republican Party made a mistake just in the broad tent on getting this personal so fast. It got real personal; it's going to help Obama.

Now, how do you handle negative attacks? I don't think there's anybody in the country that's had more negativity directed toward them than you. In fact, there's an HBO movie coming up in March, a big one, OK? Again it's going to hammer you, I understand. How do you, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, handle the negative attacks? What is the best way to handle them?

PALIN: Well, I hope that they, like I am able to do, keep priorities straight and right and know what really matters. At the end of the day what matters to me is my faith, my family, and my freedom as an American. So all that other stuff on the periphery, you know, it can just kind of go away. It's not going to adversely affect me. And I hope that the candidates feel the same.

O'REILLY: But you're a human being. I mean, you -- don't you get tired of this stuff? I mean, you were a good sport on "Saturday Night Live." You went on with Tina Fey, and that was smart. But once in a while you go, you know, "Was it all worth it? Now I'm going to get hammered on HBO by another crazy movie." It's debilitating. It has to be debilitating, Governor.

I'll give you the last word.

PALIN: Well, I'm more sympathetic when I watch others go through perhaps what I have and still go through. You know, I feel like my skin is thick enough where it's not going to bother me.

But I do feel for others. And I do understand why American voters seem to be a bit more disenchanted with the whole process today, because they see the brutality.

O'REILLY: Yes, it's nasty.

PALIN: ... waste time and waste resources. And we have got to stay focused on the main thing through this primary election: finding the most equipped candidate to come up against the failed policies of Obama.

O'REILLY: All right. Governor Palin, thanks, as always. We appreciate it.

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