Krauthammer: No 'hesitation' in supporting Romney

Commentator Charles Krauthammer clarifies his support and critiques of the 2012 candidate


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 9, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Joining us from Washington Fox News analyst Charles Krauthammer. That surprised me, that poll in Mississippi. Romney ahead and running pretty strong.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it is surprising because the way we have been hearing about it up until now it sounded like it's Gingrich country home territory and perhaps Santorum as the guy who represents the social conservatives is the guy who might give him a run for his money there but as Romney himself rather awkwardly said it's an away game for him.

So to find him ahead of the pack right now in the polls in the Mississippi I think is quite telling and I think it's ominous for Gingrich because his claim is he is strong in the south and somehow he'll march out of the south and take the rest of the country although he hasn't won anywhere outside of the south. If he can't hold, hold home court with Mississippi and Alabama. I'm not sure he goes on to Louisiana and other places.

O'REILLY: Ok, but he can't hold court because of Rick Santorum is going to take some of Gingrich's ideological support away from him. So Mitt Romney, I think, has the advantage because you've got two strong conservatives and one moderate conservative and… and he'll pick up the moderate vote and the other two will divide. So you've got to say that Romney has got a pretty good shot.

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, that's exactly how he's managed to get ahead in so many of the states where he wins. He doesn't win with 50 percent of the vote. He wins with a little over a third because everybody else is splitting it.

O'REILLY: All right.

KRAUTHAMMER: And as long as Santorum and Gingrich are out there hitting each other, he's got a path. If Gingrich loses badly on Tuesday, that's going to hurt Romney in the sense that it will then be one on one with Santorum.

O'REILLY: Yes Gingrich will probably have to go out because of the money situation. You're… you're not a big fan though of Mitt Romney. I just… I just suspect that you don't see him as the kind of guy you would want to see in the White House. Am I wrong?

KRAUTHAMMER: You're wrong. I actually like Romney. I think he's a very good man and I think he would make a very good president. But when I'm asked to say whether he's a strong candidate and to analyze him and his chances of winning I say what I think even though I would like to see him in the White House and I would have no hesitation in supporting him in the general election.

O'REILLY: Well then if that's the case, why would you rather see Mitt Romney in the White House than say Rick Santorum? Because you're a conservative man, your thought process is smaller government, more efficiency, self-reliance; this is what Dr. Krauthammer stands for. It says that Rick Santorum would more… be more simpatico to you.

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, I got two answers for you. Number one, he is much more of a social conservative than I am. And so I'm not inclined in that direction. But the more important thing is this. It's the Buckley Rule, after the sainted William F. and he always said that in any election he votes for the most conservative candidate who can win. Now everybody makes his own assessment. I'm not an oracle. I can't divine exactly how the future will unfold.

But in my analysis Santorum has no chance of winning the White House in general election. No chance.

O'REILLY: And… and the big reason for that is why?

KRAUTHAMMER: The gender gap is to start with, secondly it's an election about the economy.

O'REILLY: All right so wait, wait, wait. Not too fast.

KRAUTHAMMER: And what energizes him are social issues.

O'REILLY: Not too fast.

KRAUTHAMMER: It's the wrong year for social issues.

O'REILLY: Ok not too fast, you know I'm not, you know I have to keep up.

KRAUTHAMMER: You're a simple man I know and you went to Harvard so I have to work on that context.

O'REILLY: It was an Admissions mistake, you know that. All right, but… but you say that women won't vote for Santorum just… I only have 45 seconds. Why not?

KRAUTHAMMER: Well look at the gender gap he has now within the Republican race. The reason he lost in Michigan was exclusively the gap among women. And it has to do with some of the statements he made. He wants to make an issue of contraception. The issue was a closed issue in 1965 it's not an open issue. It's not what anybody who wants to debate. And I respect him for the views he has. I have utter respect for what he believes. But it's not a policy issue that is of any interest to the nation and it's a losing issue if he wants to make it a policy issue.

O'REILLY: All right. Charles as always we appreciate it thanks very much.

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