Newt Gingrich Assesses the 2004 Political Landscape

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This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, January 21, 2004.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Now for the top story tonight, an analysis of the political scene from Fox  News analyst Newt Gingrich, who joins us now from Washington, D.C.

All right.  I just got this, Mr. Speaker.  This is serendipity here.  New poll, "Boston Herald," Dean is slipping big, 21 percent.  And Kerry's got 31 percent and Clark has got just 16 percent.  So Kerry, off the Iowa thing, catapults.  Doesn't surprise you, right?

NEWT GINGRICH, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, I think it's a remarkable implosion by Howard Dean.  You know, when we talked a couple of weeks ago, Bill, when I was on this show, I really thought it was very likely that Dean could win both Iowa and New Hampshire.  And I think as his personality  has come out in the open over the last, oh, 10 days or so, he has just been falling apart I think at a deeper rate than any presidential candidate I can remember in my lifetime.

The -- you know, I think the incident yesterday of him singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" to quiet two protesters, I mean, it's almost flaky.  I'm not sure how "Saturday Night Live" is going to make fun of somebody who's this funny on the evening news.

O'REILLY:  Yes, I think he...

GINGRICH:  And I think he's going to keep sliding.

O'REILLY:  But you remember who predicted that he would not get it, I'm sure Mr. Speaker.


O'REILLY:  I dare -- and I knew that because...

GINGRICH:  Well, I think he...

O'REILLY:  I knew that because he was just simply disrespectful to too  many people.  And he -- and as I said in the "talking points" memo, you can disagree with policy all day long, but hating is quite something else.

Now marriage, I think that President Bush, this -- he is going to really continue to hammer this.  Do you agree?

GINGRICH:  Well, I think President Bush was very careful last night to  make the point that we should respect every individual in their personal lives.  But that as a society, we have to make a decision about whether marriage, as an essentially religious basis, or whether we live in a liberal, secular society where it's contract law.

And the president clearly, I think in his heart, believes deeply that this is -- that marriage reflects a religious tradition and therefore has to be heterosexual.  And I think it's not too surprising that virtually all the Democrats are lining up on behalf of a kind of secular liberalism that sees marriage as just part of contract law.

O'REILLY:  Except Lieberman, who is -- we're going to have -- coming up right behind you.  Lieberman differs there.  But you have a poll here that shows dominant, dominant support for heterosexual marriage.  And I think that the Bush people are going to use that, particularly in the South and the Midwest, to just wipe out Wesley Clark, John Kerry.  Dean's not going to get it.  John Edwards is a little bit more conservative about it.

What other issues, do you think, beside the war on terrorism, obviously that, and the economy is going Bush's way.  So what other issues do you think are going to be big?

GINGRICH:  Well, I mean I think the Democrats are going to do everything they can to make jobs a real issue and to play on insecurity and fear.  I think they're also going to try to find some way to be for tax cuts -- I mean tax increases for the rich.

But I think they've got a very long mountain to climb.  As you mentioned, Senator Lieberman is the only pro-national security centrist Democrat in the race right now.  And I think the other Democrats are all going to cluster around a set of issues that I think polarizes the country in the end against him.

Kerry, in particular, seems absolutely fascinated with attacking the special interests and being against the special interests.  And as a Massachusetts liberal, it'll be interesting when you get to union issues and trial lawyer issues and other kind of issues to see how anti-special interest he really is.


GINGRICH:  But you watch him.  He's going to use that language all the time.

O'REILLY:  You have a divided country in the sense that there is, you know, a lot of sentiment that runs against President Bush on immigration, for example.  Took a big hit on his base on immigration.  Was that worth it?  You know, he wants the Hispanic vote, but the conservatives are saying, look, it's out of control.  You're not doing anything about it.  We don't like this policy.  Where do you come down on that?

GINGRICH:  Well, Bill, you may disagree with me strongly, but I think this was actually one of the most historic positions he took and particularly important  because he took it before an election, knowing that it wouldn't be very popular.  And I think that the reason he did is that we have to -- we've got to have a debate about facing reality.  There may be eight million people working in this country, living in this country, and we're not going to deport them.

O'REILLY:  But when are we going to face the reality of stopping them, coming across the border?  You know, when is that reality going to be faced?

GINGRICH:  I think the truth -- as I said, you're not going to like it, you're not going to agree with it.  I think the truth is we're not going to stop them.  And the question is whether or not we can regulate it by having a guest worker program...

O'REILLY:  But we can stop.

GINGRICH:  ...where we know who's willing to come over here to work.  And as long as people are willing to come over and work, pay taxes, obey the   law, I think most Americans are willing to have a guest worker program and recognize, you know...

O'REILLY:  I am.  I am.  But you have to stop the inauguration, because now it's going to really be a flood.  Mr. Speaker, we have to run, unfortunately.  We always like talking to you.

GINGRICH:  Great to be with you.

O'REILLY:  And you will be our guy throughout the campaign.  And we'll see you soon.

GINGRICH:  You bet.

O'REILLY:  By the way, we have a new poll question on  Is President Bush spending too much of your tax money?  Is President Bush spending too much of your tax money?, there you have it.  And we'll have the results in a couple of days.

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