Overstaying Her Welcome? Newt Gingrich on Democrats' Calls for Hillary to Drop Out of the Race

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," March 28, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: We get right to our top story tonight. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy said earlier today that Hillary Clinton cannot win the nomination and should get out of the race for president.


SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: There is no way that Senator Clinton is going to win enough delegates to get the nomination. She ought to withdraw and she ought to be backing Senator Obama. Now, obviously that's a decision that only she can make. Frankly, I feel she would have a tremendous career in the Senate.


COLMES: Well if a Democrat calling for a Clinton to get out of the presidential race sounds familiar it's because we've heard the song before. That's newsworthy today because of the endorsement by Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Jr., who announced his support for Barack Obama today concluding more than 20 years of bitter fighting between the Caseys and the Clintons.

Watch our interview with Newt GINGRICH: Part 1

Watch our interview with Newt GINGRICH: Part 2

It all began in 1992 when then Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey Sr. tried to get the Democratic Party to dump Bill Clinton at the Democratic Convention citing his un-electability. Does that sound familiar? Of course that didn't work and it may not work again.

For all we know, there is still a race to be had. Joining us now to talk about all of this is former House speaker, FOX News contributor, author of the book "Real Change," Newt Gingrich.

Do you think — welcome back, by the way, Mr. Speaker.


COLMES: Appropriate that Patrick Leahy says to Hillary Clinton quit?

GINGRICH: Sure. Senator Leahy endorsed Obama back in January. He is an Obama enthusiast. He has every right to say Senator Clinton should get out of the race. It's just funny that anybody would take it seriously. I mean, if all of Obama's supporters got up and said gosh I sure wish Senator Clinton would get out of the race and Senator Clinton could have all of her supporters get up and say gosh we sure wish Senator Obama would get out of the race, what we then know is each side has supporters and neither of them is going to get out of the race.

This thing is not knowable yet. If Senator Obama has two or three more "revelations" comparable to Reverend Wright, he probably can't win the nomination. If Senator Clinton is not able to break through, she probably can't win the nomination. It's a big mistake to think that this is over and that automatically Senator Clinton ought to give in on behalf of Senator Obama.

COLMES: By the way, the Gallup polls shows 28 percent of Hillary supporters are saying they would vote for McCain if Obama gets the nomination. Now that would not sit well with Patrick Leahy, I would think, if we elect — if his idea would result in electing a Republican president.

GINGRICH: I think the left wing of the Democratic Party is in a real bind now because if they block Senator Obama, they risk losing all of the young left wing activists who have giving him now two million donors. They risk alienating the African-American community which has been their best base.

And yet, they have to start asking themselves, given Reverend Wright and other kind of revelations about Senator Obama, can he actually survive a general election or is he the Democrat most likely to lose to John McCain this fall?

COLMES: But doesn't it work the other way? Hillary Clinton has also inspired and empowered women who have never felt they were represented people of other demographic groups, socioeconomic groups? So yes, there are a number of people may be drawn into the electoral process because of Barack Obama, it cuts the other way as well, doesn't it, Mr. Speaker?

GINGRICH: Well first of all, I think it puts tremendous pressure on Senator Obama to pick a woman to be the vice-presidential nominee if he does get to be the Democratic nominee. Second, I think that there are a lot of people who really not so much on gender grounds but on national security grounds, on general competence, on values are simply finding Senator Obama increasingly unacceptable.

And I think the fact that one-fourth of Senator Clinton's voters are now saying they would vote for John McCain rather than Senator Obama should be very sobering to the average Democrat.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Mr. Speaker, thanks for being with us. I mean I don't think there is any way to describe it other than to point out, I mean, the Democrats are headed for a crackup here. I mean, real, real, real strife. We had Howard Dean say today that if this goes to the convention, this — he used the words this will be "ugly" and this will be "nasty."

Now, it seems like there is an opportunity there for the Republicans. Do you think they are handling this the way you would?

GINGRICH: Well first of all Woodrow Wilson had a great phrase. He said never murder a man who is in the process of committing suicide. I don't think we should necessarily do much more than look on in amazement as you have one of the Clinton supporters describe Governor Richardson as being like "Judas" on Good Friday.

You have somebody else, an Obama supporter describe President Clinton as being like Joe McCarthy. I think Republicans can sort of comfortably watch that kind of infighting. What Republicans ought to do is focus on new ideas, new solutions and offer themselves as a party that has learned a lesson and is going to prepare for real change next year.

HANNITY: Well how should the American people interpret this? You have Senator Casey's endorsement today of Barack Obama. But, we just heard the words of Pat Leahy, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy. I mean, what does it mean that the people that know Hillary Clinton best — that have worked with her now seven years — are going for the junior senator of Illinois over her? Doesn't that speak volumes about the person that they know so well?

GINGRICH: I think there is no question that in the hard line left wing of the Democratic Party that the Clintons are seen as unacceptable, that there is a deep opposition to them and that that opposition is getting deeper and I think more intense. At the same time, I think, that among the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party there is growing anger at the Obama forces, at MoveOn.org and all the hard line left wing groups.

So, I do think in three or four more weeks this could be a genuine civil war. I don't think it is yet. But I think that the intensity and the personality attacks are likely to increase.

HANNITY: We've — and this is a question we have been bringing up almost every night, but it appears more and more likely and that's why I think Howard Dean was trying to get out in front of this today saying it would be ugly and nasty if in fact it goes to the convention.

But we literally have a chance where there is a scenario where Barack Obama in free, fair, and open elections wins the popular vote, wins more elected delegates and then Hillary can work behind the scenes with the party insiders and win over the super delegates. Now I'm thinking if I'm a Barack Obama supporter, I would feel that that election was stolen from me. Wouldn't you?

GINGRICH: Yeah, I don't think that can happen unless there are more revelations that lead him to collapse in the polls. I think for him to lose the nomination right now, he would have to suffer significant hits. However, I do think the Democrats have an enormous challenge with Michigan and Florida. And I don't understand how they plan to go to a convention with two of the biggest states in the country not represented.

HANNITY: And it appears that's where it's headed right now. We'll have more with Speaker Gingrich coming up right after the break.



CHELSEA CLINTON, DAUGHTER: Next question is do I think my mother will be a better president than my father?


C. CLINTON: Well, again, I don't take anything for granted but hopefully with Pennsylvania's help she will be our next president and yes, I do think she'll be a better president.


HANNITY: That was Chelsea Clinton making it known she thinks her mom would make a better president than her dad did. We continue now with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Boy, Thanksgiving dinner may be tough now after that comment.

GINGRICH: No, listen. I think they both — I think they are both very proud of Chelsea. And I think she has actually shown a lot of class out there on the campaign trail.

HANNITY: I agree with you. She seems like a great kid.

All right, you mentioned earlier if there were two more instances like in the case of a Reverend Wright that came up, that you think it would be damaging to the point as I understood you didn't think that Barack Obama could win the general election.

There is still an ongoing analysis of Reverend Wright and more particularly of what Barack Obama knew about his controversial pastor. The more recent developments just came out, ABC, CBS, and some other news outlets that, for example, ABC News reported that in a newsletter in the pastor's page he claimed that Israel worked with South Africa to develop an ethnic bomb that kills blacks and Arabs.

In a eulogy he said "the U.S. government runs everything from the White House to the schoolhouse, from the Capitol to the Klan. White supremacy is clearly in charge." And there is a lot more coming out every day. Does he have to answer these questions? Do you think this is going to be an ongoing controversy? And should it impact this race?

GINGRICH: Look, I think it has to impact the race at two levels. One is that the more we learn about the death of dishonesty and of viciousness in Reverend Wright's language and Senator Obama has never directly repudiated the factual dishonesty that is at the heart of Reverend Wright's charges. That jars virtually every American of all backgrounds, including most African-Americans.

Second, there is a question, I think, that is growing about Senator Obama's own honesty and his unwillingness to be candid. The fact is, I think, that he generally knew that this was an anti-white church. That it had a dishonest...

HANNITY: Yeah...

GINGRICH: ...demagogic approach but it was politically acceptable to him to be a part of that church and I think that he simply refused to think about it.

COLMES: By the way, Mr. Speaker, I had on my radio show last night a couple who goes to that church. The woman is black. He is white. They were going to break up and Reverend Wright actually counseled them just before they got married, urged her to marry this white guy, bring them together because love is more important than race.

When you hear stories like that and how he personally worked with people, which is a much rounder picture of the Reverend Wright as opposed to hearing snippets of a few moments over a 35-year period.

HANNITY: A ton of moments...

COLMES: ...you are not getting an accurate picture of who this person is.

GINGRICH: Well I think that's right, Alan. I think that if you look at the great sermon he gave on "the audacity of hope," which was the sermon which led ultimately to Senator Obama's writing a book by that title, it's a remarkable sermon. It only has one racist comment in it. The rest of it is an extraordinary thing.

So if you want to make the assertion, Alan, that in many ways Reverend Wright was a pastor for 35 years because he did many good things, you can.

On the other hand, you have to ask of a potential president of the United States, if they lack the judgment to support and be part of an institution that is overtly racist, overtly anti-American, overtly dishonest, doesn't that tell you something about Senator Obama not about Reverend Wright?

COLMES: Except that those are your words, anti-American, racist and the things.


COLMES: Those are not his words.


COLMES: Those are not my words. You are calling him that.

GINGRICH: Wait a second, Alan.

COLMES: Not me.

GINGRICH: When somebody says.

COLMES: . and not most Americans.

GINGRICH: Wait a second. When somebody says on tape in an audience that the United States government created AIDS to kill African-Americans, you don't think that's stunningly anti-American?

COLMES: Is it anti-American when Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson blamed the ACLU and the abortionists and the liberals and all of those people for allowing 9/11 to happen? Is that anti-American?

GINGRICH: Its certainly anti-ACLU and anti-liberal.


COLMES: ...It's blaming your fellow Americans.

GINGRICH: But I'm just suggesting to you I don't remember anybody on the group you are describing ever explicitly saying the language about the United States that you have had Reverend Wright say on video, which is being distributed by the church, saying things in the church newsletter and I think, frankly, most conservatives would have deeply repudiated anybody who had said those kind of things about the United States.

COLMES: You had conservative evangelicals who I just mentioned saying the United States got what it deserved on 9/11 and I don't hear the same people going after them for making those kinds of comments and calling them anti-American.

GINGRICH: No, there was a very big outcry when some of those folks said that this was a function of American moral decay. And there was a very substantial outcry on the right who said that was absolutely false.

COLMES: Mr. Speaker, we thank you very much for coming on tonight.

GINGRICH: Good to be with you.

COLMES: Thank you very much.

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