Published January 14, 2015
This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 29, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
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BILL O’REILLY, HOST: Now for the top story tonight, the analysis of what Senator Kerry has to accomplish Thursday.
Joining us from Washington is Fox News political analyst Newt Gingrich.
All right, Mr. Speaker, now I want to do this in a nonpartisan way. I mean, you're the savviest guy in the country as far as how politicians must position themselves.
I've got Kerry's speech, as I held it up before. There's really nothing you haven't heard before in here. It avoids anything controversial. No gay marriage talk, no we're going to pull out of Iraq. He's obviously not going to pull out of Iraq. And a lot of generalisms that we've heard. Is it going to be effective doing it this way?
NEWT GINGRICH, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, Bill, I think you put your finger on weakness number one, which is the idea of running for an hour, which sounds a little bit like Clinton's (search) speech way back in 1988 when he was the keynote speaker, remember for Dukakis (search). And he went on so long, people were kind of embarrassed for him.
I think you hit it about right: 28 minutes, the speech that was so tight, so well crafted, that it could then become a half-hour sort of infomercial for the next six weeks, that would have been the right thing.
Second, if I were in the audience making a checklist, there are a couple of keys I'd use. Is he talking to the country or is he talking to the delegates? If he's talking to the delegates, this speech is a dead loser. What he's got to do is communicate to the country he's capable of being president.
Second, are there enough specifics, particularly about Iraq, that he just doesn't get pounded on by the observers who say, you know, he's not telling us anything? I don't think he can just get by with saying oh, I'll do it better than George W. Bush. What will he do better? How will he do it?
O'REILLY: Well, let me stop you there. I can answer that question.
O'REILLY: He's basically saying, as he said before, that he's going to get other countries involved. See, he's implying this. He's implying that France and Germany and some other countries around the world dislike President Bush so much, they're not going to cooperate because of him. He says that once he gets in there, then he's going to be able to persuade them. That's the only specific about Iraq.
GINGRICH: I just think that it won't carry him very far. Let me put it that way.
I think the other question, since you've seen the speech and I haven't, you could probably answer this better than I can, Bill. I think it's really important that this speech is about Kerry and why Kerry could be president, rather than about Bush. This is the moment when John Kerry's got to step up. And people have got to, after tonight, say to themselves, you know, I can imagine him as commander in chief.
O'REILLY: OK, he does that.
GINGRICH: If he crosses that threshold -- well, then I think that will be a fairly successful speech.
O'REILLY: He does that, and particularly in the beginning of the speech. He lays out why he should be leading the nation. And it's OK. I mean, it's nothing you haven't heard before, but it's pretty to the point.
He only attacks Bush one time very specifically. He says that President Bush misled us into the Iraq War. And he would never do that. That's the only real bang attack on Bush. You know, he criticizes the healthcare and the stuff you've heard a lot of times before.
Well and on the misled thing, it'll be interesting when they finally get to the debate between the two of them, because I think President Bush is going to have a fairly firm response that he in fact didn't mislead people and that the Butler Commission, the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the 9/11 Commission have all come back and said he didn't. But that will be a debate they can have between them.
The other question I think I've got is when you get done hearing the speech, and you're going to go right into this later in the show, so you put your finger on a hot button here. How many people are going to be passionate about trying to get Kerry to be president as opposed to irritated with George W. Bush?
My sense up till now is that there's not a huge groundswell for Kerry. There's a lot of people who don't like President George W. Bush. But there's no great underlying excitement about Kerry.
And it'll be interesting to see tonight, can he ignite -- not in the hall, because the hall's going to be fine -- but can he ignite out in the country people sitting around who turn to look at each other and say, you know I want this guy to win.
O'REILLY: He's got a big problem, because the television viewership for the convention has been so low. And if he does go for an hour, I don't know if people will stay there.
Now his slogan, this is interesting. Last night's Edwards' slogan is
”hope is on the way,” remember? Hope is on the way. Kerry’s is “help is on the way.” So he says it five times in a row. Hope was on the way yesterday. Help is on the way today.
GINGRICH: Well, I was going to say, Bill, your fact checkers might want to check this during the show. I believe help is on the way was Dick Cheney's theme, talking about the military in his acceptance speech in Philadelphia in 2000, if I remember correctly.
O'REILLY: Oh, is that right?
GINGRICH: Uh-huh. I think they just picked up exactly the theme that Vice President Cheney used in Philadelphia. That may be interesting.
O'REILLY: All right, I want you just to react to my analysis of Kerry's speech.
O'REILLY: Very briefly. John Kerry, in this speech, is trying to persuade the people who aren't convinced on who to vote for, the independents and the undecideds, that he can make their life better. I mean it's as simple as that. I can -- he says at one point, I'm going to save your family $1,000 on healthcare. He doesn't say how he can do it.
O'REILLY: But he's trying to say if you elect me, the country will be better, and your life will be better. That's the theme. Last word on it.
GINGRICH: Well, I think that theme might work, except tomorrow morning people are going to say show me how. And I suspect in September, Bill Frist is going to offer to move the bill in the Senate and taunt the Senate Democrats to move this stuff. So we'll find out whether by mid September people believe there's $1,000 a piece in that health package. Sounds a little like McGovern’s demi-grant of 1972.
O'REILLY: All right, Mr. Speaker. We appreciate it very much.
GINGRICH: Good to be with you.
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