Bill O'Reilly: Newt Gingrich and the evil empire

By Bill O'Reilly

Faced with harsh accusations from his former wife Marianne, Speaker Gingrich turned the table last night in a very shrewd way. He killed the messenger, he hammered the press.

For conservative Americans, this was deeply gratifying because there is no question that the American media are generally invested in liberal politics. A Pew Research poll in 2008 found that Americans believe journalists favored Barack Obama over John McCain by a margin of 70-9. And just 8 percent of the press people themselves say they are conservative.

Mr. Gingrich well understands that reality and the hostility conservatives have toward the media. And so, he delivered an epic blow.


JOHN KING, CNN: Your ex-wife gave an interview to ABC News and another interview with "The Washington Post," and this story has now gone viral on the Internet. In it, she says that you came to her in 1999 at a time when you were having an affair. She says you asked her, sir, to enter into an open marriage. Would you like to take some time to respond to that?

GINGRICH: No. But I will.


GINGRICH: I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office. And I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.


KING: Is that all you want to say, sir?

GINGRICH: Let me finish.

KING: Please.

GINGRICH: Every person in here knows personal pain. Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. To take an ex- wife and make it two days before the primary, a significant question he in a presidential campaign, is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.


GINGRICH: My two daughters wrote the head of ABC and made the point that it was wrong, that they should pull it. And I am frankly astounded that CNN would take trash like that and use it to open a presidential debate.


KING: As you noted, Mr. Speaker, this story did not come from our network. As you also know, it is a subject of conversation on the campaign. I'm not -- I get your point -- I take your point.

GINGRICH: John, it was repeated by your network, you chose to start the debate with it. Don't try to blame somebody else. You and your staff chose to start the debate with that.


GINGRICH: Now, let me be quite clear -- let me be quite clear: the story is false. Every personal friend I have who knew us in that period says the story is false. We offered several of them to ABC to prove it was false. They weren't interested because they would like to attack any Republican. They are attacking the governor, they are attacking me. I'm sure they'll get around to Senator Santorum and Congressman Paul.

I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans.


O'REILLY: All right. Now, what did Speaker Gingrich accomplish? Well, he deflected the marital issue. He once again proved is he a conservative warrior. And he separated himself in the more low key personalities of Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

On balance, Speaker Gingrich took a huge negative and turned it into a positive, at least in the short run.

But his ex-wife's accusations have hurt him, especially among women voters. And we'll talk about that in a few moments. However, there is no question that Newt Gingrich is now competitive in South Carolina and could win tomorrow, Saturday.

Ron Paul has no chance. Leaving Rick Santorum the alternative to Gingrich.

Now, last night the senator consistently went after the speaker.


RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So, when he goes and says I can, you know, run rings around President Obama and Lincoln Douglass debate. You can't run rings around the fact, Newt, that you supported the primary core basis of what President Obama has put in place.


O'REILLY: Now, the truth is there is not much difference among Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney on most policy matters.

So, South Carolina voters are left with personalities rather than policy.

Mitt Romney understands that and last night tried to convince the voters that he is like them.


ROMNEY: I didn't inherit money from my parents. What I have, I earned. I worked hard in the American way. And --


ROMNEY: I'm going to be able -- I'm going to be able to talk to President Obama in a way no one else can that's in this race right now about how the free economy works, what it takes to put Americans back to work and make sure he understands this divisiveness of dividing Americans between 99 and 1 is dangerous.


O'REILLY: By the way, my newspaper column this week available on, on exactly on that topic, how trying to divide America is a very bad thing.

The South Carolina vote on Saturday will be fascinating because there are some variables in the air. Very conservative voters must choose between Santorum and Gingrich. Modern voters will most likely go for Romney. And those who despise President Obama will have to figure out who has the best chance to beat him.

Again, there isn't much difference among the three candidates on issues. It's all a matter of style.

"Talking Points" will not make a prediction other than to say most likely between Romney and Gingrich tomorrow, with Santorum coming in third. If the governor wins, he cruises into Florida almost unstoppable. If the speaker wins, he must immediately hope that translates into millions of dollars in donations so he can compete on television in the Sunshine State.

If Rick Santorum comes in third, it's going to be tough for him going forward because of the money factor. In Florida, you need big cash to compete. And that's "The Memo."

Pinheads and Patriots

President Obama was all over the place, down in Disney World and up in Harlem.


OBAMA: Then to know that Reverend Al Greene was here --



Those guys didn't think I would do it. I told you I was going to do it. And the Sandman did not come out. Don't worry Rev, I -- I cannot sing like you, but I did -- I just wanted to show my appreciation.


O'REILLY: And I do, too. I love Al Greene, he's a patriot.


How about that? They didn't think I'd do it.