Political Odd Couple: Newt and Hillary

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 6, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, both Newt Gingrich and Hillary Clinton are very interested in American health care. Mrs. Clinton, as you know, headed up a disastrous attempt to revise health entitlements in the early '90s. Speaker Gingrich has written extensively on the health issue.

Now the two have teamed up, leading some cynics — not me — to think Senator Clinton may be using Mr. Gingrich to moderate her political profile.

With us now is Newt Gingrich. His brand new book just out today. "Never Call Retreat: Lee and Grant, the Final Victory." And that is a great Father's Day book.

OK, you — obviously, you knew when you and Mrs. Clinton made a joint statement about having technology updating the health records of Americans and the health care industry, that people are going to say, "Look, she just wants to be associated with him to get the liberal tag off."

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, sure. I mean, people have — the first thing is people looked at the picture and said, "Oh, my God. There — what's Newt doing standing next to Hillary?" Or if you're a liberal you said, "What's Hillary doing standing next to Newt?"

What we said, though, and I think — and I appreciate your approach to this, because it hasn't been cynical and it hasn't been automatically hostile — what we said was there are things that can be done, electronic prescribing, electronic health records — not liberal, not conservative, not Democrat, not Republican — that we think will save between 20,000 and 50,000 lives or more every single year.

Now, I've said to all of my friends who are critical, "If you can get together and save 20,000 or 50,000 Americans a year, why wouldn't you be applauding?"

O'REILLY: But everybody would want to be on board with that. I mean, there's no politician who says, "No, I don't want to save those lives." Why did you and Hillary team up? Because of the visibility, right?

GINGRICH: Because — no. The Congress needs to pass a bipartisan bill. Congressman Tim Murphy (search), a Republican from Pennsylvania, Congressman Patrick Kennedy (search), a Democrat from Rhode Island, had written a very good bill on health information technology. They said, and they were right, if Hillary and I had come to the press conference, they'd get a lot more coverage.


GINGRICH: So we're launching a bill. Now, by the way, in about a week, Bill Frist (search), world famous heart-lung transplant surgeon, working with Hillary and with many other people, will be introducing a similar bill, a bigger bill, in the Senate.

O'REILLY: Right.

GINGRICH: And again, you're going to see a wave of publicity. And our goal is hopefully this year to get the Congress to pass and the president to sign a health information technology bill.

O'REILLY: But it will pass, and he will sign. Who's going to oppose something like that?

GINGRICH: You're going to be surprised. There's...

O'REILLY: I would be surprised.

GINGRICH: There's some selfish groups in this country that don't want to see parts of this bill pass, because they're looking after their own little self interests.

O'REILLY: Yes, but not in Congress. It's almost suicide for anyone in Congress to go up against a conservative and a liberal.

But see, look, I see what Mrs. Clinton is doing very clearly. I live here in New York, OK? I know her strategy. Everybody knows it: move to the center. Don't answer any specific questions about anything. All right? And so she does it.

You ask her what she's going to do on Iraq, you'll never get an answer. On the border, you won't get an answer. Health care entitlements, you won't get an answer. You'll never get an answer to any specific question.

It'sthe same strategy that many people have used to get to higher office, and that bothers me. She's not going to answer questions. She's going to run on her name and all the money. She's going to use guys like you to say, "Look, I'm no bomb thrower. I can have detente with Newt Gingrich."

GINGRICH: Ronald Reagan (search) had a great line about detente: trust but verify. If Hillary Clinton is willing to support a good, practical, common sense thing, then we should take her support. If she wants to vote against conservative judges — and sooner or later, because she's a senator, she's going to have lots of votes. If she's for higher taxes instead of lower taxes, that's going to come out.

We have three years to draw a clear contrast between our solving problems and her liberalism. And...

O'REILLY: All right. There you go. Now are you convinced she's still a far left person? Or is she a moderate person now?

GINGRICH: Look, I think she's a liberal. I think she's more practical than a Howard Dean (search) or a John Kerry (search), but she's clearly a liberal. I mean, every speech she's ever given is clearly a center-left speech.

O'REILLY: So all of this is strategizing on her part. Not to say she's not for the bill that you're for. You're both for it. It's a good bill. But as I said, who'd be against it? Everybody wants an update in technology for health.

GINGRICH: Look, you're the master of this. I hesitate on your show to even say this. You've always made the point you're not owned by anybody.

O'REILLY: Right.

GINGRICH: Well, maybe sometimes you ought to give politicians a chance to go out and actually do something because they just think it's right.

O'REILLY: Well, I'd be happy to give any politician that if they'd come on here and answer questions the way you are. But I'm not going to give the politicians if they use people. And I'm not saying she is. I'm saying she could.

GINGRICH: I promise you, if I'm ever asked by Hillary, I'll urge her to come on your show.

O'REILLY: Yes. And you know what she'll say? "I'll think about it." And you know what she'll do? She won't come on. All right.

GINGRICH: I wouldn't go on your show if I were her.

O'REILLY: You mentioned our pal. Howard is out making money attacking me. Over the weekend we have Biden and Edwards, two powerful Democratic senators, coming out and saying point blank, "Dean doesn't speak for us." Does this mean anything?

GINGRICH: Yes, I think it does. I think that Howard Dean has made a mistake by being so negative. I mean, if you take the quotes — and I know you've seen them all — and you look at how vicious: "I hate Republicans" is one of his quotes.

O'REILLY: Yes, they don't work. Now his latest is Republicans don't work.

GINGRICH: My point is — I don't care if he says they don't work. Some of the things he said have been so vicious. I don't think the country wants a Democratic national chairman who can do nothing but be negative for four solid years.

And I think the — Biden and Edwards are tapping into something. I think you're presently going to see Evan Bayh do the same thing —the senator from Indiana — and that is understand that there is an interest in this country in figuring out: can the Democrats actually offer anything positive?

They can tell us they're against judges. They can tell us they're against John Bolton for the U.N. They can tell us that they're against Iraq. They're against tax cuts. Can they tell us anything that's positive?

And I don't think that Dean understands that — something Haley Barbour (search) did when he was chairman, now governor of Mississippi, and I worked with him with I was in the minority — and that was we offered a positive image in '94, not just a series of negative attacks on Democrats.

O'REILLY: Right. All right. Last thing — we only have less than a minute — Gitmo. Biden wants to shut it down. You know, that's taken on a world of its own.

GINGRICH: I have a straight forward question for Biden. You want to move all those prisoners to Wilmington? You want to put all those prisoners in Dover? I mean, what are you talking about shut it down?

Where are you going to take terrorists who vowed to kill Americans, and where are you going to put them?

O'REILLY: He's going to say put them in Leavenworth.

GINGRICH: Then how does Leavenworth become different than Gitmo? What's the point?

O'REILLY: Because he wants to give them lawyers. He wants due process for them. That's how it comes in. He'll assign everyone a lawyer. Then you have to face your accuser and they'll have to be flying Al Qaeda (search) in from Pakistan. It's nuts.

GINGRICH: I can't imagine anything more destructive. And I say this based on talking with the Italians about how they dealt with the Mafia. You start getting their lawyer in a cell with them, you are going to have information going back and forth. You're going to have all sorts of messages passed back and forth. I can't imagine anything more destructive than to get them inside the American legal system.

O'REILLY: Unbelievable, but "The New York Times" and Biden didn't see it that way. They want to shut it down.

GINGRICH: They're just wrong. I mean — and its dangerous for America.

O'REILLY: What does Hillary think about that?

GINGRICH: You'd have to ask her.

O'REILLY: Yes, Mrs. Clinton, what do you think about shutting down Gitmo? You're not going to get an answer, Mr. Speaker.

GINGRICH: Well, we'll see.

O'REILLY: You're not — all right.

GINGRICH: But that's your job.

O'REILLY: I know it is and I'll go to her house. I'll climb in a window.

All right, buy the book, for your Father's Day, particularly. And we appreciate you coming in here, Mr. Speaker, as always. Thank you, very much.

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