Should Hillary Clinton Run?

This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, October 30, 2003.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "impact" segment tonight, an interesting new poll out from Quinnipiac College (search) in Connecticut. It says 43 percent of Democrats want Hillary Clinton (search) to run against Bush.

The next highest rated is General Clark with just 10 percent. So you can see Senator Clinton is the most powerful Democrat in the country.

Joining us now from San Francisco is Fox News political analyst Newt Gingrich. His new book "Saving Lives and Saving Money" is now out in paperback.

You know, what's interesting about this poll is the Democrats love Mrs. Clinton, but if in a general match-up against President Bush, she comes out the lowest. Let me give you the numbers here. Lieberman 48-43, Bush wins. Kerry 49-43, Bush wins. Gephardt, 49-43, Bush wins. Howard Dean 48-42. And Senator Clinton 50-42. So she comes along in the general population the lowest, but Democrats love her. That's about it, right?

NEWT GINGRICH, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that's about right. But if you notice the difference is about plus two for Bush and minus two for Hillary. So I mean she is relatively competitive with the other Democrats, none of whom are beating Bush right now.

The amazing thing in this poll, as you've pointed out, is that the minute she announces if she decides to, she's not only the frontrunner, she's the frontrunner by an enormous margin. And is clearly the most popular Democrat available to run. It's a remarkable achievement on her part.

O'REILLY: I don't know why she is so popular. I mean, she has two entrees into public policy before she was elected senator. Both were disasters. Education in Arkansas and healthcare while she was First Lady.

In New York, she's done, you know, all right, but she hasn't really helped upstate New York. And she ran heavily on that. Do you know why she's so popular?

GINGRICH: Well, I think it's very hard for conservatives and Republicans to realize that Bill and Hillary Clinton are seen in the Democratic Party among their base as very attractive, very powerful people.

The polarization that took place in the 90s, while all of us who did not like the Clintons felt very strongly about it, we forget that on the other side, about 42 percent of the country really liked the Clintons. And I think that it's a big underestimation of her celebrity status and of her appeal.

Anywhere she goes in this country, she's going to draw a lot of Democrats to an event. She's going to raise a lot of money. Remember, Bill, that some of the presidential candidates were irritated because the Iowa Democratic party has invited her to chair their annual Jefferson Jackson dinner. And the reason they did it is that she'll raise more money than all the Democratic presidential candidates combined.

O'REILLY: Yes. Well, look, I mean I said last night on this broadcast, because my book is challenging her book for most books sold in a non-fiction category this year. And I said, this is one tough competitor. I mean, I might not beat her unless I have a huge turnout for "Who's Looking Out for You" over the holiday buying season. She is a formidable opponent.

But on the other hand, Mr. Speaker, she doesn't change anybody's mind, you know?


O'REILLY: There's no "not sures" here. You either love her or you don't. And if she can only get 42 percent of Americans to like her, she can't possibly get elected president.

GINGRICH: Well, that's why I think the challenge the Democrats have is that the two candidates who are emotionally most satisfying to them, Senator Clinton and Governor dean, are the two candidates least likely to win over the independent voters and least likely, I think, to get to a majority.

But you still have to say the first stage of any campaign is winning the primary, winning the nomination. And she is very formidable if she wants to run.

Now I think frankly that the economic news today with the dramatic increase in the economy and its size, the sense that the economy is really beginning to move, I think that makes it less likely that she'll run. I think she'll only run if she thinks that President Bush is beatable. And she'll take a bye and wait four more years and run for re-election.

O'REILLY: Yes, I agree with you. And we said that in the Talking Points memo. This is a big day for the Bush administration. And it really comes down to now Iraq. That's the issue, because Bush is a big spender.

GINGRICH: That's right.

O'REILLY: That must make you a little queasy, how much money Bush spends.

GINGRICH: Well, you know, in this kind of deflationary environment -- I'm very comfortable with the president's economic plan right now.

O'REILLY: All right. So it just comes down to Iraq. That's the issue right now. And if he can contain that at least a little bit, he's got a good chance. If it degenerates any further, he's in for a struggle. I'll give you the last word on it, as always, Mr. Speaker.

GINGRICH: Well, I think you put your finger on it, Bill. And the fact is that Ambassador Bremer was back this week having meetings in the Pentagon and the White House. And I think that they are designing a strategy to turn over more authority to the Iraqis and bring the Iraqis more in charge of defending their own country. And I think that over the next few months, that's going to have a very positive effect.

O'REILLY: Yes, well they’ve got to stop indicting officers that get information out of terrorists. No. 1, they’ve got to stop because that's just a terrible situation.

Mr. Speaker, thanks very much. We appreciate it. Always good to see you.

GINGRICH: Good to be with you.

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