Top contenders for the 2016 presidential race

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," December 1, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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O'REILLY: "Hume Zone" segment tonight. A new Quinnipiac poll has evaluated seven possible republican presidential contenders against Hillary Clinton. If the election were held today, Mitt Romney would defeat Hillary Clinton 45-44. But Mrs. Clinton would beat Chris Christie 43-42. She would also defeat Rand Paul 46-41. She's ahead of Mike Huckabee 46-41 as well. And she defeat Jeb Bush 46-41. Paul Ryan, Mrs. Clinton wins 46-42. And again Senator Ted Cruise, she wins 48-37. So, from that, it looks like Mitt Romney is the GOP's best chance to catch the White House at least at this moment.

Joining us now from Washington, FOX News senior political analyst Brit Hume. I keep thinking that Mitt Romney may run, you know, Richard Nixon lost to Kennedy, he came back, he wins in 68. I think Romney may do it especially if he feels that the polls have him way out in front. What say you?

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: All right. I think it's unlikely Bill, look, certain things, as a political reporter you watch for when you are trying to figure out whether some prominent politician is running for president or some other office for that matter. And Romney is doing some of them and that is to say, he campaigned for the republican candidates in this midterm election. He is out in public, he is appearing on TV programs and then pushing his views and so forth. But he's also doing things you would never do if you're running. Such as saying, well, I have had my turn and now it's time for somebody else.

And of course, Mrs. Romney has said of the Romney family and presidential campaigns that we are done, done, done and she was very much eager for her husband to win that election. And deeply disappointed when he didn't. And so she is clued in politically. She wouldn't be saying that if she thought he were running. Now, look, I think it's possible to imagine some scenario in which the party kind of turns to him if the infighting is to terrible and no nominee is really emerging but I think we are a long way from that.

O'REILLY: Okay. As far as the Mitt Romney saying he has had his turn, by nature is he a humble man. I mean, you know him. I mean, he not braggadocio. And he is not -- he is humble. So, I'm not surprised at that and Romney and --

HUME: Oh, come on! What do you mean? Look, saying he has had his turn is one thing. Saying it is time for somebody else, that is entirely different, Bill.

O'REILLY: Yes. I don't know. You know how politicians are though.

HUME: I do. That's not the way they act when they run for president.

O'REILLY: I'm not going to do it unless you want me to do it. You have got to come to me. I'm not going to campaign like I did last time. I think that's all true. I still think he might pop in. And the reason is that the Republican Party still doesn't have any leadership. It's still all over the place.

HUME: Well, parties that are out of power and have been out of power for a couple of cycles the way this one has, at this stage of the proceedings with, you know, almost two years to go until the voting. They never have any leadership. You know, it's very unusual for somebody who hasn't -- unless the person has, like Ronald Reagan in 1980, barely lost the nomination battle and was the clear guy and even he, you know, was not the clear frontrunner in the eyes of a lot of people. So, it's early to say that. I mean, it's just too early for that to be meaningful.

O'REILLY: When do you think the republican candidates, those who want to run will ramp it up.

HUME: Well, you have got about as many as two dozen whom you might list as potential candidates. But they have got to meet several tests. They've got to -- first thing they have to do is to raise money to actually put a campaign together and you will notice that Mitt Romney does not seem, for example, to have held on to kind of some of the people who work for him.

O'REILLY: That might be a good thing.


HUME: Who will be the -- of an organization. Yes. Well, maybe but that's not what you normally do. But look, you have to show the ability to raise money.


HUME: You have to make some kind of a showing in the polls, so that you can have a chance to get an early debate --

O'REILLY: But when will they get out there this coming spring.

HUME: Oh, I'd say sometime by -- sometime late this coming spring, he'll begin to see him out there.

O'REILLY: All right.

HUME: But I mean, it's the biggest field I have ever seen and the most wide open field I have ever seen.

O'REILLY: All right. Brit, thanks as always.

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