This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," November 21, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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LAURA INGRAHAM, GUEST HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight: things are getting very personal between "Beltway Boy" Mort Kondracke and me.
In his Roll Call column Thursday, Mort wrote: "How can the Republican Party rebound? The first step would be to quit letting Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham set its agenda."
Here's another gem: "In recent years, Republicans have let right-wing talk show hosts whip the GOP base into frenzies over immigration, brain-damage victim Terry Schiavo and same-sex marriage." And I think the word troglodyte was used somewhere.
Mort joins me now. First of all, Mort, I guess, how long have we been friends?
Click here to watch the lively exchange!
MORT KONDRACKE, "BELTWAY BOYS" CO-HOST: A long time.
INGRAHAM: Long time.
KONDRACKE: Long time, yes.
INGRAHAM: I mean, way over a decade I know we've been friends.
INGRAHAM: So, and you know…
KONDRACKE: And there was nothing but friendship in this column.
INGRAHAM: OK, so I open up the Roll Call, and I said wait a second, OK, Mort's saying this about talk radio. And I want to first start with this. Let's say we nominated, the Republicans nominated a candidate who was basically pro amnesty, basically for capping trade, had had a tough run-in with evangelical conservatives before, was for campaign finance and was opposed by talk radio. Let's say the Republicans had nominated a candidate like that. In your analysis, that candidate should have done pretty well. Well, that was the candidate we nominated, and John McCain went down in flames.
INGRAHAM: Explain your piece.
KONDRACKE: Well, look, the premise of the piece is that the Republican Party has gone way off to the right on issues that matter to the future people who are going to decide how elections come out in this country: young people, Hispanics, first-time voters, working women.
INGRAHAM: How about Hispanics in California on the issue of marriage? How did they vote?
KONDRACKE: They voted no.
INGRAHAM: How about in Georgia and Florida?
KONDRACKE: But look…
INGRAHAM: How about African-Americans in California?
KONDRACKE: True. How about immigration? What you — look, Karl Rove, I quote Karl Rove in this piece from The Wall Street Journal saying…
INGRAHAM: Well, that doesn't impress me.
KONDRACKE: If you don't do better among Hispanics, you're finished.
KONDRACKE: You can never regain the majority, and you cannot deny that what happened on immigration was that you guys…
INGRAHAM: We nominated the most pro open borders candidate we could.
KONDRACKE: You — your party got identified with the Tom Tancredo wing of the Republican Party.
KONDRACKE: And you suffered for it.
INGRAHAM: We nominated your dream man.
KONDRACKE: You lost Colorado. You lost New Mexico.
INGRAHAM: We nominated your dream man on immigration, your dream, and he went down in flames.
KONDRACKE: He could never have won the election under any circumstances because of the economic meltdown, but, but…
KONDRACKE: ...he did less well among Hispanics than George Bush did. Why? Because George Bush was in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.
INGRAHAM: Mort, Mort.
KONDRACKE: And then you guys spoiled…
INGRAHAM: Here's what happened.
KONDRACKE: ...spoiled the environment.
INGRAHAM: Here's what happened is that I think people who want to, you know, Monday morning quarterback what happened, I think what you want is the Republican Party to move to the left, and that's fine. That's a fine position to have.
But what that isn't is conservative, and conservatives are still the core of the Republican Party. Republicans in 2004 — you want to quote Karl Rove? I'll quote him back to you, because in 2004, Karl Rove said Republicans are on the verge of establishing a permanent majority. Why?
INGRAHAM: Because they were conservative. On social issues, foreign policy issues, and on government, you know, fiscal responsibility issues. But guess what? Republicans went back on everything. They went back on fiscal responsibility, prescription drug bill by George Bush, spending out the wazoo. And so for you to come along and say, well, if they'd only been more liberal, they would have done better.
KONDRACKE: My argument is that what we need to do is solve America's huge problems, huge problems, health care, all that kind of stuff. The only way we're going to solve it is with deals in the middle.
INGRAHAM: Yes. $700 billion bailouts?
INGRAHAM: That is going to save us?
KONDRACKE: Martin — I mean, what does Martin Feldstein want? Martin Feldstein wants $400 billion to $500 billion bailout package. Look, this is…
INGRAHAM: Well, why blame talk radio?
KONDRACKE: This is too…
INGRAHAM: Why blame…
KONDRACKE: I'm not blaming talk radio.
INGRAHAM: You said No. 1 stop listening to Limbaugh.
KONDRACKE: Terri Schiavo, listen, the Terri Schiavo case.
INGRAHAM: Terri Schiavo.
KONDRACKE: Terri Schiavo case did you enormous damage.
INGRAHAM: Do you think he lost one vote, one vote because of Terri Schiavo?
KONDRACKE: John McCain, no.
INGRAHAM: What state did John McCain lose because of Terri Schiavo?
KONDRACKE: The Republican Party — just think, the Republican — kids looked at the Republican Party. They remember the Terri Schiavo case where it was talk radio that badgered the Republican congressman.
INGRAHAM: Yes. Well, I — you know…
KONDRACKE: Even George Bush into coming back and signing that bill.
INGRAHAM: …that's a whole show that you and I could do, and I'd love to do that with you.
But let me — OK, first of all, insulting a whole group of Americans as troglodyte because they disagree with you on an issue that I know is very personal to you and I respect that.
KONDRACKE: Read the column. I said…
INGRAHAM: You said they have driven the party into being described as troglodyte.
KONDRACKE: As troglodyte, right.
INGRAHAM: Troglodyte by whom?
KONDRACKE: By young people. By young people.
INGRAHAM: Besides peoples degrees as evidence?
KONDRACKE: Young people in America.
INGRAHAM: Young people didn't turn out in any greater numbers than they did last time. One percent advance.
KONDRACKE: White young people, 54-44.
INGRAHAM: Run some candidates.
KONDRACKE: Young people in all regards.
KONDRACKE: 66 to 32. The only people John McCain carried?
KONDRACKE: Old people. He carried old, white southern evangelicals. That's who he carried.
INGRAHAM: You're making a general point that the Republicans I think need to broaden out. That's fine.
KONDRACKE: Yes, that's what I'm saying.
INGRAHAM: But my point is that…
KONDRACKE: That was my largest point.
INGRAHAM: But my point is that you broaden out, not by abandoning the principles that actually won you a majority election after election, but by putting forth good candidates who can communicate, are upbeat and positive.
KONDRACKE: All of that.
INGRAHAM: I'll get you on that. Hannity, Rush, and I, come one, we actually communicate to people on a daily basis. Three hours a day.
KONDRACKE: You polarize.
INGRAHAM: That's all I ask.
KONDRACKE: You polarize.
INGRAHAM: You need to listen to the show. You admitted in the greenroom you don't listen. So you need to listen.
KONDRACKE: Not often enough. I love the show when I hear it.
INGRAHAM: Yes, listen, it's funny and…
KONDRACKE: It is funny.
INGRAHAM: I love you, Mort.
KONDRACKE: It is. I love you.
INGRAHAM: We're friends. We're friends fighting each other. It's OK. Mort, thanks a lot.
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