Why Is Gingrich Surging Over Romney?
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," December 6, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is now standing as the clear frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination in a number of key states. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll has Gingrich securing 33 percent of the vote from likely Iowa caucus goers compared to just 18 percent from Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.
South Carolina, new numbers from a Winthrop University poll show that the former speaker with a double-digit lead over the second place candidate Mitt Romney. Texas Governor Rick Perry in that one comes in a distant third. And in a new nationwide Gallup poll, Gingrich leads Romney, 37 to 22 percent with all the other candidates trailing in just single digits.
Joining me now with analysis of all this latest numbers, plus a look at the hottest new political ads that are hitting swing states all across the country, the one and only, the pollster Frank Luntz. Sir, how are you?
FRANK LUNTZ, LUNTZ GLOBAL: Sean, I'm tired. There are so many ads coming out. We got two great debates --
HANNITY: All right. No whining. I don't want to hear you are tired. We are all tired. We are all working hard.
All right. First of all, I did two concerts this weekend. You know, we do a salute to the troops for Christmas. One in Pittsburgh, one in D.C. And I asked the crowd, went through every candidate. Gingrich by far. It may not mean much. Thousands of people. What does this mean to you? Do you think this is real?
LUNTZ: It's everything I see across the country. Mitt Romney played it too safe, he played it too conservative. He didn't go out, he didn't show passion, he didn't show a commitment. He's not been campaigning in Iowa and it's having an impact on what people think if him all across the country. Newt Gingrich doesn't have advertising dollars. He's only just started advertising in the last 48 hours. He doesn't have an organization. He doesn't have a fundraising team, and yet he's got the most important thing of all, message. He's got message. That's why he's doing well.
HANNITY: I would say today is the day, as I read the blogs and I read, quote, "the establishment," because whoever wins this nomination I will support fully. We can't afford Obama for four more years. Here's the question, though. The next three weeks, the next six weeks, the next eight weeks, it's going to be beat up Gingrich like they did Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry and Herman Cain. Will Newt Gingrich be able to withstand the attacks that are coming?
LUNTZ: He's got two debates, one on December 15th, Sean, I predict is going to be the most watched debate of the entire primary cycle. For Newt Gingrich to secure that nomination, he has to demonstrate in those debates that he can take the heat of the moderators, the questionnaires and his fellow candidates. Republicans don't pay as much attention to the ads, even though they're important. They're watching these debates and watching the language behind them.
HANNITY: Let's look at some of the ads. We'll start with Gingrich who we're just talking about. And here's his first ad in Iowa.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can revive our economy and create jobs, shrink government and the regulations that strangle our businesses. Throw out the tax code and replace it with one that is simple and fair. We can regain the world's respect by standing strong again, being true to our faith, and respecting one another. We can return power to the people and to the states we live in, so we will all have more freedom, opportunity and control of our lives. Yes, working together, we can and will rebuild the America we love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: All right. If got to the critical 70 percent among the GOP and above 50 for Democrats. That's interesting.
LUNTZ: Which is what is happening. This is what I don't understand and I would like to be able to say, I can explain it to you, but I can't. I know that most of the polls do not show Gingrich moving up among independents and Democrats. He's doing well specifically among Republicans. But, Sean, I'm going to tell you, right now, in the work that I'm doing over the last ten days, Gingrich has begun to move up among those people in the center because they are looking for someone not just with ideas but with solutions. And we've got to give Gingrich credit, is that intellectually, he's always pushing the envelope, always trying harder to look deeper into some of these problems that we have and people in the center appreciate it.
HANNITY: Well, I think the country is serious because these are serious times. So, it doesn't surprise me. But this, look, we all acknowledge this is a snapshot. We've seen many shifts as this campaign has gone on. It's going to be interesting to watch.
Crossroads, GPS, take away Obama's blank check. Let's look at this ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I supported President Obama because he spoke so beautifully. But since then things have gone from bad to much worse. He said spending hundreds of billions on a stimulus would create more jobs. But now all we've got is a lot more debt and more people out of work. Instead of fixing health care, my mom's Medicare will be cut and her health insurance premiums went up. Our country has got this huge debt and Obama says raise taxes and keep spending more? Doesn't Washington know we can't afford more taxes and debt?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Eighty two-75 on that one.
LUNTZ: Sean, we've tested over 300 ads in 2011. That one, and I believe it was produced by Larry McCarthy, is the single most effective political ad of 2011. All those thoughts that that woman has are thoughts that so many Americans have. They are afraid of the future, they are anxious about the present, they are concerned for their kids and the direction of the country. The way that ad is put together, when you get to hear what she's thinking, it's real language of real day-to-day Americans. The best ad of 2011.
HANNITY: Wow, coming from you, Frank Luntz, that means a lot. And we're going to see you at that Fox News debate on Thursday, what is it, the 16th or 15th? Sixteenth. Fifteenth. All right, 15th. Somewhere, Thursday, next week. How is that?
LUNTZ: I'm happy to see you anytime, Sean.
HANNITY: Now you are fudging the truth there, Mr. Luntz. I saw a twinkle in the eye. Thanks for being with us.
LUNTZ: Thank you.
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