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Guests: Newt Gingrich, House Maj. Ldr. Eric Cantor

By Fox News Sunday, Fox News Sunday - February 19, 2012

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Special Guests: Newt Gingrich, Rep. Eric Cantor

The following is a rush transcript of the February 19, 2012 edition of "Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace." This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: Republican presidential candidates prepare for the most important stretch of the 2012 race.

With Arizona and Michigan next up, we'll talk with Newt Gingrich about his plans in those key states, as well as her picking up delegates on Super Tuesday.

Newt Gingrich -- only on "Fox News Sunday."

Then, Congress cuts a deal over extending the payroll tax holiday. But in this election year, is Washington now done legislating?

We'll ask Eric Cantor, the Republican House majority leader. It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.

Plus, are President Obama's reelection prospects improving, along with the economy? We'll ask our Sunday panel to handicap the November election.

And our power player of the week telling an essential part of the American story.

All right now on "Fox News Sunday."

And hello, again, from Fox News in Washington.

The Republican candidates have been campaigning nonstop with two upcoming primaries in Michigan and Arizona. And then a week later, 10 contests on Super Tuesday. Newt Gingrich has been up and down twice already. Can he come back a third time?

Mr. Speaker, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

NEWT GINGRICH, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to be back.

WALLACE: Let's start with the rollercoaster that is the Gingrich campaign. Just three weeks ago, after your win in South Carolina, you were leading -- just three weeks ago -- leading the Real Clear Politics average of national polls at 31 percent. Now, you're a distant third all the way back at 14.5 percent.

I would like you to put on your political analyst hat that you used to wear here at FOX News. What happened?

GINGRICH: Twenty million dollars of Mitt Romney negative ads. I mean, it's not complicated. Look at Florida, outspent five to one. Many of the ads factually false, as the Wall Street Journal and National Review and others have reported. Now, you got to work your way back up again.

As you pointed out, I've twice been the front runner -- both times over big ideas, developing positive solutions. The first time I was ahead 15 to 21 points in the national polls, we hadn't bought a single ad yet. So, we're back doing what I think I do best, which is focusing on things like on energy policy, $2.50 a gallon gasoline, big breakthrough ideas, and we'll see what happens over the next three or four weeks.

WALLACE: we'll get to the policy in a moment. Last month, you urged Rick Santorum to drop out so that you could have a one-on-one race against Mitt Romney.

Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: The longer the conservatives are split, the more likely it is that we end up with the nominee who I think is a moderate and very, very hard time beating President Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: If you feel it is so important for the Republicans to put up a true conservative to run against Barack Obama, by that same reasoning, why shouldn't you drop out and give a clear path to Rick Santorum?

GINGRICH: Well, I think you should have played Rick's answer which I now agree with.

(LAUGHTER)

WALLACE: Which is what? No?

GINGRICH: Which was no. And, look what happened to Rick in the last three weeks. You know, I have been through Tim Pawlenty, then Michele Bachmann, and then Herman Cain one, and then Rick Perry, then Herman Cain the second time, and now we have Santorum.

And we're just going to keep moving forward gathering delegates. We're looking forward very much to Super Tuesday. We had a great weekend with Herman Cain endorsing, campaigning in Georgia. We'll be back campaigning. It will be in Oklahoma, Arizona, Washington, Idaho and California this week.

And carrying out -- the biggest difference between me and Santorum, who in many ways were the conservative wing of the race, is the scale of the ideas, the boldness of the ideas. I'm much more prepared to talk about fundamental change, whether it's a personal Social Security savings accounts for young Americans, or it is zero capitol gains tax, or it is the kind of energy policy that leads back to $2.50 a gallon gasoline.

And I think in that sense, I'm much prepared to break out of the Washington establishment model.

WALLACE: So, what's your play now? You go back after Santorum to try to win back the evangelicals and the Tea Partiers. Or do you go after Romney, thinking if you can drive him out of the race that you can take on Santorum later?

GINGRICH: I don't -- well, in my model, the one that got me be the frontrunner twice, frankly, is to talk positively to all Americans and to try to suggest that having somebody, you know, there are set of numbers. Herman Cain was teaching me to use numbers yesterday. So --

WALLACE: Nine-nine-nine?

GINGRICH: That was his number. But his point is -- $1.13 was the amount we paid for a gallon of gas when I was speaker, 4.2 unemployment rate when I left the speakership. Four was the number of years you balanced the federal budget the only time in your lifetime. Two out of three was the number of people who went to work or went to school under welfare reform.

You take that scale of change and you apply it to today, then my goal is to say to the American people -- this is the level of leadership that you need. I'm only person in the race who's actually done things on this scale. And I think for us to get back on the right track is a very heavy lift. And it's more than just beating Obama, it's also changing the Congress, changing the laws, and some very fundamental ways we think we need doing.

WALLACE: You were listing to some of the states. And obviously, you know, it's not only big ideas. It's also political strategy. What does it mean to Mitt Romney if he were to lose his home state and an important swing state of Michigan?

GINGRICH: Well, I'd be curious what their rationales would be. Here' the guy who's been running for six years, put in $40 million of his own money last time, has outspent all the rest of us I think by three or four to one in terms of his campaign and probably by 10 or 15 to one in terms of his super PAC. And if he can't carry his own -- he has gotten majority anywhere, except that very tiny majority in Nevada.

If he can't carry his home state, I think the rationale for why is there a Romney candidacy. He's not a candidate of ideas. He's not a candidate of ideologies. He was the candidate because he was the inevitable winner.

Now, there's no place yet -- you know, in Maine for example, he's basically tied with Ron Paul. In Iowa, it turned out after the recount, he was tied with Santorum, with Santorum slightly ahead. And even in Florida where he spent $20 million, he couldn't get to 50 percent.

WALLACE: So, you kind of interrupted yourself, you were saying, if he loses --  Print  Email  Share    Recommend Tweet

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February 19, 2012

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The Republican presidential candidates build their war chests and ready themselves for two important primaries before the bigger test of Super Tuesday.  We’ll talk to Newt Gingrich, who's looking to finish strong.Then, Congressional leaders reach a tentative compromise over extending a payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits.  So with a deal now on the books, what lies ahead for the legislative year?  We’ll talk the politics of governing in an exclusive interview with the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

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Watch the 'FOX News Sunday' panel, Kimberley Strassel, Joe Trippi, Karl Rove and Kirsten Powers as they discuss the 2012 primary, in our web exclusive Panel Plus.

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Newt Gingrich -- only on "Fox News Sunday."

Then, Congress cuts a deal over extending the payroll tax holiday. But in this election year, is Washington now done legislating?

We'll ask Eric Cantor, the Republican House majority leader. It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.

Plus, are President Obama's reelection prospects improving, along with the economy? We'll ask our Sunday panel to handicap the November election.

And our power player of the week telling an essential part of the American story.

All right now on "Fox News Sunday."

And hello, again, from Fox News in Washington.

The Republican candidates have been campaigning nonstop with two upcoming primaries in Michigan and Arizona. And then a week later, 10 contests on Super Tuesday. Newt Gingrich has been up and down twice already. Can he come back a third time?

Mr. Speaker, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

NEWT GINGRICH, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to be back.

WALLACE: Let's start with the rollercoaster that is the Gingrich campaign. Just three weeks ago, after your win in South Carolina, you were leading -- just three weeks ago -- leading the Real Clear Politics average of national polls at 31 percent. Now, you're a distant third all the way back at 14.5 percent.

I would like you to put on your political analyst hat that you used to wear here at FOX News. What happened?

GINGRICH: Twenty million dollars of Mitt Romney negative ads. I mean, it's not complicated. Look at Florida, outspent five to one. Many of the ads factually false, as the Wall Street Journal and National Review and others have reported. Now, you got to work your way back up again.

As you pointed out, I've twice been the front runner -- both times over big ideas, developing positive solutions. The first time I was ahead 15 to 21 points in the national polls, we hadn't bought a single ad yet. So, we're back doing what I think I do best, which is focusing on things like on energy policy, $2.50 a gallon gasoline, big breakthrough ideas, and we'll see what happens over the next three or four weeks.

WALLACE: we'll get to the policy in a moment. Last month, you urged Rick Santorum to drop out so that you could have a one-on-one race against Mitt Romney.

Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: The longer the conservatives are split, the more likely it is that we end up with the nominee who I think is a moderate and very, very hard time beating President Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: If you feel it is so important for the Republicans to put up a true conservative to run against Barack Obama, by that same reasoning, why shouldn't you drop out and give a clear path to Rick Santorum?

GINGRICH: Well, I think you should have played Rick's answer which I now agree with.

(LAUGHTER)

WALLACE: Which is what? No?

GINGRICH: Which was no. And, look what happened to Rick in the last three weeks. You know, I have been through Tim Pawlenty, then Michele Bachmann, and then Herman Cain one, and then Rick Perry, then Herman Cain the second time, and now we have Santorum.

And we're just going to keep moving forward gathering delegates. We're looking forward very much to Super Tuesday. We had a great weekend with Herman Cain endorsing, campaigning in Georgia. We'll be back campaigning. It will be in Oklahoma, Arizona, Washington, Idaho and California this week.

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