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A Look at the Potential 2008 GOP Field

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume


SHAWN (on camera): Does this mean that he is running for president?

POWERS: No, it doesn't. It's means exactly that what it says it is, that he's exploring the possibility of running for president.


HUME: Well, he was talking there, Mr. Powers was, of Rudy Giuliani, his great and good friend, but he could have been talking about any number of other guys who were forming these exploratory committees and trying to see where it will take them.

There's a partial list of potential Republican presidential candidates. You can see them there for yourself. And there are a couple of others who had hoped to be players in this little drama this year. Bill --George Allen, of course, and Rick Santorum, both of whom were defeated in their races for re-election for the Senate, which one would have to imagine does some significant damage their chances of being serious presidential candidates, although one never knows in this business.

But as of tonight, where would you say, panel that this contest for the Republican nomination stands? McCain is thought to be the front- runner. Giuliani outpolls him a little bit, but most people don't seem to think Giuliani has a shot.

LIASSON: Well, I think Giuliani is brand-new and he's been wildly popular on...

HUME: Brand-new where?

LIASSON: Brand new to the -- he's not as well known among Republican primary voters as John McCain. And Giuliani was very popular this year. He campaigned for a lot of Republican candidates. I think most Republican primary voters know him as the hero of 9/11. They don't know that he's pro-gun control, pro-gay rights, pro-choice, that he has had a messy divorce, etcetera, etcetera. And they will get to know those things about him and we'll see if that dents his image as this great...

HUME: Do you think it will -- Mort?

KONDRACKE: I think it will.

HUME: Do you think it's prohibitive?

KONDRACKE: No, not necessarily prohibitive. I mean he is as exciting a candidate and has things to say about the compelling issues of the next four years.

HUME: So you think he's got a shot?

KONDRACKE: I think he's got a shot. I wouldn't say he's favored by any means I think McCain is favored.

BARNES: I think he has a good shot. I think, look, who draws the big crowds? I mean, he campaigned for everybody, so did McCain, so did Romney they were campaigning for Republican candidates all over the country. All I heard was Romney -- Giuliani was getting the big crowds, particularly in the South, where supposedly his social views, which are very liberal, would cause him trouble. I think, look, it depends on what people are looking for in `08. If they're looking for some guy who's a proven leader and someone who stood up during a crisis like 9/11, well then you have Giuliani. And I think they can ignore...

HUME: What about the Christian right -- will the Christian right be able to put those views aside?

BARNES: a lot of them will, I think, actually, not necessarily. But I think they could in the same way I think they can put aside the fact that...

HUME: So you give him a real shot.

BARNES: Of course, he is.

LIASSON: Right he's the only pro-choice candidate in the Republicans.

HUME: Let me ask you one other question, then, not that we've mentioned the Christian right. How big a problem would Mitt Romney's Mormonism be with that element of the Republican base?

BARNES: I don't think not as much as people think. I don't think it's going to be a big problem at all that -- while it may irritate...


HUME: It's Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but...

KONDRACKE: It seems to be a cult and not a true Christian church.

LIASSON: Especially among some...

HUME: Is it fair to say in the eyes of most Christians, Mormons believe some pretty exotic things?

BARNES: Well, certainly among conservative Christians.

KONDRACKE: Look, Richard Land who's with the Southern Baptist Convention said all Mitt Romney has to do is have a Houston Council of Ministers session like John F. Kennedy did so explain that his Catholicism was not going to govern in his presidency and he does the same thing with the -- a large Evangelical audience and he can get over this in the situation that they're going to be tolerant of him.

HUME: So would you rate -- assuming McCain's the front-runner, somebody else is running to be the alternative to McCain, I suppose it's fair to say, Giuliani has bigger name recognition, what about Romney's chances?

LIASSON: I think Romney has been, by all accounts, running an excellent campaign. He's been out there, he's developing all kinds of infrastructure that Giuliani is only now just beginning to do and he has a policy achievement under his belt, health care and he's an executive...

BARNES: Giuliani helps Romney.

HUME: Why?

BARNES: Because he will be competing for the same universe of voters that McCain will be. Romney is going to try to be the conservative alternative.

LIASSON: Which is an interesting thought for the governor of Massachusetts.

For more visit the FOX News Special Report web page.

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