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Laura Ingraham on Thompson, Democrats

Hannity & Colmes


FRED THOMPSON, ACTOR AND FORMER SENATOR: Well, we'll go into a "testing the waters" phase, and it'll allow us the opportunity to start raising some money, and building a staff to get out there and really make sure that what we feel like is going on is going on, and that there's a desire for someone to come in and run a different kind of campaign, and come with a different message, and address some of the issues that our country's facing.

It's a daunting challenge. It takes a while to get your team together and get up and running, but we're taking the steps necessary to put us there, if we make that decision.


COLMES: Joining us now, more on the Fred factor. Radio talk show host Laura Ingraham.

Hello, Ms. Ingraham. Welcome back to "Hannity & Colmes."

LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hey, Alan. By the way, the Google Earth photo of you getting your paper in the morning, nice Superman slippers.

COLMES: Yes, by the way, that's not what I was doing.

INGRAHAM: You look very cute.


COLMES: Let me ask you this, Fred Thompson, the great, white hope for you guys or what?

INGRAHAM: Well, I think people are kind of excited about having things a little mixed up in the race, you know, kick the nest a little and see what happens.

And I've got to tell you, I've been a little bit surprised, frankly, at the excitement about Thompson. I mean, he's been out of the political game for a while. He's been doing all the right things in my book, and I think Sean would probably agree, in courting talk radio, conservative talk radio, grassroots conservatives, and really trying to make the case for border enforcement.

And I keep saying, Alan, that Thompson is going to be like, "All right, everybody, it's time for law and order at the border, folks." And people like that. So we'll see what happens.

COLMES: Is this a statement that there's great dissatisfaction with the current crop of candidates?

INGRAHAM: Well, I think there's -- I don't know if it's dissatisfaction, but I think people are looking for a little bit of a challenge. And if it looks like Giuliani is getting a full head of steam, he'll be brought down a little, as we've seen over the last few weeks.

And I think that, right now, the person who's probably hurt most by this surge of Thompson and the excitement about Thompson probably Mitt Romney, because Mitt Romney is really trying to go after the conservative vote. Other people like Duncan Hunter have, as well, but Romney is still in that top three, that top four. And I think it's going to be Romney probably or Thompson for that conservative base vote.

COLMES: I would think it would hurt Rudy more, because he's the front-runner, so it seems, in most of the polls, and he's going to really take, I would think, from those people who want a social conservative along with the positions Rudy has on the war on terror.

INGRAHAM: Yes, but I think Thompson is obviously running for the Reagan mantle, for the socially conservative, more traditional conservative, if you will, mantle. And Mitt Romney is trying to do the same thing.

John McCain has been really hurt over the past week because of his position on immigration. We're seeing that play out day after day on the airwaves and certainly in the calls that are coming into Congress by the senators. And, you know, it's so early, Alan. I honestly -- these people who are out there saying, "Well, Fred Thompson is going to do this, or he's going to wipe out the competition," I think it's way, way too early to say that.

COLMES: I'm really glad to see you conservatives embrace a Hollywood actors, another Hollywood actor. You've got Reagan. You had Schwarzenegger. And now you get Fred Thompson, and yet I always hear you rail against the Hollywood elite, go against the Hollywood crowd, and it's the Hollywood conservatives who run for office.

INGRAHAM: Alan, I've got to say, you're raising a very good point, and I know your candidate in the race is Ben Affleck, so I just want to leave that.

COLMES: How did you know?

HANNITY: Hey, Laura, welcome back to the program. Good to see you.

INGRAHAM: Thanks, Sean.

HANNITY: Do you support -- Ben Affleck is your candidate?

COLMES: I think it was a joke.

INGRAHAM: Actually, no, Matt Damon is Alan's candidate.


HANNITY: First of all, you can't deny this, Laura, is that, you know, the Democrats -- Edwards, Obama and Hillary now coming out for national health care, higher taxes, they still can't take a coherent position on Iraq or border security. So from that aspect, I see the Democratic candidates are weak for whoever gets the nomination. Good analysis?

INGRAHAM: Well, I think you raise a very good point there. I do believe, Sean, that the war in Iraq, for the Democrats, that's going to be the issue that they really drive home. They're going to drive that home, that it's not working, it hasn't been working, the president has been intransigent, the Republicans don't know how to change tactics when they need to, or cut their losses, whatever they're going to say. They're going to make that point.

For the Republicans, the issue that I think is going to transcend all these other issues is the issue of border enforcement. And the person who's come out strongest on this so far, Duncan Hunter, Mitt Romney, although a couple of years ago he said something different, Fred Thompson has been consistently for border enforcement and slamming the immigration bill. That's going to help him.

HANNITY: Listen, Frank Luntz was on the program last night. He's pointing out, this is fracturing the GOP. This is a defining debate for conservatives. I know you have taken a strong position, I have, Rush has, Mark Levin, all the conservatives on the radio are saying, "This is amnesty," any way you look at this thing. And I think it's a mistake for any candidate.

But beyond bashing Hillary Clinton -- and I got into this with Dick Morris the other night -- I want somebody that's going to offer energy independence, secure the border, strong in understanding the defining issue of our time, national security, maybe somebody that would reform the tax code. And I think the positive message has to be there, along with any attacks against whatever the latest Clinton scandal is.

INGRAHAM: I agree. I think you're absolutely right. I think what people are looking for -- basically, they're looking for competence.

HANNITY: Vision.

INGRAHAM: They're looking for someone who's genuine and honest and has a commonsense approach to very difficult times, someone who's, you know, kind of playing it straight with the American people. And I think that's what people want. And Thompson right now is kind of the new kid on the block. And the minor leagues are one place. To play in the major leagues, it's another deal. And when you enter the fray, it's going to be a lot more difficult than it is on the speaking circuit, where he's been for some time.

HANNITY: A lot of good news, actually, for all the candidates. You know, Mitt Romney's poll numbers have gone up in Iowa and New Hampshire as a result of his immigration position in the last month. I love the poll that came out of Allentown, Pennsylvania, a match-up with Giuliani and the three Democrats and McCain and the three Democrats, shows that the Republicans are killing in Pennsylvania. Interestingly, too, for Rudy Giuliani is that the latest poll that came out for him shows that social conservatives like him, in spite of all of this talk and all the positions on abortion. Why do you think that is?

INGRAHAM: Well, I think, again -- I think people are getting a little tired of sort of the Democrat parade, which is always Bush-bashing. Bush is this; Bush hasn't done this. Bush isn't running in 18 months. So the running against Bush is only going to get them so far.

Giuliani is an attractive candidate in many ways to people. I don't deny that. And, you know, he's obviously the front-runner. So you've got to give him a lot of credit. But I'm telling you, Thompson is going to kick the dust up big time into the eyes of the front-runners. And if Thompson gets in big time, Sean and Alan, it's going to be much harder for the Huckabees, and the Hunters, and the Brownbacks to keep in this race, stay in this race, because it's going to get awfully crowded and awfully fun.

COLMES: I don't know how you guys win on the war, though. I don't know how you do it, because it's a very unpopular war.


INGRAHAM: It's called beating the gad guy.

COLMES: She's going to end the war, is what she said.

HANNITY: Yes, she started them, and then she took away...


COLMES: And that'll help her win the presidency, too. Laura, we thank you very much for being with us.

INGRAHAM: Yes, she hasn't changed her position on this, Alan, totally consistent.

COLMES: And Mitt Romney doesn't change position, nor does Rudy on abortion. I understand that.


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