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Dick Morris' View Of The 2008 Race

Hannity & Colmes

HANNITY: And welcome to HANNITY & COLMES. We get right to our top story. Tonight we're only 38 days away from the all-important first votes being cast in the Iowa caucuses and just 70 days away from Super Tuesday on February 5.

Now, on the Democratic side, Barack Obama is throwing down the gauntlet against Hillary Clinton. Saying that the former first lady is trying to take credit for everything good that happened during her president's presidency and none of the blame for the things that crashed and burned.

Meanwhile on the Republic side, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney continue to hammer away at each other. Joining us now with more, former Clinton advisor Dick Morris.

By the way, to keep up to date on the presidential race you can subscribe for free to Dick's columns and newsletters at dickmorris.com.

All right. I think the thing that is more stunning than anything else here, we know the poll where she's down in Iowa by four points to Barack Obama, but the latest poll that came out today shows she trails every top Republican in a general race match-up. What does that mean?

MORRIS: Well, she certainly is showing some vulnerability nationally, but there's something about Iowa that's even more chilling for her campaign. The Iowa caucus is a very difficult to vote in. It's not like walking into a polling booth. You have to go to a meeting, and there's only one per town, so you have to drive quite a bit, and you sit through a two or three-hour meeting, and then you have vote.

So the most important variable is have you been to a caucus before because those people are much more likely to go again. Seventy five percent of Edwards' voters have been to a caucus before.

HANNITY: Likely to go back.

MORRIS: Fifty-seven percent of Obama's have been, but only 50 percent of Hillary's have been, and if you factor those numbers into the head to head, you have her finishing third in Iowa.

HANNITY: All right. Let's say that that happens, she's no longer the front-runner. Even the "Washington Post" today, Hillary's front-runner status in jeopardy. She loses Iowa. She heads off to Hampshire. Let's say she doesn't do as well in New Hampshire.

MORRIS: New Hampshire is five days later. New Hampshire is a county in Iowa.

HANNITY: All right. But can there be enough momentum against her in that five-day period where she could be hurt in New Hampshire and then ultimately loses a lot of momentum and opens this up for Barack Obama?

MORRIS: Yes, yes, and yes. I don't think she's going to win in Iowa, I think that will cause her to lose in New Hampshire, and I think there will be real momentum for Obama and maybe Edwards, too, and they'll be an open fight.

But I think she'll win it. I think she'll win that fight. When you're the front-runner like Rudy is, like Hillary is, it means you can't be knocked out in one shot. In means you have to be defeated in detail, state by state by state, and if Rudy comes in a distant third and Romney wins Iowa and if Hillary loses Iowa, then you're going to find two 50-state contests, and you won't know who is going to win until you add them up.

HANNITY: I've never asked you this question. And it came to me today and I wanted to ask you all day about this. Who would the Republicans -- who should they prefer to go up against, Hillary or Barack Obama?

MORRIS: Barack Obama.

HANNITY: Why?

MORRIS: Oh, come on. When this country is in the middle of a war on terror and focusing on that kind of threat, they're not going to take a chance on an ingenue, a freshman senator with two years under his belt and most of that spent campaigning. No way.

When Obama got into this race, I said he was God's gift to Hillary. Because he kept Al Gore out and Al Gore could have defeated Hillary. And Obama can't and can't win the election.

HANNITY: What happened to John Edwards?

MORRIS: And by the way, Obama brings out a certain number of additional black voters, maybe one percent, two percent. But Hillary brings out a slew of female voters.

HANNITY: Is there a chance that this is getting so contentious now that people's memories will be short, maybe supporters of Barack Obama are going to get so angry that she's been so tough against him or that resentment will fade?

MORRIS: That certainly is possible, and if the race gets really tough and goes on for a while, she may have to put Obama on her ticket. I think that she wants to put Richardson on the ticket because of the Latino vote.

HANNITY: Evan Bayh. I really .

MORRIS: She wants to put Evan Bayh on, but what's love got to do with it? She's going to have to go with Richardson.

COLMES: You've said over and over again, Hillary Clinton so divisive, doesn't have above 50 percent in terms of favorability rating, how could she possibly do well yet you're saying she'd do better than Barack Obama if she were the nominee?

MORRIS: I've said from the very beginning, Alan, for two years, that Hillary was going to be the next president.

COLMES: Do you still believe that?

MORRIS: Yeah, and people hate me for saying it.

COLMES: I don't hate you for saying it.

MORRIS: The fact is all of these polls that show her divisive and how many people won't vote for her are of the existing electorate. And among the 2004 electorate Hillary can't win.

But her strength is her ability to add 20 million new voters. The stats I was just quoting Sean about only half of her people have been to caucuses before. That's her strength in a sense because it means she's bringing new people into the process, she's expanding the denominator.

COLMES: Right. So even if she loses Iowa, and you say it's a state by state basis, 50 states in play, she does well. Does she have to win New Hampshire?

MORRIS: No. I think if Hillary loses Iowa, she's probably going to lose New Hampshire.

COLMES: We have it on tape now.

MORRIS: All that does is open it up as a 50-state race, and I think she goes state by state, and I think in the last analysis this country is not going to trust a guy who's been in the Senate for 104 weeks with the White House.

COLMES: And they're not going to trust a party who got us into Iraq who they question whether or not the foreign policy of this administration is working. Yes, that's right, Mr. Hannity. I'm doing the Hannity finger movement. I'm enumerating. I learned that from you. Finger movement. One, two, three, four.

HANNITY: Can I say in the name of peace, it's so good to see you two getting along again.

COLMES: By the way, did you get the gift basket? No. All right.

MORRIS: I did, but I didn't eat any of it.

COLMES: You need a food taster. See, he's smart.

So let's talk about what's happening. Enough of that high-fiving over there. Let's talk about the Republican side where Mike Huckabee and the emergence of him as let's say a higher tier candidate, doesn't that show great displeasure with a so-called top tier candidates on the right?

MORRIS: It sure does. Come on, when the social conservative movement in the United States selects as its standard a guy who is pro choice two years ago and just switched because he was running for president, it shows the difficulty in that field.

And I think that the - we're saying before, the first question anybody asks in the democratic primaries are you voting for Hillary or not. The first question in the Republican primaries are you voting for Rudy or not. And then of those that say no, they look for an appropriate conservative, and Huckabee is beating Romney for that title.

COLMES: Does Rudy - he may not win Iowa, does he have to win New Hampshire? Can Rudy not win either Iowa or New Hampshire and still be the nominee.

MORRIS: Yeah, just like Hillary, Rudy can lose both. A little more difficult there. But the key question for Rudy is not does he lose Iowa, we know he's going to lose Iowa. The question is who wins it? If Romney wins Iowa, and he then wins Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, where his father was governor, South Carolina which is conservative, and puts together a four-state sweep, that could be unbeatable momentum.

But if Huckabee defeats Giuliani, then Giuliani can live to fight .

COLMES: Rudy and Romney getting into it. We'll get into that when we get back.

More with Dick Morris after the break.

Still to come tonight Pat Buchanan says America is coming apart at the seams, and he knows why. We're going to have the exclusive interview with Pat about his explosive new book and what new evidence are Aruban authorities sorting through that warrants a judge to hold Joran Van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers in custody. \ We'll talk to Joran's attorney coming up on HANNITY & COLMES.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLMES: We continue now with former Clinton advisor Dick Morris. On FOX & FRIENDS Mitt Romney says that Rudy Giuliani .

MORRIS: For a minute, I did a double take. I thought you had a tape on me.

COLMES: I think that's coming. After you said that Hillary would lose New Hampshire, we'll play that. I don't do that anymore. Look, on FOX & FRIENDS Mitt Romney says he's pro choice, talking about Rudy like Hillary, pro gay civil union like Hillary, pro sanctuary cities. But Log Cabin Republicans put out this about Mitt Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: For years he's fought conservatives and religious extremists. Mitt Romney.

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, we should sustain and support it.

ANNOUNCER: Mitt Romney opposed the gun lobby, and even Ronald Reagan.

ROMNEY: Look, I was an independent during the time of Reagan/Bush. I'm not trying to return to Reagan/Bush.

ANNOUNCER: A record fighting the religious right. A pro choice record. Massachusetts values. Mitt Romney.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLMES: And he accuses Rudy Giuliani of having those very same positions.

MORRIS: I have a hard time figuring out if that's a positive or negative ad. With friends like that you don't need enemies.

COLMES: An ad like that could hurt Mitt Romney.

MORRIS: Look, the basic thing is nobody's for Romney because he's for Romney, they're for Romney because he's not Giuliani, and you're a social conservative, and you don't like the idea of a pro choice, pro gun control guy, you look at the field being your nominee.

COLMES: But those are all thing things Romney was as governor of Massachusetts.

MORRIS: You look at the field, and Romney was spending a lot of money in the early states, so he's your first choice. But you're right. Romney's record on all this stuff is very tentative, so that when a phony social conservative meets up with a real social conservative, Huckabee, I think Huckabee gains, gains, gains and probably wins.

COLMES: You're talking about winning Iowa?

MORRIS: Defeats Romney in Iowa.

COLMES: But can Huckabee then go on to New Hampshire and have a showing that propels his campaign to the next strategy?

MORRIS: Romney has a big edge in New Hampshire because he's a former governor of Massachusetts and two-thirds of New Hampshire watches Boston television at night. If you live in New Hampshire you in effect live in Massachusetts for TV.

So Romney has a big advantage in that. But don't forget, it's five days after Iowa, and Romney's got a complicated mission. He's got to fight a two-front war. He's got to fight Rudy on his left because it's a northeastern state and he's got to fight Huckabee on his right because of the Iowa nomination.

COLMES: Does Huckabee have a shot at the nomination?

MORRIS: And my bet is that Romney will have a hard time doing that.

COLMES: Can Huckabee get the nomination?

MORRIS: He certainly can. I think if it comes down to an ultimate slugfest between Rudy and Huckabee, or Rudy and Romney, for that matter, my money I think stays on Rudy, but it could go either way.

The point is that from Romney's point of view and from Rudy's point of view, Huckabee defeating Romney is the key question.

HANNITY: I want to go through this a little more slowly, a little more in depth analysis. Let's start in Iowa, let's go to New Hampshire and Michigan, South Carolina. Before they get to Florida where the polls start beginning to favor Rudy, what happens here? I would assume they'd want Huckabee to be competitive in Iowa taking away momentum from Romney. Romney, if he wins Iowa, then he has momentum going into New Hampshire and he is probably going to win Michigan, correct?

MORRIS: Well, no, it's not definite that he wins Michigan. He's tied with Rudy for the lead right now. But I think that what happens here is that if Romney wins Iowa, then he's almost certain to win New Hampshire where he has a lead anyway, and if he wins those two, he probably wins Michigan, and if he wins those three, he's going to win South Carolina, and as you say, if he runs the table, and then he hits Florida, he could really defeat Giuliani.

HANNITY: This is entirely -- the way this primary/caucus season is configured, it's a new ball game here. Did Rudy make a mistake by not focusing on the early states in your view, and can he recover at this point and spend a lot of time, money, energy, resources in New Hampshire and do some catch-up there?

MORRIS: Years from now political science teachers will teach Rudy Giuliani's failure to advertise in Iowa and New Hampshire early as an object lesson in how not to get elected.

HANNITY: What if he ultimately wins the nomination?

MORRIS: He can but he will have set a task for him that he didn't need to set. If Rudy had spent money in Iowa, he could have won Iowa, and that would have been a one-punch knockout. And you wouldn't have a Republican primary.

There's one other twist, let me throw at you. If Hillary wins Iowa, it helps Rudy because the independents come into the Republican primary.

HANNITY: In New Hampshire.

MORRIS: Because there's no action in the Democratic primary in New Hampshire.

If Hillary loses Iowa, they all vote in the democratic primary to elect Hillary or defeat her, and you get a purist, right wing Republican primary that helps Huckabee.

HANNITY: OK. Pretty interesting.

I want to go to the specific attacks.

MORRIS: You got that?

HANNITY: Yeah. I think we got it.

The specific attacks. Hillary Clinton, for example, is out there saying about Barack Obama now voters will judge whether living in a foreign country from the age of six till 10 prepares one to face the big international challenges. His response back is the fact that she claims she's in the White House for eight years, she only wants to align herself with all the success, but not the failure.

MORRIS: My wife has the greatest line about that. She says yeah, Hillary was in the White House for eight years, so was the pastry chef.

COLMES: That's not a fair - come on.

MORRIS: She went to 76 foreign countries as first lady. And Eileen was going through her memoirs today for this new book we're writing.

I was pulling out all of the quotes about her trips. I rode an elephant with the first lady of whatever, we went ice skating on the frozen fjords.

HANNITY: Real serious .

MORRIS: All ceremonial stuff. For her to say that's diplomatic experience is absolutely ridiculous.

HANNITY: All right, Dick, we're getting there. Thirty eight days.

COLMES: Why do you hate ice skaters?

HANNITY: Ice skate. Ice hockey.


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