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Morris And Gingrich On The State Of The Race

Hannity & Colmes


HANNITY: With Super Tuesday just 57 short days away, the race for the Republican nomination -- well, it continues to roller coaster right into the new year. The Rasmussen daily presidential tracking poll shows Rudy Giuliani holding his national lead with 24 percent of the vote. Mike Huckabee has leap frogged, as we've been telling you, into second place, out-pacing Mitt Romney with 19 percent, and Romney clings to third place with 13 percent. But Thompson and McCain are just behind him with 11 percent each.

Joining us now, former Clinton adviser Dick Morris. By the way, keep up-to-date with the presidential race, and you can subscribe for free -- that's right, free, to Dick Morris' columns and news letters. It's all happening at DickMorris.com. Let me ask you about the interview with Mike Huckabee. I want to tell you, I like Mike Huckabee. I think one of the reasons he's ascended as high as he has at this pint and that he is under fire so much, Dick, is because he's such a likable guy. He's witty, self- deprecating. He's smart. He's done a good job in Arkansas. But this sounds to me like probably the biggest challenge of his career. Your thoughts?

DICK MORRIS, FORMER CLINTON ADVISER: First of all, while we're speaking of smart and witty and an improvement, let me commend your show on the replacement.

HANNITY: Will you stop it? Alan and Dick have been having a non-stop fight. Blessed are the peace makers, me. What did you think of Huckabee?

MORRIS: When people get hit with a charge like that, what people are looking at really is how do they handle it. Do they say it depends on what the definition of is is, or I didn't inhale. And with Huckabee handling it the way he did, which is frank, open and explaining what went on, I think is pretty good.

There's one fact, though, that he didn't mention that he should have mentioned. Maybe good taste stopped him, but that's never stood in my way. That guy, Wayne Dumond -- the reason everybody was focused on him is he was castrated while he was in prison by his fellow inmates by a knife. And the warden had the results of that in a formaldehyde jar on his desk. And everybody thought they're going to kill this poor guy. And they let him out of jail.

And Huckabee made a mistake, and the Parole Board did.

HANNITY: Let me interrupt you. We saw what happened with Willie Horton, Michael Dukakis, and weekend furloughs here. Already, I can tell you the opponents of Mike Huckabee, they've identified 11 murderers that had their sentences commuted, and somewhere between 700 and a thousand commutations and pardons. Are they going to be able to make this a big campaign issue, because you know right now they're threatened by these poll numbers?

MORRIS: I think when you have a guy who had 16 executions in a tiny state like Arkansas, there's no notion of his being soft on crime. The important point, as far as I'm concerned in this, is the distinction with Willie Horton. Roger Ailes and I worked on the Bush campaign of 1988 when that issue came up. What happened there was Massachusetts didn't have the death penalty. So the legislature passed a law that says if you're in jail for life, you can't be let out for a weekend --

HANNITY: By the way, Roger did not do the campaign ad that he is often attacked for. He did not do that ad.

MORRIS: Neither of us did. But we're both familiar with it. And the result was that the legislature said no, don't release lifers on furlough. Dukakis vetoed the law. Horton was released, and then killed again. That's a far cry from the normal commutation powers when you make a mistake.

HANNITY: Dumond had a life sentence and 20 years in jail, and he killed when he got out in this case. By the way, interestingly -- and as a side note here -- it was -- Bill Clinton was the governor at the time. It was his lieutenant governor that paved the way for this. The issue is this letter that he wrote that stated what I said earlier.

MORRIS: Look, the point is that it's a big difference between you make thousands of these rulings and you make a mistake, as opposed to you veto a bill that would ban the practice, and then all of a sudden, right after your veto, the poster child for the reason you shouldn't have vetoed the law takes place. One is a public policy misjudgment, the other is human error.

POWERS: Let's switch over to the Democratic side. You wrote a column this week saying, essentially, Bill Clinton is a drag on Hillary, which goes against a lot of conventional wisdom. Can you give our viewers a little overview of that?

MORRIS: Yes, in 1994, the week before the race for Congress, Clinton called me. He had just gotten back from the Middle East, where he had signed a peace agreement between Jordan and Israel. And his ratings were up 10 or 15 points. And he said, where do you think I should campaign? And I said, you should go back to the Middle East. You shouldn't campaign.

And he said no, you don't understand, Dick. My ratings are up. And I said, yes, but if you're seen as a partisan politician, not as a president, they're going to go back down again and you will do the candidates more harm than good. So what's happening now is Clinton has good ratings because he's not been a politician. He's been giving out Tsunami aid and Katrina Aid and his book "On Giving" and all of that.

Now, when he gets down into the mud pit, and starts pointing fingers at Hillary's opponents, and starts being in the nitty gritty of politics, his ratings are going to drop. And that ultimately is going to hurt Hillary more than help her, plus the fact that it raises questions as to whether she can stand on her own. What would you think if --

POWERS: Sorry, Dick, we're going to have to take a break. Barack Obama breaks out the big guns, spending the weekend on the campaign trail with Oprah Winfrey. But the poll numbers are mixed. We have all the details after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: The reason I love Barack Obama is because he speaks to the potential inside of every one of us. Each one of us has a calling and a potential here on earth to do the good and the great thing. He knows that and knows that, with all of our races and our religions and our languages, together we can come and make a better America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

POWERS: That was the scene in South Carolina yesterday as Oprah Winfrey stepped out on the campaign trail with Barack Obama. So will Oprah's rabid fan base translate into votes for the Illinois senator?

We continue now with former Clinton advisor Dick Morris.

Dick, I don't know if you watched Oprah's speech or not, but there's a CBS -- New York Times/CBS poll out showing that 1 percent of people say that they would be more likely to vote for Obama because of her endorsement, and 80 percent say no difference; 14 percent say less likely. What do you make of that?

MORRIS: Those polls are like when they ask people is advertising effective? Everybody says no, but they still keep buying the stuff. Because it works.

I think that that endorsement was very effective, because I think that Oprah is an iconic figure to women in this country and to African- Americans, and also to many white men.

But I think that her endorsement of Obama gives women permission not to vote for Hillary. It says it's OK, if you're a woman, not to vote for Hillary. And it says to African-Americans, you need to vote for Obama, because his advancement will mean something in your own personal battle with racial prejudice and with the glass ceiling. And I think those are both very significant.

POWERS: The question is, you see these crowds turning out, and I kind of look at it, and I say, wouldn't they just go there anyway, just to see Oprah? I mean, do we know if these are necessarily Obama voters? Are these Oprah fans?

MORRIS: Well, you know, you have to bear in mind the limited turnouts in these primaries. Like Sean was asking me about the commutation thing. I figured out that the "Hannity & Colmes" show -- pardon me, Kirsten -- reaches one-third of the Iowa caucus attendees. One-third of them watch this program tonight.

So if somebody runs a 30-second ad knocking Huckabee on the pardons, they've heard a 40-minute discussion on that subject or a half an hour that nullifies that.

And I think, you know, your 30,000 people at that rally, when they consider the spouse and the friends and the family, you're talking about a goodly percentage of the voters in the South Carolina Democratic primary.

POWERS: Yes, I guess what I'm getting at is how reliable are these voters? How -- is there a comparison to the Howard Dean situation? And I don't mean with Oprah, but I just mean with these voters that seem to flock to these inspirational candidates, and then they turn out not to necessarily be the most reliable voters.

MORRIS: Well, I think that what's going to happen here is that I think that Hillary is going to get creamed in Iowa, creamed. She may finish third. I think that that will destroy her dwindling prospects in New Hampshire. Her lead has shrunk from 19 down to 3.

I think that African-Americans will rally for Obama in South Carolina and defeat her, and I don't think she'll win Nevada. Michigan, she'll win, because she's the only one on the ballot.

And then we'll get to Florida. But then I think what's going to happen is Obama will take a month of scrutiny. And I think -- I've always said that Obama is God's gift to Hillary. Had it been Gore, he could have defeated her. But we're going to look at Obama and say, "Are we really going to vote for a guy who we never heard of before?"

HANNITY: Dick, I've got to tell you something. You look at this slide in the polls, it's fairly dramatic. And there weren't many people predicting that Hillary would slide.

MORRIS: Isn't it fun?

HANNITY: Yes, I like -- actually, I want her to win, because I want to get -- I want to get this over with once and for all here, and that is her defeat in the general election.

But -- but what's interesting, I have some sources within the Clinton camp. And from what they're telling me is the Clinton people are freaking out over this. Their natural impulse is to attack Barack Obama, but they're afraid to do it for fear of a backlash and that they're going to appear to be negative in this whole thing. So...

MORRIS: They have no ammunition.

HANNITY: ... they're really tied up in knots. They don't seem to know what to do and how to get out of this.

MORRIS: They have no ammunition. They've got to go back to the guy's kindergarten record.

The real attack on Obama will be what the American people at some point are going to say after a hundred weeks in the Senate, is this guy's experience heavy enough for him to understand what to do as president? And that's something that -- but you see, for the voters to focus on Obama's shortcomings, Hillary has to lose an election. And then people would begin to focus on Obama.

HANNITY: Let me ask. Even Al Hunt in his column in Bloomberg News said, you know, the concerns about Clinton. And he was talking about what Democrats are saying in a focus group about her.

MORRIS: Yes.

HANNITY: She's devious, calculating, a divisive figure in American politics here. That is not good when it's the very people in your own party. This isn't the vast right-wing conspiracy saying this.

MORRIS: Right. I think absolutely. I think that, you know, it's very hard for anybody to be a front-runner for a year and take that kind of scrutiny. And it's particularly hard when you know, for a dead certainty, that if the American people knew what you were really like...

HANNITY: Yes.

MORRIS: ... and what you were really for, they'd never vote for you.

HANNITY: Last question.

MORRIS: So you need 12 months of artifice, and she hasn't been able to pull it off.

HANNITY: Former Atlanta mayor, Andy Young, said the following. Let's roll the tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREW YOUNG, FORMER ATLANTA MAYOR: Hillary Clinton, first of all, has Bill behind her, and Bill is every bit as black as Barack. He's probably gone -- he's probably gone with more black women than Barack.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Were you able to discern that?

MORRIS: Yes, I read the text of it. Great U.N. ambassador we have, right?

HANNITY: Yes.

MORRIS: Great appointments the Democrats make. Glad he represented us in the U.N.

HANNITY: Women and Obama -- I mean, what a thing to say.

MORRIS: Ridiculous. But you know, a lot of people ask me what role Bill will have in the Hillary presidency, because some people are voting for Hillary, saying, "I'm really going to get Bill." And I finally figured out how to explain it to people. He's going to be like Queen Elizabeth. He's going to run around the world...

POWERS: We're going to have to wrap up.

MORRIS: ... cutting ribbons.

POWERS: Thank you so much for joining us.

MORRIS: Thank you.

POWERS: Let's check in now with Greta Van Susteren, who's standing by with a look at what's coming up at 10 p.m. -- Greta.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST, "ON THE RECORD": Good evening.

We have a stunning interview tonight to show the viewers. We went to Chicago today and spoke to the pastor who had a very important conversation with Stacy Peterson. Wait till you hear what Stacy told him. We'll play the interview.

Back to you.

HANNITY: When we come back, you've heard from Governor Huckabee and you've heard from Dick Morris. Up next, another political heavyweight gives us his take on the 2008 presidential election. Newt Gingrich is next, straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: All right. There you have it: only 24 days until the Iowa caucuses, and with constantly changing polls, well, right now it's anybody's game.

Joining us now, former speaker of the House, FOX News contributor, good friend Newt Gingrich is with us. How are you?

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It is great to be with both of you. A big improvement. Big improvement.

HANNITY: Alan is getting slammed tonight.

N. GINGRICH: What can I tell you? First of all, I just want to tell you and everybody else that we came up today and had a chance to see the Rockettes and the Radio City Christmas program. My niece, Holly Evans, is a dancer there.

And it was a real thrill. And anybody who has not been there, I can't recommend it enough.

HANNITY: That's a change for you, because you always go to the Museum of Natural History and spend the entire day there. So this is new.

N. GINGRICH: She drew me to it. She's done a few now, and she loves it. And when I got to see it -- I've never seen it before.

HANNITY: Right.

N. GINGRICH: A great program. And then I'm standing out here, waiting and watching, and you guys have had a great show so far tonight.

HANNITY: Well, thank you. Thank you.

N. GINGRICH: And I particularly think that what you were doing was really painful and really important. Governor Huckabee was right here. He was the dark horse; nobody knew about him. He's now in a new plateau. He's the potential front-runner for president on the Republican side.

And the level of scrutiny -- what he just went through with you is one-tenth of one percent...

HANNITY: Of what's coming.

N. GINGRICH: ... of what's going to hit him in the next 30 days.

And I think, for all of our viewers, who -- and I think you guys have done a great job on election coverage recently. And I think as the viewers here, we're getting a real education every night.

Watch this.

One of the key issues the next two weeks is can Mike Huckabee bring his answers up to a level of clarity and decisiveness that puts away these issues? Or does he get wrapped up in trying to defend them in a way that people just start writing him off.

HANNITY: Let me ask you, then, because he is now -- they're coming after him on the immigration issue and allowing the children of illegals to have in-state tuition breaks. He's being attacked by the Club for Growth on tax issues and raising taxes.

This issue, though, I think of the commutation of sentences, of people that have life sentences, 700 of them, 11 murderers go free, this is -- we're going to hear a lot about this in the coming days and -- as every other candidate has faced scrutiny. Now it's his turn.

N. GINGRICH: When you're sending a Newsweek poll, I mean, I think, you know, if I were Governor Huckabee, at one level, I'd be pretty excited. You suddenly are ahead by, you know, two to one in Iowa.

And he has a little more money, because I think he's getting about $100,000 a day now, but he's way behind in sheer resources. So he'll never match Governor Romney and Mayor Giuliani in sheer resources. He's got to find two or three messages that cut through everything and allow folks to relax.

And I saw him towards the end, and you were actually doing him a favor. He needs to be pushed very hard in this next four or five days, because if you watched him, he's beginning to formulate -- the big difference between Michael Dukakis and Mike Huckabee -- and a lot of big differences -- but one of them was Dukakis really believed in the weekend furlough program. Dukakis was against the death penalty. Dukakis was an ACLU liberal.

Huckabee has had the painful experience, for somebody who deeply believes in God and is a minister, of having to sit there as a governor and know that he is allowing a person to be put to death. That is a huge difference.

HANNITY: I agree.

N. GINGRICH: And I think, if he had reversed his answer to you, and started with the tough things he's done and said, "Look, people can argue about how we approach these, but here's the framework it was in."

But he's got to find a 30-second to 40-second answer that allows people to check it off. And he's going to have to do this on immigration. He's going to have to do this on ethics, which he did not get to, but it's going to come up again. He's got to do it on the issue of crime and on taxes.

And on the other hand, I have to say, he may have just a little bit of what Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan had when they ran, and that is a sense that people in Iowa may look up, look at those commercials and get mad at the guy who's running them.

HANNITY: That's a good point. I agree.

POWERS: You gave a really great explanation for what's happened with Huckabee, but the reality is that he met with DuMond. I mean, he got these letters from people...

HANNITY: He wrote the letter to DuMond, yes.

POWERS: But I mean -- but he got -- I think that it's the bigger problem than maybe just the way that you've described it. I don't think that he -- you don't get the sense that you're getting the whole story. You have people from the parole board coming out and saying, "No, we were feeling pressure."

He's sort of making it out to be, like, political tricks, but there's a lot of information that...

N. GINGRICH: I think that's right. And my sense is that Governor Huckabee, and this will be a real problem for him now, because he's so busy. I mean, imagine if you were in his shoes and, suddenly, you go from being dark horse to maybe co-frontrunner with Mayor Giuliani.

He's got to find the time to slow down and put together a clear and decisive answer that actually stands up under scrutiny.

Now I have to say what Dick Morris said, which I didn't know anything about, and I'm not personally getting into here. But you can imagine the circumstance, if you were the governor, and you suddenly learned that this guy had been castrated by his federal -- fellow prisoners and was in danger of being killed?

HANNITY: Well, there was more to the story. The sheriff literally took the testicles of this man, put it in formaldehyde and placed it on a jar on his desk.

N. GINGRICH: You can see where -- you can see where, as an honestly caring person, you'd be thinking to yourself, "I don't want this guy to be killed in jail on my watch."

I mean, I'm not trying to defend him. I'm just saying there's something here that isn't organized, in a way, yet for Governor Huckabee to survive.

HANNITY: By the way, your wife -- your wife is joining you next. This is a "Hannity & Colmes" first appearance, coming up next, for your wife.

N. GINGRICH: That's exactly right. We're very excited by the new DVD we've done together.

POWERS: All right. So we'll have more with Newt after the break. And still to come, they're bigger than the Spice Girls. Rock legends Led Zeppelin reunite for the first time in 27 years. We'll have a preview of their comeback.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)










(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CALISTA GINGRICH, WIFE OF NEWT GINGRICH: It is a tour of our American history, of the great men and women, events, documents and ideas that are at the heart of our freedom and our identity as Americans.

N. GINGRICH: For the founders, it was clear. Religious liberty and freedom of expression would be a cornerstone of our democratic government and pluralistic society.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

POWERS: That was a clip from the film "Rediscovering God in America." Copies are available for purchase at Newt.org, where you can also get autographed copies of Newt's books.

We continue now with Newt, and joining us is his wife, Calista Gingrich. Both narrate the documentary we just previewed for you.

Thanks for being with us.

C. GINGRICH: Thanks for having me.

POWERS: Calista, how did this documentary come about?

C. GINGRICH: Well, this documentary is based on Newt's book, "Rediscovering God in America," and about a year ago, we put it on audio. And at that time we thought, well, this would be a great opportunity to take this and make a documentary out of it and visually show people the monuments and memorials in our nation's capital.

And it -- it grew out of kind of the fight to take God out of the public square. And it's a rebuttal to those who want to do that.

And what we do, it is a walking tour of Washington. And we go from monument to memorial and focus on instances of our creator. And basically, we say that our founders and their successors all believed in the creator, and we see this throughout Washington.

And we're just reminded of the fact that our freedoms and our liberties come from our creator.

POWERS: Right. I've watched -- I haven't seen it yet, but I'm looking forward to watching it. But I watched what you had up on the Web site. And one of the things that you brought up was "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance or something. Now, that wasn't from the founders?

N. GINGRICH: It was actually from Lincoln. One nation...

POWERS: People always say it's something that sort of.

N. GINGRICH: Here's how it evolved. "One nation under God," which was referenced by the founders, became famous because, when Lincoln sat on the dais at Gettysburg, at the commemoration of the first military cemetery in American history, as he's looking out over the cemetery, he writes in hand in the Gettysburg Address "one nation", and then he puts "under God" in his own hand.

And then, when you go and look at the Lincoln Memorial, you will see "One nation under God."

Under President Eisenhower, that was added specifically, by the Congress, to reaffirm...

C. GINGRICH: To the Pledge of Allegiance.

N. GINGRICH: ... the fact that it's in the Pledge of Allegiance as an affirmation of the fact that this is one nation under God. But it actually comes from Lincoln.

HANNITY: This is -- Calista, by the way, welcome to the program.

C. GINGRICH: Thank you.

HANNITY: His better half. For the record, we got that out.

This is -- this is a real act of passion for you guys. This is something you deeply believe in. This is something you wanted to do for a long time.

C. GINGRICH: Right.

HANNITY: And so how did you -- how did you make the transition? You did the audio, and then you decided to put the DVD together? How'd that all come together?

C. GINGRICH: Right. Well, we worked with Citizens United. Dave Bossie at Citizens United was great to -- to be with. And, you know, we went to each of the monuments that this book highlights, and at each of the monuments, there is religious symbolism.

For example, at the Supreme Court in the portico just above the main entrance, we see religious figures: Moses and Mohammad. At the Capital, there is a lot of religious imagery, primarily in the rotunda. So at each individual stop, we focus on that imagery.

HANNITY: I've only gotten to look at a little snippet of the DVD, but when I read the book, because you put this all together, it had a profound impact on me, because it reminded me how deeply the traditions of this country are rooted in faith. We forget.

And you put all of this together.

N. GINGRICH: You know, I think that part of what we tried to do in the DVD is take it away from being an argument and allow you with your own eyes. When you -- I found myself being reaffected. We were watching the other night again just to sort of review it.

When you hear President John F. Kennedy in his own voice and you're seeing this still very young president back in 1961, and you hear him say, "Our rights do not come from any politician. Our rights come from God."

And you realize that he was speaking in a common language. The Supreme Court doesn't begin its attack on religion until 1963.

HANNITY: Sixty and '61?

GINGRICH: 1963 is when they first ruled that school prayer was illegal.

HANNITY: Where can people get the DVD again?

GINGRICH: They go to Newt.org, and it will take you right there.

HANNITY: Welcome to the show. Thanks.

C. GINGRICH: Thanks for having me.


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