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Thompson, Morris, and Gingrich on "Hannity & Colmes"

Hannity & Colmes

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: This is a "Hannity & Colmes Election Alert." Mitt Romney is back. Tonight's win in Michigan primary vaults the former governor back into contention for the Republican nomination as all eyes now turn to South Carolina.

Tonight we have complete coverage, and on this special edition of "Hannity & Colmes," Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson -- they'll all join us live in a few minutes. And as well, we'll go live to Las Vegas, where our own Frank Luntz and his focus groups are watching to see if Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will explode at each other in the Democratic debate tonight.

But we start first in Michigan with Romney campaign adviser Ben Ginsberg. Does this make him the frontrunner, Ben?



HANNITY: All right. So look, you got the most delegates. You got -- I'll use the analogy, I think some people may be getting sick of it, two golds and two silvers. Does this make him the frontrunner?

GINSBERG: Well, it certainly puts us in a good position. And what the Michigan victory tells us is that the people here are listening to the governor's message of change and his message of inspiration. So we feel very good where we are moving into the next round of primaries.

HANNITY: Did a lot of this, Ben -- did it have to do with the fact that John McCain has had problems with conservatives? More specifically, I noticed when Mitt Romney was giving his speech, he rattled off a litany of conservative issues -- securing our border, he talked about, you know, the battle with the institution in Washington, Washington is not working, health care, education, Social Security, et cetera, not being energy- independent. Was he targeting conservatives specifically? Because it seems like he got more Republicans tonight than independents.

GINSBERG: He did do very well with Republicans, but also with independents. But what the governor has been targeting all along is the three branches of the Republican family, both economic, family, and national defense. And that litany is both the positive things that he wants to do, plus the things that Washington has failed to correct and failed to change. That's why the message resonated tonight.

And the truth is, the governor got an overwhelming percentage. John McCain won this state eight years ago with 100,000 votes margin and couldn't repeat it. That's a great win for the governor and his message.

HANNITY: Ben, I go back to my original question. And I'm not sure if you're going to want to answer this here. Mitt But Romney has more votes so far than any other delegates. He has more delegates. He has a higher state count, better position in each one. Do you view your candidate as the frontrunner?

GINSBERG: Well, he is ideally positioned to move forward. "Frontrunner" seems to be euphemistic term in this election cycle, but we like where Governor Romney is positioned largely because the people of Michigan have obviously agreed with his message. And we're moving forward and working hard.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Ben, it's Alan Colmes. Good to have you with us. Doesn't Mitt Romney have to prove himself in a state other than what is considered a home state? He didn't win in New Hampshire. He won now in Michigan, a decisive victory. But now he has to prove himself going forward that he can win in a state that's not considered where he's got the home person advantage, correct?

GINSBERG: Well, there's no question that anyone, to win this nomination, is going to have to prove himself in a wide number of states. But let's remember that somewhere between three and four more times votes were cast tonight in Michigan than were in New Hampshire and ten times more than were cast in Iowa. So that's why it's a great win and why we feel good about being able to replicate this in Nevada, in South Carolina and Florida, and all the February 5 states.

COLMES: You know, we talk about McCain and the problems he has with conservatives. The question is, does Mitt Romney have a problem with conservatives? He's been back and forth on gay rights, on immigration, on abortion. And a lot of conservatives don't feel that he's anything other than election-year conversions on lots of these issues.

GINSBERG: Whose talking points are you reading there? I mean, the truth is...


COLMES: I'm not reading. I'm looking directly into the camera and talking to you and expecting an answer.

GINSBERG: This victory in Michigan tonight is an across-the-board victory for the governor, and it means that his message of change and opportunity will play all over the country in all the other states.

COLMES: What does he have to do going forward in those states in order to get some traction here and turn this into a greater victory?

GINSBERG: Well, look, it's a matter of the governor being able to campaign and to take his message to the people. Truth is, electoral margins will come, and we feel very good about where we are.

HANNITY: All right. Ben Ginsberg, I got to tell you, big win tonight and a lot of delegates, and it's now on to South Carolina, Florida, and then super-Tuesday. So thank you for being with us and...

GINSBERG: And Nevada, too. Don't forget that.

HANNITY: We can't forget Nevada, too. We won't. I promise. And send our best to the governor.

Joining us now is Republican presidential candidate, former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson is with us. Senator, how are you?


HANNITY: We appreciate you being with us. Senator, I think that...

THOMPSON: Good to be here.

HANNITY: People expected it was going to be a little bit closer than it ultimately turned out to be tonight. People thought Senator McCain, mainstream media, was the frontrunner. You're staking out your position in South Carolina. You got a big bump after our debate by going after Governor Huckabee. Are you prepared to take on Senator McCain on some of his issues?

THOMPSON: Well, first of all, congratulations to Mitt Romney tonight. He did what he needed to do. He had a home state advantage. He took advantage of that. It shows his strength and weakness, I think. His strength and weakness both have to do with the fact he's willing to tailor a message to a particular audience. And tonight it worked for him, but people understandably wonder whether or not he's doing that to the nation as a whole because these are newly minted positions he's taken on a lot of conservative issues that he didn't hold just a few years ago.

As far as South Carolina is concerned, we're down here working hard while they've been in Michigan. We're going all across the state. And I've drawn distinctions between myself and not only Mitt Romney but John McCain, did so the other night in the debate. Apparently, didn't get much attention. But I drew the distinction as far as our position on immigration. I think McCain is weak on the issue of illegal immigration, as well as tax cuts, and I've said so on numerous occasions.

HANNITY: Senator...

THOMPSON: But it's not a matter of who you're attacking, it's a matter of who is the one consistent conservative and has the record to back it up in this race.

HANNITY: But you...


HANNITY: I guess -- maybe let me ask my question a different way here because you actually went after Mike Huckabee, Governor Huckabee, on specific issues, and you said, That is the Democratic position. A lot of conservatives have had a problem with Senator McCain -- McCain-Feingold, limits on freedom of speech, McCain-Kennedy, many viewed it as amnesty, didn't support the Bush tax cuts, "gang of 14," against the marriage amendment.

Are you prepared to take a stronger stand in South Carolina, where Senator McCain is ahead and where it benefited you going after Governor Huckabee, against Senator McCain, who has been your friend?

THOMPSON: You know, nobody is going to tell me who to attack next.

HANNITY: I'm not...

THOMPSON: If you're watching these debates, this wasn't -- this wasn't my first debate the other night.


THOMPSON: I have been drawing distinctions with Mitt and John and Rudy and Mike across the board. I'm glad somebody was paying attention finally the other night. But this is not the first time that these issues have been discussed with regard to all of these people I'm running against.

I have reiterated again here tonight my differences with Senator McCain on all those issues. You had a litany there, but -- on the majority of them anyway.


THOMPSON: I not only take a different position, I cast different votes from him when I was in the Senate. Of course, we're going to be talking about it.

HANNITY: I guess, then, my question is, if he's going to be the frontrunner and you're taking -- you have said, South Carolina is very important to your candidacy here...

THOMPSON: I thought -- I thought Huckabee was going to be the frontrunner. Frankly, the other night during that debate, I thought Huckabee would be the frontrunner.


THOMPSON: That's why I thought it was important that we had a little discussion on his record of weakness on the issue of illegal immigration and his high tax record.

HANNITY: All right.

THOMPSON: That's the reason I got into that. I'm still waiting for answers on the NEA endorsement and a few other little things that he doesn't want to talk about, but...


HANNITY: But the frontrunner now...

THOMPSON: Beg your pardon?

HANNITY: The frontrunner, according to Real Clear Politics, in South Carolina -- and your poll numbers have gone up. The last I looked, I think it went up about 4 points in the latest poll as a media bump after the debate...


HANNITY: ... which is significant. And you're now traveling around the state, like you did in Iowa.

THOMPSON: You don't have to convince me of that.

HANNITY: All right. So -- so -- well, I'm very well aware, Senator...


HANNITY: But -- so my question is, are you going to be a little bit more willing to really take these candidates on?


HANNITY: South Carolina is known for -- go ahead.

THOMPSON: You've asked that question three or four different times now, and I've said yes each time.

HANNITY: All right. I got you.

COLMES: He's taking Hannity on pretty well there.


COLMES: Senator, it's Alan Colmes. Welcome back to the show. Are you saying that you're the...

THOMPSON: Hello, Alan.

COLMES: Are you the only real conservative in this race?

THOMPSON: Yes, the only consistent conservative who has the record to back it up. I mean, different people have different -- different candidates have different pieces of it. No question about it. Almost everybody is talking the talk now, but I was walking the walk before most of them were even talking the talk.

COLMES: You've got an ad out...

THOMPSON: Look at my record.

COLMES: You've got an ad out today...

THOMPSON: I've been strong...

COLMES: Go ahead.

THOMPSON: Beg pardon?

COLMES: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt you.

THOMPSON: I was just starting to say strong on national defense and experience in that regard, strong on tax cuts, strong on 2nd Amendment, strong on fighting for conservative judges who will apply the law, instead of making it up as they go along, compiling a 100 percent pro-life voting record. No one has all of those points to their past and to their record. Many of them have very little of that in their background.

COLMES: Why is it -- Senator, if that's the case, why are you not polling better? For example, the Rasmussen poll out today has you at 16 percent, Romney at 17, Huckabee at 19, McCain at 28. Why aren't you polling better among the very conservatives...

THOMPSON: You know, Alan...


THOMPSON: It doesn't take a lot of talent to read polls, and especially if you're going to get them wrong about half the time. You remember the inevitability of Rudy Giuliani, then the inevitability of Romney? Then they were out of the picture. Then McCain was dead, and McCain was the leader.

I mean, when are we going to move off of that and realize that different people are winning these different races, these different states, and a new one's going to win in South Carolina?

COLMES: I'm talking about the national polls, though. And I mean, obviously, you have to look at those polls...

THOMPSON: Oh, the national polls.

COLMES: ... because that's how you gear your campaign, based on what the polls are saying...


THOMPSON: No, it's a state-by-state deal. And the last one I saw had me virtually tied with Mitt Romney, for example. They're meaningless at this stage of the game. And I'm moving in the right direction. It's all about momentum. And I'm moving in the right direction, as Sean pointed out, you know, here. I'm gaining. Others are losing. We're working hard at it. And we're -- you know, we're the guy who what you see is...

HANNITY: Hey, Senator...

THOMPSON: ... what you get and talking about the things we've been talking about all of our public career. And we are doing well down here and going all across the state, back and forth again. Momma and the kids are going to show up tomorrow, and we're going to have a big time and paint this state red, white and blue again.


COLMES: ... Mr. Hannity has got a quick question for you.

HANNITY: Senator...

THOMPSON: Yes, sir?

HANNITY: ... remind me never to debate you. I've agreed with most of your conservative positions!


COLMES: But you have to win South Carolina, right?

THOMPSON: I know that, Sean.

COLMES: South Carolina is must-win for you, correct?

THOMPSON: I know that, Sean, but I'm taking on all comers down here in South Carolina.


COLMES: Is South Carolina must-win for you?

THOMPSON: Well, I need to do very well here, Alan. There's no question about that.

COLMES: All right, Senator. Thanks for being with us.

He won big in Iowa, can he do the same in South Carolina? We'll speak with Mike Huckabee about his losses in New Hampshire and Michigan and how he plans on surging back to the top in the Palmetto state coming up.


COLMES: Welcome back to "Hannity & Colmes." Joining us now, presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Governor, did you have to do better tonight to stay more viable in this race, in the Michigan primary?

MIKE HUCKABEE (R-AR), FMR GOVERNOR, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think we did pretty well in the Michigan primary. You know, nobody thought we would do well at all, and we were competitive. We beat everybody but the two people who had deep roots there, who had won there. We are proud of our showing, came in third, and we are still on our feet.

Here's what's going to happen. We're going to get to South Carolina. We're here now. We're going to win Saturday, and it's going to be a big night for us.

COLMES: Is that a must-win for you? Must you, to stay viable, win South Carolina?

HUCKABEE: Well, I don't think we're out of the game if we don't, but I'm just telling you we're going to win in South Carolina. We're running well here. We've got great support. And my prediction is you're going to be talking to me Saturday night as the winner of South Carolina...

COLMES: I hope you come on with us Saturday night.

HUCKABEE: ... because people are looking for somebody who I think recognizes that I represent what they stand for, which is a pro-life, pro- family, pro-2nd Amendment, lower taxes, actual running a government, some experience in getting it done. They want results. They don't want people to just talk about it, but somebody who's actually done it.

COLMES: All right, Governor, you made a statement at a rally in Michigan within the last 24 hours. You said, I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. You said, I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it'd be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do."

That makes people a little worried. It sounds like you're looking to have a theocratic state when you make statements like that...

HUCKABEE: Oh, no, Alan.

COLMES: ... going to make change in Constitution...

HUCKABEE: Not at all.

COLMES: ... in keeping with your view of God.

HUCKABEE: On two things. The context is two things, human life amendment, which I support and which has been in the Republican platform since 1980. And by the way, Fred Thompson doesn't support it, nor does John McCain. And yet it's part of our platform. And it's a very important part of our platform to say that human life is something we're going to stand for. And the second thing is traditional marriage.

So those are the two areas which I'm talking about. I'm not suggesting that we rewrite the Constitution to reflect tithing or Sunday school attendance. I want to make that very clear.

COLMES: Fred Thompson was on the show just a few moments ago...

HUCKABEE: (INAUDIBLE) Alan. I think maybe you should obey those things.

COLMES: Well, thank you for the suggestion.

HUCKABEE: Go ahead.

COLMES: Fred Thompson on this program just a few moments ago said he was the only real conservative in the race and went after you on the issue of taxes and what you did in Arkansas. He said he's the only conservative.

HUCKABEE: Well, of course, that's nonsense. You know, Fred hasn't -- he's talked about everybody but Fred. And he says, I'm a conservative, and leaves it there. But Fred was a foreign-registered agent. He was in a law firm that lobbied for Libya. He doesn't support the human life amendment. I don't know where he gets this idea that he's the only conservative. He's taken a few votes, I don't remember seeing the "Fred Thompson secure the border plan" when he was in the Senate for eight years.

Some of us have had to deal with the issues that Washington messed up when we were out in our states. And in my case, I actually led our government to function...


HUCKABEE: ... and I think that's what people are looking for. If you'll talk to the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies in Arkansas, they'll tell you that my governing was conservative, that it was pro-business, that it was pro-growth, and that they did quite well when Mike Huckabee was governor of Arkansas.

HANNITY: Hey, Governor, welcome back to the program. Sean Hannity here. We have a pretty unprecedented situation. And I spend a lot of time talking to the conservatives and communicating with them. You win Iowa. McCain wins New Hampshire. Governor Romney tonight wins Michigan. It's pretty tight, when you look at the polls, both in Florida and in South Carolina, leading into super-Tuesday. Fairly unprecedented ground here, especially with this compressed and accelerated primary season.

Is it fair to say that maybe that you're all so good that maybe everybody likes a little bit about something about all of you?

HUCKABEE: Well, you know, Sean, I think it's an indication that our party is alive. It's well. Nobody is just running away with it. And you know what? A few months ago, there were a few candidates, and it was all said that they were the only ones in the race. Guys like me didn't even get mentioned. Our faces never got put up on the screen. And now look at where this whole thing is. So I'm very pleased with where we've come from and where we are.


HUCKABEE: I'm going to be even more pleased Saturday night winning South Carolina.

HANNITY: All right. When we were in South Carolina for the debate the other night, it got pretty heated in the exchange between yourself and Senator Thompson. And he ended up calling -- basically, saying your views are Democratic. Now, if we go back to 2000, between President Bush and Senator McCain, South Carolina, important state, things get heated. Are you prepared to fire back at any candidate that attacks you?

HUCKABEE: Well, you know, I didn't think it was heated. I wasn't heated toward Fred. Fred was heated up. And it was good to see some life in Fred. But you know, you don't get any more 2nd Amendment than me. And I've not just talked about it, I have a record of promoting it. You don't just talk about lowering taxes. I did it. You don't just talk about holding government down. I did it. You just don't talk about being pro- life. I signed legislation. I didn't just give speeches about it.

If you look at the real record, what people want in a conservative is somebody who doesn't just make speeches about it or even takes a few votes, but somebody who actually has accomplishment and whose pen has signed the legislation that helped turn the corner. And if you're looking, you know, at my record in the state -- I know there's critics out there, Sean. That's part of politics. If you don't have critics, you're not doing anything. Charles Kettering said it this way, that nobody stumps his toe standing still. And I didn't stand still. We improved education and health care and highways. And that's what people expected me to do, and that's govern.

HANNITY: All right.

COLMES: All right, Governor. We thank you for -- maybe we'll see you Saturday night. We're doing a special "Hannity & Colmes" at 9:00 Eastern. Maybe we'll see you then and see what the results are. Thanks for being with us tonight.

HUCKABEE: It'll be the Huckabee victory party. I'll look forward to inviting you. Be sure and come.

COLMES: All right. We have it on tape now. Thanks for being with us tonight.

Joining us now is former presidential candidate and McCain campaign adviser, Kansas senator Sam Brownback. Senator, why did you decide to throw your support to John McCain?

SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R-KS), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, ENDORSING MCCAIN: Well, I think he's the conservative that can win in the fall. And ultimately, that's what we've got to do. He's got a 24-year pro-life voting record. He's ready to be commander-in-chief. He knows foreign policy. And you talk about all the topics a president deals with, that's one he or she is solely responsible for.

And so I thought with all those things pulled together, really -- and you're even seeing it today. He does best amongst independents. Here's a guy that can win in the fall, appoint conservative judges, which we clearly have to see get done. And that's why I support John McCain.

COLMES: Senator, did he have a problem not winning Michigan tonight? Does that -- what kind of a dent does that put in his quest for the nomination?

BROWNBACK: Well, obviously, congratulations first to Mitt Romney for winning Michigan. But you got native son on native soil, and I think that really played out very well for Mitt Romney tonight. But you've got a wide open race. And I think everybody early on thought that somebody's going to deal a knockout punch in round one. Well, it looks like this thing could go all 15 rounds. And I think you got in John McCain somebody that can get in there and win or show well all over the country and somebody that's going to be in it through the full distance. He's been down in this race earlier on, and I thin he's coming back up and going to win it all.

COLMES: The fact that every caucus or primary seems to have a different Republican winner, does that show that the Republican constituency isn't that thrilled with any candidate, hasn't decided on anybody, and hasn't really found the true conservative in the race who they might be able to embrace for the long term?

BROWNBACK: No. You know, each of these states -- and you guys know this better than anybody else -- plays a little differently. You've got an Iowa caucus. You have a New Hampshire in the Northeast. And you've got now an industrial state in the upper Midwest. And now you go back -- now you go down to the South.

I think what you're seeing is just the differences in the terrain and each candidate appealing a little bit different in one place. In Michigan, with a native son talking on economic issues and the need for growth, this fits Mitt Romney. And congratulations to him. But that's not the whole country, and I think you're going to see this play out through much of the country.

COLMES: You've got a bunch of conservatives pointing fingers at each other, saying, You're not conservative enough, you're not conservative enough. Just heard Fred Thompson saying that nobody else is conservative enough. John McCain's come under fire for immigration, for working with Russ Feingold on campaign finance reform, considered a maverick and an independent who doesn't always walk in lockstep with the Republican Party. And that's hurt him among some conservatives, hasn't it.

BROWNBACK: It has. In many respects, John's a better general election candidate than is he a primary election candidate. But nonetheless, he has a conservative record, and it's a consistent, long conservative record, and it's on issues like fiscal conservatism, military issue -- we're doing the McCain strategy now -- foreign policy, long pro- life voting record, good on appointing and supporting Roberts and Alito...

HANNITY: Hey, Senator...

BROWNBACK: ... for the Supreme Court. I just think you're going to see this is going to play out over some period of time as we kind of sort through who is best to face off against Hillary or Obama in the fall.

HANNITY: Senator, though, if we look at the exit poll data tonight, it is very clear that among conservatives that voted tonight, as our own Megyn Kelly reported earlier, 45 percent of the conservatives go for Romney. Only 13 percent went for Senator McCain. Among Republicans, Mitt Romney won by double digits in terms of the base of the party.

You know, you're saying that he doesn't have a problem with conservatives, but I can tell you a litany of issues, because I debate them both on radio and TV every night -- McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy amnesty, didn't support the Bush tax cuts, "gang of 14," marriage amendment. So there are issues with conservatives. You've got to acknowledge that, and that exit polling data confirms that, doesn't it?

BROWNBACK: I don't know that those exit polls confirm that. But I think what you're seeing in Michigan -- and I did a fair amount of campaigning up there when I was still in the race -- is you've got a strong group and breed particularly of economic conservatives. And I think Mitt Romney played well in his home state to economic conservatives, and congratulations to him for it.

Again, it's a state. It's an important state. Now you move south. John's leading in the polls. I don't think momentum counts much in this race, as we've seen three winners in three different primaries. I just -- it could go a long ways.

HANNITY: But look, I don't want to take away from -- I think Senator McCain has been in the forefront of being right dead-on on the war issue. I mean -- and he was way ahead of the curve, and I think he deserves a lot of credit for that. I think people like his life story. One other -- as we heard Governor Romney tonight, he seemed to be trying to sort of categorize Senator McCain as an inside-the-Washington model candidate, and he himself, Washington is broken and we're going to go to Washington and fix what they can't fix. Did you hear that in his speech, as well?

BROWNBACK: Well, I did hear that in his speeches. But I can tell you, Sean, from being in those caucus meetings, and John McCain facing off against chairman of various committees, particularly on appropriation and fiscal issues, this may be a guy that's been in Washington, but he's not of Washington. He has fought against and has won some of these battles, and I think he's the right sort of guy that can bring a conservative message and get things done in a tough town like Washington.

HANNITY: All right. Well, one thing for sure, this -- we've got a long way to go here, Senator, and it's going to be a lot of fun to cover and watch. And as always, we appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

BROWNBACK: Good to join you, Sean. Thanks, Alan.

HANNITY: And coming up: South Carolina is the next big battleground for the GOP candidates. So who will win in the Palmetto State? Newt Gingrich is going to join us next straight ahead.






ROMNEY: Can it be fixed?




ROMNEY: Are we the team that's going to get the job done?




ROMNEY: All right. Let's take this campaign to South Carolina and Nevada and Florida and all over the country, and let's take it all the way to the White House!



HANNITY: And this is a "Hannity & Colmes Election Alert." Mitt Romney is the big winner tonight, giving his campaign new life by pulling out a victory in the state of Michigan. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton survived the challenge from the ever-elusive uncommitted, and there were a lot of them.

Joining us now, former Speaker of the House, author of the brand-new book just out yesterday, it's called "Real Change." Boy, you wrote that book, and it because the buzzword of the entire campaign, so good for you.


HANNITY: It's a terrific book. All right, give me your overview, what you think happened tonight.

GINGRICH: Well, first of all, huge victory for Mitt Romney, absolutely revitalizes his campaign, an I think sends a signal to every Republican talking about jobs and the economy mattered.

In Mitt's case it also mattered that he was a native Michigander. He went back home and felt like he was back home. And his wife was terrifically effective talking about being back home.

And I'm told by various people, Congressman Dave Camp and others, very effective favorite son kind of attitude. But: big victory.

I think a significant defeat for McCain. Romney had to win this to go on. McCain is now got to figure out--does he pull all his resources into South Carolina, where I think Huckabee has the advantage, or does he go to Florida? McCain doesn't have the resources like Romney, who personally is wealthy to do both.

I think Romney has got to decide does he want to try to tackle Huckabee? I think Huckabee has a huge advantage now in South Carolina, or does Romney also go to Florida? Florida could become the really big shootout between Giuliani.

HANNITY: Did you see the numbers in Florida? It's huge. You literally have got four people within three points of each other.

GINGRICH: Right. And so you have got to ask yourself, if you had limited time and resources, where would you pick the next fight? If somebody can knock Mike Huckabee off in South Carolina, they change the race.

But my hunch, and I'm not trying to be biased here, I just think for an Arkansas governor in South Carolina, unless Fred Thompson really begins to gain momentum, I don't see how either McCain or Giuliani in the end--I mean McCain, Giuliani, or Romney beats Huckabee in South Carolina.

HANNITY: Post our debate last week: literally Fred Thompson had a four or five point jump. Huckabee had four or five point decrease.

Now, remember, Fred Thompson was going after Mike Huckabee. I was trying to press him to see if he was going to go after McCain, now, but he wouldn't give me an answer the way I was expecting.

Do you think that helped, getting aggressive?

GINGRICH: Fred Thompson did more good for himself in the last two debates than all the previous campaign. And I have heard so many people say he was alive, he was aggressive, he was decisive.

He is a very impressive television personality when he decides to lean forward and be impressive. If he can pull that off for the next week, and if he focuses on Mike Huckabee, he might have an impact.

On the other hand, Governor Huckabee is a very good country politician, and South Carolina is a pretty darn good place for country politicians.

HANNITY: Let's look at the broad view here, because this is really about delegates. And right now Mitt Romney has won more states, he has got more delegates, he has got more money than any other candidate, because he can pretty much write a check for the entire campaign if he really wanted to. That gives him a huge advantage.

And it seems that everybody has been writing him off. If he doesn't win this state, he is out. If he doesn't win that state--well, he has won a big state here that he went after.

GINGRICH: I think Governor Romney is in the position to say two golds, two silvers, more delegates than anybody else.

HANNITY: More votes.

GINGRICH: More votes. At what point does that begin to make you the frontrunner? I think that's a fair--I think Governor Romney deserves a lot of credit for the way he aggressively pushed the whole economic issue.

We talked about this last night when we were on the show together. I think it was the right gamble on his part. I think we now know that Senator McCain's model of saying to people get over it probably wasn't very effective.

And I think that this is a night where Governor Romney, having been through a very frustrating period, deserves to relax a little bit and have a sense of achievement and begin to think about--so what's the right next step for him?

COLMES: What are the issues that have to be focused upon to win South Carolina? I mean, you have got a whole bunch of candidates, any of whom could win. Are their issues that are going to make the difference here?

GINGRICH: Let me say, first of all, I think that in a southern state, there an enormous advantage to not having accent.

COLMES: Really?

GINGRICH: And that gives Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson--and I know this is hard to believe.

COLMES: An advantage not having accent?

GINGRICH: Advantage not to have an accent. And in South Carolina, Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson don't have accents.

COLMES: I see. I just want to make sure this is clear. You and I do have accents then?


Now, I think, secondly, had Senator McCain won, I think he had a huge edge because there are a lot of veterans in South Carolina and he could have mobilized them, and he did very well.

But remember, Senator McCain beat George W. Bush by 100,000 votes in Michigan last time. He is now losing Michigan decisively. That's a big switch.

COLMES: Someone has the home court advantage in Michigan.

GINGRICH: That's right, but it's still a big swing in the emotional psychology in the race.

The question I would raise--I think Fred Thompson has to stay in South Carolina and has to focus on Governor Huckabee. Both McCain and Romney have the opportunity now to decide--do you want to try to spend the next few days attacking Huckabee, because if you don't attack Huckabee, he is going to win.

COLMES: Really? So you're saying the campaign strategy has to be go after Huckabee.

GINGRICH: Or decide to skip South Carolina, make it irrelevant if you can, and go straight to Florida and pick the fight in Florida.

COLMES: Let's say Giuliani wins Florida, and then what do you do then whether you have a whole bunch of winners and you have got no--

GINGRICH: From your standpoint, you are going to have more stuff to talk about over the next five months.

COLMES: Just watching --

GINGRICH: But it's amazing, don't you think?

COLMES: Could it be an open convention?

GINGRICH: I think we are a long way from that.

But I think if you look at the story on Saturday in Nevada with the Democrats, and I think it's not at all clear right now how their race is evolving.

So you could end up in a situation where you have two races in flux, a long time after people thought they had been settled.

COLMES: What would you predict for Nevada?

GINGRICH: Boy, I think that Senator Obama lot of momentum now. And I think that the Culinary Workers Union is so big compared to any other organization out there.

Plus, he has the Nevada branch of the Service Employers International Union, which is very well organized union. I'm beginning to think he may have the edge in Nevada.

COLMES: So you are predicting Obama victory in Nevada. And do you want to make a prediction for South Carolina? We have a tape rolling.

GINGRICH: Sure, I think Obama is going to win South Carolina.

COLMES: No, in terms of Republicans?

GINGRICH: I'm happy to pick Democratic side but not the Republican.

COLMES: Don't want to go there with Republicans.

GINGRICH: Nope, not at all. They are all my friends.

COLMES: We have the tape rolling. He doesn't want to go there. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Coming up, fresh off a victory in Michigan, Hillary Clinton takes the battle to Nevada, where she tries to fend off the Barack Obama former advisor to the Clintons, Dick Morris, on the Clinton strategy, coming up next.


COLMES: And joining us now, former Clinton advisor Dick Morris. For his latest columns and news letters, you can sign up for free at

But, first, Dick, let's talk about what happened in Michigan tonight before we talk about Nevada and the Clintons. What do you make of the Romney victory?

DICK MORRIS, FORMER CLINTON ADVISOR: Well, it's a big win for Romney.

Chaos theory is now descending on the Republican Party. You have three different people that won each of the last three primaries. Huckabee probably wins South Carolina. And you have four candidates within three points of each other in Florida.

There is a very good chance here that there really will be no nominee after Super Tuesday.

And the problem is that the Party is falling apart. It's splitting into three permanent camps. The social conservatives for Huckabee, the economic conservatives for Romney, and the national security conservatives split between McCain and Giuliani.

And each side is totally unforgiving of the other side. Huckabee's tax record people are picking it apart. Romney's abortion positions people are picking it apart. McCain's immigration position doesn't satisfy anyone. Rudy's marriage is causing problems.

We at some point have to realize that we have Hillary Clinton out there to defeat. And this purity, this litmus test that now seems to be descending on the Republican Party is a great way to lose the presidency.

COLMES: When you say "we," I guess you are putting yourselves with the Republicans, Dick, when you say "We have Hillary Clinton to defeat."

MORRIS: I'm with anybody that's against Hillary Clinton. You know that.

COLMES: That means you would support Barack Obama if he were the nominee?

MORRIS: Well, we would have to see who his opponent is.

COLMES: I see.

MORRIS: But I think--and on the Democratic side, let me say this: what is John Edwards doing in this race? They just had their debate, and they asked lots of questions, but nobody asked Edwards the key question: "You have no chance of winning. You finished third in all of the polls, third in New Hampshire. You're obviously going to lose these races. And all you are doing is splitting the forces for change that you say you espouse."

COLMES: You have a very interesting piece out with your wife Eileen talking about how Edwards actually can be and will be, perhaps, a king maker in this Democratic nominee process.

MORRIS: I think what should happen is Obama should get Edwards on the phone and say "I know you like to run for Vice President. How about it?" And have them publicly form a ticket prior to Florida, and be the united forces for change. I think if they did that they would sweep the Democratic nomination.

COLMES: You are presuming Edwards would want to be the V.P. nominee again.

MORRIS: Well, he is not going to be president nominee, and it beats being retired.

COLMES: He can do probably well in the private sector, I'm guessing, but, you know, John Edwards--

MORRIS: Yes, but if is he V.P., he is on a stepping stone to the White House, he is on rout to that. And he and Obama fought a good fight, and the country has clearly opted for Obama over Edwards.

But as long as Edwards remains in the race and creams off 15 percent, Hillary is going to beat Obama. And I think the country, and particularly those Democrats who are supportive of change, need to get on to John Edwards and say "Stop indulging your ego by running in this race."

COLMES: How strong is an Obama-Edwards ticket verses whoever the Republicans might put up? Is that the strongest ticket you feel for Democrats?

MORRIS: Yes, I think it is. I think that it really resonates, and it's a very strong voice for change. It avoids the polarization that Hillary brings with her.

I do feel that Hillary has a tremendous ability to get out single women votes that's politically very important. But I think that Edwards has to recognize some sense of responsibility here.

HANNITY: Dick, let's stay on the Democrats--

MORRIS: Hi, Sean.

HANNITY: Good to see you--57 percent for Hillary. She is unchallenged here in Michigan. I found this number pretty fascinating: 38 percent uncommitted. And, also, 3/4 African-American voters in Michigan, they are going for Barack Obama. Do you think that's a result of this race controversy we have had for days now?

MORRIS: Yes. This election has now become totally polarized by race, which was Hillary's objective at the beginning. Obama is winning blacks by 66 percent to 17 percent, and Hillary is winning whites 42 percent to 24 percent. And that polarization leaves Hillary with the majority.

And unless Obama shatters that polarization, in this case by teaming up with Edwards, he is falling right into Hillary's trap.

And I think that Hillary has now created a racial division in this race. I think she figured she was going to lose blacks anyway, so she might as well play the backlash card and try to get whites. And that's why the whole discussion has been about race.

HANNITY: As we look forward to South Carolina, Florida, heading into Super Tuesday, analyze--because I think I can make a case for all the five major Republican candidates that they can win. Make the case who you think is most likely to win, maybe the top two.

MORRIS: You mean wins as in win the election, or win the nomination?

HANNITY: No, no, win the nomination for the Republican side. In other words, Mitt Romney, for example, has two wins--two golds, two silvers, if you want to use that analogy--but he also has more votes and more delegates than anybody else. And this is about delegates at the end of the day here.

MORRIS: I think the key thing here is Rudy Giuliani. He finished last, believe it or not, in Michigan, managing to come in under Ron Paul and Fred Thompson.

But, on the other hand, he is polling pretty well in Florida. If he can get his campaign jump started in Florida, then I think he still has a strong residual momentum and support among all levels of the Republican Party.

If he can't, then I think that will go to McCain. Romney has a huge advantage, which is a huge gigantic checkbook, which shouldn't be decisive. But when 20 states vote at once, it might well be decisive.

Huckabee has a strong base that is going to hang in there for him. I think the most likely result right now is chaos.

COLMES: Dick, we thank you for being with us.

MORRIS: No nominee; factional divisions, and a party falling apart.

COLMES: Thanks for being with us tonight. And we continue our political coverage tonight with Fox News contributors Michael Steele and Kirsten Powers.

Let's pick up right on what Dick Morris just said. Michael Steele, as a Republican, here is Dick Morris talking about the Republican Party falling apart based on no nominee apparent and an inability of Republicans and conservatives to decide who they like the most, or even the least.

MICHAEL STEELE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I just pack my trunk up and go. I'm done. We're finished, baby. It's all over, you know. Hillary, you win.

No. Look--the reality is--I mean, Dick is right. Dick has made some good points. And I have been saying, and you guys know, going back over a year now, that there is a certain anxiousness and hesitancy in the Republican base.

But, let me say, this I think tonight was an interesting night for a number of reasons. One, I think that Mitt Romney showed that he had found his voice. And he started talking about blue color America, he started talking about working America, and he talked about the bread and butter things that Republicans generally are very good at talking about and acting on.

And I thought that that helped him tremendously tonight. And going forward, it's going to be very interesting. I was with some contractors with ABC this evening, the Associated Builders and Contractors Association, and we talked about what type of America are these candidates going to be bringing us, and what kind of vision do they have? And I think Romney touched on that with a very solid win tonight.

COLMES: You know, I think, Kirsten, I think Romney, for Democrats, would probably be someone they would rather face than John McCain. If Romney continues--if he gets any momentum coming out of Michigan, that's probably good for Democrats who would probably rather face him in November.

KIRSTEN POWERS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I have said all along that I think John McCain is a very strong candidate, and If Republicans were smart that's the person that they would choose.

As Sean often points out, there is a long list of reasons that Republicans don't like McCain, which is some of the reasons why I think is he a strong general election candidate.

COLMES: And what about Dick Morris candidate about Hillary Clinton creating racial division in this country and among Democrats? And given the numbers in terms of what she is doing with women and what Barack is doing with blacks, you know. Of course he, in my view, likes to say that Hillary Clinton is divisive, but is there any truth to that?

POWERS: There is definitely a division going on. We can't deny that. I mean what's going on certainly--as a Democrat, I don't know what you feel about it--it's not enjoyable to watch what's going on right now.

And I think that what was interesting about Michigan is looking at these numbers with African-American voters that were going to uncommitted, essentially. And I think she has a problem with African-Americans.

I don't agree with Dick Morris that it was a strategy, because I highly doubt they would have done right it before South Carolina, but it exists none the less.

COLMES: And I think there is also words, Michael, there are healing words that are being said both by Barack and Hillary now. They seem to be wanting to come together and make it very clear--if you listen to the statements the last 24 hours--that they don't want that kind of division, and they don't want the perception that there is that kind of division in the Democratic Party.

STEELE: Hillary and Barack are having their Rodney king moment. They are all trying to get along because they don't need a fractured black vote. It's not good for Barack, it's certainly not good for Hillary, and it's absolutely a death knell for the Democrats going into the fall.

But I wouldn't put so much emphasis, Alan, on this notion that somehow the black vote in Michigan is an indicator of this overwhelming support for Barack. There are two factors at play here. One was Barack's request that people vote uncommitted. And it was also a great deal of dissension and a lot of concern among African-American voters with the Democratic Party process.

So there was a lot of protesting going on as well.

HANNITY: That 38 percent number, I think, stands out in everybody's mind here.

I agree with you that this isn't enjoyable whenever you have any type of divisive politics about race or about gender or about class warfare.

But usually the Democrats play this against Republicans. The 1998 Radio Missouri ad that said if you elect Republicans, crosses are going to burn. The James Byrd ad that they used in 2000 was racially despicable. Hillary has already played the gender card.

The fact that Democrats are fighting amongst each other, it's sort of coming back to bite them, because this is the tactics they use against Republicans.

POWERS: You know, I don't know, Sean. I don't think that part of this has been a little bit the media has overblown some things that have happened.

I think what Bill Clinton said was not racist. I'm sorry, it just wasn't. He was very clear that he was talking about the war, that he was not talking about his overall record. And it's been distorted in a way that is making people think that they are saying things that are racially insensitive.

HANNITY: I'm saying that the divisiveness, that the race card is played every election--wait a minute--by the Democratic Party. The James Byrd act is a classic example. The Missouri radio ad is a classic example. Hillary has played the gender card.

POWERS: I don't agree she has played the gender card. And I think that she also has not played the race card.

HANNITY: The boys are coming after me. They are going after my wife.

POWERS: They were going after her.

HANNITY: The old boy network--because she is a woman?

POWERS: No. They never--

HANNITY: Bill Clinton said that.

POWERS: Sean, I defy you to show me where he said that it was because she was a woman. It never happened.

HANNITY: Michael Steele, let me go to you on this very same question here. That is that I have, over the years, on my radio show for now 20 years been talking about how divisive racial politics are used in every election. You can predict it with certainty.

But now it's the Democrats amongst each other. What do you make of that? How did do they turn on each other when they usually use that against Republicans?

STEELE: I just find it as a sign of relief as someone who has been a victim of it. You know, it's just like good, now you know what it's like. It's an ugly side of politics that really has no business--

HANNITY: I agree.

STEELE: --in politics. And whether Hillary is doing it, Barack is doing it, or anyone is doing it, it takes the process down, and Americans just don't like it.

HANNITY: All right. Michael, good to see you.


COLMES: I'm sorry I couldn't help you out.

HANNITY: We will invite Michael as our special guest.

And, coming up, we will check in with Frank Luntz. He is in Nevada tonight. We will hear from the focus groups and their thoughts on tonight's Democratic debate. That's all coming up next, straight ahead.


HANNITY: And joining us live from Las Vegas tonight, our friend, pollster Frank Luntz. And his standing by with a focus group on tonight's Democratic debate while all that Republican news was happening in Michigan- - Frank?

FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER: Sean, we had 30 undecided Democrats. And before I tell you what they thought of the debate. They have been had a very heated discussion on what is probably the most important issue come Saturday--where do people get to vote?

How many of you believe, by a show of hands, that people have the right to vote in casinos if that's where they work. If you think they should have that right?

Then what is all the fuss about, if you all think they should have that right?

VOICE: Because the unions might influence on what is being voted on. It should be secretive, and it should be on your own opinion, not someone else's.

VOICE: But they all have an opinion, and they have a right to vote in any sector that they want to. It doesn't matter.

VOICE: It is our God-given right to vote.

VOICE: You don't let somebody bully you.

VOICE: If you don't attend the caucus, you don't vote in primary this year.

VOICE: We should not be bullied, because the presidents are running, and we are trying to get the change here. And if we cannot stand up to these people, the unions that I am talking about, we have to stand up for our president. We have to vote.

LUNTZ: Suzy, you are union?

VOICE: Yes, I am.

LUNTZ: You are union supporting?

VOICE: I am a teamster, yes.

LUNTZ: Who are they supporting?

VOICE: I am not sure.

LUNTZ: Who are you supporting?

VOICE: I am supporting Hillary.

LUNTZ: Do you feel any pressure at all?

VOICE: From what I have heard from other people in the hotel that I work for, yes, they say they are being bullied into voting for Obama.

LUNTZ: Have you heard any other bullying on behalf of Obama? Anybody else here? No--you have?

VOICE: I have not heard of any bullying. My understanding is that the Culinaries were voting for Obama because he stood up for them back in Chicago when they were voting.

LUNTZ: But you believe they should have the right to vote in the casinos? Yes or no?


LUNTZ: One last comment back there.

VOICE: Other workplaces too, not just the casinos.

LUNTZ: OK, one last comment, then we are going on.

VOICE: They already knew about casinos. They already knew the precincts were there. Now, all of a sudden, when Obama got the endorsement for the Culinary Union, and two days later they come out with a lawsuit. They want to change it. But they knew about this months prior.

LUNTZ: Who do you think is pushing the lawsuit?

VOICE: Hillary.

LUNTZ: Do you guys agree with that.

VOICE: I disagree.

VOICE: If a union is doing that, it is the teacher's union, perhaps is for Hillary, but I don't think Hillary is, herself.

LUNTZ: Should she come out and say that workers should have the right to vote in casinos if that's where they work?

VOICE: If that is what she believes it, she should.

LUNTZ: They why doesn't she say it?

VOICE: Because she's scored.

LUNTZ: Why is she scared?

VOICE: She said everybody should.

LUNTZ: Why is she scared?

VOICE: I think she is scared because she knows the majority of the votes are going to Obama.

VOICE: Let's understand one thing: Senator Obama got the Culinary Union endorsement. That doesn't mean they the entire union members will vote for Obama. It is divided--30 percent to 40 percent of those Culinary members are Latino member. And I will guarantee you the maid, the busboy, the waiter will not vote for Obama. I will guarantee you that.

LUNTZ: Why? Tell me why.

VOICE: Because you can see it throughout Nevada. It is a perfect example of the division in the Democratic Party between Obama and Clinton.

LUNTZ: In what way? Explain it.

VOICE: I want him to explain it. He is making it sound like everybody is not going to vote for Obama. How does he know that?

VOICE: It is clearly divided because of the fact that Senator Obama got endorsed by the Culinary Union, it doesn't represent jack. It doesn't mean the entire union will go for him.

LUNTZ: I want a show a hands. You guys watched the debate tonight. How many of you hot John Edwards won?

How many of you came in here supporting John Edwards?

I just want to make that point again: how many of you thought John Edwards won?

Now what you have got here, Sean an Alan, and it was fascinating to watch--is was as though John Edwards was the third wheel, the third leg in the stool. And even though he did not seem to be as important a player, on issue after issue--we are going to show it to you guys tomorrow night--his language actually scored better than Senator Clinton and Senator Obama.

Can I ask them any questions for you guys?

COLMES: Frank, I want to know, what did they think about who did better, Hillary or Obama? Real quick.

LUNTZ: OK. If you have to choose between Senator Clinton and Senator Obama, who says Hillary? Who says Barack? Split 50/50. You cannot call this Nevada election. You cannot even call a winner of the debate, other than John Edwards did well.

HANNITY: Frank Luntz, we are going to show this a lot more of this tomorrow night on a special edition. "Hannity & Colmes" back at out regular time. And thank you, Frank.

Boy, it's fascinating, both parties, isn't it?

COLMES: If anybody says they know what is going to happen, they do not know what is going to happen.

HANNITY: I can't believe it; we actually agree on something.

COLMES: That we don't know anything.

HANNITY: That nobody know is what we agree on.

All right, and that is all the time we have left this evening. As always, thank you for being with us.

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