From Fox’s Special Report with Bret Baier 6PM EST, Tuesday, January 24, 2012
On Newt Gingrich’s reaction to NBC’s asking the audience to refrain from any reaction during Monday night’s GOP debate in Tampa:
It’s obvious what happened in South Carolina is [that] Gingrich got a rocket ride out of two moments in two debates. And the theory I had last week is if you hadn’t had an audience it would have had — to use a Newtonian word — a dramatically different effect. I think the response would have been a different one, not only in the hall, in the debate, but actually in the election results.
We had a controlled experiment last night, where the audience was silent and Newt had a flat night. It wasn’t a bad night, but it was a flat night. He has the ability to work a crowd, to appeal to an audience, and grab it and to use it, and to get a lot of mileage out of it. That is one of his talents as an orator. And you take away the crowd and he lost a lot, as we saw last night.
And his protest now is the proof in the pudding. He knows it. He knows the reason that last night was a flat night for him, and that’s why he’s demanding that the audience be allowed to participate. And he went on to say it’s a defense of the free speech of the audience, which is sort of preposterous …. It’s because he wants to have the tactical advantage that having an audience had given him.
From The O’Reilly Factor Tuesday, January 24, 2012
On whether it is true, as Mitt Romney charged, that Newt Gingrich resigned from the speakership in disgrace:
No. It wasn’t exactly true. Newt Gingrich resigned at the end of the ‘98 elections because of the defeat the Republicans had suffered, and the fact that he lost the confidence of the Republicans in the House.
The disgrace that Romney was talking about was what had happened two years earlier when, in January 1997, Gingrich was reprimanded by the House and had to pay a fine for some ethics violation. If he had resigned in disgrace, he would have resigned then. He did not. He was reelected House speaker, stayed on for the two years.
What happened when he did resign is that the members of his party in the House had decided after the election results where the Republicans had suffered a defeat — they lost five seats. The opposition always — almost always — historically gains seats in off-year elections. He lost the confidence of his conference and they… were prepared to vote him out. Three days after the election he stepped down.
That’s not disgrace. It’s defeat.
Let me give you one analogy. Maggie Thatcher was similarly deposed by the members of her own Conservative Party, the members of the House of Commons, while she was prime minister. That was also losing the confidence of your own members. Again, it’s defeat, but it’s not disgrace.
On whether attacking Gingrich’s speakership is a good strategy for Romney:
I think it’s one line of attack, but it’s the weaker of the two. The stronger line of attack is the one that we heard also relentlessly from Romney last night. And that is the Freddie Mac issue.
[It’s stronger because] it undermines Newt’s own rationale for his candidacy. What he said, in the victory speech on Saturday night, is that he’s the guy who will go up against the elites in New York and the elites in Washington. Well, that’s code for the financial elites and the government elites.
Freddie Mac is the bastard son of those two elites. It’s a government-backed agency that engaged, because of the backing it had from the government, in risky practices that, in the end, helped to bring down the entire financial system.
So if you’re going to run against the elites, and you’re on the payroll of the worst of those elites, it doesn’t look good…
On what Florida will mean for Gingrich:
I wish I knew. Look, I pronounced him dead twice already, and I think as I had said earlier, if I do it again, I’ll lose my medical license.
This guy has got a lot of resources. I think the debate last night slowed him down. He didn’t have the electric moment [in Monday’s debate] people expect him to reach, [like] the level he did in South Carolina.
So I would expect the trajectory will continue, but it could be a close race in Florida and, if it is, that means Romney, with the resources and the ground game, still has the decided advantage in the long run.