Callista and Newt Gingrich were my guests today, and both spoke about Hillary, and Newt on the GOP field. The audio and transcript of the interview with the former Speaker is below that of my interview with Mrs. Gingrich.
Audio of Callista Gingrich:
Transcript of Callista Gingrich:
HH: 2015 getting off to an early start. And one aspect of that, all these candidates getting into the 2016 race, or the spouses that will accompany them along that journey. One of whom has done that is Callista Gingrich. She is the author of Sea To Shining Sea. It’s the fourth book in her New York Times bestselling series. The book came out in mid-October. It’s gotten quite a lot of national attention. Callista Gingrich, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show. Congratulations on From Sea To Shining Sea, by the way. It did very well at Christmas time.
CG: Thank you so much, Hugh, and Happy New Year to you.
HH: Happy New Year to you. Before I ask you about people running for the White House and their spouses, why are you bothering with Ellis the Elephant and all these books that I’m so pleased Regnery Kids, part of the Salem Radio company, is publishing?
CG: Well, I write these books because I love America. And I believe America is truly an exceptional nation. And I think it’s more important now than ever that our children understand what makes this country so special. And to do that, they need an understanding of our American history. And unfortunately today, many of our students are failing to learn our history, including our founding principles and values, and instead learning revisionist or politically correct history. So I really think we owe it to our kids to give them the tools they need at a very early age, so they can begin to appreciate the greatness of this nation.
HH: From Sea To Shining Sea is about Lewis and Clark. And of course, Stephen Ambrose wrote the great book about Lewis and Clark. Did you rely on that at all when you did this?
CG: Well, I referenced it. I also watched various documentary films. You know, this is such an important expedition in the history of our country. It was really a voyage of danger and discovery from St. Louis to the Pacific that ultimately inspired many Americans to go west. And it accomplished several things. It really explored and mapped our newly-acquired Louisiana territory, and established an American presence in the west before the British and other Europeans could try to claim it. And it also made great contributions to science, discovering new forms of plant and animal life. So it’s so important for our kids to learn about this period of our history, and really understand how we grew from those original 13 colonies across an entire continent.
HH: Now Callista Gingrich, I want to turn to the subject of 2016. Earlier today, I had on Scott Walker. And he’s married, of course, to Tonette Tarantino Walker, and it’s always a joint decision if someone’s going to run for the White House. How did you and Speaker Gingrich decide four years ago that you were going to walk down that road?
CG: Well, it’s a huge decision, and it’s a family decision, and you have to look at what’s at stake. And what’s at stake is the future of our country. And you really have to keep focus on the issues that are most important to the future of our country. And it’s a real privilege to participate in any elected, any campaign, and especially being part of a presidential election. You’re exposed to many things that most Americans aren’t. You meet many people. You see a large part of the country. It’s a real privilege. We were blessed to be a part of the process. You know, we’ve had our opportunity, and now it will be interesting to watch a new crop of candidates come forward and do the best job they can do.
HH: Well, it looks like Governor Huckabee is going back around the track again. You don’t want the Speaker to try again?
CG: Well, as I said, we’ve had our opportunity, and we will be involved in the process. We’ll support our candidate. And I hope in the end, we come out with a really strong nominee.
HH: Now what’s the most important thing for the spouse to know, whether it’s Mrs. Walker or Mrs. Jeb Bush, or Mrs. Ted Cruz, or any of those people, or Carly Fiorina’s husband? What’s the most important thing for them to know?
CG: You have to, you know, stay focused on the positives, ignore the negativity, because there’s a lot of that out there, and just remember that what you’re trying to do is for the betterment of this nation, and just really stay focused on a day to day basis. And you’re doing it together, and try to make it a positive experience.
HH: Do you think Hillary Clinton can be beaten, Callista Gingrich?
CG: I think she can, but I think we’ve got some real work to do. I think perhaps there are many moderate Republican women who may look at Hillary and her policies. So you know, no election is a sure thing, and there’s a lot of work to be done on both sides of the aisle.
HH: What would the moderate Republican women be looking to her for? Because of the choice issue?
CG: Well, I think it goes beyond that. I think women are concerned about our economy, our health care, our education, but you know, a lot of women are not as conservative as some of our likely candidates. So then we look at other options.
HH: And so what do you think is going to happen? Do you think the party’s going to move right? And very few people are in as well a position as you with 30 seconds left. You write American history, you’ve done this campaign. Does the party go right or left at this point, do you think?
CG: I think the party has to come to the middle a bit, and I think we have to be attractive to a larger tent of people. We have to draw common bonds with those who might not always be attracted to the Republican Party.
HH: Callista Gingrich, author of From Sea To Shining Sea, always a pleasure to talk to you, look forward to talking to the Speaker a little later in the program.
End of interview.
Audio of Newt Gingrich:
Transcript of Newt Gingrich:
HH: Joined now by former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich. Mr. Speaker, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show.
NG: Listen, it’s always great to be with you, Hugh, and this is a pretty important day for the country as Congress comes back into session. And we’re going to see what 2015 holds for us.
HH: I am very surprised that two dozen Republicans voted against Speaker Boehner. Are you surprised? And was that a useful move or a not productive gesture?
NG: Well, I think it wasn’t particularly productive. I’m a little surprised the number got as high as it did. I would not have been at all surprised for 12 or 15. But the truth is John got 89% of the Republican vote, and in most races, 89% is a lot. He was never in any danger of not being Speaker. Where it really became not productive, I thought, was two places. One, it marginalizes the guys who voted no. I mean, you know, you’re in a conference, you’ve had a vote, you’ve picked a leader, everybody else goes out on the floor to beat the Democrats, and you decide you’re not happy with what all of your friends just did. That pretty well marginalizes you. It doesn’t marginalize the 216 who voted for Boehner. Second, it became the big message for 24 hours. So here they are, the very first day back, they’re going to do some very good things in the near future. They’re passing a bill, for example, about hiring heroes, which exempts anybody who is a veteran from being counted as a small business against Obamacare’s limits. It’s a step towards really encouraging small businesses to hire veterans. They’re going to pass the Keystone Pipeline to help create jobs, and further increase America’s energy strength. These are positive, good things to be doing, and the guys who wanted to make noise stepped on the message, and instead showed a little bit of Republican disarray. In the end, it won’t matter. Boehner is the Speaker, and they are going to move forward. But I thought it was not as helpful as it could have been.
HH: Now Mr. Speaker, it’s also the start of the 2016. I talked to your wife, Callista, last hour about her brand new book, and about being running, because I had Scott Walker on to begin the show today, and talked with him about Tonette Tarantino Walker, and whether she’s all in. I am curious about your assessment. A) I was very surprised to hear Mrs. Gingrich say Hillary’s formidable, and maybe the party needs to move to the center. Do you agree with her?
NG: Well, I think the point she’s making is you can’t just take for granted that women are automatically going to vote against Hillary Clinton. And I agree with that. I think Secretary/Senator/First Lady Clinton is formidable. If you look at her numbers in the Democratic primaries, they’re stunning. And I think we’ve got to be aware of that as we put together our ticket, and we’ve got to realize for a lot of women, particularly younger women, there is an attractiveness to the first woman president. I think anybody who thinks that’s not real is just out of touch with reality. So we’ve got to be careful not so much about right versus left, but we’ve got to find a ticket and a platform that says to younger professional women, who by the way, voted Republican in 2014 in much bigger numbers than anybody expected, a key part of our victory in 2014 is that we were doing very well with people between 18 and 35, much better than we have done in a decade. And I think we want to continue to appeal to those folks as the party of the future.
HH: What is Hillary’s greatest weakness, Mr. Speaker?
NG: Boring. She’s just, you know, she’s a celebrity like Kim Kardashian, but I mean, tell me what she’s done, and tell me what she stands for. I mean, she currently stands for the idea that it’s time for her to be president because she’s been standing around waiting for the time for her to be president. So she’d like to be president, because after all, I mean, she and Bill think it would be good to be president, and why don’t we make her president. Well, that’s not a ticket. I mean, I have no idea is she going to be different than Obama, or if she’s going to be Obama’s third term. If she’s going to be different than Obama, can she take the heat of disagreeing with the incumbent Democratic president? And if she’s going to be his third term, do you really think the country’s going to vote for four more years of this mess? I mean, I just think her candidacy has some big internal contradictions.
HH: She sits down for like a quarterly interview with Thomas Friedman or Charlie Rose, or one of the reliables in the safe interviews. Can she keep that up? Will the American media allow her to waltz to the nomination without actually having to answer questions about Libya, about Egypt, about Russia and the reset button? Does she get a pass?
NG: Oh, I think to some extent, she gets a pass, because the elite media’s giddy at the idea that there’s finally going to be a women president. Don’t underestimate in these newsrooms among the elite media how many of them are not just liberal, but they think boy, wouldn’t this be just a wonderful moment in history? You know, we have our first African-American president, now we can have our first woman president. This will be just fabulous. And it’s almost like asking the question, so what kind of president would she be? And that seems to be for a lot of these folks irrelevant, because they’re voting symbolically in their brains. And that’s why you see the elite media pull so many punches with Secretary Clinton. I mean, your point, which is I think very funny, we did research on this. I mean, the reset button story is hysterical.
NG: You know, they’re in Geneva, they want to do something fancy. They actually get a button from, apparently, a Jacuzzi. It’s a red button. They then paint in Russian what they think is the word reset, which turns out to be the word overcharge, because their translator got it wrong. The Russian foreign minister is standing here looking at a Jacuzzi button with the word overcharge on it, turns and says I don’t think so. I mean, that was the beginning that led to Crimea. That was a reset? No, that was a joke. That was keystone cops. It was the Three Stooges. And nobody holds her accountable and says gee, how can you run a State Department so incompetent that your translator doesn’t know the word in Russian for reset?
HH: Amen. Now I’ve got to ask you on our side of the aisle, the frontrunner is at this point former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, by a lot, by a significant number in the invisible primaries of talents and money, and even in some of the polling primaries. How big of an issue is Common Core, Newt Gingrich, in this upcoming set of primaries and caucuses?
NG: Well, I think Common Core is an issue if it means federal controls. And I don’t Jeb has solved that. But I also don’t think he’s particularly a frontrunner in the sense that Clinton is. Now if your dad has been president, and your brother has been president, and you’ve been governor of what is now the third-largest state in the country, because Florida passed New York, you’re ahead in the name ID poll, because you know, we didn’t have President Perry or President Christie, or President Walker. But that doesn’t mean that’s worth very much.
HH: Hey, can you hold on for one second, Mr. Speaker? I’d love to finish the show with you.
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HH: Mr. Speaker, as we went to break there, you brought up Scott Walker. He’s everybody’s second choice, as far as I can tell. If Jeb Bush isn’t the frontrunner, if Common Core eats away at the ground beneath his feet, or he gets into a knife fight with Chris Christie, where’s the party go? Does it go to Scott Walker?
NG: Well, let me say first of all, after the Dallas game, he’s more likely to be hugged by Christie than in a knife fight. So whether or not Christie gives him a big bear hug and that takes him out of the race, I don’t know. Scott…and I think, I just want to repeat, I don’t think anybody’s a serious frontrunner right now, because the voters aren’t even starting to think about this. And there is a long, long track between here and there. Scott Walker is a very attractive person. As you know, my wife, who I’m very proud of, with her books, with Ellis the Elephant, she is from Wisconsin. My son-in-law is from Sheboygan. We have lots of ties in Wisconsin. We did Scott’s first big fundraising event years and years ago. I campaigned with him in October just before he got elected in 2010. We were with him again this year, or in 2014. His great strength is that he tells you what he’s going to do, and he means it. And then when you elect him, he actually does it. And it was an enormous shock to the left that he actually passed the reforms he promised to do. Now that is, for conservatives, a pretty encouraging distinction from people who campaign to the right and then sell out to the left. So I think that Scott’s going to have a lot of interest. I think John Kasich of Ohio, who carried 86 out of 88 counties is going to have a lot of interest. Rick Perry, who is the longest-serving governor in the history of Texas is going to have a lot of interest. You know, Christie’s going to be formidable. People shouldn’t kid themselves. Mike Huckabee is going to do very well in the early rounds. So is Rand Paul. You get into caucus states like Nevada and Iowa, Rand Paul is very formidable. If Ted Cruz decides to run, he will be the articulator of the Tea Party movement. So I just think this is going to be, and that doesn’t, and then there will be like Bobby Jindal.
HH: Well, whether it’s a bear hug or a knife…
NG: I mean, there’s a lot of players, and this is a big country. And I don’t think a handful of billionaires are going to be able to pick their pet candidate and force the party to accept it. So somebody’s going to win this nomination, but they’re going to win it the old-fashioned, hard way. They’re going to answer questions, they’re going to meet the voters, they’re going to be out there doing what it takes, and I, for one, couldn’t begin to predict who that person is going to be.
HH: So you don’t think, we’ve got 30 seconds left, let me ask you, whether it’s a bear hug or a knife, does only Christie or Bush come out of this? It can’t be both of them, right? They represent the same slice of the party.
NG: Well, it may not be either one of them. I mean, you know, I don’t know, yet. I think we’re changing, we’re moving around as a country, things are getting to be different. You know, this is the age of the smart phone, not the age of the payphone. And we don’t know how rapidly people’s opinions can change. At this stage in 2007, no one would have picked Barack Obama to be the Democratic nominee.
HH: Well said, well said. Mr. Speaker, always a pleasure. Thank you, Newt Gingrich.
End of interview.