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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SANTORUM R - PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Would you guys quit distorting what I'm saying?
QUESTION: Do you think he is the worst Republican to run on those issues?
SANTORUM: To run against Barack Obama on the issue of health care, because he fashioned the blueprint. I have been saying it in every speech. Quit distorting my words. If I see it, it's bulls***.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, you have seen that probably once or twice, Rick roaring at the press sometimes by cursing at the press. Newt Gingrich roared, but at least to the best of my memory, I don't think he ever cursed at anyone. Is that where the speaker draws the line between speaking and screaming, between making a point and proving pointless?
Well, who better to ask than the former speaker himself?
Speaker, very good to have you.
NEWT GINGRICH R - PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to be with you.
CAVUTO: A lot of big issues to get into, but I do want to address some of these theatrics first, if you will indulge me. Do you think this kind of behavior is hurting your opponent?
GINGRICH: I have no idea.
Look, I think people get tired. People make -- in my career, I have made a number of mistakes, things I wish I had not said or done. I suspect whatever damage is done to him is a lot less than the damage Barack Obama just did by being caught on microphone promising to sell out our missile defense right after the election.
So, I would say, as mistakes go, Obama's mistake is a heck of a lot bigger than Santorum's.
CAVUTO: All right, I want to focus on that, because the White House I'm sure will quibble with your characterization that he's trying to sell out our missile defense.
This is from a conversation picked up off mic with the president and the leader of Russia. This is earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is my last election. And after my election, I have more flexibility.
DMITRY MEDVEDEV, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: I understand you. I transmit this information to Vladimir, and I stand with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: Do you think he was pre-stating he is going to sell out our edge with them.
The Russians want him to dramatically back down on missile defense. The president is essentially saying , give me some space until the election. I have got a lot more flexibility after the election.
What do you think he is saying? And the question it raises is, how many countries, whether it is Iran or somewhere else, has he had a similar conversation with? Let me pretend I'm tough long enough to get re-elected. Then I will take care of you.
I think it is a very chilling comment, because where Rick Santorum might have lost his temper for a second, this is the President of the United States, supposed to be defending us, telling the Russians that he is willing to give something up that he can't publicly admit to now.
So, I think the question to the president ought to be, what is it you plan to give the Russians after the election? Tell us now, so the American people can decide whether or not that is a future they want to -- a gamble they want to take with their safety.
CAVUTO: But, Speaker, he could be just as easily be saying, in my country, it's an election year. Nothing is going to get done. I can't negotiate anything with you, right?
GINGRICH: Well, Neil, you can give Barack Obama every possible benefit of the doubt if you need to.
From what we have seen of his policies, they are basically appeasement, weakness, and apology. So it strikes me it's much more likely he was saying to his good old friend there, wink, wink, let me get done with the American people and I will take care of you.
CAVUTO: Do you think that the way the race is going right now, Speaker, that -- back to the Republican battle for the nomination -- that there might be something to this idea that it is going to be at least an international unknown until right up to the convention, and that that does put us in sort of disarray going into Tampa?
GINGRICH: Well, I don't yet.
If Mitt Romney can get a majority, then he gets a majority. But if he can't -- and out of the first 10 million votes cast, six million were not for Romney, only four million were for Romney. So if he ends up short, we will probably have a 60-day national dialogue between June 26 and the convention opening in August.
I don't know that that is bad for the country. Whoever ends up as the nominee is going to have tremendous attention from the acceptance speech on. The case against Obama is pretty clear cut, and it will be very clear cut by then.
And I have talked about $2.50-a-gallon gasoline, for example, in contrast to where Obama is taking us. And you can talk about balancing the budget as compared to the size of his deficits. You can talk about the worst recovery since the Great Depression. I mean a lot of it -- it is pretty obvious what the case against Obama is, and I think you can make it in 60 days between the convention and the general election.
CAVUTO: But, in the end, to echo a point you made last week, Speaker, whoever the nominee is, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, I guess even Ron Paul, you would support him?
Look, we are in a situation where Barack Obama is so bad for the future of this country -- and I think in some ways so dangerous -- that I would absolutely be for the other candidate. I think they would feel the same way. We each have a different view of who ought to be the best candidate.
And I think I could probably debate Obama better than my colleagues. But all of us are united I think in a belief that we have to defeat Barack Obama for the future of this country.
CAVUTO: So you took Rick Santorum at his word last week, especially when he was with me, where he said that was not what I meant to say, that I would opt for Barack Obama over Mitt Romney?
GINGRICH: Look, I think all of us occasionally get tired. We all occasionally make mistakes.
He recovered. When he said it, I said, that's wrong and I disagree with him. But by the next day, he had taken it back. And I take him at his word. I think Rick is a party leader and he has a long history of helping the Republican Party.
And, again, I think Governor Mitt Romney would tell you the same thing. If I am the nominee, he will be for me. If he is the nominee, I will be for him. Our united goal is to replace Barack Obama and to win the Senate and to have a decade of real reforms that move us back to a balanced budget, to a dynamic economy, and to an American energy policy so that no future president ever again bows to a Saudi king.
CAVUTO: But, Speaker, do you think there is something to this argument that conservatives within the Republican Party, they're not gonna vote for Barack Obama, but they might not eagerly vote for the Republican nominee if he were Mitt Romney; they might just sit home?
GINGRICH: Well, I think that's gonna be a challenge Governor Romney has got to face up to.
The fact that as the frontrunner after six years of campaigning, $40 million of his own money, outspending his opponents by four or five, six, seven to one, the fact that he is still only getting about 40 percent of the total vote makes him the weakest frontrunner in modern times.
If he does end up with the nomination, he is going to have to do something to unify the party and to spark a sense of excitement.
CAVUTO: How does he do that? How does he do that?
GINGRICH: Oh, I think he has got to paint a picture of a better American future and one that is based on the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and the sense of who we are as a nation.
CAVUTO: Well, what about -- let's say, hypothetically, he wants to put Newt Gingrich on his ticket to protect that base.
GINGRICH: I don't think -- Neil, I have such a strong personality, and I am so committed to ideas that I can't quite imagine anyone doing that. That might have been a step further than makes sense. You have known me a long time.
CAVUTO: But, really, Speaker, Mitt Romney asked you, said, Newt Gingrich, I have got to shore up this base, you're very popular with that base, you're my guy, you would say no?
GINGRICH: No, I wouldn't say no. I can't imagine him offering.
There are a number of -- obviously, you owe it to the presidential nominee to be helpful if you can. And I will do everything to be helpful if that turns out to be the case, just as I think Mitt would do everything he could to help me if I end up as the nominee.
We have got a lot of bright, competent people out there who are potential vice presidential candidates. We're gonna have a strong ticket, whether it is Gingrich and somebody, or Santorum and somebody, or Mitt Romney and somebody. We are going to have a very strong ticket one way or the other.
CAVUTO: Someone characterized it this way in the Republican race. It is not just political, it's personal, that there's such a degree of antipathy between the principals involved, whether it is you and Governor Romney, probably more these days between Rick Santorum and Governor Romney, that that is what is driving it.
Is that a fair characterization?
GINGRICH: No. It's baloney.
What is driving it is simple. The frontrunner has an obligation to get to a majority. He hasn't gotten to a majority. Nobody has an obligation to get out. Look, there is a very sad story in Atlanta that last fall the Braves were ahead by 10-and-a-half games with only 28 games to go.
CAVUTO: I remember it well.
GINGRICH: Saint Louis -- Saint Louis didn't quit. They distant say, oh, gosh, I guess we ought to agree that the Braves are going to win. And it is an amazing story.
With only 28 games left, they came from 10-and-a-half games behind. So, all of us, I think, have a rueful feeling in Atlanta that maybe you ought to stick it out until the last pitch and not assume anything, having lived through that experience. And I think --
CAVUTO: By the way, the New York Mets - the New York Mets can take that in spades. But you are quite right. You are quite right.
GINGRICH: Well, I will be glad to take -- there are three or four examples in sports of that.
My only point is, none of us have an obligation to get out of the way as long as there is a mathematical possibility, and the frontrunner has to earn it, not believe he is going to be conceded. And I think Governor Romney accepts that.
And, listen, we are going to fight right down to Tampa, if that is what happens. And if we end up, after June 26, with an open dialogue, I think, as the person that most Republicans believe could best debate Barack Obama, I have a real chance at that point to pull off one of the great comebacks in American political history.
So, I'm going to be hanging around, talking about things like $2.50-a- gallon gasoline and an American energy policy and other positive ideas.
CAVUTO: All right. Sorry if we opened up that old Atlanta Braves wound.
But, Speaker, it's always good having you. Thank you very much.
GINGRICH: Take care. Thanks.
CAVUTO: Newt Gingrich. All right.
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