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Assessing the 2012 GOP Field

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RUSH: From our old buddies at Mediaite: "Bill O'Reilly On GOP 2012 Lineup: If I'm Obama, 'I'm Not Quaking Over There' -- Bill O'Reilly and Charles Krauthammer discussed a recent column by George Will claiming there are really only five serious Republican candidates for President in 2012: Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney. Krauthammer agreed with that field of candidates, prompting O'Reilly to conclude with a list like that, 'if I'm President Obama, I'm not quaking over there,'" if it's one of those five. "Krauthammer dismissed the possibility of Mike Huckabee or Sarah Palin running, given that both have lucrative Fox News contracts and have shown no indication that they are taking steps to run.

"O'Reilly was surprised that Newt Gingrich was left off the list, however Krauthammer didn't consider him 'serious' either. Krauthammer described Gingrich as someone with little chance to win because he's 'undicisplined' and not likely to 'wear well in the primary season.' O'Reilly dismissed all of the 'serious' candidates, except Romney, as people 'nobody knows,' whereas Krauthammer dismissed the possibility of Romney being successful due to his continued 'illogical' defense of Romneycare in Massachusetts... Both O'Reilly and Krauthammer agreed that the election in 2012 will be mostly about Obama, and that is why all Krauthammer wants is a Republican candidate who is 'steady and solid.'"

That was the thrust of the discussion. So I'm just gonna put it out there to you. George Will and Krauthammer, two of the smartest guys in our room, say these are the five: Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney. Notice also that Huckabee's name is not in this list. Is Huckabee serious about running? I think Huckabee is serious. You think he's not? (interruption) Well, forget "hope" here, Snerdley. I'm just asking. Whatever you see, does it look like Huckabee will run? It doesn't look like Huckabee will run? Okay. Newt obvious is. Newt's very serious about it. It's apparent, obvious that Newt is serious about it.

Yeah, Palin. You know, I keep hearkening back to Byron York. I thought he had a great piece yesterday about 1991, and now here comes H.W. Bush, Bush 41, 90% approval after the Gulf War -- and the Democrats, they thought, "Let's sit the big names in our bench. We're not gonna win this year. I mean, there's no chance! We got Bush here with 90% approval, Gulf War? Why waste our guys this year? Why get one of our big guns defeated and thrown away?" So, little did they know at the time that Perot was gonna get serious -- and, of course, Bill Clinton didn't get the memo that Bush couldn't be beat. So he kept plugging away even through Whitewater, through Gennifer Flowers, all of that stuff.

And the Perot things become what it became and, lo and behold, a guy with 90% approval -- who was likable -- ended up losing. Now, there's a lot of factors here. Some say Bush 41 really didn't seem to want to be reelected, didn't seem to take either Clinton or Perot seriously enough early enough. Whatever. Obama, you look at Obama, too. Obama, there was a lot of prepub Obama way before Obama decided to do it, and the same thing with Clinton. These guys get into it late. So it's still a little early, I think, to start saying these are the five guys and that's it and without these five nobody else has a chance. But that seems to me the conventional wisdom from the smartest guys in the room, that if it's not one of these five, forget it. We don't have a chance.

And O'Reilly thinks we don't have a chance if it's one of these five. (interruption) I don't know anything about Mr. Huntsman. All I know is he's the ambassador to China for Obama and he's now leaving 'cause they just had a new ceremony here today and this Chu guy is going over to China. Gary Locke, I'm sorry. Gary Locke. What's Chu doing? Where's Chu? Why did I get screwed up with Chu? Well, I don't know. Chu's doing something. (interruption) That might be right. Chu may be going over to where Locke was and Locke's going to China where Huntsman was and Huntsman's coming back to run.

Now, Huntsman, you know what they tried to do with Romney being a Mormon, so they'll try to do that on Huntsman being a Mormon, too, being from Utah. Plus Huntsman big, wealthy family, huge industrialist, major, major wealth there. Oh, yeah. Yeah. But he's also considered a "moderate." Now, remember the Democrat candidates in 1988? Let's go back to 1988. They called the Democrat candidates in 1988 "the Seven Dwarves," and who were they? You had Bruce Ba-da ba-da ba-da ba-da Babbitt, you had Joe Biden (that's the Neil Kinnock election where Biden plagiarizd Neil Kinnock), you had Dukakis ("The Loser), you had Dick Gephardt, you had Algore running in '88, Gary Hart(pence), you had the Reverend Jackson, and Paul Simon.

Now, that's 1988. That's the Democrat Seven Dwarves. Those guys look like giants now when you compare to people today! (laughing) But Dukakis eventually prevailed in that group. Gephardt didn't last long. Algore, of course, was problematic. Gary Hart(pence)? Hart(pence)'s problem was he got into an argument with Jesse Jackson over who could get us out of wherever first. No! That was with Mondull in '84. Sorry, I'm confusing the years. Hart(pence) was up against Mondull in '84 for the nomination, and they got this big argument, "Well, I'll get us outta South Africa!" "Okay, fine, I'll get us outta Angola." "Well, I'll call you, and I'll get us out of Kuwait." "Well, that's no big deal. I'll get us out of Bosnia!"

That was their campaign. We were just gonna divest everywhere. Meanwhile, Mondull got the nomination, and at his acceptance speech in San Francisco promised to raise taxes! Mondull said, "I just told you. They're gonna raise taxes, too, but they won't tell you. I just did." That was the end of Mondull. Mondull never had a chance. You know when I knew it was over for Mondull? I don't remember the date. It was during the middle of the campaign and I'm watching the CBS Evening News (which, back then, was hosted by Dan Rather, anchored by Dan Rather) and there was a story. It was after the conventions and there was a story.

As best I can remember, Rather opened up with a piece of video. The video was a private jet taxiing to a stop, and one guy getting off the plane: Mondale. In the middle of the campaign. And Rather's report was dry, perfunctory, was not filled with excitement. (impression) "Democrat presidential candidate Walter Mondale today arrived in San Francisco. We have a shot of Walter Mondale getting off the plane, and that was it." I said, "Here's the presidential candidate getting off a small private jet by himself." (sigh) Something just told me, my instincts: "What's he doing here? By himself in the middle of the campaign?"

He was obviously going to see some money guy to do something. I said, "This is not something that somebody who expects to win or is leading the polls is gonna do." Gary Hart(pence) was "Hot Pants" back then. Remember the Monkey Business yacht over there and Bimini, Bimini island? He was the original Clinton, just ahead of his time. Back then it wasn't cool -- and of course Hot Pants forgot all you had to do here was grab the wife, go down the Virgin Islands and put on swimsuits and start dancing on the beach. It doesn't matter whether you have any music or not, just do it. But he didn't learn that lesson because it was yet to be taught. That lesson was taught to all of us by Bill Clinton.

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