Look, I don’t pretend to understand how the host or the moderators go about deciding who’s gonna be asked what. They don’t consult me on that. But I can explain, I think, why both of those guys are having trouble getting traction. You’re not gonna like it, but you call me and you ask a question and I think I can answer it. In the case of Rick Santorum — I don’t know this, I’m gonna tell you what I think it is, two things. The endorsement — remember, we’re talking about Republican primary vote, the endorsement of Senator Specter and the fact — and Susie, you may think this is fleeting but it’s not, it’s really important. It’s not just that Senator Santorum lost his reelection bid. He lost it by 20 points. People remember that.
It may be unfair, but you’re asking me for reasons why no traction. And I need to tell you, I love Rick Santorum, he’s a friend of mine, and my comment here has nothing to do with whether or not he’d be a good president. I think he’d be a great one, in fact. You ask me why he’s not getting traction. Tell you what I think. With Newt, the same thing. You’re dealing with 80% of the time a genius. But in that other 20% you get TV commercials on a couch with Nancy Pelosi on climate change, and then you get a joint appearance with Hillary Clinton on health care which kind of dilutes the 80%. His numbers are coming up. Newt’s in double digits now, which means that his performances in these debates have been consistent enough and powerful enough that people are focusing on the 80% or 90% that’s Newt genius.
I’m fairly confident that my answers to you are correct, but I can’t say it with ontological certitude. But as to why the Fox people structure the debate the way they do and who gets questions and how much time, not my job and they have yet to consult me at Fox on this. All I can tell you is they’re not debates. They are enlarged press conferences with time limits, and so the skills required here — that’s why Romney’s doing well. He’s done this for two or three cycles now. You get good at it with practice. I’ve told you, brevity is the soul of wit. These people are gonna have to learn to say what they think with persuasion and convincibility in 30 seconds. If they can’t they’re gonna come off as looking incoherent. It’s the nature of the beast.