Laura Ingraham guest hosted for O’Reilly Friday and her first guest was former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Gingrich didn’t come out and either endorse or pledge to oppose John McCain in the general election this fall, so there’s no bombshell in this interview along those lines. He did say than when push comes to vote, he’ll vote for McCain because he’s better on enough issues than either of the Democrats who’ll face him, but that doesn’t mean that McCain should get a pass from the conservative movement when he transgresses conservatism.

Ingraham and Gingrich also make pitch perfect points about how a conservative ought to build bipartisanship. It’s not by moving left as McCain tends to do, but by standing on principle with the American people to force the Democrats to move to the right. Gingrich was very effective at that. McCain has yet to earn any meaningful spurs in that area. The interview then moves into the veepstakes, and that’s where it gets interesting. It’s at about 2:40 into this clip.

Newt Gingrich was first elected to Congress in 1982. John McCain was elected to represent Arizona in the Senate in 1982. Gingrich left Congress in 1998, and McCain is of course still one of Arizona’s senators. You need that background to understand what Newt Gingrich says about McCain and the team he has chosen to work with him is very interesting. With all those years of overlap in Congress, Gingrich would be in a position to know what McCain’s people think of the conservative movement. If Gingrich is right, it explains a lot.

To Gingrich’s take I’ll add that I’m not ready to make nice either. Sen. McCain delivered a fine speech at CPAC, but people can say anything. It’s what they do that tells you who they are. And it’s who they surround themselves with that tells you what they really think. McCain is still surrounded by people who are offended by the conservative movement and he still has NO-borders zealot Juan Hernandez hanging around the campaign. Sen. McCain says he is proud to defend America; Hernandez is not someone who has America’s security interests at heart. He still needs to go.