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Special Report

Delegate math in GOP race

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," March 7, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM, R - PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've won races all over this country, against the odds. When they thought oh, OK, he is finally finished, we keep coming back.

NEWT GINGRICH, R - PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are lots of bunny rabbits that run through. I'm the tortoise. I just take one step at a time.

(APPLAUSE)

RON PAUL, R - PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The rest of the candidates support the status quo. Foreign policies never changed. Monetary policy doesn't change. There is no challenge to the Federal Reserve system. And most of all, there is no desire to protect personal liberty.

MITT ROMNEY, R - PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But on November 6, we're going to stand united, not only having won an election, but having saved a future.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Here is how we stand right now. Mitt Romney has won 13 of the 22 contests so far. Rick Santorum has won seven. Newt Gingrich has won two. Ron Paul zero so far. Total delegates, this is the A.P. apportionment of delegates, the total delegates, 2,286. You need 1,144 to get the nomination. And there you see it's been allocated. This is how the Associated Press allocates these -- Romney, 419, Santorum, 178, Gingrich, 107, and Paul, 47. Some of these have processes to go through in caucus states before they're officially with those candidates.

We're back with the panel. Bill, your assessment of Super Tuesday and where we are in this race?

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Where we are is that one of two people is going to be the Republican nominee. With the possible, you know, three percent possibility of a brokered convention-type situation. And that is either going to be Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum. It's more likely to be Romney than Santorum. He has won 13 states, Santorum has won seven. But seven isn't nothing. And I think by a week from now Santorum will have won three of the next four contests, so he will gain some ground on Mitt Romney. I think it's very important he do that for his own sake.

The nominee is not going to Ron Paul. Who, for all the talk earlier in this race about this was Ron Paul's year, he is zero for 22. And it's not going to be Newt Gingrich, who is two for 22. And the biggest dynamic next week, in my view, would be if Santorum wins Kansas on Saturday and then wins Mississippi and Alabama in a week, next Tuesday. I think that virtually knocks Gingrich out of the race and gives Santorum an outside shot, puts him pretty much one-on-one with Romney. Romney probably wins, he is ahead. But Santorum has a chance to really have a real race.

BAIER: Tucker, the Romney campaign was out and about with all the delegate math today, saying that Santorum has to win 65 percent of the delegates left on the table to get the nomination and Gingrich has to win 70 percent of them. Yet their own math to get to 1,144 is a little challenging, it takes a little bit longer than most people thought.

TUCKER CARLSON, EDITOR, THEDAILYCALLER.COM: Thank you for pointing that out. I had to hand out calculators today, I reached the same conclusion. The Romney campaign's position is you have to vote for us. We are the only product on the shelf. We are the only candidate who can actually get to the majority of delegates. And that is not true. It's close to true, but not strictly speaking true. The Republican primary electorate is in a very, very volatile mood right now.

I would agree that it's very likely in the end that Governor Romney becomes the nominee but it's by no means certain. I would also say of Ron Paul -- he doesn't need to win. In his view he is winning already. This is an ideological point he is making. But here's why it's electorally significant -- a lot of people, I mean 41 percent in Virginia, only two people on the ballot, still a lot of people voted for Ron Paul. A lot of those voters are portable. They're not Republican -- they're not dedicated Republican voters. Let's say Ron Paul endorses Gary Johnson, a third party libertarian candidate. Could Johnson get three points in the general election thereby ensuring Obama's re-election? Yes, he could.

BAIER: So this is why all the calls are for Newt Gingrich to get out of the race, there are no calls for Ron Paul to get out of the race.

CARLSON: You have to be really, really careful of Ron Paul. He had his own convention last time and endorsed the constitution party candidate last time. Laugh if you want, but it's about Gary Johnson. If he gave Gary Johnson his lists, this could be a problem.

BAIER: You are shaking your head.

KRISTOL: I'm laughing at Tucker on this.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: There is nothing funny about this.

KRISTOL: Ron Paul is the dog that hasn't barked. Of course it could be significant. But A, he is not going to be the Republican nominee. B, there is no evidence. The 41 percent of the voters in Virginia, that was an anyone-but-Romney vote.

CARLSON: Is there evidence he could help Gary Johnson get a couple points in a general?

KRISTOL: No.

CARLSON: With respect, I profoundly disagree. I'd be nice to him.

BAIER: Chuck?

CHARLES LANE, EDITORIAL WRITER, WASHINGTON POST: Well, at the risk of breaking up this interesting conversation, I'll just add that I think we're looking at a little bit of a rough patch in March for Mitt Romney because most of the states are not strong for him. And so in that sense it could be an opportunity for Santorum to build a little narrative for himself. I still think when you have a strange situation here where the likeliest scenario is that Romney finishes first with the most delegates but not enough for a majority. And the only thing the other candidates seem to be achieving at this point is denying him that majority. And I kind of wonder why they are persisting on that.

KRISTOL: That's not fair to Santorum. I just did the math, I went through every state you can do the delegates. Santorum would need to do better than he is better than he's doing now. Romney's won 55 percent of the delegates so far. He is winning about 40 percent of the popular vote. Santorum is winning about 30 percent of the vote. Obviously, to catch Romney, Santorum gonna have to flip that, Santorum's gonna have to pass Romney. We'll see if he can start to do it this weekend. But Santorum has an outside chance to get about to the convention, not with 1,144, but with about the same number of delegates as Romney. But then who knows where the convention would go if Romney comes in with 980 and Santorum with 930, which is possible. That is a real race. Romney is the favorite. But I think Santorum is the one guy who could beat him.

LANE: In April, the contests in April are very favorable to Romney. And a little bit in June as well. I think it's --

BAIER: There is no indication right now, quickly, that Newt Gingrich is getting out of this race.

LANE: He seems to be ready to just plod along like the tortoise.

KRISTOL: He will get out if Santorum beats him in Alabama and Mississippi.

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: It will be embarrassing, I think, at that point. If he can't win any state --

LANE: It sounds like he wants to carry on for his own -- I don't know what it is -- his own sake.

CARLSON: There is talk about that. I spoke to someone today who claimed to have information on the subject, not clear if he actually did. But no, people are -- never clear.

KRISTOL: Tucker thinks Newt Gingrich is going to get out and endorse Gary Johnson.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: You mock me. You wait.

BAIER: We'll leave it there. By the way, the Gingrich campaign is still doing the math on their own. They have a way, they say. That is it for the panel. But stay tuned to see a revealing video from the campaign trail.

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