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Special Report

Are endorsements for Mitt a message to GOP?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," March 29, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Barbara and I are very proud to fully and enthusiastically endorse and support our old friend Mitt Romney. He is a good man. He will make a great president. And we just wish him well, so we are delighted he is here.

MITT ROMNEY, R - PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Coming from the president and first lady, I'm honored to have your endorsement and your support. The president indicated that we have been friends for some time. My parents were also friends of the president and the first lady. And having your support means a great deal to me on a personal basis, a family basis, and also on a national basis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: Another big-name endorsement today for Mitt Romney just before the start of 'Special Report', so let's talk about it with our panel. Charles, how much impact does it have? What does it mean at this state of the race?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, I think sort of rush of endorsements -- President Bush today, yesterday Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and just about everybody in the, quote/unquote, "establishment" is a message not to the voters but to the other candidates. It's over. They have admitted, the candidates have admitted Santorum and Gingrich, they can't win themselves. And they've admitted their only objective is to block Romney and to have a contested Tampa convention, which Marco Rubio explained last night I think cogently would be a disaster.

So for the good of the party, what they are hearing from the elder statesman, the up-and-comers, and everybody in between is step out, do it for the party. And you're not going to win any way. Help us win in November. I think it makes sense.

BREAM: Alright Charles, we did hear from Senator Rubio last night, we have a little of what he had to say about his endorsement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R - FLORIDA: There is no way that anyone can convince me that having a floor fight at the convention in Tampa in August is a recipe for victory in November. On the contrary I think it's a recipe for disaster. I am gonna endorse Mitt Romney. And the reason why is not only because he is going to be the Republican nominee but he offers at this point such a stark contrast to the president's record.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: Mary Katherine, do you think there is anything beyond this? Because a lot of people want to read into this endorsement from Senator Rubio. Who said he is not gunning for vice president. But last night when it was brought up, he didn't react in ways I've seen him react to it in the past. It was different.

MARY KATHARINE HAM, THE DAILY CALLER: He is just a great communicator, he's a good advocate to conservatives for Romney, which is exactly what he needs. What I thought was interesting about the Rubio timing, is it came right after this hot mic with Medvedev, the Russian president. And he hinted that that was part of the reason he saw this glimpse of second-term Obama and said this is too dangerous to deal with. I think that has the potential to be a galvanizing moment for conservatives. It may take a while to come together. And obviously this is a signal to have the other candidates help out with that. But I think that has the potential to mean something to conservatives and make them to go maybe Romney is OK.

BREAM: Well, and the other candidates have indicated they don't want to go anywhere, Juan. They want to stay in this. We are hearing something about a meeting possibly, a secret meeting between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney over the weekend. Do you think Gingrich is persuadable because he so many times has said I'm not going away until August, I'm staying, I'm sticking around?

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: I think it would be a matter of what is put on the table. And the question would be whether or not there is a threat so that there's an offer you can't refuse to use the godfather type of terminology for Newt Gingrich. I can't imagine what that would be.

What Newt Gingrich wants obviously is attention. He might be asking for some cabinet post. I can't imagine that he is asking for the vice presidential nomination. So the question is what does Newt Gingrich want? And what can Mitt Romney say to him in terms of the punishment for continuing this?

Now, the establishment endorsement is exactly what we're seeing here. I think you are seeing the Daddy Bush and the word coming around is the big money people now saying we are solidly behind Mitt Romney. That is what these establishment endorsements really mean.

And as far as the Marco Rubio piece, the potential is there for now a Rubio vice presidential bid, which would tremendously help Mitt Romney with a very important vote, the Hispanic vote. Today I was a meeting where Joel Benenson, the president's pollster, said that won't help the Republicans because, you know, Rubio has problems on the immigration issue, and if you want an immigration fight, a fight over immigration policy, the Democrats are all too happy to take that fight right to the floor.

BREAM: Well, all of you have referred to this as sort of an establishment set of endorsements in the last few days. But the people who are supporting folks like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, especially Newt Gingrich, say that's exactly what they want to rail against. Is this only going to cause them to further dig in their heels to say we're going to keep fighting for somebody who is not, quote- unquote, "establishment"?

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, it isn't as if they haven't had a chance to go against Romney and the establishment. They have been at it since Iowa. So we're now three months in, Romney's got about half the delegates he needs. The others are trailing. None of them has any chance, even, they've admitted of getting the nomination on their own, so it's a blocking action and I think it would hurt the party.

I'm told that what Romney offered Gingrich is the governorship of the moon colony, and he's considering it right now.

(LAUGHTER)

KRAUTHAMMER: There is one other thing, which is, I think if Santorum has his -- he has a race in Wisconsin. And I think that's going to be the make or break. If he loses it, I suspect he will get a message. And he has to think of the future, he has a future. He probably will run again in 2016 if the Republicans lose. And I think he has that in mind. I think he might step aside graciously if he doesn't win in Wisconsin.

BREAM: Moon colony governorship aside, it doesn't sound like the meeting if it was to get Newt out of the race worked this weekend.

HAM: Well, I have another idea, they give him a speaking spot at the convention against John King. That would be great fun for everybody.

BREAM: Oh, boy.

(CROSSTALK)

HAM: Rubio is different from the other endorsements in that, I think he does have the potential to convince some conservatives. He was the original Tea Party, anti-establishment against Crist, so, that matters.

WILLIAMS: Last night I talked to Rubio in an interview for Fox News Latino. And I said given the fact that you don't support the DREAM Act, you support the Arizona law, isn't that a problem? He said, you know, this is not about me. I don't think the vice presidential pick is going to make a difference. The difference is the Republican vision for America's future versus the Obama's vision. And we think that vision can sell with Latinos and all Americans.

BREAM: All right, thank you very much panel.

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