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Special Report

Friday Lightning Round: Gambling on 2016

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," January 23, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: You're looking live at Des Moines there right there on the river. We will be heading out there this weekend for the big summit, conservatives, possible political candidates in 2016 meeting there about one year before the Iowa caucuses, almost exactly one year.

We are back with our panel, Friday Lightning Round, the big winner, Steve's pick, OK, Steve.

HAYES: It's Friday. It's crazy. I know this is early, but I thought this was sort of a fun question to ask. So my question to my fellow panelists, if I gave you $100, sent you to Las Vegas to bet on the candidate mostly likely to be the Republican nominee, how would you allocate your funds?

BAIER: Your chips?

STEVE HAYES, WEEKLY STANDARD: Your chips, yes.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Forty on Rubio, 30 on Bush, 15 on Scott Walker, and I blow the rest on booze.

BAIER: Leave it right there. Put Charles back up there, 40 on Rubio?

KRAUTHAMMER: He is my underestimated dark horse candidate who threads his way, young, energetic. He has got a program and I think if he runs against Hillary, the contrast say the vigor, the energy that Kennedyesque idea will be a major one.

BAIER: But a significant bet on Jeb Bush?

KRAUTHAMMER: Right. But it's the booze that I'm looking forward to.

AMY WALTER, COOK POLITICAL REPORT: I should have done that. I went a little bit wimpy in that I put a lot on the rest of the field. I put the biggest amount of money on Scott Walker. He to me is somebody who makes every section of the base happy or at least he doesn't make anybody angry. He is a governor. He is under estimated.

The biggest knock on him is he is boring. I would rather be boring than have positions that the base doesn't like or have inability to raise money. I put a little money on Bush although I think he have a tough time getting out of primary. I was going to put 10 bucks on Rubio. I do. I think he is under estimated. My question about the young and vigor thing is does it work against him in the sense that people say gosh, the last time we had a one term senator who came with the state legislative background hmmm.

HAYES: And you can be sure that his opponents -- the Republican opponents will say that.

WALKER: What did you do?

HAYES: So it's interesting to hear you two because I thought I was crazy with the way I had allocated my money. I put 30 on Walker, 30 on Rubio, 15 on Bush as sort of the establishment chalk, 10 on Ted Cruz and 15 on the field.

And, I think, for you know, for basically the same reasons that you all do. I think Rubio and Walker have a similar profile in that they can be acceptable to the establishment, they could generate some enthusiasm from the Tea Party and they both are sort of young, optimistic, upbeat candidates. I think that's a message that's likely to sell pretty well.

BAIER: As to the House, I will put 100 on the field. Steve, no chips in this panel for Mitt Romney and no chips, I mean, the field obviously. But there doesn't seem to be a lot of chips up on Capitol Hill if you ask people to put chips in this bet on Mitt Romney.

HAYES: There really isn't. Talking to Republicans and conservatives around the country, on the phone, in person, over the past, you know, weeks and since Romney sort of made it clear that he was at least thinking seriously about running, you are just not finding much enthusiasm from many of the different pockets of the Republican Party.

The most enthusiasm for Mitt Romney comes from the people who enthusiastically supported him before or worked for him. Otherwise, you are just not hearing anybody, at least in my phone calls saying we have to have Mitt Romney as a the nominee again this time.

BAIER: OK, that's your close. Charles, winner or loser?

KRAUTHAMMER: Winner Tom Brady. I think he gets away with it and when I write the movie, there is going to be scene in which he is standing in the locker room and within earshot of the equipment manager and the ball boys and he says will no one rid me of these troublesome overinflated footballs?

Loser, U.S. and the Middle East, we just talked about it. Obama's highly touted ally in the region, president of Yemen is gone. The big winner is Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula and, of course, Iran.

BAIER: Winners and losers?

WALKER: All right, so for my winner I'm going to say the state of Iowa, the fact that many people around this table are going to be there including many of our colleagues. Money is getting spent. Iowa is happy. It's going to be another year of cha ching for restaurants and hotels and things like that. And it's center of attention.

From a loser, I have got to pick the NFL between concussions, abuse, spousal abuse and now we spent a whole day talking about balls. That was unfortunate.

BAIER: Yes, Steve.

HAYES: This is true. My loser is Renee Elmers, who more than anyone created this big controversy where none previously existed by objecting to a popular pro-life bill. And the kicker, of course, is that she backed the same exact bill.

BAIER: Twenty week --

HAYES: In 2013, correct, yes. My winner is Larry Hogan, the new governor of the people's republic of Maryland who is a conservative, was sworn in this week. And, before he was sworn in gave a warning to cabinet agencies that they should expect that their budgets will be cut, pretty gutsy.

BAIER: That was the biggest upset probably of the election. Thank you, panel, that's it for the panel, that was fun gambling. Stay tuned for some NFL smack talk.

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