Candidate Casino: 'All-Star' panelists place their bets

Who's ready to go 'all in' on Donald Trump?


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," August 14, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SEN. TED CRUZ, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think the reason we're seeing such tremendous grassroots support is on issue after issue after issue, over and over again, I've done exactly what I said I would do.

FORMER GOV. JEB BUSH, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's time we had a president that accepted responsibility for the duties of the presidency. If there's a problem, don't say the dog ate my homework, which is what we hear all the time. Accept responsibility to fix it. That's what leaders do.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I fought and I won. We've gotten results. And we did it without compromising our conservative principles. And I think that's increasingly what people want.

CARLY FIORINA, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will be honest and say that we're in the top five a little sooner than I had expected. And obviously that's great news. I will also say that I'm used to being underestimated.

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Leading in Iowa, leading in New Hampshire, leading in North Carolina, leading in South Carolina, leading in Nevada, leading everywhere.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, it is that time. The Iowa State Fair is under way. The butter cow is chilled. Donald Trump is heading there to see said cow, will land at the Iowa State Fair come tomorrow.

With this let's bring in our panel: Jason Riley, columnist with the Wall Street Journal; Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook Political Report, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. This is Friday, so we are going to head into first the Republicans Candidate Casino. And it could be a shakeup. You never know. Jason, welcome back.


BAIER: No shakeup.


RILEY: I don't think the fundamentals have changed. It's still a three-man race -- Rubio, Walker, Bush. I give Kasich and Fiorina, I think they're longshots, but I gave them a few chips. Kasich is from Ohio, a state that could well determine the election, and Fiorina just had an outstanding debate there.

Why no Trump? I still think that his poll numbers are largely name I.D. at this point. I think better indicators are endorsements, are respect from the party elites and the establishment. He has none of that. Also history. Traditionally the person in the low 20s in the summer before the Iowa caucus has not gone on to become the nominee and I don't think Trump is going to break that tradition.

BAIER: Well, people with their own suggestions disagree with you. John R. Davis, he has $75 on Trump, $15 on Carly Fiorina, and $10 on Cruz.

Bill Burke has $40 on Trump, $30 on Cruz, 15 on Fiorina, and then $5 on Rubio, Huckabee, and Kasich.

And Diana has $50 on Rubio, $25 on Kasich,$25 on Fiorina. We had a lot of people in. Perry from Maryland, he just put $100 black chip on Trump. So, Amy?

AMY WALTER, COOK POLITICAL REPORT: Going all in. I did not do that. And like Jason I did not put Donald Trump in my top. But I did move John Kasich, who I think had a wonderful debate, who I think is doing quite well in New Hampshire thanks in part to spending $4 million on Boston TV. And I've also put ted Cruz in there who I think is coalescing that more conservative Tea Party vote. And I think as Trump starts to lose steam, which I think will eventually happen, Cruz becomes the beneficiary of that.

I've also put Rubio and Walker tied. I had Walker up a little bit more than that. Bush still ahead but slightly. But I think any one of those four can be at the end -- any one of those five may be able to be --

BAIER: When you look at Walker, do you see that he's gaining?

WALTER: No. That's why I dropped him a little bit. I had him with more money last time. So I'm putting less money on Walker, a little more on Marco, a little less on Jeb, and then putting Kasich and Cruz in there.

BAIER: OK, Charles.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: It's good to be back in the casino. The stale smell of cigarettes invigorates me here.

BAIER: We do need a bar.

KRAUTHAMMER: I'm staying with my same top tier. I think Rubio had the best performance in the debates. I think he is the tortoise. He's strong, and I think he gets stronger because he's the obvious foil. I have him at $25. The other two at the top, Bush and Walker, slightly weakened by weaker debate performances. Then I think there's a new second tier with Cruz, Fiorina, and Kasich. One of them I think is likely to catapult into the top. And of the three at the top, perhaps Walker is the most vulnerable now because everything hinges for him on Iowa. If he doesn't win I think he'll be really hurt.

And you'll be asking where is Trump. Yes, he leads everywhere. Yes, I think he has a very loyal 20 or so per cent constituency which is a plurality now. But it won't be a plurality when the field is whittled down.

BAIER: OK, let's turn to some Fox News polls out tonight that potentially could affect something. We'll see how people think about this.

The Clinton statement that e-mails on her server did not contain classified information. You see Hillary Clinton knowingly lied, 58 percent. There's another explanation, 33 percent. Did Hillary Clinton put U.S. security at risk by mishandling classified e-mails, 54 percent yes, 37 percent no. So with that and that info we head into the other side of the casino. This is the Democratic casino -- far fewer places to place your $100 chips. But who knows? There could be more, Jason.

RILEY: Well, I still think it's Hillary's race to lose. I don't think that's changed. I think Biden and Kerry could still get in. That's a possibility, so I saved a few chips for those guys. I don't place much stock in the Bernie Sanders boom-let. His base is too small and too white, frankly. It's upper middle class progressives. They've been described as soft Marxists, which I found interesting, and probably right in that case.

But the fact of the matter is that non-whites make up about a third of Democratic primary voters in most states and he does very poorly with that group. So I think this is still Hillary's race to lose. If and until another Democrat steps up and says there is ethical baggage here we have a problem, and no one has done that.

BAIER: Do you think it's more likely today than it was --

RILEY: It's getting more likely every day, Bret. But it still has not happened. No one has been willing to come out and say this is a fundamentally flawed candidate. No one on the Democratic side has been able to say that or decided to say that. And until that happens, I think that is her only worry.

WALTER: And when you look at the polls of core Democratic supporters, core Democrats have the same perception of Hillary Clinton today as they did in June and before that. She's still in the high 80s among that group. She's dropped a little bit among some Democratic constituencies, but overall there's not a hue and crew among Democrats themselves, liberals, moderates, whatever, for another candidate.

BAIER: So your chips?

WALTER: My chips still Hillary's to lose. But I give her now $85 as opposed to I think I gave her close to $100 last time. I'll put a little bit on Joe Biden. And then if there is a mystery candidate that gets in, if indeed we come to a place where the e-mail scandal becomes much more than just a scandal, it becomes real significant issues, maybe real legal issues, then there could be another candidate.

BAIER: People writing in I think feel like we're there already judging by a lot of the bets. Kenneth Mora, a Boston Sox fan in Virginia, says, Biden $70, Sanders $20, Clinton $5, and the field $5. We have Gwen who says $35 for Biden, $20 for Webb, $20 for Clinton, $20 for Sanders, $5 for Gore. Al Gore getting actual chips in this casino. And then finally Bill Burke has $50 Biden, $40 Sanders -- I'm sorry, $50 Clinton, $40 Biden, and $10 Sanders.

There seems to be this feeling out there that maybe Hillary Clinton isn't as inevitable as she once seemed.

KRAUTHAMMER: I'll take the other side of the Gore bet at any odds. But I think up until now, every time we've been in the Democratic casino I put everything on Hillary, barring an act of God. Well, now it's not an act of God, it's an act of the DOJ or the FBI. This campaign is now out of her hands. If nothing happens, if nothing emerges further on the e-mails, she has the race won. But we have no idea what are going to find. We have no idea if they're going to be able to uncover the scrubbed e-mails. If they can, and if they locate stuff, she's done. And then the only question is who jumps in.

So I put $15 on Warren because I think if the catastrophe happens Warren would jump in, and $10 on Biden. But still $75 on Hillary. But again, out of her hands. This is going to be dependent on actions by other people out there looking at the e-mails.

WALTER: And what's so remarkable is that this is mostly a self-inflicted wound, right? This was a decision to open -- an entirely self-inflicted wound.

KRAUTHAMMER: The number one thing, she did this before any actions as secretary of state. It wasn't as if she like Nixon or other she was covering up something that had already happened. Her slate was clean. And it's the definition of character flaw.

RILEY: You have a bleeding Democrat for president who's under investigation by the FBI and not another single Democrat is willing to say anything negative about her.

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