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Kelly File

Voters share their reactions to the second GOP debate on 'The Kelly File'

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," September 17, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST, "THE KELLY FILE": Breaking tonight, new fallout from last night's big GOP debate as the critical media now start to focus on the woman getting credit for owning the stage at the Reagan Library.

Welcome to "The Kelly File", everyone, I'm Megyn Kelly. Today is a new day for the Republican field. At this moment the pollsters are hard at work dialing voters, adding the numbers and figuring out how last night's three hour brawl may have reshaped the race for the White House. And tonight we are doing some polling of our own, check this out. We have assembled almost two dozen GOP voters here, live, in the studio right now to look at the questions that have yet to be answered. Who would be best against Hillary? How will voter anger affect this field? And will Donald Trump face any blowback for how he, tonight, answered a question he at a town hall about Muslims in America?

But we start with the Fiorina story. A woman whose low poll numbers kept her off the main stage in the first debate. Now being called the winner of the second contest. Less than an hour after it ended. The Weekly Standard declared it was, quote, "Carly's night." The New York Post said she, quote, "Made her case to be the GOP frontrunner." While the folks at Bloomberg suggested no one performed better than the former Hewlett Packard CEO. Here is a quick look at some of what impressed the critics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump said the following about you. Quote, "Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that?" Mr. Trump later said he was talking about your persona, not your appearance. Please feel freely to respond what you think about his persona.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLY FIORINA R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, it's interesting to me, Mr. Trump said that he heard Mr. Bush very clearly, and what Mr. Bush said. I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.

(APPLAUSE)

I would like to link these two issues, both of which are incredibly important, Iran and Planned Parenthood. One has something to do with the defense of the security of this nation. The other has something to do with the defense of the character of this nation. You have not heard a plan about Iran from any politicians up here. Here is my plan, on day one in the Oval Office, I will make two phone calls, the first to my good friend Bibi Netanyahu to reassure him we will stand with the state of Israel. The second, to the supreme leader to tell him that unless and until he opens every military and every nuclear facility to real, anytime, anywhere expectations by our people not his, we the United States of America will make it as difficult as possible and move money arranged the global financial system.

As regards Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape, I dare, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, to watch these topics. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking. While someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain. This is about the character of our nation. And if we will not stand up and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: That's when she dropped the mic. Our panel is with us here now with reaction.

Welcome, everybody. All right. Raise your hand if you think Fiorina won that debate last night.

Wow. And put your hands down, raise your hand if going into the debate, you were a Fiorina supporter. You liked her as your top choice. Wow. So it wasn't necessarily a field of Fiorina rooting people but you -- she persuaded you, what was it? Was it any one answer or the overall performance? Any of you. Go ahead in the front. There.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel that Carly's focus on the fortification of the military forces overseas was a very important thing. We have to take into consideration the drawdown of military forces overseas post Iraq.

KELLY: What about Rubio? He was bigger on military; people were giving him props for that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But she gave more of a comprehensive over view of what she wanted to pursue in moving forward. Rubio didn't.

KELLY: Hold on, we get the mic there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think it was one specific issue. I just think was a whole personality the way she attacked Mr. Trump and all the other candidates and the President, she was very decisive and I think that's what the American people want.

KELLY: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that she used Trump's own words is what I liked best about her answer about his persona.

KELLY: Uh-hm. What did you make of the face remark and his response you are a beautiful woman?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, his response? He was trying to pander and trying to walk it back. He wasn't sincere.

KELLY: Uh-hm. I'm curious how the woman in the room going into the debate last night. Did the women like Donald Trump? Raise your hand if you liked him. No one. None of the women. But we have Donald Trump supporters here. It's just none of the women apparently.

(LAUGHTER)

What did you think -- I said this on the air last night. She was accused of scowling at him when he said she was a beautiful woman. My own take on it was, she didn't want any further comments about the appearance. The solution to the comments about the appearance was not more comments about the appearance, your take on it, I will ask the ladies about it. Go ahead on the end.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She demonstrated a tremendous resiliency in the way that she reacted to his remarks. His remarks that I believe you are beautiful were disingenuous. And what it's liked about him is he says what he means --

KELLY: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- and he means what he says. But it was very clear that he didn't mean that. So, his marks were disingenuous. But her reaction and her resiliency was inspiring.

KELLY: Raise your hand if you like Trump. All right. So Gary, you like Trump in the front. You are a woman and you are in the front. I'm sorry. Heather?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like any Republican candidate who is not Hillary?

(LAUGHTER)

And because I run an organization that does independent expenditures in elections, we don't take sides between candidates. But you can see where his attraction has come from. We did economic messaging work earlier this year. Clearly the thing that is the driver, not only among GOP voters but among swing voters is somebody who is confident, who has leadership abilities, who is an outsider to Washington and who is focused on making things great. The what made -- that makes him helpful, Carly manages to have all those virtues without the liabilities. His core value proposition is, I'm a truth teller and I'm a fighter. And if you watched the debate last night, she is the one who owned those two characteristics.

KELLY: Who -- I mean, to what extent do you think it would be useful, A, to have a female nominee on the GOP side given the likelihood of Hillary Clinton being the female nominee on the Democratic side or should that not play any role? Let's go to this side.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think regardless of who it is, Trump offers no content behind what he is saying. In a former life he was successful by getting good TV ratings and I don't think he understands that high Nielsen ratings don't defeat ISIS and they don't fix a broken VA. And I think a lot of voters are recognizing that.

KELLY: Do you think there is any importance to having a female nominee on the GOP side? Anybody put any weight on that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think that --

KELLY: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the candidate who goes up against Hillary Clinton needs to be the most qualified candidate, regardless of gender. But Carly Fiorina, she demonstrated last night that she has the foreign policy credentials. She is not afraid to go after Hillary Clinton. She obviously can't be accused of sexism if she does go after Hillary Clinton. And I think that that would completely derailed Democrats. They wouldn't know what to do if we had a woman nominee.

KELLY: One of the moments that got a lot of attention wasn't in our montage was when she talked about drugs and she talked about the fact that she had a stepdaughter who died as an adult of drugs. And that's when she said is, you know, marijuana is not the same as it was when Jeb Bush tried it 40 years ago, but it was a powerful moment. One in which she showed emotion. You could almost hear her voice come close to cracking but she held it together. Speak to the importance of that, these candidates speaking about their own personal experience and whether it affected you at all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I?

KELLY: Yes. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For those who haven't seen it on YouTube is an ad that the Fiorina campaign put out called faces, which was in response to the Trump comment. And it was -- it's I think maybe the most brilliant political ad I have ever seen. And it presses the answer that she gave. It was strong, it was about all Americans and it talks about women are not a victim group. They are 54 percent of the electorate. And if we remember, Romney lost women to Obama 55 to 44. So, having a woman on the ticket who can neutralize a lot of the issues that the left uses on women, if you look back to 2014, Fiorina was talking about the war on women, about the wage gap, about all sorts of issues that our male politicians have been reluctant to take on. She adds to that, the personal empathy as you've say of the personal experience.

KELLY: Here's the question. Here's the question is, and I say this with all due respect to my sisters. Do you believe America is ready for a female GOP nominee and a female Democratic nominee?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's a great --

KELLY: Politically correct answer. Do you really believe that the two parties might do that this year?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That would be fantastic if something like that can happen. If we had two women on both ends. We have already had an African- American president. If we had two women from both parties that would be dynamic and that would be phenomenal for us as a country in terms of our representation of what we produce.

KELLY: Did you guys know Fiorina before? She has been on my show many times. She was on just the night before saying, you know, my problem is not a lot of people know my name. My name recognition is not as high as it needs to be in order to make inroads with the GOP field but I'm going to make it. Did you know her prior to the debate and do you think that, you know, once people really know her, she is going to go up?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I grew up in Northern California and I watched her Senate race back in 2010. So, I was familiar with her. But a lot of my, you know, with the millennial generation had no idea who Carly Fiorina was before she entered the Republican field. And I would say that last night really gave her that name recognition that she is going to need going forward to beat somebody like Donald Trump and launch herself into that role as a Washington outsider.

KELLY: She is one of the outsiders. You have got Fiorina, you have got Trump, and you have got Carson although this is one of the things we are going to talk about next after the break which is now everyone is claiming that he or she is an outsider. Every single one. It's like, I'm an outsider. And we have a great montage of that next. We will show you how the candidates did it. It was actually kind of clever for some of them, we'll ask you what you think. Now, there was an interesting campaign trail moment when a voter tonight, this is just breaking. Asked Donald Trump what he is going to do about all the Muslims in America. That is just ahead.

Plus, almost every candidate on that stage last night suggested I'm a political outsider. I have been in Washington 400 years but I'm an outsider. Like none of them had ever been to Washington before. Are the voters buying that? Our panel is back on that in moments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE R-N.J., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As far as being an outsider is concerned -- as far as being an outsider is concerned, let me tell you, this Jake, I am a Republican in New Jersey. I wake up every morning as an outsider.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: Well, if you were watching your very first debate last night, you could have come away with the impression that none of these candidates for president had ever worked in politics before. And why do you think that is? Check out this recent CNN poll showing more than 68 percent of the respondents feel the folks in Washington do not represent their interests well. Only 30 percent seemed happy with their elected officials. And now listen to some of what we heard from the folks on stage last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FL,, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm leaving the Senate. I'm not running for re-election. And I'm running for president because I know this. Unless we have the right president, we cannot make America fulfill its potential but with the right person in office, the 21st Century can be the greatest era that our nation has ever known.

SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good evening, everyone. I'm an eye surgeon from Bowling Green, Kentucky. My wife Kelly and I have been married for nearly 25 years. And I spend my days defending the constitution and the bill of rights. I think there is nothing more important than understanding that the constitution restrains government and not the people.

CHRISTIE: Let me say this, Jake, I'm a Republican in New Jersey. I wake up every morning as an outsider. I wake up every morning with a Democratic legislature who is trying to beat my head in and fight me because I'm trying to bring conservative change to it a state that need it desperately.

FIORINA: I will tell you why people are supporting outsiders. It's because you know what happens if someone has been in the system their whole life, they don't know how broken the system is. The fish swims in water, it doesn't know it's water. It's not that politicians are bad people. It's that they have been in that system forever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: All right. So, was anybody buying that? I'm just an eye surgeon from Kentucky. But you are also a U.S. senator. In the back, go ahead, sorry. Jordan?

JORDAN: Yes. Absolutely. Obviously they all have to have some sort of experience to be able to get where they were right now. I grew up in New York and New Jersey. So, Chris Christie is someone very familiar with us. I never believe that he's someone who is an outsider as well. And I don't think that's going to capture me that story, what going to capture me is just their qualifications as well. Carly Fiorina I never heard of. But when she spoke about the Iran deal and repairing relationships with Benjamin Netanyahu, that's what struck out to me. That was something very close and personal to me.

KELLY: Raise your hand if you are one of the two-thirds of Republican voters who believes it is important to find somebody on the outside of Washington, who doesn't really want an establishment. You sir, in the back. Why don't you want somebody from government?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are tired right now of what is going on in Washington, D.C. We have been betrayed in the last two elections. The last two elections, they promised to do something and they didn't carry it through.

KELLY: What specifically?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, first of all, they didn't repeal ObamaCare.

KELLY: But they tried?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, they act like they tried. But deep down inside we know that the games were played.

KELLY: So what do you think, I mean, who do you like? You like Fiorina? Trump? Carson? Who?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I haven't made up my whole mind yet but I really like the way she handled herself last night on the show, on the debate. Because she gave very substantive answers and they sounded like they were coming truly from her heart and also from a knowledge that she knew exactly what she was talking about.

KELLY: What about Trump though? Because Trump, I mean, he is an outside as you can get, sort of. I mean, he says, look, I don't play by their rules. I'm going to do it my way. I win. That's what I do. You will going to get sick of winning when I actually, you know, take over. Go ahead. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I think we are obsessing a little bit too much about whether someone is an outsider or not. Ultimately good policy is good policy. It can come from an outsider, from an insider. Trump so far hasn't elucidated any serious policy proposals. He is claiming that he is going to have this tax overhaul coming out in the next two weeks. I don't know what it's going to look like. But, you know, I can see good politicking coming from Jeb, coming from Trump, Fiorina, any of them. It's really about the underlying policies.

KELLY: But are people worried -- people are worried that once they get to Washington they are going to bend to Washington instead of making Washington bend to them. Yes, go ahead. Donna.

DONNA: My concern with Trump, he had spoken last night about obviously Russia being in Syria and he is going to handle that.

KELLY: He is going to talk to Putin.

DONNA: He is going to talk to Putin. He is going to handle Assad. How? He doesn't even have a foreign policy team. So these outers are such a concern. And what's happening, I'm afraid, is that these qualified politicians, senators, governors, are being completely dismissed. Nobody is paying much attention to them. They are seasoned. And there are some good candidates like Rubio and Cruz that are really being disregard disregarded because of people like Trump. He can't outline his plan.

KELLY: Go ahead, Gary.

GARY: Donald Trump is very successful when he ran the Trump organization. He was able to do whatever he wanted. If he becomes president, he has -- to Congress, that's so easy. As Trump is walking in and say, okay, I'm going to bomb Syria. It doesn't work like that. I was a supporter of Trump. And after last night I was very disappointed in his performance, his lack of dignity of the office of president, even. And I think he is going to have to really rethink his whole policy. He just can't go in there like a bull in the China shop.

KELLY: John, in the front, go ahead.

JOHN: Well, I think being an outsider is sort of the flavor of the month. I think we are going to see that change. I think that Donald Trump has done a lot to bring that flavor of the month to the fore. I look back and maybe I'm older than some of the other folks in the room but in my lifetime I don't think I have seen a president who has been a true outsider. And I think you are going to see the candidates with more experience come to the front. Whether it's a Jeb Bush or a Marco Rubio and I will tell you I was very impressed with Marco Rubio last night.

KELLY: Why?

JOHN: I think he had a tremendous command of foreign policy.

KELLY: Some people think he's too young. Yes, go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am going to challenge the idea that we haven't had an outsider before. Our president that sits in the office right now was an outsider. Very few people had heard of him. He had been in the Senate for only a few months before he decided he was ready to be president. And the problems and difficulties that America experiences right now I think largely come because he really wasn't prepared for the job. So when I watch the debate, what I was interested in seeing is what specifically are your policies. Give me your website so can I go and look on it. You know, Fiorina has done, Walker has done this with an actual bill that he is going to introduce on the first day and send up to Capitol Hill for the repeal. I haven't seen this from Donald Trump. I want to see this, but bombastic, I don't have a problem with it. Shaking things up, I have no problem with it but I don't want someone who doesn't know what they are doing, hasn't had any experience proving that they know what they are doing and then let's just find out what's going to happen.

KELLY: All right. Stand by. Stand by. Hold that thought. Because while a lot of folks complained that last night's debate questions seemed way too focused on Donald Trump, there was some heat for Hillary Clinton as well. And when we come back, we are going to speak about who looked most ready to take on Senator Clinton?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: Here's the problem. We are fighting with each other up here. We agree. Let's ask Hillary Clinton had. We shouldn't be fighting with each other. She is the real opponent and she is the real problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: Well, we hear lots of complaints today that too many of last night's debate questions were all about Donald Trump. But the candidates still managed at times to turn some answers to Hillary Clinton who will actually be their opponent should they become the nominee. She got hit, maybe, depends on if she wins. She got hit on issues ranging from her private email server to Benghazi to her relationship with other candidate. But one of the questions GOP voters need to answer in the coming months is which of the GOP candidates is best positioned to go against is somebody like Clinton, if she wins in the general election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In this administration with President Obama and Hillary Clinton has created insecurity, and the likes of which we never have would have imagined.

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TX., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can't wait to stand on that debate stage with Hillary Clinton and to make abundantly clear if you vote for Hillary you are voting for the Ayatollah Khomeini to possess the nuclear weapon.

CHRISTIE: She believes in systematic murder of children in the womb to preserve their body parts in the way that maximizes their value for sale, for profit, it is disgusting and the American people need to hear it. We shouldn't be fighting with each other. She is the real opponent and she is the real problem.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER, R-WI., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hillary Clinton talks about the minimum wage. That's her answer to grow their economy.

FIORINA: If you want to stump a Democrat, ask them to name an accomplishment of Mrs. Clinton.

CHRISTIE: I think it's time to put a former federal prosecutor on the same stage as Hillary Clinton. And I will prosecute her during those debates on that stage for the record that we are talking about here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: All right. So, who did you think -- I mean, just shout it out? Who do you think is the best Republican to go up against Hillary?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fiorina.

KELLY: Fiorina. The women say Fiorina. You say Fiorina as well?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rubio.

KELLY: Rubio?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rubio.

KELLY: All right. So Rubio is Hispanic. Right? So he has the advantage of diversity. But how important do you think that is? I mean, would you think the Republican Party is hampering itself if it chooses, you know, a white male to go up against a female should she become the nominee?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not at all.

KELLY: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm bothered by that kind of a question because it plays into the identity politics that this administration has brought forward. Hillary ought to be able to tell us what her accomplishments are and not just that I will be the first woman. I want the most talented, the most capable, the most energetic person possible. That's a man, that's a woman. That's black, whatever it might be.

KELLY: Think about how Hillary is going to argue it at the debate. If she becomes the nominee which obviously she's favored to. It's not impossible, she could fall apart. Sanders could get it, somebody else. But if she becomes the nominee, she has already said for example, I would love to debate Donald Trump. You know, she's going to take -- the whole reason I asked Donald Trump the question I asked him about women in that first debate is because, as I said in the question, she is likely to be the nominee. She is going to raise these issues about the way he has spoken about women. So, who is the most effective person to take her on?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fiorina. And I think she's demonstrating that so far on the campaign trail. Time and time again, she has not been going after GOP candidates. She has been going after Clinton.

KELLY: But what about Trump? Because one of the things people love about him is, he has take no prisoners. I mean, he will not back down, he won't be pushed around by Hillary Clinton or anybody else for that matter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All Trump has said so far in the field about Hillary Clinton is she was the worst secretary of state ever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which is true.

(LAUGHTER)

KELLY: They all say that. They all say that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He doesn't have any samples to back that up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, at the end of the day, there's no content behind what he's saying. And so, he's up there entertaining like he is on "The Apprentice" again. There's no content. Where we've got Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Carly, all offering content.

KELLY: How about Bush -- Jeb Bush on the family name, an asset or not?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought he was disappointing.

KELLY: You thought Jeb Bush was disappointing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He looked very weak last night, especially when he was looking at Trump face to face. He looked like he was scared.

KELLY: Let me ask you about this moment that just broke tonight. Donald Trump was holding a town hall meeting in New Hampshire, I believe. And he was asked the following question about Muslims and Barack Obama, watch?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm (INAUDIBLE) from White Plains, Amen. Okay? We have a problem in this country, it's called Muslims. We know our current president is one.

TRUMP: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know he is not even an American.

TRUMP: We need this question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But anyway, we have training camps where they want to kill us, that's my question. When can we get rid are of them?

TRUMP: We're going to be looking at a lot of different things. And, you know, a lot of people are saying that. And a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there. We are going to be looking at that and plenty of other things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: Now, already Trump is getting hit for answering that with, we are going to be looking at a lot of different things, as we opposed to taking on the premise of the question and just before I get your answer, I refer you back to this moment with John McCain in 2008 when he was put in a similar position. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't trust Obama. I have read about him and he is not -- he is not -- he is a -- he is an Arab.

(LAUGHTER)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: No ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No?

MCCAIN: No ma'am. No ma'am. He is a decent, family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. And that is what this campaign is all about. He is not. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: She has said he is an Arab and he said he is not. Your thoughts on the two men in the back?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that it actually shows a fundamental difference right there to show that Trump is not prepared to handle the tough questions. Especially, questions that are quote-unquote, "politically incorrect" like that --

KELLY: I mean, in his defense, I'm sure he is caught off guard. He said like, like this has to be the first question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was very caught off guard but McCain handled it well with poise and he was very cool calm and collective about it and really bounced back there. What Trump could have done as a real politician, he could have gone and pointed out the Iran deal and the problem with Islamic terrorism, yes. But Barack Obama --

KELLY: But do you think he had a duty to stand up and say, no, no, about Barack Obama?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think even if he was caught off guard, I'm sure Senator McCain was caught off guard as well. But you could see so much more about his character that he is going to defend his opponent as still being a good person. Still have disagreements with him whereas Donald Trump really didn't do anything. He just looked totally loss and no clue what to do.

KELLY: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that's a fact that we're looking back at 2008 as opposed to current day. And there is a lot of changes and a lot of things that have been exposed about Obama. And you know his past history and Reverend Wright and all these other things. When McCain was --

KELLY: He is not a Muslim.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we don't --

KELLY: We don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, okay, but all of these ties didn't come about until later on, I would say until way after 2008.

KELLY: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that's a fact that we're looking back at 2008, as opposed to current day. And there are a lot of changes and a lot of things that have been exposed about Obama. And you know his past history, and left and right, and all these other things. When McCain was.

KELLY: He is not a Muslim.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we don't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know.

KELLY: No, we do know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, OK, but their -- all of these ties didn't come about until later on, I would say, until way after 2008.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have seen some surveys that come out and people were being lambasted because Republicans, a large number of them said that he wasn't Christian. And there were newspaper stories that 54 percent of Republican voters didn't think he was Christian. Here is the question I wanted to ask. What did 25 percent of Democrats think that he wasn't a Christian? And then I started looking it up online, and there are large numbers of Americans who have problems with both the philosophical and religious background of our president, that's not on the American people, that's the president's job to engage them anyway.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: So the president has said repeatedly that he's a Christian, that he is not a Muslim. And this was made a campaign issue back in 2008, and it was put to bed even by John McCain saying, no. Now it resurrects itself in a question that was objectively ugly. I don't know whether the question was real or a plan or what he was, but the question itself, do you disagree with the question not ugly?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the question was ugly, but I don't think it's necessarily the responsibility of any particular candidate to own what Americans say.

KELLY: But the response.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Was we're looking into it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In America, in America.

KELLY: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get to call out the president of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The basic problem here is that Trump has shown that he can't represent all Americans. There are Muslim Americans, there are Hispanic Americans and the president has to be able to connect with all of them, not just the Republican base.

KELLY: Thank you very much. Up next, the candidates far over the actions of George W, Bush as foreign policy take center stage.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: From the world headquarters of Fox news, it's The Kelly File with Megyn Kelly.

KELLY: A foreign policy took center stage at last night's debate. In between taking jabs at each other, several of the candidates see the opportunity to highlight their foreign policy credentials with the American people, watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: I was named U.S. attorney by President Bush on September 10, 2001. And that next day, my wife Mary Pat, did what she did every day, she traveled through the World Trade Center and went to her office, two blocks from the World Trade Center. After those planes hit for five and a half hours, after that, I couldn't reach her. Didn't know whether she was dead or alive, we had three children at the time, aged five and one. And I had to confront with so many thousands of others in my reach and out confront (ph). The idea that I might become a single parent, the idea that my life and my children's life might be changed forever, and I support what President Bush did at that time, going into Afghanistan, hunting al-Qaeda and its leaders getting sanctuary out of place and making it as difficult around the world to move people and money.

BEN CARSON, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When the war -- when the issue occurred in 2003, I suggested to President Bush that he not go to war. OK, so I just want that on the record.

PAUL: Every time we have toppled a secular dictator, we have gotten chaos, the rise of radical Islam and we are more at risk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: Once again, we're joining by our panel. So let's talk about that because foreign policy took center stage. Rubio had some big moments as well Dr. Carson. Was anybody surprised to learn that he did not support the war in Afghanistan? Yes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was very surprised. And I think it's gonna be very harmful for him. We lost 3,000 people that day and the country that hoarded those people that planned this, they did not hand them over and they were asking for us to do what was necessary. You know, the one foreign policy achievement that I supported of Barack Obama, was sending that SEAL team in there to get Osama bin Laden. That's how you respond when you have this kind.

KELLY: How many people here like Dr. Carson? OK, so -- and by the way, none of you is committed. We intentionally selected you because you are uncommitted Republican voters, right?

CROWD: Right.

KELLY: You -- for now, at least you have open minds about who you might go for. And is there anybody -- I mean, would you -- I will ask you what was asked of the Republican candidates. Would you support the ultimate nominee, whoever it is, you know, whoever the Republican is, who run as a Republican?

CROWD: Yes.

KELLY: OK. So you are all planning on voting Republican, no matter which of these guys or gals get the nomination.

CROWD: Yes.

KELLY: OK, so who did you think won, when it came to the foreign policy section?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yup, Marco Rubio.

KELLY: Why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has a better understanding of a lot of these foreign policy topics is he talking about, instead of just.

KELLY: But he is an insider.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is an insider, but that's, you know, that's -- in every time there is a debate or any kind of gathering, this guys had try to one up each other of who has the most humble upbringings or who was the most University or.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Brit Hume called it destitution derby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dad was a coal miner, when his dad, you know his dad was, you know a harder coal miner. So, I mean getting back to the foreign policy I mean, he hit it really well when he said that our military is not designed for pin-prick actions and we can't leave power vacuums, so when we do go somewhere, we need to be very strong, but we need to be very smart.

KELLY: But let me ask you, other than Rand Paul, who obviously, you know made his libertarian position very clear. Do you see a clear distinction between these candidates when it comes to foreign policy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not at this point, no.

KELLY: Not -- you don't, no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don't. And I think what we are doing right now is this is still in the beginning stages of these debates. Wait until we get into the later stages when there is going to be a necessity for each candidate to become much more specific on policies of all kind, but foreign policy in particular.

KELLY: Any doubt that each one of them would do better than Hillary Clinton, as to you Republican voter?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

KELLY: No doubt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No doubt, no doubt or whatsoever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is different on the Iran deal. Like for example, Kasich would accept the Iran deal form what he said.

KELLY: Is that a problem for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a problem for me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

KELLY: It is a problem for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, in fact.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.

KELLY: You want, you want the person to get rid of it -- I mean, on day one, it's gone?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a terrible deal.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And there is no way to get it back.

KELLY: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that we need to look at a lot of the intricacies associated with the Iran deal. There are a lot of things we just don't know. I hear things left and right. However, with the underbelly of this deal is, what is my concern is. I hear candidates saying that they want to rip up the deal on day one. Let's look at the deal. Let's, before we make any snap judgments.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Rip up the deal, Gary, quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's possible (ph). The Iran.

KELLY: In the back there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: South (ph) is call to death to America. So what are you looking at, to talk to another leader to wants to wish death to us?

KELLY: How about Ted Cruz? You like his position on that? He was very strong on that one.

CROWD: Absolutely, yeah.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the side deal being made.

KELLY: Look at the side deal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- talking about and figure out what those are and why won't the Obama administration turn those deals over to Congress. And let them actually, debate on those issues and find out what's in that deal.

KELLY: It's going to keep being a big issue. All right, the next section has got to be one of the most interesting for our panel here. There was a lot of drama at the big debate, but there were some funny moments, too. Did you catch this one, between Ben Carson and Donald Trump? The moment that made us cringed and laughed, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have some remarkable people. And in fact, not only are we the A-team, we even have our own Mr. T who doesn't mind saying about others, you're a fool.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: Well, the big debate may have been long and political attacks, but it had its funny moments too. From water bottled props, to one candidate, actually apologizing to his mother for smoking pots, it was no shortage of laughs, watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Ever-ready, it's very high energy, Donald.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Humble.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a good one.

HUCKABEE: I think we are in fact, the A-team. We have some remarkable people. And in fact, not only are we the A-team, we even have our own Mr. T, who doesn't mind saying about others, you're a fool.

MARCO RUBIO, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I'm also aware that California has a drought, and so that's why I made sure.

(LAUGHTER)

RUBIO: I brought my own water.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Donald Trump would be dangerous as president. He said he wouldn't want, quote, "Such a hot head with his finger on the nuclear codes." You, as well, have raised concerns about Mr. Trump's temperament.

BUSH: So 40 years ago, I smoked marijuana and I admit it. I'm sure there are other people might have done it and may not want to say it in front of 25 million people. My mom is not happy that I just did.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: So -- so, OK, back now to our panel. Let me ask you at the back, (inaudible). What did you think of the -- first, let the Rubio water moment, funny or did it fall flat?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I thought it was hysterical.

KELLY: You liked that one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: yeah, totally, I did.

KELLY: Hysterical, a strong review?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.

KELLY: "The one thing you've got to give Donald Trump, he is funny. He makes you laugh out loud like the humble remark -- that was good. It makes you bond with him." This is one of the criticisms of Fiorina. Is that she wasn't, you know, warm enough in that? She didn't smile at all. Trump smile, he laughs at himself, it is somewhat endearing. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm the national chair for college Republicans, so my primary focus is, how these candidates are gonna perform the general election when young voters are going decide on presidential election. And something that young voters value more than anything is authenticity, to see this very real moment with the candidates. These unprompted jokes and unscripted moments, really, I think matters to the next generation. Particularly, when we're dealing with the alternative candidate, Hillary, who is very secretive and very evasive when it comes to her own scandals and emails.

KELLY: She tries to laugh at here so, but that is the question about whether it's authentic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her jokes are too corny.

KELLY: That's -- what's that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her jokes are too corny.

KELLY: Her jokes are too corny.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her advisors, I think recently just said that they are going to try more jokes on the campaign trail.

KELLY: Oh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From the very program.

KELLY: That's -- I mean.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really (inaudible).

KELLY: I mean, Trump is genuinely funny, I don't -- Fiorina is defensive. You're not funny and try to be funny, that's bad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: That's - go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are certain two important things; one is, Trump is a natural television animal. He just wants, he relishes being in front of the camera. There's really no way to sort of get around it.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With Carly, especially last night, she was up there to prove herself. And so I think that's why you saw such a sort of steady, sobriety. For those who have seen her off camera, on the campaign trail, there is a warmness there that I think is going to come up later.

KELLY: And how about you guys audibly reacted when the Jeb Bush, Donald Trump hand smack, was it a little too aggressively, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.

KELLY: Hard? Was it like --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was something behind it.

KELLY: Where there is something behind that? You got -- you sending him a message?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually.

KELLY: Do you think they were genuinely enjoying that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he enjoyed, enjoyed doing it really are.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I -- like what I know is about Trump, was he took a look at him when the camera was on him, when he was not speaking. He had some of the most incredible facial expressions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.

KELLY: Yeah, we are sure some of that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that's something I.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody.

KELLY: When you're Trump supporter, you like that or didn't like that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm still undecided.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody said last night that he went through all of the emoji faces during the debate.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just thought that was the perfect summation of exactly what he did.

KELLY: He feels sorry for some of these candidates, I really think they want George Washington's job, but three hours long, standing at these lecterns. I mean by the end, some of them were sort of bent over. They were sweating. It was hot. I felt bad, I wanted to get them out of there and I'm, you know, a moderator.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was down on to -- it was too -- even to watch, it was too long, but my favorite joke of the night was actually somebody who wasn't on stage. It was Lindsey Graham, who made a joke about we are going to drink when I get to the White House.

KELLY: Yeah, we're gonna drink a lot of beer. And by the way, speaking about the Lindsey Graham debate, the under debate, the happy hour debate, as it was called. Did anybody watch that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

KELLY: You did? Did anybody stand out to you? Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought Lindsey Graham did a great job. His foreign policy was spot on and the other three candidates failed to reach the mark that Lindsey Graham did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was disappointed in Bobby Jindal. I think he spent way too much of his time going after Trump, which is something that he has done in a recent weeks. And it was a lost opportunity for him to really stand out and give some of his policies.

KELLY: What -- do you think it was strategies because he is -- a lot of the Republicans on stage went after Trump last night, which, I understand they feel they need to take him down, but was it, frustrating? Did you hear -- did you want to hear it more directed at Hillary than, you know, than another Republican on the stage? Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if that was there strategy necessarily, but it certainly was the questioning that came from the moderators. It seemed like this is going to be a debate where all the other Republicans tell us what they think about Donald Trump. And that's not so helpful for the rest of us in making our decisions about these...

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: You raised the issue of the moderators and the debate itself. We're gonna get to that next, with our panel, right after this break with the most, the most must see moments from last night showdown. When we return our panel will share their thoughts on the moderators.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Earlier this year, the Treasury Department announced that a woman will appear on the $10 bill. What woman would you like to see on the $10 bill?

PAUL: Oh, that's a tough one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: While many of us have be spent the day hashing out who were the winners and losers at the CNN debate, several media outlets are now saying that it's the shows moderators who underwhelmed last night, (inaudible).

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST: At one point, here's the thing they are going, why if you're just, you know, working American, do you stay up to watch this? Because it's just gonna be the Donald Trump show. I think CNN that was trying to put on a TV show and the star of that TV show is Donald Trump.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC HOST: And you're doing a debate? They're certain -- there's a job you have to do. And it's not to obsess about Donald Trump, is to get the candidates to, give their views and debate their views.

SCARBOROUGH: You want to hear about it.

BRZEZINSKI: You want to hear. You want to flush out issues. They were obsessed, they as CNN, were obsessed with Donald Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: Well, in CNN's defense, so is the country! He's the frontrunner and he got the most time in the Fox News debate as well because he was the frontrunner then as well. Did you have problem with the amount of time allotted between the candidates? Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, absolutely. At the end of the day, they are pitting one another against each other, rather than talking about the issues.

KELLY: But they wanted to get them to quote, "Debate."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, let's debate the real issue. You know, as a veteran, and the veteran military family members across the country, want to hear about your foreign policy. We want to hear raise that on national defense. How you are taking care of the veterans, not what you said about somebody in a magazine.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it wouldn't be.

KELLY: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he would go with the -- the moderators would call people out on say, hey, you made this derogatory comment about this candidate, and if they didn't get an answer, they would -- they'd grill on a critique until they got an answer. But when they were asked how they stand on a specific issue and they didn't give an answer, they wouldn't even care.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The moderators failed to marshal the pool of candidates. Each candidate has set -- we understand that Donald Trump wars the frontrunner. However, I wanted to hear from Mike Huckabee, and he.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: There is like (inaudible) in their defense. I mean, it's 11 people up on a stage.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They learned very quickly -- yeah, because I saw it. You've said, "Jake, Jake," he stopped and said, "Yes" and let you go. So they were running the debate at some point.

KELLY: Did you miss the buzzer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.

KELLY: Yeah, buzzer.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Why didn't CNN give Jake a buzzer? That's -- and then you don't have to keep saying "thank you, senator. Thank you, governor. Thank you -- there's the buzzer. Hey, the buzzer says you have to stop talking. It's that mean? My question was where was Dana Bash and Hugh Hewitt? Where were they? Like hello! Is it -- did you, like -- did you know they were part of the debate?

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Right now you are still wondering who I'm talking about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were interns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But to get to your first question, I think -- look, to be fair to the group that's sitting here, a lot of us are probably more policy oriented than the average voter. But still, the debates are supposed to be substantive. And I think a lot of us would have been happier had there been -- there was a fair bit of foreign policy discussion, but there was almost no discussion about the economy.

KELLY: Yeah.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was almost no discussion about ObamaCare. And I realize there are an enormous number of issues out there and even with three hours, it is still hard to get to everything, but.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Was three hours too long?

CROWD: Yes.

KELLY: Yes, it was too long! I thought I wanted three hours and they showed me last night, I was wrong. We are right to only have two. Great to see you all, we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: We'd love to get your thoughts on the debate and on the candidates and how you see them tonight. Go to facebook.com/thekellyfile. Follow me on Twitter @megynkelly. Let us know what you think. Thanks for watching, everyone. I'm Megyn Kelly, this is “The Kelly File.”

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