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Special Report

Impact of Scott Walker's decision to suspend 2016 campaign

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," September 21, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Governor Scott Walker suspending his campaign. That's the technical term, but he's essentially dropping out of this race. Not only that, he is encouraging other candidates to do the same.

And like we saw with Governor Rick Perry from Texas, he also said there are too many personal attacks, not enough focus on what the GOP should be pushing for, which is positive solutions.

Let's bring in our panel a little early, an expanded panel: Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume; Juan Williams, columnist with The Hill; Nina Easton, columnist for Fortune Magazine; and syndicated columnist, Charles Krauthammer.

Brit -- someone who knows Scott Walker well told me that rather than run on who he is, he ran as who he thought voters wanted him to be, particularly in Iowa. And that was his demise. He could never get traction even from the start.

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It may well be the case -- Bret. You know, this is a political cycle in which a lot of Republican voters are saying that they want their leaders to fight. You're particularly hearing about the congressional leadership in Washington -- that they don't fight.

Well, here is a governor who really had fought in some tremendously bruising battles with the public employee unions in Wisconsin and prevailed several times. And yet that image of a real fighter was not the character that we saw on the stump, and particularly not the character we saw in the debates.

The man in the debates seemed retiring, he seemed not to have a lot to say, he didn't use his full-time particularly in the first debate. In the second debate, he didn't get called on very much and when he did he didn't make any kind of a splash. He needed to raise his game, not change his game -- raise his game, I think -- and he failed to do it and the results are what you see.

BAIER: Juan it is striking these poll numbers. The last time he was leading in Iowa -- leading, was in July. An NBC/ Marist poll had him leading the pack in Iowa. Then you have the CNN/ORC poll that comes out and he's less than 1 percent as of yesterday.

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS ANALYST: It's unbelievable. In some sense -- remember, Iowa is a neighboring state. He had a reputation there. He thought that this was going to open alternatives to him -- avenues for him, I should say, that weren't available to other candidates. And with Iowa, he would have momentum then and go on to New Hampshire.

But what you've seen is a slippage. I think it's tied to a couple of things. One is, he's not an outsider and this is the season of the outsider.

Secondly, I don't think that he demonstrated he could move beyond the union issue. Brit's exactly right. That was the reason for the candidacy, but then he had to demonstrate that he was more than that, that he had some national appeal, and he never could get traction on that front.

So I think in the short run, if you're Governor Kasich of Ohio, in the short run I think if you're one of the insiders as opposed to outsiders, you may have something to gain from his departure.

BAIER: Well, in fact, you know, already the co-chair, Walker co-chair in New Hampshire has signed on to the Rubio campaign.

NINA EASTON, FORTUNE MAGAZINE: Yes.

BAIER: And you're starting to see at least some shift there.

EASTON: Yes, I mean I think both of you right on why he couldn't get traction, but here's the thing. A lot of this is about money. And that's the precipitous reason for why he dropped out is my understanding. He was broke, and his donors were going elsewhere, as you just indicated.

This was a guy who didn't have the resources to stay in it because there's a lot of candidates who are still in it, who are still insiders who aren't getting traction, but have the bank account to stay in, the longevity; and so that -- it shows you the importance in a race like this of having those resources.

BAIER: Striking how he phrased it, though, Charles. Helping the clear the field is my patriotic duty.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I mean it was a remarkable statement, you rarely hear that candidate who bows out it was my calling essentially -- I'll give a translation here -- to get out of the race to consolidate the anti-Trump forces. I mean that's what he was saying.

He refers to the frontrunner -- we all know who that is. But it's interesting he didn't blame Trump for his dropping out. I think he kind of knows why and it alludes to what you said.

He peaked early and it's not just the process of that. When he peaked early, he was way out ahead from that one great speech he made in Iowa. He then played safe. When he got a difficult issue like subsidies for bio- fuels in Iowa, he fudged, he said. He was able -- I'm not going to talk about certain issues.

He was sitting on a lead, which was a very early lead in one state and it all hinged on Iowa. He knew and he said it that if he didn't win Iowa, he'd have to reconsider.

When he knew that he disappeared in Iowa, it was over. But I think it's in a way, it's kind of patriotic. He thought, if I get out -- well, he's dead broke, anyway, that Clinton after, you know, their time at the White House. But he realized if he gets out it may, the beginning of the winnowing in the field started early. It's going to happen eventually, do it now.

BAIER: You know, we're talking early but this is -- I want to put up that poll, NBC/Marist poll that's July. I mean Brit, it's mid-September.
I saw people on Twitter saying that he's the Tim Pawlenty of this cycle.

HUME: Yes, I think that's a reasonable comparison. Pawlenty looked like a pretty hot ticket there for a while the last time around and he faded very quickly and pretty early and he was out of the race. And obviously Nina's right about the proximate cause being, you know, running out of money.

That's true. Nearly all candidates who drop out of the races, they lose support, when they lose support. When they lose support, they lose money and then they can't afford to campaign anymore. And they already maybe in a little debt and the creditors and suppliers are beginning to wonder and unless you want to pile up more debt, you've got to get out. So he did.

It was interesting in his comments he mentioned only trying to overtake the frontrunner in the Republican ranks. He never mentioned the incumbent president or the Democratic Party members that are trying to succeed him which shows you sort of where we are now in all this.

And I, you know, I think it's a testament to the strange atmosphere in which we're operating. The two very successful, quite conservative governors are now off -- in a year when it was earlier thought that you wanted to be a governor to win. Now it turns out you don't want to be an office holder at all at least based on current poll results.

And this is a year in which qualifications are disqualified -- very unusual.

BAIER: Very. Panel -- thank you.

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