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Kelly File

Students say Oregon campus gunman targeted Christians; General Flynn accuses Obama of collapsing US foreign policy

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," October 2, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST, "THE KELLY FILE":  Breaking tonight, new details coming in the classroom of an Oregon Community College when a deranged gunman opened fire, reportedly targeting Christians.  Welcome to "The Kelly File," everyone, I'm Megyn Kelly. You were looking live at the White House tonight where President Obama ordered flags flown at half-staff.  In Roseburg, Oregon, the investigation is underway into that 26-year-old gunman.  We will not name or show you the face of this shooter, as is the policy of this program.  But we are learning more about who he was.  An army basic training dropout who expressed disdain for religion specifically targeted Christians and showed a fascination with the country's worst mass
murderers.  

We are hearing exactly what happened when the gunman burst through the classroom door.  A young woman severely wounded and playing dead is recovering in a hospital room tonight and sent us this picture.  Her father joins us with her story and how she says the gunman spared the life of one man so he could deliver the message.  

Plus, stories of heroism.  Like that of Chris Mintz, a 30-year-old army vet and father who risked his life to save others.  And survivors are painting a searing image of what it was like to see a madman taking innocent lives.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Shaking his head and then he was pointing like the gun, like he was doing this, and he was like pointing the gun.  He didn't really know how to control his emotions.  I feel like he was screaming and I had seen him walking back and forth in the classroom.  And he was shooting the ground and I think he was shooting people.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY:  We begin tonight with Dan Springer who is live in Roseburg, Oregon.  Dan.

DAN SPRINGER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  And Megyn, two big developments late this afternoon.  First, we've been asking the question why Umpqua Community College.  Well, today, the sheriff confirmed that the shooter was indeed enrolled at the college.  And in fact he was a student in the class where the shooting began yesterday.  Also, the sheriff now announced that the names of the nine victims who were killed in the shooting.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The victims are Lucero Alcaraz of Roseburg, 19-years-old.  Quinn Glen Cooper of Roseburg, 18 years-old.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SPRINGER:  The sheriff continues, 59-year-old Kim Dietz, 18-year-old Lucas Eibel, 33-year-old Jason Johnson, 67-year-old Lawrence Levine who was the only teacher killed.  Forty four-year-old Sarena Moore, 20-year-old Treven Anspach, and 18-year-old Rebecca Carnes.  Some of the families have been began to release pictures.  There will be more to come and many more stories of the lives cut short.  We learned more about the gunman who witnesses said asked his victims to state their religion.  If it was Christian he shot them in the head.  Anywhere else, he shot them in the leg.  

His internet blog post and a note left at the scene were field with hate.  He has been around guns most of his life and has had access to many guns.  Many guns yesterday.  There were six at the scene and seven more at his apartment.  All were legal.  There were acts of heroism.  Chris Mintz tried to block the shooter from coming into the classroom.  He was shot seven times but survived.  And how about the first responders who were charging toward the gunman and the mother who was treating victims at the local hospital not knowing of her daughter a freshmen at UCC would be next to the door on a stretcher.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Unknowing, not knowing if your daughter is going to be brought in.  That's what scared me the most.  I didn't know.  And it was probably an hour before I got to talk to her on the phone to know that I actually knew she was okay.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SPRINGER:  Classes here at the college will be canceled all of next week.  But the college will be opened to students who need counseling on Monday -- Megyn.  

KELLY:  Dan Springer, thank you.  Well, as we mentioned just moments go, we are hearing the firsthand account of one young woman in the classroom when the shooting started.  Ana Boylan lay on the ground wounded and played dead praying that this gunman would not see the cross she has tattooed on her neck.  Tonight, she is recovering in a hospital room after undergoing surgery, to have a bullet removed that was lodged near her spine.  

And we are joined by her father, Stacy Boylan.  Stacy, thank you so much for being here with us tonight.  How did you first learn about the fact that there was a shooting incident at the college yesterday?

STACY BOYLAN, FATHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM:  I received a phone call from my brother while I was at work.  And it was shocking.  And it was completely unreal.  My wife and I got in the car and found out where she was being life lighted and we headed down here as soon as possible.  

KELLY:  How did you first learn that she was one of the ones who had been shot?

BOYLAN:  So she had gotten a hold of my son who is also a student there.  Who is about 600 yards away in another building and when he received a phone call from her, she screamed that I'd been shot.  And that there was so much fear and panic in her voice, and she just said I love you
and he told her how much he loved her over and over and over again.  As soon as that call was over, he just tried to get a hold of anyone and everyone he could to get the news out that this had happened.  So I knew right away that she had been shot.  

KELLY:  When were you first able to speak with her yourself?  

BOYLAN:  Not until the hospital.  When I got to the hospital, they were prepping her for surgery.  And when I got there, she reached my hand, and I just held her and she said, "Dad, I didn't know what else to do.  I was on the ground and I was praying and I kept hearing your voice and I kept saying don't move.  Just stay down.  Don't say a word.  Don't move."  And there was so much pain, and she doesn't even to this moment know why he went passed her.  

KELLY:  He came into the classroom, he shot the professor first, I understand.  And then what happened?  Does Stacy remember -- I mean, does Ana remember when she was shot?

BOYLAN:  She was shot from the initial, is what she understands.  She went to go underneath the desk.  He came in with the guns shooting.  And she went to go down underneath the desk and that's when I believe she was hit with the bullet in the back and then she slid down to the ground.  She heard more gunfire.  There was another gun shot and then she heard him say the gunman say, "I'd been wanting to do that for a long time."  And then she said that his laugh was just not human.  And she just laid still.  

There were more gunshots and then he stopped shooting.  He told everyone to come to the middle of the room.  And then he started asking people to stand up.  And they would stand up and he started asking what their religion was.  And some brave people who were faithful said that I'm a Christian.  And he said good, then you'll meet God in just about a second.  And he would shoot them in the head.  And then others who didn't answer specifically or mumbled or too afraid to speak, he would wound and they would drop to the floor and he just continued to do this.  

KELLY:  And there was a moment when he spoke to another young woman in the classroom about Ana.  Tell us about that.  

BOYLAN:  Yes.  So my daughter was in the same class with her friend.  And at one point, he had said, the girl, the blonde haired girl with the black jacket stand up.  And Ana knew that was her.  And she didn't move.  And he reiterated that again and she didn't move, and then he looked over to the girl next to her which was her friend and said, is she dead or alive?  And her friend said, I don't know.  And he didn't continue to shoot my daughter.  And he didn't continue to shoot my daughter and she's her today because of those moments.  

KELLY:  You have a cross tattooed on yourself.  She has one.  And your son has as well.  She was worried he would see it, right?

BOYLAN:  That's correct.  Yes.  She knew.  Because he was killing anyone who said they were Christian outright.  And if he had seen that cross on her neck and it's visible if her hair would have been out of the way, that that would have given her a way she would probably be dead.  

KELLY:  What was the piece of advice you give her in the hospital room about what she should not take way from this?  What she should not do in the wake of this?  

BOYLAN:  I told her that this kind of terror and fear, to not let it get inside of her.  That if she allows this to change her life for the worse, that he will win because of that.  And so, she continues to be strong.  There has been an outpouring of support.  An incredible outpouring of support from the local people and friends and family and just, even people I didn't even know coming out of the woodworks and coming around from this activity.  

KELLY:  Is she going to be okay, Stacy?

BOYLAN:  She has recovered well from the surgery.  Amazingly.  It could have gone better.  

KELLY:  Thank God.

BOYLAN:  And they were able to extract the bullet without further injury.  And I mean, my daughter is double tough and she is stubborn and she's not going to let this go down.  And I just want to thank everybody who has been supportive, given her love by the grace of God, I'm able to have this conversation with you and tell you that, you know, my daughter lives.  And, yet, I feel horrible and so bad for the families that lost loved ones.  

KELLY:  Thank you so much for telling us your story.  All our best wishes to her and to your family as you go through this terrible time.  Thank you for being here, Stacy.  

BOYLAN:  Thank you, Megyn.  

KELLY:  Unbelievable.  

Well, for the second time and as many days, President Obama demanded new laws in the wake of this shooting and went from attacking the NRA to attacking Republicans.  

Sheriff David Clarke and Jeremy Bird, a former staffer for the Obama campaign to take up this debate right after the break.  

Plus later, as Russia sends new waves of airstrikes across Syria and America is accused of tethering and weakness.  We will speak with General Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency and get his thoughts on President Obama's strategy here.  

And then "The New York Times" publishes a profile of Donald Trump's wife that is anything but flattering.  They've already had to make five corrections to it.  

Chris Stirewalt and Howie Kurtz are here on what the paper said.  What it sent out on Twitter.  And why the fallout may just be starting.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Ivanka will be part of the campaign, so will Melania very much so after September.  So, it's start kicking in really big league.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The people who are troubled by this have to be as intense and as organized, and as adamant about this as folks on the other side who are absolutist and think that any gun safety measures are somehow an assault on freedom or communistic or a plot by me to take over and stay in power forever or something.  I mean, there are all kinds of crackpot conspiracy theories that - around there.  Some of which by the way are ratified by elected officials and other party on occasion.  So, we've got to change the politics of this.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY:  That was President Obama earlier today attacking the GOP on the issue of gun control during remarks at a press conference.  He doubled down on his demand for new laws in the wake of the Oregon shooting.  Despite the fact that the guns we now know were owned legally and that school was a gun-free zone.  

Joining me now Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke.  And Jeremy Bird who served as national field director during President Obama's 2012 campaign.  Thank you both for being here.  Jeremy, let me start with you.  

JEREMY BIRD, NATIONAL FIELD DIRECTOR, OBAMA 2012 CAMPAIGN:  Thanks for having us, Megyn.

KELLY:  What specifically -- what specifically could have been changed?  What gun law could have been changed that would have prevented the shooting?

BIRD:  Look, I'm not sure.  It's the honest answer, right?  Each one of these incidents is completely unique.  What we do know though is over the last several years, we continue to see these kinds of violence, these kinds of mass shootings all over our country.  And what the President was saying both last night and today is that inaction is just not an option.  And we know that states that have this laws in place that makes it harder for people that has mental illness, that makes it harder for folks that make people get background checks, it reduces gun violence.  And so, we need to do everything needs answers --   

KELLY:  Let me ask you this.  

(CROSSTALK)

BIRD:  Sure.

KELLY:  But we've seen cities like Chicago that have some of those strictest guns laws in the country with the worst crime in the country and the most gun deaths.  So, how do you square that?

BIRD:  Yes.  Look.  So, I think we need a national background check
law here and guns are going to cross orders and --   

KELLY:  But that background check doesn't necessarily detect mental health problems.  

BIRD:  Well, it would help.  It would be one step.  See, the problems here is that, there are steps that we can do to decrease this.  We're not going to solve it all.  We need a comprehensive approach to solving this problem.  But we need to do something and stop just thinking that the status quo was okay because it's not.  

KELLY:  Okay.  Sheriff Clarke, let me ask you.  President Obama has said, we can't sort through and identify ahead of time who might take actions like this.  The only thing we can do is make sure they can't have an entire arsenal when something snaps in them.  It sounds like he's giving up on the mental health piece of it.  

SHERIFF DAVID CLARKE, MILWAUKEE COUNTY:  Well, first of all, we have ample evidence of the President usurping his authority into the constitution and relation to what he just said.  Look, I get tired of being lectured by somebody who was basically a platoon of armed individuals that cover him and his family and rightfully so but on a daily basis.  While he expects the rest of us here at ground level, average citizens, ordinary citizens, to have to outsource their personal safety to the government.  I'll answer your question what law should be changed.  We should get rid of these gun-free zones, we should allow people, you know, under certain circumstances, you know concealed carry license holders to be able to play a role in their own safety.  I think it's heartless to expect people in these gun free zones to be lined up and slaughtered with no way to defend themselves.  These gun-free zones have become killing fields.  That is the one constant in all of these mass murders including me a military recruiting section --  

KELLY:  What do you think, Sheriff?  Let me ask you --  

CLARKE: -- the President of the United States doesn't even thrust soldiers, stateside to go on.

KELLY:  But what do you think is the solution?  Because this guy, he had some issues.  Some mental issues.  But it doesn't look like he'd been in and out of treatment programs or hospitals or something that would have propped up in a background check.  It has to be really severed for it to come out in the -- so how -- what are your thoughts on how we prevent somebody like who isn't really in the system from mental health issues from getting a gun?

CLARKE:  Yes.  There's no fantasy here.  There are no absolutes.  Here's some things that I think might work, though.  First of all, we're not going to ever eliminate the likelihood of something like this happening again.  Okay?  Unfortunately we're in an open society.  But here's what I think should happen, citizens should be allow -- under the constitution, they have their right anyway.  The player role in their own personal safety.  The only thing that stopped that incident yesterday was when a good guy, a police officer with a gun showed up and they were able to neutralize that homicidal maniac.  But as you know, Megyn, it was too late, the carnage had already occurred.  

KELLY:  Uh-hm.

CLARKE:  So, if somebody, what we can do is mitigate, in other words, this guy comes into the class and starts lining people up, one, two, three people, even unarmed security guards.  I think it's the craziest thing in the world for a student to have to be relying on an unarmed security guard for their safety.  Because if there's one, two or three people wore the firearm in that classroom, a lot of that carnage could have been avoided.  Not all of it maybe --  

KELLY:  Okay.

CLARKE: -- maybe he gets off a shot or two, and that's about it!  

KELLY:  Guys, thank you.  

CLARKE:  Thank you, Megyn.

BIRD:  Thank you, Megyn.

KELLY:  Well, while the gun control debate is in full swing again, did you hear much discussion today about how the shooter specifically targeted Christians?  Up next, we'll take a look at that issue.  

Plus, a new poll out today suggests more changes for the Republican field.  We'll show you why Jeb Bush is suddenly the center of attention and what it means for the rest of these candidates?   

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  If I don't toot my own horn, who's going to toot it?  You know, of course my record is one that I'm proud off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF JOHN HANLIN, DOUGLAS COUNTY, OREGON SHERIFF:  I will not name the shooter.  I will not give him the credit he probably sought prior to this horrific and cowardly act.  We encourage you not to glorify and create sensationalism for him.  He in no way deserves this.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY:  Good for you, Sheriff Hanlin.  The sheriff of Douglas County, Oregon, saying he will not give this shooter the notoriety he seeks.  And we'll talk more about that in a moment.  But we do know that he was specifically targeting Christians.  You heard that father earlier talk about that at the top of the hour.  But you probably haven't heard much about this from the media our elected officials.  

Trace Gallagher live with more in our Los Angeles Newsroom.  Trace.  

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Megyn, "The New York Times" said, the shooter inquired about the religion of the victims.  But there was no mentioned in the Times that the inquiry meant a difference between life and death.  "The Los Angeles Times" said, the gunman had white supremacist leanings, was anti-government and anti-religion.  But nothing about Christians being singled out and shot.  Some major media outlets even skipped over what maybe the most compelling witness statements of all.  Eighteen year old Courtney Moore saying, the shooter ordered students to get on the ground and then told them to stand up and state their religion.  

And the father of witness Ana Boylan moments ago recounting to "The Kelly File" that his daughter told him quoting, and some brave people who are faithful said, "I am a Christian."  And he said, "Good, then you'll meet God in just about a second," and he would shoot them in the head.  In his comments, President Obama also didn't talk about the religion aspect of the crime.  When he ordered federal flags to fly at half-staff, he said only that it was, quote, "Out of respect for the victims of gun violence."  Authorities say, the shooter left a hate-filled note at the scene of the rampage.  That included racist statements, sexual frustration and comments about the world being against him.  

His online rants also reveal anger and isolation.  And he wrote about the man who shot and killed several college students in Santa Barbara as well as the shooter who took the lives of a Virginia TV reporter and her photographer saying, quoting again, "A man who was known by no one is now known by everyone.  His face splashed across every screen, his name across the lips of every person on the planet, all in the course of any day."  Seems the more people you kill, the more you're in the limelight.  In his final note, the Umpqua College shooter also reportedly wrote that he'd be welcomed in hell and embraced by the devil -- Megyn.  

KELLY:  Trace, thank you.  Joining us now with more, Dr. Daniel Bober who was a forensic psychiatrist.  I have been saying this for a long time.  We even news media need to be more responsible, and more careful in our own role in fanning these flames.  While we make these men infamous with the coverage we gave them.  What say you?

DR. DANIEL BOBER, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST:  You something, there was actually data that backs -- there was a study that was done at Arizona State University in 2014 looking at this.  We know that with suicides, for example, and kids, there's a contagion effect where when one child commits suicide, it encourages others to do that, as well.  But we know also with
these types of killings that when someone commits a mass murder, there's also a contagion effect or copycat phenomenon.  So when we celebrate it, when we publicize it in some way, we promote it in that 20 to 30 percent of these killings can be attributed to ones that have done it before that are copying them.  

KELLY:  You look at his own words.  For the media out there that are reluctant to adopt this policy.  I say, the print media can make a record.  They can put the name out there so it's identifiable.  But for the broadcast media, you remember this -- remember what this killer said. Let's put it on the board.  "A man who was known by no one is now known by everyone.  His face splashed across every screen.  His name across the lips of every person on the planet all in the course of one day.  It seems the more people you kill, the more you're in the limelight."  What should the media be doing?  Do you say as a professional doctor?  

BOBER:  He got exactly what he wanted.  People are in a sense celebrating it, they're promoting it. I think as the media, they need to be more responsible.  Not focus on the graphic content.  And yes, the media has to report the news, but maybe just say his name one time and then refer to him as the shooter or the killer.  

KELLY:  Because what does it do to a would be killer to see another killer in a way glorified, his face across all the screens.  His name over and over and over.  

BOBER:  I think you're planning the seeds for further violence.  I think you're promoting the next person to do it.  

KELLY:  I'm not saying this in solve it, but it can hurt to dial it back, folks, dial it back.  Let me know your thoughts.  

BOBER:  I agree.  

KELLY:  Doctor, thank you.

BOBER:  My pleasure.

KELLY:  Let me know your thought on Twitter on Megyn Kelly.  Well, on the middle of the third day of the Russians flying air strikes across Syria, you know, the unprofessional air strikes, there are growing questions about whether the Obama administration ignored warnings about a failed strategy in the run-up to this mess.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. COL. TONY SHAFFER (RET), SENIOR FELLOW, LONDON CENTER FOR POLICY RESEARCH:  You may recall Lieutenant General Mike Flynn.  You had him on the program several times, he's a friend of mine.  Mike went to Congress and laid out what was really going on with ISIS.  And frankly, I don't know if Mike will tell you this or not but that was one of the direct things which led him to being kicked out of DIA.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY:  Well, the man Colonel Shaffer was talking about moments ago here on FOX.  Former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.  General Michael Flynn is here next on President Obama's strategy, then and now and his concerns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  The last point I just want to make about this, because you know sometimes the conversation here on the beltway differs from the conversation internationally.  Mr. Putin has to go in to Syria, not out of strength but out of weakness, because his client Mr. Assad was crumbling and it was insufficient for him simply to them arms and money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY:  That was President Obama earlier today as we watched the third of Russian air strikes in the Middle East. But, as the Commander In Chief accuses his Kremlin counter part of weakness, the headline writers see it differently.  The New York Post suggesting Putin wants to "Humiliate Obama," the Weekly Standard, calling this "extraordinary show of weakness," and as the London-based Economists suggests, while Putin dares, Obama dithers.  Tonight we have Former President George W. Bush's Speechwriter Marc Thiessen with a fact check of President Obama's claims.  But we begin tonight with the Former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, General Michael Flynn.  General Flynn, let me start where Tony Schaeffer left off, suggesting that you and others had been trying to warn this administration about the threat actually posed by ISIS for some time.  He believes your testimony before Congress to that effect as what led to you being forced out as DIA Chief.  Is that true?

LT GEN MICHAEL FLYNN, FMR DIRECTOR DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY:  Oh, Megyn, what I would just tell you are -- I believe the intelligence assessment that the President has received over the last few years have actually been pretty accurate.  And I know the intelligence assessments that we provide, that my agency provides.  And I think we're spot on.  Now, I think what we learned this week with Putin placing Russian forces in Syria -- if we ever saw a Russian reset.  We just saw the Russians reset into the Middle East in a big, and I don't agree with what the President said today.  This is not out of weakness.  He's demonstrating a lot of savvy and cunning by doing what he's doing -- for a variety of reasons.  The other thing I would say, Megyn, is that we just learned also this week -- what I would describe as the unmentioned redlines that Putin has had in the Middle East.  And potentially the fall of Assad, potentially the crumbling of the Syrian army in the face of ISIS -- what I would just say is it's kind of like the old thing -- you know when I was a kid, first things first.  I think what we have to do is decide what is the greatest threat that we face there.  It is the radical, Islamic militants.  That's number one.

KELLY:  Who Putin is not killing.  He's not killing them.  He's killing the people he trained over there to fight Assad.

FLYNN:  I'm not going to apologize for anything that the Russians are doing.  But I don't know.  We'll have to wait and see what the real results are there.  But I would just say we have to decide to do something because the Russians just made a big move and we can't just say, Mr. Putin, go home.  It's not going to happen.  The reality is the dynamics in the Middle East radically changed this week because we failed to lead.  And I think that the President had a great opportunity today to put some clarity behind what it was that we're doing, and I just think he missed a great opportunity.  He really did.  I watched it, hoping that he was going to say something to the effect of what we were going to do, how much we were going to change.

KELLY:  What do you think we should do?

FLYNN:  I think right now, we're going to have to decide that we have sort of one enemy that we know that we have in common.  And that is the radical Islamists that are -- the Islamic state.  We have to decide that that is the greater threat right now despite all of the problems with a guy like Assad.

KELLY:  What should we be telling Putin when he tells us get your jets out of there and get your people out of there?  

FLYNN:  I don't think we should listen to Putin at all when it comes to that.  I think we should in no uncertain terms tell him how we operate and what we need to do.  We're sort of passed that point.  Some of those things can still discussed but we're passed it.  We just passed a major -- a big milestone here in the escalation of conflict in the Middle East, and it is going to grow worse before it gets better.  And I don't think that we should be you know asking Mr. Putin for anything.  I thing we ought to be telling the Russians what is that we are going to do in order to accomplish our mission.  And I also think that, at this stage, because the Russians -- I think you're right, the Russians are going to keep Assad in power.  And what we need to do, we need to say at the international community, we're going to deal with the Islamic radical threat first.

And internationally, maybe we go after Assad in an international court or something like that.  But this situation just changed radically.  And there is not going to be easy answers, in fact, we are actually moving closer to greater conflict and what that does it limits the number of options that we have.  It increases our risk and, Megyn, sadly it's going to increase the cost to try to solve this problem, because we really did nothing.

KELLY:  General Flynn has been jumping up and down about for years. We appreciate you being here tonight, sir, thank you.

FLYNN:  Thanks, Megyn.

KELLY:  Joining me now, Marc Thiessen, a Fox News Contributor and Former Speech Writer for President George W. Bush.  Mark, let's pick it up with what President Obama said that Putin comes at this from a position of weakness, and that we don't want to get involved in a quagmire which is what Putin's about to do for himself.  

MARC THIESSEN, FMR SPEECHWRITER FOR PRES GEORGE W BUSH:  Yeah, Vladimir Putin is the one who weakened -- today, right exactly.  I mean look, Barack Obama is like the kid who is getting bullied at school, and when he comes home and his mom says well, it's just because he's insecure, it's because he's a bully.  Putin is following Lenin's Maxim, probe with bayonets, if you find steel withdraw, if you find mush proceed.  And what he's finding in Barack Obama is absolute mush, and so he's proceeding and that's what he's doing right now in Syria.

KELLY:  However, the President says we don't want to go over there and get sucked into another mess, let's let Putin handle it, he's going to create a mess for himself, so be it.  

THIESSEN:  And that's what Donald Trump said, as well.  Barack Obama in that press conference today expressed more outrage about Republican congressmen doing nothing about gun violence -- with Vladimir Putin is doing in Syria.  Barack Obama is doing while Vladimir Putin goes and massacres our own allies, U.S.-trained Syrian fighters with impunity.  He did nothing while Barack Obama -- while Assad crossed his red line and massacred his people with chemical weapons.  He did nothing while for five years while ISIS turned that country into a terrorist sanctuary.

KELLY:  But now, Marc, he says we don't want to go to war with Russia.

THIESSEN:  Of course we don't want to go to war with Russia.  But the problem is he created a vacuum in Syria that Putin has now filled.  If America had been showing leadership and taking the lead on this fight -- we sat on the sidelines for five years and did nothing in Syria.  And then we've got this air campaign now.  We're doing 11 -- 75 percent of them come back without their bombs dropped.  That's not showing weakness?  Vladimir Putin looks at the air campaign against ISIS, the fact that we didn't enforce our red lines.  First he went into Ukraine and now he's going into Syria and he's going to be in Baghdad soon.  I guarantee you the next step is going to be -- they're going to have Russian troops in Baghdad filling our bases that we used to operate in helping to fight ISIS over there because...

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY:  And the end result of that to us is what?  Why is that a concern?

THIESSEN:  The end result of that is Vladimir Putin is in Syria and is going to go into Iraq and be in the Middle East for one reason, he's there at the invitation of the Iranians.  The Iranians are trying to extend their influence throughout the region and they're trying to push us out and push our interest out.  So we have an access between Russia and Iran which Assad is part of that, and they're trying now -- security agreement with Baghdad too to help fight ISIS over there.  They're planting us in the Middle East and helping Iran, so that's bad for Israel, that's bad for the United States, and that's bad for American interests.

KELLY:  Marc Thiessen, thank you, sir.  

THIESSEN:  Thanks, Megyn.

KELLY:  Also breaking tonight, new reaction to rumors that Mitt Romney may yet jump into the 2016 race.  Not only did Anne Romney say something recently, but the man who has been the architect of Romney's last campaign has raised some eyebrows too, and he's here.  He's here.

Plus, it's make it or break it time for the 15 Republican candidates still in this race.  And we still -- we have a brand new poll out tonight on who is suddenly facing real, new trouble.  Stirewalt is here and Howie Kurtz is here too.  

And then the New York Times publishes a profile of Donald Trump's wife that is anything but flattering -- and as I said, these two guys are willing to weigh in on Melania Trump and the New York Times.  Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY:  Well, the media has covered virtually every move that Donald Trump has made in this campaign.  And now two high-profile publications are focused on his wife, Melania.  The New York Times running a piece describing her as the silent partner, the Washington Post calling her "New Model for first lady," both pieces focus on Mrs. Trump's career as a model and her background as an immigrant, both reports are creating some controversy.  We'll explain why.  

Joining me now Chris Stirewalt, our Fox News Digital Politics Editor, and Howie Kurtz, Host of Fox News' Media Buzz.  So this, from the New York Times, Howie, that talks about her modeling career referring to her as a mannequin, instead of a model, focusing on the salacious moments in her modeling career, and then writing -- not for her husband's Presidential aspirations, she might resemble that of any number of trophy spouses in New York, really?

HOWARD KURTZ, "MEDIABUZZ" HOST:  That jumped off the page at me.  On this surface this piece looks like its describing Melania Trump as being sexy and glamorous.  But it is so condescending, trophy spouse, and what other potential first lady gets treated like this.  There was even a tweet that the Times later deleted -- that Melania had posted on her twitter account that showed a close-up of her in a very skimpy bikini bottom -- its being salacious and condescending to a woman who is obviously a devoted mother and isn't into politics.

KELLY:  What has she done, Chris to deserve the ire of the New York Times?  They seem to be irritated that she's not some strident feminist who doesn't believe in walking the runway as a model.

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS DIGITAL POLITICS EDITOR:  It's probably easier for her when her husband was a Democrat.  He is a Republican now. They are treating her -- you know this is not the first time we've seen a candidate spouse treated this way.  Senator McCain if you recall was -- got pretty rough treatment from the press and for some time.  And I will say that the technical term is grody and this sort of behavior is all too common.

KELLY:  Mannequin, really?  Talking about her as a trophy wife -- if somebody else did this about a Democrat the New York Times would be crying sexism.  But they can do -- it's fair game because it's Donald Trump's wife and he's running as a Republican.  It's really disrespectful.  It is disrespectful to her.

Let's move on.  Because there is something in the polls today that is not good for Jeb Bush.  A new poll has come out.  Donald Trump is the front runner by far, 25, Ben Carson's got 16, and way down below is Jeb Bush at 4 percent, Howie, 4.

KURTZ:  This is just a stunning number for the former Governor of Florida.  It's time to say it out loud.  His campaign is not working very well.  He's not showing much passion.  He can't deliver a jab.  He speaks in policy speak and he has to fix this and fast.  As far as Trump having that big lead, all the pundits -- and you know who you are out there who said people are sick of him, he's declining, this guy is a charmer -- remarkable staying power.  But I would say the headline is Jeb, I respect what Jeb did in Florida but he can't run on a record from a decade ago.  

KELLY:  What happened to all the Republicans, Chris, who said that they didn't about having a smooth talker or a great debater, they just wanted to find somebody -- true conservative on policy and so on, and Jeb Bush has got a conservative record in Florida, I understand the immigration issue and the common core issue.  But what's happening?

STIREWALT:  I think what's happening here is Jeb Bush has too much competition.  I don't just mean with Trump who he -- with whom he unsuccessfully engaged for a period of time.  I mean that in this cycle, unlike in the previous cycle, what you saw Mitt Romney was, Romney stayed steady, he faced a series of four or five alternatives that shot up and then exploded.  He wasn't splitting the vote up with any other candidates on the more traditional side of the ballot.  This time, Jeb Bush has real competition.  Not just in the form of Ben Carson, not just in the form of Carly Fiorina, not just in the form John Kasich, but first and foremost, Marco Rubio and that's why Jeb Bush's campaign is on the attack...

KELLY:  Do you believe, Chris, that some are suggesting that Jeb is done?  

STIREWALT:  No.  It's still early.  You know what he's about to do?  He's about to scramble his eggs.  He's going to make a new campaign out of this because what they've done to this point has not worked.  And you cannot be running fifth or sixth.  You cannot be at four percent and make a credible argument that you are the inevitable one.

KELLY:  Because even though they say it's causes cancer, it's so much easier to fry an egg on -- great to see you both.  

KURTZ:  Thanks, Megyn.

KELLY:  Well, we also have new reaction tonight, to suggestions that Mitt Romney might yet jump into this race, one of Romney's Chief 2012 Advisors, Stuart Stevens joins the Kelly File next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY:  Former 2012 Republican Nominee Mitt Romney and his wife Anne Romney announced in January that they would not be running for the White House again after trying twice, but with no clear nominee yet in sight and loyal supporters pushing Mitt to get back in, could Romney's insistent note change?  Anne Romney recently told Fox's own Brian Kilmeade that they are "Assessing this race."  Stuart Stevens joins us now.  He's been called Mitt Romney's top political advisor and he's the Author of a new book, the Last Season, a father, a son, and lifetime of college football, Stuart, great to see you, thank you for being here tonight.  

STUART STEVENS, THE LAST SEASON AUTHOR:  Good to see you, Megyn, thank you.

KELLY:  For those who like Mitt Romney want him back in, is there room for hope?

STEVENS:  I don't think Mitt Romney is going to run.  He's pretty straightforward.  He said he's not and I think everybody should just -- what you see is what you get.

KELLY:  Why are they assessing?

STEVENS:  You have to ask Anne Romney that.  I think it's something that a lot of people have asked him to do.  And I think they're being respectful to it.  It's clearly -- there's no dominant frontrunner, I think, they would be comfortable with, but I don't think he's going to run.

KELLY:  So you're saying there's a chance.  All right, let's talk about the current frontrunner.  Because Romney made news when he came out and said Donald Trump is not going to be the nominee.  Why did he say that?  

STEVENS:  Because he has good political sense and he's been to this process twice and he knows how it works.

KELLY:  Why do you believe it?

STEVENS:  The idea that I think anyone is going to be the nominee who has not been elected to some other political position is very, very remote.

KELLY:  So you rule out Carson and Fiorina too.

STEVENS:  Yeah, I do.  I have a lot of respect for them.  I don't think they'll be the nominee.  Look, I think a good question to ask is could this person be elected governor of the state they're running in. Could Donald Trump be elected Governor of Iowa, hard to imagine, Governor of New Hampshire, can't see it, South Carolina, not in a million years.

KELLY:  But he's leading a lot in those polls, in New Hampshire he's a runaway.

STEVENS:  In 2011 in April, Donald Trump was getting 26 percent.  We were joking about it with Mitt Romney.  There are a certain percentage of people that like -- we laughed about it. There are a certain percentage of people who like to vote for Donald Trump and say they are, but I think that after January 1st, the big difference in this year is that the Iowa Caucus is February 1st, not right after the New Year.  From January 2nd to the 1st of February, you're going to have a very intense period in this race and there's going to be a lot of movement.

KELLY:  Stuart, I like to get your thoughts again, fascinating man. And you've done in a lot in politics, great to see you, good luck with your book.  

STEVENS:  Great to see you, Megyn. Thank you.

KELLY:  We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY:  Before we go, Chris Mintz, the army vet who was shot seven times by the Oregon shooter while he tried to save lives needs help. He's facing a lot of medical bills and rehabilitation.  And we're going to post his Gofundme account at Facebook.com/thekellyfile.  There will likely be others who need your help as well, thank you for watching, everyone, this is "The Kelly File."

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