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Special Report

Hillary Clinton vs. the Benghazi committee

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," October 5, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Before this whole thing, you know, was a big controversy, you know, the State Department was looking for information. My e-mails were on the government account, more than 90 percent of them. The State Department was pulling them out. They had been handed over.

So, you know, look, I've been around this political situation for a long time, but some things are just beyond the pale. I have gone further than anybody that I'm aware of in American history. Now, that's not long history because we haven't had e-mails that long, but as long as we've had them I've gone longer and farther to try to be as transparent as possible. Nobody else has done that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, two town hall meetings in New Hampshire, flipping pancakes on the "Today" show, a skit on "Saturday Night Live," a busy weekend and Monday for Hillary Clinton.

Let's bring in our panel and start there, and syndicated columnist George Will, Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent for the Washington Post, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.

Karen, I know you've been out there on the trail. What about Hillary Clinton and this push? How did she do today, and do you think she's making ground on turning those negative poll numbers around?

KAREN TUMULTY, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, she seems to actually be retrenching on the question of the e-mails and going back to this idea that somehow this was just some routine record- keeping thing that the State Department had going, and they had, you know, come to her as sort of, again, a pro forma type of thing. The fact is, as my colleagues reported a few weeks ago, the reason the State Department came to her was that they had suddenly discovered there was a private e- mail server. So it was not just a routine records request.

BAIER: But this Kevin McCarthy statement seems to have been this gift that keeps giving for her.

TUMULTY: It is a gift, and of course they are taking advantage of it as, you know, anyone would in this circumstance because it plays into the narratives that both Clintons have been, you know, saying, which is that this is the culmination of a decades-long effort by their enemies.

BAIER: George?

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: She has not done well when she has allowed facts to intrude on what she says about her e-mails. For example, when she started all this by saying, I didn't want to have two devices, and it turns out she had two devices. Therefore, the only reasonable conjecture is to say she was doing this for concealment.

Now, she may think she conceals less than anyone else in American history, but that's also hard to demonstrate. Parsing her sentences is a full-time job now, and it's going to be interesting to see what is now made of her assertion today that 90 percent -- that's a good round figure, it's quite specific -- of her e-mails were on the State Department server.

BAIER: The other thing, as often is the case, some politicians seem to forget that we have videotape of past statements. And we keep on putting together these different montages of different statements, but here's another one of the e-mail issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: This issue isn't going to go away the remainder of your campaign?

CLINTON: Nobody talked to me about it other than you guys.

I should have used two accounts, one for personal, one for work- related e-mails. That was a mistake. I'm sorry about that. I take responsibility.

All I can tell you is that when my attorneys conducted this exhaustive process, I did not participate. I didn't look at them.

Every government official gets to decide what is personal and work- related. If I had two separate accounts, as many people do, obviously, I would have decided every hour what was personal and what was work-related.

The law also says the official gets to determine that, and that's what I did.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

BAIER: You know, some people glaze over with all these different statements. Some people who have been following it say there are different-sounding answers.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: And there were. We saw them all in one montage. But what she's counting on, which I think actually works, is that the public is not going to follow each of these statements. They're not going to put them together. The public is going to hear "e-mail." And she is latching on -- this is sort of a desperate attempt, but she was given something with the McCarthy statement as a way to say it's the vast right conspiracy again.

That's why her whole sort of aggressive tone now is to simply say those of you who haven't followed all the versions I've given and all the lies I've told, I'm simply going to explain to you they've admitted, the Republicans have admitted this is all about, whether it's Benghazi, whether it's the e-mails, it doesn't matter. It's all part of a plan and they have admitted it. And that's her strategy.

And I think actually if she keeps repeating it, which she will, she will not return to that soft-spoken, apologetic tone. That was a one-shot deal as a way to get the press to say she apologized, which she didn't, but it gets her to stage two, which is to be aggressive and say it's all political.

BAIER: Karen, in the meantime, she is also turning up the heat on gun control legislation, calling for that. What about that move and how does it play in the democratic primary?

TUMULTY: Well, I think that the measures she has called for, expanding background checks, closing the so-called gun show loophole, are all sort of dead center of where most Democrats are on this issue. So none of this is going to put her sort of on either edge, and it gives her some good talking points next week in the debate against Bernie Sanders.

BAIER: Who historically has had some issues because he represents rural Vermont.

TUMULTY: Exactly. But what she doesn't want to do, at least looking back on history, her husband has blamed gun issues for costing Al Gore the 2000 election. And I think she doesn't want to get so far into, you know, the other side of the territory -- pro-gun control that, a, it would cause her problems in the general election, but two, that it would be something that is just completely unrealistic for a president to get through, even if he or she has a Democratic congress.

BAIER: In addition, obviously, when she was running in 2008 and countering what candidate Obama was saying on the trail, especially in San Francisco, she sounded very different.

WILL: She did, and she now has to answer the following questions. Suppose, as a thought experiment, that every gun control measure President Obama has suggested had been written into law six years ago. Which of these shootings -- Charleston, Oregon, which one would have been prevented by those laws? The answer is none. And that's why the public turns away from this, because it seems entirely unresponsive to the real problem.

KRAUTHAMMER: This is an issue on which I think either the gun control people, the Democrats, understand in a general election it's poison. That's why she has presented as sort of the moderate down the road Democratic plan. But it shows you how afraid she is of the nomination. There's no reason she would have gone this far left on gun control, which will bite her in the general election if she's a nominee, if she weren't afraid of Sanders and now Biden.

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