Voters find Carson most likable in new poll; Texas vows sanctuary cities will not be tolerated

On 'The Kelly File,' preview of CNBC GOP debate, and new frontrunner's rising favorability


This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," October 28, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: Breaking tonight with a third Republican debate upon us. We have new polling tonight on a changing republican field.

Plus, new questions about leadership, immigration and about Hillary Clinton in a special look at the 2016 race for the White House.

Welcome to "The Kelly File," everyone. I'm Megyn Kelly. We begin tonight with polls just out that used a different approach to judge the 2016 race. Measuring the voters' opinions on the Republican candidates rather than specifically just asking who they would vote for. Tell us what you think of them this poll tried to get at.

And Dr. Ben Carson who is second to Trump in the average of polls, those that asked who Republicans would vote for, takes the number one spot easily when it comes to likability. Head and shoulders above his next competitor, Senator Marco Rubio and a mile ahead of Donald Trump. That is just the latest in the series of polls that had Dr. Carson ahead of Trump. A change that has Trump telling voters to take action.

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DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Will you get your numbers up, please? So, by the way, before I forget, will you get the numbers up, Iowa, please. This is ridiculous. What the hell are you people doing to me? Please, do me a favor? Let me win Iowa? I refuse to say get your asses in gear. Because I don't want to use anything that's even a little bit off. So will you please do me a favor and work with my people and go out on February 1st and vote and give us a victory? I promise you, I will do such a good job. Now, if I lose Iowa, I will never speak to you people again. That I can promise.


KELLY: We have a powerful political line-up for you here tonight including Chris Stirewalt, Howie Kurtz, Marc Thiessen. But, first, we go tonight to Carl Cameron to set the stage. Carl?

CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Megyn. The debate is still on going. But even before it began, Trump pre-spun it by tweeting that he thought CNBC, the hosts, weren't going to be fair to him. And that they're using fictitious polls. This is clearly an illustration of his frustration of having been knocked out of first place in Iowa by Ben Carson. And in the New York Times with the CBS poll this week now trailing Carson in the national poll. That poll shows that Ben Carson support is in-large measure from evangelical Christians in Iowa and across the country.

And, particularly, some support from Tea Partiers. Ben Carson and Donald Trump have been sparring all week. Trump has been raising questions about his Seventh Day Adventist's faith, his positions on abortion and just suggesting that he's too low energy. Carson, for his part, both in the debate and in the last few days, has made it very clear he is not going to take the debate. The debate either for that matter. He believes that Donald Trump is creating what Carson calls a mud pit with all the name- calling and slams. And says, he's just not going to do that he'll be himself. Carson has to show that he has a command of interests of the issues themselves.

And that he can answer questions in real specifics in very, very tight and bright scrutiny now that he is also one of the big frontrunners. After you talk about Trump and Carson, then you got to talk about Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. Bush has had a tough week and a half. Get it downsize his campaign. Earlier this week, he said if you have to demonize or be demonized, you might as well vote for Donald Trump. That make him sound sort of petulant in his -- he was entitled. That's a problem for him. And what Bush desperately needs to do in this debate is show that he's vigorous.

That he's got a purpose in running for president and that he is not entitled and he's got his own ways of leading the country, not just last name. For Marco Rubio, it's an argument about a generation. He makes the point that Jeb Bush is of yesteryear, not just the last name. And while Bush calls Rubio, GOP Obama, Rubio comes back and says, it's time to have real change and get a real new type of republican conservative with new ideas.

And lastly, Ted Cruz. The senator from Texas who made his name in Washington as it disrupt there going after the republican leadership almost as much as he goes after Democrats. Tonight, before the debate started, unveiled his plan for a flat tax. He supports abolishing the IRS and is making a pivot. His campaign plans to start giving out lots more policies and solutions, having spent the last couple years in the Senate talking about how he would break down what he sees as the problems in Washington.  A transition for Cruz as he tries to make his move into the top tier -- Megyn.

KELLY: The debate bait. Nicely done campaign, Carl Cameron.

Here with us more, Chris Stirewalt, our Fox News digital politics editor. And Howie Kurtz, host of "MediaBuzz" right here on Fox. Debate bait. That was great. All those little late in any event.

Good to see you both. And so you tell me, Stirewalt, it's only.  Because this is it. Carson goes into this debate tonight as the front rubber and at least delayed its national poll. And Trump who has said all along, I'm only a counter puncher. I'm only a counter puncher. Is now out there, I don't know what it is called, affirmatively punching? Striking it? What is it? When you're just punching. You're just punching. You're pummeling.

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS DIGITAL POLITICS EDITOR: Just punching.  You're just punching at that point. Yes. Look, Donald Trump has a problem which is that Ben Carson is much better liked than he is. And the way you can think about favorability is what you've got in the bank that you can spend fighting somebody else. So, if you're Jeb Bush for example, you have low favorability. Trump has low favorability. Jeb Bush has even lower favorability. So, it's hard to get into a fight with somebody because every time you fight with somebody else, your favorability, your likability is going to go down, too. So the thing for Donald Trump is, as a guy who has gone through this campaign without having to spend money, without having to dig into his pocket to do this, now is the time he's going to have to start running attack ads against Ben Carson. Because Trump doesn't have the personal capital with voters to do this on his own.

KELLY: What about it, Howie? Because already, before we've even started the debate, Trump was warning that it was going to be unfair.  Already to the shot at CNBC saying, I'm sure it's going to be an unfair debate. Where did that come from?

HOWIE KURTZ, HOST, "MEDIA BUZZ": Talk about working the refs. You know, Trump has been off his game during this latest Carson surge in the polls. First, he said he didn't believe, couple of the polls that showed that Ben Carson had in Iowa. And then he said the couple of pollsters didn't like him although their polls were perfectly fine when they showed him ahead. And then that clip that we saw of him, you know, kind of pleading with Iowa voters to get his numbers up, I know he was half joking, I know it shtick but it didn't sound great. And even a couple of little things like talking about the small million dollar real estate loan that his wealthy father gave when he was getting started, it just seems like he's off balance because he's lost his chief talking point which is that I'm ahead in every single poll.

KELLY: How about the others on that stage tonight, Stirewalt. You know, Ben Carson, he has said some things that have caused a lot of controversy. And, yet, with almost no impact on his numbers. His numbers, if anything seemed to be going up. It seems like GOP voters are looking at him saying, I know it says some things that are -- but I like him so much.

STIREWALT: Well, they like him so much, number one. And number two, the places in which the establishment press goes after Ben Carson are the places that make Republicans like him more. How dare you say you don't want a Muslim president? And Republican voters go, ding. When you say, how dare you say that abortion is like slavery? And they go, ding.


STIREWALT: So they're running ads essentially for Ben Carson. They think --

KELLY: But Chris, even in the past two debates, Carson had, at best, you know, quiet evening. Right? He had a zinger at the end of the first debate. The second debate, I can't remember any. But his numbers continue. He's like the Teflon Don when it comes to the debate, it doesn't matter what happens for him. They just like him.

STIREWALT: The closer you get to the end, the more important the substance of the answers become. So, right now, we are within. We're almost three months away from Iowa. It's going to get serious. But I would point out that at this point in the 2012 cycle, Republicans were still enjoying popping the popcorn and listening to Herman Cain. They were done with Rick Perry. They were ready for the Cain train.

KELLY: Nine-nine-nine.

STIREWALT: -- to Newt Gingrich.

KELLY: Nine-nine-nine.

STIREWALT: Blitz, as he called Wolf Blitzer. So, there is a thing that happens where you're interested in -- issues and then as you get close and you want to talk about more substance, I think Carson is going to surprise some people because I think that when he talks about a few key substantive points, he's very good in talking about it and he's very close to the debates as well.

KELLY: Well, but of course tonight's debate is all about the economy, Howie. And this is supposed to be Trump's area of expertise. And so, a lot of people are saying that the pressure is on him and they sort of raise the bar on him to do extra well and, you know, wondering whether Carson can hang. I want to get your thoughts on that. But I also want to ask you about Carly because she made a big splash in the first two debates. And then her numbers went way up. And, now, they're back down. I mean, what - - I guess she could have another great debate. And then what happens?

KURTZ: For whatever reason, she wasn't able to sustain the surge after that great performance in the CNN debate. So, this is a big opportunity for Carly Fiorina. But yes, she has to figure out how to build on it. As does Marco Rubio had two pretty good debates. Jeb Bush I think a lot of pressure on him. But going back to Ben Carson, I agree with Chris that Republicans like the things that he says that the mainstream press considers to be controversial or inflammatory. But here's the danger for Dr. Carson, he has said some things that are either confusing or contradictory on policy when it comes to taxes and immigration and the flat tax and things like that. The media scrutiny starting at the debate and continuing is really going to ratchet up on him because he's not just back in the pack anymore. And how he handles that I think could determine whether he breaks out of the Herman Cain mold and does have sustaining power beyond this.

KELLY: Before we go, Jeb Bush, I mean, is it a make-it or break-it night? Or is that all B.S.? There's no make it or break it in the month of October in the presidential race and the year before, Stirewalt.

STIREWALT: Well, tell that to Scott Walker. There are make-it or break-it. And the problem that Jeb Bush has is that he said that expectation stratospheric. He wrote in the race, he was going to push everybody out. He was going to do all the stuff. He's going to be great.  Now he's at the point at saying, he will spend his opponents to death. He will hit them with sacks of money in the face until they fall down.  Everyone yields to him. And he shall be the last survivor. And that's not very appealing. And it also means this. It means that if Jeb Bush cannot go out and do more, then fight with people. So fighting with people is not where Jeb Bush needs to be.

KELLY: Uh-hm.

STIREWALT: Jeb Bush needs to be presidential and rise above it all.  But if he does that, he risks looking like he's a sleeve on stage. So Jeb Bush is in a tough spot and he is feeling a lot of pressure from the donors who have funded his campaign that want return on their investment.

KELLY: You make it sound very appealing to be in a fight with Jeb Bush. You are going to slap me in the face with a bunch of money? I'll take it. I like that.

STIREWALT: Got to breakthrough. Jeb's got to breakthrough.

KELLY: Great to see you both.


KURTZ: Same here, Megyn.

KELLY: Well, Governor John Kasich has now unloaded on the republican frontrunners in a blistering speech about leadership. We'll show you that when Marc Thiessen joins us, next.


GOV. JOHN KASICH, R-OHIO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do you know how crazy this election is? Let me tell you something, I've about had it with these people.



KELLY: Well, there's little doubt that tonight's debate will prove crucial for the second-tier candidates. And in the past 24 hours, we've seen dramatic movements involving one of them. Ohio Governor John Kasich.  For months, he is largely stayed out of the fray. But now, he appears to be getting personal suggesting his rivals lack leadership and maybe incapable of running the country. Watch.


KASICH: Do you know how crazy this election is? Let me tell you something. I've about had it with these people. What has happened to our party? What has happened to the conservative movement? I'm fed up. I am sick and tired of listening to this non-sense and I am going to have to call it like it is as long as I'm in this race --


KELLY: Marc Thiessen is a FOX News contributor and former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush. Welcome to the party, Governor Kasich. There he is. I mean, it's like, with all due respected to him, he hasn't made news really at all in the entire election cycle. And so, this is his attempt to do so.

MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. It is apparently. And he's very frustrated and there's a good reason for that. His Real Clear politics average is 2.6 percent. That's why he's frustrated. That's why he's sick of this race. He reminds me a little bit of that old Saturday night live skit where John Levitt is playing Michael Dukakis and he's in the debate with Dana Carvey and George Bush and he looks in the camera and he says, I can't believe I'm losing to this guy.

KELLY: We have that. Standby.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You still have 15 seconds left.

DANA CARVEY, COMEDIAN: Let me just sum up, on track, stay the course, a thousand points of light.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor Dukakis, rebuttal?

JON LOVITZ, AS DUKAKIS: I can't believe I'm losing to this guy?



KELLY: That's fantastic.

THIESSEN: John Kasich can't believe that he's losing to Donald Trump and Ben Carson and Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio --  


THIESSEN: -- and Rand Paul and Huckabee.

KELLY: But in his defense, that sentiment he's expressing, it could be so many of the men you just named. Right? I mean, you can -- I asked Governor Bush about this when he came on the program last week. That you look at him up there in the debate stage and you can almost read his mind that he's saying, I don't know how to deal with this. Like, what is it?  What is going on over here?

THIESSEN: What's going on, quite frankly, is that the Republican electorate is really mad at their own party. I mean, there's an AP poll last week. Seventy seven percent of Republican voters want someone from the outside government and outsider who's going to shape things up in Washington. Only 22 percent want a politician who gets things done. So, John Kasich is a politician who is a case to be made, politician who gets things done. It's a really bad year to have that as your calling card.

KELLY: Right. Like look at Scott Walker, John Kasich, both of whom have governed as Republican governors in, you know, purple states, have these proven track records and the GOP electorate has basically said, tell your story walking.

THIESSEN: Yes. But you know what's interesting. I thought -- I actually thought going into this election is this is going to be a really good year for governors. Because if you think about it, people were frustrated with Washington. And one of the things people don't realize is that the Obama years have been in golden age of conservative governance, not in Washington, but in the states. We've got more republican governors elected now than in any time since the 1920s.

More Republican state legislatures. So, half the country is leaving in states where there's Republican governor and a Republican legislature.  And so, they're enacting all this bold conservative reform. So, it made sense to think that voters would return to one of these performers in the states and make them the standard bearer to run against Washington. But it's not turning out that way. None of the governors are doing well. None of the politicians are in double digits in the Real Clear politics. Not a single politician is in double digit. If we take up all the people, all 11 candidates who either currently or have held elective office, together they get 36.8 percent of the vote.

KELLY: Wow! All right. We're going to bring Marc back for our special midnight broadcast, post-debate. But I want to ask you. Any predictions? Do you have any predictions about anyone on that stage tonight?

THIESSEN: I think that this is -- I got to watch Marco Rubio tonight.  He's sort of the horse that sort of desperately trailing but he's really running well and this day he has a chance to pull out. So, I'd be watching Marco Rubio and see what he does tonight.

KELLY: We will talk about it later. Marc, great to see you.

THIESSEN: Thanks, Megyn.

KELLY: Well, the economy remains a top issue with voters. And the candidates are letting us know where they stand. Stuart Varney is next with the breakdown. And a look at which frontrunner may be in trouble here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to try one more time, sir. This is debt that's already obligated. Would you not favor increasing the debt limit to pay the debts already incurred?

DR. BEN CARSON, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What I'm saying is what we have to do is restructure the way that we create debt.




TRUMP: This is my wheel house. That's what I do well. The economy is what I do well.

If I become president, we will do something really special. We will make this country greater than ever before. We'll have more jobs. We'll have more of everything.

And the other thing I was really number one on was anything having to do with the economy, okay. Jobs, et cetera, et cetera. I was so high up, and then the other people, there was no number two, practically.


KELLY: Well, there's no secret that Donald Trump believes that he's in very good shape when the talk turns to the economy. But what about his top rival. Dr. Carson. There are some new questions about a radio interview he gave earlier this month. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should we default on our debt?

CARSON: Let me put it this way. If I were the president, I would not sign an increased budget. Absolutely would not do it. They would have to find a place to cut.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, to be clear, it's increasing the debt limit, not the budget. But I want to make sure I understand you. You'd let the United States default rather than raise the debt limit?

CARSON: No, I would provide leadership that says, get on the stick, guys, and stop messing around. And cut where you need to cut because we're not raising any spending limits, period.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to try one more time, sir. This is debt that's already obligated. Would you not favor increasing the debt limit to pay the debts already incurred?

CARSON: What I'm saying is what we have to do is restructure the way that we create debt. I mean, if we continue along this, where does it stop? It never stops.


KELLY: Joining us now with a breakdown of the candidates and their economic positions, Stuart Varney, host of "Varney & Company" on the Fox Business Network. Stuart, good to see you.


KELLY: So his critics say that just shows a fundamental lack of understanding of what the debt limit is. Fair?

VARNEY: Yes, he does show a fundamental lack of understanding about what would happen if you do not raise the debt ceiling. Just imagine it, he walks into the White House, he's the president and says, I'm not raising the debt ceiling. Thirty days later, 60 days later, we literally run out of money. And that new president is immediately faced with a total shutdown of all kinds of spending.

KELLY: He seemed to be saying, I will be a leader and I will make them tighten the belt such that we don't get in that position.

VARNEY: That's what he's trying to say, but it wouldn't work out like that in reality. If you said, I'm not raising the debt ceiling, period, it just wouldn't work.

KELLY: What we've seen from a lot of these candidates is sweeping, rhetorical answers that don't really tell us how they're going to do anything. When it comes to the economy, has anybody done better than that?

VARNEY: I think that all been very specific on how they would achieve economic growth. And they all want growth. They all want to return --

KELLY: And does anyone standout from the pack on that?

VARNEY: What stands out is the policy that's commented them all which is, tax cuts. Every single candidate on the republican side wants to cut - - individual tax rates and corporate tax rates. That's their way of getting the economy going. There's not a particular standout. It's that that policy is the policy of all of the republican candidates. And, frankly, I think it's a good policy. I'm very much in favor of it.

KELLY: Of tax cuts.

VARNEY: Absolutely.

KELLY: But do you see because, you know, Ben Carson has taken a hit for talking about tithing. You know, how the church requires some of your money to go.


KELLY: Can you explain that? What he's proposing?

VARNEY: Well, he's brought his faith into economics. He's proposing a flat tax. He was on my program on the FOX Business Network and he said he would favor a tithe, which is a flat tax, of around 10 percent. In other words, everything that comes at you in terms of income, you pay 10 percent to the government. That's it. You don't work your way up the food chain. It's not going to work. It just doesn't work. I mean, 10 percent?  That would not bring in enough money to run this government. It's so simplistic.

KELLY: Uh-hm. How about Rand Paul?

VARNEY: Rand Paul is another flat tax guy. 14.5 percent. Ted Cruz is a flat tax guy. I don't know what the percentage is that he wants, but he's a flat tax guy.

KELLY: Is any of that realistic? And we've heard candidates talk about that in the past. It's never happened. None of them has ever risen up to the frontrunner status and actually gone to the --  

VARNEY: Megyn, I don't think it is realistic. It's reaching for the stars. It's going too far.

KELLY: Is it pandering?

VARNEY: No, I don't think it's pandering.

KELLY: You know, what is realistic? Which of these republican candidates in your view has a realistic plan they could run against Hillary Clinton with assuming he's the nominee?

VARNEY: I think Jeb Bush, I think Donald Trump, John Kasich, Marco Rubio. They have realistic tax cutting plans going for growth.

KELLY: Uh-hm.

VARNEY: Now, Marco Rubio would lower the top rate of individual tax to 35 percent. It's 39.6 now. He moves it down a little bit.

KELLY: How do you feel about Trump's tax on the billionaires and the super-rich?

VARNEY: Well, his tax --

KELLY: He's talking about you.

VARNEY: Thank you. I appreciate that. That's flattery and I like it. No, he's talking about taxing Hedge Fund managers. That's what he's really talking about there. And that's a popular move.

KELLY: Oh, yes.

VARNEY: Talk about a breakthrough --  

KELLY: Giving out money.

VARNEY: Oh, talk about a breakthrough, that's the way to go.

KELLY: That's how people feel.

VARNEY: And he's also talking about --

KELLY: That's, of course, also what Barack Obama says at some point, you've made enough money.

VARNEY: Yes, but he's also talking about bringing down the top tax to 25 percent.

KELLY: Uh-hm.

VARNEY: That's realistic.

KELLY: What is it now?

VARNEY: 39.6 percent but it goes to 43 percent with some allowances discounted on some --  

KELLY: And if you live in New York State, it's like 70 or 80. I don't know. That's how it feels.

VARNEY: If you're decent, real good money in New York City, and this is where you live, you're paying around 55, 56 cents on every dollar that you earn.

KELLY: Uh-hm. Excellent.

VARNEY: You think?

KELLY: And, for that, for that you get pizza rats and --

VARNEY: Can I leave now, please?

KELLY: Now there's bagel squirrels. Have you heard of him?


We'll bring that to you another time. Stuart, it's great to see you.

VARNEY: Thank you, Megyn.

KELLY: Basically, the (INAUDIBLE) of taking on super-human strength.  It's come to that.

VARNEY: While am in this segment?


KELLY: I'll post it online. You'll see what I'm talking about. And the next GOP primary debate will be on the FOX Business Network Tuesday, November 10th. FBN and the Wall Street Journal are teaming up with the RNC for the fourth debate. It will be moderated by FBN's Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo live from Milwaukee at 9:00 p.m. Mark your calendars now.  That's less than two weeks away. I'll be watching.

Well, one major voting groups is sending a warning to the GOP on the eve of tonight's debate. And the man carrying that message joins us next.

Plus, the governor of Texas has drawn a new line in the sand on the issue of illegal immigrations. He joins us next on the story behind this and the presidential candidates who are standing beside him.


JEB BUSH, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- eliminate sanctuary cities, this is a brilliant incredibly stupid idea to allow --  


-- governments to violate federal law --



KELLY: Well, the battle over sanctuary cities and illegal immigration is heating up as the governor of Texas finds himself in a showdown with the county sheriff, who seems determine to provide special protections to the illegal immigrants living in Dallas. And the sanctuary city issue has been a hot button on the campaign trail.


TRUMP: We have to get rid of these sanctuary cities. It's disgraceful.


TRUMP: It's disgraceful.

BUSH: We need to eliminate sanctuary cities. It's a brilliant, incredibly stupid idea.

CARLY FIORINA, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sanctions over the sanctuary cities of 1989. We now have 300 of them. We have been talking about in securing borders twenty five years and they never secure the border (inaudible).

CARSON: I think a number of us are extremely concerned about this whole sanctuary city (inaudible).

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's an outrageous situation where you have this locality have basically decided because they've got a political agenda or a view of immigration law. They can somehow ignore the enforcement of these laws.


KELLY: Republican Governor Greg Abbot is with us. He is the governor of Texas. Great to see you, Governor. So you've got the -- those GOP candidates for president on your side, but you don't have your Dallas county sheriff on your side and therein lies the problem for people like you and other states who are dealing with this problem. What are you going to do about folks like and the Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez who says, too bad.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT, R-TEXAS: We are tired of these sanctuary city policies and they will not be tolerated in Texas. So as governor, I send a letter to the Dallas County sheriff, making clear what Texas is going to do. Because of policies like hers, Texas is going to pass a law that out laws sanctuary cities, that will put injunctions on sheriffs who fail to comply with -- detainer of provisions. But also, we are going to put the heavy hand of economic damages on this counties that failed to comply because we are going to ensure that local taxpayers have to pick up the tab, instead of the state of Texas, for noncompliance with immigration laws, but also, we're going to force upon them the waiver of damage limitations exposing this county.

KELLY: (inaudible) wait. Wait, wait, wait.

ABBOTT: To potential unlimited damage.

KELLY: Because if you are super smart and you used to be the top law enforcement in your state, so you -- like take it to where we can understand. How are you going to make the citizens of Dallas pay the price for a sanctuary city policy?

ABBOTT: The reason or the way that we do that is the state of Texas is now coming out-of-pocket for education cost, health care cost, law enforcement cost, related to sanctuary city policies that may be affecting people who are illegal to those particular counties. We're saying the taxpayers of Texas should not have to put that bill. If a local law enforcement officer who is elected by local citizens, decide to make that case, then the local citizens can kick that sheriff out of office.

KELLY: And now, what are you -- you know, the argument by those who support sanctuary cities, and I know you mentioned Kate Steinle in your letter -- that was San Francisco. The argument is we need to make the illegal immigrant community feel that they can come talk to law enforcement, to report about other crimes, to report about domestic abuse, to report about bad situations, and if they feel that they're going to go to the cops and say, "I saw something terrible" and they're going to get cop slap on them, they're not going to do it.

ABBOTT: Well, first, this deals with people who are in jail, not people who are out on the street. And what we're seeking to do is to require the sheriff to comply with the immigration customs enforcement demand that will be held for 48 hours before they're released from jail, so ICE can determine if they we have the ability to deport them. So these are average people on the street. These are people who are in jail, who are being detained and not allowed back on the street like the killer of Kate Steinle.

KELLY: And you have the sheriff seems to have a different view saying, "No matter what we do, someone is going to get upset."

ABBOTT: Well, listen, and that's the position of a law enforcement officer. And that is to enforce the law, regardless of who may get upset. And her obligation, the sheriff of Dallas County, the obligation of everyone in this state and nation is to ensure that we remain a land of laws and that means enforcing them, not applying them on a case-by-case basis as it is offer by the sheriff.

KELLY: Governor, great to see you.

ABBOTT: Thank you.

KELLY: Well, as that story plays out, a variety of Hispanic republican groups have come together to announce that if Donald Trump wins the GOP nomination, the Republican Party and their view can kiss goodbye their votes. Joining me now Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the American Principles Project's Latino Partnership and Charles Hurt, Washington Times political columnist. Great to see you both, so.



KELLY: You had your meeting, which we talked about the other day.


KELLY: And it turns out Donald Trump was not a big winner. What -- how do the Hispanic -- these are republican Hispanic voters who have organized what -- how do they come to their conclusion?

AGUILAR: Yeah. These are the top Hispanic, conservative and republican leaders and crews. And we had a retreat meeting all day yesterday, and we come out with a strong statement saying that if Donald Trump is the GOP nominee, we will not support his candidacy. (inaudible) that we are the groups. That conservative, The Republican Party, conservative campaigns come to, to engage Latino voters. We're not going to work for his campaign. We believe that if he is the GOP candidate, he will lose the election. We want to see a conservative candidate, strong conservative, but we want somebody who is constructive on the immigration issue. Insulting immigrants, calling for policies like mass deportation or ending birthright citizenship, that's not the way to we know we're Latinos. And in any case, it's really bad policy, not even conservative policy I would argue.

KELLY: Charlie, I mean, as a practical matter, what would that do to Donald Trump if he were the GOP nomination or nominee?

HURT: It would probably end up making his poll numbers go up or something bizarre like that. But you know, honestly, the problem with all of this is, you know, Donald Trump has -- obviously, he is a lot of course, and in politic language, they get a lot of people who are involved in politics very upset. But that exact same blunt, plain language, it's exactly why so many people have been drawn to him and that includes a lot of Hispanics.

KELLY: It sounds like he's talking about policy, too.


KELLY: A policy too.


HURT: And -- but if you take -- if you pick apart, take away all of the sort of in politic language that he uses and the rough language that he uses, and you look at his actual policies, basically, what Donald Trump is in favor of is the exact same thing that Mitt Romney was in favor. It's the exact same thing that is all the law.

KELLY: So Mitt Romney did not do well with Hispanics, Charles.

AGUILAR: No, no.

KELLY: He did not do well.

HURT: But Megyn, he -- Megyn.


HURT: But 27 percent is not terrible.


AGUILAR: There is absolutely no evidence. What Charlie just said is just factually wrong. There's actually no evidence that Hispanics are gravitating towards Donald Trump. This is something that he keeps on saying, "Oh, Hispanics love me." That's factually wrong. Gallup has a poll that shows that his favorability rating with Hispanics is negative 51.


KELLY: If not Trump, who can he get behind in the GOP deal?

AGUILAR: Oh, there are many.

HURT: We're saying is the democrats.

KELLY: Is there anybody else who was disqualified in your view?

AGUILAR: No. Let me say who I think are good. Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, these are all.

HURT: Jeb Bush is in favor of ending birthright citizenship. Why does he get a pass and Donald.


AGUILAR: I'm sorry, but you have -- Jeb Bush is not for ending birthright citizenship.

HURT: Yeah.

AGUILAR: Go back and read. Jeb Bush is for preserving the constitutional right of citizenship by birth. You're absolutely wrong about that.

KELLY: How about Ted Cruz because when we talk the other day, you were on defense about him too.

AGUILAR: Well, what we did is we issued a warning to candidates, that if they embrace Donald Trump's rhetoric imposition, we're going to call him out. We're going to have the next meeting in Nevada, right before the republican debate in Nevada. And we're going to see how the candidates are doing.


KELLY: All right, let me get to Charlie last word that he -- here's the thing Charlie. This is the same thing we saw last time around, 2012. Mitt Romney went to the right on the issue of illegal immigration. It helps him secure the nomination and it helps cost him the election, or so the pundits say. And is the GOP putting itself in that same position this time around?

HURT: It's -- yeah. I think it's a very - it's a tough situation, but 27 percent of the Hispanic vote is not terrible for a republican in this climate, especially where you have so many people who are taking this issue and turning it into a divisive wedge issue.

AGUILAR: Oh my, God.

HURT: And trying to, and trying to -- and accusing people of being racist (inaudible), simply because they want to enforce.

AGUILAR: Oh my, God.

HURT: The current laws that are on the books.

KELLY: But the problem with the GOP nominee is the GOP --


KELLY: The white voting population is shrinking in the country and the Hispanic population is growing, and the African-American population has been voting overwhelmingly democrat. And so the Republican nominee.


KELLY: Either needs to surge huge with the white voters or needs to do better with the Hispanic voters than Mitt Romney did.

HURT: And as you know Megyn, all the professional policies here like to slice.


HURT: All by, you know, by race and gender. And the one thing that it's been appealing about Donald Trump is that he is sort of blown that up and he just talks to everybody the same way, and it's very offensive sometimes. But at least he's not doing, you know slicing the population by women and race which I find especially offensive.

KELLY: OK, I got to go.

HURT: Thanks, Megyn.

KELLY: I'm just looking at the exit poll the last time around.

HURT: Yeah.

KELLY: All right, great to see you both.

HURT: Thanks.

KELLY: Well, Jeb Bush has gone after Hillary Clinton in a hard-hitting new ad. And up next, Mark Thiessen returns a long with his old pal, Bill Burton on that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And she will be a third term of Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How will you not be a third term of president Obama?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What letter grade that you would give to the administration?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which enemy are you most proud of?

CLINTON: Well, in addition to the NRA, probably the republicans.




KELLY: Well, as the republican rivals go head-to-head, one of the top contenders is instead targeting the democratic frontrunner. Jeb Bush has just released a new ad, targeting the record of democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton.


CLINTON: You should not be paralyzed by the republicans and their constant refrain, big government this and big government that. I know we can afford it because we're going to make the wealthy pay for it.

We cannot afford a republican to succeed Barack Obama as president of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a constitution and the Congress is supposed to make wall, not the president.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Tonight, I'm announcing those actions.

CLINTON: That's why I would go even the executive orders that President Obama has signed when I am president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And she would be a third term of Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How would you not be a third term of President Obama?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What letter grade is you give this administration?

CLINTON: I give him an A.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which enemy are you most proud of?

CLINTON: Well, in addition to the NRA, probably the republicans.



KELLY: Back with us now Marc Thiessen, Fox News contributor, former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush. And Bill Burton, former White House deputy press secretary under President Obama, So thanks for being back. So Bill, let me ask you, as a communications man, is that ad effective? And who is it trying to reach? Who -- to whom might that appeal?

BILL BURTON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA: So, you know, I love Hillary Clinton. I want her to be elected president of the United States. But I have to say, that's a very good add. Like I feel I've been very unimpressed by most of the republican ads, but that was very well done. It's how you produce.

KELLY: What do you like.

BURTON: I like that it does such a good job of communicating with republican primary voters about who Hillary Clinton is and what kind of threat she is to republican values. It's very -- it's well put together. I think that it's not -- obviously, not going to play well in a general election, but that's not the game right now. We're a hundred away -- a hundred days away from Iowa. And that's who Jeb Bush's campaign is trying to communicate with.

KELLY: But what is this about, Marc. He can't, you know, he has failed to really have any home runs on the debate stage or at these townhall meetings. So is this, you know, is this a better medium for Jeb Bush?

MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, he certainly needs it and, look, I mean the problem, what I think he's trying to address here is the fact that Donald Trump's attack on him as being a low energy guy, have really hit home. And with republican voters, the biggest fear that republican voters have is that we're going to nominate another Mitt Romney, who's going to sit there while people like Bill Burton with his super PAC ads attack his record and the republican nominee doesn't fight back. And there is -- so they -- the last thing they want is a low energy guide who's not going to fight back. So what he's trying to do here is communicate to republican voters, and very importantly, to republican donors that he's going to fight back, but he's not going to look and sit back and wait for Hillary to attack and he's going to go after her.

KELLY: Bill, what is the buzz in the democrat's circles now? Do they believe this is over? That Hillary's got them secured on the GOP -- on the dems side obviously, I mean that seems pretty clear. It's according to poll numbers, although, and it could happen. Who knows what the FBI is doing. But did they believe she's got the White House secure?

BURTON: I think people think that Hillary has the inside track to get into the nomination. Bernie Sanders obviously has made a very strong run and now he's getting very tough. You know, as a result to the fact that Hillary has had a couple really good weeks. Bernie is really -- hitting her hard. He's coming out. He's attacking this whole campaign apparatus and becoming a little less disciplined in the way that they're coming after her. But, even so, I think that Hillary is in good shape. But the problem for Jeb Bush is that -- for Hillary Clinton, she went months and months and just tried to stay disciplined. And it takes a long time to get credit for being disciplined. For Jeb Bush, you know, he's been buffeted by Howard -- by Donald Trump and they're going to attack. Am I not going to attack. Now he's attacking. Now he's like, "Oh, attack Hillary Clinton." It's hard for him to seem strong, but it doesn't seem like he has a real strategy that he's sticking with and being effective with.

KELLY: What do you make of it Marc? Because I talked to a lot of republicans who say, "Who is going to do it? Who will emerge?"

THIESSEN: I don't know who will emerge, but I'll tell you, I think Hillary Clinton is probably the weakest nominee we've had in a very long time. I mean, the fact that she like as the other day with the Vas, that problems isn't widespread. You know, 300,000 people according to the VA inspector general were lost their lives while they were waiting on VA lists. She said in that debate -- in her debate. She said (inaudible), she asked what's her biggest enemy that she's most proud of, the republicans. The republicans are her enemy, really not ISIS, not al-Qaeda, not Russia?


KELLY: The VA thinks she tried to walk back today Bill, by saying I just we shouldn't throw out the whole system and privatize it. But on that, you know, one of my top enemies is the republican. That is off-putting to some viewers -- some voters.

BURTON: Well, I mentioned off-putting to a lot of viewers, like every republican viewers probably.

KELLY: And even independents, I would imagine.

BURTON: But at the same time, you know, Hillary Clinton is in politics. She's a partisan democrat fighting for democratic values and, of course, republicans are going to try to.

KELLY: Yeah. They don't think.

BURTON: Fight against her and the fact that.

KELLY: You guys are going back. I'm going to see at midnight. Bill, great to see you, and Marc, you too. Stand by, we will be right back.


KELLY: We have a behind the scenes story on the republican debate tonight. When the candidates were not slamming their opponents, their competitors or what they have deem the lackluster economic growth under the Obama administration. They were very upset about their dressing rooms. Trace Gallagher has that story. Trace?

TRACE GALLAGHER, LOS ANGELES: Megyn, the Coors Events Center has three levels, 37,000 square feet and it seats 11,000. So Rand Paul's campaign was a little disenchanted when he got this seat. In other words, if the Paul campaign said their green room was a toilet, they'd be correct. Chris Christie was also given a rest room for a green room. Christie's aide complained loud and clear, but an adviser for Rand Paul went a step further by tweeting out side by side comparisons beginning with this, quoting, "Guess which green room belongs to Donald Trump and which belongs to Rand Paul." We're told Trump's big screen and big lounge chairs had nothing to do with his big poll numbers. The Paul team then sent a picture of Carly Fiorina's green room with the caption, "Hint, someone has a Jacuzzi." And then one more tweet asking the world to quote, "Check out Marco's theater." Today, the chair of the republican national committee was asked by Martha McCallum about the disparity in digs. Listen.


REINCE PRIEBUS, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: This is an athletic facility. It's not quite a Jacuzzi. It's a locker room. They're doing everything they can to space off places for all the candidates. I think all of it has been resolved.


GALLAGHER: For the record, Carly Fiorina really did get a Jacuzzi, but apparently, this whole matter has been resolved because the Paul campaign later tweeted this picture, thanking the GOP for upgrading their green room. By the way, check out John Kasich's green room. He invited anyone who was bored to come over for a game of horse, and we never got to see Ben Carson's green room, but again, there were no complaints from the Carson campaign either.

KELLY: It's just like when you go to a hotel. If you complain and you, you know, whine about it, they may upgrade you. Trace, thank you. We'll be right back.


KELLY: Tonight, at midnight Eastern Time, a special live edition of "The Kelly File." Don't miss the only place for fair and balance coverage of the GOP debate. Frank Luntz is with us along with this focus group of GOP Iowa voters, Chris Stirewalt, Howard Kurtz, Marc Thiessen, Bill Burton and more. See you then.

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