GOP campaigns to meet and discuss debate reform demands; Huckabee: They tossed us cheese and hoped we'd act like rats

On 'The Kelly File,' Chris Stirewalt, Howard Kurtz weigh in on candidates revolting against RNC, media


This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," October 30, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST, "THE KELLY FILE":  Breaking tonight, dramatic new fallout from a Republican debate that may have marked a turning point for the 2016 Republicans and their relationship with the media.  

Good evening, everyone.  And welcome to "The Kelly File."  I'm Megyn Kelly.  Moments ago, the chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus accused CNBC of a, quote, "betrayal" as he addressed why the RNC in a move that shocked many today has now suspended its participation in an upcoming NBC News debate.  Two nights ago, CNBC debate moderators clashed with the GOP candidates in sometimes hostile exchanges that even liberal media outlets described as a, quote, "train wreck" and quote, "bad day for journalism."  Now, Mr. Priebus is looking down the road at the upcoming debate with parent company NBC and demanding new assurances that next time the candidates will be treated fairly.  Watch.  


REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE:  The truth is, is that we were betrayed.  And I think the candidates were betrayed by CNBC and we need to look out for the candidates in these future debates.  

The questions were argumentative, Patty, put downs in many cases, purposefully pitting candidates against each other.  Everything that they promised not to do.  Everything from the beginning to the end.  And so, look, CNBC is an arm of NBC.  I am not going to allow us to move forward until we communicate with the candidates.  Obviously we had assurances that it was going to be straight up finance which is what they do every day.  And what was delivered was just nothing but a crap sandwich.  


KELLY:  Meantime, the Republican presidential campaigns may be taking matters into their own hands.  Top campaign advisers are meeting in Washington this Sunday but the RNC is not invited to this meeting and now the candidates are taking their complaints public.  


DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I've seen things that are so bad with the press.  They were really asking questions that were bad but what else is new?

MIKE HUCKABEE, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Be ready to hear that the campaigns are going to not allow the networks to control this process.  

DR. BEN CARSON, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I've asked my staff to reach out to the other campaigns to talk about a change in format.  Moderators who are interested in actually getting the facts and not in gotcha questions.  

LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Change of network is not going to matter.  We need a structural change.  So, what I would suggest to the RNC, allow all of us to have a say.  Quit trying to micromanage.  This process has hurt our efforts to win.  


KELLY:  We have a big line-up on all of these tonight.  Republican presidential candidate Governor Mike Huckabee is here.  He'll be at the meeting on Sunday.  Plus, Chris Stirewalt and Howie Kurtz on how the campaigns and the media are handling this controversy.  But we begin with Trace Gallagher with what has unfolded in just the last few hours.  Trace?  

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Megyn, the Republican National Committee and the GOP presidential candidates are both angry at CNBC for the way the debate was handled.  But the candidates aren't exactly pleased with the way the RNC has managed these debates either.  Remember, the RNC partnered with media organizations to set the rules.  And now ten of the campaigns including frontrunners Donald Trump and Ben Carson are holding a meeting on Sunday to talk about improving future debates.  But experts say not inviting the RNC is a fairly big slap in the face.  RNC Chair Reince Priebus is well aware of the anger.  Listen.  


PRIEBUS:  Our job is to stand up for our candidates and so the first thing that has to happen is, talk to the candidates, see what it  is that they want, and what we need to advocate for.  So that's the first step.  I mean, it's all about, obviously, putting the candidates in the best light possible so communicating with them is always first.  


GALLAGHER:  And while Priebus defends his backside, he's attacking on the front side going after NBC News for what he calls CNBC's betrayal.  In a letter to NBC News President Andrew Lack, Priebus writes, quote, "While debates are meant to include tough questions and contrast candidate's visions and policies for the future of America, CNBC's moderators engaged in a series of gotcha questions, petty and mean spirited in tone and designed to embarrass our candidates."  Priebus did not mention the downright silly questions but the candidates did.  Watch.  


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Wait a second.  We have $19 trillion in debt.  We have people out of work.  We have ISIS and al Qaeda attacking us and we're talking about fantasy football?


GALLAGHER:  NBC News maintains it had no editorial control over the CNBC debate and then reminded the RNC exactly who they're planning to leave at the altar writing, quote, "This is a disappointing development.  However, along with our debate broadcast partners at Telemundo, we will work in good faith to resolve this matter with the Republican Party."  Telemundo is America's second largest commercial Spanish language network, a voting bloc many GOP presidential candidates would love to reach -- Megyn.  

KELLY:  Trace, thank you.  

Joining me with more, Chris Stirewalt, our Fox News digital politics editor and Howie Kurtz who's the host of "MediaBuzz" right here on FNC.  

Welcome to you both.  So, I mean, they're saying that they're not going to do the NBC debate, and now they're having some meeting without the RNC present.  What are they actually trying to accomplish here, Chris?

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS DIGITAL POLITICS EDITOR:  Well, it's not clear at this exact moment which campaigns will be participating in this meeting and which ones won't.  Because remember, they all have a different set of interests.  If you are Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, had an awesome debate, you want more debates.  And you don't care if the questions are hot garbage or not.  Because you just want to get up there and kill them, and that's good.  And that's what you want.  If you are Donald Trump, if you are Ben Carson and you're in the lead, debates and especially tough rough and tumble debates, that's not what you want.  If you're Jeb Bush, my God!  The thought of a debate stage must be a terrifying image.  

KELLY:  But he's not reportedly going to this meeting.  When I say he -- I mean --  

STIREWALT:  I wouldn't think.  But that's my point.  Trying to get this herd of cats together so that they have an agreed point of view on what exactly they want out of the subsequent debates is not going to be easy.  

KELLY:  Okay.  Now, I'm just getting an update that they are planning on going.  So, they may have reversed themselves on that.  

Howie, how much of this anger by Reince Priebus is real and how much of it is for affect?

HOWIE KURTZ, HOST, "MEDIABUZZ":  It's a calculated tantrum by rights Priebus.  Which is not to say that he's not genuinely and understandably ticked off at the train wreck debate at CNBC.  But here's what's going on.  I'm told that what Reince and the RNC wants is for NBC to gravel a little bit.  Because Reince Priebus is under criticism from his own party and his own base for greenlighting that debate, in the first place, and then after a couple of meetings, the little wine, mwah, they kiss and make up.  I think the NBC debate will take place, and he's also working the refs.  

KELLY:  So, that's that about, Howie?  I mean, is this really an attempt to get NBC News to soften up its questioning on their debate, and is that appropriate?

KURTZ:  It is certainly not hard to imagine that if it's NBC debate comes off in February as I believe it will, that the moderators might be a little more respectful, a little more cautious --  

KELLY:  Respectful --  

KURTZ:  For fear of offending the GOP and for fear of being the subject of these attacks on the media which play very well with the Republican audience.  And also on other networks have got to be taking note of this.  Because bashing the media, especially whenever you do such a bad job as CNBC did, can hurt all of us.  

KELLY:  What about the anger at Reince Priebus and the RNC, Chris?  This notion that Reince Priebus has any role in what we do as a moderator is a bunch of nonsense.  Can I tell you, I never heard from Reince Priebus.  He never saw a question, he never weight in on a question.  And when he tried to mess with who the moderators would be by saying, everyone has to have a conservative pundit on their panel, our boss said, no.  

STIREWALT:  I have no idea what other networks do.  I have no idea whether or not what input the RNC had on theirs.  Over here, what we do is good debates.  That's what we do.  We do, if I may say, the best debates.  We did the best debates last cycle.  We'll going to do the best debates this cycle.  We'll going to invite the candidates to come.  We hope that they come.  The relationship that the RNC has is to say, if you go to a debate that's not sanctioned the candidate, we will dock you delegates at the convention.  That is where their influence on the process begins and ends it with the candidates and their own party.   

KELLY:  So, why are people pretending that Reince Priebus he had all the power to stop this?  I guess they didn't think he should have sanctioned the CNBC debate at all?

STIREWALT:  Well --  

KURTZ:  Sorry, Chris, go ahead.

STIREWALT:  Oh, no.  Go ahead, Eric.

KELLY:  Go ahead, Howie.  

KURTZ:  It's one thing for the campaign or the RNC to negotiate with the networks about whether there will be two or three hours or even whether there will be opening statements.  They have no business whatsoever getting into the scope or the questions, the kind of questions, the tone of questions.  And if this keeps up on the behalf of the candidates, they might run the risk of sounding a little whiny about taking some tough questions from journalists which is not to defend what went on during those hours at CNBC.  

KELLY:  Right now they're saying we might have the debate still with National Review.  So, the debate goes forward but just with National Review?  What about Telemundo, Chris?  Does, you know, does NBC have a point, even though it hasn't been explicit that cancel on us, and you cancel on Telemundo, you'll going to hurt yourself, Republicans.  

STIREWALT: -- that they are because they're Republicans.  The implicit threat is that you will be even more racist than NBC News has previously intimated that you are and we'll have the proof.  


STIREWALT:  Exactly.  We looked it up and you're ten times more racist than previously imagined.  And that is the implicit threat there.  I think Howie is right.  I think in the end NBC News is going to end up doing the debate.  I think this is effective outrage rightfully generated but effective outrage that they will use to say, you guys better tighten this up and not have some --  

KELLY: -- control CNBC though.  Andy Lack does not control CNBC.  A different guy does.  

STIREWALT:  Yes.  But if you have a barge pole that you can poke them with if you have anything that is a legitimate point of outrage so that you can say, we don't want you to resurrect Keith Olbermann to come in for respective line of questions about how terrible everybody is or whatever.  Then maybe it's a factor.

KELLY:  When you kind of like to think Ted Cruz versus Keith Olbermann, I'll be honest.  Would you like to see that?

STIREWALT:  Yes, I would.  Yes, I would.  

KELLY:  I might watch that.

STIREWALT:  Pay-per-view.  Yes.

KELLY:  Good to see you both.  

KURTZ:  Good to see you.

KELLY:  So, as we mentioned, while the RNC seems to be taking some sort of action, the candidates are pointing something of their own.  And when we come back, we will ask Governor Mike Huckabee about what's going on with this big and very unusual weekend meeting between a number of the top campaigns.  That's next.  


HUCKABEE:  But I don't believe the government ought to wear a team jersey, pick winners and losers.  The government ought to wear striped shirt and just make through the game has played fairly.  Now everybody else's has pledge their time and gone over.  So, please don't cut me off too quick, Becky.  

BECKY QUICK, CNBC ANCHOR:  All right, Governor --   

HUCKABEE:  Let me just close it up --   

QUICK:  How about 50 more seconds?  



JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC ANCHOR:  Leading Republican candidate, when you look at the average of national polls right now is Donald Trump.  When you look at him do you see someone with the moral authority to unite the country?


HUCKABEE:  You know --  


KELLY:  Well, that was a question to Republican presidential candidate Governor Mike Huckabee on Wednesday night clearly aimed at getting him to take a shot at Donald Trump, something the Governor he declined to do.  Now, the Huckabee campaign is joining several other campaigns for a private meeting this Sunday as some of the GOP fields try to figure out the best way forward.  Governor Mike Huckabee is my guest now.  Governor, great to see you.  So, it's not you.  It's your campaign.  But what is the purpose of this meeting on Sunday?

HUCKABEE:  You know, one of the things that CNBC has done is something nobody else has been able to do.  They actually brought all of the Republican candidates for president together in a level of camaraderie that we have not have up until now.  

KELLY:  Uh-hm.

HUCKABEE:  And so, I guess we should thank them for that.  But the point of the meeting is so that the campaigns can really -- if necessary take control of the process.  And the reason is, is because, look, we take this seriously because we're running for president.  We don't want to be just elements of somebody's game show or their entertainment venue so that they can drive up their ratings, beat up on revenues and do it at the expense of the Republican voters who want a series discussion of issues.  

KELLY:  But how is --   


Let's say you could go back to CNBC prior to this last debate, and insist on certain things.  You know, what would they be that would ensure a better outcome?

HUCKABEE:  The two things that they absolutely promised would happen.  And this is why we were upset.  Number one they said that it would focus on the economy, it would focus on financial issues, it would be a substantive debate about the things that we're in there -- which was business.  The economic attacks policy, regulation, our trade policies, healthcare cost.  That was number one.  Number two, they said that they had these algorithms and it was going to very carefully monitor who had time, who needed more time, how many questions were being asked of each candidate.  I got three questions the whole night.  Several candidates got more than three times that many questions.  Some people, they enforced the rules on.  Others they just let them go, roll all over the clock.  They completely lost control.  

KELLY:  Have you had any -- from CNBC on that last point?  Because that's something you can say, give us your data on how much time you got --  

HUCKABEE:  No, absolutely not.

KELLY: -- and you tell us whether you lived up to that promise.  

HUCKABEE:  They know they didn't.  But no, they haven't said anything.  They never apologized.  And we even had technical issues.  I was on one end of the stage, I could not hear what was going on the other end of the stage.  But here's the big thing, we can handle tough questions.  My gosh, we're running for president.  Throw your best shot at me but don't ask me to comment about the character of another presidential candidate.  If you want to talk about my character and challenge me, fair game.  

KELLY:  Uh-hm.

HUCKABEE:  If you want to ask me about my policies, fair game, but the worst information you will ever get about another candidate is going to come from me.  I'm never going to paint that candidate the best light.  And the worst information you're ever going to get about me is from some other candidate on the stage.  So challenge me.  Take me on.  

KELLY:  I know that the Republicans, many of them are unhappy with the RNC.  And I'm not here to defend the RNC, I don't care about the RNC or the DNC for that matter.  But I'm wondering whether they really are to blame.  Because he doesn't have control over the moderators.  You know, as I just said with Stirewalt, Reince Priebus doesn't control what I asked or anybody else asks.  So, it's sort of -- was it a mistake to trust CNBC?  It's a legitimate news outlet.  I mean, I think everyone was surprised by the tone, maybe not everybody, but many people were surprised by the tone adopted.  

HUCKABEE:  Well, I don't personally blame the RNC as much as I do CNBC.  The only thing the RNC perhaps failed in is that they didn't enforce the rules that they agreed with with CNBC to have -- I don't know what they could have done short of having Reince walked out on the stage in the middle of the debate and say, folks, we're done here.  Let's all --   

KELLY:  That would have been dramatic.  

HUCKABEE:  You know, I realized, that would have been.  And, you know, to be honest with you, there were couple of times that I thought about it.  I mean, they were tossing us cheese and hoping that we would act like rats all night long.  And I think that a lot of us realize that's not why we're here.  We're here to honestly talk to Republican voters.  This is not just an entertainment venue.  This is the serious business of selecting a Republican nominee.  

KELLY:  What about that threat about the Telemundo?  

HUCKABEE:  We failed to talk about the issues.  

KELLY:  Hispanic voters are important to the GOP.  So, does that hurt you if you don't go forward with that debate?

HUCKABEE:  It doesn't mean that we can't have a debate, it doesn't mean that we can't have a debate with Telemundo or Univision or anybody else we want to.  It maybe that the candidates decide that we're going to band together and we'll contract as a group of candidates directly with networks and we'll have it clearly spell out.  Look, one way that this could be handled is to say, look, everybody is going to get a certain amount of time in the course of the debate.  And if you use all your time up in the first answer, then you're done.  

KELLY:  That's interesting.  

HUCKABEE:  I mean, here's the thing.  Well, wouldn't that be better than having some people who just jump all over --  

KELLY:  I have to ask you something quickly before you go.  


KELLY:  In your proposal would one candidate have a veto right over anyone proposed moderator?

HUCKABEE:  Honestly, I don't care who the moderators are.  You know, I really don't.  Because I just care that the questions are substantive and that the time is equally allocated so that some of us are not relegated to the back of the bus.  And we don't even have an opportunity to be heard by the voters.  I think that's what most campaigns are looking for is some honest, tough debate.  We need it.  We ought to have it.  We should expect nothing less, but there ought to be at least a semblance that this is a serious issue focused debate, not a bunch of nonsense about fantasy football and do I think Donald Trump is a good guy.  

KELLY:  Uh-hm.

HUCKABEE:  Because, you know, to be honest with you, look, as Donald Trump, his relationship with his kids.  He has got character because he's got adult kids who clearly turned out pretty well.  That's the best evidence of his character.  

KELLY:  That's an excellent testimony to him.  That is for sure.  No problems, no drugs, no issues.  And they all seem to love him a lot and vice versa.  


KELLY:  Governor Huckabee, not just to be heard by the voters but to be heard by your fellow candidates.  A piece of news broke tonight that you couldn't even hear down the stage.  That must have been disconcerting.  Great to see you, as always.  

HUCKABEE:  Thank you.  Good to be with you, Megyn.  

KELLY:  All the best.  By the way, the next GOP primary debate is now just 11 days away and this time it will be on the Fox Business Network Tuesday, November 10th.  The happy hour debate, really?  Are we officially calling it that?  I thought we were calling it undercard.  In any event, the first one with the polls, you know, the candidates who are not polling that well starts at 6:00 p.m.  It will be moderated by Trish Regan and Sandra Smith.  And then at 9:00 in primetime, FBN's Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo get to ask the tough questions to the top tier candidates.  To find out what channel, FBN is on.  FBN is on in your area.  You log on to  You got to figure it out before the 10th because you got to see this.   

Also tonight, as soon as Marco Rubio started winning high marks for Wednesday's debate, someone released a storm of opposition research.  And Rich Lowry is next on how hard that wind is likely to blow.  Oh, look at him.  Hi!


MARCO RUBIO, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  You know how many votes John McCain missed when he was carrying out that furious comeback that you're now modeling after?


RUBIO:  No, Jeb, I don't remember -- well, let me tell you.  I don't remember you ever complaining about John McCain's vote record.  The only reason why you're doing it now is because we're running for the same position, and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you.




RUBIO:  It's going to be about the future of the America.  It's not going to be about attacking anyone else on the stage.  I'm not running against Governor Bush, I'm not running against anyone on the stage.  I'm running for president because there is no way we can elect Hillary Clinton to continue the policies of Barack Obama.  


KELLY:  Well, there is some good news breaking tonight.  Just moments ago for Senator Marco Rubio, as we learned that one of the wealthiest and most influential Republican donors in the country, a guy by the name of Paul Singer is now throwing his support to Rubio after Wednesday night's debate.  This man had been courted by many of the Republicans and Rubio turns out to be the victor with him.  But at the same time, Rubio is seeing a surge of fund raising, he's also seeing a surge in attacks from what's described as a storm of opposition research.  

Joining me now, National Review editor and Fox News contributor Rich Lowry.  So, it's not just from the Democrats but they're targeting him.  But so is Jeb Bush.  

RICH LOWRY, NATIONAL REVIEW EDITOR:  You know, the Bush campaign is bragging about they have an APO file so big on Marco Rubio.  There's no file cabinet basically that can contain it.  And if this memo that was leaked, 112 page memo, strategy memo from the Bush campaign is any indication, there's nothing new.  This stuff that has been chewed over since Marco Rubio ran for Senate for the first time against Charlie Crist.  And Crist used a lot of this material.  Now maybe there's fresh staff lurking out there, they say, you really don't know a candidate until he runs for president.  So, maybe we'll learn more about Marco Rubio.  But if this is all there is, it's very likely to be --  

KELLY:  How can you square, you know, leaked APO research from Jeb Bush on Marco Rubio, in light of all the nice complementary things Jeb Bush has said about Marco Rubio, including that he was ready to be vice president a few years ago.  

LOWRY:  Yes.  That's a big contradiction for Jeb Bush.  He endorsed him for Senate.  Fought for him in the Senate -- to become senator.  And then also wanted him to be VP.  

KELLY:  Right.

LOWRY:  So, if there are all these disqualifying things and that's the rumors you hear around Bush world, why wasn't Jeb aware of it?  

KELLY:  Okay.  But now putting aside the tactic and difficulty of Jeb raising that because they leaked it.  I'm sure that's why this was leaked, most people weren't paying attention to Marco Rubio.  So, while it may be old news to people like you, you know, Marge sitting at home tonight maybe saying, where did they go?  What?  Tell me what it is.  And so, what it appears to be is Marco is a risky bet.  This is how they're going to go.  He has no accomplishments which negate the hit against Hillary Clinton.  His tomorrow versus yesterday argument will be ridiculed by the media while he ran against the first woman president.  His misuse of state party credit cards and taxpayer funds according to -- and he's tied to some scandal ridden congressman.  You know, we're pretty deep in the weeds here but could they do something with that?  Might this resonate with people?  

LOWRY:  Well, they'll try.  And a number of these things Rubio is going to have to play defense on.  But as we saw in that debate, he's quite adept at playing defense and making it a positive into himself.  The credit card thing has been out there for a long time, appears to be just sloppiness, not corruption.  

KELLY:  How about this one?  This last one is those who have looked into Marco's background in the past have been concerned with what they have found.  I also have heard that from Republicans who have spent time with Rubio prior to his run for president.  I don't know whether it's true or not but that is something that has been circulated.  

LOWRY:  It's a little slimy unless you're going to tell us what it is.  And what the Rubio people will say, Charlie Crist wanted to kill us and did a bunch of APO on us.  The National Senate Republican Committee was against us when we first ran.  They did a lot of APO and wanted to kill us.  The Democrat in that race did APO and wanted to kill us.  And Mitt Romney looked at us for Vice President of the United States and did an extensive vetting, as you can do.  

Plus, we've spent a lot of time and money doing all the vetting internally ourselves, and they're confident there's nothing new.

KELLY:  There's nothing new.

LOWRY:  Maybe they're wrong.  

KELLY:  How about -- in other news, Chris Christie got hit by The New York Times today, the editorial board which said, after he had what many conservatives to be a good debate, the headline was Governor Christie, it's time to go home.  That's an interesting message given what we saw on Wednesday night.  

LOWRY:  Yes.  The timing is very odd, and if he was a Democrat, he'd be shutting off the lights right now.  This would be a major crisis for his campaign.  No one in the GOP cares.  In fact, he did fundraising email on this.  And yes, his polls are low.  He's not raising a lot of money.  But he figures, look, this race has been very unexpected to this point.  There's more plot twists to come.  An entire structure the thing might change if Jeb Bush really hits the wall which seems more likely that it did obviously two or three months ago.  

KELLY:  It's like game of thrones.  Everyone is waiting for their competitor to be taken out.  You know?  

LOWRY:  Exactly.

KELLY:  And then they're worried that mother of dragons might wound up winning the whole thing.  

LOWRY:  This is why we love politics.  

KELLY:  With all due respect to Chelsea, I didn't mean to compare it to a dragon.  Just so you know, I want to say.  


Rich, it's great to see you.  

LOWRY:  You said it.

KELLY:  I call myself mother of dragon sometimes because I have three little kids and you know, sometimes.  

Also tonight, can you guess which major media outlet and we do mean major encouraged people to weigh in on, quote, "The most ridiculous things said in Wednesday night's Republican debate?"  The answer and the fallout when Meghan McCain and Eboni Williams join us next.  


SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  When people ask me whose fault is it?  Whose fault is it that Medicare is broken, out of money, that Social Security is broken, out of money?  And I say, look, it's not Republicans' fault, it's not Democrats' fault.  It's your grandparent's fault for having too many dam kids.  



KELLY:  So, before the break we asked if you can guess which major media outlet, and we mean major, encouraged people to post comments on, quote, "Who made the most ridiculous comment in the Republican debate."

And if you guessed The New York Times, you win. Congratulations. The New York Times blog taking note urged readers to explain why they were so upset with Republican ideas. Now for extra credit, guess what did the Times ask readers to weigh in on the most ridiculous comments during the Democratic debate.

Meghan McCain is a Fox News contributor and a host of American Now radio, Eboni Williams is a Fox News contributor. And shockingly, the Times did not solicit such comments in response to the Democratic debate.

And what it appears moreover is that they wanted to know the most ridiculous comment in the GOP debate before -- before the debate even began. They posted it about an hour prior to the Republican even speaking. But they just knew they were going to say in same stuff, Meghan.

MEGHAN MCCAIN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  Yes. A really old nickname that I've had since the campaign days for The New York Times is the New York slimes. Now conservative should ever trust the New York Times ever. It doesn't surprise me at all.

What's interesting about the CNBC debate is it's illuminated for a lot of people to the fact that the liberal media bias is very real. It exists and it's a much tougher field for any Republican running for anything in this country, but especially for president because you're up against a real media bias. And this is just living proof of that.

KELLY:  They say when they asked people to post their comments, Eboni, they say the candidates are bound to say a few things that are absurd, laughable, or bizarre. And then that's true in every presidential campaign.

However, they didn't feel it necessary to point out the absurd or laughable comments we heard.


KELLY:  In the debate, do you believe that this is evidence of bias?

WILLIAMS:  I also thinks, you, guys, are giving Hillary too much credit for likability point. No. I actually think it's boring on the left. I think that's why there's really no entertainment value. There's nothing inch of thing over there...


KELLY:  So, looking for absurdity. They're looking for absurdity.

WILLIAMS:  It was so boring.

MCCAIN:  There was so much absurdity in that debate.

WILLIAMS:  It was so boring. I don't think I saw anything there that was absurd.

MCCAIN:  In fact that they were not America..

WILLIAMS:  Sorry. I just think it was nothing there. And I think that...


MCCAIN:  Anyway...

WILLIAMS:  Is there any absurd moments of the Dem debate like I voted them because that's what I said about my dad?

KELLY:  Well, that was ridiculous. That was ridiculous.

MCCAIN:  The fact that Republicans are the enemy equated with Iranians. My favorite with this New York Times thing is what crazy things are Republicans going to stay? Women are prolife in this country like that's their impression. Like any conservative value is automatically a crazy one.

WILLIAMS:  Well, I will say this. I think it just totally undermines their credibility. They're supposed to be an objective, as you said, Megyn, real legitimate news source. And when you do something like that on the front and no less...


WILLIAMS:  ... before it even get started, it totally undermines their credibility.

KELLY:  Now what about CNBC? Because they took a hit obviously, with the moderation of the debate. But then, within like, 14 hours, of them doing the debate and taking criticism on the debate, they post this. "Are you smarter than on a GOP candidate," on their web site.

And the article is entitled "College level speaking not required at the GOP debates." They talk about how the one thing at that GOP debate that was not a big surprise, no one spoke above a high school level.

MCCAIN:  Really? Also, maybe people don't want to be lectured to by erudite Harvard professors. Maybe some of these people are resonating because their message is actually -- actually accessible to the average American.

KELLY:  Right.

MCCAIN:  This is just crap people say and I hope I can say that on your show.

KELLY:  There you go.


WILLIAMS:  This was like a cheap shot honestly. It was just so despicable on their part. That debate was a disaster.


WILLIAMS:  And what do you do, you pivot and try to blame it on the candidates. I was really disappointed at CNBC but to a lesser extent also NBC. The lag the correlation is going to be there and it looks bad on the whole thing.

KELLY:  They're already being blamed even though they don't -- technically, CNBC is under different management.

WILLIAMS:  Technically, yes.

KELLY:  But the thing is, you know, on the -- speaking at, you know, you're only speaking at an elementary school level. But the truth is, this is what a lot of people on -- in the truly avowed left wing media don't understand.


KELLY:  It is not to your benefit to try to be so sanctimonious and smug in your intelligence and your degrees. It is better if you can speak in a way that everyone understands and doesn't have to work hard to figure out.


MCCAIN:  And it isn't what inspires people either...

KELLY:  Of course.

MCCAIN:  ... it's going in and acting like you're to have an Ivy league lecture talking to Americans about real American problems, real American values, I'm telling you, that's what works.

KELLY:  If I had wanted that, I would have gone to an Ivy League school. Oh, my God, that's wasn't the reason I did well. I don't see how you win.


WILLIAMS:  What's interesting is Obama got criticized for this very thing. He was the Ivory tower candidate and he was railed for it. So, I really don't see like how you win. What's the correct grade level in which to speak to America. Come on.

MCCAIN:  This really doesn't exist, yes.

KELLY:  I think, I mean, what we've seen, what we've seen this week, you tell me is media bias is not always right in your face, like...


KELLY:  ... aren't you a terrible man because you're a Republican. Sometimes it's more subtle like the fact that they do this for the Republicans but they don't do it for the Dems. And the tone of some of the questions that we heard last week.


WILLIAMS:  What tone was that?

MCCAIN:  It was the actual questions.

WILLIAMS:  Yes. This is the tone to me was outrageous and it was like they came with a chip on their shoulder before it started.

KELLY:  Even you think that as a Democrat.


WILLIAMS:  I think that was -- a 100 percent. And I'll tell you this, many -- well, I'm an independent. But many on the far left were completely outraged as well.


WILLIAMS:  It didn't bode well for the left, it didn't bode well for CNBC, and it really -- well, to me, an opportunity for the GOP to look like the heroes of the night. Absolutely.

KELLY:  Can you imagine if they ended hands clasped. Good to see you

MCCCAIN:  Thank you.

KELLY:  Well, on Wednesday, Marco Rubio suggested that Hillary Clinton lied about Benghazi and the media critics have been hammering him ever since.

Greg Gutfeld and Allen Combs are next. I want to see this.


RUBIO:  The Democrats have the ultimate super PAC. It's called the mainstream media who every single day...





RUBIO:  Now the Democrats have the ultimate super PAC. It's called the mainstream media.


RUBIO:  Who, every single day -- and I'll tell you why. Last week, Hillary Clinton went before a committee. She admitted she sent e-mails to her family saying, hey, this attack in Benghazi was caused by Al Qaeda-like elements.

She spent over a week telling the families of those victims and the American people that because of a video -- and yet, the mainstream is going around saying it was the greatest week in Hillary Clinton's campaign.

It was the week she got exposed as a liar. It was the week she got exposed as a liar.


RUBIO:  But she has her super PAC helping her out, the American mainstream media.


KELLY:  Well, that was presidential candidate, Marco Rubio at this week's debate. And now he is the one coming under fire for that attack for saying that Hillary Clinton lied about the cause of the Benghazi terror attack.

The Washington Post giving reviews claims two Pinocchio. This program has reported how e-mails show that Mrs. Clinton said one thing in public and another in private about Benghazi, yet, many in the media ignored that news from last week's Benghazi hearing. Instead, their reaction was more like this.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST:  We're thrilled it's Friday but does Hillary Clinton want the week to end, the week that could mark one if not the best of her presidential campaign.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST:  I tweeted out while this was in progress, the longer she sits there, the better it is for her.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MCNBC ANCHOR:  Hillary Clinton and congressional Republicans and Democrats fought all day yesterday, in Benghazi hearings that could only be seen at least in terms of theatrics as a TKO for Hillary Clinton. It wasn't even close call.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR:  I said she was going to make monkeys out of them. It was predictable and she did.


KELLY:  Alan Colmes is the host of The Alan Colmes show. Greg Gutfeld is co-host of "The Five" and the author of the brand new book "How to be Right, the Art of Being Persuasively Correct," which we will speak in just about a few minutes.

But we begin with Rubio versus Clinton. Good to see you both.


KELLY:  So, it's interesting that Kessler comes out and decides -- as Washington Post decides to fact check this because it wasn't long ago that The Washington Post in the same person gave Susan Rice two Pinocchio's for her claims about whether the Benghazi attack was preplanned or not. Greg, your thoughts.

GUTFELD:  Well, look, the media has always been the left scandal condom. It keeps Hillary from being impregnated with scandal.

KELLY:  You say the condom?

GUTFELD:  Yes, I did.

KELLY:  Impregnated?

GUTFELD:  This was a great thing for Marco Rubio. Because he pulled himself out of the pack and he created this duopoly. Now he is on the same level as Hillary, and he is human and she is basically like a reanimated doll from a Japanese horror film from the 197s.

KELLY:  So, you like her?

GUTFELD:  I love Hillary. Hillary scares me but Marco is human. He's powerful. This is a good choice. And he was right to finally step up. He did with Mitch should have done to Obama in the debate. Remember about Benghazi when he drop it?

KELLY:  That's the thing. Is that it's been such a huge debate about whether, you know, what they knew and when they knew it, and why not, Alan, is he not entitled to his opinion that she lied which millions of Americans have to know as well.

ALAN COLMES, THE ALAN COLMES SHOW HOST:  Lie has to be -- it's a cheap applause line.

KELLY:  It's his opinion.

COLMES:  Well, it's his opinion but it's not true. A lie has to be a willful source of.


KELLY:  So that says, even Glenn Kessler couldn't prove that it wasn't true.

COLMES:  Well, he actually did.

KELLY:  That was -- no. His issue was the intelligence in his view was confusing.

COLMES:  But what he did...

KELLY:  ... that you couldn't prove -- prove that it was a lie.

COLMES:  What he did was he quoted a number of sources that show, there was a lot of changes. When Marco Rubio said that the CIA did not change their story. It did change the story over a few days. He was not telling the truth about that. Can I call him a liar because he didn't say what he knew to be true about what the CIA knew and didn't knew and when they knew it.


KELLY:  How does Kessler say that this is some settled matter, such that Rubio can get the two Pinocchio's when the same guy went back and said Susan Rice's claims about this not being a pre-planned attack deserve two Pinocchios.

GUTFELD:  The big lie and the thing that should make her incapable of being Commander-in-Chief is she lied to grieving parents. She told her daughter -- she told her daughter the night before there was a terror attack...


KELLY:  And not just her daughter. The Egyptian Prime Minister.


KELLY:  Let's put it on the board just to people knows what we're talking about. This is what she did on 9/11. She said "We know -- we know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack."


KELLY:  "It was not a protest." Go ahead.

GUTFELD:  No. And that's -- I mean, she knew she lied to them and she lied to the American people. And why? To save her hide. She didn't want to get tarred but this and also she wanted to protect President Obama because he was up for election.

She also lied -- she lied about these e-mails as well. She lied about Blumenthal. She lied about e-mails, her husband lies about females. They're all liars.

KELLY:  Oh, rhyming.

COLMES:  It's disturbing. Everybody lied. You can see that Marco Rubio lied during the debate. he lied about his finances. He said it's been discredited. It's not been discredited.


KELLY:  We fact check him on that last night.

COLMES:  He's not been discredited. So, you want to call Marco, you're just calling someone a liar is cheap. It's a very cheap way of trying to go after your opponents.

GUTFELD:  You're such a higher.

COLMES:  It is not -- well, that's true.


GUTFELD:  You can agree with me on that. Finally, we agree with something.

KELLY:  You know what, I think that Rubio was trying to give voice to the frustration many people feel in the country agree and many Republicans. But he's speaking the Republican nomination.



KELLY:  That she has not been forth coming in Benghazi. Do you believe she has been fully forth coming on it?

COLMES:  Yes. She's -- well, how many times, 11 hours. How many times has she testified? How many hours she testified? And the optics were terrible for Republicans. In fact, now she's saying, please, let me testify again. It's going to help her campaign.

GUTFELD:  The optics weren't exactly great for her. She looked like she was undergoing a procedure. She definitely the whole time like...


KELLY:  That's probably how she felt.

GUTFELD:  Yes, exactly. By the way, don't knock it. Everybody should -- everybody should get some kind of procedure. Especially when you're over 50.

COLMES:  I think I'm having one now.

GUTFELD:  Well, you're getting screwed.

KELLY:  I disagree with that.

COLMES:  This is not a happy ending.

KELLY:  But here's my question for you. Here's my -- wow. You advance for that. Here's my question for you.


KELLY:  If the Republicans continue to hammer her on this...


KELLY:  ... if Rubio decides to make this his cause or one of his causes when he hits Hillary -- Benghazi, does he risk alienating those people who are in the middle of the independents who have moved up from Benghazi and don't want to hear any more about it?

GUTFELD:  Yes, I think it helps him the same way that the debate helps all Republicans. The media is a great target. Because the media always makes Republicans and conservatives targets. It's always refreshing to turn it on them and go after her, and go after the media.

KELLY:  Did you think the CNBC debate was fair?


KELLY:  Yes?

COLMES:  I thought it was fair. They were good questions, they were direct, and in fact, they actually hit people in the most vulnerable parts which exactly what they aim to do.

KELLY:  No problem with the tone or anything?

COLMES:  No, not at all. I'm one of the few people who thinks it was actually a well done debate.

GUTFELD:  Yes. You're asking Alan Colmes about tone.

COLMES:  What? You got -- you got a problem with that, pal?

GUTFELD:  She was asking me about temperance.

KELLY:  You thought the comic book line was OK, that was fine about you?

COLMES:  You know, it's one part of a much larger debate. You want to pull that up and extract and say, this is one that you're cherry picking to say, oh, it's a terrible debate because I question with this...


KELLY:  How about the Carl Quintanilla question to Ben Carson was basically, you don't like gays ever, so why are you serving in this...

COLMES:  One thing it's important to add is you know what, to have Donald Trump say we should have only Republican moderators. Yes, let's have Rush Limbaugh ask all the questions.


KELLY:  That's what Ted Cruz wants, too.

COLMES:  That's exactly what they want. That's absurd. If they -- they sharpen their skills by having the most difficult questions. There is people going to have to go up against the other side in the general election

KELLY:  So, what's going to happen to poor Hillary? What's going to poor Hillary they are only get a few more debates and they're dropping like lies, when you're debating I don't even know.


COLMES:  She's already been up against. She spent 11 hours debating in front of the Benghazi panel. That was fine.

GUTFELD:  That was not a debate. She was half asleep. You know, I believe and no jab against you, Megyn, I would like to see a debate without moderators. Put at a table by themselves. Three tables, five, five, five, and let them sit there and you throw topics at them.

KELLY:  I think there should be a buzzer if you do that.

GUTFELD:  Yes, a buzzer.

KELLY:  It needs at least a buzzer.

GUTFELD:  A shock buzzer.

KELLY:  What a...

GUTFELD:  A shock collar.

KELLY:  I don't know what is it other network having against the buzzer.


KELLY:  It is the moderator's best friend. Would you rely on the buzzer for the love of them?

GUTFELD:  You know, the buzzer it takes the -- it takes the responsibility off of it.

KELLY:  Every minute you talk about this man we don't talk about your book.

GUTFELD:  That's true.

KELLY:  I got to go right now.

COLMES:  They'll agree on the buzzer.

KELLY:  All right. Greg Gutfeld is sticking around because he notice how to win on argument with someone who lean left. Did you just do it here?

GUTFELD:  Yes. I've never heard that.

KELLY:  You tell me at He's got all of the tips you might need at Thanksgiving, next.


KELLY:  You bet. Greg Gutfeld has a new book out this week and he starts his book tour on Sunday. Wouldn't you like to see that? He's written two New York Times best sellers. And now, this one. "How to be Right. The Art to Being Persuasively Correct," is a guide to arguing and arguing well. He is co-host of The Five. He is back with us. Why, why did you write this?

GUTFELD:  Because I realized that the left are really, really good at selling bad ideas and the right is horrible at selling great ideas. Right now we have a socialist that is running for president.

Bernie Sanders and everybody thinks it's kind of cute and fuzzy and romantic because no one can articulate how great capitalism has been for this world.

KELLY:  Why is that? Why is that?

GUTFELD:  I guess it's because we've become comfortable with its success and we don't know how to actually explain it. This book is designed to explain it.

KELLY:  Who was the person, who was the Elizabeth Warren of the right? Because the Dems love her because she gives voice to liberal principles in the way people find very persuasive on the left. Does the right have anybody like that?

GUTFELD:  Running for office?

KELLY:  Yes.

GUTFELD:  You know what, I would say the closest might be Marco Rubio because he can articulate it without jargon and I think also, in some ways, any candidate that gets rid of political jargon will do well.

KELLY:  Oh, but then he gets mocked for speaking like a fifth grader.

GUTFELD:  Yes, exactly. But the thing is like, for example, Trump does speak in certain clichés but they're not political ones so that's kind of refreshing. you don't hear the same stuff from him.

I compare Trump to a traveling musical act that everybody likes that plays the hits. China, up next. China. And then, but then he improvises. He's like a guy that plays guitar. He never knows what he's going to play next. He's like the grateful dead. People like that because you never know what they are going to do.

KELLY:  So, you like humor, that's the other thing I know about you, right?

GUTFELD:  Humor is important.

KELLY:  And you also like mentioning your mother to win an argument?

GUTFELD:  Well, no. I use my...

KELLY:  Is that Rubio did that at the debate the other night.

GUTFELD:  I used my mother -- I used my late mother in a way -- when I write -- when I try to something, I try to imagine explaining something to her so that she understands it.

Like when I work at men's health and I had to write about coronary stents, I would think, how do I explain this to my mother? Then I go, well, her drink has a straw, her vita has a straw, when an olive gets stuck in that straw, it clogs it up, and a coronary stent is you put it in there and you get rid of the arm. And she said, I understand it.

KELLY:  What's the number one thing people need to know about the book, why they should buy it?

GUTFELD:  It's about losing your anger and fighting with humor. You have to remember that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert bought their second and third houses off of conservative anger. We have to be them. We have to learn from and have fun and enjoy it and also come prepared. Because we -- the right has the targets on their back.

KELLY:  There we go. "How to be Right".

GUTFELD:  There you go.

KELLY:  We'll be right back.


KELLY:  "How to be right." So, where have you gone on to buy already? Gutfeld is already asking me. You make him a very happy man. He wants to get all the way up to one of the New York Times bestseller that so he can prove his points.

Have a great weekend.

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