'Kelly File' special: 2016 in focus

A closer look at some of the thinking that's driving this primary season; Frank Luntz focus group sounds off on 'The Kelly File'


This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," December 18, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SHANNON BREAM, GUEST HOST: Breaking night, Fox News has released its first national poll since the last Republican debate of 2015 and it shows a big surge for the GOP front-runner.

Welcome to "The Kelly File." I'm Shannon Bream in for Megyn Kelly, coming to you tonight from our nation's capital. Where earlier today, President Obama held his final year-end news conference as Americans prepare for the busy holiday season. Much of today's event focused on terrorism. Syria and Guantanamo Bay, all of which our next president he's going to have to deal with. It all comes as we get a fresh look at the state of the Republican race for the White House. Brand new Fox polls taken entirely after Tuesday night's debate show Donald Trump has increased his lead over his GOP rivals. We have a big show for you tonight completely with pollster Frank Luntz and our Focus group offering their take on a variety of issues, from terror to immigration and who they think should drop out of the race all together. Now we also give them a chance to question one of the presidential candidates.

Plus, we will be joined by Newt Gingrich to give his take on Mr. Trump's rise. But we begin with our chief political correspondent Carl Cameron reporting from Washington.

CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Shannon. This poll was taken entirely after the debate earlier this week in Las Vegas and once again Donald Trump has gotten a bounce. In fact, he has reached a new record high in the Fox poll with 39 percent. That is an 11-point jump from last month and it doubles Texas Senator Ted Cruz who is in second place up four points to 18 percent. Marco Rubio's dropped three points in the last month to 11 percent. While Ben Carson has fallen to single digits at nine. The rest of the field is now under three percent.

Now look at this. Despite the furor over Trump's plan for a temporary U.S. ban on new Muslim immigrants and visitors, 50 percent were favorable and 46 percent were opposed to the idea. Interestingly when Trump's name is not mentioned in a part of that question, support for the ban actually rose to 55 percent while opposition dropped to 40. Now remember, national polls often don't reflect what is going on in the early voting states, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina particularly but Trump is leading in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. In Iowa, Cruz has inched into a slight lead. Historically, the pace of the campaign slows a little bit over the holidays. Then right after New Year, things accelerate dramatically and TV and radios will be flooded with attack ads and the polls then begin to tighten. But Trump has been bucking historical trends and traditions through his entire campaign. Shannon, buckle up.

BREAM: Yes. It's been like no other. Carl, thank you very much.

Following the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, terror has become the top concern for American voters. According to a brand new Fox News poll, 75 percent of Americans feel the U.S. has not been aggressive enough in pursuing potential terrorist here at home. That's up 15 percent from 2007. And 58 percent disapprove of the way President Obama is handling the fight against ISIS.

For more on these concerns, we turn to pollster Frank Luntz and his focus group.

FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER: Shannon, in the polling that we have done in the last few weeks, National Security has emerged as the number one issue for Republicans. In fact more people choose National Security over economic security by two-to-one. So, I need to ask the American people sitting in front of me, what is it that you are afraid of? And I want to be specific here. What are you afraid of? Jim? Tell me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm afraid of anybody being harmed by this -- these people.

LUNTZ: What are you afraid of? What scares you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't scare me. I have weapons in my house.  But I don't know how to deal with that. But Jim, I really like you a lot.

LUNTZ: Charlie, what scares you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Definitely the safety of my family. And the city that I love that I live in. I really fear for my family and other terrorist attacks happening.

LUNTZ: How many of you, by show of hands, believe that you could be the victim of a terrorist attack? Seriously, that many of you. What scares you the most?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Being in the public sector. I deal with people in their time of need, in time of trauma. My concern is that we run into a building and somebody comes out and attacks us.

LUNTZ: What is your greatest concern?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten years ago, the fear was going down into an airplane. But now you go out in a public setting and you could be gunned down by one of the sleeper cells that are in this country, so it is different now.

LUNTZ: You're 23-years-old, correct?


LUNTZ: Please tell me that nothing scares you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It does, to be honest. I know it's embarrassing. But like if they go to health institute like they did in California, what's to stop them to come to my workplace or to a gas station or to a nursing home. Nothing is going to stop these people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What scares me is that politicians, Republicans and Democrats, haven't learned the lessons of the last 15, 20, 30 years, which is that we can't fix the Middle East. It's not up to the U.S. to be able to fix it. So, no nation building. No regime change. We need to stop trying to fix the Middle East.

LUNTZ: You're the second youngest person in this room. What scares you the most?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, yes, terrorist attack can happen. It's very unlikely it will happen to me but it can happen. I'm more afraid of losing my country. There's 25 percent of every person in America right now is a second or first generation immigrant. That number is extremely high.  And it is called the year of the offended. And I'm tired of it.

LUNTZ: You guys agree?


So, if I interpret what you're saying, immigration is what concerns you the most, is what you're most afraid of?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It also adds on to the whole financial security because the border, it's unprotected. We have no idea who is coming across the border. How do we know who is an okay citizen, who is not an okay citizen to be an American.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I disagree. Because I'm scared of ISIS. And I'm even more scared of how we are dealing with it now. So, we need change to happen which is why this presidential election is so important.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My mother is an immigrant. My wife is an immigrant. They came here legally. I think we need to shut down the border and let people come legally. I'm afraid of this country being lost, its identity being lost for good.

LUNTZ: How many of you are concerned that the American identity is in jeopardy? Wow. Tell me why.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the changes that we are seeing, we have people with an agenda to move us definitely to the left. To engage in socialism, to openly promote socialism, wealth distribution, and to set forth a way of living in this country that was not the America that I learned about as a child and it's not the America that I dream about. I dream about an America of opportunity, of freedom, you know, both economically. I dream an opportunity of safety and military strength.

LUNTZ: But this is a conversation on national security and you bring it to economic security and everyone else goes in the other direction. So, my question to you is, well, then, what isn't being done? Why is there so much anxiety in this room and across this country? And don't just blame it on Barack Obama. What isn't being done?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What isn't being done is that our leaders are not showing their pride for the foundation of which this country was built.

LUNTZ: Again, I bring it to national security and you bring it to something very different. Why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think that that's connected. Because when my great grandparents came here from Italy they were proud to be Americans. They hid their language so that they could be an American.

LUNTZ: You guys agree?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And people are coming to this country now not with that same degree of pride. With a very different agenda.

LUNTZ: So, Shannon, I want to make the point that I keep talking about national security and you all keep bringing me back to immigration.  Is immigration a national security issue to you?



LUNTZ: Tell me why.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is absolutely an issue. Because when people are coming across the borders and we can't vet who they are and they don't want to come here to become Americans, they want to come here to be a separate degree of their own country here in America. It defeats the whole point and it can be dangerous.

LUNTZ: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't have national security inside the nation if you don't have secure borders and you don't know who is coming here.  Neither one of those things are going on right now. Our border is not secure and we don't know the people that are coming here.

LUNTZ: So, I want to ask you a direct question. Which do you think is a greater threat to America right now, immigration or ISIS? How many of you?

Immigration or ISIS? You're not going to be able to choose both.  That's what the Democrats do. And Michael, I know you're not a Democrat.  We have to focus on one. Which one do we focus on?


LUNTZ: Who says immigration? Who says ISIS? So more of you say ISIS. Is it immigration for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's both. I can't -- you can't pick one. If you're going to be smart, you have to focus on both. They are both interconnected and you have to be able to do two things at once. There is not mutually exclusive issues here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- to attack us. They use that. And it is the foundation of this country where we are very giving people. But we have been taken advantage of in the foundation of who we are as a country.

LUNTZ: So you all keep using the phrase, foundation of our country.  I've heard it now three or four times from you. What specifically is in jeopardy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody getting offended about everything. I mean, people are looking for ulterior motives in everything you say. This is ridiculous.

LUNTZ: So now you're telling me the solution -- to all of this is just to address political correctness?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's part of it to start, yes.

LUNTZ: Eric?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take care of the immigration problem, you take care of the ISIS problem. There is a reason that for 60 years we did not allow immigration in this country. It was called assimilation. Until you get people to assimilate to our culture, they don't have to lose their cultures but when they come here they need to learn to speak English, they need to learn our cultures, learn our way, learn our history and learn why our country is great.

LUNTZ: You guys agree?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's talk illegal immigration versus immigration.  And those of that you want make to make it all immigration, take a visit to Ellis Island and take a look at some of the pollsters that will put up about the Jews from Eastern Europe, about the Italians and about every immigrant that came through that looked like rats and filthy clothes and with disease. Let's not go there, people. I think we should be talking about illegal immigration if we are talking about that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My great grandparents were immigrants from Italy. And all of us, all of our grandparents were immigrants in some form. How can we do that? I know you just said foundation of our country but the foundation of our country is that we all were immigrants.

LUNTZ: Let me ask you, I want to ask as a way to move on to our next topic, there is so much to cover. How many of you actually lose sleep because you're afraid for the national security of this country? Raise your hands if you actually lose sleep. Not any of you. Shannon, this is one of the most controversial issues. It's clearly something that divides people. It's one of the reasons why Donald Trump has done so well. It's one of the reasons why the battle lines seem to have been drawn politically in this country. But it's only one issue. And there's so much more to cover. And we'll be talking about some of these other issues as we continue in this "2016 Election Special."

BREAM: All right. As Frank mentioned, we have much more ahead with our focus group, including what happened when a candidate who got praised for his performance joins the panel. He's going to answer their questions.  And believe me, they are not afraid to question him about the one moment from his past that still causes controversy to this day.

Plus, Donald Trump is in command with the polls even after some very controversial comments.

We're going to ask the panel why the businessman is resonating with so many voters. And with just weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, we asked the voters, who should call it a campaign and bow out ASAP.

LUNTZ: How many of you think that some of the candidates should depart? Raise your hands. Wow. That's more than half of you. Okay. Who should go and why?



GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Listen, I want to talk to you like you're at home for a second. If your eyes are glazed over like mine, this is what it is like to be on the floor of the United States Senate. I mean, endless debates about how many angels on the head of a pen from people who've never had to make a consequential decision in the executive position.  


BREAM: You remember the moment, that was presidential candidate and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who is getting high marks from voters for his performance at this week's GOP debate. Christie is also becoming a force to be reckoned with in the early voting state of New Hampshire, jumping eight points since October. He's now at 11 percent. Just now Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz tied at 12 percent each. But they all trail Donald Trump at 26 percent. This week the Governor took time-out to speak with our Focus Group. Check this out.

LUNTZ: Please welcome, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.


CHRISTIE: Good evening, everybody. Good evening.

LUNTZ: Okay. Why are you the candidate to defeat Hillary Clinton?  Everyone at -- hold on.

CHRISTIE: All right.


CHRISTIE: All right. Listen, I want you all to picture next September. And you know how Hillary Clinton will be on that stage. She will change her position. She will not want to be held accountable for anything that happened that was bad during her time. And she wants to get credit for everything that she thinks was good. Who's the person who is going basked it up on the stage in a clear concise experienced ready manner that's going to prosecute the case against Hillary Clinton, who will just going to take it apart bit by bit by bit. Not by yelling and screaming, not by insulting her or calling her names but just look her in the right eye and say, Mrs. Hillary Clinton, you know that's not true. And here are the facts. One, two, three.

Who is going to be the person who is going to be strong enough because she is going to come out here like a tornado? Who will be strong enough to stand up here and do that? And who's going to be tested enough to not overreact and not give her the moment she wants? And I'm telling you, that being in the hardest media market in the world, in New York City, the most biggest liberal media markets, as a conservative Republican for 13 years, there is nothing she can throw at me on that stage that hasn't already been thrown at me before. I'm ready to take her on and take her out. And do it in a way that's effective and keeps her no closer than 10 miles from the White House. We can't have her anywhere near there.

LUNTZ: So '70 is a good response with the more moderate people, you're in the 80s. So only one of you walked in here supporting Chris Christie. I know more of you do at this point. What do you want to know from him? Either what do you want to tell him or what do you want to learn from him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My question for you is, you talked about mistakes earlier. What do you think about the foreign policy mistakes that George W. Bush made?

CHRISTIE: Well, he shouldn't have never gone into Iraq. And he shouldn't have never gone into Iraq as the weapons of mass distraction were not there. And, you know, his president (INAUDIBLE) won the hardest moments. But he then double downed on it and made things even more difficult for himself and for the country. And didn't explain to people why. I think his president when the country is perceiving that you made a mistake, you need to hear them and you need to answer their questions. You know, maybe that's part of my training as a lawyer, I look at a jury and I see when they're not believing something. Not giving something. Well, then, I have to answer their question. If I don't understand the question, they're not going to believe me. And I think what I learned is that you need do a lot of listening as a leader. A political science professor told me one time, that a leader without followers, is just the guy out for a walk. And if you don't listen you won't have followers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What would your solution to ObamaCare be?

CHRISTIE: I got to get rid of it. And I would say that all backs it every state. Every state in this country is different. Every state has different challenges. New Jersey, 8.9 million people in this small space.  New Hampshire, 1.3 million people in the same size space. How could their health care challenges be the same? They're not. And you know what? The constitution says that if the power is not listed in there for the federal government, it goes back to the state. I have read the constitution, I don't see health care anywhere in there. And these should go back to the state. And the state should have one year to come up with their plan. The governors and the legislators. And you can have the most effect on it.  You live here in Nevada, you can talk to the legislators, talk to Governor Sandoval and you get a plan that you agree with. If you don't agree with it, you can go and protest about it? But if it is in Washington forget it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Governor for being here. We appreciate it.

CHRISTIE: You're welcome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I reflect back to 2012 in that election. Romney did a lot of things wrong. But that image of you hugging Obama after the hurricane came through was just devastating to many of us. And I know you have addressed this, I know you've challenged it. But I'll tell you, that's a really tough sticking point for me personally. To get over.

CHRISTIE: It wouldn't have been a sticking point if you lived in New Jersey. First of all, I didn't hug him. So, let's stop with that. OK?  He got off the airplane and I shook his hand like you do as a civilized human being when the President of the United States is up in your state.  Three hundred sixty five thousand homes destroyed in 24 hours. Seventy five percent of the state without power. All of our schools closed. Fifty one gas stations for the entire state. No wastewater or treatment plants or water treatment plants operational.

When the President of the United States comes and says, we're going to help, you look at him and say thank you, Mr. President. And if he does something right, you say, thank you Mr. President. When he does something wrong, you criticize him. I took an oath of office. And the people of New Jersey deserved my very best efforts to rebuild our state and that's what we did. And so, I wouldn't change a thing, Eric. I got to tell you the truth, I wouldn't change a thing. I wish it didn't happen eight days before the election. I wish it never happened.

But I'll tell you who always said to me, I did the right thing? Mitt Romney. Always he's said, publicly and privately, I was a governor, you know what it's like, you did the right thing, you're putting your people first above everything else, that's the ought I took, and if you make me president, I will put you first above anybody else in the world. And you won't have to wonder whether I put politics ahead in me because I already prove that worthy.  

LUNTZ: What do you think of that answer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very good. Thank you, Governor Christie.

CHRISTIE: You're welcome, Eric.

LUNTZ: I want a show of hands. How many of you accept what he just said. Raise your hands.

BREAM: All right. As evidenced by the new Fox News polls we showed you at the top of the hour. Donald Trump continues to extend his lead in the GOP primary. What's behind his sustained surge? Frank Luntz puts that question to his Las Vegas focus group. And later on, Newt Gingrich will join us live on what he thinks is behind the Donald's dominance.

LUNTZ: Can you explain the Trump phenomenon? I know some of you don't support him but at least as Republicans you will explain why so many people do.



SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When you ask yourself whoever you are that think you're going to support Donald Trump, think, do you believe in the constitution. Are you going to change the constitution?



DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So they can kill us but we can't kill them. That's what you're saying.

JEB BUSH, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're never going to be president of the United States by insulting your way to the presidency.

TRUMP: Well, let's see, I'm at 42 and you're at three, so far I'm doing better.  

BUSH: Doesn't matter. Doesn't matter.

TRUMP: So far I'm doing better. You know you started off over here, Jeb. You're moving over further and further. Pretty soon you're going to be off the end.


BREAM: He has such an expressive face.

That were some of the more contentious moments from the fifth and final Republican debate of 2015 where some political observers say, Donald Trump's rivals got in their best jabs against the businessman. Does it make any difference? f the polling is any indication Trump support only seems to grow when he engages in these battles, no matter his opponent.  Here is what our Frank Luntz's focus group has to say about the GOP front- runner.

LUNTZ: Please explain the Trump phenomenon. I know some of you don't support him. But at least as Republicans you will explain why so many people do. So let's start with the word or phrase to describe Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says what we are all thinking. It is emotionally attractive but at somewhat erratic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's decisive. He knows what he wants, what he doesn't want and what country needs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anti-establishment. Real change.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He relates to the people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything he said he's done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He seems to tell it like it is and he is not hold together special interest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is bold and truthful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's been building up a very successful brand for the last 20 years.

LUNTZ: So, it's all positive for you. How many of you support Trump's position on Syrian refugees, raise your hands. So, it's a good percentage. And yet the public doesn't. Why do you support him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I support him because I want to feel safe. And I don't think this is a way to go. What he says about stopping everything right, where it is, I think it's where the way we need to do until we know what we're doing. We don't trust what is happening.

LUNTZ: You would actually follow Trump to keep Syrian refugees out.  You got to tell me why.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just said to keep them out until we can figure things out. Obviously the people that did the San Bernardino shooting, they didn't even look at their social media. That's just basic part of a background check for any job that you or I would get.

LUNTZ: But this is racist, is it not?


LUNTZ: It's not racist? To itemize -- to specify religion, is it racist?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is absolutely -- listen, it absolutely is not.

LUNTZ: Hold on. One at a time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a Catholic. And if I walked into an abortion clinic and I blew up a bunch of people against abortion, every leader of the Catholic Church would say, what I did was wrong. That makes me a radical in my own religion. And people cannot do these things in the name of a religion or their interpretation of it. There's right and wrong.

LUNTZ: But isn't this in the back? Isn't this saying that we are demonizing everyone for the actions of a few?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Trump's heart is in the right place but I think he has it wrong as far as singling out the Muslims. Senator Cruz's approach is much better because it is by countries and by regions, not by religion.

LUNTZ: Eric?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we don't find a way to vet these people properly, then we have no idea who is coming in. You cannot let people in that you cannot vet. And this government right now has proven that they cannot accurately vet these people.

LUNTZ: In the back?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're at war. Whether our president admits it or not, we're at war. They are at war with us, that means we're at war. And in World War II, we did not allow Germans to come in. We did not allow Japanese to come in. We did not allow Italians to come in. Why we would be at war and let these people come in when we don't know how to vet them.

LUNTZ: But Donald Trump in what he has said has basically inflamed this discussion. Has it not? Has he not? You think he is handling it well?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They just are not -- they don't listen to what's going on. It's the young generation.

LUNTZ: The young generation. Really?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The young generation are calling them racists.  They're not understanding what's going on. You have to keep this country safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the problem of making them wait?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the big deal about making them wait a little bit and making sure that the country is safe?

LUNTZ: Because you have singled out a religion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the protection of security in America. What's the problem with that?



LUNTZ: OK. You know what is interesting here is that you guys have become a flash mob right here.


That you actually just started shouting out, talking over each other, showing no respect for each other. Because I challenged you. But isn't that what Trump does?


LUNTZ: And you think that's a good thing?


LUNTZ: Why is that a good thing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. He asks questions but he has no solutions.  Keeping people out for how long, six months, two years, five years, what if it takes 30 years?

LUNTZ: Clearly, he is the one candidate that generates this level of disagreement. Is this good for the political process, again, as one of the youngest people here, yes or no?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it is not good. This controversy he is inspiring is making him a mockery and making our Republican Party a mockery with people of my generation. It is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is absolutely good for the conversation and for the country. We need to have a variety of diverse opinions, and we need to be adults and listen to other people even when we disagree with them.

SHANNON BREAM, THE KELLY FILE HOST: Getting a little heated there.  Breaking tonight, one former Republican candidate is making headlines with his take on the 2016 field. Newt Gingrich is here with his reaction to GOP front-runner Donald Trump's continued spot at the top of the Republican heat.

And later, is the issue of media bias just a creation of the GOP field? Frank Luntz is back with his focus group with their take on the news coverage surrounding the 2016 race.

LUNTZ: Why should he go?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is not going to make it. There is no -- you know, he is different.


BREAM: Breaking tonight, Former Speaker of the House and Republican Candidate himself for President Newt Gingrich is making waves. With his outspoken appreciation for how Republican candidate Donald Trump is shaking up the GOP. One of the focus groups summed up what the Republican front runner has been able to do in very simple terms.


LUNTZ: Let's start with a word or phrase to describe Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is emotional, says what he is thinking but it is erratic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's decisive. He says what he wants and what country needs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anti-establishment, real change.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He relates to the people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything he has said he has done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) to the special interest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bold and truthful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's been building a very successful brand for the last 20 years.

BREAM: Joining me now, Author of the new political thriller, Duplicity, Former House Speaker and Fox News Contributor Newt Gingrich, Mr. Speaker, good to have you with us tonight.

NEWT GINGRICH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It's great to be with you.

BREAM: All right, you have said Donald Trump could be a "big asset for the GOP." Right now a lot of folks think he's sort of a headache for them.

GINGRICH: First of all, if you're the other candidates, he is a big headache and if you're a supporter of other candidates, he's a big headache. But look at the size of the debates. We have many, many more people watching the Republican debates than watch willing the Democrats.  Look at size of the crowds he's run and look who is showing up. He is reaching high school graduates who are workers at a level of maybe no Republican including Reagan in that they identify with him. They show up for him. Huge crowds, I am not for or against Trump. I think Trump is a remarkable figure. I have a lot of friends in this race and I admire all of them for having the courage to run.

But as the poll tonight showed, you have a guy consistently at 39, consistently ahead, sometimes ahead of the next three people combined. You have to at least try to figure out what's the phenomenon here. What is going on? Because the American public is allowed to pick somebody that Washington elites may not understand. And the job is for the Washington elites to understand the country not for the country to give in to the Washington elites.

BREAM: You heard from the group there, they had really strong emotions connected to him. Several of them said they want to feel safe.  That's the reason they like him. He does talk tough. That's the lane we thought Governor Christie, if he got in, that would be his place in this race. And he started out on his tour calling it telling it like it is. He does talk tough. Is he being out-Christied by Trump?

GINGRICH: We will see. We don't know how the dance will end yet.  But for the moment, Trump is unlike we have seen in modern times. You have to look at Roosevelt or Jackson to have some sense of the scale of the thing. When you have somebody who is a 39 percent without any TV advertising...

BREAM: But he would argue and other candidates would argue he gets tons of free TV advertising because every time he does something it is all over the place.

GINGRICH: Look, I just watched Frank go down this list of people.  Every one of them said something positive. That could have been a commercial. All I am saying is there is something happening there that is very real and particularly the Republicans of this city, whether the staff, elected members, or the lobbyists. They all better take a serious look at this. It's not about Trump. It is about millions of Americans who decided they don't want anybody with traditional experience. They want to gamble on somebody new. You heard it tonight. These folks are prepared to gamble on someone you recognize as having no traditional experience. That's part of what makes him attractive to them. Because they think the traditional experience means you can't get the job done.

BREAM: Long-term, is he good or bad for the party, because critics will say he's a true conservative. He has been all over the place. To arrive at where he is now but they say if the party is about true conservatism and traditional Republican -- you know, policies, that he doesn't really over the long term seem committed to a core set of principles, that conservatives would say mirror them.

GINGRICH: And certainly Rush Limbaugh is saying Ted Cruz is more traditional conservative, when John Kasich balanced the federal budget for four straight years. Chris Christie was a tough prosecutor, very tough guy, a lot of in New Jersey. Jeb Bush was a very innovative Governor, has the toughest to deal with anybody out there. You can look at them and there are a lot of solid people. Trump isn't a traditional conservative.  If you go back and look at Theodore Roosevelt and Andrew Jackson, these are people broke the mold. If Trump ends up leading the country, every morning will be wild and woolly. You will have the most extraordinary job in the country because you will get up every day thinking, what is he doing now?

BREAM: Yeah, break the mold. Like implode every mold we've seen so far. But it made for a very interesting race. And we still have months to go, Mr. Speaker, great to have you in, thank you for coming on.

All right, later on, which GOP candidate should hit the road right now with 14 candidates still in the race? Frank Luntz asked our focus group for their answer.

Next, after a rough shake from moderators at earlier Presidential debates, the Republican candidates hit back at this weeks showdown in Las Vegas, but what do the American people think of the media's coverage of them. Find out next when we return to our Frank Luntz focus group.

LUNTZ: Give me a word to describe how the media responded to the 2016 to the candidates.


BREAM: The mainstream media is a popular target of Republican candidates with Tuesday night's debate giving them another opportunity to get in their best punches.


CARLY FIORINA, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Citizens, it is time to take our country back from the political class, from the media, from the liberal elite.

DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's very sad that CNN leads Jeb Bush, Governor Bush, down a road by starting off with virtually all of the questions, Mr. Trump this. I think it is very sad.


BREAM: But does the American feel the same way, Frank Luntz took the issue of media bias to voters in Vegas.

LUNTZ: It's been the topic of almost every debate. Republican candidates claiming the media hasn't treated them fairly. The question is what did the American people think? Give me a word or phrase to describe how the media responded in 2016 to the candidates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very biased and unbalanced.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Setting up fights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They like a good food fight.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Primarily biased.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fun, engaging and informative.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Liberally biased.

LUNTZ: Is there any way to address this or is this something that you just are going to have to live with as voters in this republic, anybody?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Conservative talk show host.

LUNTZ: So you want to put Sean Hannity...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, with liberal Democrats, moderators, why don't they do Democratic debates with conservative talk show hosts.

LUNTZ: You guys agree with that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They need to stop asking questions to point the candidates at each other. They seem to be definitely focused on doing that to pit each other against one another.

LUNTZ: Don't you want the comparison?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the candidates need to focus on themselves no matter what question is thrown at them.

LUNTZ: Then they are accused of not answering the question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the question is ridiculous, don't answer the question and stick with your guns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The media tried to inject themselves into the sorry too often.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More disciplined with regard to debating. I think that Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie are much disciplined and others debt sucked into the cat fight.

LUNTZ: So you blame the candidates.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some of them. Some are much disciplined.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just to see what the sparring is. What they're going to say. And they're going to expect it. When I sit at home and watch it, I expect it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I totally disagree with everybody everything is saying. I am in my 30s and all my friend for the first time ever care, are engaged, and are commenting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there's a lot of gotcha questions. The true debate, you ask the questions and people have the chance it give their answers. This, there are a whole lot of examples where questions are designed to attack a specific candidate or get them to say something about a different candidate.

LUNTZ: So this is the question that the media wants to know about the campaign. Tell me the truth. How many of you have watched so many debates because of Donald Trump. Honestly. Who would say that Trump is a draw for you? Raise your hands. Ok, less than half. But your hand was going up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He brings attention and then brings topics to light that some of the other candidates or...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If it weren't for Donald Trump, we wouldn't be having the discussion of building a wall or immigration seriously like we are now. We are actually addressing issues that needed to be addressed but weren't before.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump is really bold. I think that's why the American people like him. He is so bold. He speaks plainly and the American people understand him.

BREAM: With just weeks to go before the first votes in 2016 come in, the Republican field remains very crowded.

Up next, to our focus group says needs to call it quits now. Plus, the moment Frank Luntz says will make news.


BREAM: With just over six weeks until the Iowa caucuses, the GOP field for the Presidential nomination still finds itself with 14 candidates. Can you name them all? Check them out. As voters begin to coalesce around a few at the top, there have been some calls for lower tiered candidates to bow out gracefully. Frank Luntz asked his Vegas focus group who they thought should hit the road. The top pick may surprise you.

LUNTZ: How many of you think that some of the candidates should depart? Raise your hands? Wow, more than half of you. Ok, who should go and why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that Rand Paul should go, as much as I like Carly Fiorina, I don't think it's going to happen. So she could go.  I am saying that because we need to funnel this down and really get to focus on people who could eventually make it to the end so we can make the right decision.

LUNTZ: Who should go?


LUNTZ: Jeb bush?


LUNTZ: This great Governor of Florida?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, well, I guess.

LUNTZ: Why should he go?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's not going to make it. There's no you know, he's different. He needs -- it kind of reminds me of Romney. Romney was very brilliant, smart, but he didn't have the oomph, you know the spinach.

LUNTZ: Who should go?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's really no need for an under card debate anymore. And Jeb's just bad. He's just really bad.

LUNTZ: So in the back row, I know that you all think that some of the candidates should not be able to go on to Iowa. Who would you kick out?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone who is on the under card debate tonight and Jeb and Governor Kasich.

LUNTZ: Why would you throw Governor Kasich out?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dial is turned to zero almost every time he spoke. He didn't connect with me at all.

LUNTZ: He's the Governor of Ohio. Ohio is one of the most important states in the country. If Republicans don't win Ohio, they don't win America, and you throw the Governor out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unless you can convince me somehow he's going to carry Ohio and enough votes elsewhere in the country, which I don't think he can.

LUNTZ: So you would remove a candidate. Which one?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two physicians are just way too far field.  They're out of their trade, and this business of being a President, you have got to be a word merchant or a businessman, somebody who really can quantify numbers. And I am for a Trump/Kasich ticket.

LUNTZ: You're throwing Ben Carson out of this race?


LUNTZ: He's in double digits in most polls. He's in second or at worst, third place. And you would toss him out?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would toss him out.

LUNTZ: Who would you toss out at this point?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jeb Bush because we had 35 years of the Bushes.  This country needs to move on. We've got to move on.

LUNTZ: You're the third person to mention Bush. How many of you would say based on his performance and his poll numbers, Jeb Bush should leave the race now? That's going to make news. Final question, how many of you think the Republican nominee will be the next President of the United States? Raise your hands. And who thinks that the Republican loses? Raise your hands, much, much too optimistic. But I don't want to end on a negative note. I want you to shout out to the American people to hear, who's going to be nominated by the Republican Party? Let's do it one more time.

BREAM: Did you hear your candidate there?

We'll be right back with more Kelly file.


BREAM: You have been very chatty tonight on Twitter, responding to some of the focus group things we have heard from Frank Luntz and others.  In talking about a big segment there was why they like Trump so much. We heard a lot of things. Eric Gill tweets in, he says Donald Trump is John Wayne kicking the door down, sending evil emperors packing. And just as Speaker Gingrich said, every day with President Trump would be exciting.  Tell us what you think about the show. Thanks for watching. I am Shannon Bream in for Megyn Kelly. This is "The Kelly File."

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