Megyn Kelly addresses Trump skipping Fox News GOP debate; Tony Perkins endorses Cruz; Michael Moore talks politics

GOP frontrunner not participating in FNC/Google debate


This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," January 26, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: Breaking tonight, just 48 hours before the final presidential debate before the Iowa caucuses take place, and six days before those votes are cast, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump now says he will skip the Fox News Google debate.

Welcome, to "The Kelly File," everyone. I'm Megyn Kelly. The news breaking just a short time ago during a press conference in Iowa where our own Carl Cameron was standing by. And he spoke directly to team Trump afterwards.  We'll go to Carl in a moment. But first, this controversy dates back to August 6th, and the very first Republican debate co-moderated by yours truly. Mr. Trump took issue with this question that I posed to him.


KELLY: Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don't use a politician's filter. However, that is not without its downsides, in particular when it comes to women. You have called women you don't like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.  Your twitter account --



KELLY: No, it wasn't. Your twitter account --


TRUMP: Thank you.

KELLY: For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O'Donnell.

TRUMP: Yes, I'm sure it was.

KELLY: Your twitter account has several disparaging comments about women's looks. You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice, it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president? And how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton who was likely to be the democratic nominee that you are part of the war on women?


KELLY: In the months since, Mr. Trump has repeatedly brought up that exchange as evidence of alleged bias on my part. I maintain it was a tough but fair question and we agreed to disagree. This past weekend, Mr. Trump resumed his complaints about yours truly arguing that Fox News chief Roger Ailes should ban me from the debate this Thursday. Fox News had announced back in August that Bret Baier, Chris Wallace and I would be the moderators of this next debate. Mr. Trump's complaints continued through the week, ultimately resulting in a video today he posted to Instagram, hitting this issue again.

Fox News responded and we'll get to all of that in a moment. As the front- runner, he was scheduled to be front and center on Thursday night when Fox News hosts the Republican debate in Iowa. Now he says he will not show.  We have a powerful political lineup to discuss the debate and the Iowa caucuses now just six days away, including our Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume, Tony Perkins is here to break news on "The Kelly File" tonight with his presidential endorsement, which the top front-runners were both seeking. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani also joins us, along with, and this is the first for "The Kelly File," filmmaker Michael Moore, the only time that we have ever seen him and one of only a couple of times ever for Mr. Moore on this channel.

But we begin tonight in Des Moines, with our chief political correspondent Carl Cameron and the news on Mr. Trump. Carl?

CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Megyn. It is unprecedented for a front running candidate in either party to suggest they will be a no-show at a debate four days before the first of the nation's caucuses, is something that no one could have imagined prior to Donald Trump's candidacy. He held a news conference today in Marshalltown, Iowa before a rally, and Mr. Trump gathered the press just a few feet away from where the rally audience was waiting, and he initially suggested that he might not appear in the debate. But first, let's listen to what he said to the news conference initially.


TRUMP: Most likely I won't be doing the debate. See, the point is that with me, they're dealing with somebody that is a little bit different.  They can't toy with me like they toy with everybody else. So let them have their debate and let's see how they do with the ratings.


CAMERON: So it sounded like he was pretty clear that he wasn't going to go but it wasn't a sealed deal. And within just a matter of moments, Mr. Trump's senior staff, his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and his Communications Director Hope Hicks both told me that the boss, in their words, had made the decision and it was final, he will not be participating in the Fox debate two nights from now. And they have spread it out throughout the rest of the press. I suppose it's possible he could change his mind, leaving it to the staffers to say that it was a definitive no and he wouldn't be showing up. Because what Mr. Trump said, well, is that he was still probably not going to come. But he's been issuing statements so he will be on twitter and Facebook soon, probably further pushing himself further away from Thursday night's festivities -- Megyn.

KELLY: Carl, what does this mean for the other candidates?

CAMERON: Well, it means that there is the potential for an empty podium and an opportunity for them to debate without facing Trump's insults. And for Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in particular, that presents a big opportunity. Mr. Cruz is essentially in a virtually tied race against Trump at the top of the polls here in Iowa, and Cruz has been in quite a fight with Donald Trump and today he has issued a challenge to debate Mr. Trump head-to-head without moderators, and begun to criticize Trump for being afraid to show up. Watch.


SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think anyone running for president of the United States owes it to the people of Iowa to have the humility to come in front of you, to make the case to answer the hard questions, to look you in the eyes. This is a job interview. The President of the United States works for each and every one of you.


CAMERON: There will be a lot more commentary from the rest of the field that's not Donald Trump on Thursday night and as Ted Cruz has just shown, there will probably a lot of allegations that Trump didn't have the guts to show up -- Megyn.

KELLY: And just to remove the doubt at least for now, Mr. Trump came out with his campaign statement just moments ago and says that he will not be attending. I'm trying to get the exact quote up here. He will not be participating in the Fox News debate and will instead host an event in Iowa to raise money for veterans and Wounded Warriors, et cetera.

Carl, thank you. So, how did we arrive here? Earlier today, Donald Trump posted this video.


TRUMP: Megyn Kelly is really biased against me. She knows that, I know that, everybody knows that. Do you really think she could be fair at a debate?


KELLY: He also posted a twitter poll asking his followers if he should even participate in the debate. He had already been told by Fox News that I would. Fox News later today released this tongue in cheek statement that read, quote, "We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they met with him if he becomes president. A nefarious source tells us that Trump has its own secret plan to replace the cabinet with his twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings."

Further, Fox News Chief, our chairman, our chief executive Roger Ailes said, quote, "Megyn Kelly is an excellent journalist and the entire network stands behind her. She will absolutely be on the debate stage on Thursday night." And just now he announced he will not.

Brit Hume is our Fox News senior political analyst. Brit, your thoughts?

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think this is partly about you, that's pretty clear. He's never gotten -- Trump's never gotten over that first question you asked him, which like, you know, to me at least, and I think to any other reasonable journalist was a completely fair and relevant question. But he never seems to been able to get passed that.  And I think it's partly about the news cycle. Certainly he this -- this is all anybody is talking about tonight. The twitter verse lit up a bit like you wouldn't believe and I'm sure you know. And I think it's also been partly about the fact that he may feel now Megyn that he's gotten -- he's caught up and pass Ted Cruz, who was leading him in Iowa, and that he can afford now to skip this debate and not give Cruz a chance to take him on in a way that might be risky to Trump.

Trump might well believe that he could win such an exchange. But I think he may feel that he's in a position where it's not worth taking the chance.  It will be very interesting to see how he responds to the Cruz challenge to a one on one debate, because Cruz will be campaigning on that now for the next several days, accusing Trump of being unwilling, you know, to face the voters. Remember this, Megyn, in 1980, Ronald Reagan was going into that primary season, on the Republican side, the presumptive front-runner, but he skipped Iowa.

And the voters of Iowa were not amused, and George H.W. Bush won the Iowa caucuses. He worked hard to do it. There was a debate in Iowa, Reagan skipped that. Reagan recovered quite nicely in New Hampshire soon thereafter, but it was an interesting moment. Voters in Iowa, I think, take the caucuses seriously. They expect the candidates to face them. And while Trump has certainly campaigned in Iowa, it will be interesting to see how people respond to his refusal to participate in the debate which is clearly an Iowa debate. I mean, that's the purpose of having it when it was scheduled.

KELLY: Uh-hm.

HUME: So that will be interesting to see.

KELLY: I mean, what's interesting here is Trump is not used to not controlling things as the chief executive of a large organization. But the truth is, he doesn't get to control the media. And while he's made his position clear about me, after that first debate, Roger Ailes made his position clear, too. And you know, when Trump started it up again this past Saturday and resumed it again and again and again and again, he was told repeatedly, our debate team is settled and then came that Instagram video he put out today followed by the company statements.

HUME: Well, Megyn, news organizations need to the greatest extent possible events like this and then their coverage generally to be neutral in their approach. So, if a news organization sets the terms of the debate, makes them public, sets forth who will be doing the questioning, people can either accept or not accept. Trump appears has decided he would not accept. He's free to do that. What he's not free to do and what no news organization would allow would be for him to, in some way dictate the terms of the debate. And I don't know why he thought it was possible to do that.  Remember, he had an earlier debate, he was demanding some controversy -- the CNN debate, I think he would be demanding some donations be made and so forth, they weren't and he showed up anyway. It looks to me like this time he's so far out on the loom of not showing up, that he won't show up.

KELLY: You know, the company released it in August that the same debate team that hosted the first debate would host this debate. And then there was an official press release in early December. Nothing's changed. But as we got closer to it, and as we are a week away from Iowa, his tune changed. And he resumed the rally to try to change the debate team as settled by this company.

HUME: Make no mistake about it, Megyn, this act by Trump will not hurt him a bit among his hard core followers. As far as they're concerned, now he could take off all his clothes and run down Broadway tomorrow and they would say, look, yes, that's great, he shows he's not politically correct.  So, this won't move the needle with them at all. My only question would be, whether this is a smart move with regard to the voters in Iowa, who may, serious people that they are, be looking at this and expecting to see him in the debate and perhaps those who were undecided, and there's some number of those, were hoping to get a better sense of him and of the other candidates, and if he doesn't show up, I don't know how well this is going to go down with them. It's impossible to say.

KELLY: Brit, it's great to see you.

HUME: Thanks, Megyn.

KELLY: I'll be there. Bret is already there. I think Wallace is coming today. I'm not sure. But look, the debate will go on with or without Mr. Trump.

There is a Trump rally about to begin, as any news happens there. We will bring it to you.

Plus, there is more big news breaking on the Republican race. Tonight, as Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, a man whose endorsement has been sought, in particular by the two front-runners in Iowa, joins us in a "Kelly File" exclusive to announce who he will endorse just 48 hours ahead of the big debate.

And then Rudy Giuliani is here to talk about why he is backing Donald Trump in the showdown with Senator Ted Cruz.

And then controversial never shy, filmmaker Michael Moore comes to Fox News and to "The Kelly File" to talk about the 2016 race. Don't miss this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Members of Congress, this is Michael Moore. I would like to read to you the USA patriot act.




TRUMP: So, why is it that I'm leading Ted Cruz with the evangelicals and why is it that here I'm leading him and I'm leading him big nationwide?  Because he's really a nasty person. People don't like him. Senators don't like him. The people he works with don't like him. You have to have, you know, we can all be rebels. I'm a little bit of a rebel. But you have to be able to get along with people. And when you say, why am I doing better with the evangelicals than Ted Cruz? Because they like me better than Ted Cruz.


KELLY: That was Donald Trump in Iowa just a few hours ago touting his credentials among evangelical Christians, after receiving an endorsement from Liberty University President and Evangelical Leader Jerry Falwell, Jr.  But Senator Ted Cruz is presenting Mr. Trump with some stiff competition.  As a new Quinnipiac poll suggests, Mr. Cruz is actually winning among white evangelical voters. You can see the numbers, 39 for Cruz. Twenty seven with Trump in Iowa. Tonight, with just 48 hours to go until the debate, comes an endorsement that could be critical to this Republican nomination.

Joining me now in a KELLY FILE exclusive, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and author of "No Fear: Real Story of a Courageous New Generation Standing for Truth."

Tony, good to see you. So, they all wanted you. You are an influential man in conservative circles in particular with the evangelicals. So, who are you endorsing?

TONY PERKINS, PRESIDENT, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Well, Megyn, as I promised, I would let your viewers know first. And let me just stay upfront, this is a personal endorsement, not from any of the nonprofit organizations that I lead. After looking at these candidates, talking with them, and I have many friends in this race. But I believe the one who has best positioned, best prepared to lead this nation forward pulling it out of the tailspin that this president has put us in, I believe is Ted Cruz.  He is a -- he's smart. He's bold. Much like you, he's not afraid to upset people to do the right thing. He's not worried about making everybody happy.

And I think if you're making everybody happy, you're not doing the right thing. And I've known Ted, I've supported Ted, I've worked closely with him in the Senate. And, you know, Megyn, this is not about his -- this is about his standing on conservative principles, it's about his standing on the constitution, standing in the polls or standing with his colleagues.  That's why I support him. He's a bold leader, he's the kind of leader we need right now in America.

KELLY: Why not Trump? Because I know he had courted you, as well. And many evangelicals really love him. I mean, it's -- just because you're evangelical doesn't mean you go with the most conservative candidate necessarily.

PERKINS: Well, look, I mean, evangelicals are pretty complex. We're not single focus -- single issue voters. There's 90 million evangelicals in this country. And Donald Trump, there are things about him that are attractive. I actually find him interesting. I would consider him, at least we've laid a foundation for a friendship. I'm not going to say anything negative about Donald Trump. I want to talk about who I think is right now has the --

KELLY: What I'm trying to get at is what did it for you? Like, what was it about Cruz?

PERKINS: Well, because I know him, I worked with him. I have watched him in the Senate. I've seen him stand up against his colleagues, I've seen him take the criticism, and he's simply doing what he said he was going to do when he ran for office.

KELLY: But you heard what Donald Trump said, he can't get along with anybody, nobody likes him.

PERKINS: Look, if everybody gets along with you in this city, you're in trouble. That means you're not doing anything worthwhile. Look, all I can say is, he has done exactly what he said he was going to do, when he ran for the United States Senate. I supported him when he was an underdog against actually some other friends. One of the guys he ran against end up working for me. All good guys. But I believe he was the right guy for the right time to come to the Senate and shake things up. And I believe he's the right guy to lead this country forward. I trust Ted to do what needs to be done to make our families safe again, to give our country a reputation that has standing among the nations. I believe he is the right guy.

KELLY: But let me ask you this before I have to go. Donald Trump says he can get deals done, and that he has a proven history of it. He says Ted Cruz cannot because he's been an alienating force in the Senate. Your thoughts?

PERKINS: Leadership is not all about making deals. Leadership is about standing on principle, about respecting the constitution. No one understands the constitution like Ted Cruz. He's argued before the Supreme Court nine times. He's written 60 briefs for the Supreme Court. The next president will nominate two to three Supreme Court justices.

KELLY: Uh-hm.

PERKINS: I believe Ted will be the best one to select a conservative or a constitutionalist for the court. I'm concerned about where some of the other candidates would come from when it comes to the court, which, as you know, Megyn, is very unfortunately, very important in the direction of this country.

KELLY: And people forget to talk about it. You know, in the campaign season. But the court is huge, and Ted Cruz, yes, he clerked for Chief Justice Rehnquist which is, imagine that, like clerking for the chief justice and then returning to appoint justices as the U.S. president.  Pretty cool for him. Tony, great to see you.

PERKINS: Thank you, Megyn. Good to be with you tonight. And I'll see you in Iowa. I'll be there.

KELLY: Oh, good. I'll be there, too. Well, Tony Perkins just told us why he's backing Ted Cruz.

Up next, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani tells us why he's backing Donald Trump over the Texas senator.

Plus, in a KELLY FILE exclusive. Controversial filmmaker Michael Moore on the 2016 race. President Obama's legacy. And his thoughts on this week's GOP debate.



RUDY GIULIANI, R-FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: I think these two votes in Iowa and New Hampshire are going to be much more important than usual. And not necessarily because they're going to pick the winner but they're going to tell us something about Donald Trump. They're going to tell us is that tremendous sentiment which he has, and there's no question that he does, the biggest crowds, the numbers on the polls, do they convert to votes without necessarily having the ground game that some of these other guys have? If they do, then he is a very serious candidate and possibly --


KELLY: And that was former New York City mayor and former Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, one of several establishment Republicans. There he is, warming up to Donald Trump. As the Republican race resembles more and more like -- it looks more and more like a showdown between the two frontrunners, Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Mayor Giuliani telling The Washington Post that if it came down to Trump or Cruz, there is no question, I would vote for Trump.

Joining me now with his take on the race, Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Mayor, it's great to see you.

GIULIANI: Thank you, Megyn.

KELLY: Why? What did it for you?

GIULIANI: OK. First, the difference between the two of them, Donald is a more practical guy. I have to tell you, he's a personal friend. Four of the candidates are personal friends. Not including Ted Cruz. I love them all, hard to pick. I don't know who I'm going to endorse.

KELLY: Uh-hm.

GIULIANI: But between Trump and Cruz, Cruz is too rigid, he's too right wing. He will give away the northeast, gone.

KELLY: In the general?

GIULIANI: Absolutely.


GIULIANI: Maryland, up to Maine, gone. California up to Washington, Oregon, gone.

KELLY: Uh-hm. Who can Trump get that Cruz can't get in the general?

GIULIANI: I'll give you one person I just had dinner with the head of the correction workers union in New York, Norman Seabrook who is an African- American, enormously well respected by everyone in the African-American community. He said to me tonight, I'm endorsing Donald Trump, because he can get jobs. Donald Trump can do what Ronald Reagan did. He can reach over and he get Reagan Democrats.

KELLY: Uh-hm.

GIULIANI: He can also get African-Americans, believe it or not, Latinos, because he's knocked hard by the long connection with the Republican Party that we all have. Blacks have this feeling about the Republican Party that we're anti-black, anti-Hispanic. We're not. But they have that feeling.  He doesn't carry that burden with him.

KELLY: Uh-hm.

GIULIANI: He could reach over and he could be an enormously powerful general election candidate.

KELLY: Why do you say you think he'll get Latinos? Because if you look at the, you know, polling of his numbers --

GIULIANI: Yes. You know, because --

KELLY: -- on Latinos, it's like 80 percent opposed?

GIULIANI: You know what he's right about?

KELLY: When he finally gets to him, what they really care about, jobs, can they work, can they lift the economy? Can they create growth? Can he reach out to them the way Ronald Reagan was able to reach out to the union workers, who were all Democrats but they voted for him because they felt he could increase their wages. Now, I believe he's making a mistake in not showing up in the debate.

KELLY: You do?

GIULIANI: He should be in that debate.


GIULIANI: First of all, I think he's going to do really well. His debating performances as you watched them, from the debate you had through getting better and better. His answer to Cruz on that statement Cruz made about New York --

KELLY: Uh-hm.

GIULIANI: I thought was close to eloquent. I mean, it lifted to him to like presidential levels. So if I were Donald, and I'm not, right, and he makes up his own mind, I would participate in the debate. Because I think he'll win it, and I don't know why he's not doing it.

KELLY: What do you make about the, you know, if there are tough questions in a presidential contest. As I would say, you guys will run for this office --  

GIULIANI: You've got to deal with it.

KELLY: You don't want George Washington check out.

GIULIANI: Yes. I was the front-runner for not as long as he was but I've been the front-runner for a long time. Every debate I went into, I prepared for and I knew I was going to get asked the trick questions, the tough questions. The go get you questions. Chris Matthews once asked me what's the difference between Shia and Sunni. George Stephanopoulos --

KELLY: You gave him a long lesson.

GIULIANI: I did. I gave him a lesson.

KELLY: Never test your knowledge on anything.

GIULIANI: I went back to the 6th Century.


George Stephanopoulos asked me of all the things I did wrong in my life, including my marriages, what do I feel worst about. I said to George, I would rather confess that to your father, a priest, than to you.


But you have got to be ready for that.

KELLY: Uh-hm.

GIULIANI: If you're the front-runner, they're all coming after you. Right now, Donald is the front-runner. And I love Chris Christie. Jeb Bush I consider a close, personal friend. I was the second person to endorse Rubio when he ran for senator and he was 27 points behind.


GIULIANI: He would make a great president. And Donald's been my friend for 25 years. This is very tough for me. Because every one of these people are close friends. But you know the guy that comes out of this that I respect most? Your boss --

KELLY: Amen.

GIULIANI: Roger Ailes. He was my first political consultant. He taught me how to stop being a lawyer and become a politician. And that man is a genius and he's a man who understands loyalty.

KELLY: That's exactly right. And he has his employee's backs.

GIULIANI: And I love him.


KELLY: It's usual. I think what we really learned here tonight is that Mr. Mayor Rudy Giuliani is going to have a cabinet position in the next administration.


Great to see you, sir. A pleasure.

GIULIANI: I didn't get in one thing, you did not ask him an unfair thing.

KELLY: Oh, thank you. That's very nice. I appreciate that. We did not plan that.

GIULIANI: I would have answered that question.

KELLY: Thank you very much.

Well, coming up, Governor Chris Christie is here. He's going to join us tonight on the breaking news about the Fox News debate.

And then a new poll reveals that many voters in Iowa still have not made up their minds. Former presidential speechwriter Marc Thiessen and Fox News contributor Guy Benson are next on what that means.  

Plus, for the first time in more than five years, controversial filmmaker Michael Moore comes into the lion's den. Fox News channel and "The Kelly File" to talk about the 2016 race. Don't miss this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Home to the rarest of mythical creatures. A college student with no debt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much debt do you have here being a student?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slovenia is one of dozens of countries where it is essentially free to go to university.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any debts?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know what I mean by debt?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Debt is when you owe other people a lot of money.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. We don't have. We don't have.





KELLY: That was a clip from the new documentary "Where to Invade Next," from controversial filmmaker and political activist, Michael Moore. In the film, Moore travels through Europe to highlight what he believes to be America's shortfalls and he has been making provocative stuff like this for decades.

In 1989, he burst into the scene with "Roger and Me," a documentary about corporate greed. In 2003, he won an Oscar for "Bowling for Columbine," an attack on America's love for guns.

Now Mr. Moore is back in the headlines, leading protests over a water crisis in his hometown of Flint, Michigan. The city is now under a federal state of emergency after toxic lead levels were discovered in the drinking water.

Here now in a Kelly File exclusive, Michael Moore. Great to see you. Thank you for coming here.

MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER & POLITICAL ACTIVIST: Well, thank you for having me, and on this day, too. I don't know, what does this feel like for you, too? Because you don't want to be the story, you're the journalist.

KELLY: I think somebody -- I get to ask the questions here. You have to answer them.

MOORE: No, I feel bad for you. You know, there you being cat fight, don't know.

KELLY: Don't feel that way.

MOORE: I know what's he afraid of? I'm sitting here, I don't feel any fear, right?

KELLY: I'm not a pussy cat.

MOORE: Yes. Donald, come now, come sit beside me.

KELLY: Stop that.

MOORE: I'll hold your hands.

KELLY: Stop it.

MOORE: She's fine.

KELLY: Stop that. Let's talk about the movie.

MOORE: Oh, sorry. No, and we don't -- plugging the movie, it's not why I'm here.

KELLY: Where do we invade next? Is it in Iowa?

MOORE: I'm on Fox News. No, but there are people there.

KELLY: All right. Well, let's talk about the movie in a second. But first, I want to talk a little politics here.

MOORE: Sure, sure, yes.

KELLY: So, I'm figuring you for a Bern, baby, Bern, kind of guy. Am I right?

MOORE: Well, you know, I think I endorse him in his very first congressionalist. I went up to Burlington and did a rally for him.


KELLY: Were you like too.

MOORE: No, because that's all nice of you. You can't be sure. You're not feeling bad right now. You're like...

KELLY: I'm feeling very good. Yes, why?

MOORE: OK. Because I was thinking I was going to be like, hey, maybe I'll take you out to dinner afterwards.

KELLY: Would you stop! Would you talk about...

MOORE: And you know, we can talk, you know, you can emote.

KELLY: Emote.

MOORE: You know, get it out. You know why I'm here for you. That's just what I'm saying.


KELLY: I know he didn't decide to you.

MOORE: You didn't deserve -- you just didn't deserve to be treated this way.

KELLY: I'm fine.

MOORE: OK. But in all seriousness, let me say this thing partly to answer your question and not to answer it. You have done something that Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rubio, Cruz, none of them have been able to do, which is to essentially brain him, make him run, shut him down.

KELLY: Which can we move on from the Trump situation?

MOORE: But you haven't done -- you know, everybody has tried to do this for months and you did it.

KELLY: All right.

MOORE: And we're on -- OK, I'm sorry. I have to behave myself.

KELLY: This is why O'Reilly never had him back.

MOORE: No. He didn't have me back because I won the debate. But that's OK. Bill, any time I'm here.

KELLY: All right. So, this is why I ask you about Hillary versus Bernie. Because I went back...

MOORE: Yes, yes.

KELLY: ... and to be perfectly honest, I don't know that much about you. I've seen it -- I've heard of a couple of your movies.

MOORE: Yes, I'm an eagle scout.


KELLY: But this is...

MOORE: I went to the seminary to be a priest...

KELLY: ... this is April 2008 and you are trying to batter me up with the eagle scout.

MOORE: No, I'm just -- I mean, because you don't know anything about me. I'm going to tell you.

KELLY: But you didn't like Hillary Rodham Clinton back in 2008, saying that the way she was running you found disgusting, and really found Barack Obama to be the more decent person. Now, seven and a half years later, how do you feel? How do you -- about both of them?

MOORE: Well, first of all, I actually, I like Hillary, and back in the '90s, my first book I had a chapter in the book called "My Forbidden Love for Hillary." And basically I made the case for why she's a good person and she's been treated wrong.

KELLY: Then why were you calling her disgusting?

MOORE: Well, I think some of the things she said one of the debates about Obama just I thought were a little low.

KELLY: Yes, that's a fair way low.

MOORE: Yes, that's true. You should not go out to dinner with me.

KELLY: Don't worry.

MOORE: No, no. It's a bad idea.

KELLY: I won't. So, what about Barack Obama? Because you -- he was beloved. I mean, you really thought he was the messenger.

MOORE: Yes. Yes. And I voted for him. I voted for him twice.

KELLY: He's the guy who's going to change the country.


KELLY: Hope and change, going to bring us together.


KELLY: And then you said, you know what, years into it, he's only going to be remembered for being the first black president.

MOORE: Yes. Well, I wrote to him and I said, you know, you've got to get off the dime here and do some of the things we elected you to do, because it's not going to be enough in the history books to say the big claim to fame is that you were the first African-American president.

That's an important thing, but we need you to do some other things for us and we need you to do it before your term ends.

KELLY: What, Why? What's the biggest disappointment in your view?

MOORE: Well, I don't know. Disappointment is probably too strong of a word. I would have wish that we had a single payer health care system, not ObamaCare, something that would be, you know, for everybody.

KELLY: He couldn't get that through.

MOORE: Well, he had two years actually where he had the House and the Senate, and he decided to play nice and get along and he thought the republicans were going to get along with him and they had no intention of doing that.

KELLY: All right. What else?

MOORE: Guantanamo Bay should be closed by now.

KELLY: He tried.

MOORE: He's tried to do that. That's what I'm saying, I'm not -- it's not like huge disappointment.

KELLY: You're tough.

MOORE: I'm just, well, look, I'm -- you know, he exists in that office to serve the people of this country, including both the people who voted for him and who didn't vote for him. So...


KELLY: Is there anybody that...

MOORE: But I'm very happy that we've had him for these eight years. Believe me, after what we have before that.

KELLY: ... anybody on the GOP side you could get behind?

MOORE: I would get behind all of them and take them and push them somewhere. No, on the GOP, you know, I got to say, my grandfather was the head of the Republican Party in the town that I grew up in.

And, yes. But back then, a conservative meant that you conserved your money, you had family values, you know, you had -- you know, you conserved the earth, the air, the water, the God's gifts to us. That's what republicans believed back then. And those days seem to be gone. I know it's hard for republicans who have those feelings, and they have nowhere to go right now.

KELLY: What -- let's talk about the movie.

MOORE: Sure.

KELLY: Because the suggestion is, this is just yet another indictment of America. This is what ticks people off about Michael Moore. They think you hate America.

MOORE: Yes. I don't get that, because one of the great things about being an American in this great country is the ability to criticize what's going on and try to make it better.


MOORE: All my films, I tell people, and there are people watching this right now, because I have never watched, I'll never watch one of his films. If you watch one of my films, you may not agree with me politically, but you'll know three things about me, I love this country, I have a heart, and you will laugh at least half a dozen times during the movie.

KELLY: We're getting that feeling just from this interview.

MOORE: Well, you know, no need to watch the movie. We could just go another 90 minutes, you and I.

KELLY: But is it a war thing? Because you're saying where to invade next. Is that because you're trying to get us to move -- just where Slovakia?

MOORE: No, I don't. I don't want anybody to know that we have to stay here.

KELLY: I mean, we don't want to. We want to live here. We have the First Amendment, we have the second, we have all these wonderful things here, like the bill of rights that these countries don't have.

MOORE: We -- I don't want to live anywhere else. This is the best country to live in. What I want us to do is to aspire to be better. And what we've done is we've helped these European countries since World War II. They have won and had done some great things, in terms of helping their people. Paid maternity leave, school lunches are not crap on Styrofoam tray in France.

KELLY: You can take that up with Michelle Obama.


KELLY: I used to eat delicious pizzas and cheeseburgers when I was at school. Now it's crap.

MOORE: You did not eat a lot of that pizza and cheeseburgers.

KELLY: I did. You should have seen me.


MOORE: Really? Do you have a photo?

KELLY: The gave me and sat me down eight grade and my little friend told me that I was chubby and then I decided -- in that summer I was going to lose some weight.


KELLY: Yes. He really is like Dr. Phil. I'm confessing it all.

MOORE: And if you can give me some tips afterwards on how to do that I would be... (CROSSTALK)

KELLY: I ran every day. I ran.


KELLY: But really, right now I would recommend the "F-Factor Diet" because that is a great book.

MOORE: You have that.

KELLY: Tanya Zuckerbrot.

MOORE: Do you get 10 percent of that?

KELLY: No, I don't unfortunately. I just like her and it works.

MOORE: You just sold a lot of books.

KELLY: Before you leave we're going to give you some fiber crackers. All right, we've got to go.

MOORE: Thank you. And before I leave, I just want to say again, you know, Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch, you know, it's a -- to get elected president in this country, you have to come on this network. You have to play with ball with this network.

Donald Trump today said, I'm not playing ball with this network. That's a historic moment, and it's going to be interesting to see, you know, where the real power is. Trump thinks he doesn't need Fox News. I think Fox News probably has something else to say about that. You know, it will be interesting to see where do the powers that be go with this? I mean, again, you've made this happen. You've caused the crisis that stirs here.

KELLY: Stop that! I haven't caused any crisis. I ask the question. I've got to go.

MOORE: Yes. You asked a great question, by the way. The war on women.

KELLY: Goodbye. Now you're really ruining my rep. I got to get out of here.

MOORE: God bless you, Megyn Kelly. We're both Irish, don't forget.

KELLY: Nice to meet you.

MOORE: I love you. Thank you.

KELLY: Thanks for being here.

Well, Governor Chris Christie will react to that -- no, he has -- he's going to react to the debate news in moments. Plus, with just days to go until the vote in Iowa, speechwriter Marc Thiessen and Fox News contributor, Guy Benson, they're both contributors, take out -- talks about new evidence that suggests Iowa voters could still be changing their mind and in a big way. Stay tuned.


KELLY: We are just 48 hours now away from the Fox News Google primetime GOP debate. Has there been any news about that? And while the lineups for both the primetime and the undercard debate are officially set, some new polls suggest that this is truly anyone's game.

As nearly one in four Iowa voters say they could still change their minds before Monday's caucuses.

Marc Thiessen is a Fox News contributor and former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush. Guy Benson is also a Fox News contributor and co- author of the book "End of Discussion"

Good to see you both. So, I'm just curious.




KELLY: Because ad somebody worked in the Bush administration, Marc, are you starting to like Michael Moore at all, like are you feeling something there?

THIESSEN: Boy, that was quite something.

KELLY: Yes, no, OK. Just confirming.


THIESSEN: I can't believe that I -- I actually agreed with Michael Moore because he said it's a big mistake for Donald Trump to not come to this debate. And he is 20 percent...

KELLY: Why? But, OK. But let me challenge you now. I'll play devil's advocate.


KELLY: Why wouldn't this be good for him, because he can just say, you know what? I don't bow to anybody, and I wanted Kelly off that debate team, they said no. I didn't get my way, I don't care. I'm done.

THIESSEN: Three reasons. One, he's run a very smart campaign up till now. And this is his first major misstep. And the reason is quite something -- because he looks like a big baby. His whole premise of his campaign is that he's tougher than all the other candidates out there, democrats and republicans alike.

A few months ago, when Bernie Sanders had Black Lives Protesters and push him off the stage, he said how can Bernie Sanders fight ISIS if he can't handle Black Lives Matter? Well, how can Donald Trump handle and could defeat ISIS is he can't handle a few tough questions from Fox News?

Running from a fight is not a New York value. And second of all, he's not running against you, he's running against you, Megyn, he's running Ted Cruz and he's going to leave the debate stage entirely to Ted Cruz a few days before an Iowa caucus, where 40 percent of the voters haven't made up their minds yet.

He could lose because of this. Iowa voters could be insulted by this. So, this is a big mistake on his part if he doesn't show up. If he does, if he does this and then ends up showing up, then he's dominated the news for few days and done what he does so well. But if he doesn't show up, first big mistake of his campaign.

KELLY: Go ahead, Guy. What do you think?

BENSON: Well, I'm going to lend my voice to the chorus here and said that of course, Donald Trump should pull on his big boy trousers and show up and answer your questions. You're a journalist; he's running for the presidency. These dramatic histrionics are just exhausting, it's completely silly.

Although I would say it's very much like a democrat to refuse to debate on Fox News. So, I agree with Marc Thiessen. I agree with Marc Thiessen, this is a strategic error in the scheme of things for Trump, although Brit Hume said this early, it's absolutely true. It won't -- it won't hurt him with his hard-core supporters.

KELLY: Right, right.

BENSON: They won't be swayed by anything. But as you say, there are a lot of people who are going to turn out in those caucuses on February 1st, who are really just starting to make up their minds or even tune in for some of the less engage voters and to have Donald Trump just cede the whole stage in the fit of pique it's really is not a good look.

KELLY: Well, it's a fit of pique if you're his detractor. It's strength if you love him. You know, if you believe him.

BENSON: It's not strength. I wouldn't -- I would dispute that. I don't think it knows any sort of strength. Strength is showing up in the face of something that frustrates you, as opposed to running and wanting about by the way, a completely legit question.


KELLY: Well, he says he's ticked off. He was saying now that he was ticked off by the Fox News statement, you know, which was released after his, I mean, his -- OK.

BENSON: OK, sure.

KELLY: Who benefits? Who benefits the most if he doesn't show, Marc?

THIESSEN: Ted Cruz without a doubt. I mean, look. He is -- he's just pulled ahead of Ted Cruz but only by two points. That's statistically tie. So, he is in neck and neck fight with Ted Cruz for Iowa. And so, Ted Cruz is going to go out on that stage and do you think he is not going to attack Donald Trump because Donald Trump is not there? The only difference is that he's going to more beat.


KELLY: He's going to get more time, that's for sure.

THIESSEN: Donald -- he's going to have more time and Donald Trump won't be there to answer. And do you think he's going to defend Donald Trump?

KELLY: Do you agree, Guy?

THIESSEN: I mean, not likely. So, he cede...


BENSON: Every one...

KELLY: Yes, go ahead, Guy.

BENSON: I was just going to say everyone on the stage will have more opportunity to talk and advance their message if Trump isn't there. Ted Cruz, of course, is the biggest beneficiary of that because as Marc noted, it's a very close race. Trump has the momentum in Iowa. He's overtaken Ted Cruz recently. And now I think Cruz, now is a really wide lane to come back and regain some of that momentum.

KELLY: All right. We got to leave it at that. We have Chris Christie right after this break.


KELLY: Back to the big story tonight. Just 48 hours out from the final presidential debate on the GOP side, and six days before the first votes are cast in campaign 2016.

Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump now says he'll skip the Fox News Google debate.

Joining me now with reaction by phone, New Jersey Governor and republican presidential candidate, Chris Christie. Governor Christie, good to be joining us tonight. Your reaction to the news.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, listen, Megyn, I went through the same, very similar, right? Fox News just demoted me from the main stage to the second debate. I didn't whine, I didn't cry, and I didn't not show up.

I went behind the podium and the microphone. I put my views out for the American people. Because that's what you do, and that's what you learn when you're a governor. You can't spare what's going to happen and you're going to get press, you're going to get crises, and national disasters. You got to show up. And that's what I did and that's what everybody should do.

KELLY: What do you -- what do you make of the way Trump has handled the media thus far?

CHRISTIE: Well, listen. I think -- I think, you know, the media's been handled by him. And I think, you know, folks have allowed him to do things that no other candidate's ever been allowed to do in American presidential history. And if he doesn't show up on Thursday night, listen. That's Donald's choice. But I can show you that Americans...


KELLY: How do you think it's going to affect things, how do you think it's going to affect what you do?

CHRISTIE: It will give us more time to talk, that's the way I'm affected and that will be good for me and good for the other people on the stage because he doesn't want to be there, that's OK with me. But I tell you this, the American people should wonder, you know, if you're not willing to show up when everything isn't going your way and exactly the way you want to, that's not way the job as governor goes back in.

Things don't go my way often, I've got to fight through it and show up for work and battle every day. That's what I'm going to do in this debate comes Thursday and that's what I do when I got sent to the undercard debate and battled my way back. America wants a fighter who shows up.

KELLY: Governor Christie, we look forward to seeing you in Iowa.

CHRISTIE: I'll see you in Iowa, Megyn. I'm showing up, by the way.

KELLY: Me, too. We'll see you there, as well, we hope. Two -- two days now, he has -- he has 48 hours from right now. We'll be right back.


KELLY: You can watch the final GOP debate before the Iowa caucus this Thursday, January 28, at 9 p.m., right here on Fox News. Bret, Chris, and I will be there for you asking tough but fair questions. Not everyone is showing up. We hope you will. Good night.

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