Can Bernie Sanders break down Hillary Clinton's Southern firewall?

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," February 10, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: The president has signaled while still remaining neutral that he supports Secretary Clinton's candidacy and would prefer to see her as the nominee. He won't officially embrace her unless and until it is clear that she is going to be nominee. But I don't think there is any doubt that he wants Hillary to win the nomination and believes that she would be the best candidate in the fall and the most effective as president in carrying forward what he has achieved.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Former White House press secretary talking about the president and his support, he says, of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic nomination. Meantime Bernie Sanders today in New York in meeting with Al Sharpton, talking about, among other things, support by African-Americans as he gets ready to head down to South Carolina eventually. The Democrats first head to Nevada. He will have a lot of support financially. The Sanders campaign put out a statement saying "In the 18 hours since the polls closed in the granite state, Sanders' campaign has raised more than $5.2 million, shattering the campaign's previous campaign for money raised in less than a day. The average donation since Sanders' speech $34." We're back with the panel. Ron?

RON FOURNIER, NATIONAL JOURNAL: I think that just like we saw Hillary Clinton taking women voters for granted, that she might be taking black voters for granted. If I'm Bernie Sanders I run to the left of Hillary and to the left of Barack Obama on racial disparity and sentences, and I talk about how the Clinton White House, they were tough on crime and punishment, put a lot of African- Americans in jail who would be out under sentences that -- new sentencing guidelines that Congress has since passed and even president hasn't used his clemency power to free these folks. It would be a good way for him to stand up to the president and stand up to Hillary and to show the community I'm more than just talk.

BAIER: We should point out that the reason they are going to Nevada, the Democrats, before South Carolina is because Harry Reid insisted that Nevada had to be next in line. So they are heading to Nevada. And, Steve, it seems like the Sanders' people are exuding confidence even though organizationally Clinton probably has the upper hand across the country.

STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Yes, I think that's true, although Sanders has done some advanced spending in some of these states that are coming up. I think they have every right to exude confidence in part because of what they have done. I do think New Hampshire resets the race. I think New Hampshire would have reset is the race if he beat her by 10 points, but to beat her by 20-plus is just extraordinary. I don't care that he lives next door. It's a big moment, I think, in Democratic politics today.

The $34 a minute that he raised is truly extraordinary, $5.2 million overnight. And if I had to wager, I would say it probably spiked when Hillary Clinton was speaking last night, giving her concession speech, because if you wanted a perfect 20 minute example of what I think a lot of people believe is wrong with our politics, watch that speech where Hillary Clinton talks about the need to get big money out of politics, to reduce the influence of Wall Street. I mean, it was every one of these things on which she has been guilty. She would be the avatar for that on a Democratic side of the ledger, and she is criticizing it because she needs to fight off Bernie Sanders. And I think it also gives us some indication of just how seriously they are now taking him. They didn't before, but they are taking him seriously now.

BAIER: You know, we talk a lot about the establishment fight and the outsiders on the Republican side. There is an establishment fight on the Democratic side. She is leaving New Hampshire actually, it turns out, with more delegates than Bernie Sanders even though she loses by 22 points because of super delegates and the way Democrats have it stacked up. Those are insiders, inside the party, elected officials who she has on her side. And, yet, she lost huge.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: If she keeps loading by three touchdowns, it won't matter how many super delegates she has. There is no way that the party could engineer a victory for her because it would cause a riot that would make 1968 look like a picnic. So it matters what happens in the results despite the fact that perhaps if we're way down the road and it's a very narrow margin like Reagan-Ford in 1976, the weight of the party might make a difference.

But right now, I mean, she took such a shellacking, and it shows. I mean, look -- we were debating, do the emails have any effect, this whole sort of the baggage that she carries. On the honesty issue the spread was 88 points. Saddam had a smaller spread than that on honesty and essentially authenticity. And it turns out it has had a profound effect on Democrats. Imagine what it would do in the general election.

And, look, I do think that her advantage on the question of African- American and Hispanic constituencies is the only remaining question. If she can hang on to them, she will fend him off. If she -- if that barrier collapses, then she's out.

BAIER: Quickly, Ron, on the honest and trustworthy, how much do you think -- you know, we talk about the email scandal, but, really the Wall Street side is what Bernie Sanders was hitting.

FOURNIER: Look, trust is something that infuses every policy issue. That was the problem with the email scandal. Not that emails necessarily in the Democratic primary, but you can make all the promises in the world. If they think you are not good to your word they're going to look somewhere else. And Bernie Sanders, love him or hate him, looks awfully authentic.

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