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Ted Cruz on Trump's win: NH a good state for liberal Republicans; George W. to join Jeb on campaign trail in South Carolina

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

MEGYN KELLY, HOST, "THE KELLY FILE": Breaking tonight. A brand new fight in the Republican race for the White House as two candidates drop out and Senator Ted Cruz declares it is really all about him and Donald trump now.

Welcome to THE KELLY FILE, everyone. I'm Megyn Kelly. Governor Chris Christie and businesswoman Carly Fiorina today called it quits on their respective runs to win the Republican nomination. Leaving a field of just six major candidates on the GOP side. At the top, Donald Trump. The man today celebrating last night's big win in New Hampshire, and Senator Ted Cruz, who claimed the top spot in Iowa last week and outperformed expectations in the Granite State. And now the focus moves on to South Carolina, where Senator Cruz is telling voters the only way to stop Trump is to support him, Cruz. Moments ago, Trump was on THE O'REILLY FACTOR answering questions about Senator Cruz.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, R, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, he may be. He may be. But I really view them all. I mean, look at how fast things can happen. I thought Marco would be there and Marco had a bad debate. We have a big debate coming up on Saturday night. We'll see how it goes. So far, I like the debating. It's worked out well for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: Senator, great to see you. We know that you were there for an important vote today and we'll get to that in a moment about North Korea. But first, we want to ask you about this race. Now Donald Trump has come out in the wake of his big win in New Hampshire and said this, as he said before, is a movement. And members of the press are now saying that he may be unstoppable in his path to the nomination. Your reaction to that?

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, listen, last night we had a fantastic victory. And it was the second week in a row that the voters defied the media pundits. You know, two weeks ago, all the pundits on TV, on every show were saying there was no way we could win in Iowa. They were saying it was impossible that Trump was going to win in Iowa, that it was unstoppable in Iowa. And then we saw the biggest turnout in the history of the Iowa Republican caucuses and we won an incredible victory in Iowa. We won across the board, we won across the board, we won among evangelicals, we won among conservatives, we won among Reagan Democrats, we even won among young people.

It was an incredible victory in Iowa. The next week, everyone in the media said, OK, fine, Cruz won in Iowa, but there's no way a conservative can do well in New Hampshire. New Hampshire, it's a moderate New England state. Conservatives, you cannot get support there. Last night we astonished all the pundits again by finishing with a strong third place finish and unifying the conservative movement. And now we're headed to South Carolina, to Nevada, to the Super Tuesday S.E.C. primary. And I think at this point, it is becoming more and more a two-man race between me and Donald Trump. And what we're seeing is conservatives uniting behind our campaign and if conservatives continue to unite, we're going to win the nomination. And that's also how we win the general.

KELLY: Donald Trump however won last night with conservatives, even in New Hampshire. He won with moderates and he won with conservatives. He won with every demographic group, the old, the young, the college educated, the un-college educated. Men, women, why?

CRUZ: Look, Donald had a good night last night. Now, New Hampshire is a good state for a liberal Republican, New Hampshire is a good state for a Republican like Donald Trump who spent the first 60 years of his life describing himself as very, very pro-choice, supporting partial birth abortion. New Hampshire is a good state for a Republican like that. You know, Donald Trump is someone also who emphatically supported Barack Obama's tart bailout of Wall Street, emphatically supported Obama's stimulus plan. And on health care, Donald Trump is calling for the same socialized medicine that Bernie Sanders is.

Both of them are saying expand ObamaCare to put the federal government in charge of every one of our health care, which will inevitably lead to rationing of care and seniors being denied and needed care. Those views resonate pretty well with a moderate to liberal audience. I'll tell you, in the state of South Carolina, I don't think people are interested in someone, a Republican candidate whose pushed partial birth abortion who won't defend marriage and who supports big government bailouts. I think they're looking for a strong and principled constitutional conservative. And that's why our support continues to surge as we're seeing that old Reagan coalition coming together. We are seeing conservatives and evangelicals and Libertarians and young people, and Reagan Democrats uniting. And that's what's it's going to take to win.

KELLY: Now, he says that bit about the ObamaCare line is not true, that he doesn't support that. That he used to be in favor of single payer health care. He did tell "60 Minutes "in September that he wants, that he's going to, quote, "take care of everyone," health care wise and that the government is going to pay for it. But to your latter point, he is leading in the Real Clear politics of all polls by 16 points there, you're in second place. Now, those polls were not, they haven't been redone since Iowa, but why do you think given what you just said he's been doing so well in the poll there?

CRUZ: Well, Megyn, let's be clear on health care. Even now as a candidate, Donald says we need to have full-on socialized medicine. In the Republican debates, he stood up and said, we ought to have socialized medicine like Canada and Scotland and at the very last debate, he said if you a Republican voters don't support socialized medicine, then you are heartless and you want to let people die in the streets. You know, what we hear that kind of rhetoric all the time from Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, I don't think Republican voters are interested in hearing a Republican candidate saying, they are heartless if they don't want the government taking over medicine. And so, there's a real choice on healthcare, if you want to see Bernie Sander's style socialize medicine, Donald Trump is your guy. In his own words he describes himself as very, very liberal on health care. On the other hand, if you want to repeal every word of ObamaCare, that's what I will do if I'm elected president and instead, we'll pass common sense healthcare reform that makes health insurance personal --

KELLY: Right.

CRUZ: -- and portable and affordable, and keeps government from getting between us and our doctors. I think that's what the American people want.

KELLY: Let's talk about Marco Rubio who now is admitting that he had a bad debate performance last Saturday night. Now some people are saying, notwithstanding what they were calling Marcomentum saying, he's out. Do you believe it's over for him?

CRUZ: Oh, listen, I don't know. Marco is a good guy. He's a friend. He had a tough night on Saturday night, and obviously the results of New Hampshire were not what he had hoped for. We'll see what's happening. You know, his Super PAC continues to run attack ads hitting us and they still got some money, so we'll see what they do.

KELLY: Uh-hm.

CRUZ: You know, what I think the race is going to come down to is simply going to be who do the voters trust? You know, we have been burned, Megyn, over and over again. We keep winning elections and the people who we elect don't do what they want. And I don't think the conservatives in South Carolina want to nominate another dealmaker, someone who is going to go and cut deals with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, and Barack Obama, someone who is going to surrender and capitulate and give in on our principles.

I think what we're looking for is a consistent conservative, someone who will stand for the Constitution and bill of rights, someone who will stand with the working men and women of this country. And I think that's why we have now to date had over 800,000 contributions, folks going on line to TedCruz.org. TedCruz.org. It's a grassroots movement with over 200,000 volunteers and it's coming from we the people who are fed up with the bipartisan corruption of Washington.

KELLY: The Cruz ground game has received nothing but praise and is getting the same feedback for the state's coming up including South Carolina. You're well-positioned there. The question is, what do your competitor's ground games look like? I want to shift gears with you because there is big news today. A shocking video released by Iranian state TV. This is an issue that you've mentioned in the debates that really, really shocked you, this -- how our sailors were treated by the Iranians. And here is an American sailor crying while in the custody of the Iranians. The Iranians released this today. And just to refresh the viewers, this is what our Secretary of State John Kerry said about the treatment of our sailors, include thing one. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I also want to thank the Iranian authorities for their cooperation and quick response. All indications suggest or tell us that our sailors were well taken care of, and that is a testament to the critical role that diplomacy plays in keeping our country safe, secure, and strong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: He thanked them, Senator. He thanked them.

CRUZ: Look, it is disgraceful and it defies words. Only Barack Obama and John Kerry would thank Iran for capturing and trying to humiliate American sailors. That image of our sailors on their knees will come to encapsulate the failures of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy.

KELLY: And now --

CRUZ: It is the direct result of weakness -- yes, yes --

KELLY: Now they're trying to humiliate them and the country further apparently after they get the benefits of this deal.

CRUZ: This is what happens when you have a commander-in-chief who is utterly spineless. Look, in the middle of these nuclear negotiations, the Ayatollah Khomeini attended a rally where they burned American flats, they burned Israeli flags and chanted "Death to America," and Obama and Kerry did nothing. You know, not too many days ago, an Iranian drone buzzed the "USS Harry Truman." That we should have shot down that drone. This weakness is unacceptable and it invites more aggressiveness, more threats from Iran and our enemies like North Korea. And I'll tell you this, Megyn, as I campaign across South Carolina and across the country, every day I encounter members of our military who say they cannot wait to have a commander-in-chief who will stand with them.

I want to take a minute on your show just to speak to every serviceman and woman, every soldier and sailor, and airman and marine, and coast guardsman who has had a commander-in-chief who doesn't stand with you, who doesn't believe in your mission, who doesn't back you up. Who puts you into combat with rules of engagement that tie your arms behind your back? It is disgraceful, it is wrong, and you have my commitment, it will end on January 20th, 2017. You're going to have a president who has your back.

KELLY: Obviously the Obama administration feels good about the Iranian deal. But that tape humiliating our soldiers is something.

CRUZ: Yes.

KELLY: I want to ask you, before I let you go about North Korea. You've return, you've left the campaign trail, you've gone back to Washington. There was an important vote on North Korea, and increasing sanctions on it today because it just doesn't seem to care about our attempts to reign in its nuclear program.

CRUZ: Well, unfortunately President Obama is using the same weakness and appeasement with North Korea that he's using to Iran and to ISIS and to all of our enemies. You know, the President describes his philosophy as, quote, "strategic patience." Well, strategic patience like leading from behind has been a manifest disaster. I think the President needs to immediately re-impose sanctions on North Korea. He needs to pressure China, stop protecting China. China is the patron of North Korea.

KELLY: Uh-hm.

CRUZ: We need to install fast anti-ballistic missile batteries in South Korea to knock down these missiles and we need to list North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism again. You know, one of the amazing things, Megyn, this missile launch from North Korea launched a satellite into space. It's circling the earth every 94 minutes. That satellite crossed directly above Levi Stadium where the Super Bowl was held minutes after the Super Bowl ended. If that satellite has in it a nuclear weapon, if they had detonated a nuclear weapon above the Super Bowl, it could have done catastrophic damage and the Obama administration has done utterly nothing to keep this country safe. It is dangerous, it's unacceptable. And Megyn, I think this is the single most important issue of the 2016 election. Is that the voters are looking for who has the experience, the knowledge, and the judgment to keep this country safe. And as commander-in-chief, that will be my highest priority is keeping America safe.

KELLY: Senator Ted Cruz, thanks for being here.

CRUZ: Thank you, Megyn. God bless.

KELLY: On un-college educated, I'm quoting that place from myself, you know what I meant, been a long night. Well, the other candidate who outperformed expectations last night, Governor Jeb Bush. He's here next to talk about Trump, Cruz, and whether he's about to go after Marco Rubio and John Kasich and how.

Plus, Chris Stirewalt, Dana Perino and campaign veterans Stewart Stevens are here to explain why the South Carolina primary could turn into a blood bath according to one political advisor, more than one actually.

And then, why are Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders working so hard to win support from Al Sharpton? That debate just ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Our votes must be earned. Nobody can deliver our votes. None of us are kingpins.

JEB BUSH, R, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: South Carolina's been good to the Bushes in the past, and I'm hoping and praying it will be good again ten days from now. Thank you all very much.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: That was Governor Jeb Bush today in South Carolina talking about the Bush family legacy in the palmetto state. Both his father and his brother emerged as primary winners there before going on to win the White House. The latest polls on South Carolina were taken before the votes in Iowa and New Hampshire. But at last check they suggested a hard fight ahead for Jeb Bush. The question now, will he be able to turn that around with some help from some messengers like this one?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH, UNITED STATES: This is President George W. Bush. We live in troubled times where the military deployed around the world. We need a strong leader with experience, ideas, and resolve. There's no doubt in my mind that Jeb Bush will be a great commander-in- chief for our military. Jeb has dealt with crises as the governor of Florida and he did so with a resolve and steadiness and a calmness necessary in a good leader. He respects the military. He honors their families. He can make the tough decisions to keep American safe and our country free. And in a time of crisis, he will be a steady hand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: Joining me now from South Carolina, Republican candidate for president and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Governor, good to see you tonight. So this is the first time we've heard from your brother, also known as the former president of the United States, in support of you, officially in this campaign. Why now?

JEB BUSH, R, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, because we're starting the process. We've had, you know, six months of preliminary activities. We had one caucus and one primary, 18 delegates have been given out to the front running candidate. We got a long way to go. And this is the proper time for my brother to express his support for my candidacy. He's pretty popular down here in South Carolina. I'm expecting that people will appreciate seeing him and they certainly like the ad.

KELLY: He's hugely popular in the Republican Party. 77 percent approval rating among Republicans now, and largely due to the dignity he's shown since he left office. He hasn't piled on to the attacks on Barack Obama which, it has been appreciated I think by parties, by people on both sides of the aisle. So now he's going to come out not negatively but positively in your favor, and the question is, what does -- what do your rivals do? What in particular does Trump do? Because he's already gone after our former president as, quote, "a disaster." Your thoughts?

BUSH: Yes, well, he attacked my mother for campaigning for me. I mean, we're reaching a point in our country where you can't even have your mom show up to campaign for you in New Hampshire? It's pretty funny actually. Of course, they're going to campaign for me. They love me, I love them. I'm proud of being a Bush and I'm running with my record and running with detailed plans to fix people's lives. And that's what this campaign is about. So if Donald Trump wants to go after my brother, man, I think that won't be helpful.

KELLY: What is your plan now? Because I know that you were asked about this. There is a memo that says Jeb Bush is going to go after it. This comes from your campaign, they say, that your fire power is going to be aimed at Kasich and Rubio. In response to which, many people said, they are not the front-runners by any stretch of the imagination. Why wouldn't you be taking the Jeb Bush money and the right to rise and you don't coordinate with the Super PAC but why wouldn't you be firing that at Donald Trump or Ted Cruz?

BUSH: Hey, I read that memo, and there's no attacks suggested in that memo. If you read the memo, it just simply says that there will be a chance now to compare and contrast records. And I have a conservative proven record. It's an advantage. Why wouldn't I toot my own horn when I cut taxes, trunk the size of government, reformed our education system, took on powerful interests and won? And it compares favorably to that of Governor Kasich, who is a good governor. But my record is a good one. And I think it's fair game. I didn't stay there was going to be a bunch of scorched earth advertising --

KELLY: But is it -- but the point is --

BUSH: Marco, he has to be challenged as well.

KELLY: Like you are taking out the player who's kind of limping down the back of the field instead of the quarterback who was running with the ball.

BUSH: I'm not.

KELLY: Do you have your eye on the wrong guy?

BUSH: You know, what Megyn? No, no, Megyn. You don't follow me around, I guess. Because there's one candidate that has taken on Trump --

KELLY: No, I have heard that.

BUSH: Check the twitter feed from Donald.

(CROSSTALK)

Check the Twitter feed from Donald Trump and see the vitriol coming my way. And it's because I'm taking him on. He's not a conservative. He's a person that tries to insult his way to the nomination. He's a great entertainer. He's all the things that we know what he is. But he's not a leader, and I take him on. He doesn't like it so he comes back to me. Everybody else is in the witness protection program. Everybody else is running for covers. So the reality is, that I'm taking on the front-runner because I don't think he's the appropriate guy to lead the conservative party to victory in November. But at the same time, when people ask me did you support expanding Medicaid which Governor Kasich did, and I said, no. As a private citizen, I lobbied the House of Representatives to stay the course and not to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare. That's fair game, isn't it? I mean, that's just reality.

KELLY: You have been very critical on the trail, as has your mom for that matter, you mentioned Barbara Bush, our former First Lady about Trump's vulgarity, including the use of the "P" word in front of a room full of people -- an arena full of people --

BUSH: Yes.

KELLY: And he has explained that to NBC's Lester Holt yesterday. Listen here.

BUSH: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LESTER HOLT, NBC HOST, "NIGHTLY NEWS": I'm wondering to myself, would you say that as president of the United States? --

TRUMP: No. Much different.

HOLT: -- with that seal on the podium?

TRUMP: Much different.

HOLT: So, are you going to be a different guy as president than the one we see out here?

TRUMP: I went to the best schools, you know, I was a good student, I have an uncle who was one of the top professors at M.I.T. I mean, there's a good gene pool right there. I have to do what I have to do.

HOLT: So, this is an act?

TRUMP: No. It's not an act. Last night I had thousands of people. We had a great time. And it wasn't my word, it was a word that a woman kept shouting and she was shouting it, and I repeated, I only repeated the word, and the place was wild. Standing ovation, everybody --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: So your thoughts on that, the uncle at M.I.T.?

BUSH: Well, come on. So, I had a town hall meeting overflow crowd, about 500 people and a town -- 600 people are expected, 650, and a kid at the very end asked me, are you going to be as mean and ugly as Donald Trump? That was his question. He's hearing this stuff. People hear it. You don't want kids hearing this stuff. The presidency should be sacred ground. It should be the place that people are inspired by the leader. It needs to be the place where we unify around a set of common purpose purposes. And degrading people and shouting profanities and say, well, I didn't say it, he did say it, he said it out loud. And he's done far more than the "P" word, he's got the F word, the S word and every other word. That's not how our country is going to move forward. I just reject that kind of notion out of hand.

KELLY: Lastly, I want to get you to weigh in on this video released by Iranian state television, on Iranian state television, of our sailors, our U.S. sailors while they were in Iranian custody, including this man crying. This is -- our government has thanked Iran for the way it treated our sailors while they were in its custody and now they released this in an attempt to embarrass them. Your thoughts?

BUSH: All right. It's disgusting that John Kerry would thank the Iranian government, would appease them, and basically allow for the public humiliation. Tweeted out by the supreme leader by the way. This is not something where you can say this was done by low level people. This is how they roll, and we unilaterally concede one thing after the other to the Iranians and emboldens them. And by the way, when we had the hostage release for people that were held illegally in the country for people that committed crimes here, several days afterwards, a University of Virginia student was captured in North Korea.

This sends a signal not just as it relates to the Middle East or to Iran, this is a signal around the world that we're not serious anymore. That we're not going to stand up for our values or stand up for our people. And the next president of the United States needs to restore the sense that there are severe consequences for capturing American sailors. I would like to see exactly what happened here and why the United States government apologized basically to get their release.

KELLY: Governor Bush, it's great to see you. Thank you for being here.

BUSH: Thanks, Megyn.

KELLY: All the best.

Well, a number of political advisers are now warning that the South Carolina primary could turn into a blood bath. We'll show you why when Chris Stirewalt, Dana Perino and campaign veteran Stuart Stevens join us right after this break.

Plus, does Al Sharpton hold the key to who gets the democratic nomination? A fair and balance debate coming up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: My concern, Andrea, is that the first time in American history a black family will be leaving the White House at the end of this year that black concerns are not leaving the White House with them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: We are now just ten days away from the next big Republican contest, South Carolina. And already there are warnings that this race is about to get ugly in ways we have not seen since perhaps the 2000 primary between George W. Bush and John McCain. Remember last night in New Hampshire, just a couple of thousand votes separated the third, fourth, and fifth place finishers, meaning next vote could make or break any number of campaigns, similar to what happened to McCain back in 2000. In moments, we'll be joined by Chris Stirewalt, Dana Perino and campaign veterans Stuart Stevens.

But we begin with Trace Gallagher who has a little history behind this showdown.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR, WEST COAST NEWSROOM: You know, Megyn, for candidate -- for GOP candidates, winning South Carolina is highly coveted for two reasons. One, South Carolina has a wide cross section of evangelicals, military vets, retirees, and is therefore considered to be a good barometer for how Republicans really feel. And two, except for backing Newt Gingrich in 2012, South Carolina has chosen every GOP nominee since 1980 and that kingmaker reputation means South Carolina tends to get vicious.

The Rubio campaign is already vowing revenge against the Bush campaign for attack in New Hampshire with one Rubio adviser saying, quote, "South Carolina is going to be a blood bath. Jeb and his people wanted to attack Marco in New Hampshire about abortion. Let's see how that plays down here and then there's common core. Attack ads between Bush and Rubio, Trump and Cruz are already on the air but they have ways to go to top the nastiness of the 2000 presidential primary between George W. Bush and John McCain.

Where the Bush campaign was accused of trying to smear McCain by suggesting the senator had fathered a black child out of wedlock and that his wife, Cindy (ph), was a drug addict. Here is McCain responding at the time. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN MCCAIN, U.S. SENATOR FROM ARIZONA: The worst campaigns call up people and say negative things about the candidates. Look, I'm - I'm worried, quite frankly, where the Bush campaign is going.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAHER: The negative campaign is widely credited with halting John McCain's momentum and giving Bush South Carolina. Although to this day, the Bush campaign says it was not behind the attack ads. Megyn?

KELLY: Oh, boy. Trace, thank you. Joining me now with more Chris Stirewalt, our Fox News Digital Politics editor, Dana Perino, who's co-host of "The Five" and former White House Press Secretary under President George W. Bush and Stuart Stevens, founding partner at Strategic Partners and Media, he has been lead strategist and media consultant for some of the nation's toughest political campaigns including ad of President George W. Bush, as well as Governor Mitt Romney, also, the author of the "Last Season." Wow, Stuart has done a lot.

(LAUGHTER)

OK. Let's - let's just start with .

CHRIS STIREWALT; FOX NEWS DIGITAL POLITICS EDITOR: Thanks, Megyn.

KELLY: . what happened with Jeb Bush there, because he is going to go after Rubio, and he is going to go after Kasich, according to this memo, Chris. And there is, as I said, there's the quarterback with the ball like every - - looking back at the guys limping behind him, he's like, the guy is about to go into the end zone.

STIREWALT: And you saw what Donald Trump just did. He just did what he said he was going to do. He - he not only met. He slightly exceeded the prior - the expectations of pre-election polls. He did it. His voters came out and there's no reason to think that he's not going to do it in South Carolina today, again.

I want to tell you when I listen to Jeb Bush talk, when I listen to others in this race talk, it is like they are living in the past, like it's some different time. Donald Trump, he will - if - if Donald Trump is not going to be the Republican nominee, it's because somebody is going to have to take him on in a direct way. Jeb Bush as to his credit, he has taken him on, he's right about that. He's taken them on, but if you're trying to knock out the lower rung guy so that you can be the last guy standing, you may be too late when you get there.

KELLY: It doesn't count to be number two in the - in the - in the presidential nominating contest.

STIREWALT: Right.

KELLY: It doesn't work. Dana, just - 538 Nate Silver - a very interesting take on the whole race today and it's talked about how Trump has got a much lower ceiling on his support than the normal frontrunner has and referred back to that Gallup poll that came out January 30th showing that Trump has unfavorables that are 60 percent - 60 percent dislike him, which is the worst number among any nominated candidate since Gallup began tracking. So, even though Trump is beating the rest of the field, handily at least did in New Hampshire.

There is a question about how long he could keep it going if the rest of the field winnows.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST "THE FIVE": Donald Trump could take a statistic like that and say look, "I even win that category. I mean, and people would love it."

(LAUGHTER)

KELLY: We are tired of winning.

PERINO: Yeah. Exactly. No, no. Yeah, I'm number one. In ufavorables, right, and I want to be because if you look at that -- one of the exit polls last night, Megyn, 88 percent of the people said that they're angry and very dissatisfied with government. He has tapped into that. He won decisively in New Hampshire. I actually think the bigger battle you're likely to see, that the parallel you should be looking at, is Jeb - if he decides to go after Marco or whoever else or Trump or all of them, watch for Cruz.

STIREWALT: Yes.

PERINO: This is more of the parallel, right? Because 43 won Iowa, lost New Hampshire, wins in South Carolina. If you follow Cruz, I think that actually that's the one that Trump out to look out for.

KELLY: Stuart, 43, I love how Dana calls hin 43; 43 may be like Cruz, but Cruz, unlike 43, again, I was quoting 538 here is not a unity candidate. He got 12 percent in New Hampshire, which is in line with what Huckabee and Santorum got after they won Iowa. And they didn't go anywhere and the GOP elites are - are very much opposed to Cruz as they are to Trump. So, how do you see Cruz's role here?

STUART STEVENS, FOUNDING PARTNER AT STRATEGIC PARTNERS AND MEDIA: Well, listen, I think Cruz probably should be the odds on favorite to win the nomination right now.

KELLY: More than Trump?

STEVENS: I don't - more than Trump. I think so. He -- he's a candidate who has made to win Republican primaries. I don't think he's a strong general election candidate. But he is someone who - he has a geographic and ideological base, that's something that - that Donald Trump doesn't have.

KELLY: Yeah.

STEVENS: You know, I think what you guys have been saying about Donald Trump and the fact that no one has been attacking him, that's the key to his success largely. I mean, anybody can do well if nobody is out there. He's just trying to tackle him. So, he just walked into the end zone in New Hampshire. It's the strangest thing I've ever seen.

KELLY: Yes.

STEVENS: There seems to be this obsession with who can finish in the first and second and third loser, instead of who can win.

KELLY (?): First losers.

STEVENS: They have to get out of that to win this.

KELLY: That's not the goal, but these are guys are confused. Now , what they are moving on the South Carolina which is going to be really important. Critically important and as we pointed out in the Trace piece, it's historically brutal. And you know, George W. Bush won it in 2000, but it was a brutal battle. It was a critical moment at one of the debates between George Bush and John McCain versus the sampling of the back and forth about the dirty tricks. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Are you saying that Governor Bush was responsible for that call?

MCCAIN: I don't know who was responsible for it, but I know that the attacks go on.

(CROSSTALK)

BUSH: Let me say one thing .

MCCAIN: I know that the attacks go on.

BUSH: . let me just say one thing about all this business, John.

MCCAIN: I told you, I pulled them all down.

BUSH: You didn't pull this ad.

MCCAIN: I did.

BUSH: This that ended up in the man's windshield yesterday.

MCCAIN: In the .

BUSH: That questions my - isn't - this is an attack piece.

MCCAIN: That is not by my campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was this paid for by John McCain.

MCCAIN: That is not .

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

KELLY: Which was a good moment for George W. Bush. But -- but somebody behind our former president was viciously attacking John McCain, and are we likely to see that level? Let me start with you on this Stuart, as somebody who's working on this campaign. Are we likely to see that level of ugliness this time around?

STEVENS: Well, I'm just going to say for the record, I think the ugliness of this has been somewhat exaggerated. I don't think that's why John McCain lost. If you really look at the dynamic here .

KELLY: Yes.

STEVENS: . he won in New Hampshire because he appealed to independents. He really hit Bill Bradley who is running against Al Gore. Like Trump, he got down to South Carolina and the fact - he - never defined himself ideologically as a conservative. That was good for New Hampshire. It was bad for South Carolina. That's why he lost South Carolina more than anything else, and I see the same thing Donald Trump.

KELLY: But why did - why is Trump .

STEVENS: Well, an end to this .

KELLY: . polling (ph) so far ahead in South Carolina? At least according to polls done via Iowa.

STEVENS: Well, I -- listen, when -- I remember vividly, you know, after we lost a 65 point lead and lost by 19 and .

KELLY: Yes.

STEVENS: . with bush in New Hampshire, which you really have to work at, we're just .

KELLY: Whether .

STEVENS: . 20 points, you know, we're 20 points down when we landed the next morning in South Carolina .

KELLY: Yes.

STEVENS: . with ten days to go.

KELLY: Yes.

STEVENS: So, these things are very, very fluid. But you have to engage, and I think Donald Trump has to be defined here by the field. He is a very unlikely candidate to win in Iowa and unlikely candidate to win in South Carolina.

KELLY: Yes. Let me get Dana in here on Marco Rubio and whether you think we could see a resurrection of the man Time Magazine put out there as if you were Jesus.

PERINO: It - well, this is his moment if he's going to do it. You know, it's interesting to read since -- the reactions of the young people that there's a lot of energy of young people that just adore him. They are very deflated today, but he's trying to make a comeback. I talked to a couple of people today who were around him and they said he seemed in good spirits, but he also is a competitor and that he wants to win and he knows - he's got to have a good few days and an excellent superb debate.

KELLY: Yeah.

PERINO: The other thing I want to mention is South Carolina is not just is a difficult, nasty campaign for Republicans. Remember what happened in 2008. This is when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton battled it out and someone on the Obama campaign accused Bill Clinton of being a racist and .

KELLY: That would tee up our next segment .

PERINO: . oh .

KELLY: . just break because we're going to that .

(CROSSTALK)

PERINO: I'm at .

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: . I'm just here to help.

PERINO: Deb Stirewalt (ph).

(LAUGHTER)

KELLY: So, we said goodbye - we said goodbye to Carly Fiorina. We said goodbye to Chris Christie. We'll probably going to be saying goodbye to Ben Carson, I don't know. I don't want to start that rumor because I got another news here - organization (ph) a lot trouble.

STIREWALT: It's just laundry (ph). Right. It's just laundry (ph).

KELLY: Is that - it is important they had - you know, not a huge percentage but some percentage of the vote.

STIREWALT: Well, look at what Chris Christie - Chris Christie was very consequential in New Hampshire. He was not in the running but he was very consequential because he weaponized .

KELLY: Yeah.

STIREWALT: . himself to blow up Marco Rubio, to do the work of Jeb Bush. So that's the - that's the deal, and I promise you this, that if Jeb Bush succeeds in jack rocking Marco Rubio, as he's trying to get there as Rubio as Santo Marco tries to come back - as he tries to restore himself down there. If Jeb Bush succeeds in squelching that, I think Stuart is 100 percent right that - that Ted Cruz's path to the nomination opens wide up, wide up.

KELLY: Very interesting. Good discussion on the - on the beginning of Lent. Great to see you.

STIREWALT: You bet.

KELLY: Thank you all.

Well, just a couple of weeks ago, Hollywood icon, Richard Dreyfuss was spotted at a Ted Cruz campaign event in Hollywood who've kicked him out now - he's been kicked out of Hollywood. We, tonight, have new follow up from the story that absolutely blew up thereafter.

Plus, does Al Sharpton hold the key to which Democrat will get this nomination? Richard Fowler and Kevin Jackson as here next on what's becoming a fierce debate.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: Less than 13 hours after a big win in New Hampshire, Senator Bernie Sanders was not in South Carolina, not leading a rally, and not doing a fund-raiser. Instead, he was meeting with Reverend Al Sharpton in New York City. And he is not alone. Hillary Clinton was also reportedly courting the Reverend Al just hours after last night's results were announced. So, what's going on here?

Richard Fowler is the nationally syndicated radio host. Kevin Jackson is a Fox News contributor and executive director of TheBlacSphere.net. Richard, what is going on?

RICHARD FOWLER, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: Oh, listen, Al Sharpton speaks for some African-Americans not all African-Americans. The African- American vote is not monolithic. I think if you look at South Carolina very carefully, and look at the polls on what's going to be happening in the next couple of weeks is you have the black lives not our younger African- American voters who looking for an answer to mass incarceration and older African-Americans who was looking for something else, and Al Sharpton speaks to a cross section of that population and thus Bernie Sanders had to sit down with them.

KELLY: But you're - you're kind of skipping the lead, which is Sanders doesn't have the support of African-Americans at all, according to the polls. Let's put them on the board and Hillary does. And if Sanders doesn't start picking up some support in the African-American community, he could stick a fork in him. He's done. Look at that, 74 percent in South Carolina are with Hillary and just 17 percent are with Bernie.

I mean, the race is - I mean, like you cannot win as a Democratic nominee, Richard, if you don't have the support of African-Americans.

FOWLER: That's exactly right, Megyn. I think what you're seeing from the Sanders' campaign is they're working very, very aggressively to target African-American voters. Whether it'd be a high - you know, the HBC you call us when we did a couple of weeks ago or sitting down with Al Sharpton or finding ways to -- to target young African-American voters. He's doing everything he can to find out how you get to African-American voters who has endorsed a couple of days .

KELLY: So that's the question, Kevin.

(CROSSTALK)

FOWLER: . ago by former .

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Is that how - is that how .

FOWLER: . NWC (ph) president, Ben Dallas (ph).

KELLY: . you do it, you get - is that how do it? You get the - you get Reverend Al to say, "He's good." Feel the Bern.

KEVIN JACKSON, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THEBLACSPHERE.NET: The - the - the bids are coming in, Megyn, on black people. And Reverend Al noticed how much Jeb Bush paid for some white folks up in Iowa and he's happy to see Bernie, because that's exactly what's happening here. It's just the Democrats are pandering to blacks. I'm actually shocking to bring a representative from Kentucky .

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: We don't know that any money changed hands. They just had a cup of tea.

JACKSON: Well, let me tell you that the money is changing hands, because for -- it's insulting that this man would go to talk to Al Sharpton as if Al Sharpton, he's the purveyor of black thought and the black vote. It's insulting! And as I about to say, he might as well have brought a representative from Kentucky fried chicken and said, "Let -- let the bidding begin." It is ridiculous.

KELLY: I don't get that.

JACKSON: . that this is even -- I don't get it either.

(LAUGHTER)

KELLY: I don't understand.

JACKSON: Let me just put it this way. It's a - it's a pander. It is a pander to black people.

FOWLER: Megyn?

JACKSON: Instead of him talking to blacks individually and coming on and saying, "Hey, folks, here are the things that I'm interested in." He's going to go and interrupt a trip where he should be in South Carolina and he's going to make a detour to go talk to a man that is insignificant of what .

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: I would know for the record. Now, while they had their tea, they specifically denied having any fried chicken. It's obvious, because the Reverend Al lost 176 pounds. He no longer eats (rice foods).

FOWLER: He's a - and he -- I want to say he's a vegan, to be honest.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Well, that's a Obama (ph). They'll be no chicken.

(CROSSTALK)

JACKSON: We all - we will move - moving - moving - moving on.

KELLY: So, all right. So, let's speak to that, speak to that Richard. Because obviously Al Sharpton is a controversial figure and - he is controversial figure. I mean, the stuff he said after Ferguson where he was saying there's no deadly threat, remember? And as it turns out there was. The DOJ concluded that officer who shot Michael Brown was facing a deadly threat.

FOWLER: Megyn?

KELLY: Go ahead.

FOWLER: Well, let's not relocate (ph) here. I think someone argue that Wayne LaPierre, the president of the NRA president is a controversial figure, as well. I mean, that's up for debate, but let's talk about what's really important here.

KELLY: Yes.

FOWLER: Clearly, Kevin hasn't realized ever in a presidential election where candidates court votes in many different ways. You've seen Ted Cruz a couple of weeks ago had a rally in terms of .

JACKSON: Called pander (ph).

FOWLER: . of prayer meeting to court the evangelical vote. Everybody finds different ways to court their vote as in get their vote is out to vote for them.

KELLY: But his point is that Al Sharpton .

FOWLER: There's no difference.

JACKSON: No.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: . speak for African-Americans. Go ahead, Kevin.

JACKSON: No. But it is the same as saying .

(CROSSTALK)

FOWLER: Well, no .

(CROSSTALK)

JACKSON :. that .

(CROSSTALK)

FOWLER: . one other point, Megyn .

(CROSSTALK)

JACKSON: Richard, calm down.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Richard said no. Go ahead, Kevin.

JACKSON: Now that - now that - now that Richard brings up Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz is a Christian and he's not courting the evangelical vote. That's the media saying that he's courting. Ted Cruz is a Christian. He's living a Christian life. He talks about it openly. He isn't going to meet with churches to say, "Let me go pander to the evangelicals community .

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Well, he is recruiting pastors to help him in each of the counties in South Carolina.

JACKSON: Every - everybody -- everybody is going to recruit the typical people, that support group .

FOWLER: Exactly. That's exactly what Bernie Sanders was doing .

JACKSON: . who they want (ph).

FOWLER: . in New York City.

JACKSON: Not.

FOWLER: He was recruiting Al Sharpton.

JACKSON: No. It isn't.

(CROSSTALK)

FOWLER: That's a possible .

(CROSSTALK)

JACKSON: No. As Bernie - Bernie Sanders .

(CROSSTALK)

FOWLER: . for his campaign.

JACKSON: . is pandering.

FOWLER: What's the different between .

JACKSON: Bernie Sanders is pandering.

FOWLER: . recruiting pastors and recruiting Al Sharpton as a pastor. Please explain the difference to me. Because I don't get it.

KELLY: I got to - we've got to leave it.

JACKSON: The difference is that Ted Cruz.

KELLY: We've got to leave at that - without getting it.

FOWLER: What's the difference? There is not one.

(CROSSTALK)

JACKSON: Well, Ted Cruz is not (ph) looking at pastors .

(CROSSTALK)

FOWLER: There's no difference.

KELLY: Thank you, guys.

JACKSON: I'll just say there were just some mono .

KELLY: All right.

JACKSON: All right. My pleasure.

KELLY: Look at my power. They got them - I don't even have to wrap it up. They just -- the director takes them away. But I thank them. After Hollywood icon, Richard Dreyfuss was spotted at a Ted Cruz campaign event, he was officially kicked out of Hollywood. This is it. They say, "You can no longer do there. That's - it's official." That Bernie made off thing, he did, that was the last thing he'll up - no. But there's a response from the actor, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: Growing backlash tonight against some liberals and some folks online who were simply horrified to spot Hollywood icon, Richard Dreyfuss at an Iowa campaign event for Ted Cruz. Out of the club.

Trace Gallagher has the report live from the West Coast Newsroom. Trace?

GALLAGHER: Megyn, the fact that Richard Dreyfuss was at Ted Cruz rally got tongues wagging. The fact he was sitting in the front row in the reserved seats beg the question of whether his presence suggest his support to which Dreyfuss quickly answer, "No," saying, quote, "It suggested I'm interested in what we has to say." We come at it from different places but he reveres the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Dreyfus himself is an outspoken supporter of the Bill of Rights and cited with the National Rifle Association in the gun control debate.

But Dreyfuss said has called for the impeachment of George W. Bush and said the GOP is in danger of becoming a joke party, an extremist party saying, quote, "I'm looking to see if anyone is going to revive the old Republican Party." That nostalgia did not sit well with some. One Twitter post saying, quote, "I'm looking to see if anyone is going to revive the old Republican Party? You know, the racist and homophobic one." Another tweet said, "Just saw Richard Dreyfuss is supporting Ted Cruz and I feel so vindicated for arguing that Mr. Holland was a total blank."

That reaction prompted Dreyfuss' son, Harry, to write an editorial in support of his dad, quoting, "It's not shocking that people mistake curiosity with support, but it is the pathetic and it is tragic refusing to show interest in a different perspective should not serve as a badge of pride in your own ideas." He was also at a Carly Fiorina rally, as well. Megyn?

KELLY: And they'll both be on the program tomorrow night. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: Nearly two-thirds of kids are bullied in America but never report it, and it is not just kids especially with the advent of social media. I've posted a piece on time.com about dealing with haters. You can find it on Twitter @megynkelly. Thanks for watching. See you tomorrow night with Richard Dreyfus.

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