Anger trumping issues on the campaign trail?

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," February 11, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


JEB BUSH, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He folds like a cheap suit the minute a dictator, a despot says something nice about it. If we elect, nominate Donald Trump, we're going to be destroyed in the general election.

GOV. JOHN KASICH, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Jeb is spending all this time being negative. Is he worried at all about his legacy? Everything is trashing people. Even Trump, I read today Trump is like all this guy does is attack.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump has zero foreign policy experience. Negotiating a hotel deal in another country is not foreign policy experience.


RUBIO: Jeb Bush has no foreign policy experience, period.

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're too politically correct. With that being said, as I get closer and closer to the goal, it's going to get different. Now we're down to not very many people, probably six in the end of the day, maybe even less than that. And once you get to a certain level, it changes. I will be changing very rapidly. I'm very capable of changing to anything I want to change to.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, that comment raised some eyebrows. Donald Trump on Twitter today as he often is, talking, I guess, about the conservatives, saying "Remember it was the Republican Party with the help of conservatives that made so many promises to their base but didn't keep them."

Also today, an endorsement from the cofounder of Home Depot, Ken Langone. He is now supporting John Kasich. He was a supporter of Chris Christie who is now out of this race, but now is supporting John Kasich, the Ohio governor. We're back with the panel. Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: With that last switch of endorsement, if it sways 10 people I'll be surprised.

BAIER: It sways money, perhaps, perhaps. His own.

KRAUTHAMMER: It's not going to make a lot of difference, I think, to anyone. But I do think that last line you showed in the clip from Trump, it is sort of a 30 second ad that writes itself. You show that, Trump saying I can be anything I want to be rapidly, and then you run the flip flops. You run him about what he believes about universal healthcare, what he used to say about abortion, et cetera. And it tells you that even he admits in the moment where he winks that a lot of this is just showmanship and play, and then you have to ask yourself how much of it is real? And what is he really going to be, assuming he wins it all?

BAIER: Chuck?

CHARLES LANE , THE WASHINGTON POST: I was struck by the tweet, because there Trump voiced what is on the mind of lots and lots of the Republican base, namely, we were promised so many results year in and year out. If you give us the Congress, we'll do this. If you give us the Senate we'll do that. And we didn't get any of it. And that is a powerful belief on the Republican side.

By the way it has an analog, if you like, on the Democratic side. A lot of people there say I'm for Sanders because he will finally deliver that progressive agenda that Obama couldn't deliver. And it's interesting to see Trump now explicitly tapping into that because that was Ted Cruz's line. And by voicing that in that tweet he is competing for Ted Cruz for that sentiment.

BAIER: That is what you hear a lot. You know, Washington doesn't work. Blow it up. Not I'm 100 percent behind what Trump says, but he definitely is going to stir things up. That's what you hear.

CHARLES HURT, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: And I think that's also why people -- you can talk to people who are single issue voters, normally, and you can -- and you can point to evidence where Donald Trump has been completely against their issue in the past or maybe even now on ethanol or something like that. And it doesn't matter. They don't care. He is not an issue candidate to them. He is an expression candidate. He is he a "screw you, Washington" candidate. And obviously it's been very successful.

BAIER: All right, meantime, Ted Cruz wasn't on the trail as of earlier. He has an event, I guess, tonight. He has an ad against Marco Rubio that has hit airwaves.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has anyone else here struggled with being lied to?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I voted for a guy who was a Tea Party hero in the campaign trail, and then he went to D.C. and played patty cake with Chuck Schumer and cut a deal on amnesty.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe you should vote for more than just a pretty face next time.


BAIER: So that's one of many attack ads that we are likely to see, Charles, in South Carolina.

KRAUTHAMMER: The season of the savage attacks has begun. As you say, it began probably today. There is a good ad I think that Cruz has on Trump in which he shows him as a doll and he says, is this the guy you really want? So I think it's going to start -- I think there is a little bit of exaggeration in the press calling it blood sport. They are wetting their lips. They can't wait for the blood to start to flow.

It's going to be like any other state, except that what happens when the field narrows you can actually hit a target and it might actually help you. In the field to 16 it is useless to have an attack ad because it does you no good. So we are approaching a season in which it will do them good. That's why we are going to see them.

BAIER: The interesting thing is it is started to be written about that the establishment lane maybe isn't a lane, and that Ted Cruz is trying to crime the mantel of the person who can take down Donald Trump and the only person who can do it. Going into South Carolina, he is positioned in second in the early polls, one out today, but still far behind Trump.

LANE: Well, Ted Cruz has a lot to work with in South Carolina because there are a lot of evangelical voters. People may have supported Huckabee in the past live in that Piedmont area of South Carolina, so it's a potentially good state for him.

I still think that, you know, Donald Trump is the man to beat in that state. And I still think that it remains to be seen if this whole theory that, you know, that all of the other candidates are sort of banking on, that if I can just get one on one with Trump, then I'll do it. Having underestimated Donald Trump so many times in the past, I'm going to say right now I will believe that when I see it. He has defied every single theory so far about how he loses, and we will if that one pans out.

BAIER: Quickly I want to run the sound bite from Dr. Ben Carson today in South Carolina.


BEN CARSON, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Most of the people here in South Carolina, at least a lot of people that I have met, shared the same values that I have about the exceptionalism of our country, about our responsibility to those who are coming behind us and why we have to be fiscally responsible, and about the values and principles that made this into a great nation, including our faith.


BAIER: He's still campaigning hard.

HURT: Yes. But this goes -- his comment right there goes back to the thing you just mentioned about the issues. A lot of these people in South Carolina, they know that Donald Trump doesn't share their values, necessarily. But they don't care. He is expressing what they want to express.

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