This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," February 12, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SANDRA SMITH, FOX NEWS HOST: Breaking tonight. With less than 24 hours to go before the final Republican debate, ahead of the South Carolina primary.
The gloves are officially off. And the candidates better get the Band-Aids out.
Welcome to "The Kelly File," everyone. I'm Sandra Smith in for Megyn Kelly tonight. Over the past few days, the presidential hopefuls have been crisscrossing South Carolina. A state not only known for its conservative, Christian values, but for its rough and tumble politics. And we're definitely seeing evidence of that tonight. Some of the worst of it coming from Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. As the battle between the two men gets uglier. Mr. Trump accusing Senator Cruz of dirty tricks and downright behavior, unleashing a flurry of tweets such as, "How can Ted Cruz be an evangelical Christian when he lies so much and is so dishonest?"
For his part, Cruz telling reporters, quote, "There's more than a little irony in Donald accusing anybody of being nasty given the amazing torrent of insults and obscenities that come out of his mouth on any given day."
And things are getting just as fiery on the democratic side as Bernie Sanders looks to build on his big win in New Hampshire. And Hillary Clinton tries to regain her standing with voters. We have a terrific lineup for you tonight.
Chris Stirewalt is here to explain why the stakes are so high for the Republicans in South Carolina. Then we'll asked Howie Kurtz about last night's democratic debate and why this moderator failed to even ask Mrs. Clinton a key question about something. You'll have to see.
Plus, pollster Frank Luntz breaks down the best campaign messaging so far. But we begin first tonight with John Roberts reporting from Greenville, South Carolina.
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sandra, South Carolina is famous for its bare knuckle politics. It took Senator John McCain years to get past the anger in resentment he felt over what Bush supporters did to him here in the 2000 primary campaign. And what we've seen so far, it doesn't seem to appear to have reached the 2000 laws, there are plenty of beanballs that are being thrown back and forth by all sides. The sharpest battles at the moment at least are between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and Trump and Jeb Bush. The Trump campaign made a big point of taking down a negative ad against Ted Cruz saying, they wanted to wage a positive campaign. But on the stump, Trump continues to go after his opponents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Poor Jeb. He spent $20 million on negative ads. If he didn't do that, I wouldn't be talking badly about him, you know? And he's so off, all he has to do is stop and I'll leave him alone. He's like a child. Bush says, I do not believe he's a true conservative. These people are stupid. Cruz, Cruz today took an ad that's so false, it's so false. I just hope you don't believe the crap, because it's all crap.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: One of the big dirty tricks of the 2000 campaign was push polling against John McCain. I talked to a couple of voters who say they were targeted by push polls, highly negative of Marco Rubio and Donald Trump. The polls said they came from Remington Research, which is a company that was created by Ted Cruz's campaign manager. The Cruz campaign said we had nothing to do with it, insisting that whomever was behind the polls was just trying to make them look bad. And we still got seven days to go -- Sandra.
SMITH: All right. John Roberts, thank you. Well, today, Donald Trump also reigniting questions or suggestions Cruz isn't eligible to be president. Tweeting, "If Ted Cruz doesn't clean up his act, stop cheating, and doing negative ads, I have standing to sue him for not being a natural born citizen."
FOX News digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt is here. I'm seeing you my debate buddy earlier tonight. Every time I see you, it's got to be a presidential debate. Chris, great to have you tonight.
CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS DIGITAL POLITICS EDITOR: We can just hang. It doesn't have to be a debate. We can just joke.
SMITH: But it's so fun and you say, Chris, the stakes are so high for the GOP in South Carolina.
STIREWALT: Well, that's right. Look, you have two things really that are going on in South Carolina. You have, number one, the test of Trump versus Cruz. And this comes down to Trump and this is an open primary, and what Trump wants to do is re-create the success he had in New Hampshire where he can say, look, I can bring in Democrats, Independents, others, part of a blue collar coalition, Reagan Democrats and others to come in and make the Republican Party this populist party whereas Ted Cruz says, he wants it to be the traditional Republican Party which is conservative, evangelical Christians. That's what we normally identify with South Carolina. And that's how Ted Cruz won in Iowa. So we will see which of them is right about what the model for the Republican Party in South Carolina across the country is. Then you have the undercard --
STIREWALT: -- which is Marco Rubio is looking for the comeback. He suffered in New Hampshire because Chris Christie weaponized himself, blew him up in the debate. Rubio took a lot of heat, finished poorly. Now wants a comeback. Jeb Bush wants to stop him. Jeb Bush, who has --
SMITH: Can he do it? Can Jeb Bush do it? That's the question everybody is asking as we enter South Carolina.
STIREWALT: Look, I don't think Jeb Bush has a way to be the Republican nominee and I don't think that if he could be the Republican nominee, it would be worth a nickel, because the party would hate him so much by the time he got there. I don't know that that would really work out for him. But could he stop Marco Rubio in South Carolina? Maybe. His brother is hitting the trail for him. Jeb Bush still has a lot of money. The Super PAC still has a lot of money. They could run a lot of attack ads on Marco Rubio and drag him down of this race. It's possible but Rubio could come back and if he does, that could be quite a story for him.
SMITH: I just get a little confused. We're talking about these candidates trying to appeal to the evangelical voter and then they're launching these sort of attacks on each other, Chris. Stirewalt, I mean, looking at the last 24 hours alone. We just mentioned Donald Trump calling Ted Cruz a cheater. Jeb Bush a lightweight. I mean, I'm looking at a series of tweets that have gone on today and I'm sorry, it's not just Donald Trump. You just name, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, I mean, it's getting fiery in the state of South Carolina.
STIREWALT: Well, now, let's not blame South Carolina for this, because it's sort of where we are in the race. The ads that they're running in Iowa and New Hampshire weren't exactly hallmark valentine's cards to one another. Now you get to South Carolina and it's the states that do it. It's not that the people of South Carolina are particularly wicked or pernicious or that they like attack ads down there. It is that the stakes are so high. People are desperate to get through this and in the case of Jeb Bush, it's a great example. This is it for him. He knows he either kills Rubio here or the trail ends for him, for Rubio it's the same. And for Cruz and for Trump, it's the fight for momentum going into the S.E.C.
primary where there are a ton of delegates at stake and the first to march. So the stakes are huge. People get nasty. This is politics. It's maybe bad for the country, but it is fascinating to watch.
SMITH: We have something coming up saying this is only a good thing for the GOP. And right now, Chris Stirewalt, about half of the GOP voters in the state are undecided. So thank you Chris Stirewalt for joining us tonight.
STIREWALT: You bet.
SMITH: All right. Four candidates spent the day taking a break from the nastiness and the fight in South Carolina, discussing issues of faith in the 2016 race instead. Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, and Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz spoke at the Faith and Family Summit earlier today. And in a state where some 65 percent of voters identify as evangelicals, according to 2012 exit polls, this group of voters could once again be a critical win. Here's just some of what we heard today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN CARSON, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The presidency is a tremendous opportunity to affect the whole being of the country. We have allowed the purveyors of division to hold sway in our society, and hence, we believe that there is a war on women and there are race wars, and there are income wars, and there are age wars, and there are religious wars, and there's a war on virtually anything that anybody can imagine, because they live by the adage, divide and conquer. And it's really going to be up to we, the people and it helps tremendously when you have a president who recognizes that we, the American people, are not each other's enemies.
JEB BUSH, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've only made a couple of promises if I'm president. One is, on day one, I won't blame my predecessor. On day one, whatever the problem is, I'll accept personal responsibility and try to solve the problem. No one will say the dog ate my homework or anything like that.
And I will do whatever I can to avoid pushing people down to make myself look big and strong. We need to get back to, we're Americans and we have a set of principles that guide us.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our next president must be someone that can grow the number of people who believe in these things, that takes our message to people that today don't vote for people like me. Who can take the message of limited government, free enterprise, traditional values, and a strong national defense to people who, for the last 20 years perhaps haven't voted for people like me. This time, if you vote for me, you will have a chance to elect someone who is as conservative and as committed to conservatism as anyone in this race, but someone who can grow this movement. Someone who can take our message to people that haven't listen to us before. And as a result, someone that can unify our country.
SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, my faith is integral to who I am. Actually, that tragic shooting at the Emanuel AME Church provided a powerful illustration of how faith can bring us together. And it also was a real missed opportunity for the president. You know, one of the saddest things of the last seven years of the Obama presidency is that every turn it seems the President tries to divide us, tries to separate us on racial lines, on ethnic lines, on socio-economic lines, on religious lines, tries to pit us against each other. And I think we should have a president who works to unify us, who works to unify us on our shared values.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Katon Dawson is the former chairman of the South Carolina GOP. Hogan Gidley was a senior communications adviser to the Huckabee 2016 presidential campaign and is the former executive director of the South Carolina GOP.
Great to have both of you here tonight. Katon, I'll start with you first. You say South Carolina likes it messy. It's getting even messier, referring to the NASCAR Libertarians.
KATON DAWSON, FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA GOP CHAIRMAN: No question. I mean, South Carolina is different than Iowa or New Hampshire. And Iowa, the voters go in to diners and street corners and talk to the individuals about ethanol and subsidies and stuff that's personal to them. Hogan and I have both been to New Hampshire and Iowa. And New Hampshire voters, they expect you to come into their living room, have a cup of coffee, not once but twice, and talk about things that matter to them. In South Carolina, we're going to vote about 700,000 Republicans next Saturday and they're looking for is how you take a punch.
SMITH: All right. Seven hundred thousand, you expect this first turnout. Where does that put the state historically?
DAWSON: The largest ever. Six hundred and five thousand turnout in 2012 --
SMITH: Who does that benefit the most?
DAWSON: You know, we'll find out on Sunday. But I think right now, give Trump credit for creating big crowds and a lot of enthusiasm. But this race is how a lot of notability. Marco Rubio have brought people. Ted Cruz have brought people. We all -- crowds. So give them all credit for creating a lot of enthusiasm.
DAWSON: But South Carolina is not a place where you can come whine about somebody did something that was ugly or said something. Our voters want to see you be tested and the reason why is, Hogan worked in Arkansas. The Clintons are coming. I mean, our voters, our candidates are better be ready.
SMITH: All right. So, Hogan, what do you do to prepare for that? He says the Clintons are coming, what do you do?
HOGAN GIDLEY, SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS ADVISOR, HUCKABEE 2016 CAMPAIGN: Well, Katon is absolutely right, you don't whine. I mean, this is going to be a bareknuckle blood bath in South Carolina. And Iowa is great. New Hampshire is great, but this is a whole different type of tough here in
South Carolina because most of those candidates --
SMITH: But why, explain to us. What is so different about the electorate there?
GIDLEY: Well, by the time we get here, obviously, Stirewalt was right. I mean, this is kind of the game changer moving through the S.E.C. primary states. And South Carolina is the pivotal place for a lot of these candidates. It can springboard your campaign, it can sink your campaign. But the thing about South Carolina is, we do it with a smile. We say "bless your heart" while we're slitting your throat and you don't even know what happened, and all of a sudden you sink in the polls, and you wonder, what just happened to me and you just got gutted like a fish. And that's what it does here in South Carolina and it is bareknuckle and it is tough.
SMITH: All right. So, how do you win over the evangelicals? I mean, they're playing dirty politics right now. Is that going to be effective?
DAWSON: The evangelicals are not really a monolithic vote. Certainly, they identify about 62 percent in votes. But they've been voting a long time in South Carolina. They're the NASCAR sort of libertarian vote that crosses over there, they're looking for a candidate. Trump has caught their attention, but I would caution Trump that this week is going to be pretty pivotal.
SMITH: Hogan, you seem to agree with that. Why? Why is Donald Trump winning the evangelical vote in your state?
GIDLEY: Right. Look, evangelicals have been taken for a ride by snake oil salesman for decades in the campaign process, OK? Ted Cruz comes to town and parades himself around as the paragon of Christian virtue. And then we find out through the Iowa caucus process, he doesn't tithe, we found out that he has no problem lying, stealing and cheating votes from Ben Carson. Evangelicals do not like that. And the simplest of evangelical tasks, apologize, ask for forgiveness when you do somebody wrong. And on the debate stage, Ted Cruz look at the camera and said, it's CNN's fault while (INAUDIBLE) went out, accusing Ben Carson of withdrawing from the race.
That is not what evangelicals like. And they know Donald Trump doesn't come from them. They understand that. That's not the issue with Donald Trump. At least someone is talking to them plainly, clearly, with a message, and they have no problem supporting someone who is not an evangelical, as long as they don't claim to be one thing publicly and something different privately and that's what's hurting Ted Cruz amongst evangelicals here in South Carolina.
SMITH: Katon, I want to get Jeb Bush back in here. Because --
SMITH: -- you say the state does not want another Bush and the state does not want another Clinton. Jeb Bush, we have seen, has been using his mother in ads and recently has brought out his brother, the former president, to endorse him. Could this work in South Carolina? Could this be a turning point for Jeb Bush's campaign?
DAWSON: I wouldn't say the state is not ready for another Bush. We'll going to find that out. What I will say is that New Hampshire was the correction for George W. Bush. Eighteen points where McCain beat him. George W. Bush is beloved in South Carolina. Extremely high poll numbers. Came back eight times when I was a chairman in South Carolina to raise money and help candidates, elect people like Lindsey Graham, Mark Sanford, the Tim Scotts of the world. So what I'm looking for is, is George Bush coming in to try to run for the bronze medal with his brother or a George Bush come in to do like Bill Clinton and put some sanity to this primary?
SMITH: All right. Real quick, Hogan, we haven't mentioned John Kasich. Obviously had a big win in New Hampshire. Will that carry over into your state? By the way, he did not attend the summit today, neither did Donald Trump. Donald Trump set somebody in his place to speak. Kasich's response was, because we didn't attend because we're here, they were at another event. Kasich, how will he do?
GIDLEY: I don't know that he's going to do all that particularly well here particularly because he hasn't been here very much. I mean, look, they're staking their claim in the Midwest. I'll talk to their campaign. And they're going to try to perform well here. They want to be the happy warrior amongst the mudslinging. But the fact is, he's going to try and play well in those tougher Midwestern states. The problem with that is, by the time we get to the Midwest, if he's not attached his name to a victory in the south, he is going to have a problem with the media narrative.
One more thing though I want to mention that Katon said about George W. Bush. South Carolina feels like we kind of helped make him in 2000. We got the election on track and got him elected. And it's one of those old adages that, you know, I can talk about my momma but you can't. He feels like he's one of ours. So when people tried to denigrate George W. Bush here, we don't like it. It remains to be seen on whether or not that's going to translate the votes for Jeb Bush. The people do like George W.
and it's a good move on the part on Jeb Bush's campaign to bring him to South Carolina.
SMITH: I got a real -- in South Carolina here tonight. You guys worked in a few good southern phrases. Made me feel that I was there. Thanks, guys. It's great conversation.
DAWSON: Thank you for having us.
SMITH: Ahead, new signs Hillary Clinton's once clear path to the nomination just got a little bumpier. The new issues that may flip some African-American voters to Senator Bernie Sanders rather than her. Eboni Williams and Alan Colmes are here on that.
And breaking tonight, new information on what the FBI is investigating as a potential lone wolf terror attack in Ohio. A live report just ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many people were stabbed?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's like five people, nobody knows who he is. He just came in and start stabbing people. Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! Seriously! We need an ambulance here now!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's come back?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Crying) We need an ambulance here now!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Breaking tonight, the Democrats making a big push just two weeks out from the South Carolina primary. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both ramping up their outreach to the state's African-American voters. Who are likely to decide that race. While Mrs. Clinton enjoys large leads in the polls among black voters, Bernie Sanders is hoping some high profile endorsements can help turn the tide.
FOX News contributor Eboni Williams and host of "The Alan Colmes," they are both here tonight live on set with us, talking about the fight over those votes. But first, we begin with senior political correspondent Mike Emanuel on last night's democratic debate.
MIKE EMANUEL, FOX NEWS SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In last night's six democratic president debate of the 2016 cycle, Bernie Sanders did not hesitate to point out how he might be different than President Obama. Clinton took every opportunity to defend the President.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The criticism that we've heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from Republicans, I do not expect from someone running for the democratic nomination.
BERNIE SANDERS, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Madame Secretary, that is a low blow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EMANUEL: Sanders was aggressive on foreign policy. Clinton suggested he just doesn't get it, but Sanders says he has better judgment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: I will do everything I can to make certain that the United States and our brave men and women in the military do not get bogged down in perpetual warfare in the Middle East.
CLINTON: This is one of the areas I've disagreed with Senator Sanders on who has called for Iranian troops trying to end the civil war in Syria.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EMANUEL: It is expected to be a critical weekend out on the campaign trail ahead of the next contest in Nevada and South Carolina -- Sandra.
SMITH: All right. Mike, thank you. Here now with more on the fight for South Carolina, Eboni Williams is a FOX News contributor and Alan Colmes is host of "The Alan Colmes Show." Great to have you.
ALAN COLMES, HOST, "THE ALAN COLMES SHOW": Hi.
SMITH: All right. Eboni, I'll start with you first. Black voters have long been loyal to the Clintons and it appears that that may be changing with Hillary Clinton. Why?
EBONI WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Certainly. You know, here's the thing. Black voters, like any segment of the electorate, right, they want access and proximity to power so that they can implement change. Long has been they held to believe that the Clintons are the best avenue for the black community. We're seeing a change for this reason. This activism mode is picking up momentum and we're seeing people like Dr. Cornell West, Ben Jealous and different other high profiled black voters saying, there might be another way to get that proximity to power other than through the Clintons.
SMITH: So, what is the primary interest and what is the biggest concern of the black vote right now?
WILLIAMS: Well, a lot -- I mean, a lot of it is not different than the other employment, right? Employment. Certainly. There's this issue around disproportionate incarceration. Those are some issues that you'll going to see big time in the black community.
SMITH: And working against Bernie Sanders, of course, he voted for the
1994 crime bill.
COLMES: That's true. Well, you know, Hillary Clinton has talked about that, she's talked about incarceration, she's talked about put these low- level offenses to which people go to jail --
SMITH: She's talk about why isn't it working?
COLMES: Well, she hasn't been in power. I mean, these are the kinds of things she's addressed, she's met with Michael Brown's family and she's met
with the --
SMITH: Michael Brown, Eric Garner she met with, Tamir Rice, other victims of -- she is reaching out.
COLMES: She's reached out to those people. And I'm not sure how much endorsements actually affect the vote. Do you vote for somebody certainly because somebody of prestige or power says, you should vote for these person? I think people vote --
WILLIAMS: I agree. I think messages is more important in just like she's met with certain people, so has Bernie. You know, Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner is somebody who has put a big publicity ad out for Bernie Sanders this week. Always, he's right, she herself, maybe Bernie voted for the crime bill of 1994, but Hillary and Bill Clinton were the architects many would say. And that she was out there to me spewing rhetoric that was hard to stomach, you know, calling people super predators and things of this nature, kind of dog whistle politics.
SMITH: The nation ran a piece this week titled, "Why Hillary Clinton doesn't deserve the black vote." It was written by Michelle Alexander in it. She points to the economy, she says, when Bill Clinton left office in 2001, the true jobless rate of non-college educated black men, including those behind bars, was 42 percent.
COLMES: The actual rate -- the unemployment rate went down, the employment rate went up especially among Black and Hispanic youth when Bill Clinton
was president. That's how --
SMITH: But the point is, that wasn't the unemployment rate that did not include young black men --
COLMES: Well, we always say the unemployment rate isn't real. We say that no matter -- when someone doesn't like whoever is in power, we say it's not a real employment rate. By the way, wasn't Bill Clinton the first Black president according to Toni Morrison?
COLMES: And according to Toni Morrison, we're not going to blame -- but she's not running --
WILLIAMS: -- Arsenio Hall doesn't make you black.
COLMES: I know. But she's not running --
SMITH: Because that's what --
SMITH: It sounds funny now but that is what he did. And it worked.
WILLIAMS: It worked at the time. And I think -- so here's what I think is the big takeaway is. Right? I think we're looking at a generational gap. I think when you look at older black elites who have been a part of the political machines --
SMITH: They support them.
WILLIAMS: They still support Hillary Clinton certainly. But when you look at young more progressives, young people that are more activist in nature, I think those are people that the Bernie Sanders message is resonating with more.
COLMES: It may be true. But look, if Hillary Clinton is the nominee, and I happen to think she probably will be, I don't think the African-American community --
WILLIAMS: Say what?
COLMES: But I don't think the African-American community is going to vote Republican. What if they, you know, they're not going to vote on the other side.
COLMES: I can't imagine voting Republicans.
SMITH: Here's the thing, though. I think that you're talking about a lot of people in the black community that are open to maybe a more Independent or moderate vote, only if for no other reason, the economic issue. So, I think, look, I think what's best for the community is to be open to anyone who is willing to put the concerns and needs of the community on the agenda.
SMITH: Will Hillary Clinton be the nominee in your opinion?
WILLIAMS: If she doesn't get indicted, maybe.
COLMES: Oh, come on! She's not going to get indicted.
SMITH: All right. Eboni and Alan --
WILLIAMS: Alan, I don't know.
SMITH: Thank you for joining us.
SMITH: All right. Thanks, guys. As Hillary and Bernie fight for voters ahead of the contest in Nevada and South Carolina, Mrs. Clinton may have dodged a bullet in last night's PBS debate. We'll look at why she wasn't asked a single question about that investigation that Eboni just mentioned. And the one into the Clinton Foundation despite yesterday's news that the Clinton ran charity has now been subpoenaed. We'll ask Howie Kurtz whether Clinton's connections to one of the moderators could be to blame.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GWEN IFILL, PBS NEWSHOUR ANCHOR: Given what you and Senator Sanders are proposing in expanding government in almost every area of our lives, is it fear for Americans who fear government to fear you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICIA STARK, NEWS ANCHOR AND TELEVISION HOST: Live from America's News Headquarter, I'm Patricia Stark. The FBI is now investigating a machete attack in Ohio that left four people dead and the assailant dead. It happened yesterday at a restaurant in Columbus. Police there say a background check of the attacker's car registration prompted them to notify the Local Terrorism Task Force, but they won't say at this time exactly what triggered the alert. Four people were injured rather. Authorities don't have a motive yet. The attacker, 30-year-old, Mohammad Barry was shot dead by police.
Diplomatic efforts to achieve a ceasefire and delivered humanitarian aid to trapped Syrians appeared to have hit a major roadblock. That's because Russia insists that it will continue airstrikes against rebels. The plan was brokered between the U.S. and Moscow during a meeting in Munich this week. It doesn't go into effect for a week. The U.S. warns more innocent lives will be lost if there are further delays. I'm Patricia Stark and now, back to "The Kelly File."
SANDRA SMITH, FOX NEWS BUSINESS REPORT AND GUEST HOST "THE KELLY FILE": New questions tonight over issues that weren't raised at last night's PBS Democratic debate. The Clinton Foundation, now under federal investigation, was sent a subpoena yesterday for information on Clinton's dealings with the foundation while she was serving as secretary of state. Despite the ongoing questions about that and her private e-mail server, the moderators of yesterday's debate, including a woman who actually donated to the foundation in the past, decided that neither topic warranted a single question. Here's a sampling of what we did hear last night instead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GWEN IFILL, MODERATOR AND MANAGING EDITOR OF WASHINGTON WEEK: Given what you and Senator Sanders are proposing, in expanse -- expanding government in almost every area of our lives, is it fair for Americans who fear government to fear you?
JUDY WOODRUFF, PBS ANCHOR: What are women missing about you? Why do you think race relations be better under a Clinton presidency?
IFILL: If we are leaders in the world, where should the U.S. be in this? What should the United States be doing, Secretary Clinton?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Howie Kurtz is host of Fox News' "MediaBuzz". Hey, Howard.
HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS "MEDIABUZZ" HOST: Hey, Sandra.
SMITH: All right. So, first of all, you have some -- an interesting take on this debate. But there was clearly something missing. The State Department just yesterday before this debate happened sent a subpoena to the Clinton Foundation. Hillary Clinton is on a debate stage and the moderator doesn't bring it up?
KURTZ: Well, it was an important breaking news story disclosed by The Washington Post. I think the subpoena came earlier but we didn't know about it. I don't know whether PBS is obvious failure to ask about this breaking news was related to the fact that Judy Woodruff, six years ago, donated $250 to the Clinton Foundation. She said it was a humanitarian gesture or response to the earthquake in Haiti. But because it was breaking news and because the debate could have broken new ground, it should have been asked and it could have been asked by Gwenn Iffil.
SMIT: It was certainly a missed opportunity. I think we can all agree on that, and by the way, Bernie Sanders could have brought it up in any part of that debate, and he didn't -- chose to not do that, as well or is that .
KURTZ: Just as he is not brought up her e-mail, as well.
SMITH: Right and he kind of -- he kind of promised that -- in the beginning, that that wasn't a major concern for him, and he wasn't going to touch it. So, I don't know if there's any expectations that he will touch that going forward. That being said, you actually thought some of those questions were pretty good last night.
KURTZ: I thought some of the questions about Wall Street contributions in the case of Hillary Clinton, about both of them you played before the break being pressed about the size of government, where the people who fear government should fear them and the question about whether women in New Hampshire who voted for Bernie, are they really going to hell? But that does a good question. But in general, it was a very high-minded civilized polite debate, very PBS .
SMITH: Who won?
KURTZ: .. which meant that there was more -- well that's the that's the style of the NewsHour and of those particular anchors, and I think they were -- they stimulated a high-minded policy discussion as opposed to throwing out specifics of each candidate's record and trying to pin them down. They gave them a lot of time to go back and forth without jumping in.
SMITH: Who -- who won?
KURTZ: Who won? You know, that's an interesting question. I think that I might give a slight edge to Hillary Clinton because she kept talking about how Bernie's proposals weren't realistic and they would pile (ph) in the sky, that would cost us all this money, but here's our problem in these debates, which is she is giving the nuance, here's how we can improve the programs, I love President Obama. We'll make it a little bit better point of view.
You can't boil it down to a sentence and Bernie is talking about revolution, blaming the banks, going after the millionaires and billionaires. It's a such simpler message whether or not it's a realistic ones is another question.
SMIT: All right. So, I want to get your take on this because shortly after the debate last night, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was asked by our own Bret Baier why the Democrats won't give Fox News the debate. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: You've had six debates so far. I think you have four more on the books. How about letting the Fox News Debate Team .
DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIR: One more .
BAIER: . handle one of those?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You know, we -- we've got a lot on our plate, and I'm happy to be here with you on your network. There aren't a whole lot of Democrats who come on, and I'll always look forward to our conversations, Bret. I look forward to sparring with you and some of your hosts all the way through the campaign.
BAIER: So, you're saying there's a chance?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I'm saying that I'm here, ready to talk to you about the issues, and we'll do so all the way through this election cycle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: So, what do you think, Howard, is there a chance?
KURTZ: Here's my translation. Fox News will get a Democratic debate when hell freezes over and Debbie Wasserman Schultz' view and it's a shame because there actually are significant number of Democrats and independents who watch this channel and who would get a fair debate. As we have seen to where the Republicans have been grilled by Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier and Chris Waltz
SMITH: Recent Pew Research shows a quarter of the Fox News audience are Democrats.
KURTZ: So, missed opportunity for the Dems.
SMITH: Missed opportunity. All right. Howard Kurtz, thank you.
KURTZ: Good to see you, Sandra.
SMITH: All right. Some sharp new political ads hitting the airwaves in South Carolina in the ramp to the Republican primary Frank Luntz is here with the messages that work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: People love me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump, look past the boasting and you'll see right through him. He supported partial birth abortions. His phony trump university accused of fraud. He tried to seize private property to line his own pockets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Breaking Tonight, big reaction to a new political ad that rush Limbaugh is calling brilliant. Senator Ted Cruz's campaign making fun of Hillary Clinton and her e-mail scandal with this spoof of the colt comedy "Office Space." Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (BEEP) it feels good to be commander (ph). (BEE) it feels good to be a Clinton, a shameless politician always plays her cards right got a crew (ph) for the fight on the airwaves, let dogs and the cats keep the mouse side because the Clinton never needs to explain what. Why is with the can't or with who. A real Clinton knows better when high note and don't get to know what they do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What difference does it make?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What Clinton what noted and some fact icon file. A Clinton plays the victim for promotion. A Clinton kills it off with a smile. (BEEP), it feels good to be a Clinton. A server Phillips (ph), he could say nothing. (BEEP), it feels good to be a Clinton. Nothing of hits with nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Frank Luntz is a pollster and CEO of Luntz Global. Frank, I have the luxury of being a screen that when you're not quite on the area is he -- I'm sure you've already seen this multiple times and you were still enjoying it. How did this one do?
FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER AND CEO OF LUNTZ GLOBAL: Yeah, well, because I'm thinking, I wonder if she did that to Bill about 15 years ago when she found out about Monica. All I could see with that is, is that Ted Cruz is brilliant to do this.
LUNTZ: This is -- the campaign has gotten much tougher. It's gotten much meaner. We're going to show some very tough ads momentarily and here is a chance for Republicans to laugh and for Cruz to do exactly what Chris Christie had been doing, which is to take the fight to Hillary Clinton. This is so important for Republicans, not to take their eye off the ball.
LUNTZ: They could end up destroying each other and watching Hillary Clinton get elected but not with ads like this.
SMITH: All right. I want to get to this new Donald Trump ad. He's announced this new 30-second ad to be aired in the State of South Carolina. It's an ad on illegal immigration. Let's roll it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Josh Shaw was a 17-year-old football star who was gunned down just outside of his home. His killer, an illegal immigrant gang member, who just got out of prison. Josh's dad, Jamiel, is supporting Donald Trump for president because he knows he will end illegal immigration.
JAMIEL SHAW, FATHER OF JOSH SHAW: Trump is the only one saying, you're going to be dealt with. We're going to enforce that. We're going to enforce that. That's a beautiful thing. I believe Donald Trump wants to make us great again, and he loves America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Your take?
LUNTZ: Beautiful. Absolutely perfect. He's taking the issue that's important to the Republicans. He's adding a human component to it. He's telling a story that -- that many people have heard but still more have not, and he's doing it right before the South Carolina primary where this issue plays big time.
LUNTZ: Of all the ads that I've seen on immigration, this one is the most effective and it is proof that Trump is putting together a full-fledged campaign that isn't just about debates or about big speeches. It's now about human drama. You've got to give this ad an "A."
SMITH: All right. So, the -- this next ad is an anti-Trump ad, who's put up by the Right to Rise Super PAC hitting Trump on conservative values. Watch this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: People love me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald trump, look past the boasting and you'll see right through him. He supported partial birth abortions. His phony trump university accused of fraud. He tried to seize private property to line his own pockets. Four bankruptcies and small businesses screwed over. Poll after poll show him losing to Hillary Clinton. If Trump wins, conservatives lose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: This is a $12 million ad campaign launched in South Carolina TV, radio, Internet. Your take on that?
LUNTZ: No. And I want to separate this from Jeb Bush's campaign himself. Jeb Bush had his best debate the last debate up in New Hampshire, very effective, very tough, talked about the issues. But this Super PAC on his behalf has repeatedly done the worst advertising. Two reasons, number one is that it looks political. It looks immediately like a negative ad. You got that dark voice and you've got this visual that doesn't connect to anything.
And second is that it doesn't present anything as an alternative. It is simply a 30-second that attacks. In all the testing that we've done for this show and the rest of Fox News, we've found that ads like this fail completely. And the fact that $12 million is going to be spent, I don't know what they're thinking up there.
Jeb Bush is so much better than the campaign that's being wrapped around him. The donors have to be furious. And frankly, if I were Jeb Bush, I'd be mad, as well.
SMITH: All right. And real quick, as we enter South Carolina, your take on how things look in the state as we move forward?
LUNTZ: Donald Trump has a significant lead. Not necessarily insurmountable, but very significant. If he wins in South Carolina, he's absolutely headed towards the nomination. Ted Cruz, this is a much better state for him, because there's a greater evangelical vote than you saw in -- in New Hampshire, and I think Cruz is added (ph) towards a very strong second.
John Kasich - Kasich speech was the best speech of election night in New Hampshire. If he can carry that through to the debate, people will pay attention to him, and I'm also looking at Marco Rubio, this is his chance at redemption and this debate on Saturday will be very important to his performance.
SMITH: All right. Frank Luntz, thank you.
We're less than 24 hours now. The eyes of the political world will be locked on the State of South Carolina for the final GOP debate before voters there head to the polls. So who has the most to lose and the most to gain? Guy Benson, if you're on, what each candidate needs to do tomorrow night. Next.
SMITH: Breaking Tonight, the last big test for the Republican presidential candidates before the next primary in South Carolina. It's less than 24 hours away now. So, what do the candidates need to do to show South Carolinians? They deserve the most important job on the planet.
Guy Benson is co-author of "End of Discussion" and a Fox News contributor. All right. Guy, Donald Trump, what does he need to do?
GUY BENSON, "END OF DISCUSSION" CO-AUTHOR AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Hey, Sandra. Happy Friday. Look. Donald Trump is in first place so he just needs to maintain. Right? He doesn't have to do all that much in this debate. In fact, if he deflects a lot of the attention to the intramural fighting among other candidates, I think that benefits him the most. His fans generally appreciate and are satisfied by virtually everything he does and says. So, if he does has a status quo debate, success for him.
SMITH: Can anything hurt him?
BENSON: I'm not convinced anything can. Right? And he's sort of acknowledged this. He said he jokingly I could shoot someone in the middle of Manhattan and not -- they wouldn't -- losing a single vote among my hard core supporters and he's sort of right about that. So, I supposed there's something that he could do, really stumble in a bad way, but if he turns in a typical performance for him, I think he's definitely in the driver's seat.
SMITH: All right. Ted Cruz, what does he need to do? He's been engaging in this back and forth with Donald Trump.
SMITH: Donald Trump we just went through it. The tweets that he had sent out today, it seems to just be a constant back and forth between Cruz and Trump.
BENSON: Yeah. Well, Cruz has a more complicated task than Trump does because he's fighting a two-front battle. On one level, he has to come after Trump and he's been going after Trump in two ways, attacking his conservative credentials and also trying to puncture his populist image, as well. So, I think that will be a tough sell for Cruz to try to negotiate that dual attack, if you will, on Trump. Meanwhile, Marco Rubio is down at the moment. Cruz has to make sure that he stays down. So, he'll be a very busy man tomorrow night.
SMITH: All right. Marco Rubio, will there be a comeback performance there after a disappointing finish in New Hampshire?
BENSON: I'd say there probably has to be. This is a bounce back moment for Rubio. He has to perform well. Typically he does at the debates. He's a good debater. I think it would be wise of him to make sort of a tongue in cheek self-deprecating reference to his trouble at the last debate and sort of a fun way to just acknowledge is and get people laughing with him rather than at him and the move on, focus on the issues. He's got his work cut out for him fending off Jeb Bush on one hand and also trying to gain on the two leaders.
SMITH: But that include repeating the same phrase a few times in the debate? All right.
BENSON: Well, I mean, I think, obviously, every candidate is scripted, every candidate has messages that they want to drive home. You just don't want to package it the exact same way over and over again.
SMITH: Got it.
BENSON: And I think, you know, Rubio could say something like, "Hey, I just made a point. I'm going to make it, again."
SMITH: All right. We don't have much time left, Guy.
BENSON: And just show the way (ph).
SMITH: But I want to hit Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Dr. Carson.
BENSON: Yeah. Ben Carson has to make a case for why he is still in the race, frankly. John Kasich has a momentum out of New Hampshire but does he have the staying power. He's got to build that case to South Carolinians, and then Jeb Bush, feels like he might have a chance to break into the top three in South Carolina. Who's they're going to attack? That's going to be a fascinating strategic play by the Bush campaign.
SMITH: All right. Good stuff, Guy Benson. Thank you.
BENSON: Thank you.
SMITH: All right. We'll be right back.
SMITH: All right. It's been a fun night. Kate Dustin (ph), Hogan Gidley, we have them on earlier. A lot of people tweeting us right now @sandrasmithfox, #kellyfile. Tell us your thoughts on the show tonight.
Glad to have you. I'm Sandra Smith. This is "The Kelly File."
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