Rubio, Haley talk endorsement, pope; Carson slams Clinton's lies; Tim Allen's take on 2016 race

GOP candidate weighs in on dust-up between Trump and the pope; Gov. Nikki Haley explains why she is endorsing the Fla. senator on 'The Kelly File'


This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," February 18, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST:  Breaking tonight.  Campaign trail chaos in South Carolina, where the race for the White House is white hot and getting truly bizarre.  

Good evening and welcome to "The Kelly File," everyone.  I'm Megyn Kelly.  Today, we went from threatened lawsuits and candidates barking like dogs to Photoshopped pictures of President Obama and a fight with the Pope.  We began the week thusly.  


HILLARY CLINTON, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I'm trying to fear out how we can do that with the Republicans.  Oh, you know, the great recession was caused by too much regulation.  (Barking like dog)  You know?  


KELLY:  Yes.  But that was just the start.  Ted Cruz ran an ad pointing out that Donald Trump was once, quote, "very pro-choice," playing clips of Trump in his own words.  Trump then threatened to sue Cruz and sent him a legal nastygram.  And then Senator Cruz upped the ante.  


DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We will bring a lawsuit if he doesn't straighten his act out.  He's a lying guy, a really lying guy.  
Some people misrepresent.  This guy is just a plain out liar.  

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Mr. Trump, you have been threatening frivolous lawsuits for your entire adult life.  Even in the annals of frivolous lawsuits this takes the cake.  


KELLY:  And he threatened to take Donald Trump's deposition personally.  
Today, we awoke to this, an image released by the Cruz campaign showing Marco Rubio shaking hands with President Obama.  Team Rubio immediately said it's a fake, and the Cruz camp at first kind of denied it.  


SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  If someone says something about me or our record that isn't true, I need to respond to it.  Because if you don't respond to it, a voter may think that that's actually your position.  They may actually think that that's a real picture.  


KELLY:  And why limit the fighting to just the candidates when you can drag the Pope into this mess?  Last night, an intrepid reporter decided to ask Pope Francis to weigh in on Donald Trump's suggestion that the pontiff may be a pawn of the Mexican government.  And he asked about Trump's plan to secure the border.  Listen.  


POPE FRANCIS (through a translator):  A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not Christian.  I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that.  


KELLY:  And he went on to say, but I give him the benefit of the doubt.  Did the reporter ask about Democrats and their position on abortion when they had the pontiff right there?  No.  Did they frame the question fairly to the Pope?  A leading Catholic group says, no.  When pressed, Mr. Trump offered not those rebuttals but instead decided to condemn the behavior of the leader of the billion Catholics as, quote, "a disgrace."


TRUMP:  For a religious leader to question a person's faith is disgraceful.  They're using the Pope as a pawn, and they should be ashamed of themselves.  That's the Mexican government.  They should be ashamed of themselves for doing so.  


KELLY:  Hi, welcome to South Carolina.  

Joining me now, Marc Thiessen, a Fox News contributor and former chief speechwriter for President W. Bush.  Stuart Stevens who is a founding partner at Strategic Partners & Media and a former campaign strategist for Mitt Romney.  And Charles Hurt, a political columnist with The Washington Times.

Gentlemen, welcome.  So, let's just start with that last bit, the dustup between Trump and the Pope which is artificial in many ways, because a reporter decided to make his own assertions about Trump's position, to sort of dangle it in front of the Pope and the Pope just sort of said, I give him the benefit of the doubt.  But if this and that, now Trump's calling his behavior disgraceful and says a leader, a leader would never question a man's faith, but I give you the following, and then I'll let you take it from there, Mark.  Watch.  


TRUMP:  No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man's religion or faith.  I'm Presbyterian.  That's down the middle of the road, folks, in all fairness.  I mean, 7th day Adventists, I don't know about.  I just don't know about.  Just remember this, just remember this, you got to remember, in all fairness, to the best of my knowledge, not too many evangelicals come out of Cuba, OK?  I think he's going to go down.  I think a guy can't be -- I'm a Christian.  But,
you know and I --   


But, you know, Ted holds up the Bible and then he lies about so many things.  



KELLY:  Marc?

MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  Donald trump ought to heed the gospel that he who is without sin cast the first stone.  This is the guy who's been questioning everybody's faith now, and all of a sudden is outraged, outraged, it's a disgrace that someone is questioning my faith.  But that's, you know, that's the Donald Trump show.  Now, you know, is it going to hurt him?  Probably not going to hurt him.  I mean, look, what are we talking about tonight?  Are we talking about the fact that Nikki Haley just endorsed Marco Rubio when he got Marcomentum in South Carolina?  No.  We're talking about Donald trump and the Pope.  

The pope very helpfully allowed Donald Trump to focus the message back on to himself, which is where -- where is his sweet spot in the campaign.  And second, in South Carolina, which is a very conservative evangelical state, getting attacked by a liberal pope is probably not going to hurt and probably might help a little bit.  So, this is unfortunately, it's a win for Donald Trump.  

KELLY:  In defense of Pope Francis, it really is unclear whether he meant to attack Donald Trump.  I mean, we don't have time to play out the whole thing.  I recommend the clip runs special report tonight because he read everything.  But it is unclear.  I leave it at that.

Charlie, let me ask you, because right now, Donald Trump is leading.  Fox News poll just came out a couple of hours ago.  He is leading nationally, he is leading in South Carolina.  Here's the national lead, you can see it here.  Thirty six percent.  Next closest is Ted Cruz at 19 percent, making that NBC poll look very much like an outlier we saw last night.  And then in South Carolina, Trump's got a significant lead, as well.  You can see 32 percent over his next closest competitor Ted Cruz at 19 percent.  He also happens to lead among those Republicans who say they would never vote for him, 40 percent almost in South Carolina say never, no way, no how.  Jeb Bush comes in second.  So, it looks like Trump, notwithstanding the latest controversy and all the other controversies, is cruising right ahead to securing this nomination.  

CHARLES HURT, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON TIMES:  Yes, and the biggest problem for Ted Cruz here is that South Carolina is a state that is tailor made for Ted Cruz.  Ted Cruz should win in South Carolina.  And the fact that Donald Trump, who is not, you know, is certainly not an evangelical, is not a long time conservative --  

KELLY:  I'm a Presbyterian, can you believe it?  He says.  

HURT:  He's a Protestant.  You know, given those facts, Donald Trump should not -- shouldn't be doing well at all, let alone whomping the field here.  
And so, you know, if all this bears out and he does win in South Carolina going forward, Ted Cruz is going to have to figure out, well, if you can't win in South Carolina, where are you going to win?

KELLY:  Uh-hm.  Stuart, you've actually been involved in campaigns, including Mitt Romney's in South Carolina.  Is this the craziest you've ever seen?

STUART STEVENS, STRATEGIC PARTNERS AND MEDIA:  They're always crazy.  You know, in Mardi Gras -- in New Orleans, they have Mardi Gras, in South Carolina they have Republican primaries.  Democratic primaries are weird, too.  It's just the way it is.  They love it, and, you know, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.  The worst thing is apathy, and it gets people involved.  You know, I think what's most striking about the last couple of days is for the first time we saw someone hold a press conference, Ted Cruz, and lay out a bill of particulars against Donald Trump.  He began to prosecute him.  And what I've just been astounded by in this race is why hasn't that happened sooner?  

KELLY:  Uh-hm.

STEVENS:  I mean, if you want to match up against someone, you should be holding events every day with a different message.  There are plenty of different subjects to hit Donald Trump on.  And you have to just keep adding.  You can't hit him one day and then stop.  You have to prosecute him, prosecute him, prosecute him.  I think Ted Cruz could be good at that, but you know, you have just got to stick with it.  

KELLY:  Marc, why do you think the Republicans haven't really been doing much of that?

THIESSEN:  It is ironic, because if you remember, and Stuart knows this very well, back in 2012, by this time in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich had a movie out attacking Mitt Romney's business record, saying that he was a corporate raider who benefited from laid off people.  Nobody has dug into Donald Trump's business record, nobody is going and interviewed the people who lost their jobs in the casinos that went bankrupt and all the rest of it.  If it been 2012, they would have done it.  I think the reason why is very simple.  They don't want to get sued.  I mean, Donald Trump sues everybody.  He just threatened to sue Ted Cruz for an ad that quotes Donald Trump in his own words.  


So, if you go out and make a movie about his business record, of course he's going to sue you.  He uses lawsuits and threats of lawsuits as a form of intimidation to silence his critics and unfortunately it works.  

KELLY:  And what we're seeing now Charlie is some -- there was an interesting post on The Fix by Chris Cillizza saying, Donald Trump is actually -- he gets a lot of media coverage, but he's not getting the right media coverage because the media needs to accept that he is the clear front-runner.  And if this was anybody other than Donald Trump who is controversial, all the media would be accepting -- this guy is going to be the GOP nominee.  

HURT:  Yes.  And, you know, I think it's sort of a little bit misleading to try to suggest that Donald Trump hasn't been getting hit.  I mean, he's been getting hit from before the day that he announced.  

KELLY:  Yes.  But Stuart has got a column out today talking about how it should be non-stop, aggressive, all the candidates.  That's what we're referring to.  

STEVENS:  But I think one of the problems that we're seeing, Megyn, is the fact that, you know, he's taking incoming for things like raping his wife.  
I mean, it's been a lot of accusations that have been thrown at him.  And I think a lot of them, you know, because so many have been thrown at him and they've kind of bounced off of him, he's now like a battleship.  And even if you had something that was really legitimate and you threw it at him, I think it still just bounces off at him right now.  Because he's kind of become inoculated to so much --  

KELLY:  You don't have to throw it at him, he does it to himself.  But it only makes his numbers go up.  Like, you would think that you can't call the Pope a disgrace and still go on to do well.  But you can as it turns out, with all due respect, God forgive me.  Guys, good to see you all.  

STEVENS:  Good to see you.  

THIESSEN:  Thanks, Megyn.

HURT:  Good to see you.

KELLY:  One other story taking shape in South Carolina concerns Senator Marco Rubio and Governor Nikki Haley and whether these two could be what one writer called a GOP dream team.  Could this be the Republican ticket?  
We'll ask them, next.

Plus, things got awkward we could say for Hillary Clinton on CBS News this evening.  


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You talk about leveling with the American people.  Have you always told the truth?

KELLY:  Wait until you see where the answer to that went, coming up.  

And then the White House today had a new reason when asked why President Obama will not attend the funeral of Justice Antonin Scalia.  This is a first in U.S. history, folks, a first.  Charles Krauthammer weighs in with a must-see reaction on a busy "Kelly File" when we come back.  


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Why doesn't the President want to attend Justice Scalia's funeral?

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  The president and first lady tomorrow will be traveling to the Supreme Court building to pay their respects.  

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Why wouldn't he just go to the funeral to do that?


KELLY:  Breaking tonight.  Some 24 hours after Marco Rubio scored the biggest political endorsement in South Carolina in Governor Nikki Haley, he was pushed off the front page by Trump's fight with the pope.  Senator Rubio is a devout Catholic, so what does he think of the dustup?

Joining us now, presidential candidate and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, along with the woman who just endorsed him, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley joining us from the Beacon Restaurant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.  Great to see you both.  

All right.  So, Senator Rubio, let me start with you because before we go to the endorsement matter, and ask you about Pope Francis' comments.  You're a Catholic and the Pope coming out today in saying that he does not believe that a person who thinks only about building walls and not bridges, is a Christian.  Your thoughts?

RUBIO:  Well, first, this Pope wasn't speaking about a theological matter, and he was speaking about a political matter.  He has the right to speak down on that.  And I think he's kind of over simplifies the issue.  I disagreed with a lot of the things Donald Trump has said, but I do think America does have the right to secure the border.  And by the way, I think it's important to remember, we're the most generous country in the world when it comes to immigration.  We admit a million people every year permanently, legally to this country.  Mexico doesn't do that.  Other countries don't do that.  So, you know, I understand the Pope, he's a spiritual leader, he's the leader of the flock in terms of bringing people to the lord.  But on this issue, I would just say that while America has been a country welcoming to immigrants, it also has to be a country that secures its borders.  

KELLY:  You gave Senator Rubio your endorsement yesterday.  Now all the headlines have been, what a dream ticket this would be for the Republican Party.  Diversity in gender, in ethnicity, in religion.  And people believe that this -- you guys are partnering may be more of just an endorsement, maybe possibly in a ticket.  Do you see it that way?

GOV. NIKKI HALEY, R-S.C.:  No, I don't.  You know, I've said that my plate is full.  You know, I'm not only a mom, I've got daughter that's going to college next year, a son that is in middle school, I've got a state that I love.  We haven't finished doing other work we want to finish here, so I'm totally content and happy in South Carolina.  What do I want to see is America get a great president and I know that we can do that with Marco Rubio.  

KELLY:  Now, I mentioned Senator Cruz a moment ago and he's been in the news with respect to you today.  The two of you having a dust-up over a website that he's posted that shows a clearly photoshopped picture of you and President Obama shaking hands.  Now, one of his campaign representatives initially denied that this was photoshopped.  Then some internet loops went and found what appears to be the stock photo upon which it was based.  First of all, do you want to weigh in reverse but you can see the same sort of bodies.  First of all, is this photoshopped?

RUBIO:  It is, of course.  

KELLY:  OK.  And second of all, what do you make of the fact that, you know, it is now is apparently an indictment?  I understand the differences between the Republicans and President Obama, but it's now a campaign indictment just to show you shaking hands with the President, even if that weren't the case.  

RUBIO:  Yes.  Well, here's the thing -- if this was just one incident, you would say all right, well, it's just one of those things that happened in campaigns.  But the problem is that, every day now, it appears that Senator Cruz's campaign either does or said something that simply isn't true.  So, this is part of a pattern, it began in Iowa when Ben Carson and the robocall saying, he'll dropped out of the race.  It continued last week when he wasn't telling the truth about my record regarding Planned Parenthood and the National Right to Life had to come out and call him out on it.  It's just an ongoing pattern, so look, the important thing is that voters need to know that there's a campaign that is willing to say things, and actually make things up.  And of course, they literally made this up in terms of this mailer, this website or whatever it may be.  It's just part of a pattern.  If it was only this, who cares?  But it's not only this.  

KELLY:  In Senator Cruz's defense, the situation in Iowa with respect to Ben Carson, you know, can you truly say that the Senator himself lied about that?  I mean, the reports went out that he was not going on to New Hampshire, and his people say that was a good-faith mistake on our part and we've apologized in behalf of our staffers.  Characterizing your record, I don't know, a lot of you guys mischaracterize each other's records in his defense.  

RUBIO:  Well, first of all, I don't want to re-litigate the Iowa thing, it is but it is.  But the bottom-line, it wasn't just a tweet.  I mean, they sent out robocalls.  I mean, the recording is out there.  And as far as my record, he basically implied that I did not support defunding Planned Parenthood.  And in fact, National Right to Life came out and basically said, before Ted Cruz even got to the Senate, I was working on defunding Planned Parenthood.  And that's an important issue to millions of people across this country, including myself who were deeply offended by the practices of Planned Parenthood that were revealed last year in those videos.  

He's also mischaracterized my position on marriage and that it should be between one man and one woman.  So, look, again, it's not one issues, it's a number of issues over time that I just think, you know, if we're going to run a campaign, we have legitimate differences between the candidates.  
Let's talk about those.  You know, Senator Cruz is weak on national security, we should talk about that.  But I don't think it's fair to make things up.  

KELLY:  We appreciate both of you being here.  

HALEY:  Thanks so much, Megyn.  

KELLY:  Well, when Scott Pelley of CBS News tonight questioned Hillary Clinton on telling the truth, well, we'll show you what happened, next.  

Plus, the White House today doubled down on the President's decision to skip the funeral of Supreme Court icon Justice Antonin Scalia.  Charles Krauthammer has some thoughts on the new explanation.  

And then Dr. Ben Carson responds to allegations that Republicans are racist because they want to block President Obama from choosing the next Supreme Court justice.  

Plus, TV star Tim Allen is here.  He'll joined "The Kelly File" with his take on the 2016 race.  Just ahead.  


TIM ALLEN, ACTOR:  You see the world is kind of the opposite of Hillary Clinton.  It actually gets less scary the better you know it.  


KELLY:  Breaking tonight.  The White House is now offering a new reason for why President Obama is skipping the funeral of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.  He will pay his respects when the Justice's body lies in repose tomorrow.  Hours ago, Press Secretary Josh Earnest suggesting that sending the Vice President instead will be better for everyone.  


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Why wouldn't he just go to the funeral to do that?

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  Well, as I also noted yesterday, Vice President Biden, who is somebody that had his own personal relationship with Justice Scalia and his family, will be representing the administration at the funeral.  Obviously, when the Vice President travels some place, his security foot print is at least a little bit lighter.  


KELLY:  Charles, good to see you.  So first, there was no answer, repeatedly no answer.  And finally they settled on, there's a smaller security foot print with the Vice President?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST:  That's so -- that is such obvious nonsense that it shows they aren't even trying.  That translates as the President is saying, I'm the king, I'm the president, I'm a lame duck.  I don't have to run for re-election.  I do what I want.  I want to go to Havana at a time when our foreign policy is collapsing all over the world.  Sure, I'm going to go to Havana.  He doesn't care.  I mean, he doesn't want to be -- spend a Saturday in a pew listening to speeches about how great a jurist Scalia was when Obama believes sincerely that everything Scalia argued for was wrong, and harmful to the republic.  

So he's going to stay home and he doesn't care how it looks and what other people think.  If there is a political reason other than a personal one of just a preference and pick, it is that he's going to be nominating a justice to replace Scalia who will be the antithesis of Scalia --  

KELLY:  Uh-hm.

KRAUTHAMMER:  -- who will be somebody that will want to undo the 30-year legacy of Scalia-ism.  And he doesn't particularly want a photo op in which those speeches in praise of Scalia in praise of the way he controlled and constrained executive power, i.e. Obama --  

KELLY:  But that's partisan -- that's a partisan concern.  I mean, today in --  

KRAUTHAMMER:  And that surprises you?

KELLY:  Charles looks and puts it this way.  He said, you don't get to wear your partisan hat here, Mr. President.  He said, you have a duty, he said, this is shameful.  He said, it is your duty to mourn a man who sat on the Supreme Court for decades.  He's shirking that duty, talking about how on these somber formal occasions, the President is called upon to represent our country and every president in history, we did the research yesterday, as far as I could find, has always attended the funeral of a sitting Supreme Court justice.  This is unprecedented what he is about to do.  

KRAUTHAMMER:  You are surprised that Obama is being partisan, that he's not rising to the majesty of the office, that he's actually acting personal animus which I suspect he probably has.  

KELLY:  He promised in his last year in office, that would going to be the thing he would tackle, the pettiness of our politics, the smallness of it.  

KRAUTHAMMER:  But that can't surprise you either, Megyn.  Look, he campaigned in 2012 on the theme that he's looking to the future and to our children and Republicans care only about power.  He's been saying this, and we all know he's been the most divisive, partisan president in recent memory.  This is the way he's conducted himself.  But he always almost as a -- as a hobbit portrays himself as rising above everything.  He did that in 2008 when he ran.  There's no white America, no black America, there's no Hispanic America, we're the United States.  

That is who he pretends to be, succeeded in winning an election on that and has governed in precisely the opposite way.  I am not surprised at all.  Look, when we had the beheading of an American by ISIS, he makes the announcement and then he hops into a golf cart.  And you expect any kind of transcendence or magnanimity on the part of the President?  I don't.  

KELLY:  He has nothing to do -- there's nothing on the agenda this Saturday, nothing.  As far as the White House tells us.  He's not like he's got something else to do.  He skips the funeral of Margaret Thatcher.  He skips this funeral.  He made time to go to the funeral of Walter Cronkite who is God in the news world, that's true.  But this is a sitting Supreme Court justice who sat on the bench for 30 years.  And he has no other engagement.  Charles, I mean, he still has time to reverse this decision.  It doesn't look like he's prepared to.  I want to get your reaction on something else.  

KRAUTHAMMER:  I have reached a level of cynicism about him that is actually serene.  So I think this is completely par from the course.  

KELLY:  I don't know.  As somebody who practiced the law for almost a decade, and covered the Supreme Court for three years, I'm not used to seeing a president show this level of disrespect to the Supreme Court, the body -- the body of the United States Supreme Court in any event.  Interesting development tonight on CBS News, where Scott Pelley had an interview with Hillary Clinton and asked her whether she has ever lied.  Watch this.  


SCOTT PELLEY, CBS NEWS:  You know, in '76 Jimmy Carter said, I will not lie to you.  

CLINTON:  Uh-huh.  Well, I have to tell you, I have tried in every way I know how literally, from my years as a young lawyer all the way through my time as Secretary of State to level with the American people.  

PELLEY:  You talk about leveling with the American people.  Have you always told the truth?

CLINTON:  I've always tried to, always, always --  

PELLEY:  Some people are going to call that wiggle room that you just gave yourself, "always, always tried to." I mean, Jimmy Carter said I will never lie to you.

CLINTON:  You're asking me to say have I ever? I don't believe I ever have. I don't believe I ever have, I don't believe I ever will. I'm going to do the best I can to level with the American people.


KELLY:  I feel uncomfortable. What say you?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR:  Well, you just witnessed a capstone of her career as a liar. You know, this is a person who said her first announcement on e-mail is there was no classified material on the e- mails. We can't count how many items or her e-mails were classified.

It was William Sapphire who wrote 20 years ago, long before any of this, that the first lady, who she was at the time, we have to conclude is a congenital liar. And then he spent a couple of weeks arguing about whether it was a congenital trait or whether it was acquired. But on the liar part he never retracted. And I think he was sort of ahead in the game on that.

KELLY:  Just the stuff, and remember the Serbia, she could feel the bullets basically licking her hair and that turned out not to be true. And the black and shirt, there is no classified information.

And now we know there's like, I can't remember, there are about 40,000 documents of classified -- I can't keep track of it all. Like in her defense, that's a tough question for any politician, have you ever lied? I mean, ever.

KRAUTHAMMER:  But as a psychiatrist, I would say we really -- she may really have reached a point in her career in mendacity where she really can't tell the difference. That can happen and she may already be there.

KELLY:  I'll tell you what, when the voice goes like this, that's a tell. Yes, I never, I have, that's a tell. Charles, it's great to see you.

KRAUTHAMMER:  My pleasure.

KELLY:  I don't believe I ever have. I don't -- never. Joining us now with more, presidential candidate and retired pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson. Dr. Carson, it's great to see you. What do you, I mean, listen, it is tough, have you ever lied, but, you know, why can't you just -- what would you say if he asked you that?

BEN CARSON, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I would say that everybody has lied. You may not have intentionally lied, but it's something that you can't avoid.

But in the case of Hillary Clinton, boy, it's just a smorgasbord. You can take what you want. You know, she lied when she came back when talked to the families when the bodies were being returned from Benghazi. And she said it was a videotape and she knew good and well that it wasn't a videotape. I would call that a lie. But you know, there is a ...


KELLY:  And now she says she did not.

CARSON:  ... by the progressives. Yes. They redefine things. So, she, you know, we have to hear a definition of what a lie is.

KELLY:  In this that interview, I said it was Serbia. It was actually Bosnia. I just want to show the audience what I'm taking about because this is how she described her time in Bosnia. Listen.


CLINTON:  I certainly do remember that trip to Bosnia. I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.


KELLY:  And here are the pictures of what happened in Bosnia in the time that she was talking about. Here she goes. The bullets were licking her hair. I mean, it's just so ridiculous, Dr. Carson. This is one of the reasons why you appeal to people as somebody who is not a politician, whose honesty ratings are I think the highest among any of the candidates.

CARSON:  Well, even with my record of honesty, you know, they tried to besmirch my reputation. Of course, as all of the things were proven to be true that they said it weren't true, they never came back and said anything.

But, you know, I think that's one of the things that will make Hillary Clinton easy to beat, quite frankly. I would relish an opportunity to run against her.

KELLY:  What do you make of her claims now, hers, others and democrats and liberals are claiming that the reason Scalia, Justice Scalia is not going to have a replacement named or confirmed or have a hearing by the U.S.
Senate is racism. Is the republican's racism against President Obama coming out and saying the GOP candidates, this is Hillary, "are speaking in coded racial language."

CARSON:  Well, it's laughable that they always default to racism. When they can't come up with any other thing when they're talking about President Obama.

I think it would be fascinating, you know, if I was in such a position and somebody said something against me, would they say that it was racism? I seriously doubt it. It's only racism if it's against a progressive liberal.
It's not racism if it's against a conservative, which tells you it's not racism at all.

KELLY:  What is the story for you in South Carolina? You are obviously not at the top of the polls and people are wondering whether you are going to stay in this race and what it would take to make you end it?

CARSON:  Well, I, instead of looking at ending it, I'm looking at ascending in the polls and continuing to make progress as we go around the country, and more people actually have an opportunity to hear what my policies are.

I think I have more policies out on than anybody has. And being able to talk about the real issues, not get into this gladiator stuff. Because it's not really about me or Donald Trump, or Ted Cruz or anybody else. It's about we the people. And somehow we've got to return the focus to that and the things that are destroying the American dream.

KELLY:  Dr. Carson, always great speaking with you. Thanks for being here tonight.

CARSON:  You, too. Thank you, Megyn.

KELLY:  Well, we're going to have a very different take on 2016 when Tim Allen, yes, that Tim Allen, joins us with both his unique analysis and we'll also have some media critics who are hitting MSNBC for their latest piece of political programming. And Howie Kurtz is here next on whether those attacks are deserved.


KELLY:  Well, MSNBC is taking some heat tonight for what they called a town hall with Donald Trump last night. The event was scheduled at the very last minute and it began with an open that some critics described as a pro-Trump political ad.


DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I am going to be the greatest jobs president that jobs ever created. Remember that. If I get elected president, we will make America great again. The weakest person on this stage by far is Jeb Bush.

JEB BUSH,  R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  You want to talk about weakness? It's weak to disparage women. It's weak to disparage this call.

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Donald has this weird pattern.
When you point to his own record, he screams "liar, liar, liar."

TRUMP:  This guy will say anything. This guy lied about Ben Carson when he took votes away from Ben Carson in Iowa.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Building a hotel overseas is not foreign policy.

TRUMP:  Every guy that attacks me so far they've all gone down. We have to keep it that way, right?


KELLY:  Well, Slate called the whole evening disgraceful. The Daily Beast suggested the moderators, quote, "flattened by hurricane Trump." The Washington Post wondered why Trump was allowed to, quote, "skate on bigotry and racism."

So, do the critics have a point? Howard Kurtz is the host of Fox News Media Buzz which air on Sunday on FNC at 11. Great to see you, Howie. So, what say you?

HOWARD KURTZ, BUZZ SHOW HOST:  Well, some of those critics are left wingers who hate Donald Trump and wouldn't have been happy unless he left the arena battered and bloody. But that opening you displayed did seem like a pro- Trump ad. Look, the worse verdict I can give in this was...


KELLY:  It kind of exciting. I mean, it made you feel something.

KURTZ:  Yes, the music and everything. But the worse I can give you is that it was dull. The format enable Trump to sort of roll over them. Joe Scarborough did ask him some questions, the pressed Trump about proposals of his that would add $10 trillion of a debt. A debt exactly how he would replace ObamaCare, did he have a temperament to be president.

But there is something about the way it was shot and the embarrassingly soft questions from the audience, oh, like would you renegotiate better deals? They just give Trump a big advantage.

KELLY:  And that's part of your duty when you do these town halls, you're going to take audience's questions, you have to make sure that they are of a sufficient level. You know, you're not expecting anchor level questions.
But they should be at a certain level.

KURTZ:  No, but they should be reasonably tough, put the candidates to its paces. And also the way it was shot with these kind of extreme close-ups gave it kind of a clubby atmosphere and when Trump was going on with his familiar talking points, it seemed kind of awkward to see them all in this tight shot.

KELLY:  Well, that's the thing with these town halls, they are not presidential debates and no one should be under the impression that they are. The duties are different and the approach is different.

I mean, if I were doing a town hall, I wouldn't be taking the same approach as I do at a presidential debate either. Those debates are the ultimate in formality and difficult. That is the Olympics of questioning. These are -- these are more casual and more informal.

KURTZ:  And that's fine, and I think people can learn maybe something about the candidate's personality. But if you're going to devote an hour of air time, and obviously this was thrown together in an attempt to just compete with some other political programming and other cable news channels, you know, it has to reach a certain level.

And as I say, I do think some of the questions were good, some are kind of soft. They were about polls, but Trump had such an advantage in that format that it really -- there really wasn't much tension there.

KELLY:  Well, they put him through his paces when it came to this clip which has gone viral today for Mika Brzezinski. Watch.


MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC ANCHOR:  I wanted to describe a candidate to you. The candidate is considered a political outsider by all the pundits. He's tapping into the anger of the voters, delivers a populist message.

He believes that everyone in the country should have a health care. He advocates for hedge funds managers to pay higher taxes. He's drawing thousands of people at his rallies and bringing in a lot of new voters to the political process. And he's not beholden to any super PACs. Who am I describing?

TRUMP:  Or any special interest or any donors. You're describing Donald Trump.

BRZEZINSKI:  Actually, I was describing Bernie Sanders.

TRUMP:  That's good.

BRZEZINSKI:  The big reveal at the end.


KURTZ:  I guess Trump didn't see what was obvious to everybody else, was that she was talking about Bernie Sanders. Maybe he doesn't see the parallels there, two guys running against a rigged system and underestimated by the media. So, it was kind of surprising that he didn't pick up on it.

KELLY:  Most of it was laudatory. So, you know how it is, like you hold on to the good stuff, you know, like, yes.

KURTZ:  Oh, you saw it well.

KELLY:  She understands me exactly.

KURTZ:  I know who she must be talking about.

KELLY:  All right. Howie, great to see you.

KURTZ:  Great to see you.

KELLY:  Up next, the star of hit sitcom "Last Man Standing," Tim Allen joins "The Kelly File" after this break.


TIM ALLEN, ACTOR, AS "MIKE BAXTER":  I don't think you should ride that motorcycle anymore.

CHRISTOPH SANDERS, ACTOR, AS "KYLE ANDERSON":  Is this because of ObamaCare?

"BAXTER":  You know, I'd like to blame Obama because literally everything is his fault.




"BAXTER":  You see, the world is kind of the opposite of Hillary Clinton. It actually gets less scary the better you know it.

"BAXTER":  It's like the Obama of calamari. He figures everybody should get it, even if they're too lazy to order for themselves.

"BAXTER":  We all agree that letting people to vote is the best way to run a country. Well, you do get some pushback from the dictators, Kim Jong Un, the Castro brothers, Obama.

Wow, Hillary Clinton is asking us for money. Will her string of mistakes never end?

KAITLYN DEVER, ACTRESS, "EVE BAXTER":  The hit keep on coming, but she'll never top Benghazi. That's her stairway to heaven.

"BAXTER":  Yes, that's the kind of screw ups that happens when you spend all your free time deleting e-mails.

"BAXTER":  I don't think you should ride that motorcycle.

"ANDERSON":  Is this because of ObamaCare?

"BAXTER":  You know, I'd like to blame Obama because literally everything is his fault.


KELLY:  That was a few clips from the hit sitcom on ABC "Last Man Standing." It's now in its fifth season and it stars our next guest, Tim Allen, who also star in the hit show "Home Improvement."

Tim, it's great to see you. Thank you for being here. Love the clip.

TIM ALLEN, "LAST MAN STANDING" STAR:  Megyn, thanks for having me. Did you call that a sick com? I hear you say...


KELLY:  Just being fair and balanced.

ALLEN:  Tim Allen sick com.

KELLY:  Just being fair and balanced.

ALLEN:  I like it.

KELLY:  So, you played Mike Baxter who is an educated Archie Bunker-type character. Let me first ask you, who do you think Mike would like in this election?

ALLEN:  Well, I -- again, the joke would have been Trump and I don't mean to be, like, I don't know, patronizing, but since he took a shot at you and Mike Baxter has girls, he would probably not like Trump anymore.

But I started thinking about -- it was a weird thing to take a shot at. You, of all people. I was watching that. If this was high school, I would be going, I think he likes you.

You know when people used to -- people used to pick on girls, they go, oh, I think Donald loves Megyn. It was the strangest thing. I would probably have to move off him to Rubio if he would drink more.

KELLY:  He has to be a boozer?

ALLEN:  No, he's got to be hydrated. Rubio gets dry mouth...


KELLY:  I see. Not booze. Just the dry mouth. It's awkward. I agree.

ALLEN:  No. you do not want him drinking.

KELLY:  Moving past that, what about Tim Allen? Who do you -- you're one of the few conservatives in Hollywood. The viewers may not know yet, you have to go underground. It's very brave for somebody to come out. So, it's very great of you. You're out. You're out of the closet as a conservative. And who do you like in the election?

ALLEN:  Well, if it was just a resume-oriented thing, it would be Kasich.
If he didn't -- if he wasn't from Ohio -- he likes Ohio State buckeyes. I'm for Michigan. So, that is a big problem personally.


ALLEN:  But if he just had a resume out, I want some with -- I was invited to a town hall in Los Angeles by my councilman. I went down there, he's an interesting -- I know this might be the kiss of death for him, but he's almost the republican the democrats would like...

KELLY:  Oh, that's it.

ALLEN:  ... which is a great thing if you want to win elections but he's really got a great resume and the guy's got a good heart.

KELLY:  What about Hillary Clinton? Nothing.

ALLEN:  Come on. It's just -- if I go back to these jokes, it's just -- if you -- all my staff, we did this whole joke on, we asked the girl writers, the females, the women. They said if -- she said, it's about time, it's to be, it's about time that kept doing this joke. So, one of us said if it was Sarah Palin would it still be about time? And, boy, it looked like they all ate bad fish. But they all went -- OK.

KELLY:  It's kind of fun to see the Clintons out there on the campaign trail together. This is like the former president campaigning for his wife who wants to be president.

ALLEN:  Did she actually bark like a dog? Was I -- did I actually see that?

KELLY:  Yes.

ALLEN:  She doesn't have a skill set for jokes. And I said -- she's just not -- her husband who I've met and actually he's kind of a neat guy although he was eyeballing my wife the entire time we were talking.

KELLY:  Oh, geez.

ALLEN:  I think this guy -- he really was. I mean, he's a nice guy. And I got a...

KELLY:  She's a beautiful woman.

ALLEN:  My wife is gorgeous. He kept -- and she kept -- he kept looking at me but he was -- how you doing? Nice talking to you. I love your show. He's a nice guy. He actually -- he did a 40-minute speech off the cuff about the environment or something and the guy is -- he's brilliant at that.


KELLY:  In Hillary's defense, I can relate to the attempt to be funny and having it fall flat all the time. But that doesn't stop us from trying. Here's my question for you. Have you been watching the debates? What did you think of them? Like the democratic debates, have you been watching those?

ALLEN:  The democratic debate, if you want to see my show in Vegas, I could use expletives. I'm really working hard to be nice. Mike Baxter, ABC nice. The democratic debate was a free stuff giveaway.

I mean, who wouldn't vote for these people? It was like I'll give you free education, I'll give you free sport coats. I'll give you free iPods. It was just free stuff. There is -- I always look at politics, like in my neighborhood, my councilman, a democrat, Paul Choukourian (ph), he happens to get things done.

I don't care what party he is. If you do what you say what you're going to do. The republicans are the same way, you can't -- come on, Donald, you can't build a wall and you can't go to 30 million people and knock on their door.

KELLY:  What do you mean, he's building the wall, and Mexico is paying for it.

ALLEN:  But you can't do that stupid stuff. If you wipe away the stupid stuff, that's why I go back to Kasich. If you listen to him talk, although I tell him to stand up straight, he's got kind of weird posture.

But if you stood up straight -- he really -- he worked with Clinton. He did this balanced budget. I'm one of these guy, fiscal guy, grew up with a family that my parents bought a car with, something called cash. Remember that? They saved up.

KELLY:  Right.

ALLEN:  And I remember this. I was a comic for 30 years on the road. When Clinton, the Secretary of State said you don't own this or the government -- said something about the government did this, I want to say B.S. The government never helped me do anything. They just took my money and did stupid stuff with it.

I don't mind paying taxes. But I want a little -- a little more clear accounting. Here in our set we work on a budget. In my house we work on a budget. The guys that want to think about budgets make this country strong and then it makes -- I'm a physical guy. I want to take care of poor people who can't help themselves. But right now I got to think about what I'm leaving for my kids. And that's really important for me.

KELLY:  That's just something John Leavitt said as I quoted before, he talks about how the land of opportunity, the American dream where you can work hard, you can come up and you can pull yourself up, like you did from, you know, your dad was killed at a young age.

You know, be successful. Do the best in your field. Then when you finally make it, the response is -- you. Give it all to us. You're not paying for fair share. Get out. You suck. I got to go. Tim, great to see you.

ALLEN:  Well, this is -- OK.

KELLY:  I got to leave it with that.

ALLEN:  Thanks for having me on.


ALLEN:  I was going to say, really quickly...

KELLY:  Eight o'clock.


KELLY:  We'll be right back.


KELLY:  Set your DVRs for tomorrow night right here, we have Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich.

Go to On Twitter @megynkelly. Let me know what you think of Tim Allen. Thanks for watching, everyone. I'm Megyn Kelly. This is "The Kelly File."

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