The final push for GOP candidates in South Carolina

'The O'Reilly Factor' examines how the candidates are trying to win over voters


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 19, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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BOLLING: Thanks for staying with us tonight in this special edition of the Factor "Election 2016". I'm Eric Bolling in for Bill O'Reilly.

And in the "Personal Story" segment tonight, it's nearly zero hour in South Carolina. The six Republican presidential candidates are furiously making last minute pushes across the state to get voters in their corner.

Joining us now from Columbia, South Carolina, FOX News chief political correspondent Mr. Carl Cameron. Carl, probably everyone wants to know is, if Donald Trump would be the frontrunner -- first of all, some of the polls are tightening a little bit. Is he feeling that?

CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The polls are always tightening when you get close to Election Day. The FOX poll had him with a big lead. There's a new poll out from Marist that suggest the lead is -- to five points and this in a statistical tie with Ted Cruz. For Donald Trump, it's about getting out the vote as it is for all of the candidates. But it's interesting. Trump has also today begun sort of downplaying expectations for him for the Nevada caucuses which follow South Carolina the middle of next week.

That is a sign that he doesn't expect to do so well in Nevada, but he does expect to win in South Carolina. The margin of his victory is important as it will be for those who come in second and third and maybe even fourth. Ted Cruz is looking like a strong second right now. He's worked very hard in South Carolina and he's worked very hard at all the southern states, as well. So, they all come in a Super Tuesday March 1st date. For Cruz the battle with Trump has been a tough one and today, he was making the assertion that Cruz -- that Trump really doesn't know much about foreign policy and pointed out specifically that Trump said he would be neutral in the Israeli Palestinian conflict whereas U.S. policy and sort of foreign policy Orthodox here over the course of the several decades has always been to support Israel and Cruz assured voters that he would do that.

Then there is Marco Rubio came in fifth in New Hampshire. Needs to do well. He's polling in third. And he's a little bit behind Donald Trump. Excuse me -- behind Ted Cruz. But in many cases, it's sort of on the margin. So, there's really a very tight race between the top three candidates with Trump in advantage, Cruz in second, Rubio trying for second but still in third. The bigger question is, what happens to the other half of this field? We've got six candidates. John Kasich has gotten some momentum in South Carolina. His crowds have been very emotional and very pleased by his sort of positive campaigning. Jeb Bush faces the most intense pressure.

Already his donors and a lot of his supporters around the country have been quietly complaining. In some cases, loudly so. And if he doesn't farewell in South Carolina, the pressure on him to get out of the race could be intense. He could lose some of his big donors and some of his supporters. And Ben Carson, the doctor has had a hard time getting a lot of news this week. He should have a strong base of support in South Carolina. He's campaigned here quite a bit. But there is usually only three possible contenders to pass South Carolina.

BOLLING: Yes. Let's play this a little bit.


Yes. Back half of the field, let's focus in on the Bush/Rubio situation. But am I seeing this right that Bush has to finish in front of Rubio to keep those donors in line?

CAMERON: That's one of the ways things are being passed here. Because Jeb Bush did well in New Hampshire. There are expectations that he needs to be able to build on that if his momentum would go in the negative direction, that's the kind of thing that could really undercut a candidacy. Even one like his that has a very well-funded independent Super PAC, the Bush campaigns has been burning through its own campaign money and the Super PAC has been spending a lot as well.

BOLLING: But Carl, Carl --

CAMERON: They'll need to replace those coffers. And if Rubio beats him, it will be hard.

BOLLING: We're talking about momentum here. Jeb Bush brought his brother -- the biggest momentum changer available in the whole campaign isn't working. Our people starting to gravitate to Bush because of the brother or at all?

CAMERON: Well, he did get some positive buzz and a lot of attention when George W. Bush showed up on the campaign trail but it was a few days ago. And in this minute by minute campaign with twitter and social media and cable, there are some who are suggesting that it would have been nicer perhaps if George W. had showed up last night or come back. So you can hear in the voices of Bush supporters and the Bush campaign a little bit of frustration because the former president did give him some momentum but it may not carry through to the polls.

BOLLING: Yes. Timing on that. That is interesting. That's actually very interesting that if they had waited another day or two, it might have helped him a little bit more.

Let's talk about Marco Rubio. As you pointed out, he came in fifth in New Hampshire. And it doesn't look like he hasn't have a win yet. I'm going back many, many years Carl, and I can't remember a GOP nominee who hasn't won Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina at all.

CAMERON: That's right. It hasn't happened. And as a consequence, Rubio really needs to get a very, very strong showing. He has to do better than Jeb Bush. He should probably need to do better than Ted Cruz. If he were to pull off a second place, that would breathe new life into Rubio's candidacy. But he's a little off the pace, he's behind Cruz in the polls, jumping ahead of him would be a big turnabout. And today Rubio had a little bit of a problem on the campaign trail, he had a plan, a big barnstorming tour that hit several towns, put the press on a charter plane, et cetera. And they had plane problems and missed an event.

And it's slowdown a pace. And again, this is a second by second campaign. Any misstep can be lethal. Any opportunity to get the advantage on another opponent could catapult you into the lead. That hasn't happened so far on Friday. We still got voting that will happen tomorrow and all the candidates will be showing up at polling places and working --

BOLLING: Carl, before I lose you, I don't have a lot of time.

CAMERON: Kasich I should tell you. Kasich won't be here in New Hampshire. To prove that he's moving on anyway, he's going to be campaigning in Massachusetts. And focusing on states like Ohio and Michigan which work much later in the process.

BOLLING: All right. We'll going to have to leave it right there. Thank you very much.

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