This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," February 23, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MEGYN KELLY, HOST: Breaking tonight, Nevada's Republican caucuses are now under way. News coming in and our reporters are on the ground at meeting sites across the state.
Good evening and welcome to "The Kelly File," everyone. I'm Megyn Kelly. Here's a live look at Reed High School in Reno, Nevada, where Senator Ted Cruz spoke just a short time ago. Nearly all the candidates or their surrogates are dropping in, making their final pitch to the voters. Nevada is the fourth contest on the Republican election calendar. Voting started tonight as early as 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time and we could know the projected winner by midnight here on the East Coast. Hours ago, the candidates delivering their closing arguments there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The whole country is looking right now to you. Every one of you is speaking not just for you, but for hundreds and thousands across this country, who are saying enough is enough. Stop cutting deals with the Democrats. Stop giving in. Stop burying us in debt. Stop handing away the constitution. Start fighting for the American people.
BEN CARSON, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's important, you know, all 50 states are important. I think we need to bear in mind that we've got a marathon here and not a sprint. But certainly early momentum is a good thing.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you don't like the direction of our country right now and you vote for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, you'll going to get more of the same. All of these policies that are hurting our country become permanent if they win, all of them. And so we have to win. We cannot take a chance. In this election, we can't just nominate someone to make a point. We have to do it to make a difference, and if you nominate me and you elect me, we will make a difference in 2016.
DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I spent a lot of money here, nobody else did. I spent a tremendous amount of money in this state, and I tell you, I love it. I love it. These other guys, they're all gone. You know what? They made their little speech this morning and they ran away. And you shouldn't be voting for people. For Trump, I'm going to be here with you all night. All night.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
GOV. JOHN KASICH, R-OHIO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know if my purpose is to be president. My purpose is to be out here doing what I think I need to be doing and we'll see where it ends up. And if it's not this crusade, it will be another one.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KELLY: Chief political correspondent Carl Cameron live in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Trump campaign headquarters. Carl, set the stage for us.
CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the first in the West caucus, and it's one of the -- it's the final of the first four, first in the nation contests. And Donald Trump is looking to go three in a row with a victory tonight. He and Ted Cruz are still in Nevada and furiously working the clock. In fact, we have some live pictures right now of Ted Cruz in Sparks, Nevada where he's talking to caucus goers outside of local caucus polling place. For Mr. Cruz, this is a huge and very important event and it's been a very rough week for him. He had to fire his communications director. He didn't get the kind of finish in South Carolina that he hoped for. Donald Trump comes into this with a big lead.
And for Cruz, the pressure is on to show that he's still competitive and doesn't get eclipsed by Marco Rubio. As for Donald Trump, Trump comes into this with the lead. He has been dominating since South Carolina and really aggressively going after Mr. Cruz and to a lesser extent Marco Rubio. It's clear that Trump realizes that doing away with Cruz sets up this race that would be Donald Trump versus Marco Rubio. And Trump has not made a lot of effort in going after Rubio until this point. And for Marco Rubio, who lived here in Nevada as a kid, here in Las Vegas as a matter of fact, the opportunity for a big showing tonight is huge.
He knows full well that Cruz has been weakened this week, that Trump has an advantage and a strong second place showing for Marco would be a very big deal. We don't want to forget, we don't want to leave out either John Kasich or Dr. Ben Carson. Ben Carson today used the metaphor of The Tortoise and the Heir saying, he's the tortoise and it's going to be a marathon not a sprint. That was the same type of language that Jeb Bush used. Not to very much success. And John Kasich hasn't really invested very much in Las Vegas and in Nevada for this time around. He's more focused on Michigan, which votes two weeks from now, and the so-called S.E.C. and Super Tuesday states that are a week from now.
The Nevada caucuses have never really been something that changes the trajectory of a race. The turnout here is quite low, at about 10 percent is what's expected, that maybe 50,000 to 70,000 votes, Megyn. Historically in the last two caucuses, the turn-out has been seven and 12 percent. So, not a big affair. It has been a tremendous battle, an incredible fight for a comparatively small number of voters themselves -- Megyn.
KELLY: Uh-hm. But I want the bragging rights. Carl, great to see you.
CAMERON: You bet.
KELLY: Joining us now with his expectations for the evening, Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume. Brit, good to see you. So, Nevada hasn't mattered that much historically, so what role does it play tonight?
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there are only 30 delegates at stake, Megyn compare. That's fewer than Iowa, which has often been criticized as, you know, too much made about not very much. So you get a sense from that. But at this stage of the proceeding, we only have a few states having held contest, every one of them counts as a token of momentum, and momentum is important. And, you know, you look at Marco Rubio has shown some ability in two of the three states who have voted so far, to close well and do better than his previous polling suggests that he would.
Ted Cruz has struggled, and Donald Trump, of course, has been the big winner the last two outings. And the polling that we have, some of it is a week old. In fact, I think that's the latest poll suggests that he has a strong lead here. And therefore should be expected to win.
HUME: If he does and does about what was expected, I don't think it will have much to his momentum. So the really interesting struggle I guess is for second place between Cruz and Rubio. And Rubio, if he's going to have a chance, he needs to get Cruz out of the way and Cruz is he has a chance he needs to get Rubio out of the way. And we might get some sense of that in the voting tonight.
KELLY: And I mean, no one is even talking about Rubio or Cruz like they have a shot at first. That would be ideal for Cruz in particular who could say, now I've won two and Trump's won two. But it seems like they're conceding the man who owns the casino in Las Vegas is the one who is going to win tonight and that would be Donald Trump. And the question is, Brit, while Rubio and Cruz continue to say, I got second here, and I got third here. It's like, at some point, you know, don't you need to win in order to win?
HUME: Of course. And the fact of the matter is, the field remains even as crowded as it is now, though it's much reduced to what it once was, this split in the field has two possible effects, Megyn. One is that it allows Trump to keep winning with 35 or so percent of the vote. Might get more tonight. But it also prevents him from getting above 50 percent. Because when these others drop out, when and if they do, he will inherit some of that support. And the question is, will it be enough to push him over the 50 percent mark --
HUME: -- where he will have a, you know, clear path to the nomination. The hope among mainstream Republicans of course is that somebody can get one on one with the guy and begin to beat him. And that becomes increasingly important when we get past the states that will going to vote next week when there are like almost 600 delegates at stake and we get into more states where winner takes all where if, you know --
KELLY: OK. But looking forward to that --
HUME: -- if he won 30 to 29, he win them all.
KELLY: OK. Looking forward to that, that sort of second Super Tuesday, the March 15th voting day, where we have Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, Missouri. Florida and Ohio, just took a look at those -- the latest polling. In Florida, the last polls were January 21st, so a few weeks ago, they're a little out of data a month ago. But it showed Trump at 40 -- the Real Clear Politics average showed Trump at 40 in Florida. The next closest was Cruz at 19. Rubio in his home state had 13.7, Brit. Forty to 19 to 13. In Ohio, the latest poll was by Quinnipiac, Trump had 31. Kasich had 26. Ted Cruz had 21.
HUME: Right. Well, remember, Megyn, it is pretty fluid at this stage. I mean, with some of those polls that were taken that were in that average, several other candidates were in the race. Certainly Jeb Bush was in the race. And you know, and it looked, you know, even more spread out than it is now. I would say that I would be very surprised if -- it's almost what, three weeks or so from now --
HUME: -- or a month from now when those states vote, we will have had 600 delegates on March 1st selected and the race may well look very different. If it doesn't begin to look different by them, Trump obviously has a clear path to the nomination. It doesn't seem to be any two ways about it.
KELLY: So if you had to put money on it, number one, do you think Trump secures this nomination? And number two, how do you see him matching up against Hillary Clinton, if it's her?
HUME: Well, if Trump wins the nomination and he's certainly the man to beat, I think it will be awfully hard for him to beat Hillary Clinton, because you look at the negatives and negatives matter in the long-term a lot. He has the highest negatives in the field in either party. Something on the order of 60 percent at the last round that people said they have an unfavorable opinion of him.
HUME: Now, some of the people may change their mind --
KELLY: Nationwide, right?
HUME: I'm sorry, I didn't hear --
HUME: Yes, nationwide. That's right. And when you get into a general election, you know, if you're -- that becomes a tremendous burden. Now, Hillary Clinton has very high negatives, too. But not as high as his. And of course, we've not seen in this Republican race, Megyn, anybody making a really concerted effort with an expensive advertising campaign to go after Trump. All they've also ran so far in this race have been going after each other.
HUME: Can you imagine what the Democrats would spend and what kind of advertising they could do on Donald Trump with the positions he's changed, with the things he's done? With the, we've know the imminent domain dispute that they finally made an ad out of the Bush -- we've finally made an ad out of, that caused a big blow-up in the last debate and it didn't seem to help Trump very much. So, what I would say to you is that, when the full guns of a general election campaign by the opposition party are loosed on the guy, I think he's vulnerable. And I think it will be hard for him to beat her. But, you know, in this crazy year, who knows?
KELLY: Who knows is right. Brit, it's great to see you.
HUME: You bet. Thank you.
KELLY: All right. So, mark your calendars, set your DVRs for a special "Kelly File" Election 2016 event. Tomorrow night, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time, "The Kelly File" goes face-to-face with the GOP candidates. Senator Cruz, Senator Rubio, Governor Kasich, and Dr. Carson will all join yours truly, and the voters of Texas for a Q and A, just days before the big Super Tuesday vote. Donald Trump will not be there because he is going to be in another state and could not be available. But we'll have the other candidates together and they will take questions directly from the Texas voters and from yours truly.
We are keeping a close eye on news coming out of Nevada tonight where a lot of attention is on Senator Marco Rubio. Oh, look at that, feeling patriotic in Nevada caucuses this evening. Former Mitt Romney advisor Stuart Stevens is next on why he thinks team Rubio needs to make a big change and why he thinks Rubio has a lot more to brag -- has to do a lot more than just brag about the endorsements he received if he wants to win.
Plus, big news from the Senate Judiciary Committee tonight on the future of the Supreme Court. Marc Thiessen and Bill Burton are just ahead on the historic now fight now shaping up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The nomination should be made by the president. The people elect and the election that's under way right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUBIO: I'm proud that we've been picking up endorsements and support over the last few days because it's proves what I've been saying all along. And that is, I am the conservative in this race that can unite this party. But we won't just unite it, we will grow this party. We are growing to grow it.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: That was Senator Marco Rubio in Nevada earlier today, telling voters that the big-name Republican endorsements he picked up yesterday proved he's the man who will lead the GOP to victory in 2016.
Senior national correspondent John Roberts is live in Grand Rapids, Michigan tonight. John?
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Megyn, good evening to you. It's been a long day for Marco Rubio just wrapping up a rally here in Grand Rapids. Earlier in the day, he was in Minneapolis, started off the day in Las Vegas, but decided, hey, the caucuses are one day, but Super Tuesday is ahead, that big Michigan primary is ahead too. He wanted to get out there and get on the road. At every stop, making the argument that he is the one who can unify the party, he is the candidate that Republicans can coalesce around, pointing out without mentioning him by name that Donald Trump only get 65 percent of Republicans don't want Donald Trump to be elected president.
Suggesting that if you nominate someone who can't get elected in the November election, you really are wasting your vote. What is it all for? It's not really worth much. Rubio has been racking up endorsements ever since he came out of South Carolina with that big second place win, but most of those endorsements had been from establishment Republicans and Rubio has been sort of portraying himself as not of the establishment. A little bit earlier today, I asked him about that, saying how can you maintain your independence with all of these establishment Republicans endorsing you. Here's what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUBIO: I wasn't their first choice and the case, if somebody's votes, I wouldn't even their second choice, and many of them didn't want me to run or part of a group that obviously didn't want me to run. But now they realize this is what the race is. These are the finalists and they've made the choice that they think is best for our party and our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Rubio is very positive going into tonight's caucuses as well, looking ahead to Super Tuesday. But Megyn, you know, there's only so much proportionality in terms of delegate allocation going on before the first big winners in all states and the 15th. So, if Marco Rubio is looking to make a move, he's running out of time, it needs to do it quickly.
KELLY: Yep. John Roberts, great to see you.
Well, my next guest is Stuart Stevens, a former Mitt Romney campaign strategist and founding partner at Strategic Partners & Media. He thinks the Rubio campaign needs to change its strategy and soon. Stuart, good to see you. And I know you like Marco Rubio, it's nothing against him. But how is he messing it up?
STUART STEVENS, STRATEGIC PARTNERS & MEDIA: Well, look, as you say, I'm a great Marco Rubio fan. I just think that you have to post up against a guy who is winning. And I think a message about the party is not a very compelling message to most people. Most people who vote Republican primary, they don't care about the party, they care about their lives. And I think that Donald Trump has laid out a series of economic proposals and it's half hazard way, that would have devastating impact on jobs and these sort of crazy foreign policy ideas that he's had that would put America at risk. I think he really needs to talk about that. None about the future of the party. I think he needs to talk about what it's going to mean if Donald Trump was president versus what it would mean if Marco Rubio were president.
KELLY: So, the first point on that, there was a report just today that major financial donors who don't like Trump are not going to give money to an anti-Trump campaign, because they're worried that they will get hit. I mean, just yesterday, we saw Trump warn Marlene Ricketts, a big Republican donor who donated money against Trump, quote, "better be careful, they have a lot to hide" he said about the Ricketts family. So, he scares some people, and they think he's going to come out after them, and they also worry it's not going to work because he's a Teflon don.
STEVENS: You know, I thought Senator Sasse from Nebraska had the perfect response to that. That threat -- that thuggish threat from Donald Trump, he said, can you imagine if this guy had his hands on the FBI and the CIA and the national security apparatus? These are opportunities. Donald Trump is uniquely unqualified to be president of the United States, and he demonstrates it every day in different ways. I think that you have to take that, use it against him, show what people want in a president, show how Donald Trump is lacking and show the sort of steadiness and temperament that a Marco Rubio --
KELLY: But still, the voters see that. They've seen what his temperament is. They know what his qualifications are. They like that. That is not a deal breaker for him. They see a man who is extremely successful financially, who speaks their language, who understands the struggles of middle class, blue collar America, and doesn't talk over their heads. You know, those ads, we've seen some try, Club for Growth tried but people have rejected that in favor of a disrupter.
STEVENS: I think that it's like any argument. First, you have to argue to win an argument. Secondly, you have to frame it. So look at last week in South Carolina, in the most military state in the country, he went out and called George Bush a war criminal basically. And one of the most religious states in the country, he attacked the Pope. You have to frame that. I mean, he was running basically as a combination of Michael Moore and Christopher Hitchens but he was never held accountable for that. That's how you win. You have to show what the consequences are that these -- what he's saying and how it affects people's lives.
KELLY: Jeb Bush tried a little of that. You saw how it ended for him.
STEVENS: Ultimately, it had to make people embarrass to vote for Donald Trump.
KELLY: You know, the question is whether, people like Jeb bush tried that and then failed miserably. But I want to talk about Marco Rubio. Because I know, I see your point. You're basically saying if past is prologue and if Rubio doesn't change something about the way he's running this campaign, he can expect the same results that he's been getting. And your message about just talking about the party is interesting. When you heard him on the stump, he does say, you know, middle class Americans are struggling and he talks about his personal story and he talks about how, you know, other Americans are in that same boat and so on. Is it -- what is it about him? I mean, what does he need to do to go from third and fifth to first in some of these contests?
STEVENS: I think he has to show that he understands your life better than Donald Trump does. I think he's putting out half the argument. I think he's showing that he understands your life. But he's not showing that Donald Trump doesn't understand your life. It's a choice. If they believe that both are equally qualified, or both can satisfy what it is that they have, he may lose that argument and right now he is losing that argument.
STEVENS: So you have to go in and you have to disqualify the other person. It's a straight-up debate. You have to show why the other person is wrong and why you're right and what the consequences are.
KELLY: What about this argument that we keep hearing -- my apology because, yes, we're having a delay but what about this argument that we keep hearing, that, you know, if only Kasich could get out or if only Cruz could get out, you know, then that would clear the path for Rubio to amass more votes or, you know, this sort of argument that less candidates need to be in the race.
STEVENS: I think that's a terrible argument. First of all, there's something sort of inherently weak about it. You know, if I could have picked the field of Daytona 500, I could have won the Daytona 500, I would have got my mom to raise and maybe couple of friends and maybe I would have had a shot. You have to race the field. You can't say, well, if only these people got out, I would have a shot. That's not what people want, they want you to go out there, post-up with who's in there and win. I think that there's been this strange, almost unique obsession with the order of losing versus the paramount need to win. Donald Trump is focused on winning and he's won a couple of these things. He may win today. The rest of the field wants to win. He's got to go out there and challenge Donald trump.
KELLY: It's true. If only we could have different contestants, I know I could win this thing. Stuart, it's a great to see you.
So Ted Cruz is right now working the voters of Nevada with his final pitch, but earlier he was going after Donald Trump with a last-minute push to cut Trump's lead. We'll show you the exchange there, next.
Plus, Senate Republicans now vowing to ignore any nominee President Obama may name to the Supreme Court. So what is the next step in this fight? Bill Burton and Marc Thiessen are next with answers.
And the Supreme Court question may come up tomorrow night when the "Kelly File" goes face to face with the candidates in Houston, Texas. A special two hour conversation with the voters, the candidates and yours truly. Don't miss it.
KELLY: Breaking news now on an outbreak of tornados in Louisiana and Mississippi, where officials say at least three people have been killed by what they estimate were seven different twisters. The deadly weather system is expected to move beyond those states to places like Georgia and Alabama, where the Governor has already declared a state of emergency. Folks in Louisiana are apparently still looking for survivors, trapped in the rubble. More on this as we get it.
Also breaking tonight, voting under way now in the Nevada caucuses, just hours ago it got nasty. And the Republican candidate's final pitch to the voters. Senator Ted Cruz hammering businessman Donald Trump for opposing the transfer of federally owned land back to the people which is a very popular proposal in rural Nevada. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: Donald Trump has explicitly come out against transferring the land from the federal government back to the state of Nevada or the people of Nevada. Look, I frankly don't care what position Donald decides to support today, tomorrow, or the next day. They change every day. I don't care what they are. But pick one and defend it and don't pretend whenever people suddenly point out what you said oh, never mind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: Senior political correspondent Mike Emanuel is live in Las Vegas at the Cruz campaign headquarters. Mike?
MIKE EMANUEL, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Megyn, good evening. Beyond the war of words between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, Senator Ted Cruz has been working rural Nevada voters to the very end. Cruz is at a caucus site in Sparks, Nevada at this hour, a suburb of Reno. And Cruz says, some of the tough talk coming from Donald Trump is because Trump is rattled at this point, suggesting that Trump lashes out when he feels threatened. Cruz has been hammering that big issue here out west, which is the federal government's ownership and regulation of so much land in Nevada and across the West.
He suggests that Donald Trump is okay with that big government. Cruz says he's the only consistent conservative and says, if elected president, he would end that and return that property, which is a big issue with rural voters, back to the state of Nevada and other western states. But Cruz has been on the defensive a whole lot over the past few days, called multiple times by Donald Trump a "liar" and also accused by both the Trump and Rubio campaigns of dirty tricks. And of course, Cruz fired his communications director just yesterday. So Ted Cruz has to be worried that the allegations of lying and dirty tricks will have an impact on Nevada caucus goers this evening.
But polling here is quite limited and turnout is also typically quite limited and so nobody is making bold predictions tonight. Ted Cruz still working it to the very end, Megyn.
KELLY: Mike, thank you. We are already getting reports of problems at these caucus sites. Nevada has only been doing this caucus form since 2008, and there are already some problems, according to the reports we're hearing about people not asking for ID's, people allegedly voting twice. Some of the ballots allegedly having names of still Bush, and Christie, and Carly, and Huckabee on them. So, more on this as we get it. We're keeping an eye on what's happening in Nevada for you.
This and back in Washington, there's breaking news on a historic fight over choosing a successor for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee taking a page from Vice President Joe Biden's book, refusing to consider any potential nominee in an election year. Back in 1992, then senator and chairman at that time of the judiciary committee, Joe Biden proposed just that, when George H.W. Bush was president. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: It is my view that if the president goes the way of Presidents Filmore and Johnson and presses an election year nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until ever -- until after the political campaign season is over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: Joining me now, Mark Thiesen, he's a Fox News contributor and former chief speech writer to President George W. Bush, and Bill Burton, who's a former Obama White House deputy press secretary. The hypocrisy on this issue is rich in Washington, and both sides are guilty. They are so guilty. They are caught red handed. And you know, Mark, when he came out and said, "I was taken out of context, I was talking about hypothetical vacancy," well, that doesn't change it.
MARK THIESEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: He was for blocking Supreme Court nominees in an election year before he was against it. I guess what it comes down to, and look, interestingly, this was not -- there was no vacancy at the time Joe Biden said this. He said this as a preemptive strike. He said preemptively if the president nominates somebody in an election year, we will not confirm it.
It's essential that we not confirm them. And Chuck Schumer said the same thing in 2008 and now they are outraged, outraged that republicans are actually doing what they twice threatened to do when they were in charge of the Senate. So, there's a lot of hypocrisy going on.
KELLY: But on the other side, Bill, we have the republicans, including Mitch McConnell, who, at the time came out and said -- "when this was being done, you know, not giving up or down votes to nominees when the republicans wanted them, this is an excuse for our colleagues to run out the clock on qualified nominees who are urgently needed to fill vacancies." Apparently they're not that urgent on the Supreme Court when it's now 4-4 and you know, having an extra justice might help in breaking some of the ties. The urgency, they're not feeling it anymore.
BILL BURTON, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: No, not at all. And look, Joe Biden -- people should remember that he ushered through Justice Kennedy, you know, while there was a republican president, as well so, in practice ...
KELLY: No one is saying you never do it.
BURTON: ... he actually did see to it that in election year, we're right.
BURTON: The rhetoric is totally overblown -- totally overblown. Like when Mark said that Biden was essentially blocking on it, that's not what Biden was saying. But, even regardless of all that, the politics on this are so bad for republicans, they're handing democrats this election year gift that is going to energize the democrats.
KELLY: They don't see it that way. They see it as gift to them, Mark
THIESEN: Bill, you might have noticed that the republican electorate is really upset with the GOP establishment. I don't know if you noticed that but there's some anger going on. And the reality is, if the republican senate, the GOP establishment in Washington allowed Barack Obama to cement a liberal majority on the Supreme Court in his final months in office, there would be a revolution in this country. So this is not going to happen.
KELLY: But wait, I got a question for you Bill, as a strategy matter, right, because you guys are strategist. As a strategy matter, what is to stop the republicans from saying, forget it, Barack Obama, go ahead and name whoever you want, he or she is not getting a hearing. Then if they get close to November and let's say, you know, they're starting to feel like whoever their nominee is, is going to lose and Hillary or Bernie is going to be next president, then can they say, "okay, we'll do it," if they think that nominee maybe perhaps be a consensus nominee or closer to?
BURTON: Well, I actually think there could be a situation where that happens, especially if Donald Trump is the nominee and it looks like they're going to lose the senate. I mean, the problem is what they should have done is not said no, we're not going to do anything at any nominee, they should let the president nominate someone and then just vote against that person instead of handing democrats this political victory. You know, there has been this enthusiasm gap between democrats and republicans and what republicans have done is handed democrats a gift of enthusiasm at a time when I think the democrats could very seriously use it.
KELLY: Well, that's the thing though Mark, could they take the risk? Could they take the risk in one of the wobbly GOP senator's possibly crossing over to the democrats and giving said, you know, nominee an up or down vote that might go away that republican leadership didn't want?
THIESEN: Yeah, well, I think Bill's overplaying the enthusiasm advantage for the democrats, because there's an enthusiasm advantage for republicans, as well. Republicans really have to win the senate. They have an uphill battle do so. And the base is not so enthusiastic about some of these republican senators who are in tough races. Now, that the Supreme Court is on the line, there's going to be a real push in the GOP base to solidify the base behind some of these moderate senators.
So, I think it's going to happen and the other thing Megyn is, I think Barack Obama is going to have a really hard time finding someone to take this job. I mean just think about it, the republicans have said he's dead on arrival. No hearing, no vote, no chance that he's going to get it. Who's going to take that? Who's going to be Barack Obama's kamikaze pilot in this mission that's going to ruin their judicial career?
KELLY: Good argue (viewing). No one wants you. No one where you're getting an up or down votes and if they give you one it's definitely going to be a no. You raise a good point, who wants that? Guys, good to see you both. >
BURTON: Thanks Megyn.
THIESEN: You too.
KELLY: Up next, we'll take you live inside of a Nevada GOP caucus site as the votes are just starting to get counted. We're going to have results in a matter of hours. And then political analyst and Trump supporter David Wohl is here on why he says his man is going all the way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: These other guys, they're all gone. You know what, they made their little speech this morning and tey ran away. But Trump, I'm going to be here with you all night, all night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have an ad running right now, it's a Cruz ad, something to do -- and a couple of people told me this, that I am backing the federal government to keep the land that's currently owned by the federal government, and we should give that land to everybody and divvy it up. I'm saying to myself, well, it's not a subject I know anything about. It's a hell of an ad, but this is a Cruz ad. This guy is sick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: That was Donald Trump punching back at Ted Cruz after the senator accused Trump of siding with the Feds over some land fights unfolding in Nevada right now. In moments -- well, actually right now -- yeah, in moments, we're going to be joined by Trump supporter David Wohl and conservative writer Eric Erickson, who feel very differently about this issue. But first we're going to check in with our Fox News correspondent Alicia Acuna who's live at a Las Vegas caucus site as we get reports of some problems there, Alicia?
ALICIA ACUNA, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Megyn. Yes, lots of organizational issues is what we're hearing about. We have a producer at one site in Las Vegas who told us that they didn't get things started for 20 minutes late. We're hearing reports of very long lines, issues with some ballots. We're trying to get clarification on that. And I can tell you from where we are here, at this high school, as we are prepping for our live shot with you, we had so many people coming up to us, trying to give us their ballots.
Yeah. And also asking us questions, trying to figure out where things are. We do know that the party was desperate for volunteers heading into today. Now, Clark County chairman Ed Williams explained to me that this state has more of a hybrid system of both a primary and caucus. For one, voting is secret and folks can either pick up the ballot and then go over to those tables over there, you see those numbers, those are precinct numbers and they can vote and go.
They can vote and take off as they call it or they can stay here and come over to this area and actually participate in the caucus at these tables. It's very different from what you see in Iowa. One, you aren't required to caucus in order to vote. Here, the campaigns make their pitches to folks who may not have voted yet, but was also (weighing on) is the selection of the delegates who either going to go on to the national convention. They changed things here out of complaints over the caucus system where people feel like they were stuck for hours on end in order to vote. Megyn?
KELLY: Unbelievable. Alicia, thank you. Yeah, we are hearing a lot of reports about this. One caucus site apparently has a ballot counter wearing Trump campaign gear and that in Nevada is totally legal. You're allowed to do that unlike many states. Joining me now with more on the race, Eric Erickson and David Wohl. Good to see you both.
Eric, let me start with you because you just wrote this piece that -- at The Resurgent.com which you started called "I will not vote for Donald Trump ever," which is a reversal -- I mean you're very active in conservative circles where you're a conservative leader. You had previously said you would support the nominee, even if it were Donald Trump. Why the reversal?
ERIC ERICKSON, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE LEADER: I'm not even Christian and my number one issue is life and to have Donald Trump stand on stage at the South Carolina debate and call Planned Parenthood, an organization that chops up children and sells their body parts is wonderful, that's a bridge too far for me. He's been very consistent in saying nice things about Planned Parenthood and universal socialist health care and that's just not a conservative to me, that's not even a republican to me.
KELLY: What do you make of that, David?
DAVID WOHL, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, of course Trump is leading with evangelical Christians ironically and Trump has made it clear, he is pro-life. He did say that Planned Parenthood serves some useful purposes, such as OBGYN exams or mammograms but he is steadfastly ...
ERICKSON: They don't have mammograms.
WOHL: ... against abortion and he will defund when it comes to abortion. I think he's going to find that they're inextricably intertwined and so, he's going to assess it and my guess is he will defund Planned Parenthood altogether.
KELLY: So you think Trump, when he takes a closer look at it, will reverse his position on planned parenthood?
WOHL: Well, he wants the -- with respect to any funding that goes toward abortions, he has said that will be defunded...
KELLY: Well that already is defunded. They already don't get taxpayer dollars for the abortion part.
WOHL: ... by my guess is let's say 60 percent.
KELLY: We already -- we don't give taxpayer dollars to the abortion part of Planned Parenthood, but their critics -- you correct me if I'm wrong Eric, critics say money is fungible and ...
ERICKSON: Yeas, money is fungible, right. And you know the problem is that until Donald Trump ran for president, he was actually pro-abortion. In fact I he told Tim Russert it was part of his New York values. I mean that's part of my problem with Trump. He's been very, very consistent even going back to 2010 with the rise of the tea party when he was funding democrat's against the tea party.
KELLY: But he said he's changed like Reagan changed, Erick.
ERICKSON: Well, you know, Reagan had a period of change over about 40 years. Donald Trump has changed in two years. I don't think he's had a road to Damascus moment, I think he's trying to date the preacher's daughter.
WOHL: Well, two years ago Ted Cruz was fine with immigrants getting amnesties. He's not being held to account for that. Basically, Trump has evolved, Megyn. And many people in the establishment GOP are not allowing him to --
KELLY: Let him finish. Let David finish.
WOHL: We don't believe it, we don't buy it. And I'm sorry, I don't buy it. He's doing a great job and what he says people believe. That's what is putting him over the top in so many places.
KELLY: Go ahead, Eric.
ERICKSON: Well, you know, Donald Trump has taken every side of every issue known to man, including this issue that you'd let in with federal land. Just the other day, CBS News reported Donald Trump did say the federal government shouldn't hand land back to Nevada where the people and how he's saying he doesn't even know about the issue. So, if he doesn't know about the issue he probably doesn't even tell CBS News and others that the federal government should keep the land.
KELLY: What do you make of that David, because when you see Trump reverse his positions, you know, quickly, like we saw last week for example on whether Bush intentionally lied to get us into the Iraq war, what effect if any does that have on you?
WOHL: Megyn, it has zero effect. Not just on me but tens of millions of people who support him.
KELLY: Can you explain why? Explain why.
WOHL: The reality is, because he's got -- Megyn, we've suffered through the last seven years and this is the reality of Neville Chamberlain appeasement. We've had both the house and the senate -- republicans have -- and what's happened, they have not stood up to Mr. Obama. They basically allowed everything he's wanted to go through because they don't want to offend him. Now you've got a guy who is a sledge hammer, as i said before, that transcends the party that says, I'm going to do things that make and put America first. I'm not going to worry about offending other people. I'm not going to worry about offending my party or the democrats. I'm going to get it done. And guess what, Megyn? At this point, that's what people want to hear and that's why he skyrocketed to the top and that's what's going to get him the nomination.
KELLY: It's great to see you both. Thanks for being here guys.
ERICKSON: Thank you.
WOHL: Thank you Megan.
KELLY: Well, as we track these reports about ballot problems and issues of long lines in Nevada, the big question tonight may not (with) Nevada or comes in second but will show you what that question actually is, there relevant one when we come back.
KELLY: Well, there's a lot at stake tonight in Nevada since this is the last stop before the critical Super Tuesday vote, but it is not just the bragging rights of a win at play, there's also the question of who may or should drop out when the voting is done tonight. AB Stoddard is a Fox News contributor and associate editor for "The Hill." AB good to see you. So, the pressure is on and it's on in particular. Tell us who.
AB STODDARD, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it is really on John Kasich, the Govern of Ohio. Obviously, people would like Carson to get out, as well, Dr. Ben Carson but is really not influenced by Republican Party leaders.
STODDARD: He's not been in the system. He's going to do his own quirky thing and I think he'll just drown in debt and that's when he'll leave. But Governor Kasich is taking phone calls as you can imagine from friendly advice all the way to you're threatening the future of the country if you let Trump win so --
KELLY: Bold. Scary.
STODDARD: The pressure is really mounting on him, but he is resisting. Well, you've heard the editorials today. It's an incredible pressure that is out really -- out of the open. But he is going to resist and carry on and his team actually believes he has as good a path or better in proportional voting and winner take all, delegate allotment to -- than Marco Rubio, that they're going to get anti-establishment vote.
KELLY: Do you think that the pressure is getting to him? Because we heard a different sounding message from him today.
KELLY: Do we have it teed up? Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KASICH: I don't know if my purpose is to be president. My purpose is to be out here doing what I think I need to be doing and we'll see where it ends up. And if it's not this crusade, it will be another one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: Well, Steve Hayes was on schedule earlier saying, you know, he sounds like a therapist in chief, not a commander in chief which just mean what, is it true?
STODDARD: That sounds like a man is getting a lot of pressure and a lot of phone calls and he is. But so far -- and campaigns always say they're going to keep going even the minute you know, before they enter pushing things.
KELLY: I know Jeb Bush told me that on Friday night. Within 24 hours he bailed out.
STODDARD: I know. That's what they do but Governor Kasich has planned for a long slog. They believe that they have a chance in Ohio. Even though the new polling shows trump ahead by a bit in Ohio, that they have better chance in their home state winner take all than Rubio does in Florida and they believe they have a plan to play a long game and that they get voters that they're actually competing with Trump with voters and anti- establishment --
KELLY: Do you think it's a VP play for him?
STODDARD: It might be. But I think for now he will hang in through tonight and probably through the 15th of march.
KELLY: Because, you know, if he can deliver Ohio on a republican ticket, that would obviously be attractive to whoever might be atop the ticket. I asked him yesterday whether he's interested in that spot he said I'm not running for second place. You could argue it's first place in second position.
STODDARD: ... it's people (ph) always have to say. Right?
KELLY: I know.
STODDARD: Ready for not ever running for number two. Ohio is not just attractive, it's kind of necessary, I think.
KELLY: AB, I got to go. It's great to see you.
STODDARD: Thank you.
KELLY: So again, reports of long lines in Nevada tonight. Some sites have run out of ballots, some ballots have names of candidate who dropped out. In fact I just saw one of them and they got all the candidates on it. They got Bush, they got Huckabee, they got Fiorina. We're bringing you all the news as the night unfolds. Back in a moment.
KELLY: And don't miss our special Kelly File tomorrow night. "The Kelly File" travels to Houston, Texas to go face to face with Senators Cruz, Rubio, Governor Kasich and Dr. Carson. The voters of Texas will help us question the candidates directly. But first, we're back in one hour, Brett Baer and yours truly will have live coverage of the results of the Nevada caucuses beginning at 11:00 p.m. eastern time. Don't miss the answers. See you then.
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