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Fox News Sunday

Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio weigh in ahead of Super Tuesday

This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," February 28, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST:  I’m Chris Wallace.

As we head to Super Tuesday, the biggest day of the Republican campaign, we'll sit down with Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio on "Fox News Sunday."  

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE:  Trump gets a big endorsement.  

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-NEW JERSEY:  The best person to beat Hillary Clinton is, undoubtedly, Donald Trump.  

WALLACE:  Donald Trump joins us live to explain how he intends to cement his standing as the front-runner.  

Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz finally team up.  

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Donald, relax.  Relax.  

DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Go ahead.  I’m relaxed.  

You're the basket case.  

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I guess there's a statute of limitation on lies.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  We'll talk live with Senator Cruz, who has more riding on Super Tuesday than any other candidate, as he defends his home state of Texas.  

And Marco Rubio as he launches an all-out attack against Trump.  

RUBIO:  We have a con artist as a front-runner in the Republican Party.  

Plus, we'll ask our Sunday panel what they'll be looking for as voters go to the polls in a dozen states across the country.  

All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE:  And hello again from Fox News in Washington.  

Well, we begin with the results from last night’s Democratic primary in South Carolina and landslide doesn't do justice to what Hillary Clinton did there.  Clinton got 73 percent of the vote to Bernie Sanders' 26 percent.  We'll have a live report later in the hour.  

First, the battle for the Republican nomination heading into Super Tuesday.  Donald Trump coming off three consecutive wins is set for a showdown with Ted Cruz and the senator's home state of Texas, the biggest prize so far with 155 delegates.  That's just of 11 states going to the polls with 595 delegates, almost half of what’s needed to win the nomination.  

With the stakes rising, the three front runners have escalated their attacks and we'll talk to all of them today.  

Joining us first here now live is the front-runner, Donald Trump.  

Mr. Trump, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

TRUMP:  Thank you.  

WALLACE:  Let's get right to it.  Marco Rubio says that you are a, quote, "con artist."  Here he is.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUBIO:  I think it's time to take the mask off of this guy.  I mean, he’s the guy that portrays himself as the defender of the little guy in this country.  He’s been exploiting working Americans for 40 years.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  Mr. Trump, your response and what do you think of Marco Rubio?  

TRUMP:  Well, I think he's a lightweight.  He couldn't get elected dog catcher because to Florida, he’s going to lose big league.  He is not liked in Florida.  He abandoned Florida.  He deceived and defrauded Florida.  He said he was going to be a senator, and that’s the last thing -- he doesn't even show up to meetings.  

I think he's a guy who thinks he's -- I don't think he actually does even think he's hot stuff.  He's not hot stuff.  But he is, you know, I call him little Marco.  That's what he is, he’s little Marco.

But, you know, he's very nasty guy.  So is Ted Cruz, by the way.  They're nasty.  You know, they teamed up.  I saw them shaking hands before the thing -- let’s go, let's go, let’s see if we can get them -- because they're establishment guys.  No matter how you cut it, they’re establishment guys.

And as far as, you know, the con man, it was very insulting, but you know my career.  I built an unbelievable company.  And, by the way, I filed with the FEC almost -- the federal elections, almost 100 pages of financials that show worth of if I ever sold it over $10 billion.  That's what I built.  I had number one bestsellers including "The Art of the Deal", which is the number one, probably the number one bestselling business book of all time.  "The Apprentice" was one of the top shows on television.  

WALLACE:  Mr. Trump --  

TRUMP:  I mean, when you think of that as being a con man, I don't think so.  

WALLACE:  I stipulate that you've been a very successful --

TRUMP:  You’re talking about a con man, I think he's a con man.  

What’s that?

WALLACE:  I stipulate that you've been very successful businessman.  

But let's go through the specific allegations that Rubio raised about you.  He says that you hired 200 illegal immigrants from Poland back in the early '80s to clear the site for the Trump Tower.  The fact is that so-called "Polish Brigade" did work on that project.  

TRUMP:  So, let me just tell you how sad that is that he comes up.  That is was more than 35 years ago.  So, can you imagine, with all I’ve done, I’ve built buildings all over the world, I built massive buildings in New York, massive jobs, city on the west side of Manhattan, he comes up with one thing from 35 years ago.  

WALLACE:  But is it true, sir?

TRUMP:  I didn’t hire them.  They were hired -- Chris, Chris, they were hired by a contractor.  I hired a contractor.  I hired a contractor for demolition.  He had Polish workers in his force among others, by the way.  He had Polish workers in the force.  That's all it is.

I hired -- 35 years ago.  And by the way, the laws were totally different 35 years ago.  But 35 years ago, I hired a demolition contractor to knock down a building that made way for Trump Tower and can you imagine they bring that up from so many years ago.

WALLACE:  But --  

TRUMP:  By the way, different laws and I didn't hire the Polish workers, Chris.  

WALLACE:  But let me ask you about that --  

TRUMP:  He hired the polish workers.  

WALLACE:  Let me ask you about that if I may, because some of the workers were sleeping at the site because they were illegal immigrants and they were pulling 12 hour shifts.  Are you saying you didn't know any of that?  

TRUMP:  In construction, many, many people sleep on the site.  Even now they sleep on sites because they save -- contractors save money by doing that.  And you're not supposed to do it.  

But contractors all over the city and all over many other cities, they sleep right on the site.  That's a fairly common practice.  And it happens.  And it happens with many, many contractors.

Now, just so you understand, I hired a contractor.  The contractor came in with people.  Some of his people were Polish.  Some of them came from -- but I didn't have control over that.

You didn't have E-Verify in those days like I do now where I’m building a building as an example, the old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue, I have E-Verify.  Everything is perfect even though "Washington Post" said, well, maybe it's not perfect, but everything is absolutely perfect.  

WALLACE:  All right.  Let me -- let me talk about a subject --  

TRUMP:  But just so you understand, Chris, 35 years go, this guy, this little Marco, 35 years ago, I built a building and 35 years ago, that's the best they can do.  That's pretty sad.  

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE:  OK.  We’ll let me give you something else which is a lot more current --  

TRUMP:  All I did was hired a contractor.  I didn’t hire the Polish workers.

WALALCE:  -- and that is, that he is hitting you on Trump University, a program that you helped set up --  

TRUMP:  OK.

WALLACE:  -- that you said to share your real estate knowledge and so you could help people invest.

TRUMP:  Yes.

WALLACE:  A super PAC that is opposed to you is running this ad.  Take a look.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERRI, SINGLE MOM, TRUMP UNIVERSITY VICTIM:  All of it was just a fake.  Americans do not make the same mistake I made about with Donald Trump. I got hurt badly and I'd hate to see this country get hurt by Donald Trump.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  Now, Trump University ads promised that these instructors on your real estate genius would be handpicked by you but in fact, the story is that a lot of them were picked just so they could get people to sign up and one of them was a manager from a Buffalo Wild Wings.  So did you handpick these instructors or not?  

TRUMP:  OK.  Many of them we were handpicked and I handpicked our people.  And the people I think did a good job.  And they ran a good school.  

And I'll tell you about the school.  It had an A rating from the Better Business Bureau and the people that I think you even have on there have given a great report card, because everybody -- just about everybody that took the course, almost everybody signed a document and they rated the school.  They rated the course, what they learned, was it good?  Not a huge amount of money if they didn't pay a huge amount of money.  

But what happened is they rated the school, they rated the courses.

WALLACE:  Wait. Some of them paid $35,000.  

TRUMP:  Wait a minute, wait, Chris.  

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE:  Wait, wait, some paid $35,000. That's a lot of money.  

TRUMP:  Listen to me, 98 percent of the people that took -- Chris, 98 percent of the people that took the courses, we have report cards from everybody.  They report carded on the course.

Ninety-eight percent of the people that took the courses, 98 percent approved the courses they thought they were terrific.  

Now just so you understand, I could have settled this case a long time ago, I chose not.  I’m going to win the case in court, because I do that.  I win cases in court.  It's a lawsuit.  

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE:  Let me ask you about that, because this week -- this weekend --  

TRUMP:  I’m not a settler.  You know what, Chris --  

WALLACE:  Let me ask you this though --  

TRUMP:  I don't believe in settling cases.  I believe in winning cases.  

WALLACE:  You went after the judge in one of the Trump University lawsuits.  Here you are.  

TRUMP:  Right.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  There is a hostility to me from the judge, tremendous hostility, beyond belief.  I believe he happens to be Spanish, which is fine.  He is Hispanic, which is fine.  And we haven't asked for recusal, which we may do.  But we have a judge that’s very hostile.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  The attorney general of New York after those remarks accused you of racial demagoguery mentioning he's Hispanic.  

TRUMP:  I think the judge has been extremely hostile to me.  I think it has to do with perhaps the fact that I’m very, very strong on the border. Very, very strong on the border.  And he has been extremely hostile to me.  

This is a case that in our opinion should have been won a long time ago.  It's a case we should have won on summary judgment.  We're nothing with this.  This is a very -- we have a very hostile judge.  

Now, he is Hispanic, I believe.  He is a very hostile judge to me.  I said it loud and clear.

Now, the attorney general --

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE:  Why even bring up that he's Hispanic?  I mean, it does raise a question.  

TRUMP:  Because you always bring it up, Chris, because you always say how the Hispanics don't like Donald Trump.  You always bring it up in your poll numbers.  You say that Hispanics don't like Donald Trump.  You’re the one that brings it up --

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE:  I don't think I ever brought that up.  I don't think I ever brought it up.  

TRUMP:  OK, well, you always talk about the fact that Trump doesn't do well with --  

WALLACE:  But you can’t blame this one on me.

TRUMP:  Chris, will Trump do well with Hispanics?  

Now, in Nevada, I got 46 percent.  I won with the Hispanics, OK?  So, that's very good.  

But I can tell you, it's a very hostile judge.  This is a judge that in my opinion does not like Donald Trump.  

WALLACE: OK, let's talk about the tax returns.  Because both Cruz and Rubio released -- they didn’t release all of their tax returns.  They released part of their tax returns.

But you're refusing to release any of your tax returns.  

Back in 2012 when you were flirting with running for president, you said releasing your tax returns would be, quote, "a great thing to show how successful you are."  I know you say you’re under audit.  You could still release them.  The IRS commissioner says you could release them.

But let me ask you three questions which you can answer without releasing a ballpark figure.  2014, the returns that you have already filed under penalty of perjury, what was ballpark, what was your gross income?  What was your effective tax rate?  And how much did you give to charity?  

TRUMP:  OK, Chris, first of all, let me just tell you something, as you know, I have filed in -- you know, unbelievable voluminous documents as to my net worth and as to the company I built, almost 100 pages with the Federal Elections Commission.  You know that's been filed, right?  

WALLACE:  I do know that.  

TRUMP:  You talk about net worth.  You don’t learn -- you don't know that?  

WALLACE:  No, I said I do know that.  

TRUMP:  I filed with -- yes.  I filed as to my net worth and as to the values and everything else.  And that’s -- and, by the way, people in your profession were unbelievably impressed with the company I built.  

OK.  That has to do with net worth.  You can't learn anything from tax returns without net worth or any of that.  

The tax returns have -- are being audited.  I’ve been audited for many, many years.  It is very, very unfair.  I don't know why, but for some reason, the IRS audits me virtually every year.  

WALLACE:  But can you tell us what your gross income is?  

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP:  I think it’s very unfair.  I’ve been singled out.  

WALLACE:  Can you tell us what the gross income is --

TRUMP:  I’ve been singled out --

WALLACE:  -- for 2014?  Can you tell us what your effective tax rate is?  And can you give us a sense of how much you gave to charity?  

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP:  Here’s what you do -- go down to the Federal Elections Commission and take out my financial disclosure forms.  

By the way, when you talk about Cruz, he didn't put on that he's borrowing money from banks all over the place that he borrowed a lot of money from banks at a very low interest rate, an interest rate you could not get.  Believe me, he could never get it.  That he borrowed from Goldman Sachs and Citibank.  He didn't put that down in his financial disclosure form.  

And I put down over 100 pages of investments and deals and everything else.  I have full disclosure.  He didn't disclose.  Probably illegally, he didn’t disclose that he had a million dollars' worth of loans at low interest rate.  So, don’t tell me about that.

WALLACE:  OK, I got -- I got you.  

TRUMP:  As far as taxes are concerned --  

WALLACE:  I’ve got two more questions I’ve got to ask you.  

TRUMP:  Go ahead.  

WALLACE:  OK?  I got two minutes.  So let's try to get these both in, because you raised a new issue on Friday.  You want to change the libel laws to make it easier to sue.  Here you are, sir.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  When they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.  We're going to open up those libel laws.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  Is that really the kind of president you will be, if you don't like an article you're going to sue a newspaper or a network and tie them up in litigation?  And, by the way, the Supreme Court ruled on this to open up the libel laws to make it easier to sue us, for instance, you're going to have to win them the Constitution.  

TRUMP:  Well, in England, I can tell you it's very much different and very much easier.  I think it's very unfair when "The New York Times" can write a story that they know is false, that they virtually told me they know it's false and I say, why don't you pull the story, and they say, we're not going to do that, because they can't basically be sued.  And you can't be sued because can you say anything you want and that's not fair.  

All I want is fairness.  So, I would absolutely work to open up the libel laws so that if you write something wrong, I want everybody to write whatever they want to write.  But if you write something that’s wrong and at least knowingly wrong but wrong, a person like me and other people can bring lawsuits to have it corrected and to get damage.  

WALLACE:  OK.  Finally, I got about a minute left.  Actually, I’m over time, but what the heck.  

Do you expect to lock up the nomination with your performance on Super Tuesday, effectively lock up the nomination?  And this week you won endorsements from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Maine Governor Paul LePage.  House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he could work with you.  

With raises the question, are you becoming a captive of the establishment or is the establishment surrendering to Donald Trump?  

TRUMP:  Well, we're doing very well.  I expect to do well on Tuesday.  I hope.  

I mean, you know, I told you, we're going to have 25,000 people today in Alabama.  We have 15,000 yesterday in Tennessee.  We had a tremendous amount of people, probably 15,000 in Arkansas in a hangar -- an airport hangar.  

It's been amazing.  It’s been a movement.  We have a movement going, Chris.  It is something really special.  

And having Paul's endorsement and having Chris Christie and Sarah Palin and Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Arizona, who’s the king of the borders.  I mean, when he endorses you, that means you have the best border plan, there’s no question about that.  

And Jerry Falwell Jr., you know, I’m winning with evangelicals every -- I mean, we are beating everybody with the evangelicals.  I love the evangelicals.  

And we're winning with the military.  We're winning with the vets.  We're really winning with everybody.  And I am really thrilled by it.  

I think we're going to do well on Tuesday.  We're going beat out the establishment.  The establishment is disgraceful.  

Little Marco is doing not so well in Florida.  He's down about 20 points.  And the people in Florida can't stand him.  He couldn't be elected dog catcher in Florida.  

WALLACE:  I think we already heard that.

Mr. Trump, I want to thank.  I want to thank you for answering all of our questions.  Thank you for your time, sir.  We'll see you at the FOX debate Thursday in Detroit.  

TRUMP:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  

WALLACE:  We'll talk with Marco Rubio in a few minutes.  But next, Senator Ted Cruz live on whether Texas is do or die for his campaign.  

(CXOMMECIAL BREAK)

WALLACE:  A look outside the beltway at the Texas state capitol in Austin.  

Senator Ted Cruz has told supporters this Super Tuesday will be, quote, "the most important night of the campaign."  His home state of Texas is the biggest prize and a must-win for the senator.  

Ted Cruz is live now in Springdale, Arkansas.

Senator, welcome back.  

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Good morning, Chris.  Good to be with you.

WALLACE:  Senator, you used to say that you viewed Super Tuesday and especially the races in the so-called SEC primary as a, quote, "firewall" for your campaign.  But according to the latest polls, the only states you're leading in Arkansas and your home state of Texas.  

If you don't win in the south on Super Tuesday, aren't you in big trouble?  

CRUZ:  Well, Chris, what we've seen in the primaries is the first four states have narrowed the field.  We started with 17 candidates.  It's much, much more narrow.  And I think Super Tuesday will continue to do that.

You know, 65 percent of Republican primary voters don't think Donald Trump is the right candidate to go head-to-head with Hillary Clinton.  He agrees with her on too many issues and he's too vulnerable to lose in the general election.  

And the only campaign, the only candidate that has beaten Donald Trump, the only candidate that can beat Donald Trump is our campaign.  And so on Super Tuesday, I hope and believe that conservatives will continue to coalesce behind our campaign.

Because if you're one of those 65 percent of Republicans that doesn't want to see Donald Trump as our nominee, doesn't want to see a blowout in November, then I ask you to come support us and stand with us because that's the only way to stop Donald is to stand together behind our campaign on Super Tuesday.  

WALLACE:  But there are problems in terms of your support.  You're running as a social conservative and as a political outsider.  

But I want to put up some, I would think, troubling numbers for you from the South Carolina exit polls.  Trump beat you among evangelicals, self-described evangelicals, 34 percent to 26 percent.  And among voters who say they want the next president to be from, quote, "outside the political establishment," they went for Trump 63 percent to 13 percent.  

Question, isn't Donald Trump beating you, Senator, at your own game?  

CRUZ:  Well, you know, a primary is an extended conversation.  And Donald Trump told us many, many times in his own words, he said seven months ago he was a member of the establishment.  You know, we saw the debate this past week.  Donald laid out he is a Washington deal maker.  And it is Washington deal that's have bankrupted this country.  

If you want more Washington deals, Donald Trump is your guy.  That's why Harry Reid said Donald Trump was his favorite Republican because Harry Reid said Donald will cut deals with us.  We can work with him.  

You know, we saw it in the debate.  When Donald Trump took me on and said, listen, Ted, you have to be willing to compromise on the Supreme Court.  You have to be willing to compromise on religious liberty.

Let me tell you, if you're at home, I give you my word as president -- I won't compromise away your religious liberty rights.  I won't compromise away your Second Amendment rights.

Donald Trump is telling us he's going to sit down with Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer and give away Justice Scalia's Supreme Court seat and that means your Second Amendment rights are in jeopardy.  

And it's worth remembering, Chris, Donald Trump is someone who supported Bill Clinton's national ban on firearms for some of the most popular guns in America.  I think we need a president who doesn't cut deals with Democrats to give away our rights but rather stands with the working men and women of this country.  

WALLACE:  All right.  I want to pick up on this question of the Supreme Court, because one of your big issues, one of your pitches to voters is you say that you are a consistent conservative and that you would appoint a strong conservative to the court to replace -- succeed Justice Antonin Scalia.  You also say that George W. Bush made a mistake when he named John Roberts to the court back in 2005.  

Take a look.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ:  I wouldn't have nominated John Roberts.  Indeed, Governor Bush pointed out why.  It wasn't that the President Bush wanted to appoint a liberal to the court.  It’s that it was the easier choice.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  But, Senator, that's not what you said when, in fact, Roberts was nominated to the court back in 2005.  I want to put up an article, a big article you wrote with the title "The Right Stuff".  This is in 2005.  Roberts nominated into the court.

You wrote, "John Roberts should be a quick confirm.  As a jurist, Judge Roberts' approach will be of that his entire career, carefully, faithfully applying the Constitution and legal precedent."

This was a long article, sir, that you wrote for The National Review and you certainly seemed at the time -- I know you said you wouldn't have nominated him -- but you seemed to be an enthusiastic supporter of John Roberts.  

CRUZ:  Well, Chris, it's true.  Once George W. Bush nominated him, I supported the Republican president in his nomination.  That was a mistake.  In hindsight that was a mistake.  

But let’s be absolutely clear.  I would have nominated Mike Luttig, who was my former boss on the Court of Appeals.  He was a proven conservative who had decades on the court defending conservative principles.  And the difference was too many Republican presidents aren't willing to spend the capital to nominate and confirm a principled conservative.  

I have spent my entire life fighting to defend the constitution and bill of rights and when it comes to the Supreme Court, I will invest every bit of political capital to ensure that the Bill of Rights is there for the next generation.  

WALLACE:  But, sir, when you said when you wrote in that article that John Roberts would "carefully and faithfully apply the Constitution and legal precedent," I mean, it sounds like you're falling in line with George Bush's nomination.  You didn't have to write that article.  You did.  

CRUZ:  It is correct.  I supported the Republican nominee.  

But, you know, it's interesting, Chris.  I notice you didn't ask Donald Trump about his saying his sister who is a liberal radical pro-abortion Clinton appointee would make a phenomenal Supreme Court justice.  

When it comes to Supreme Court justices, Donald has told nuts last debate he's going to cut deals.  

Let me give you another example.  We saw in the last debate on immigration, when I was leading the fight against the Rubio-Schumer "gang of eight" amnesty bill and together with millions of Americans we defeated amnesty, Donald was funding the gang of eight.  He gave over $50,000 to five members of the "gang of eight".  

If you spent --

WALLACE:  Didn't he also give money you to, sir?

(CROSSTALK)

CRUZ:  -- supporting open border Democrats --

WALLACE:  Sir, didn’t he also give money to you?

CRUZ:  -- you cannot claim that you’re tough on illegal immigration.  

I’m sorry?  

WALLACE:  Didn't he also give money to you?  

CRUZ:  (AUDIO GAP) to my leadership PAC which he tosses around like candy.  

But, listen, he supported open border Democrats for decades.  He supported Jimmy Carter over Ronald Reagan.  He supported John Kerry over George W. Bush.  He’s contributed to Hillary Clinton, to Chuck Schumer.  

This is a man -- anyone who supports radical liberals like those does not care about conservative Supreme Court justices --

WALLACE:  All right.  I have to --  

CRUZ:  -- does not care about the Second Amendment, and doesn’t care about securing the border because those are the open board he advocates that led the "gang of eight" and, indeed, you know what is striking after the debate, Chris, Donald went on CNN and he was talking about his hotel in Florida and they bring in foreign workers and they won't hire Americans.  

He said, well, gosh, you can't find Americans to work as waiters and waitresses.  How utterly ridiculous, there are hundreds of Americans who have worked and want to work as waiters and waitresses especially in some a swanky hotel in Palm Beach --

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE:  Senator, I’ve got one more question for you.

Your campaign has been involved in a series of incidents that are people are calling dirty tricks.  I want to put up a list to them.  

In Iowa, the Cruz campaign sent out tweets saying Ben Carson was suspending his campaign.  That was false.  The campaign put out flyers accusing people of voting violations.  That was false.  

In South Carolina, a Cruz super PAC attacked Trump over the Confederate flag and your then communications director posted a link this week accusing Rubio of disrespecting the bible.  That was false.  

Question, do you take personal responsibility -- this is your campaign except for the super PAC -- do you take personal responsibility for this series of incidents?  What does it say about the culture of the campaign you're running?  

CRUZ:  Chris, every accusation you raised there is incorrect.  I appreciate your reading the Donald Trump attack file on that.  

WALLACE:  Come on, sir.  

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE:  Wait a minute.  Wait a minute, sir.  You personally -- you personally apologized to Ben Carson on a debate stage.  

CRUZ:  Chris, please don’t interrupt me.

WALLACE:  You fired your communications director.  

CRUZ:  Chris, please don’t interrupt me.

WALLACE:  Don't say this is an oppo file on our part, sir.  

CRUZ:  Chris, please don't interrupt me.  Our campaign from the beginning --

WALLACE:  Well, I mean, please don't say -- please accuse me of something I didn't do.  

CRUZ:  Go ahead, Chris.  Let me know whether I’m allowed to answer.

WALLACE:  Well, don't accuse me of something I didn't do.  Two of those things you apologized for one and fired your communications director.  Don't say this is the oppo file.  

CRUZ:  Chris, our campaign from the beginning has been the highest level of integrity when others have engaged in personal attacks and insults.  We don't respond in kind.  

And, you know, what’s striking, you just had Donald Trump on the air.  You didn't ask about the fact that he sent out a fabricated quote from Tom Coburn impugning my integrity.  Tom Coburn, Senator Coburn came out and said it was an utter fabrication and yet Donald continued repeating what he knew to be false.  

You didn't ask Donald Trump about the robocalls that went out from a white supremacist group supporting Donald Trump telling people do not vote for a Cuban, vote for Donald Trump.

You know, when it comes to telling the truth and not telling the truth, you didn't ask Donald Trump about the fact that in the last debate I asked him true or false, you support socialized medicine, the government paying for your health care.  He said false and it's directly contrary to what he said for 20 years on the record.  

Listen, Chris, the facts matter.  I understand that --  

WALLACE:  Senator --  

CRUZ:  -- there are folks that don't want to focus on the facts.  But, listen, the voters care about the truth.  They care about Donald Trump's record of giving --

WALLACE:  Senator Cruz, we're flat out of time.  

First of all, I don't think anybody is going to think I did an easy interview with Donald Trump.  I asked him about plenty of things.  

If you want to ask him those questions, guess what?  You'll get the opportunity at the Fox debate on Thursday.  

Thank you.  Thanks for making time for us on this very busy weekend, sir.  

Up next, Senator Marco Rubio on his new strategy of open warfare against Donald Trump.  Is it too late?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: Chris Christie touts Donald Trump as the GOP’s best hope against Hillary Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: They know how to run the standard, political playbook against junior senators. They do not know the playbook with Donald Trump because he is rewriting the playbook.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: We’ll ask your panel where the Republican race stands now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE:  This week Donald Trump called Senator Marco Rubio, among other things, a basket case, a lightweight, a choke artist and, yes, as we heard today, little Marco. And he was just returning fire after Rubio launched a barrage of attacks against him. I spoke with Rubio Saturday in Birmingham, Alabama, to discuss his new strategy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE:  Senator Rubio, I want to start with a question that a lot of political insiders are asking, why did you wait so long to go after Donald Trump? I -- I got to assume that all of this stuff was in your oppo research files for months. Wasn't a big miscalculation to wait until they got into such a strong position?

RUBIO: No, that's a legitimate and an important question, and a couple points. One is, we were being attacked by a bunch of other people during this race and we were responding to that. And the other is, I really believe that voters would see through this -- this con job that he's trying to do, and, obviously, that hasn't happened. He’s convinced a lot of people. And we -- now is the time where we have to address it. I feel -- I believe a first rate con artist is on the verge of taking over the party of Lincoln and Reagan. And, now or never, we need to remind people of what's at stake here. We're about to lose the conservative movement to someone who's not a conservative and the party of Lincoln and Reagan to a con artist.

WALLACE: At a rally this weekend, Trump said that he may ask the judge in the Trump University case, who we mentioned is Hispanic, to recuse himself because he's so hostile. Your reaction to that?

RUBIO: Well, I thought Trump said he was going to win the Hispanic vote. He said he was so popular among the Latinos. So he should actually want to keep him on the case if that's true.

This is part of the clown act. This is what happens when someone is caught, like Donald Trump has been, as a con artist. This is a guy -- you talked about Trump University earlier in your program -- who went to people that were trying to improve their lives and convinced them to come into this program he created. They paid thousands of dollars, and they got nothing for it.

Now, he's trying to pull the ultimate con job, and that is to get ahold of the United States of America. And so he's gone to all these struggling Americans who are really hurting economically and he's preying upon those fears and those anxieties they have to get them to give him his vote. And he's been successful.

This has to end. We cannot allow this guy to become the Republican nominee. The Democrats will tear him to shreds and we're going to lose the party and the conservative movement, but more importantly, the election. And that means America's going to stay on the road it's on right now, which is the road of decline.

WALLACE: All right, Trump fired back at you in the debate while you were firing at him. He talked about your finances. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I've hired tens of thousands of people over my job. You've hired nobody.

RUBIO: Yes, you hired a thousand people from another company, from another country.

TRUMP: You've had nothing but problems with your credit cards, et cetera.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: The facts are, you used a Republican Party credit card to charge personal expenses. You faced foreclosure on a second home that you bought. And last year you cashed out a $68,000 retirement fund.

Senator, if Trump’s history is fair game, isn't yours?

RUBIO: Yes. And mine has been examined. The thing about the Republican Party is false. I've paid American Express directly for all of that. But this is what's true, I did not inherit millions of dollars from my father. I had to -- I've earned everything I've had in life. I've had to work hard for it. I'm not a rich person. I'm not poor, but I'm not rich, and that's fine. This is a great country because I live a life much better than my parents did.

Donald, on the other hand, has lived a pampered life. He inherited millions of dollars from his father. There's nothing wrong with that. But he portrays himself as this great businessman. If he had taken that money that he inherited and put it into an index fund on the stock market, he'd have more money than Warren Buffet does right now.

But, he, instead, did all these risky ventures and he's lost a bunch of money. And every time he lost money, subcontractors and the little guy got hit hard by it. Donald Trump has a history of business failures. Four companies into bankruptcy, which he denied to you, Chris, at the first debate, if you recall. But now he's portraying himself as this great leader that's going to turn the American economy around?  If Donald Trump is president, he's not going to make America great. He's going to make America broke, like he did those four companies.

WALLACE: All right, let's -- let’s talk about --

RUBIO: How do you bankrupt a casino?

WALLACE: Let's talk about your record. This week, a Nevada congressman, Crescent Hardy, endorsed you. But like Rick Santorum, the former senator before him, he had some trouble listing any accomplishment of you during your time in the Senate. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Is there one thing you could name over the last year that you've seen firsthand on The Hill that he has done that demonstrates presidential character, to be able to get things done?

CRESCENT HARDY, NEVADA CONGRESSMAN: On the Hill, I have not seen that. He's been running for a presidential race most of this year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Senator, why can't officials who support you, who come out to endorse you, name a specific accomplishment of your time in the Senate?

RUBIO: Well, in fairness to these folks, right, they're signing up at the last second. They're inspired by our message. They want to be a part of our team. We haven't provided them, you know, all this information. I'm more than happy to tell you about my record. I'm very proud of it.

WALLACE: Incidentally, maybe you ought to start doing that, huh?

RUBIO: For example, we passed sanctions -- yes, well, we are, and we do, but we, obviously, you can't make people read something. And these are last minute things. It's not fair to them.

Here's the bottom line, I'm more than happy to talk about our record. And I mean it's -- it’s -- number one, I’ve worked in the Senate where for four out of the last five years nothing happened because of Harry Reid. And yet, despite that, I actually worked with Bernie Sanders, who I don't agree on anything, but we were able to work together to bring V.A. accountability. You can now fire senior executives at the V.A. because of my work.

There are now additional sanctions on Hezbollah because I got the Senate to pass that unanimously, but the way. We passed the Girls Count Act, which goes after human trafficking by -- by leveraging foreign aid from the United States government to ensure that all kids around the world are getting birth certificates so they don't fall prey to modern day slavery.

We led the effort to deal with the Obamacare bailout fund before anyone was talking about that. We were out there leading the effort on that. And today the Obamacare bailout fund is gone.

WALLACE: Well, what --

RUBIO: We helped impose sanctions on human rights violators in Venezuela.

WALLACE: Senator, one thing --

RUBIO: And I'm very proud of what we've done despite the fact that Washington isn't doing anything.

WALLACE: Senator, one of the things that you don't mention, and I think everybody would say was your biggest accomplishment, was the Gang of Eight comprehensive immigration reform bill that was passed in 2013. Let me ask you a question, was that a good bill? Was that a reasonable compromise on the immigration problem?

RUBIO: Not -- not as a final package. And I said that at the time, Chris. And if you go back -- and we'll provide you that -- you'll see that throughout that debate in the Senate, I kept saying over and over, this is the best we can do here in this Senate, run by Harry Reid, but this is going to have to change when it gets to the House. It's not strong enough. I've said that repeatedly. That’s how the process works. You know that.

WALLACE: But -- but you said you supported -- you said you supported the bill when -- after passage. And you said during the -- the fight that it had important reforms that conservatives had been working for, for years. I mean you voted for it.

RUBIO: It did. Well, sure, because it's the best we could do in a Senate run by Harry Reid. And we did get the Democrats to agree on a lot of things conservatives have pushed for, but it wasn't enough. And I warned about that repeatedly. I said, this is now going to go to the House and they're going to make it even stronger.

But here's the good news, when I'm president of the United States, we're not going to do it that way. I don't need to do it Harry Reid's way. We can do it our way, which is, we're going to enforce our laws and we're going to secure our border first. And until we do that, nothing else is going to happen on immigration.

WALLACE: Finally, let's talk about Super Tuesday. I don't have to point out to you, you have not won a state yet. In the polls of all 11 states who are people -- will go to the polls on Tuesday, you are trailing. If you go through Super Tuesday and you still haven't won a state, can you still be a viable candidate?

RUBIO: Oh, absolutely. First of all, Super Tuesday is going to award a lot of delegates, and we're going to pick up a lot of delegates. Here's the bottom line, you need 1,237 delegates to be the Republican nominee. Donald Trump will never have that number of delegates. I don't care how long I have to work. I'll go to all 50 states and every territory. He will never get those delegates. I am going to get those delegates, and I will be the Republican nominee.

WALLACE:  But you -- you could go 0-15 and you could still be the nominee?

RUBIO: And we're going to pick up a lot of delegates this week.

WALLACE:  You could still be 0-15 and -- and -- and be the nominee?

RUBIO: Because we're going to pick up a lot of delegates. Sure. And that's not the plan, by the way, but sure. I mean absolutely we can because we're going to pick up a lot of delegates. And we're going to pick up a lot of delegates next week. And then come March 15th, I expect this race will be significantly narrowed. More Americans will now know the truth about Donald Trump after we've spent two weeks banging away on it, and people will see what they're about to fall con to, and then we are going to start winning states when the states start awarding all of their delegates, and that includes Florida. We feel very optimistic about that, now more than ever especially.

WALLACE: Senator Rubio, thank you. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Safe travels on the campaign trail, sir.

RUBIO: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE:  Up next, we’ll have a live report from South Carolina on Hillary Clinton’s big victory there.

Plus, in the wake of the Trump/Rubio firefight, we’ll ask our Sunday group where the Republican race stands on the eve of Super Tuesday.

Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about how personal the GOP race has become? Just got to Facebook or Twitter @foxnewssunday and we may use your question on the air.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE:  A look at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston.

Well, Hillary Clinton scored a big victory last night in South Carolina, building on her momentum going into Super Tuesday. Fox News chief White House correspondent Ed Henry is on the trail in Columbia, South Carolina.

Ed.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Chris, first Nevada and now South Carolina. Hillary Clinton is in the driver’s seat heading into Super Tuesday. Her campaign heating up just as about 1,800 delegates will be handed out in the first two weeks of March, about 900 of them next Tuesday alone. That's why Bernie Sanders fled here yesterday, went to the Super Tuesday states of Texas and Minnesota, as Hillary Clinton staid here to declare that this race is about to go national and she tried out a new line attacking not Sanders but Donald Trump. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Despite what you hear, we don't need to make America great again. America has never stopped being great. We do need to make America whole again. Instead of building walls, we need to be tearing down barriers.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-VT., DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A revolution is more than waving a sign. With your help, we can take a giant step forward in moving this political revolution if we win here in Texas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY: Now, the Sanders’ plan is to try and win in super Tuesday states like Oklahoma and Colorado, then scoop up a smaller number of delegates because, remember, on the Democratic side, these states are not winner take all. They're proportional.

Then they're going to attack Clinton's pro-trade policies in places like Michigan. It votes on March 8th. You have about 150 delegates there. Ohio on March 15th, about 150 delegates there as well. Clinton, though, could counter, of course, with Florida. That’s got 246 delegates. And, remember, Clinton has a big edge with super delegates, those party bosses. All of that adds up to the fact that she may be on the verge of taking command here, Chris.

WALLACE:  Ed, thank you.

And it's time now for our Sunday group. Syndicated columnist George Will, Susan Page of "USA Today," head of Heritage Action for America, Michael Needham and Fox News political analyst Juan Williams.

Well, we’ll get to the Democrats in a moment, but I’ve got to start, particularly after those three interviews, with the Republican race.

And, George, same question I had for Rubio, why did his opponents wait so long to take out the oppo research and go after Trump?

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I'll tell you how long it was, 254 days elapsed between Donald Trump's (INAUDIBLE) announcement where he started in with the Mexican rapist and has been building on that ever since, and the debate in Houston. Now, more than eight months passed and suddenly we have an epiphany that Donald Trump is a con artist and all the rest, a clown act. I think several things explain. One is fear. People just don't want to take him on because it's unpleasant. The Republican Party, the political class generally is a coalition of the timid in cases like this.

Second, there’s incredulity. People wonder, where are the Koch brothers? Where is the Club for Growth? Why haven't they unloaded on him about his record, most of which, as you have said, is public and has been in the opposition research for years. It’s because they find it incredible that the American people could contemplate putting in president the kind of anti-constitutional authoritarian. Mr. Rubio was afraid that if he attacked the Cruz people, some of the Cruz people -- sorry, the Trump people, some of them might go to Ted Cruz as their second choice. Ted Cruz was afraid that if he attacks Trump, that he will royal the waters an raise the mud and the dust and the water in the south, which is the source of his campaign hope. So fear and incredulity explains this.

MICHAEL NEEDHAM, CEO, HERITAGE ACTION FOR AMERICA: I think there’s a lot of truth there. I think, in fairness, Ted Cruz has been going after Trump for about the last two months. He's been doing it on policy. The club for growth in September actually ran some ads in Iowa on eminent domain. I think sad thing, it probably says more about the country and media, that it’s not until you're starting to criticize the size of somebody's ears or their spray-on-tan that they kind of count as insults and it gets the type of attention. It's a lot about what they say --

WALLACE:  I mean -- I mean in fairness, the eminent domain --

NEEDHAM: Ted Cruz has been there for --

WALLACE:  The eminent domain and that, Lord knows I interviewed him several times on that. Other people here did. That got plenty of attention. What I guess I’m talking about is, obviously, he’s got a record in business, illegal immigrants, tax returns, Trump University. Why wasn't ever that brought up?

NEEDHAM: Yes, I think that a lot of what’s getting attention right now is -- is that the reason 65 percent of the -- of Republican voters are supporting people like Trump or Ted Cruz is they feel totally ignored by Washington, D.C. And it’s much more a cultural play. They understand that the elites in the (INAUDIBLE) corridor of Washington and New York look down their nose at the middle of America. That they think that middle Americans cling to their guns and religion. And I think they're looking at Trump and the assertiveness with which he's fighting the Washington establishment. The same thing for Ted Cruz. And they find an identity on that. And so maybe that’s not why imminent domain. But I just think that if we’re going to be fair, the Club for Growth was out there last fall attacking Donald Trump. Ted Cruz has been doing it for two months. This is much more a who understands that people out there are hurting, that this is a tough time. Life -- life is tough. It's getting tougher. And who understand that the elites in Washington, D.C., are looking down their nose at us.

WALLACE: Whoever you like in the Republican race, the debate this past week was, well, I’d called it, an embarrassment for the Republican Party. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: His book.

RUBIO: Yes, and your reality TV show, not in politics --

TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE), you’re doing a great job. Thank you -- thank you for the book.

CRUZ: Donald --

TRUMP: Thank you for the book.

Go ahead.

CRUZ: Donald -- Donald, you can get back on your (INAUDIBLE) now.

TRUMP: We’re having a lot of fun up here tonight, I have to tell you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  And a number of our viewers agreed. Lee Burnham posted this on Facebook. "It has turned into a circus. I fear for our country. Where is some principled, mature, and reasoned leadership?"

Susan, how do you answer Lee and will all of this, the quote so-called circus, is that going to hurt Republicans in the fall?

SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY: I think it will. You know, I think the evidence is, is that taking sort of -- being a bully and playground kind of taunts has not hurt Donald Trump up until now. I think it may hurt Marco Rubio, for instance, whose persona has been a much more positive one than he's taken in the last couple days.

But, yes, I think when you get to a general election and you’re going after not angry Republican based voters but going after voters in the middle, that it -- this kind of thing does not resonate as -- as presidential, as trustworthy as somebody you're going to -- you’re going to want to put in the White House to deal with all the issues that a president ends up dealing with.

WALLACE:  How strong do you think Trump's position is going into Super Tuesday? Three wins in a row, leading in the polls in nine of the 11 states that are up and could he effectively, not numerically but effectively wrap this up on Super Tuesday?

PAGE: I -- I think he could if he -- if he performs as strongly as he -- as we think he might. Say he wins every place except Texas. Under -- on what basis do you even get to a contested convention? And if he -- if he comes in with -- if he continues to win fair and square, Republican primaries and caucuses in states, you know, he signed that pledge to support the party's nominee. So did everybody else. If he wins the nomination that way, it seems to me he's going to be the nominee.

WALLACE:  Juan, let's turn to the Democrats. We all expected Clinton to clobber Bernie Sanders in South Carolina. I don't know that we expected 75/25. How does this set her up for Super Tuesday?

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it was a -- a domineering performance in South Carolina, especially among African-American voters and specifically among African-American women. Just overwhelming. She did better than Barack Obama. That’s how good it was.

So, looking forward, Sanders is talking about performance in places like Minnesota, Wisconsin, the upper Midwest, and maybe even Oklahoma. But if you look at the actual numbers, Chris, not only is she leading, she is leading -- she is leading right now in the polls in Oklahoma, Tennessee, Georgia, Minnesota and Colorado are caucus states, so the polling can be kind of tricky.

But Sanders looks like he's ahead in his home state of Vermont, maybe Massachusetts. That's about it. And if you look at the delegate count that we heard Ed Henry talking about earlier, she is about a quarter of the way to the delegate total at this point. It's unbelievable. She really is, it seems to me, on a glide path to the nomination.

WALLACE:  George, pick up on that, because the Sanders camp is almost conceding that in most of the southern states with big, oftentimes majorities, if not a very big minority of African-Americans voting, that she's going to win. But they're saying in places like Vermont and Minnesota and Massachusetts and Colorado, that those four states, that they could win on Super Tuesday. Does that matter?

WILL: No. It turns out the faculty clubs and student safe spaces of American campuses are just not big enough to nominate a president. The Democratic Party’s base consists of minorities and public employees, particularly teachers and (INAUDIBLE) and all the rest. They are really serious about keeping control of the government because their livelihood depends on the government. It is a coalition of the dependent. And, in fact, they do not take flings with people like Bernie Sanders. If he could campaign from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Madison, Wisconsin, to Boulder, Colorado, to Palo Alto, he'd win, but there’s a bigger America out there.

WALLACE:  Susan.

PAGE: I think -- I think Hillary Clinton finds herself in the -- in the comfortable position that Barack Obama did eight years ago. Barack Obama won South Carolina in a landslide. Hillary Clinton never caught up. The delegate leads kept building and building.

WALLACE:  Well, she won more than that.

PAGE: She kept --

WALLACE:  She -- she won a string of states in February, like ten or 11 in a row.

PAGE: She won states and -- and she stayed in the race until the primaries were over in June.

WALLACE:  Right.

PAGE: But she never caught up. His lead kept getting bigger. And if you look at the math ahead, that looks like that's what’s going to happen in this race.

WILLIAMS: So the question is, her one vulnerability would be that she is seen by the left, by the academics and the left wing, especially left wing blacks it turns out, as far too centrist. And having said things like, oh, some of these black kids are super predators and the crime bill back in the ‘90s, they’re still critics of hers. But -- so Senator Warren, you know, hasn't -- Senator Merkley, they haven’t endorsed her. The far left has yet to embrace her. That’s the only vulnerability if you're Bernie Sanders that you can see.

WALLACE: But -- real quickly, less than a minute left, Michael, there’s another vulnerability, and that is honesty and trustworthiness. Sanders started going after Clinton this week about the -- the huge speeches to Wall Street banks, refusing to turn over the transcripts. The New York Times called her out on that. Does that gain any traction?

NEEDHAM: Well, I think it may gain traction as a process story. I don't think it will substantively because if you assume the worst about Hillary Clinton in those speeches, you would assume she sounded like a managing director at Goldman Sachs and she’s on the take. If they come out, you'll find that she sounds like a managing director of Goldman Sachs and she’s on the take. These people are in politics in order to get themselves and their friends rich.

WALLACE:  All right, strong letter to follow, I’m sure, if you didn’t like her speeches.

Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.

We want to keep you up to date on our continuing effort to get Hillary Clinton to answer questions for the millions of you who watch this program. You may remember last week we said we’d reached out to two Clinton campaign officials who didn't even answer us. Well, on Monday, both of them did return our e-mails and discussed wanting to range an interview with Clinton in March. We'll let you know how that goes.

Up next, a final word.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE:  Well, that's it for a packed show. We wanted to run an on the trail piece as things get personal between Trump, Rubio and Cruz. You can watch what is now a web exclusive at foxnewssunday.com.

Now these program notes. Be sure to tune to Fox News Channel Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. Eastern for full coverage of Super Tuesday.

And tomorrow night on "Special Report," Bret Baier sits down with Attorney General Loretta Lynch for her first appearance on Fox News.

And that's it for today. Have a great week. And we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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