This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," March 4, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MEGYN KELLY, HOST, "THE KELLY FILE": Breaking tonight. High stakes in the 2016 race for two White House, as the candidates prepare for a marathon of campaign events over the next 96 hours, with hundreds of delegates and potentially the future of the Republican Party on the line.
Welcome to "The Kelly File," everyone. I'm Megyn. Back in New York, after last night's big debate in Detroit where the folks could not have been more welcoming. With just four Republicans left in the fight for the GOP nomination, Donald Trump is looking to extend his winning streak, while the rest of the field looks to derail him. The first big test comes less than 12 hours from now when polls open in Louisiana's primary. Three other states, Kansas, Kentucky, and Maine, will also hold caucuses tomorrow. In all, 155 delegates are at stake. That's a lot given how many have already been allotted.
Meantime, Trump is making headlines for two other reasons tonight. First, for changing his stance when it comes to torture. Second, for deciding to cancel a scheduled appearance at the nation's largest annual gathering of conservative activists, CPAC in a move that surprise some supporters.
In moments, we will talk about that CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp. Chris Stirewalt and AB Stoddard are also here on what is at stake on tomorrow's primaries and caucuses. Tonight, however, we begin with our Chief Political Correspondent Campaign Carl Cameron who is reporting from Detroit. Carl.
CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Megyn. No rest for the weary, even in spite of last night's brawl, the candidates are fanned that all over the country because it's going to be a busy four days in terms of the race for more convention delegates. Nine states will be voting, and there's a total of 328 delegates up for grabs between tomorrow and straight through Tuesday night. Tomorrow, voting will be the Louisiana primary, and there will be caucuses in Kansas, as well as in Kentucky, and in Maine. And Ted Cruz is in Maine today and Marco Rubio was in Kansas.
On Sunday, Puerto Rico holds its contest and Marco Rubio plans to go down to the territory to do some campaigning at the last minute. And then come Tuesday, Hawaii, Mississippi, Idaho and Michigan. And Michigan is the major prize, it's got 59 delegates. And of course, it is a major industrial swing state. John Kasich is looking to do particularly well here, because he's sort of looking at it as a steppingstone to Ohio, his home state. A must-win and winner take all that takes place on the 15th, a week from Tuesday.
And both he and Marco Rubio have been competing very aggressively for Michigan. But so is Donald Trump. And Trump leads in most of the polls in these nine states and is likely to come out with the majority of the delegates. And once again, the question will be, how close will Cruz and Rubio come both to one another and to stopping Trump? Despite all the efforts to stop Trump, the never Trump movement, there was that pledge last night in the debate in which they said that they would support the front-runner even if it's Trump and Trump said he would not run a third party candidate if it is in him -- Megyn.
KELLY: Carl, thank you. Joining me now Chris Stirewalt, our Fox News digital politics editor. And A.B. Stoddard, associate editor for The Hill. Great to see you both.
All right, Stirewalt. So, you know, we've been so focused on this big contest, Super Tuesday, Super Tuesday II, even Michigan. What's happening tomorrow, that's a lot of delegates? Trump has got about 300. Cruz has got in the 200s. Rubio has got around 100. Now you're talking 155 delegates. This could have a real impact.
CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS DIGITAL POLITICS EDITOR: Well, not only does it have an impact in terms of what is promising to be a long, grinding grind to get to the requisite number, to get a majority of delegates to win outright for Donald Trump or conversely for the rest of them to try to stop him, it really is a numbers game. But it's also a time of testing, the enormous conflagration of a trash pile that we saw on the stage from the Republican candidates in the face of some very expert questioning from some people is a demonstration. The party is pulling its hair out and freaking out. Is it changing? Are Republicans changing their mind? Are things going to be different? Is Donald Trump in trouble? Are the rest of them going to fall away? We have no idea. And this is our first test after that enormous debate to see where things are going.
KELLY: Especially because these states are closed, right? They're closed primaries and caucuses. So, it's only going to be Republicans voting.
STIREWALT: That's right. And Donald Trump will not be able to bring in his army of Democrats and Independents who we have seen coming in to the early contest.
KELLY: But he's also been winning in these states with conservatives,
STIREWALT: This is the thing, this is the catch 22 for Trump. You want to go to CPAC, especially when you're under fire about foreign guest worker visas and other things and conservatives have a beef with him, because he really is running more of a populist campaign, eccentric populist campaign than he is as a conservative. So you skip out on the big conservative gathering. You miss those folks, but he needs to be on the ground. He needs to be in Kansas. Because he could lose out there. He needs to be on the ground in Michigan, because he could lose there, too.
STIREWALT: Kentucky is challenging, too. So he needs to be out there dealing with those voters. And if that means snubbing these conservatives, so be it.
KELLY: So be it. A.B., it was remarkable to see Trump's reversals today, because he does not, you know, he's not a big fan of admitting when he's wrong. But he did it on two things today. He reversed himself on two things that he positioned he had taken just last night's debate.
A.B. STODDARD, THE HILL ASSOCIATE EDITOR: It's really remarkable. First of all, great questions last night. It was a great debate in terms of what was asked of the candidates. But imagine that he reverses on two things. I mean, fewer than 24 hours later? Especially things that he's dug in on, like generals will just listen to my orders even if, you know, it defies American law. And this is a really interesting moment in the contests where you're going to look at people, obviously his supporters who decided a long time ago in Kentucky, in Maine, in Idaho, Puerto Rico, they are not swayed if Donald Trump has a bad debate night.
I've watched these focus groups. They are never swayed if he flips on positions. But there are people that break late, and they've been deciding against Trump, largely for Rubio and for Cruz. Sometimes for Kasich. And so Donald Trump is going to be watching those margins tomorrow night to see if his debates and his, you know, switch positions on H-1B visas and on torture, on targeting the families of terrorists. All these issues are going to have an effect on those numbers. He wants wide margins. He doesn't want tight contests.
And of course, Rubio will be looking to survive in places like Idaho, Puerto Rico and Kansas. Cruz will be doing well in caucuses where he's very well-organized, places like Kansas sit border Oklahoma where he won. So, Donald Trump got a little nervous. And I think Chris is right. That's why he blew off CPAC at the last minute, because he hasn't spent any time in Kansas. And it was time to do it the day before the voting started.
KELLY: Uh-hm. Great to see you both.
STODDARD: Thank you.
STIREWALT: You bet.
KELLY: So there were these two reversals which we'll get into. But basically on Trump's website, he had spoken out against these foreign worker visas, this visas for highly skilled foreign workers coming in, taking American jobs. So that's why he said no. Then at a prior debate, he said, actually, I'm in favor of it, I think we should get more of these talented people in even if they're foreigners. And then last night, he stood by that position, bringing more workers in. And then today he went back to what the website says. And we'll get into what he says on torture in just a bit with a military panel.
So the Republican frontrunner Donald Trump had a 7:00 p.m. rally in Louisiana. He's now scheduled to be on his way to Kansas tonight ahead of that state's primary. He wants to win there, but Trump was originally supposed to travel to the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC as it's known to give a big speech at the event tomorrow morning. His team today announced, quote, "The Donald J. Trump for President Campaign has just announced it will be in Wichita, Kansas for a major rally. Because of this, he will not be able to speak at CPAC, as he has done for many consecutive years."
Trump's 11th hour decision appear to take a number of people by surprise and we have the group's chairman with us tonight. Matt Schlapp. Matt, good to see you. So, what is your reaction to Mr. Trump not coming?
MATT SCHLAPP, CHAIRMAN, CPAC: Look, we're incredibly disappointed. I think it's a big political mistake. If you come from a state, if you don't come from Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina or one of these early states and you're filling this room as it's been filled for the last two years, two days and it will be filled tomorrow with conservative activists from all over the country, there's an expectation that if you want to have the Reagan mantle, if you want to call yourself a conservative candidate, you'll be here. I don't think he skipped to CPAC because he's worried about these states, although it sounds like, of course, he should be worried about every state going forward. I think he skipped CPAC because he wanted to dictate to us what the rules would be for his appearance. And we decided that would not be appropriate, that we should treat every candidate and every campaign fairly and the same. And that's what we have decided to do.
KELLY: How so? How did he try to do that?
SCHLAPP: You know, I think they figured that since they're the leading candidate, they should be able to come and speak for as long as they want to speak, but not have to answer questions. And Megyn, one of the things that we changed about CPAC, is that if you're going to come to conservatives and give them your pitch on why you should lead them, you also need to take their questions. And they didn't want to do that. And so we decided that we would not change our rules for them, even though he's the front-runner. I think it's a big mistake for him not be here. I think it was a political whiff.
KELLY: OK. But in his defense, he apparently gave an interview last night to Sean Hannity, and Hannity is at CPAC as he is every year.
SCHLAPP: He sure is. Right.
KELLY: And there was a negative crowd reaction when Trump popped up. Let's just watch it. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: And joining us now with reaction, 2016 Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is with us. Mr. Trump, good to see you. How are you?
(CROWD CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Sean. I'm great. Thank you. Thank you.
HANNITY: All right. We got half the crowd with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: So, you could see, I mean, does he have a right to pause about going into that environment where at least from that clip, it might not have been that welcoming.
SCHLAPP: No. Sorry, Jeb Bush came here last year. He did it under tough circumstances. John Kasich came here. Not everybody's favorite on the right. He got a standing ovation. Part of politics Megyn is coming and showing respect. And if a candidate wants to be the conservative candidate, they have to come to CPAC. It's the largest convention for conservatism of the year. And to skip out of it, if you're right or other people are right, he skip out of it because he got a few hecklers or a few boos --
KELLY: Well, not so much the boos. Not so much. But just, is this worth my time? I want to win Kansas. I can have a rally with thousands of people there. He's given, what, $150,000 to CPAC, $100,000 I think last year, he's giving money to the cause. So, his calculation is I don't have to win this state.
SCHLAPP: Look, this has nothing to do with money. We didn't approach any presidential candidates to contribute to CPAC, because we wanted to be fair with all the candidates. We haven't chosen sides. But the fact is it's this, it is a big mistake not to be here. Ronald Reagan came here 13 times. Ronald Reagan started his national career at CPAC. Ronald Reagan gave his first address after becoming the president at CPAC. Every person who wants to claim that mantle should be here. And there's no excuse not to.
KELLY: Matt, it's great to see you. Thanks for being here.
SCHLAPP: Thanks, Megyn.
KELLY: We'll be watching.
Well, Donald Trump also did some damage control today after last night he told the country this is one of the flips that we were talking about, that our military would do what he told them to do as commander-in-chief, even if that command violated the law and the constitution. That caused quite a stir and Mr. Trump reversed himself on that today. It had been a position he had taken for months in his campaign, so the reversal made a lot of news.
Coming up, a combat that Pete Hegseth and Carl Higbie are there on that.
Plus, after john Kasich got high marks from some debate watchers last night, we sent him into a one on one with our Frank Luntz Focus Group. We will show you what we learned from that matchup just ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KASICH: See, it's not worth winning if you can't deliver on what you're saying. And it's not worth winning if all you want to do is spew red meat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They then came to me, what do you think of water boarding? I said it's fine. And if we want to go stronger, I would go stronger, too. Because frankly, that's the way I feel.
Can you imagine, can you imagine, these people, these animals over in the Middle East, that chop off heads sitting around talking and seeing that we're having a hard problem with waterboarding? We should go for waterboarding and we should go tougher than waterboarding.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS HOST: But targeting terrorist families?
TRUMP: I'm a leader. I've always been a leader. I've never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they're going to do it. That's what leadership is all about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: That was Donald Trump last night insisting that if he becomes president and commander-in-chief and orders our military to waterboard terrorists or kill their families, they will do it, even though to do so would be illegal. Then today we started to see serious pushback from some members of both the intelligence and military communities. And Mr. Trump reversed himself on a long-held position. In moments, we'll hear from combat veterans Pete Hegseth and Carl Higbie on this issue. But first Trace Gallagher reports on what Trump's team is saying now. Trace?
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: And Megyn, since at least early December, Donald Trump has said when it comes to terrorist suspects he would do, quote, "a hell of a lot more than waterboarding," telling FOX News that authorizing the military to kill family members of terrorists was a necessary deterrent and telling ABC News that perhaps he would also chop off heads. Despite being reminded that his orders could result in war crimes charges against military members, their superiors and the U.S. government, Trump has maintained his position. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden told Bill Maher the military would simply refuse Trump's order. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER CIA AND NSA INSPECTOR: You cannot -- you are not committed, you are not required, in fact you're required not to follow an unlawful order. That would be in violation of all the international laws of armed conflict.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: Experts say, the I was only following orders defense has been rejected since Nuremberg. But during last night's debate, Donald Trump's indicated the military would do as he tells them. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They won't refuse. They're not going to refuse me. Believe me. If I say do it, they'll going to do it. That's what leadership is all about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: Trump has insisted for months he won't back down. Now he's backing down, saying in part, quoting here, "I will not order a military officer to disobey the law. It is clear that as president, I would be bound by laws just like all Americans and I will met those responsibilities." The ranking Democrat on the House Intel Committee Adam Schiff now wants Trump to disavow torture all together -- Megyn.
KELLY: Trace, thanks.
Joining me now Pete Hegseth, an Afghanistan and Iraq war veteran, also a Fox News contributor. And Carl Higbie, a former navy S.E.A.L. Good to see you both.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
KELLY: And so, why, Pete, do you think we saw the reversal today, even though Mr. Trump's held this position for months now?
PETE HEGSETH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I'm glad he reversed it, but it's typical Trump. All bluster, very little substance. He talks a tough game, but then when pressed on it, he's an armchair tough guy. I hate to say it. But this is a guy who said that John McCain is not a war hero, yet he sought his own five military deferments. Because he says big blustery things that people want to hear after seven years of mom jeans from Barack Obama who refuses to fight the enemy and frankly has restrictive rules of engagement that hurt our men and women on the battlefield.
But he goes way too far and then when the military says we won't follow illegal orders, like torture or killing families, which is not loosening the rules of engagement, he suddenly realizes wait, I might actually be commander-in-chief. And the problem here is, is that voters don't know whether you get the bluster Trump, which is the armchair tough guy, or you get the one who walks it back on a statement now and says, no, no, no, I'll follow the wall.
KELLY: You know, General Michael Hayden, who ran the NSA and the CIA came out and said, this is a dangerous position. He's not a Trump supporter. He said this is dangerous. And, you know, for him to have been hold this position for months that he's going to command our troops as commander-in-chief to go out there and violate the law is just unacceptable. Your thoughts?
Well, I think Trump made it very clear that he wasn't going to violate the law. And I think as he understands --
KELLY: No. But the point is, up until last night -- last night on that debate stage he said he was.
Right. And you're talking about what's dangerous -- what's dangerous is fighting a war with our hands tied behind our backs where our enemy can chop off your head, send it home in a box, but our troops on the ground can fight with their hands tied behind their back. I mean, what's dangerous right now is the fact that we're fighting an enemy with diplomatic principles that just aren't conducive to winning a war. That is what's dangerous.
KELLY: You know, the critics say, OK, so under Barack Obama we're over here, you know, the rules of engagements is stifling and the troops can't -- they have to fight with one hand tied behind their back, is the answer really to go over here? You know, completely the opposite way, past the point where we're obeying the laws but we're fighting aggressively, Carl?
CARL HIGBIE, TRUMP SUPPORTER: But what we need is a leader like Donald Trump to change the laws and I think that's what he is coming around here right now --
KELLY: We can't change the Geneva Convention. Donald Trump is not going to be changing the Geneva Convention.
HIGBIE: I think a true leader can definitely lobby for it. And I think he's going to lobby on behalf --
HIGBIE: Megyn, our troops are coming home in body bags right now.
KELLY: Don't talk nonsense. Let's keep it real. Let's keep it in a real debate. And we can defend Donald Trump's, you know, pro-military positions. But you can't defend -- Pete, you tell me, is there any chance in -- on God's green earth of Trump getting in there and changing the Geneva Convention?
HIGBIE: No. But he can get lawyers out of the way. But I'll tell you, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and others have said, they'll get rid of the lawyers, too. Here's the problem with Trump, he says, go ahead and kill the families. Go ahead and torture. Go ahead and go further than waterboarding. What happens when people follow those orders or don't follow them? It's not clear that Donald Trump will have their back. Donald Trump is oftentimes about Donald Trump. And so if you're not changing the law and you're just saying it, you create even more ambiguity.
KELLY: Well, even if he had their back, they would be in trouble. I mean, you tell me, I had a dad stop me in an airport this morning Carl, and say, my son is going to West Point next year, he's 17-years-old. And they asked him during the interview if you're given an order you know to be illegal, do you follow it. And he said even my 17-year-old knew the answer had to be, no, I will not, because your duty is to the country and to the constitution and to uphold the law even if you're given an illegal order. And his point to me was, how can my 17-year-old know that and the man who wants to be commander-in-chief not?
HIGBIE: So, what I think -- what I think Trump is meaning by this, is he's not going to commit to a foreign war -- you've heard her talking out about Iraq. He's not going to commit to a foreign war unless we have the ability to go in there and actually fight to sort of win. Because if you're unwilling to be as ruthless as your enemy, you've already lost.
KELLY: What about American ideals? I mean, we don't chop off the heads of our enemy. We don't murder their families. I mean, what the other side is saying, Pete is, we don't sacrifice who we are as a country just because we are at war as ugly as war is.
HEGSETH: You don't have to sacrifice who you are in order to prosecute a war ruthlessly. This is where Carl is right. We have tied our hands. We aren't willing to viciously eliminate the enemy. And Carl is one of those brave warriors who has done that and frankly face criticism for it. We need a commander-in-chief that will back them up. But that you can go too far with that and put your warriors in a place where they're compromising their own principles which has never what America has been about. So you can go after them viciously attack them and find them where they are, and do what we need to do to defeat our enemies. What Donald Trump is doing here, though, creates more complications I think on the back end for a lot of our folks.
KELLY: Just to be clear again, it was in Trace's report, but Trump's statement today is that he does understand the U.S. is bound by laws and treaties, he won't order the military or other officials to violate the laws. He will not order a military officer to disobey the law. Great to see you, guys, both.
HEGSETH: Thanks, Megyn.
HIGBIE: Thank you, Megyn.
KELLY: Well, just ahead. New behind the scenes video from the 2016 presidential race when Mark McKinnon joins us with his insiders take on what his cameras captured on the campaign trail this past week.
Plus, hot off strong reviews from the FOX debate. Ohio Governor and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich went one on one with the Michigan voters and we were there. We'll show you how he did, right after this break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER: Governor, how are you? How many people walked in here supporting john Kasich, raise your hands. Three people. How many of you thought he won the debate?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KASICH: I can get the crossover votes. You see, because throughout this campaign, I've talked about issues. I have never tried to go and get into these kind of scrums that we're seeing here on the stage, and people say everywhere I go, you seem to be the adult on the stage.
In terms of --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: That was Governor John Kasich last night at the Fox News GOP debate, painting himself as the only adult on the stage as you heard. We wanted to know if the voters agreed with that, so we invited the Governor to join pollster Frank Luntz and his Focus Group right after the debate to answer their questions. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUNTZ: Ladies and gentlemen, I want to introduce the man who you said won the debate tonight, Governor John Kasich of the state of Ohio.
Governor, how are you? How many people walked in here supporting John Kasich, raise your hands. Three people. How many of you thought he won the debate. Overwhelming. Governor, what do you want them to know about your campaign or what you're about that you weren't able to tell them this evening? Go ahead.
GOV. JOHN KASICH, R-OHIO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I can fix the problems in Washington, you know, balancing budgets, cutting taxes, fixing the regulations, getting the country straightened up. But what I really wanted you to know is I want to shift a lot of power back to where you live, and you know what I want you to do? I want you to revive the spirit of our country by fixing things where you live. Don't wait for somebody to come in and solve all the problems. We got to fix our schools, keep our kids away from drugs, and I'll tell you another thing. It's like that lady who was married for 52 years. Her husband died. Nobody takes her to dinner. Call her up. She'll get her hair done on Thursday and when you pick her up on Saturday, she'll have a dress on she hasn't worn in six months. I mean, we need to pull ourselves together. Our families, our communities, our neighborhoods. I'll take care of Washington. You just take care of this. OK. If I run into trouble, I'll give you a call.
LUNTZ: What do you think? Is that what you're looking for?
So here's your opportunity, what questions do you have? Go ahead in the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think a lot of us really fell in love with you, but we're being told that you don't have a chance. So, how do we get you a chance?
KASICH: Well, I mean, the key is that, we have to have a decent showing here. And then when we win Ohio, it's going to be a whole new ball game. And it's sort of funny, I need to get a little springboard out of Michigan into Ohio. And if I can win in Ohio, then we're going to -- I'm going to emerge even more.
See, the problem has been, I'm not willing to get down in the gutter. And so I don't say incendiary things to get elected, okay.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reaction?
KASICH: No, I won't do it, but you see, you know what the problem is, if you don't say incendiary things then you don't get on television. So here's what's really amazing. You think about this. I was one percent in the polls all the way to New Hampshire. People had counted me out. They said I couldn't win. We raised money. We spent it so carefully. I finished second in New Hampshire.
That's the first time you saw me. Then I go down south and they ignore me again. They ignored me the whole time, because I'm not saying incendiary things and fighting with somebody. And you know what, I'm not going to do that. If I lose that's life, okay. Sometimes you get a vote not just with your head but with your heart.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You walked in her supporting who? What special about him to you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have a plan, you have experience. I lived in Ohio. I love Ohio. It's a great place second to Michigan. And you know, you've done a lot there. I was around in voting when you were in Congress and when you worked with Newt Gingrich and when you knew Ronald Reagan, which was the first president I ever voted for. So, I mean, you speak my language and you did those things that I thought they were great and I think that's exactly what our country needs now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a bias which is I always go to the youngest person in the room. You're 18 years old so this is going to be your first presidential vote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would you ask Governor Kasich?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you plan to motivate the young people to get out in numbers like you see other candidates do?
KASICH: Well because, see, my message to you is you're made special. There's nobody ever been -- nobody has ever been born or has ever been like you and no one who will come after you will be like you. So the question is, what do you want to do to change the world? Because that's what you have to believe in and look, what I want to do is make sure you have the power, you can get a job.
I want to make sure that we get the job growth, the wages up and all that, and we can do that because I know how to get it done working with democrats and the fact is, you have to be Americans before we're -- a member of a political party -- but for you, if I can convince you that you can change the world by living a life bigger than yourself, you'll get fired up and excite, don't you think.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, the problem is when you mentioned the word Democrat, you know that's red meat for so many republicans. It doesn't bother you?
KASICH: Well, it doesn't bother me because we have to get these things done. We're not going to fix social security with just one party. We're not a parliamentary system. I mean, we don't have to agree with people that don't think the way we do all the time but once in a while if they want to help us to build a house, we invite them over.
And look, see, it's not worth winning if you can't deliver on what you're saying. And it's not worth winning if all you want to do is stew red meat. Look, we're down to four and I'm standing. I'm the last governor, okay. I mean, it's been fine and I get a win by raising the bar not by lowering it and I want to tell you, if you want to beat Donald Trump, you're not going to beat him by insulting him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys agree?
KASICH: The way you beat him is have the bigger vision. Have a bigger vision.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: GO ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, my question is you mentioned earlier that you didn't want to have the incendiary thing, you didn't want to get down the gutter but my concern is that when it comes to general election, if you are that candidate that you will not go negative, and I feel that prior to elections, they did -- there weren't negative enough against ...
KASICH: I want to answer real quick, first of all, I beat an incumbent in my very first election. I was the only republican to defeat an incumbent congressman in 1982 running in Reagan. I was the first one to defeat an incumbent governor in Ohio in 36 years. I have never run statewide. For somebody who has never run statewide, it was 96 years. And for my re-election, I won 86 out of 88 counties, 60 percent of women, 51 percent of union households and 26 percent of African-Americans.
Don't you think that I'm not tough. I mean I come from the keys rocks. If you brought your football team in and you beat us, we'd break every window on your bus. So don't worry about, but you know the other thing is, I'm beating Hillary by 11 points. You know why? Because those democrats who Reagan got like me. And the independents like me. You know why? Because I'm not showing my teeth all the time.
I'm trying to bring people together and there is something deep inside of us that would like to see some solutions today in this country. So don't worry about my toughness. You don't want to get in a fight with me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, Governor John Kasich.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: Well, we've got some exclusive new behind the scenes footage from a Showtime documentary series on the 2016 presidential race. And wait until you see what some of the cameras captured that you did not see from the candidates on screen, when Marc McKinnon joins us next.
Plus, there were new shots fired today in the fierce battle between Donald Trump and Governor Mitt Romney. Former top Romney adviser Stu Stevens is here on that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I backed Mitt Romney. I backed him. You can see how loyal he is. He was begging for my endorsement. I could have said Mitt, drop to your knees. He would have dropped to his knees. He was begging.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump, as you may have heard, the 2012 republican nominee for president Mitt Romney had some things to say about you. How do you answer Mitt Romney, sir?
TRUMP: Well look, he was a failed candidate. He should have beaten President Obama very easy. He failed miserably and it was an embarrassment to everybody, including the Republican Party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: That was republican front-runner Donald Trump in the Fox News Debate last night, responding to harsh criticism yesterday from 2012 republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Hours earlier in the day yesterday, Romney labeled Trump a phony and fraud and yesterday Mr. Trump did not just hit back at Mr. Romney, he also went after one of our frequent guests and the man who is here tonight. Governor Romney's top 2012 campaign strategist. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: His campaign guy was terrible, terrible. He had a terrible campaign manager, who is always on television, Stuart Stevens or something. He's always on television knocking everybody. The guy ran one of the worst campaigns in the history of modern politics.
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KELLY: In moments, we'll be joined by Stu Stevens along with Barry Bennett, who is an informal advisor to the Trump campaign. But first, the man under fire from Mr. Trump, Stuart Stevens is the former top campaign strategist for Governor Romney's 2012 presidential campaign and founding partner at Strategic Partners in Media. Sir, great to see you. So, let get --
STUART STEVENS, FORMER CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST FOR MITT ROMNEY: Thank you.
KELLY: -- we'll get to Mr. Trump and Romney and all that in one second. I want to get your reaction to last night's debate first.
STEVENS: Listen, I thought it was a great night for Hillary Clinton and a disaster for republicans. Donald Trump has this unique ability to degrade everything he touches. For the first time, we saw someone out there as a presidential candidate defending his penis and attacking the constitution. That's going to attract voters? I mean, look, on Sunday he had to research the KKK.
On Thursday, he's saying that he will indeed order the United States military to commit war crimes, because they'll do what he says. Now he walks it back. I mean, this is just someone who, every day shows in different ways why he's unfit to be president of the United States. And why he's not a conservative and doesn't believe in the constitution.
KELLY: What did you -- what do you think was the purpose of what Mitt Romney did yesterday?
STEVENS: Oh, I think it's clear. You have to stand up to Donald Trump, and you have to stand up for your principles. If you're just quiet now, when you have someone who is running for president of the United States, who clearly is out there threatening foundations of the country. I mean he's threatened the first amendment. He's threatened to make the United States military commit war crimes, and he just has no sense at all of what it is to be a conservative.
KELLY: Do you -- is this about a Romney run, though? Do you think that Romney getting ready to run?
STEVENS: No, no. I don't think so at all. And I think it's the idea of ...
KELLY: Not even at a contested convention?
STEVENS: I don't think so. This has never made sense to me, the idea that an outsider would come in, in a contested convention. It seems to me most likely, if one person doesn't have the 1237, that two other candidates would join -- who have been out on the race would join together on a second ballot in some sort of alliance, form a ticket, and win. You don't need the supporters of Donald Trump to do that.
You would have to say, I think most likely a Kasich/Rubio ticket or a Cruz/Rubio ticket. I don't see them -- they've been out there now for a year plus running. I don't see that they're going to say, hey look, we've done this but we're going to bring in somebody else who hasn't. I don't think it's plausible.
KELLY: Do you think if Donald Trump secures this nomination, that there will be a third party run, even if that would means giving Hillary Clinton essentially the White House?
STEVENS: I think there'll absolutely be a third party running. I think it's essential that there is a third party run. Senator Sass has been very articulate on this. You have to have a conservative alternative. If Donald Trump is the nominee, there won't be for the first time in our lifetime. And the party has to stand for something other than election or it stands for nothing.
So, I think without a doubt, there will be a strong third party run of a conservative candidate who believes in the constitution, who is not going to have to go out there and walk back things that he said about the first amendment or about the military, and that republicans can be proud of.
KELLY: Stuart, good to see you.
STEVENS: Good to see you.
KELLY: Joining us with more Barry Bennett who was an informal advisor to the Trump campaign, had been with the Carson campaign before. Barry, good to see you. So you -- first of all, do you believe that that's possible, that the republicans or the conservatives as Stuart said would run a third party against Mr. Trump if he gets this nomination?
BARRY BENNETT, INFORMAL ADVISOR TO TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Gosh, I hope not. I mean, I was excited to know that Stuart is a conservative, that's news. That's (inaudible). But I mean, listen, Marco Rubio has to win 66 percent of the delegates as we sit here tonight with the remaining delegates in order to get the nomination. That's not going to happen. And after tomorrow, if the polls stay the way they are, that number is like 73 but Monday it's 79, it's impossible.
KELLY: The experts are saying, the people who we trust are saying the only way those guys really like, they can't win outright. They have to hope for a contested convention.
BENNETT: Yeah, they're going to try to steal it, right. They've got to subvert the will of the people.
KELLY: Well, the rules allow for a contested convention.
BENNETT: Well, perhaps Donald Trump would get 49 instead of 50 and that will give him a chance. I mean, that's absurd. You know, you might as well strap on a vest and go into convention and blow it up. You'll kill the party. You'll kill -- I mean, there would be protests in Cleveland like we wouldn't believe. That's ridiculous. This is really, really stupid advice, whoever gave it to Mitt Romney.
You know, Mitt Romney has never been a conservative leader. I mean, he was a great guy. He ran. It was a bad campaign, bad times, whatever you want to say, but I mean, this is really, really stupid advice.
KELLY: What do you make of all the heat Trump is taking today for his reversals on foreign worker visa and the issue of how he would command our troops?
BENNETT: Well, you know, it seems like on the troop thing, he actually did what he should have done and instead of everyone saying that's good, everyone wants to criticize him no matter what happens. There's always a criticism. But I mean, he's growing as a candidate. He's going to grow as a candidate as we go along. He's much better today than he was six months ago.
But you know, there's been like 73 polls since July 9 or whenever he got in the race and Ben Carson led four of them and Ted Cruz led one them, and he's led every other single poll. It's a little late in February and March to launch this kind of attack.
KELLY: I got to go quickly so I'm going to ask you, he's taking a lot of heat for the comment about his anatomy. Your thoughts on it?
BENNETT: Well, I mean who brought it up, you know? The small hands joke --
KELLY: Well, that's a debate.
BENNETT: That was the intention, right.
KELLY: Rubio brought it up on the campaign trail.
BENNETT: Not unless they're talking about a pedicure, exactly.
BENNETT: This is the problem. We're not talking about issues, right. We're talking about petty attacks. You are not going to get elected. You're not beat Donald Trump ...
KELLY: Well, Donald Trump has made a lot of petty attacks too, you have to admit that.
BENNETT: Oh yeah, I think the debates have been the disaster for the party, I agree with Stuart on that. Too many, we had some tough art (ph) and vicious. We're not talking about anything, but you know, goodness gracious. I don't want to talk of it on film.
KELLY: On twitter, for that moment of the debate, all I saw was, OMG, OMG, OMG. Barry, it's great to see you. Hope to see you again soon.
BENNETT: Thank you.
KELLY: Up next, Mark McKinnen with an exclusive look at what his cameras captured behind the scenes on the 2016 presidential campaign this week. Here he is, next.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rubio really got under Trump's skin the last debate. He tried to do the same thing tonight, not as effectively.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are some surprises for you about just staying on the campaign?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How disingenuous the whole process is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, you know, you know it is and I'm certainly not na<ve in terms of you know, what it is and we've done some pretty big deals all over the place so you know, we get how the world operates. But when I see some of the desperation in the other campaigns and trying to take something and turn it into something it's not and trying, you know -- frankly, sometimes just the outright lies, because it doesn't matter. You know, when you apologize it's like the retraction in a paper, right. Well, the retraction on page 30 two weeks later doesn't mean anything. You sort of make, you know, you get the win then and you move on and everyone forgets.
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KELLY: That was our next guest and Donald Trump Jr. In a new clip from the new documentary series "The Circus." The show goes behind the scenes of the 2016 presidential campaign. In this next clip, they take their cameras into a Trump campaign rally. Watch.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a kind of event that Trump's been doing all campaign and he's got the balls to do it, the mojo to do it, the people to do it. They laughed early on at the big events or they dismiss them is just curiosity but there's not anyone else in this race with the confidence to try to fill a place like this.
TRUMP: Build that wall. We're going to build that wall. Don't worry about it. And who's going to pay for that wall? Who?
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KELLY: Joining us now, Mark McKinnon, co-creator and co-host of the weekly documentary series "The Circus" on Showtime. Also, former chief media adviser to George W. Bush's presidential campaigns. Mark, great to see you.
MARK MCKINNON, CO-CREATOR AND CO-HOST OF THE CIRCUS: Thanks. Good to see you.
KELLY: And you say you cannot understand what's happening with the Donald Trump movement as he calls it without going to one of these rallies.
MCKINNON: I was stunned when I went to a rally. I've been working in politics for 30 years. I've never seen anything close to it. I mean it's just a phenomenon. It's a movement. You see constituencies and people there who are passionate, they're excited and the sorts of people that you don't normally see at political rallies and it's not just angry old people.
There are lots of young people. There's blue collar, hard labor types. You know, a lot of people who are normally democratic constituencies, so, it's from democratic so beware of what you asked for because he's going to build a different kind of coalition if he's the nominee.
KELLY: And Bret Baier did a special where people were getting Donald Trump tattoos. I mean, what other candidate has people get his tattoo in their face often.
MCKINNON: We have that in our last episode, we had a guy with a tattoo on his face.
KELLY: I mean now that is commitment. That is not an unwavering voter.
MCKINNON: And you know, two of the most interesting people that we've talked to during the series are James Sanders and Donald Trump Jr. He was engaging, interesting, articulate and he had just started to be a surrogate for his dad. It was his first and he was really good up there in Elko, Nevada and he was talking their language.
KELLY: All of the kids are great representatives for Donald Trump.
MCKINNON: It says a lot -- if you look at people's kids now, it says something about him.
KELLY: Yeah, I got to go home and work on mine right now. No, they're good, they're good. So far so good. They're very little. What do you make of this of what Stewart Stevens was suggesting that the republicans will likely run a third party candidate if Trump gets the nomination?
MCKINNON: I actually predicted this back in September 9th. I wrote a column for The Daily Beast. I said that the irony would be if you remember back last year, they were forcing Donald Trump to sign a pledge he won't do that. And I said, flash forward, it could be that he gets the nomination. The republicans are put in a position of running their own independent candidate to sort of resurrect the new Republican Party and a message --
KELLY: Do you think he is giving Hillary the White House?
MCKINNON: I think those people think that that's going to happen anyway. So, why not go down with somebody else carrying a message that we believe?
KELLY: They feel like they're going down on principle, like going down fighting. What did you make of the debate last night.
MCKINNON: I got to watch it at CPAC, which was fantastic because it was like watching in a Roman coliseum. There were 3,000 rabid people who would just went crazy and they're yelling and screaming and so, they loved it. They loved it. It was great. And --
KELLY: Do you feel like it moved the needle in any way?
MCKINNON: I think in some ways, I mean, there was a lot of Cruz supporters there. It was a very conservative crowd, but everybody had their own faction. The thing that I felt like, I've talked to people afterwards, they felt like that the case is prosecuted a little further each week with each debate and that there are flesh wounds anyway.
Now, whether or not they're sort of mortal wounds, maybe not but they're starting to build a stronger and stronger case and, you know, but maybe not in time and maybe just make it more vulnerable for the general election.
KELLY: Donald Trump, as you know, has become the front-runner and is running away with this thing by a lot of accounts. He obviously comes under more and more scrutiny and one of the remarkable things has been how people haven't been doing it prior to now, a lot of people. In any event, it's been fascinating. Highly recommend "The Circus" in Showtime. Mark is behind it. He knows, what we're talking about. Great insider's view in the most fascinating election in history. We'll be right back. Thanks Mark.
KELLY: Special event this Monday. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders sit down with our own Bret Baier in a town hall. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders almost never game (ph) to come over here to Fox News so this is big. Monday night, 6:00 p.m. eastern. Thanks for watching, everybody. I'm Megyn Kelly.
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