Election 2016: GOP debate fallout

Chris Wallace breaks down the Republican candidates' debate performances on 'The O'Reilly Factor'


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 4, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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ERIC BOLLING, FOX NEWS CO-HOST OF "THE O'REILLY FACTOR" PROGRAM: Hi, I am Eric Bolling in for Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching the special edition of "The O'Reilly factor." Election 2016 after the debates. We have a huge program for you, so let us get right to it. The Fox Theater in Detroit is still shaking from the brawl that took place there last night.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R-FL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For the last year, Donald Trump has basically mocked everybody with personal attacks.



RUBIO: So, does anyone who has ever deserved to be attacked that way it has been Donald Trump for the way he has treated people in his campaign.




DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look at those hands, are they small hands?


And, he refer to do my hands if they are small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there is no problem. I guarantee you.



SEN. TED CRUZ, (R-TX) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do not think the people of America are interested in a bunch of bickering schoolchildren. It is easy to say, "Make things better. Make things great." You can even print it and put it on a baseball cap.



CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS REPUBLICAN DEBATE MODERATOR: I have a policy question for you, sir.

RUBIO: Yes, let us see if he answers it.

TRUMP: I will, do not worry about it Marco. Do not worry about it.


TRUMP: Do not worry about it little Marco, I will.



CRUZ: Is this the debate you want playing out in the general election?


CRUZ: Breathe, breathe.

TRUMP: Lying ted.

CRUZ: Breathe. You can do it. You can breathe. I know it is hard. I know it is hard but just --

RUBIO: When they are done with the yoga, can I answer a question?

CRUZ: You cannot.





BOLLING: Well, the candidates may have gotten mixed reviews. The Fox News moderators, Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier and Chris Wallace got raves.


WALLACE: You say that Medicare could save $300 billion a year negotiating lower drug prices. But, Medicare total only spends $78 billion a year on drugs. Sir, that is the facts. You are talking about saving more money on Medicare prescription drugs --

TRUMP: I am saying saving through negotiation throughout the economy. You will save $300 billion a year. And, that is a huge --

WALLACE: But, that does not really cut the federal deficit.

TRUMP: Of course it is. We are going to buy things for less money of course it is.

WALLACE: That only money that we buy -- the only drugs that we pay for is through Medicare.

TRUMP: I am not only talking about drugs. I am talking about other things.


BOLLING: Joining me now from Washington Fox News Sunday host and debate moderator Chris Wallace. Now, Chris, first of all, great job last night. Congratulations. You, guys, put up staggering numbers. It was pretty rowdy. Got raucous and at times you must have felt like you were, I do not know, taming lions out there.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS DEBATE MODERATOR: Well, yes or herding cats, one or the other. I got to tell you, it was interesting. Because, you know, we had seen the previous debate on CNN and seen how it had degenerated into a bunch of name-calling. So, Bret, Megyn and I were all determined to try to focus on policy.

And, there was one example, talking about Donald Trump's numbers and trying to fact check them in real-time with graphics about whether his numbers added up or not in terms of what he could say from waste, fraud, and abuse.

But having said that, you know, I said going into the debate, if they want to act like a bunch of damn fools we cannot stop them. And, there were certainly times and you had a bunch of those clips, where they acted like damn fools.

BOLLING: Was the mood different in the arena this time versus last time?

WALLACE: Yes. I got to say something weird is happening in these debates and afterwards the republican officials, including Reince Priebus very upset about it. They say ever since the South Carolina debate that there has been a lot of hecklers, a lot of screaming, they apparently had to eject several dozen people.

They were drunk. They were shouting. And, you know, these tickets are divided amongst the candidates. So, it seems and I do not know who it was that some of the candidates are giving tickets to people to just try to shout out when one of the other candidates is speaking.

You know, look, you want audience participation, audience enthusiasm, but it is getting out of control. And, I will tell you the Republican Party officials are concerned about it, because they think it only adds to the sense that it is gladiators fighting in the coliseum.

BOLLING: So, did they not want that, Chris? I mean the ratings have been phenomenal across the board. You guys crushed it last night as well. But, you do, you got a sense of excitement there. The audience is getting involved. The candidates are going back and forth. You are trying, to like you said, herd the cats but it is very watchable and we are getting a lot out of that.

WALLACE: Well, yes, but so is ultimate fighting championship. You know, mixed Marshall wrestling. And, yes, you get a audience but is it presidential? And, Is it more likely that one of these guys that the general public is going to sit there and elect somebody? It is good T.V., but is it necessarily good for the Republican Party, that is really the kind of conflict that is going on here.

BOLLING: OK. So, tell us about who you thought did really well last night and who you thought did not.

WALLACE: Well, a couple of things and some of this is what I saw on Twitter. And, there were also some things that I picked up that people would not have seen on camera. One of the things off camera, Marco Rubio was sick as a dog.

You could hear it in his voice. But at the end of the debate, he came up and, you know, we all wanted to shake hands with him and he said, "I am not going to do that. I got the flu." And, he finally gave us an elbow bump instead.

And, I think his performance was really hurt because he was under the weather. I thought Trump did very well in the first hour. And, you could see a very conscious effort on his part to try to pivot, to be less bombastic, to be more presidential as he says. His wife Melania is suggesting that he be.

And, you know, he made the point, "I am going to negotiate with congress. I am going to be flexible on some positions including immigration. We have got to be age to make deals and get things done. I am not always going to have the same position."

But, as the debate went on and particularly in the second hour with the constant attacks from Cruz and Rubio, who really did not go after each other. They seemed like they were tag-teaming him. You will could see him kind of getting dragged down into it. And, so, by the end, he was back to little Marco and lying Ted, which I do not think is where he wanted to begin.

BOLLING: Chris, I am going to tell you, one thing I am absolutely looking forward to is "Fox News Sunday." Because I hear you have a couple of special guests, two I would like to really hear from. Who are they?

WALLACE: Yes. Well, at a time when the party seems on the verge of tearing itself apart, we are going to talk to Rush Limbaugh live, a rare television interview. El Rushbo. So, his millions of fans, you can tune in and see him live on Sunday. And, then Mitt Romney, who of course made that such extraordinary speech.

Whether you liked it or you did not like it, to have somebody who was the last nominee of the Republican Party trying to destroy the guy who was the leading candidate right now this time, it will be very interesting. Limbaugh and Romney live on "Fox News Sunday."

BOLLING: A lot will tune in. It sounds great. Chris, thank you very much.

WALLACE: Thank you, Eric.

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