This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," March 15, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we win Ohio and if we win Florida, then everyone agrees, every one of these guys, that it is pretty much over.
GOV. JOHN KASICH, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is no way I would team up with Donald Trump. No way. Forget it. I'm going to be the nominee because we're going to win Ohio.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Quite frankly I think a lot of people are going to be embarrassed tonight and are going to want a refund from the money they spent on these polls because we're going to win Florida.
SEN. TED CRUZ, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are seeing millions of supporters who had been supporting Marco Rubio, who had been supporting John Kasich, who are uniting behind us.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: The sights and sounds from the campaign trail today. Let's bring in our expanded panel: Here in New York, Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume; Steve Hayes, senior writer for The Weekly Standard; Juan Williams, columnist with The Hill, and in Washington, Charles Hurt, political columnist for The Washington Times, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. OK, we have the first wave of exit polls. We've been kind of getting into it. Brit, what do you see?
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: There's nothing in the trends of these exit polls that we see that would lead to us believe that there is going to be some staggering upset tonight. And on the issues there's a lot of consistency across these states of people's feelings on the issues. So we can probably surmise tonight that Donald Trump is going to do well. How well remains to be seen. We can suggest that Ted Cruz has a chance here of a good night, which is what all the polls leading up to tonight have suggested.
John Kasich looks like he may survive the night. It doesn't look as good for Marco Rubio based on what the exit polls are suggesting about the way people feel about the issues.
But we will know, Bret, I think tonight when all is said and done a lot more about this sort of overarching question now of whether Trump can make it to the convention with enough to be nominated on the first ballot or whether he will fall short of that and who then might convention turn to if not he for the nomination. And that of course is a question that people have been asking for a long time. We'll get closer to the answer to that tonight.
BAIER: Steve, if Marco Rubio doesn't win Florida, he is saying today that he is going on no matter what to Utah tomorrow. But something tells me that the path is tough to sell.
STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Yes, I think it would be very tough to sell. If you listen to the things that he said before, he said the nominee of the party will have won Florida. He said a number of things that I think would be thrown back in his face. There is some question as to what happens with his delegates that he's already won if he were to not continue in the race. And depending on how that question is answered might determine whether he suspends or whether he actually gets out.
But I do think to Brit's point whether this is going to the convention or whether Trump gets 1,237, there is some interesting numbers inside of this on the head-to-head races. If you believe that after this we're likely to be looking at effectively a two-man race between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, you look at Missouri. Cruz beats Trump head to head 50-41. North Carolina, Cruz beats Trump 50-43. Ohio, Trump beats Cruz, 46-38. So if you're the Cruz campaign and you want to get this to a two-man race, that's your argument. You say we're beating him in some places head to head.
BAIER: But Charles Krauthammer, if you are the Cruz campaign you also need a Kasich win to stop the momentum of Donald Trump in Ohio.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Absolutely. And I think whether Kasich stays in or not, I think it's not going to affect the Cruz campaign effectively after tonight. It looks as if Trump and Cruz are the two plausible candidates to come out of the convention. Maybe not arrive with a majority. If they have pluralities, it will be large ones. But it would be hard to reach down to a Kasich or a Rubio or anybody outside the party at that point.
So even without a one-on-one, with Kasich, let's say he stays in. Let's say he does well and Rubio doesn't. He will take a few of the delegates away from Trump. In that sense he helps Cruz. To me, of course, the lead indicator here was the result in the North Mariana Islands. I think the way that goes, you really get a sense of --
KRAUTHAMMER: And I asked myself, what's happening in the South Mariana Islands, and do we even own them? I suspect they're probably Japanese.
But that to me is a leading indicator.
BAIER: That's good. Let's play, Juan, this ad that is now running and Donald Trump's response to it. It is an ad by this group, this super PAC that is essentially the never Trump group.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Bimbo," "dog," "pig," real quotes from Donald Trump about women.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Women, you have to treat them like --"
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is how Donald Trump talks about our mothers, our sisters, our daughters.
TRUMP: I have seen it. And it was a Romney deal, who ran one of the worst races in the history of presidential politics. It's a lot of sour grapes. Women, if you look at women's polling, leaving the booths, women, I'm leading by a lot.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BAIER: And if you look at the exit polls, Juan, for example in Florida, North Carolina, not Illinois, but Missouri, he is doing pretty well with women.
JUAN WILLIAMS, THE HILL: He does better with men, but he is still doing sufficiently well with women. It doesn't look like a huge gap. There is a gap but it's not huge in these states at least according to the exit polls that we're seeing so far. This is about a $35 million ad buy, Bret. So a big buy by the anti-Trump forces. Some call them establishment Republican forces.
I think it's clearly aimed at late deciders. The question was if you look at the past few primary caucuses, late deciders were getting split up. Trump had the early vote, especially people who voted absentee. Was that going to make a difference tonight specifically I think in the state of Florida? And what we can see so far from the exit polls is that hasn't played out.
BAIER: Charlie Hurt, I laid out the delegate math. And there is a chance that these other candidates prevent Trump from getting to 1,237, the necessary delegates needed to clinch. It is an uphill battle to get 65 percent of the delegates remaining if he loses Ohio.
CHARLES HURT, WASHINGTON TIMES: But it is easier going forward than it was previously just because of the winner-take-all terms, assuming the big states going forward. But that said, you know, obviously, you know, Marco Rubio can stay in the race if he loses Florida after this if he wants to. There is no path to him getting the 1,237 that he needs. And it would be difficult for Kasich or Cruz. So their only hope obviously is to deny Trump the clean victory there. But then they set off the problem that we've all been talking about for weeks now.
I was really interested in that ad, as well. It's a brutal ad. And it's so effective I couldn't believe the Republicans had actually put it together. But I think that one thing that is important to remember, and Juan noted on this, that Donald Trump is not doing -- he is obviously performing much better among men than he is among women, but his gap with women is smaller than the gap that Hillary has with men. And I think that that's an important thing to probably keep in mind. And this is with this onslaught of negative ads hitting Trump that Hillary isn't having to buffet right now.
BAIER: It's going to be interesting to see as it develops tonight.
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