What Wisconsin loss means for Donald Trump's momentum

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," April 7, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This campaign has won seven out of the last eight caucuses and primaries.


SANDERS: With your help on Saturday, we're going to win here in Wyoming. We've got an excellent chance to win New York and a lot of delegates in that state.

SEN. TED CRUZ, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am more and more convince that had our campaign will earn the 1,237 delegates either before Cleveland or at the convention in Cleveland.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: OK, Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders, big winners in Wisconsin. As you take a look at the GOP side, the results here. When all was said and done, Cruz with 48.2 percent. That's 36 delegates from Wisconsin. Trump pulling six delegates, essentially two congressional delegates. And there you see Kasich.

Trump has been quiet on Twitter and elsewhere, but this is the statement that has been standing all day, put out last night. "Donald J. Trump withstood the onslaught of the establishment yet again. Lying Ted Cruz had the governor of Wisconsin, many conservative talk radio hosts, and the entire party apparatus behind him. Not only was he propelled by the anti- Trump super PACs spending countless millions of dollars on false advertising against Mr. Trump, but he was coordinating with his own super PACs, which is illegal, who totally control.

Ted Cruz is worse than a puppet," it continues. "He is a Trojan horse being used by the party bosses attempting to steal the nomination from Mr. Trump. We have total confidence that Mr. Trump will go on to win New York where he holds a substantial lead in all the polls and beyond. Mr. Trump is the only candidate who can secure the delegates needed to win the Republican nomination and ultimately defeat Hillary Clinton or whomever the Democratic nominee is in order to make America great again."

Ted Cruz responding to that today.


CRUZ: Donald can always be counted on to take high road and to demonstrate class. If he wants to engage in insults, he is welcome to do so. He gets very angry when the voters reject him. He has now lost in four states in a row. He likes to yell and scream and insult and curse, and his statement last night was consistent.


BAIER: OK. Let's bring in the panel, Charles Hurt, political columnist for The Washington Times, David Catanese, senior politics writer for U.S. News and World Report, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.

OK, Charlie, it is rare not to hear from Donald Trump in a day. And he didn't make a speech last night. That statement stands. What do you think the campaign is doing, the candidate is doing ahead of New York?

CHARLES HURT, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: Well, I think that he's probably starting to get the message. I think the campaign is starting to get the message that they had a couple of bad weeks. A lot of it is owing to his unforced errors on his own part where he's stepped in it. But I do think that the campaign is starting to realize, some people around him are starting to realize. He loves to not be a politician and he loves to rail against politicians. But he is running to be a politician. And at some point you have to start running a campaign that acts a little bit like that and takes some of these issues more seriously and basically acts more like a politician.

And I think if we to do that, and he had a great opportunity back when he gave that AIPAC speech. It was a very thoughtful speech. It was a smart speech. And I thought quite frankly that was going to be the turning point and we would end, and that was going to be the end of some of the nonsense. But then he fell back into it. But hopefully they're going to get back to that and try to be a little bit more serious.

BAIER: Let's just look quickly at the exit polls before we move on from Wisconsin and the GOP side. The question is, if this person was elected president, how do you feel? Cruz first -- excited, optimistic, 60 percent, concerned, scared, 37 percent. Trump, excited, optimistic, 41, and there you see concerned, scared, 58. Kasich, 48, 47, essentially split. Dave, what did you read from last night?

DAVID CATANESE, U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: It was Ted Cruz's best night since Iowa. You've got to give that to him. But I did see an exit poll that said just as many Republicans were ready to bolt the party if Cruz was the nominee as if Trump was the nominee. So this idea that Cruz is more electable than Trump that a lot of Republicans are floating, I'm not sure that holds.

On the other hand, I don't know if Donald Trump has gotten the message. The statement that was put out by the campaign was just full of insults, a lot of unsubstantial insults. He couldn't lose. And he can't lose graciously. But that being said, in two weeks everything could film given that New York is next. This is his home base. He is probably going to win. He is probably going to win big. And we could be here two weeks from tonight talking about a completely flipped narrative again with Donald Trump in the driver's seat.

BAIER: As we look at the Real Clear Politics average in New York on the GOP side, you can see that Donald Trump has a huge lead currently where it stands now, realizing that some of these polls were obviously done before the Wisconsin result. But it is a big lead. If Trump gets over 50 percent in New York, he gets all of the 95 delegates in that state, Charles.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I think the Trump people have to be encouraged by one fact. Yes, they lost. They lost big. But considering what he was up against, a popular governor, the state apparatus, talk radio local that was anti-Trump, the fact that millions of dollars were dropped by PACs, and the fact that he had these awful two weeks, and still ended up with 35 percent of the vote I think is remarkable. He obviously has to stretch that to 50.

And the one thing that I think was encouraging for Cruz, if you look way inside the numbers, he did well among very conservative evangelicals and also about the ones who shared the values with him, the best I think he's done in any primary up to date. And that would indicate that something might have happen, and that would be the abortion statement, because that's the constituency that could have been demoralized by Trump's answer, especially the punishment, to the point where they thought he said he was pro-choice. I believed it. Maybe I have to believe he either hasn't thought it through or it is not sincere. If you begin to shake that constituency, you get the result that you got with Cruz in Wisconsin. Is that the explanation? I don't know. But it is possible one.

BAIER: OK, meantime on the Democratic side, as you look at the results in Wisconsin, it was a big win for Bernie Sanders. But as far as delegates, not a huge win for him. He only picks up a net 10 delegates, 48 to 38, after that big win in Wisconsin. Take a listen to Hillary Clinton talking to "Politico" about whether Sanders is a Democrat.


HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Sanders spends a lot of time attacking my husband, attacking President Obama, calling him weak and disappointing. I rarely hear him say anything negative about George W. Bush. He is a relatively new Democrat, and in fact I'm not even sure he is one. He is running as one.


BAIER: So a different take now, Charlie. As you look toward New York, she has about a 12-point lead there.

HURT: Her home state, which I think is pretty indicative of her entire campaign both eight years ago and today. It is kind of her adopted home state, but not a true home state the way most people think of that.

But that quote from her trying to question his loyalties and his allegiances I guess is sort of an underhanded way of reminding people, he is an avowed socialist. And everybody knows that, and he is doing shockingly well in the Democratic primary which should give Democrats -- it should give Democrats a pause.

BAIER: I think seven percent in Wisconsin said he is not liberal enough. So that's Wisconsin's thought on it.

KRAUTHAMMER: They're communists.


HURT: But the idea that she is having this much trouble putting this thing away. And it would take an absolute miracle for her not to get the nomination. She will be the nominee, but it is taking her this long to put this thing away is just shocking.

BAIER: Quickly, Dave, Bernie Sanders did not have a good initial run in New York. "The New York Daily News" meeting with the editorial board really kind of fell flat. And he is taking it on the chin from the Clinton campaign for that.

CATANESE: And this is going to be a brutal two weeks because Hillary Clinton cannot lose New York. There is no way she can lose New York. And you're seeing in some of these interview that I saw that she did today, she is sharpening her line of attack. So she is going to go at him with everything. I think this is going to be a tough, tough run for the Sanders campaign. But I think the Clinton campaign is worried that he could creep on her. He's going to draw some huge rallies in that state. There's a lot of liberals in New York we know of, and it is the New York media market which is unforgiving.

BAIER: And he speaks Brooklynese.


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