Does Carly Fiorina even matter this late in the game?

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Star Panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," April 27, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SEN. TED CRUZ, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of the most solemn choices you make is the choice of selecting a vice presidential candidate. I have come to the conclusion that if I am nominated to be president of the United States that I will run on a ticket with my vice presidential nominee, Carly Fiorina.


PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CONVENTION MANAGER: It's the second desperation move of the week. The first one didn't work. And this one won't work, either. And, frankly, it's a bit strange that they would announce in Indiana where she, who is known when she was in the private sector for outsourcing jobs, and outsourcing is one of the major issues in Indiana, and Ted Cruz has shown again that he's more focused on free trade than fair trade.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: The big announcement today, Ted Cruz saying he would run with Carly Fiorina, a businesswoman, former presidential candidate. You saw reaction from the Trump campaign. John Kasich's campaign has weighed in now, saying this, "Carly Fiorina ran an honorable campaign, but most Republicans will meet this decision with a collective shrug."

OK, let's bring in our panel: Charles Lane, opinion writer for The Washington Post; editor in chief of Lifezette, Laura Ingraham, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. OK, Laura, what about this move?

LAURA INGRAHAM, EDITOR IN CHIEF, LIFEZETTE.COM: I think Kasich is probably right. I think there's a good deal of affection I think for Carly Fiorina. I think she ran a pretty good campaign. She didn't win any states. But I think Manafort is on to something. And Indiana, which I assume Trump is going to hit the globalization as failure theme that he struck today in his foreign policy speech, the outsourcing issue is a disaster. That is just, that's not going to be a positive one. And fairly or unfairly, you know, Fiorina, HP, that outsourcing issue, which was discussed obviously during her run against Barbara Boxer in 2010, which she lost by about a million votes in California, that became really an albatross around her neck.

I think Trump has to be careful, isn't going after Carly Fiorina. I think I'm not sure he'll do it, but I think surrogates probably will, and I think you saw Manafort do that. I don't think it changes the math in a positive way in Indiana. If he's going to win Indiana, Cruz is going to win it on his own. It's not going to be with a veep selection.

BAIER: We should point out Fiorina fought back against that whole charge on the presidential campaign.

INGRAHAM: Absolutely.

BAIER: Chuck, how do you think it plays?

CHARLES LANE, THE WASHINGTON POST: Desperate times call for desperate measures, is what it looked like to me. And so desperate after this rout Tuesday night in the northeastern states that Ted Cruz seemed to want to just come up with something spectacular to kind of just change the narrative out there.

I suppose that if Carly Fiorina brings anything positive, maybe it's a little help in California. That's her home state. She ran a pretty good Senate primary -- Senate race against Barbara Boxer as a Republican, though she lost. And perhaps Ted Cruz is thinking she can help him out there. But for the most part I think this just looks like what it is. It's somebody who is way behind in the delegate count and the window is rapidly closing, trying to throw a Hail Mary.

BAIER: You mentioned the sweep last night. Donald Trump, as you look at the map of the states, did put up some amazing numbers in Republican, in the Republican primaries. Take a look at this, 60 percent in Delaware, Maryland, Rhode Island, 63 percent. Pennsylvania, he won every congressional district. Cruz people and others say that all of these are blue states in the general election. But as you look towards Indiana, which is coming up next week, the Real Clear Politics average of polls has it now with Trump up about six points over Cruz, and Kasich essentially not campaigning there. Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, just on the Carly issue, I think it had only one purpose, which was news cycle management. He wanted to do something to slightly obliterate the power of last night's election. And it worked in the sense that we just led the panel with his decision. But it won't do anything beyond that.

There's a Hail Carly, and it isn't going to do much. The Trump success yesterday is he won every county in all five states. That's a sweep. And it is clear that everything now hinges on Indiana. Even if Trump were to lose it, it's extremely hard to see how he's not nominated. But if he wins, I think that it will be definitively over for Cruz. And I would add we'd be able to close the Candidate Casino, which would save me a lot of money. So I'm hoping we'll do that.

BAIER: It still has general election possibilities.

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, yes, that's true.

BAIER: I want to talk about his unfavorable, because clearly Carly Fiorina is going to go after Trump on the women issue. As you take a look at the USA Today/Suffolk poll on fav-unfav for women for example, 24-56, this is Donald Trump, and then you see Hispanics and among blacks in this particular poll, and it matches other polls as well.

INGRAHAM: I think Carly Fiorina ought to think further down the line than just maybe the next week or so, because it would be a shame given I think her positive influence in the campaign if it turned out that Carly was featured in a lot of Hillary ads in the fall. And I would imagine the Hillary Clinton campaign is cutting and marking the time cues on these various appearances.

And I think we should remember looking at the exit polls in Pennsylvania and my home state of Connecticut, and so forth, you see that Trump won every demographic group, every one. He won women. He won college- educated, the high school-educated. He won I believe every age group as well.

So does he have work to do with women? I think so, yes, without a doubt. But I just think, I said this the other night, at some point we have to have a come to Jesus moment here. I understand Ted Cruz wants to be president and I think he's done an amazing job so far. But do you really want to give the fodder to the Democrats going into a critical election cycle? And I think it would be a shame really if that turned out to be one of the favorite commercials for the Clinton campaign.

BAIER: The pushback, we did the whole delegate math and all kinds of reaction saying we're making assumptions on these states. These are the projections, and they're pretty optimistic when it comes to Donald Trump. But he still gets over the hump pretty significantly before the end.

LANE: Yes. And there's another factor here, which is there's some polling data that show Republican voters don't want him denied the nomination if he comes very close, right? If he's up at, I guess the target is 1,237, if he's up at 1,200 as of the eve of the convention, it's going to be -- it's going to be a tough lift politically to deny it to him at that point.

And I think that's what influences me the most in thinking about this is that he is now so close to being that close that he is, you know, in his own words, he is the presumptive nominee. But it is such a -- it is such a radical thing to have him as the nominee that I think Ted Cruz and the others simply can't get their minds around it and they're going to fight until the last ditch. And in fairness, I don't see why they shouldn't as long as they've got the money.

KRAUTHAMMER: But I think the other factor here is the psychological effect of the win in New York and the win in these states, which is essentially over 60 percent. If he were to back into the nomination, or to back into say 1,220, so he's just near it but he's been on a losing streak, I could see people saying no, he's not the choice working on the numbers. If you come into the convention having really swept in the east, and if he does reasonably well in Indiana and of course on the west coast, I don't think there's any way in which if he falls short of a handful of votes, 15, 20, even 50, that he would be denied. That psychological effect, the momentum I think is huge.

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