Will Gov. Mike Pence move the needle for Donald Trump?

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 13, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESUMPTIVE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Frankly, I'm looking for somebody that really understands what we're talking about, because I would rather have the whole thing be on policy. I've said that before. People think of me as an attacker, but I would rather be talking about policy. I'm very good on policy, and a lot of people don't give you the chance.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Donald Trump today in Indianapolis talking about his decision on V.P., which will come, we're told, within the next day or so. He is looking at, he says in his head, too, but the three that are whittled down to, we're told, are these gentlemen, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey.

Now, the two in his head, could it be Pence/Gingrich, Pence/Christie? Pence is in the final two.

Let's take a look at the new polls out tonight. Quickly, the FOX poll, Colorado and Virginia, and there you see Hillary Clinton with a lead, not really surprising in those two states. But the other polls were a little surprising today in that Donald Trump is performing well in this Quinnipiac poll, especially when you look at Florida, tying in Ohio, and in a place like Pennsylvania that Republicans historically have not done fantastic in. Then you look at the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, and there you see those numbers also out tonight. It's a big swing state poll night in America.

Let's bring in our panel. We welcome Salem Radio Network syndicated radio host Mike Gallagher, Mara Liasson, National Political Correspondent of National Public Radio, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Mike, welcome. Your thoughts on what Donald Trump said there, and kind of the positioning in this race, as we get ready to hear his V.P. choice?

MIKE GALLAGHER, SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: Of course it's a fine parlor game to try to speculate what Mr. Trump is going to do. And for a year, America has been saying what is Mr. Trump going to do? And he confounds and surprises and confuses, and typically goes with his gut.

It seems to me if he goes with his gut, Chris Christie or Newt Gingrich would be a Trumpian kind of choice. If he's listening to Mr. Manafort and may his adviser to say let's be safe and let's be careful and let's appear very, very presidential and serious, it would be Governor Pence. But again, we all should learn to stop predicting what Trump is going to do, because every time we think we have got him figured out, he pulls a surprise.

BAIER: Do you agree with that, Mara?

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: I agree with that. I think Mike Pence is the kind of V.P. pick that traditional candidates make. They need to shore up their support among a certain part of the coalition. Mike Pence could do that. He's safe. If you want somebody who is more like yourself, you want to double down on your brand, then you go for a Christie or a Newt Gingrich for different reasons.

BAIER: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, I don't know that we can predict, but we can analyze what the advantages are. With Pence, I think it's completely safe, but it doesn't move the needle either way. He's not going to help. He's not going to hurt. It will be a Trump campaign and nobody will remember the name Pence two weeks into the campaign.

I think Gingrich is the one who I think would be the best fit, not so much because he doubles down, but because he's the most, if you like, either articulate or glib, you can have it either way. But he has such facility with language. He can explain away anything. He can explain anything and he can explain away anything. After all, last time around he ran a campaign that included a moon base, which is an interesting idea but not easy to sell. So you can anticipate Trump will run into problems here and there, as he obviously has over the last year. And the guy you would want to be the first to explain it away would be Newt because I think he would be very successful.

BAIER: Gingrich talked to Sean Hannity, and we have a clip, talking about that meeting, about two-and-a-half hours with Donald Trump in Indianapolis. It was supposed to be secret. It was not secret for long. Take a listen.


NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: We're kicking around everything from the role of the vice president to how you would manage the relationship with the Congress to get things done. You know, it was a very complete conversation, and I thought one that was totally candid on both sides.


BAIER: Mike, when you look at these polls, and particularly the Quinnipiac poll, what do you see? Do you see this as a result of a tough couple of weeks for Hillary Clinton with the e-mail investigation, or is this Donald Trump hitting a segment of the population that is just there for him this

GALLAGHER: It was reported this morning that team Clinton has outspent team Trump about 40 to one in the battle ground states. So if these polls are correct, you've got to be very, very nervous and very anxious if you are, you know, a Hillary supporter and you're in the Clinton campaign. There's no way on paper that if you spend that kind of money that they're neck and neck in any kind of poll anywhere. Mr. Trump said it to you in your interview, he pointed out, I haven't even begun to spend money yet. Next week will be the big bump from the Republican convention, or a bump, as expected. And so Mrs. Clinton has to be nervous and concerned about outspending him to this degree and not showing anything -- nothing to show for it, at least in terms of the polling.

BAIER: Mara, you look at the Virginia poll from FOX. She's up seven in Virginia. And, you know, we've talked about the V.P. on the Donald Trump side because it's imminent, but she's looking at Tim Kaine in Virginia. It looks like according to the polls she has a decent lead in Virginia.

LIASSON: Almost as if Tim Kaine would be an insurance policy but not actually bring her the state, although it's been a very long time since a vice presidential candidate actually delivered.

Look, what changed in the Quinnipiac poll was her. If you look at the last Quinnipiac poll in those states and now, she's the one who dropped. And they polled, for some reason, Quinnipiac polls over a very long period of time. They take 12 days to do their poll, and that was before Comey, and during Comey and afterwards. But it does indicate that she has really been hurt by the end of the e-mail investigation.

BAIER: She was already facing the honest and trustworthy issues in very poll. They were upside down.

KRAUTHAMMER: And I think from her point of view that in some way mitigates the impact of these polls, although Quinnipiac is an outlier here. In the FOX polls, it's much more favorable to her. Because this is a --

BAIER: Let me interrupt you. Colorado and Virginia have been more bluish in recent years.

LIASSON: Polling in Ohio and Florida.

KRAUTHAMMER: But these are big leads. Look, I think this is happening at the lowest point in her campaign. She just got indicted, essentially, by Comey politically, he let her off legally. But that was sort of an indictment of quite enormous length and detail. And if she -- if this is where she is now, remember, it is also happening when Trump has had a good several days, perhaps a week or two, showing discipline, reading speeches off the teleprompter, and not stepping on stories. So I think this is a coincidence of these two swings. We will see a month down the road what happens when it equilibrates.

BAIER: And quickly, Mike, I asked him about that, is this the turn that everybody talks about. He kind of said, no.

GALLAGHER: There are going to be a lot of turns. But she said in her speech today that the party of Lincoln has become the party of Trump. Trump could say this is the party of Hillary, the Democrats have become the party of Hillary, and that's a pretty powerful message when you look at the stark differences between these two candidates.

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