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Special Report

The fallout over Hillary Clinton's health concerns

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," September 12, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: The fallout from this weekend's events of Hillary Clinton at that 9/11 memorial as both candidates are now saying they will release specific medical records.

Let's bring in or panel: Charles Hurt, political columnist for The Washington Times; Mara Liasson, national political correspondent of National Public Radio, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Walking pneumonia is a pretty benign condition if you don't have any serious underlying disease. It's a close call as to whether they should have said it on Friday. She appeared to be able to walk right through it without any obvious side effects. Well, she had them on Sunday.

I think this is another case of the cover up being worse than the crime. If it is what they say it is, this is totally benign. They should have explained it right away. This just as everybody can see, it just adds to the impression that these people are simply incapable of telling the truth, the simple truth, and on things where they are not really culpable. They should easily be able to explain it. They just -- they find a way to make themselves make her look untrustworthy, and that's where the damage is.

BAIER: Mara, David Axelrod, you heard him there. But he took to Twitter this morning saying "Antibiotics can take care of pneumonia. What's the cure for an unhealthy penchant for privacy that repeatedly creates unnecessary problems?" Jennifer Palmieri, the Clinton campaign communications director, said "We could have done better yesterday, but it is a fact that the public knows more about Hillary Rodham Clinton than any nominee in history."

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: There's no doubt the Clinton complaint didn't really appreciate what David Axelrod said. However, he is absolutely right in this case. I agree with Charles. I'm not a doctor. I don't even play one on TV. He is. But the political problem is worse than -- seems to be worse right now than medical problem as far as we know.

And they didn't have to do what they did. They could have just said that she had pneumonia. Instead because she doesn't have a protective pool, that's another problem, she disappeared and caused a lot of curiosity. And then there was the video by passersby. So that I think is the real problem.

And the irony for the Clinton campaign is this was the month that she was going to show more of herself, be more open to voters, give an affirmative case for herself, not just five an anti-Trump message. And here we have this which underscores her underlying problem, which is honesty and trustworthiness.

BAIER: This piece of sound is from Cokie Roberts on NPR. This is not Ann Coulter on Breitbart. This is Cokie Roberts on NPR.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COKIE ROBERTS, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: It's taking her off of the campaign trail. It has them very nervously beginning to whisper about trying to having her step aside and finding another candidate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Talking about Democrats.

CHARLES HURT, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: Yes. It's probably a little early yet to be talking about the idea of replacing Hillary Clinton on the ticket. But it does underscore the nervousness among Democrats.

And moreover, the unfortunate thing for this Clinton campaign, this whole episode managed to take something that was sort of whispered about in undercurrents on the Internet, all over the place, about these questions about her health, the coughing fits, even at times raising questions where there is just scant or no evidence whatsoever, and I suspect they were trying to sort of avoid playing into that. They wound up playing into it completely and bringing it all into the mainstream, and now even nobody cannot cover this at this point.

BAIER: Without that video, do you think there would be this level of transparency?

KRAUTHAMMER: The video is always decisive for everything. You go back to Ferguson. You go back to the Somali invasion of 92, it was because of the video. The video of the ISIS executions. If you take that away, we're in a different way. But seeing her slip, seeing her helpless can be devastating. And that's why they should have been out there right away.

And the irony is, you could have, if they had been honest and clever, you play this for sympathy and also to show determination. This is a woman who has been campaigning 18 months, has pneumonia, perseveres, and you might have been able to turn it around, a bit like the tear in the New Hampshire primary in 2008. But instead they go to cover up mode and they make it worse.

Look, she's not going to withdraw over a walking pneumonia if that's all there is. And if you have a pneumonia and you have seasonal allergies, you add it on to that, you can end up with a nasty cough. That's the obvious explanation unless they are hiding something really bad.

BAIER: So do we believe that these records that are going to come out from Hillary Clinton and from Donald Trump, who apparently is going to put them out on Dr. Oz's show on Thursday, are they going to be detailed?

LIASSON: That's the big question. John McCain set a certain standard for this.

BAIER: It was 1,200 pages.

LIASSON: And something like that is probably what's required. Many M.D.s have now said when you have people who are over 65 running for president or who have had a history of illness, and Hillary Clinton has had the concussion and the blood clots, I don't know. We know what Donald Trump put out first, which was something that didn't count as medical records at all, written in five minutes as the doctor said, and declared that he would be most healthy president ever elected. He must have exhumed all those bodies of the past presidents.

So I don't know. But I think the onus is now on Hillary Clinton's campaign because they made a mess of this to go the extra mile and to say, yes, we are being transparent. And they will be judged by medical professionals.

HURT: It's kind of like the tax returns issue. You can get huge numbers. Everybody wants to see the stuff. They want to see tax returns. They want to see the medical histories. But I don't know how passionately people feel about all of these things. But what is a real problem is if people think there's something defective about a person or something -- there's somebody enfeebled about her. It gets kind of hard for independents and people that don't have an ideological reason to go to the polls, it's kind of difficult for them to get excited.

BAIER: So does that become an indelible image?

KRAUTHAMMER: Not if she shows up at her next event or events on Wednesday looking healthy, hale, and energetic. If this doesn't happen again, it fades away.

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