Are Clinton's troubles peaking at the right time for Trump?

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," September 15, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I thought I was going to be fine, and I thought that there wasn't really any reason to make a big fuss about it. So I should have taken time off earlier. I didn't. Now I have. And I am back on the campaign trail.

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: When I announced, seems like a long time ago, 17 people running, I was the nonprofessional. Now we have one left, and in all fairness, she is lying in bed, getting better, and we want her better, we want her back on the trail.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: That was last night from Donald Trump. Now she is back on the trail. Hillary Clinton entering an event in North Carolina to "I Feel Good" from James Brown.

Let's bring in our panel: Syndicated columnist George Will, Fox News chief legal correspondent Shannon Bream, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.

George, your thoughts on her comeback and the day for Hillary Clinton in North Carolina.

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: It must be nerve-racking being Hillary Clinton now. She's going to spend eight weeks flying around breathing airplane air, something designed to give you a cough. She is not allowed to cough between now and the 8th of November.

It is hard to tell at this point and I don't know what they're thinking when they watch these polls. Are the polls indicating volatility in a race that could go up and down and bounce around or are we seeing a slow, long- term trend that favors Mrs. Clinton. There are so many things that could make this volatile, particularly the debates.

Mr. Trump has been on his good behavior, which is to say he has been on a teleprompter. There will be no teleprompter on the stages, and I'm sure the Clinton people are working on ways to detonate him, to get him excitable.

BAIER: You're talking about the polls there. FOX News poll out, the head to head match has Trump up one. The four-way match has him trailing one, but essentially a tied race. And that matches "New York Times" and CBS national polls. But what is really interesting, Shannon, are these state polls. Let's take a look at Iowa, out today. Iowa Monmouth poll, in the preference poll, Trump up eight in Iowa there, and it is a move of a number of points in just a short period of time. And then you take a look, you got Iowa there? Monmouth? Anyway, you take a look at Ohio, there's Monmouth University, and in Ohio you three polls in the past few days that show Trump up. Clearly this is a move.

SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS: Well, it is interesting, like George said. You try to figure out, is this a trend? Is it a one-off? What's happening here? Because as we have been covering this for more than a year, watching these primaries, the debates, the back and forth, the fact is a lot of people don't start paying attention until Labor Day, that's more the traditional time that the rest of the country tunes in.

So is some of the information new to them? Was it bad timing for the Clinton campaign that she had this illness, that there are more and more revelations regarding the e-mail situation? Is it all peaking at the right time for Trump? There is voting beginning, as we all know, some absentee voting and early voting. So with the polls, knowing that they could be in flux a lot between now and the election and those debates could be critical, people are already making their decisions.

BAIER: I heard somebody the other day, Charles, say that this was the Seinfeld election, an election about nothing, because it is about character. So far it's about how the other person can't be president. Today both candidates tried to hit on some substance. Here is Donald Trump on an economic plan creating jobs.


TRUMP: It is time to start thinking big, once again. That's why I believe it is time to establish a national goal of reaching four percent economic growth. In working with my economic team, we put together a plan that puts us on track to achieve that goal. Over the next 10 years, our economic team estimates under our plan the economy will average 3.5 percent growth and create a total of 25 million new jobs.


BAIER: What do you think?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, yes, we have two policies. His is a unicorn economy, and hers is no proposals at all other than these little items to relieve stresses in ordinary life.

BAIER: Now, she will say that there are 38 of them on her website.

KRAUTHAMMER: That's what she said in her speech. I can't think of a duller thing to say at a speech. If that's what you're advocating, if that's how you are trying to persuade a crowd, why don't they stay home and look at the website? When you say that, you've said nothing. There is no overarching idea. It is more of the same.

And with him, it's the magical power of huge tax cuts, no entitlement changes, and we're going to get a miraculous spurt in growth that is going to be sustained and will pay for all of this, including cutting waste, fraud, and abuse. It is not a serious debate. As you've said, it is an election about nothing. And I think these attempts at substance are proof of that.

BAIER: Behind the scenes, though, George, they will -- people will tell you, Republicans who have talked to Trump team members, that they're pretty specific on getting rid of regulations, on corporate taxes and tax reform being a high priority, and that their pitch behind the scenes is pretty attractive to a number of people, not just lawmakers, but business leaders.

WILL: All of those things are important, as is the fact that we have just finished a lost decade. The first decade, perhaps ever, in which America did not have a single year of three percent economic growth. The 3.5 percent that Mr. Trump promises is not extravagant. Jeb Bush in the primaries talked about four percent, but three, four, and five percent would change America overnight. The difference between 3.5 and two percent growth, which we've been averaging for about a decade, is a politics focused on increasingly angry distributional conflict that is trying to use politics to carve up a static pie, or getting the pie to grow again. So Mr. Trump is certainly talking about the right things, a, in general in terms of growth, but also in terms of regulation and taxes.

BAIER: All right, two quick polls. Certainty of vote preference, I want to put up here, Clinton supporters versus Trump supporters. There's a lot of talk about whether Trump could rally Republicans. Look at this -- 90 percent Trump supporters say certain to support, and you see the difference there with the Clinton supporters.

The next one, who would you rather have as a Democratic nominee? And this goes to enthusiasm on the democratic side. This is August to now, and Bernie Sanders is on here. He has gone up from August. He is not in the race any more. But there is some thought that Clinton is having some trouble motivating, getting enthusiasm in the base of the Democratic Party.

BREAM: Yes, well, what we see anecdotally of course at the Trump rallies are tens of thousands of people showing up. That doesn't always translate, as we know having covered this and many other elections, into what happens at the ballot box. But a lot of people will say his base is way more fired up, especially when she makes a comment about half of them being in a "basket of deplorables," that works for him.

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