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Special Report

How do recent protests play politically in the 2016 race?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," September 22, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We do know that we have two more names to add to a list of African-Americans killed by police officers in these encounters. It's unbearable. And it needs to become intolerable.

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Our country looks bad to the world, especially when we are supposed to be the world's leader. How can we lead when we can't even control our own cities?

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: This is the latest average of recent polls. First you have the index, "Special Report" index of polls. There are five polls included here. And that's where it stands right now, Clinton up 2.8. As the look at the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, one of the interesting things are the questions, the candidate qualities, honest and straightforward, as I mentioned yesterday, upside down for Hillary Clinton. There you see right temperament, knowledge, and experience.

Heidi, what about the recent violence, the riots, the protests, whatever you want to call them? And how they play politically now?

HEIDI PRZYBYLA, USA TODAY: Well, the one thing I was struck by was that there actually was a sliver of unanimity between these two candidates and their responses in that there seems to be agreement when it comes to the Tulsa shooting that there are black men who are being shot under questionable circumstances.

And, on the other hand, we also are seeing an erosion in respect for our institutions and our police force. Where we diverge is in terms of the remedies. And I do too think that it's pretty clear that Hillary Clinton is going to be pushing a wholesale overhaul in terms of criminal justice system, in terms of good police practices. And Donald Trump is focusing more on a law and order message.

I think both of them have some big questions that they have to answer. In terms of Donald Trump, you know, is he going to pony up the money for a massive increase in the number of police that we put out on to our streets? And is he also going to embrace the same type of reforms that we know work like in New York City like Bill Bratton did? And for Hillary Clinton, is she just going to focus on better practices or is she also going to allow that type of a build-up that we know we need in some of these targeted areas like Chicago?

BAIER: Build-up that happened under her husband's administration. Byron?

BYRON YORK, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: When you have the combination of a couple of different types of events. You have terrorist events, New York, New Jersey, Minnesota. And then you have an outbreak of violence in Charlotte. This is a perfect atmosphere for Trump's law and order message.

The last time he pushed this the most was after the murder of five policemen in Dallas just right before the Republican convention. But Trump actually seems to be trying to temper this a little bit. He is in Pittsburgh today giving an energy speech. He takes a few minutes to talk about this. He said, you know, we need to be careful to try to walk in other shoes, to try to see things from their perspective. Like Heidi said, he is trying to draw a distinction between Charlotte, where the police chief is saying, look, this guy had a gun and this was justified, and Oklahoma where we have just seen the officer actually charged with felony manslaughter. Trump is trying to actually put a little nuance into this position.

BAIER: Let me say, Jason, obviously the violence is horrible. And all kinds of officials have weighed in on this. We are looking through a prism of politics. And, as you look at the latest FOX News poll from North Carolina, actually, on the question of vote preferences, you see black, African-Americans in North Carolina overwhelmingly, 85 percent to three percent, for Hillary Clinton. And you see the breakdown there that matches other states. Does this matter in a key swing state like North Carolina?

RILEY: Yes, it matters, particularly with the percentage of black voters that are in a state like North Carolina. I think these are the states, particularly older voters in these states that powered Hillary Clinton past Bernie Sanders in the primaries. I think she is having more difficulty with other segments of the black community, however, particularly younger blacks. Millennials who are more open to these third party candidates, Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, they see them as -- they don't trust the establishment. They don't mind going with these sort of outsiders. So she is having trouble with that group.

But I think absolutely this will impact the black vote. Yes, it does play to Donald Trump's law and order themes without a question. But as you mentioned, these are two seemingly different incidents. But what is striking to me about this is how quickly any victim, a black victim of police violence, gets turned into a martyr, instantaneously. It doesn't matter if you are armed, unarmed, running from cops, running towards cops. It just doesn't matter. The left, the Black Lives Matter movement, the progressives are going to make you a saint instantaneously. This is very, very dangerous. They are trying to shoehorn any incident into this narrative that cops are hunting black men.

BAIER: Judge?

RILEY: And I don't buy it.

NAPOLITANO: And the president of the United States actually has very, very little influence on policing in the streets. Yes, they can spend money. And, yes, they can give block grants. It takes a long time for the money to be appropriated, for the money to be spent, and for there to be a result from the expenditure of that money.

On the other hand, I think they are each attempting to address their particular narrative. And I agree with the arguments that Jason has just made. And I don't blame Hillary Clinton for taking the side that she is taking. She thinks she is going to get votes there. I don't blame Donald Trump for taking the side that he is taking. Neither of them is putting their arms around the country and trying to unite us. Neither of them is looking for a solution. They are both looking for votes.

I wish in North Carolina there were the level of transparency that we saw in Tulsa so that people can form their own conclusions, but they have a statute that permits them to hide this tape.

BAIER: Heidi, quickly, Hillary Clinton off the trail today. There was a video from "Funny or Die" with Zach Galifianakis that she actually taped on September 9th, the day that she was diagnosed with pneumonia, we're told. Ahead of this debate, where does it stand? Who is the actual expectations game playing to?

PRZYBYLA: I think they're both playing the expectations game. You can see they are both putting out the word through the media, Donald Trump saying they are going to be overly hard on me, and Hillary Clinton saying the bar is so low for him.

(LAUGHTER)

PRZYBYLA: I think that for her, I think the bigger variable is Donald Trump, because we know Hillary Clinton is an experienced debater. We know she loves policy details. So I do think there is a certain amount of legitimacy to ask the question whether or not Donald Trump is going to pass this "does he look presidential" test. And if he does, then you know, he has got these independent voters which have been coming over to him, he might see some of these numbers solidify, and that's why it's important.

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