Mike Pence responds to allegations against Donald Trump; Tim Kaine on what emails reveal about Clinton campaign

This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," October 16, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  I’m Bret Baier, in for Chris Wallace.  

As both campaigns face new fire storms, we're live in Las Vegas, counting down to the final debate with both campaigns' vice presidential nominees.  


BAIER:  The Trump campaign plays defense over explosive new allegations about Donald Trump's treatment of women.  

HILLARY CLINTON, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The disturbing stories just keep coming.  

DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  It's a rigged election because they're taking these unsubstantiated, no witnesses, putting them on the front pages of newspapers.  

BAIER:  We'll discuss whether Trump can recover, live with his running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence.  

And newly uncovered Clinton e-mails reveal troubling insights about her campaign.  

TRUMP:  She should be locked up.  She should.  

BAIER:  We'll ask Clinton's running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, about the revelations.  

Then, our Sunday panel on how Trump's troubles could impact the GOP.  

And a roundtable of political reporters from crucial battlegrounds on the state of the race.

Plus, a very special power player as our own Chris Wallace prepares for the final showdown between Trump and Clinton.  

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  It's not a TV show that we're doing.  This is helping millions of people decide who we're going to elect as the next president.  

BAIER:  All right now on "Fox News Sunday."


BAIER:  And hello again from Fox News in Las Vegas.  We are live on the Strip here at the MGM Grand Hotel just down the road from UNLV, the site of Wednesday's final debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, moderated by our very own Chris Wallace, who is busy preparing today.  

As the candidates also prepare, both campaigns are in damage control as Donald Trump continues to face allegations of groping women and new WikiLeaks e-mails show troubling insights about Hillary Clinton's top associates.  

Today, we'll discuss it all with both vice presidential nominees.  We'll get to Senator Tim Kaine in just a moment.  But we begin with Donald Trump's running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence.  

Governor, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."  


BAIER:  Governor, there's a new poll out this morning, a Washington Post/ABC poll, and it shows the race essentially tied, within the margin of error. It's four points.  

But if you look at it, it's exactly the same as it was before the convention.  I want to get your state of the race and considering that some states, Republican states like Utah, Arizona, Georgia, even your own state of Indiana, according to some polls, are very tight.  What is happening out there?  

PENCE:  I think what's happening is this is a highly contested election, and it's going to be fought all the way to the finish.  I couldn't be more proud to be standing shoulder to shoulder with Donald Trump as he articulates an agenda to make America great again.  

And I have to tell you the crowds that I saw across Florida, the crowds that gathered with Donald Trump yesterday in New Hampshire and Maine are all just determined to bring real change to this country, Bret.  

I mean, look, the last 7 1/2 years have weakened America's place in the world, stifled America's economy, and begun to walk away from our most cherished constitutional principles.  As Donald Trump did last Sunday night in the debate, we're going to continue to frame this campaign around the issues that matter most to the American people, and I think that's why the polls are close and I think that's why we've got a great, great opportunity -- a great, great opportunity for a great victory come November the 8th.  

BAIER:  Governor, Donald Trump has not let up.  He's campaigning all the time.  He does it in his own Trump way.  But yesterday, he said something that did raise some eyebrows.  Take a listen.  


TRUMP:  We should take a drug test prior because I don't know what's going on with her.  But at the beginning of her last debate, she was all pumped up at the beginning, and at the end, it was like, oh, take me down.  She could barely reach her car.  


BAIER:  Governor, do you think Secretary Clinton should take a drug test before Wednesday?  

PENCE:  Well, look, all I know for sure is that Donald Trump is going to be ready for the debate on Wednesday night.  The American people are going to see someone who is prepared to lead this country, prepared to bring the kind of strength and determination that it's going to require to really turn this country around.  

Look, more than seven out of ten Americans know our country is headed in the wrong direction.  Donald Trump has articulated a message of strength, a message of rebuilding our military, reviving our economy, not through the tax increases that Hillary Clinton is advocating, expanding Obamacare, and open borders policies that she actually advocated in a speech in Brazil, but through the kind of policies that have always revived America's strength at home and abroad.  

So, I’m looking forward to the debate, and I know he'll be ready for it come Wednesday.  

BAIER:  All right.  Drug test or not, I want to ask you some specific policy questions in just a minute.  But I know you've answered these questions about the accusations.  There's a new one out today.  Now, nine women with these allegations.  

And I know you've said that they're politically motivated and they're all not true.  But I want to ask you two things about the way Donald Trump has talked about them and pushed back, pushed back hard, denying them, saying on numerous occasions, how could this be true, look at her.  

Have you talked to your daughter about that defense and this whole issue?  How do you explain that?  

PENCE:  Well, let me just say that I thought it was right and proper last weekend for Donald Trump to apologize for the offensive comments that he made in a video that was released 11 years ago on an open microphone.  He said he was embarrassed.  He apologized to his family, apologized to the American people.

But, frankly, you know, the timing of these unsubstantiated claims that have come forward, all of which Donald Trump has categorically denied, is I think deeply troubling to millions of Americans.  I know there's countervailing evidence that’s coming out right now, and more information will probably come.  

But the American people are very, very troubled.  Once again, here we are in an election of such enormous magnitude in the life of this nation, and once again, the media is piling on with unsubstantiated claims as the headlines while they ignore an avalanche of hard evidence about corruption, pay to play, political favoritism emanating out of Hillary Clinton's years as secretary of state.  

We found out this week, Brett, that while she was secretary of state, her officials in that department actually directed reconstruction contracts in Haiti to friends of the Clintons.  This is precisely the kind of pay to play politics she said wasn't happening as their foundation accepted tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments.  

Just this morning, "The New York Times" is reporting that in exchange for a five-minute meeting, the government of Qatar pledged $1 million to the Clinton Foundation.  

You know, this -- the American people are tired of all of this, and frankly, they're very tired, present company excepted, they're very tired of most in the national media who would go running after unsubstantiated allegations that Donald Trump has categorically denied while they willfully ignore an avalanche of hard evidence about Clinton's corruptions and scandals.  

BAIER:  Well, about the WikiLeaks e-mails, you know, I know you look at the substance of those and we've been covering the substance inside those emails as well, extensively here on FOX, but are you concerned at all about the fact that Russia, according to U.S. intelligence officials, has hacked into these computers and is, according to the intel officials, trying to influence this election in one way or another?  

PENCE:  Well, I think there's no question that the evidence continues to point in that direction, and we should follow it where it leads.  And there should be severe consequences to Russia or any sovereign nation that is compromising the privacy or the security of the United States of America.  Donald Trump more than a month ago gathered a group of some of the leading cybersecurity experts in this country and announced our plans to strengthen the security of this country on the Internet.  And we will do that.  

BAIER:  Is the cyber attack --


PENCE:  My hope is that as the vice president said on another network this morning, that there would be consequences.  My hope is that this administration will follow through with that because the president of France just this weekend said that the Obama administration's foreign policy that Hillary Clinton created of moving red lines in Syria actually was interpreted as a weak position for America and emboldened Russia to invade Ukraine and take a much larger role in Syria.  

We've got to follow through on our word, and we ought to follow the facts where they go.  We’ve got to protect the cybersecurity of this country.  

My hope is this administration will follow through this time.  

BAIER:  I want to squeeze in two more questions quickly.  

Iranian-backed Houthi rebels firing on U.S. Navy ships.  The U.S. just described (ph) firing cruise missiles back at these satellite installations.  

What should --what would you recommend as vice president, if it's President Trump, the U.S. military do?  Should the navy expand these strikes, or is there some fear of Iran being drawn into a war there?  

PENCE:  The United States Navy and the United States of America cannot tolerate aggressive action against our warships, but it's important to remember that the militia in Yemen that's firing those missiles has been supported by Iran.  

This administration, with Hillary Clinton's full assent, just delivered $150 billion that the Iranians said they were putting in their defense budget.  It could well be some of that $150 billion, including $1.7 billion in cash, made its way to Yemen and is subsidizing these very attack against U.S. naval warships.  

Look, we've got to rebuild our military.  We have the smallest United States Navy since 1916.  We have the smallest standing army since the end of World War II.  

When Donald Trump becomes president of the United States of America, we're going to rebuild our military, and we're going to stand tall on the world stage and we are not going to tolerate aggression against American forces or American interests, whether it comes from Yemen or is subsidized from any other country like Iran.  

BAIER:  Governor Pence, I just have a few seconds left.  What advice would you give your nominee for Wednesday's debate?  

PENCE:  I’m sorry.  I didn't hear that, Bret.  

BAIER:  Well, advice would you give your nominee for Wednesday's debate?  Quickly.  

PENCE:  Well, I would just tell him be himself again.  I thought in the first two debates, Donald Trump brought that authentic voice that has really given voice to the aspirations and frustrations of millions of Americans on a national stage.  And he clearly won the debate last Sunday night because he was talking about the issues that matter most to the American people -- restoring our military, standing tall in the world again, reviving this economy, creating jobs, upholding the Constitution and the Supreme Court of the United States.  

I mean, I understand why many in the national media, present company excepted, want to talk about everything else except the issues.  But Donald Trump won that debate last Sunday, and he's going to win the debate on Wednesday because he's going to keep talking about the issues that matter most to the American people and the chance that we can make a change of the fundamental direction of the this country back to a stronger and more prosperous nation.  

BAIER:  Governor Pence, we appreciate your time.  Thank you for coming on.  

PENCE:  Thank you, Bret.  

BAIER:  As Hillary Clinton takes time off the trail to prepare for the debate, there are plenty of unanswered questions about the newly released WikiLeaks e-mails surrounding her campaign.  

We spoke earlier this morning with vice presidential Democratic nominee, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine.


BAIER:  Senator, thanks for being here.  

I want to put up the latest poll from Washington Post/ABC.  It is essentially exactly where this poll was before the convention, 47 to 43.  Judging from all the things that you and Secretary Clinton are saying on the trail about how unacceptable Donald Trump is, why do you think this poll is so close, within the margin of error, actually?  

SEN. TIM KAINE, D-VA., VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:  Bret, yes, it is close.  I'll tell you, I’m used to this.  I’m from Virginia.  All of our races are close.  I’ve been saying from the beginning that I thought this would be a close election.  

So, it doesn't particularly surprise me.  We are seeing some data about voting, whether it's registrations, early voting, and request for absentee ballots in key battleground states that we like.  But I’m down in South Florida campaigning yesterday and today because Florida is close and there's so many other close states.  We have to assume that's the case, and I think it'll be the case right up to the end.  

BAIER:  Senator, a lot of information is coming out, as you know, in these WikiLeaks e-mails, including some pretty embarrassing things from communication in the Clinton staff and campaign.  Are you comfortable with what is -- has been said in some of those e-mails about Catholics, about Latinos, Governor Richardson a needy Latino, about former NAACP leader Ben Jealous, taking him to be powerless?  What’s your reaction to the specifics we’re learning and the substance of those e-mails?  

KAINE:  Yes, Bret, let me do it, but before I get to specifics, I want to talk about a couple of them, you know, we just got to be a little bit careful about these because since they're part of an effort by both Russia and WikiLeaks, and neither of those are kind of neutral transmitters of information, you can't just automatically assume that everything is on the up and up with these e-mails.  

Just as an example, there's one e-mail that references me that is completely inaccurate.  And whether it's inaccurate because the sender didn't know what he or she was talking about or it's been doctored, I don't know.  I don't take all these at face value.  

But let's talk about the Catholic one.  Jen Palmieri, who is Catholic.  She's said, yes, I sent that e-mail and I had some opinions and I shared them.  

But I do know what Hillary Clinton thinks about Catholicism because she picked a Catholic running mate.  And we talked a lot about my faith background and she and I feel like that’s a connection for us.  She's Methodist but had a powerful experience as a young person that still drives her today in her own faith practice.  So I know with respect to Catholics, she views this as an asset because it creates a connection between us in terms of our approach to service.  

So, yes, look, some of these e-mails that are leaked, if they're accurate, they show people offering, you know, opinions and mouthing off a little bit here and there.  But that's the kind of thing that happens.  

BAIER:  But, Senator, there's more substantive things that raise questions about -- for example, the e-mail investigation.  Here is President Obama talking about what he knew and when to CBS News.  Take a listen.  


CBS NEWS:  Mr. President, when did you first learn that Hillary Clinton used an e-mail system outside the U.S. government for official business while she was secretary of state?  

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  At the same time everybody else learned it through news reports.  

CBS NEWS:  Did you know about Hillary Clinton's use of private e-mail server --

OBAMA:  No.  

CBS NEWS:  -- while she was secretary of state?  

OBAMA:  No.  


BAIER:  At the same time, Senator, he was using a pseudonym and an e-mail address to communicate with Secretary Clinton.  And there's communication and there are e-mails from staff that suggest they wanted to hold that back and were talking about what to do.  

Did the president lie there?  

KAINE:  Well, I don't know because -- I actually do not know if he's communicating by e-mail with Hillary, does he know that it's a private server?  I mean, I don't exactly know if I send somebody an e-mail exactly what their setup is.  I don't really think about that much, and I can't imagine that the president, with all that's on his mind would either.  

I do know is this, that there was an extensive, as you know, Bret, investigation by the FBI under the direction of a wonderful and tough career public servant, Jim Comey.  Jim was in the U.S. attorney's office in the eastern district of Virginia when I was the mayor of Richmond.  And he's somebody with the highest standards of integrity.  

And he reached a conclusion after a very long investigation that no reasonable prosecutor would take this to the next step.  I think that still has not been effectively challenged.  I know there are people who would like to re-litigate that, but given the depth of that investigation and his own credibility, I think his conclusion, you know, probably gets it right.  

BAIER:  I understand that.  But, you know, the campaign is focused on the Russia angle.  And definitely, you talk to U.S. intelligence officials, they're very concerned about Russia interfering --

KAINE:  We ought to be.  Yes.

BAIER:  -- into cyberattacks.  That's clear.  

But at the same time, you're saying that while John Podesta's Gmail was hacked by Russia, you're saying that Hillary Clinton's server was completely ironclad and was not hacked at all.  

You mentioned Director Comey.  Here's what he said about the private server.  


JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR:  I’m not looking to pick on Gmail.  Their security is actually pretty good.  The weakness is in the individual users.  But yes, Gmail has full-time security staff and thinks about patching and logging and protecting their systems in a way that was not the case here.  


BAIER:  So in other words, John Podesta's Gmail was less secure than Hillary Clinton's server.  

KAINE:  Well, you know, and Jim Comey also reached a conclusion through the FBI investigation that they didn't have any evidence that these materials had been compromised.  And I don’t -- I haven't seen any evidence come out since he rendered that conclusion that would cause --

BAIER:  We're not talking about some other shoe to drop in the next 20 days.  

KAINE:  I’m not.  I’m not.  

I mean, look, it's very clear that both Russia and WikiLeaks want to, you know, drop a few documents at a time to try to create a story.  I think the marginal utility of each successive dump gets less and less.  And just, you know, out on the trail, so many people, they want to talk about jobs or how can America be safe in a dangerous and challenging world.  

They are worried about this Russia angle though, Bret, as you mentioned.  You know, I -- at least in my lifetime, I can't think of a precedent of a foreign nation trying to destabilize an American election.  And I -- you know, I brought up a couple weeks ago the Watergate analogy of trying to destabilize an election by going in and grabbing files.  This is current version of that Watergate attack, I think.  

BAIER:  Senator, Watergate was also about a cover-up.  There was a story broken by Steve Hayes with The Weekly Standard last night in which an interview with FBI investigators looking at Secretary Clinton's e-mail practices, an FBI records and classification official said he felt pressure from Patrick Kennedy, a senior State Department official, to change the classification of some Hillary Clinton e-mails.  

To your knowledge, did anyone associated with Secretary Clinton or her campaign ask or instruct Kennedy to seek changes to classification of e-mails?  

KAINE:  Absolutely not.  I have no knowledge that that happened, absolutely not.  

BAIER:  And if you found out that they were trying to -- with a very specific way, hold back specific e-mails based on an arcane FOIA rule, doesn't that sound like somewhat of a cover-up?  

KAINE: Well, you know, look -- here would be something you'd have to look at.  Classification of material changes all the time for all kinds of reasons and they’re not all nefarious.  

In fact, I’m on a couple of committees where I get classified information a lot, the Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees.  I’m often asking, OK, is this material I can talk about or is it material that I can't talk about?  And I'll be instructed it's classified, and then three or four weeks later, it suddenly won't be classified, and officials in the Pentagon or State Department will be talking about it appropriately.  

So, you do see classification of information change for very legitimate reasons.  So that would be something that you'd have to -- you’d definitely have to look at.  

BAIER:  Two more things, quickly, Senator.  One is, were you upset when your hometown paper in Richmond did not endorse your ticket?  In fact, endorsed Gary Johnson, saying -- going as far as to say that Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton were acceptable to endorse.  

KAINE:  Bret, actually, it's interesting.  I was kind of pleasantly surprised when my hometown paper made that endorsement because my hometown paper -- and it's a great paper.  I love the guys.  But they've never endorsed me in any contested race I’ve ever been in ever in 22 years in elected office.  Not for my first city council race, not for lieutenant governor, not for governor, not for senator.  

But what they do is they endorse Republicans.  This is the first time that they have chosen not to endorse the Republican ticket for president in my memory, certainly in all the years I’ve lived in Richmond.  So, the fact they could not see clear to endorse the Republican ticket in Richmond, that was the news.  

BAIER:  Last thing.  What would you -- what's the advice to your nominee for Wednesday?  

KAINE:  You know, I think the key, Bret, on Wednesday, sort of in the first two.  I think she was very, very knowledgeable.  She demonstrated that.  There was a significant gap in that way between her and Donald, and I think he feels like he lost the debate.  And that's why he's kind of going wild a little bit.  

But the other thing about it, it's the demeanor.  I think that's what people look at.  They're looking at that debate as a crucible, as a high-pressure situation, and they want to see somebody whose demeanor suggests to them that person has the temperament to be president and commander in chief.  She did a great job on that in the first two debates.  I certainly expect she'll do that again.  

BAIER:  Senator Kaine, thanks for the time.  

KAINE:  You bet, Bret.  Glad to talk.  


BAIER:  Up next, how will Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton respond to the latest allegations in this week's debate?  We'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss strategy and what's at stake Wednesday night as we continue our broadcast live from the MGM Grand Hotel right on the strip here in Las Vegas, Nevada.  



TRUMP:  Right now, she's in debate prep.  I don't know.  This is Saturday.  That's going to be Wednesday.  If you got to study all that -- you're supposed to know this stuff.  

CLINTON:  It's a little challenging debating someone like that.  He seems remarkably unacquainted with the truth.  


BAIER:  Both candidates revving up their bases as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton get ready for the third and final presidential debate here in Las Vegas.  

It's time now for our Sunday group.  Charles Hurt, political columnist with The Washington Times, Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin, who’s covering the Clinton campaign, Monica Crowley, editor and columnist for The Washington Times, and Democratic strategist Joe Trippi.  

Jen, I want to start with you.  First of all, we put up a poll earlier that's pretty tight, four points.  But the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll just came out just moments ago and it is at 11 points nationally.  Two different polls, two different results. The average of polls has been around 5 percent.  

What are you seeing on the trail there and the concerns in the Clinton campaign of what they're hearing?  

JENNIFER GRIFFIN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Well, they're not really concerned because they're looking at battlegrounds state polls.  And what they're seeing in Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina in terms of early voting, what's interesting is that they have a record number of early ballots, particularly from Hispanics in Florida.  One in three early ballots have been requested by Hispanics.  

And so, they're looking at those battleground states.  They say in Ohio, the campaign manager, had all the analytics.  He said there are 1 million early ballots that have already been cast, mostly in the Cuyahoga and Franklin Counties, which are favorable to Democrats.  

BAIER:  For all their confidence, Charlie, there's still this sense that, you know, if Donald Trump has a bad week, he's still kind of hanging around.  

CHARLES HURT, THE WASHINGTON TIMES:  Yes, I mean, 5 points or 11 points.  After what Donald Trump has been through in the past two weeks, it is the worst media maelstrom in the history of television for a political candidate.  The fact that he's still anywhere remotely within striking distance of Hillary Clinton, I think, suggests that he's still in it.  He still has a chance.  

The question is, does he buckle down, focus on the issues, and stick with that stuff instead of going off on tangents?

BAIER:  You know, Joe, you saw Mike Pence.  He's been answering these questions about the allegations.  I didn't go down the road too far, but, I mean, you have to think he's wincing on some of these answers or some of this campaigning about the accusers.  

JOE TRIPPI, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  Well, he has to be because part of the whole problem, the difference in the polling numbers, is women.  And they've moved away from Trump, even groups that tend to be Republican with women.  Moderate Republican women are moving away.  

And so, this isn't how you get them back.  They're gettable because they've been voting Republican all these years.  So, and they’ve got arguments.  

But the argument isn't to go after the accusers.  So, I think this is a -- that's what I think is going to be interesting about this debate.  Is that the Donald Trump that shows up that goes after the accusers and keeps giving Clinton this advantage or does he try to reach out to them?  That's what I think is going to be the key.  

BAIER:  Monica?  

MONICA CROWLEY, THE WASHINGTON TIMES:  Well, I think it's astonishing that throughout this campaign, this man who has never done this before, who still has a skeletal campaign and relatively little money compared to the $2 billion that Mrs. Clinton will be breaking to bear throughout this campaign, is still in this race and particularly after the last two weeks where he's gotten hit time and time again.  

The fact he's still standing tells me that this is still possible for him, despite what we're seeing in the polling, battleground states and nationally.  And that's because he's got -- he’s got the majority of voters with him on the core issues: economic growth, job creation, enforcing the border, dealing with illegal immigration, dealing with the existential threat of Islamic terror.  

So, he's got the voters with him on the issues.  If he can dispense with the latest scandal about the groping allegations quickly and forcefully in this debate and pivot to prosecuting the case against Mrs. Clinton and her record and then promoting his own positive agenda, he will reset this campaign.  

BAIER:  I think the -- the question is over the bar of commander in chief and whether he got there throughout this process as of yet. You know, every -- every debate there's that question.

Jen, you know, Trump supporters say, look at these crowds. These crowds are huge, in Donald Trump parlance. What about the Hillary Clinton crowds?

GRIFFIN: Well, we saw a little bit of a change this week. You're right, the crowds have been relatively small. Fifteen hundred perhaps at each of the events. But we saw in Ohio, when she opened up the space, there were 18,000-plus people who came out on Ohio State University.

The real concern of the Clinton campaign is that the campaign gets so ugly and that the rhetoric gets so -- so negative that people decide to sit out. So that is why you see Michelle Obama and President Obama out on the trail saying, this matters, make sure you come up -- you show up and vote.

BAIER: Yes, I mean clearly Trump's crowds, though, Charlie, have been a lot bigger overall, 20,000, 30,000. The question is, is enthusiasm.

HURT: Yes.

BAIER: Is it -- is it on his side, even after all this kind of bad stuff?

HURT: No, I -- I think he's lost a lot of it and I think that’s -- I think that's where the -- that -- the past couple of weeks with the media hitting him on -- on all of this stuff has -- has really hurt him is just with the enthusiasm.

But like, I think, Monica said, I think, you know, he can get it back if he just -- if he delivers a great debate performance, talks about the issues and -- and -- and, you know, gets over trying to hit back on everybody.

BAIER: Quickly, Joe, when you look at the polls and -- and, again, this is from the Trump campaign perspective, that they say, it could shift. You know, it could shift or it's underreported. How many points is -- could it potentially be underreported?

TRIPPI: I -- I don't think much. I -- I don't think we're seeing that. I -- I mean I think this is one of the things -- a lot of difference in these polls is just how do you project what's going to turn out, who's going to turn out. And so I think that the Trump campaign has decided to energize its base and to make sure they vote. I'm not sure there's enough of them, and that's why he's got to try to reach out to women and some of these people that have been pushed away. But that's what this debate’s going to be about, I think.

BAIER: Addition.

Panel, we'll see you. We’ll take a break right here. We'll see you a bit later.

Up next, a look at the battleground map with political reporters from some key states that hold the path to the White House.


BAIER: A gorgeous early morning here. Welcome back to "Fox News Sunday," live from Las Vegas.

Joining me now to discuss the race in crucial battleground states, Chrissie Thompson, Columbus bureau chief for The Cincinnati Enquirer, Patricia Mazzei, political writer for The Miami Herald, and Tim Boyum, political anchor for Time Warner Cable News in North Carolina.

Thank you all for being here.

Let's go around the horn first about the presidential race, where things stand, what the campaigns look like, and what it looks like.

Patricia, first to you.

PATRICIA MAZZEI, MIAMI HERALD: In Florida, the average of the polls show Clinton up by about 3 percent. She's got many more organizational offices around the state. I think she's up to 72. Trump was really slow in opening them here. And the campaign still expects this to be a pretty tight race. This is still the quintessential swing state. The Clinton camp has said that they're expecting it maybe to be a 1 percent to 2 percent race. Obama, if you’ll recall, defeated Romney here by one percentage point, which was about 74,000 votes, in 2012.

BAIER: Chrissie, in Ohio, boy, the campaign, the Hillary Clinton campaign, looked like it was kind of backing off Ohio and then turned around and started campaigning there hard.

CHRISSIE THOMPSON, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER: That's right. We've seen as -- with the start of early voting this past week, Clinton, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, John Legend, Madeline Albright is coming next week, any surrogate they can think of sending to Ohio to try to turn out their key African-American base and women voters. But among Republicans, there's a lot of enthusiasm for -- by Trump supporters, but there's kind of some infighting still going on between the Ohio Republican Party and the Trump campaign, which just yesterday disassociated themselves with the chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. So, a lot of turmoil going on there.

BAIER: Chrissie, let ask -- just ask you quickly, how much difference does it make that the governor is not fully behind this -- this campaign and the machinery of the governor's office is not activated?

THOMPSON: Well, it's meant that the top organizers and that the top political operatives in the state have not gotten behind the Trump campaign. Now, they've still hired some pretty good people, but their organization, as we've seen in other states, has kind of lagged the Hillary Clinton organization in strength and in numbers. And the chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, while he was a Kasich person, has been as helpful as maybe you can expect. However, he has been really honest to say that he's not sure if he's going to vote for Donald Trump, especially given some of the allegations of this past week and the tape from last Friday.


Tim, let's talk about North Carolina. It looks like one of the swingiest of swing states. And you have both the presidential race that's very tight, but also a U.S. Senate race that really wasn't expected to be very tight, but is very tight.

TIM BOYUM, TIME WARNER CABLE NEWS NORTH CAROLINA: Yes. Richard Burr, the incumbent, most people thought was going to win this pretty handily. Deborah Ross, the Democrat, she’s a former state lawmaker and legal director for the ACLU in North Carolina. The Republicans were banking on that she was too liberal for North Carolina. But he -- he -- Richard Burr has really fell victim to a very close presidential race and it is way tighter than anybody expected. In some polls, Ross is up by one or two. In others, Richard Burr is ahead. It's all within the margin of error.

BAIER: And, Tim, is the campaign on both sides very active? Is one more active on the ground?

BOYUM: Are you talking about the presidential race?


BOYUM: Yes, they're both very active. I mean last Monday we saw Mike Pence twice in North Carolina. President Obama was here on Tuesday. Both Mike Pence and Tim Kaine were here on Wednesday. Donald Trump made two appearances on Friday. Then we have Mike Pence scheduled for Tuesday this week already and Tim Kaine will be in the state on Wednesday and Thursday as early voting gets started in North Carolina, which is a huge deal because more than half of North Carolinians are expected to vote before Election Day.

BAIER: So that keeps you guys busy.

Patricia, finally, the Senate race in Florida, Marco Rubio, the incumbent, who decided to get back in, status of that race?

MAZZEI: We have seen Rubio leading his opponent, who is a Democratic congressman, Patrick Murphy, consistently for nearly two dozen polls now. The averages have him up by about five percentage points, which shows that there is expected to be some ticket splitting with folks voting for Clinton for president and Rubio for Senate. He has maintained his support for Mr. Trump in the past week after falling under some criticism for remaining silent without saying if he was going to stick behind him or not. But it has been kind of tepid, and his campaign has said he's not going to campaign with him from here until Election Day.

BAIER: OK. Patricia, Chrissie, and Tim, thank you very much, in those battleground states. We appreciate it.

Next up, we'll bring back our panel here in Las Vegas to discuss how Wednesday's debate right here in Vegas will reshape potentially the race heading into November.



MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: This was not just a lewd conversation. This wasn't just locker room banter. This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predator behavior.

TRUMP: These are lies being pushed by the media and the Clinton campaign to try and keep their grip on our country. They are all false. They're totally invented.


BAIER: First Lady Michelle Obama in a campaign stop for Hillary Clinton denouncing Donald Trump's crude past comments about women and allegations being brought forward, another one this morning, as the Republican nominee pushes back, claiming the system is stacked against him.

We're back now with the panel.

What potentially, Joe, breaks through here as we get ready for this debate moderated by our own Chris Wallace, that changes dramatically the trajectory of this race?

TRIPPI: I think the only thing is Donald Trump. Does -- I mean if I were him, ask for forgiveness. Say you're sorry and then say to the country, we've got 23 days to talk about the real issues and here are the differences.

BAIER: Joe, you've just seen him campaign day after day. Do you really think that --

TRIPPI: Yes, it’s not his -- that's why I don't have a problem giving him this advice on -- on air. But that's what I would do. I don't think he'll do it. This is going to be about, does he continue to try to drive his base, and it's just not big enough with what he's driven away. And he's got to get people to take another look at him.

BAIER: Monica.

CROWLEY: Donald Trump's whole rationale for getting into this race was, I don't need this job. I'm rich. I have a successful business and a great family. I am doing this for the American people and the future of the country. That's what he needs to focus on in this final debate. He's got to prosecute the case against Mrs. Clinton, point to the wreckage of the Obama/Clinton economy and foreign policy and say, we tried it your way. And then, in the -- in the wake of all these WikiLeaks disclosures, put her on the defensive and say the media was colluding and still is colluding with your campaign to protect your candidacy. You were being tipped off as to the FBI investigation. There was collusion in terms of obstruction justice on the Benghazi e-mails. You knew that Qatar and Saudi Arabia were funding ISIS and yet your -- the Clinton Foundation was still taking tens of millions of dollars from these countries. If he's able to reset the campaign by laying out his positive agenda and then putting her on the defense, he has a fighting chance.

BAIER: Jen, you know, we’ve been covering the WikiLeaks substance here on Fox in -- in pretty significant detail. There's a ton of it coming every day. What would have to drop in there that would be big enough to change the dynamic of this race? I mean, obviously, there are big things that have been out already, but big enough that it breaks through.

GRIFFIN: Well, I think that's the trouble in covering the WikiLeaks e-mails because there are about a thousand coming out each day, is that they aren't breaking through. It's a drip, drip, drip. And I think what you will see Hillary Clinton do tomorrow night is she's going to change the subject. She is going to be talking about the Russian involvement in the hacking. That's why you saw Mike Morel come out on Friday, the former acting CIA director, and say that it is chilling that the Russians would be involved in our election. That is going to be her pivot point throughout the debate tomorrow night.

But what's important is, I don't think that Donald Trump will be contrite. He's going to be on offense. And our own Fox News poll shows that if he gets 90 percent of the Republican voters, that's still only 30 -- of registered Republican (ph) voters, that's still only 32 percent of the vote. That's not enough. He has to appeal to independents and to women, and he's not doing that right now. That's not the tone.

BAIER: Charlie, if, let's say, another shoe drops and we start seeing Hillary Clinton deleted e-mails from the 33,000 or -- I mean, what is the thing that this is so explosive that it’s -- it changes it?

HURT: If it's a WikiLeaks thing, it's going to have to be something huge because while Fox has covered it very fairly and aggressively, it’s -- you know, the rest of the media simply has not covered it. And -- and it would have to be something so big that it shames the media into covering it forcefully.

But what -- I think it’s sort of interesting about all of this is that, you know, Donald Trump has run this -- this cowboy campaign, talking about a rigged system and how, you know, there's corruption behind the scenes. All the while, these WikiLeaks, you know, have sort of demonstrated that actually he has a pretty good point about all of it and it’s proving his point. And if he is able, in -- in the debate, to do -- and I -- and I think he's done a very, very good job in the first two debates. I know I'm in the minority on believing that, but even in the first one. But if he can come back to that and just focus on the issues and focus on, you know, proving his point that it's rigged and that its -- you know, everybody’s corrupt and all that kind of stuff, and stay away from the personal attacks, you know, this -- they -- I -- he’s in -- he's got good -- good footing.

BAIER: There’s a lot of ifs there. And, obviously, there’s some people who say that the rigged talk is -- is dangerous in the long term. But, you know, it's -- it’s worked to fire up his base.

Quickly, Joe, I talked with the local reporters about the Senate and the balance of power. House, not in play, do you think?

TRIPPI: No, I don’t think so.

BAIER: But the Senate is precarious for Republicans.

TRIPPI: I -- I think the House is getting more precarious, but not likely to go. The -- the Senate, I think, goes to whoever wins the presidency. If -- if these polls are right and Hillary Clinton is winning in these -- in -- in the majority of these swing states where there's Senate races, I think that the -- the Democrats are going to win those seats and probably enough of them that we take the -- the Democrats take the majority.

BAIER: Joe, Monica, Jen, Charlie, thank you. Gorgeous view here in Vegas, isn’t it.

CROWLEY: Gorgeous.

BAIER: Place your bets. Thank you.

Up next, our "Power Player of the Week." It was a really tough booking. How our own Chris Wallace is preparing for the make-or-break final presidential debate this Wednesday.


BAIER: Another look here live at the Las Vegas Strip ahead of the third and final presidential debate. Hard to believe it. It all started a little more than 14 months ago in Cleveland when I, along with my colleagues Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace, moderated that first fiery prime time Republican debate. Remember that?

The voters will get one more chance to see these candidates face off this Wednesday night when "Fox News Sunday's" Chris Wallace asks the questions as only he can in the final presidential debate.

I got a really tough booking, an exclusive interview, a look at how he's preparing. Here's our very special "Power Player of the Week."



BAIER (voice-over): Since 2003, you've seen him on "Fox News Sunday," grilling politicians.

WALLACE:  And FBI Director James Comey said none of those things that you told the American public were true.

BAIER: You've seen him pinning presidential candidates down in primary debates.

WALLACE:  Question, sir, with that record, why should we trust you to run the nation's business?

BAIER: But Wednesday, October 19th, award-winning journalist and host of "Fox News Sunday," Chris Wallace, takes on a new role, moderator of the final general election presidential debate, the first Fox News anchor to get the nod. Held in Las Vegas less than three weeks from this historic election, the stakes are extremely high.

BAIER (on camera): So, you ready?

WALLACE:  Pretty close. I've got a couple of more days and I'll be tweaking and who knows what's going to happen in the world, but I'm pretty close.

One of the things that we've done, and I don't think any of the other networks did, is they basically said, you got a good team at "Fox News Sunday." You guys prepare for the debate. So I've got my crack researcher, Lori Martin. I’ve got my executive producer, Jes Loker. It's just the three of us against the world here.

Coming under heavy fire --

BAIER (voice-over): Before his 13 years hosting "Fox News Sunday," Wallace worked as an anchor and correspondent for ABC News. And before that, NBC News, as chief White House correspondent and then moderator of "Meet the Press."

BAIER (on camera): How many elections have you covered?

WALLACE:  Well, the second Lincoln one -- no. In terms of really covering, 1980 would be my first, Ronald Reagan.

BAIER: You have a long history with these two candidates. I saw some video of you interviewing Donald Trump on the convention floor in 1988.

WALLACE:  It's true. I was one of the floor reporters for NBC.

And one of the interesting things about any national convention is the surprising people who show up on the floor. And here tonight is real estate tycoon and best-selling author Donald Trump.

TRUMP: Well, thank you very much.

WALLACE:  Well, you’re -- you’re welcome.


WALLACE:  You have flirted with the idea of politics. Now you're here at your first national convention. Does that get you interested in possibly making the plunge?

TRUMP: Now you have to tell me something, who told you I flirted?

WALLACE:  Well --

TRUMP: I didn't know that I flirted.

WALLACE:  Well, I wasn't talking about this year, Mr. Trump, but you have said that if you ran for president, you'd win.

TRUMP: I think I’d have a very good chance. I mean I like to win.

BAIER: And Mrs. Clinton.

WALLACE:  The first time I ever met her, actually, was also in '88, but it wasn't on camera. This was when Bill Clinton gave the nominating speech for Michael Dukakis. And after going on and on and on, final he said --


WALLACE: Well, the next day, Clinton went around to each of the various networks to do a kind of apology tour, you know, to say, well, maybe I talked too much, but -- kind of to save his budding political career. She came along with him. I did the interview with him.

BAIER: You've interviewed both candidates on "Fox News Sunday." You've given them both tough questions before.

WALLACE:  Are you a little thin-skinned?

TRUMP: No, I'm only thin-skinned when somebody says bad things that are false.

WALLACE:  He not only directly contradicted what you said, he also said in that hearing that you were extremely careless and negligent.

CLINTON: Well, Chris, I looked at the whole transcript of everything that was said, and what I believe is, number one, I made a mistake.

WALLACE:  An interview, it's you and the candidate and you're the person holding them to account. This is a debate. And, you know, they're both going to be on the stage. If I think there's a need for me to intervene, I will, but I would prefer not to.

And basically you're there as a time keeper, but you're not a participant. You're there just to make sure that they engage in the most interesting and fairest way possible.

And I take it very seriously. It's not a TV show that we're doing. This is part of civics, the Constitution, if you will, in action because this is helping millions of people decide who we're going to elect as the next president.

BAIER: But at this moment, you know, what this moment means for you.

WALLACE:  It means a lot. It means a lot personally. It's kind of a statement of where you are in this business. It also means a lot to me because, quite frankly, it means something for Fox. I'm the first Fox moderator to do a general election debate, and I’m very proud for the news organization. I think it's a recognition of the fact that we do serious journalism. Some critics say no, but the fact is you and I know we do and here's the commission on presidential debates recognizing that.

Look, there's a lot of pressure. There's a lot of stress. We've seen the -- the previous moderators get criticized, and at certain points I've had to remind myself, this may be a once in a life opportunity, so have fun -- to the degree you can stop biting your nails, have fun with it.

BAIER: So you think your dad's smiling down on this one?

WALLACE:  I think of my dad. I think how proud he would be. I also think that if he could, he'd try to steal it from me. But once he learned he couldn't, he'd say, that's my boy.

BAIER: Well, we're proud of you, Chris, and I know you're going to kill it.

WALLACE:  Thank you. Thank you.


BAIER: I'm putting my chips on Chris Wallace. Be sure to tune into Fox News Channel this Wednesday as Chris moderates the final debate, 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, followed by post-debate analysis with Megyn Kelly and myself.

You can also watch the debate on your local Fox station anchored by our friend and colleague Shepard Smith.

And that's it today from Las Vegas. Have a great week. And we'll see you the next "Fox News Sunday."

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