KELLY FILE

Gingrich weighs in on debate over Trump's Cabinet choices; Carrier union leader rips president-elect

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," December 8, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SANDRA SMITH, GUEST HOST: Breaking tonight, that was President-elect Trump wrapping up the third stop on his thank you tour which is taking him to some of the biggest states that he won across the country. And while the crowd in Des Moines may have been going wild for the President-elect just moments ago, that's nothing compared to the hysteria among some Democrats over Mr. Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Welcome everyone to "The Kelly File" tonight. I'm Sandra Smith in for Megyn Kelly. Well, President-elect Donald Trump and VP-elect Mike Pence taking the stage just a short time ago in Iowa as part of their ongoing Thank You Tour to which they added yet another new stop just this afternoon. But that's not what has folks talking about the incoming commander-in-chief today. As folks on the left lose their minds over the decision to tap Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. But as Mr. Trump made clear just moments ago, he's not backing down on any of his picks.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP: And you saw it today, Scott Pruitt who is a tremendous guy, who has been met with tremendous applause from the business community. We're going to protect the family farm and we are going to end the EPA intrusion into your lives.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMITH: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich joins us in moments. But first we go to Peter Doocy live in Des Moines where the crowd was energetic to say the least tonight. Peter.

PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: They were, Sandra. And on his way here, the President-elect Donald Trump stopped at Ohio State University to meet with some of the victims and first responders involved with that mass stabbing a few weeks ago. And just now a few minutes ago he said that attack in Columbus, Ohio has proved that immigration security is national security.

He also did take credit for the stop market surge. He said that the Dow Jones would not be up if he was not on his way to the White House and he addressed some of the questions that have been coming up from people on the left about why he's putting so many billionaires and multimillionaires on his cabinet. He says, he wants people that made a fortune in the business world to be representing the United States and making people for the money for the people that voted for him and for people who did not. So, he said that that's all on purpose.

Now, as for the crowd, Mr. Trump did have many events during the campaign in rooms like this one. And it seemed like it took the crowd that was very happy a little bit longer than at a campaign event to get really excited, really loud. But once they saw with their eyes in person Mr. Trump, it was just like, just like the summer, just like the fall in all of the swing states that he's out revisiting on this Thank You Tour. A lot of people said that they had seen Mr. Trump before.

Some folks said that they really liked what he said during the campaign and they wanted to come back because they are ready for specifics. About how he's going to make all of that happened. And a new specific that we got tonight, we did not hear very much from Donald Trump, on the campaign trail, was about how he's pledging to improve the quality of clean air and clean water. He was mentioning that because he did name the person that he wants to run the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. And Pruitt is somebody who says, he's not sure about the signs of climate change and that has Democrats in a tizzy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., MINORITY LEADER: With controlled EPA, Pruitt could do immense damage to the air our children breathe and the water they drink.  

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The Attorney General of Oklahoma who has been working hand in glove with the energy industry to call into question the science of climate change.  

ED MARKEY, D-MASS., SENATE ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE: He's going to try to bring the EPA to its knees. He's going to try to turn the EPA into standing for every polluter's ally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOOCY: So Mr. Trump is done here in Iowa. Tomorrow, another stop on the victory tour, number four, Michigan -- Sandra.

SMITH: All right. Peter Doocy, thank you. Live from Des Moines for us for tonight.

And joining me now is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who is also author of the new novel, "Treason." Speaker, thank you for being here tonight.  You were sitting there listening to the President-elect's words in Iowa.  What struck you about his speech just now?

NEWT GINGRICH, R-FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: Well part of it is the very calm delivery. If you watch, he has an almost soft tone now. He's reassuring people, going back over ground, maybe making it a little broader, a little clearer. Plus, things like introducing his new ambassador to Beijing who turns out to be a close personal friend of the Chinese Prime Minister, a relationship that goes back to the Chinese Prime Minister having come and spent time in Iowa.

So, it's more than just trade deals and Iowa agriculture. But Terry Branstad is going to be a remarkable spokesperson. And of course Branstad is the longest serving governor in the history of United States. So, he has an enormous level of talent and Iowans have loved him and I think he's going to be very effective. I think you're seeing Trump, you know, flesh out this cabinet and his key team with very, very competent, very successful people.  

SMITH: And it did seem like he was branching out. They're calling this his Thank You Tour but there at the end, you heard him say, join this movement, believe in America. Perhaps in addition to it, being a Thank You Tour, it's reaching out to even those that did not support him or did not vote for him.  

GINGRICH: Yes, I think that President-elect Trump believes that he can add 20 or 25 percent of the country to the base he already has. And as they get to know him, as they see what he's trying to do, that there will be a great deal of people saying, you know, this guy really is trying to make America great again and he really is trying to make my life better. And I think that's why he believes it has to be a movement.

He knows it can't be him by himself. And he's talked fairly often for the last six months about the idea that this is a movement. And that's what he really wants. Trumpism is more than Donald Trump. It's a way of thinking, it's a way of approaching problems. And I think that he's the beginning of a very new and very different chapter in American history.  

SMITH: But perhaps Speaker, we're seeing the beginning of what could be a very big fight with one of his more recent nominations.

GINGRICH: Sure.

SMITH: Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma Attorney General as the head of the EPA.  You just heard some of the criticism there. But Nancy Pelosi saying this nomination must be blocked for the sake of the air we breathe, the water we drink and the planet we will leave our children. Democrats are in an uproar over his nominating Pruitt.  

GINGRICH: Sure. You know, this is a great shock to the Democrats. It turns out, Donald Trump is actually a conservative, he actually believes in the things he campaigned on and he's actually going to do the things he promised to do. And for some Left wing Democrats, it's going to drive them nuts. Nancy Pelosi being a good example. If you spend your life in San Francisco surrounded by San Francisco liberals, you're appropriately horrified by Donald J. Trump because he ain't you. But that's why he won.

Millions of people came out to vote. And as Trump was saying tonight -- I ran into a 90-year-old woman in Georgia who had never voted who registered to vote for Trump. And I think that the Left doesn't realized, there was a big block of folks who wanted to send a signal to the Left. We don't agree. Notice when he said we're going to get the EPA out of your life.  There was spontaneous applause in Iowa because farmers have seen the EPA as a major problem and a major headache for them just running their family farms.  

SMITH: There was obviously a strategy there to meet with Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio and then, and now Scott Pruitt as the head of the EPA.  But our own Chris Stirewalt Speaker, I wanted to run this by you. He is saying that he poses an interesting case in his bid to get the 51 votes that he needed for confirmation. Not every Republican may feel comfortable voting for him. Do you see that happening? Is there going to be a big fight there?

GINGRICH: Yes. Could be. I think you have to look and see. On the other hand, there's some Democrats that may decide to vote for him. I think Senator Manchin may end up deciding to vote for him. I also think that he's a very talented person, he's a very good attorney general of Oklahoma.  He's very respected among attorneys general. And I think that as people get to know him, as he makes his case -- you know, it is nonsense to suggest that opposing EPA regulations that are stupid means you're for dirty air or you're for dirty water. We can have very clean air and very clean water and still have a limited rational government in Washington.  

SMITH: And he reiterated, the President-elect reiterated that campaign promise tonight, we heard it on the trail and we heard it again tonight.  Speaker Gingrich, thank you for joining us tonight.

GINGRICH: Thank you. Good to be with you.

SMITH: All right. Well, a manhunt is underway tonight for an illegal immigrant suspected of killing two women in a hit and run crash. And now we're learning he has been deported eight times before.

Up next, Laura Wilkerson whose young son was also murdered by an illegal joins us on her push to change our laws.  

Plus, when the President-elect stepped in to save jobs at Carrier, the union's cheered. So, why is one union boss now changing his tune? We'll investigate.  

And then after American voters backed President Obama by historic margins, leading Democrats are today saying the party's problems can all be blamed on racism. We'll fact check that claim just ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I think there's a reason why attitudes about my presidency among whites in Northern States are very different from whites in Southern States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: On immigration, we will build the wall and we will put an end to illegal immigration and stop the drugs from pouring into our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMITH: Well, that was President-elect Donald Trump in Des Moines, Iowa just a short time ago promising to tackle the issue of illegal immigration.  It comes as a manhunt is under way for a dangerous illegal immigrant accused of killing two women in Kentucky in a hit and run crash.  Authorities say he had been deported eight times. And he even told border agents that he had repeatedly crossed into Texas by wading and rafting across the Rio Grande River.

Joining us now, Laura Wilkerson. Her son Josh was killed by an illegal immigrant in 2010. She is chair of enforce the law which is an organization that is helping to end sanctuary cities. Laura, thank you for being here tonight.  

LAURA WILKERSON, SON KILLED BY AN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT: Thank you for having me.  

SMITH: What goes through your mind as a mother who lost her son in a similar fashion to an illegal immigrant to now hear about these two women in Kentucky killed by an illegal immigrant who has sent out of the country multiple times.  

WILKERSON: I'm just enraged about it at how many times during his events could this have been prevented. I mean, not the first time, not the second, but eight times deported. It tells you what a rap sheet that he must have to be deported eight times and be able to walk right back into the country.

SMITH: And I want to talk about the man responsible for killing your son.  He's a confessed killer. Hermilo Morales. He was brought here by also illegal parents when he was 10. He was 19 when he killed your son. Makes him eligible for DREAMers status. Now Donald Trump softened stance on DREAMers, promising, quote, "We're going to work something out." You have supported Donald Trump and his efforts here. What do you make of his softened stance there and his words?

WILKERSON: I have supported Donald Trump and I continue to do that. I believe that he will do what he says he can do. I know that we have to build the wall first. You can't really assess this until you stop the flow of people coming across that border. It's just wide open and people are in and out a different times just like this story can tell you, eight times deported. But I believe he'll do what he says he can do and it's time to just keep pushing and now is the perfect time for him to do what he says he would do, which is build the wall, enforce the law and get out illegals who were here committing crimes.

SMITH: And I know this is something that you obviously, you pour so much thought into on a daily basis and you've got this effort, enforce the law.  But this is built up around three specific pledges. On the President- elect's plans. I go back to the idea that some say he's softening his stance here and talking about there's not going to be a solid wall. What do you make when you hear all of that?

WILKERSON: I don't -- I think that he will build the wall. I don't know that I think he's softening. I think that now is the perfect time to push push push and get what we need done. I think it's time that we start over in how we're pushing to get things done.  

SMITH: And is the wall the answer?

WILKERSON: The wall is definitely the answer. You can't mop up what's hear until you stop the leak. It doesn't make any sense to me to try to assess what's here and who goes or who stays before you stop that border --  

SMITH: I got to leave it there. But before you go, Rahm Emanuel in the city of Chicago promising to protect those in his city with the sanctuary status of that city. Your thoughts and any message you have to a mayor of a city who's seen so much turmoil?

WILKERSON: Yes. I hope to visit his city someday and tell his citizens there just exactly what happened to Josh. And do they want Joshua's killer to come and live in their neighborhood. Because that's what he's advocating for. You know, welcome criminal, our city will give you a path.  Do they want the guy that killed Josh and was proud of it to come live next door to them?

SMITH: Well, we are sorry for the loss of your son. This is another tragic story and it is an issue that you continue to shine light on.  Laura, thank you for being here tonight.  

WILKERSON: Thank you so much.

SMITH: All right. With us now is David Wohl, he is an attorney and supporter of President-elect Trump. Matt Bennett is co-founder of the progressive group Third Way.

David, it's horrific to have to hear another tragic story like these two women in Kentucky killed by an illegal immigrant. Does this more make the case for you? You have been all along a Donald Trump supporter and the idea of that wall.   

DAVID WOHL, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well he is a poster boy for the wall. There is no question about it. What message Sandra, does this send to terrorists such as ISIS and Al Qaeda when this guy is deported eight times and then saunters over the border eight times to come back and then to commit two counts of murder. Which they will be charged as murder in the Kentucky for those two women, there is statute providing for that, but this guy is what Donald Trump talks about when he talks about the need for the wall. There is no border. There just simply isn't. He is probably on his way to California where our lawmakers just declared the entire state a Sanctuary State. If the Feds or Kentucky, try to get a hold of him, presumably, they will protect him, they won't cooperate. I mean how disgusting is that, that is the current reality and that is why Mr. Trump is going to turn things around, starting January 20.

SMITH: And Matt, we don't know that much about these victims. We know that one was a 49-year-old woman, she died at the scene. The other woman was taken to the hospital and later died. Do we have to hear more stories like this before we see real change?

MATT BENNETT, THIRD WAY: Well look, I hope not. These stories are heartbreaking and it's just awful that to hear about them. But the fact of the matter is this. The central promise that Donald Trump made during the campaign, of course was the wall as you just pointed out, Sandra and Senator. And the problem is that it's impossible for him to build a 2,000- mile wall along the Mexico border. It's not going to happen. It was a fantasy the he is selling. He admitted on "60 Minutes" he is not going to build a 2,000-mile wall. And so, there's going to be opportunity for people like this to continue to come across the border. We do need stronger enforcement but we're not going to have a 2,000-mile wall.

SMITH: But Matt, you're getting away from the issue. What about the status of Sanctuary City. And many of our U.S. cities where actively mayors like Rahm Emanuel, the city of Chicago are trying to protect that.  What do you make of that?

BENNETT: Well, look, remember that these are sanctuaries not for criminals. President Obama has deported more criminal aliens that any president in U.S. history and that will continue certainly under President Trump and it should. We should not allow criminal aliens to be in the country. These sanctuary cities are for people who have grown up here, have tried to make the American dream for themselves and have--

WOHL: Live good and decent lives.

SMITH: All right, David?

BENNETT: Absolutely untrue.

WOHL: That is not untrue.

BENNETT: They're going to be released from jail and when released from jail the immigration laws will not be honored. They will be sauntering their way down the street, they are not going to cooperate with the feds.  That is the reality that is going to stop on January 20th. And these women who were just killed will hopefully be among the last that have to suffer of those types of horrible endings, because when he says he is going to build the wall, look, everywhere it's geographically possible the wall will be built.

SMITH: All right.

WOHL: So it's where it's geographically possible.

SMITH: Guys we've got to leave it there. Thanks for both of you for jumping on tonight.

BENNETT: Thank you.

WOHL: Thanks, Sandra.

SMITH: President-elect Donald Trump unleashes on twitter after a local union leader accuses him of lying to the public about how many jobs were actually saved in that deal with Carrier. Katrina Pierson and Robert Wolf are next to separate fact from fiction.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT MIKE PENCE: Because of the leadership of our President-elect, a companies that announced they were pulling up stakes from Indiana and going all the way to Mexico, closing their doors, because he reached out, because he described a vision for a growing America, an America that puts American workers first, Carrier decided to keep more than 1,000 good paying jobs in the state of Indiana. Make no mistake about it, Carrier decided to stay in America, because Donald Trump was elected president of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMITH: Well that was Vice President-elect Mike Pence touting Donald Trump deal with Carrier to keep more than 1,000 jobs in the U.S. His comments come in the middle of a feud between the President-elect and a local union leader, who has been attacking Mr. Trump in the media and accusing him of lying to the public about how many jobs have been spared. For more on that, we go to Chief National Correspondent Ed Henry.

ED HENRY, CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sandra, shortly after the election Donald Trump had vowed that as he got closer to taking power, he pulled back some of the more incendiary tweets. But this week alone, officials had vowing and now Indianapolis Union Leader Chuck Jones is still feeling the heat. Jones said he is getting threats to his children, after appearing on CNN last night and questioning just how many jobs the President-elect really saved at Carrier. The Union Chief have previously told the Washington Post that Mr. Trump lied as well butt off and then said last night Mr. Trump was counting at least 350 jobs that were never supposed to move to Mexico. That was too much for the President-elect who we know like to watch a lot of cable TV and fire back in real-time tweeting out quote, Chuck Jones who is president of the United Steelworkers 1999 has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country. Jones went back on CNN via phone and was none too pleased with the President-elect, saying he simply does not pay a lot of attention to Mr. Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK JONES, CARRIER UNION LEADER: First of all, that wasn't very damn nice. But with Donald Trump saying that, that must be, mean I'm doing a good job because these people are making a decent wage at Carrier and I feel like I'm somewhat involved in making that happen where he does everything he can to keep the unions out in his hotels and casinos here in this country, depriving them of making a living wage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY: Mr. Trump got the final word, yes on twitter declaring if the union boss was really so good, the jobs would have never been leaving Indiana in the first place. And he added it's time to reduce union dues for good measure. And for Jones who spend less time talking and more time working, Sandra.

SMITH: All right, Ed Henry, thank you. Joining me now with more, Katrina Pierson, former Trump Campaign National Spokesperson and Robert Wolf, former economic adviser to President Obama and Fox News contributor, Katrina I will start with you first. There has been big announcement, Thanksgiving Day. Over a thousand jobs were going to be saved at the Carrier plant in Indiana. And then in the Wednesday that follows, we heard from that Union Leader Chuck Jones say he pulled it off. The man deserves credit he even said for what he did for these Carrier folks, without a doubt. A week passes, Katrina and he say he is laying his, you know what off. What so drastically changed?

KATRINA PIERSON, FORMER NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON FOR THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Well I think that is a question you should ask the union leader. But we do know if you criticize the president-elect you get to go on TV all day and that is exactly what's been happening over the last couple of days. There's really no breaking news with the simple fact that the president-elect defended himself on twitter after being publicly attacked, viciously I might add. I can't even repeat exactly what he said, because of the expletive that was involved in calling the President-elect a liar. But the fact is that the CEO of United Technologies, Greg Hayes, was with President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence at the Carrier plant to make the announcement that over 1,000 jobs were saved.

SMITH: Is it a discrepancy in the numbers, Robert? What happen here?

ROBERT WOLF, CEO OF 32 ADVISORS: Well I think first of all, Chuck is protecting the workers who did not get saved, but I have to give credit to President-elect Trump. He saved 700 jobs or 1100 jobs, whatever that number is. That is good for the country. And you know my hope is that, once President-elect Trump is in office, he doesn't use twitter as his bully pulpit. He will be the most powerful person in the world.

SMITH: You have a problem with his use of twitter?

WOLF: Well, I think in 30 days, my hope is that he'll do it much more strategic, he will be able to have tax reform moving and things like that and then he will be able to make sure that, you know things are made in America, people stay in America, I hope he doesn't do it with tariffs. I hope it's very much policy driven.

SMITH: But I mean you have legal tariffs and I know where you're going with this, Robert, because you and I had chatted a lot of business. And you're argument here, well you actually sound like you're pretty complimentary of what Trump has done here is saying let's not go and threaten U.S. businesses, let's provide a business friendly environment in which these companies thrive and naturally they keep those jobs here.  Funny to hear that from a guy who supported Obama for eight years, who many have urge him to do just that.

WOLF: Although let's be clear. I'm a capitalist at heart and I think Obama did a great job in the economy. We could have a different debate on that. But we're talk about what President-elect Trump is going to do. At the end of the day we have to make sure that we have appropriate trade going back and forth. We can't have tariffs that are onerous going each way. My view is, I think, what he said tonight, that it would be great if we could buy more in America, make more in America and hire more in America. That is a great thing. I think by threatening companies is not the way to go. Like I said, I give him accolades on the Carrier transaction and I think that Chuck Jones, you can figure out how to be disagreeable in a respectful way. I mean, I had many people hit Obama over the years and I'm not going to be one of those who go on TV and hits president-elect in a disrespectful way. I could disagree in his policy.

SMITH: I hear that.

WOLF: I think there's a better way to do it.

SMITH: Katrina to Robert, the use of twitter to go after a union president in this manner, the president-elect going after the union leader, what did you make of that? Is that a good strategy?

PIERSON: Well recently the president-elect also tweeted the fact that he is still using Twitter, because he will not get accurate coverage in the media. And so he defended himself. And that is not new. It's been something that the president-elect has done for a very long time. You know this same individual was on TV just yesterday saying that he had no idea of the terms that were negotiated, did not know if the exact numbers were discuss. And it didn't have a clue if Mr. Trump even knew what he was talking about. How can you go on television and call someone a liar when you didn't even know the information that they had.

SMITH: That is one of the criticism the union leader, shouldn't he have known more about the specifics of the deal to react in one way only to change it a week later.

WOLF: Listen. Outside of hitting President-elect Trump on family, he hit him on the two things that you don't want to be hit on. He hit him on his brand and he hit him on deal making. He said, you know, Trump is lying and it's a bad deal. So I'm not surprised that President-elect took it back at him in a harsh way. But I think in 30 days we should get off twitter and use the bully pulpit in a more effective way.

PIERSON: Even if that were true, Sandra--

SMITH: I got to leave it there. Katrina, Robert, thank you to both of you for joining us tonight. We're a little squeezed at time because of Donald Trump talking at the top of the hour.

Despite the fact that President Obama twice won the White House by historic margins, now the Democrats are down in the dumps. The president and his advisers are saying that racism is to blame, Karl Rove and Mo Elleithee on that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SMITH: New fallout tonight from a new special on President Obama's legacy that opened within nearly 20-minute segment on race. It featured interviews with the president and his top advisers suggesting racism was to blame for some of the opposition to the president's policies. While we have heard this complains before the language coming from the White House seems more pointed than ever. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did racist play a role in the brick wall of Republican resistance to Barack Obama?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's indisputable that there was ferocity to the opposition and a lack of respect to him that was a function of race.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sort of suppressed racial feel and the suppressed racial resentment actually rather than being quelled by Obama's rise were actually unleashed by Obama's rise.

OBAMA: I think there's a reason why attitudes about my presidency among whites in northern states are very different from whites in southern states. So are there folks whose primary concern about me has been that I seem foreign, the other. Are those who champion the birther movement, you know, feeding off of bias, absolutely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMITH: Joining me you, former Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush Karl Rove and founding Executive Director of Georgetown's Institute of Politics and Public Service, Mo Elleithee, they are both Fox News contributor, it is good to have both of you here tonight. Karl can I get you first to respond to David Axelrod there, it's indisputable that there was ferocity to the opposition or lack of respect to him that was a function of race.

KARL ROVE, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah, well, the last refuge of a beaten liberal is cry racism, to suggest that opposition, President Obama's liberal policies was a result of Republicans being a bunch of bigots, that they opposed him on Obamacare, because they were racist, that they didn't like his stimulus bill and his economic policies, because they hated black people, that is condescending, insulting and fundamentally wrong. There were deep divisions in this country, they were there in 2009 and they were ideological in nature. And to suggest that the President was opposed simply because his was an African-American and his opponents were white is I think beyond the pale.

SMITH: And Mo, what did you make of that? I mean, do you see any truth in President Obama's response there, about attitudes towards his presidency are different in the north than in the south?

MOE ELLEITHEE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF POLITICS: One part of the interview that didn't make it into the clip that just aired was that the president was saying it wasn't the mainstream Republican opposition, it wasn't not even a majority of the opposition to him that was race based, but that there was an element, mostly on the fringe, that was making a lot of noise and distracting and taking up a lot of time. How many weeks and months did we have to talk about the birther movement? That wasn't mainstream. And I think even the president acknowledges that.

SMITH: Ok. So Karl, let me get --

ELLEITHEE: It did drive a lot of the conversation.

SMITH: Karl, let me get you to respond to that. And Mo I have the quote for you. Obama said he didn't view racism as a major component of mainstream Republican opposition to his policies. Instead he said it exists on the political fringe.

ROVE: Well that wasn't what David Axelrod said and that is not what the host of program Fareed Zakaria has said. For example, at one point when he begins to turn to the discussion of the affordable care act he said quote, rage over ObamaCare was turning to race, end quote. So I make the point that this president was very delicate in how he said it but the implication was clear, people who disagreed with me, particularly if they were in the south and they were white was on the basis of race. I'd make two points.

One is, is that he is fundamentally wrong about the difference between whites in the north and whites in the south. Ben Shapiro did a really excellent piece today in which he recalled the 2013 gallop study that found that attitudes of people in whites in the south and whites in the north with regard to race relations and to where blacks and whites were living were largely the same. And he said attitudes to the gallop study said attitudes that might have existed in the '50s and '60s in the south have changed dramatically in the decades since. So, maybe the differences is that people in the north and the south, particularly in rural areas, heard the president when they mocked him saying that people in those kinds of places just cling to their religion and their guns. And maybe there were true philosophical differences between people who disagreed with his policies and the president. And to treat those as being largely or even substantially derived from race is really, really fundamentally wrong and I'm disappointed that the president would make that and that Fareed Zakaria was further it with his language.

SMITH: And Mo, with the last few seconds that we have, you're pointing out the historic election, looking at President Barack Obama's 2008 win. He won 41 percent of white men, 46 percent of white women.

ELLEITHEE: Look, I am not one of these Democrats who argue that all Republicans are all Trump supporters or racists, because they're not. But I do think both parties need to take a step back and be honest and looking at themselves. The Republican Party did attract a significant number of these racist elements into the party. That doesn't define the whole party, but it did drive in. Democrats cannot say--

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: All right, got to leave it there. Mo, Karl thanks for joining us.  We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SMITH: Megyn is out on the road as part of her "Settle for More" book tour. And if you haven't picked up your copy yet, what are you waiting for. The great reviews, they are pouring in.

Carol says, this book should be read by young women as a life lesson. Much can be learn from Megyn's approach to life and I am forever grateful that she shared so much of it with all of us.

Arnold added, a real eye opener, if you're truly objective, and then read this and you'll see who the real bullies are. Tricia Parson writes I don't want to put the book down. This book is not only a great read, but it is very inspirational. I find myself reflecting on my own life wondering what I can do to make my life more fulfilling. Thank you to Megyn Kelly for writing this book and Rocket City Lady says "Settle for More" is honest without pretense. She charmingly tells her story and openly shares vulnerable moments in her life that most of her readers have more than likely experience. I loved the book so much that I bought one for each of my daughters. You can buy your own copy of the New York Times bestselling book "Settle for More" online and in stores now.

It makes a wonderful Christmas gift. And if you haven't noticed, Christmas is coming. We're like 17 days out. The election is gone, the holidays are here. It's going to be summer before you know it. Thanks for watching tonight everybody. I'm Sandra Smith and this is "The Kelly File."

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