How the Trump-Cruz feud may help Rubio

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," February 3, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SEN. TED CRUZ, R, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So I apologize to Ben for that. They should have forwarded that subsequent story. That was a mistake on our part.

DONALD TRUMP, R, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is a total voter fraud when you think about it. And he picked up a lot of the votes, and that's why the polls were so wrong. A lot of people didn't think I should go to Iowa and I came in -- actually, I came in probably first if you think about it.

CRUZ: Well, it is no surprise that Donald is throwing yet another temper tantrum, or if you like, another Trumper-tantrum. It seems his reaction to everything is to throw a fit, to engage in insults. And I understand that Donald finds it very hard to lose.

BEN CARSON, R, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can say whether or not we take something like this and just sweep it under the rug, and say that's just the way it is. Or are there consequences?


BRET BAIER, HOST: Donald Trump says there should be another vote in Iowa. It is just not fair. Ted Cruz says this is a Trumper-tantrum. Ben Carson says he should have done better but for dirty tricks being played by the Cruz people and perhaps others.

Meantime all the focus is on the Granite State now, and take a look at where all these candidates have been. The campaign stops in New Hampshire, look at that. John Kasich, the Ohio governor with 180, neck in neck with Chris Christie. These are stops in New Hampshire.

Here's the Real Clear Politics Average of polls heading into New Hampshire. It doesn't really translate the number of stops with the percentages there, at least as of yet. But who knows what can change in the next six days?

Let's bring in our panel, Jonah Goldberg, senior editor of "National Review," Amy Walter, national for "The Cook POLITICAL Report," and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. OK, Jonah, what about this back and forth about Iowa dominated today?

JONAH GOLDBERG, SENIOR EDITOR, "NATIONAL REVIEW": It was funny because Donald Trump for the first, what, 36 hours -- I think there was a clock on it -- behaved graciously and maturely. And then he seemed like he couldn't contain himself anymore.

The problem for him in part was that by behaving conventionally, he seemed like a conventional politician. And that's a bad place for Donald Trump to be, because whenever he is not dominating the media cycle he goes down in the polls. So I think that's probably what he's up to here is he wants to throw a Trumper-tantrum, not the most euphonious phrase I've ever heard, in order to be back in the limelight. I'm not sure it is going to work the way he wants to. On the other hand, I think Ben Carson has a legitimate complaint.


AMY WALTER, NATIONAL EDITOR, "COOK POLITICAL REPORT": Every time I leave New Hampshire, I say this whole caucusing is a hot mess. How is it that we cover this every four years? The way that they put this together every four years something goes wrong. And we call the whole thing into question. And then four years later we come back and we say isn't this quaint and cute?

The fact of the matter is it is a process that is rife with the potential for fraud. You have a blank piece of paper. You write a name on it. You stick it in the ballot. On the Democratic side, you hang out with a bunch of people, raise your hands, and then you flip coins.

GOLDBERG: Those coins are rigged.

WALTER: That's the process. And we've accepted that, and this is the first state, and now we move on. The certain other people not accepting this, to me, I don't know this is helpful at all for him as a way to get into the media. This makes him look, I think, much more about being petty and self-centered rather than being about strong and defiant.

BAIER: Charles, you know, he does say he didn't spend much money. He came in second, although he now says he actually probably came in first. And he says now he lives another day in New Hampshire.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: The reason he can't admit to coming in second is because if he loses anything, the earth wobbles off its axis. There's sort of a force is injured if that happens, so he can't accept it.

I disagree slightly with Jonah. I don't think that the reason he insists right now with the tweeting and the attacks on the attention coming back to him for electoral strategic reasons. I think it is just a psychological need, speaking as a layman there.

But the one thing I will say as to the effect, I think this has a weird effect of helping Rubio. This is the scenario where the two top dogs, the two coming out of Iowa, the two dominate the national polls attack each other. They each are somewhat diminished by it. And then Rubio just kind sneaks in there. It has happened in Iowa in 2004 with the Democrats. In some way you could say it happened in Iowa this time around with Rubio unexpectedly rising. So I think he gets the benefit. It is probably a minor one. But this doesn't help Trump either way.

BAIER: Rand Paul is out of this race, now, Jonah, saying that he was proud of the way he ran. It opens up the libertarian part of the party. Why didn't he do well? He was on the front page of "TIME." Everybody thought going in that he was going to catch fire. ISIS was really the reason, wasn't it?

GOLDBERG: I think that's a big part of it. I think the rumors of the libertarian moment on the right were always greatly exaggerated. There are some issues that are libertarian friendly, but the idea that somehow because the country is moving towards gay marriage that it's also going to be in favor of reducing the size and scope of government or not bombing ISIS, a lot of these libertarian issues that libertarian activists like to lump together as one coherent whole actually aren't coherent in people's minds, and a lot of these things move separately.

And I think one of the people who believed the libertarian moment stuff was Rand Paul. And I think ISIS in particular brought out the Jacksonian desire in America to kick butt and take names.

BAIER: We should point out that while Ted Cruz shares some of these beliefs he's is now talking about it a lot more on the stump today in New Hampshire about the NSA, about Second Amendment, and obviously the campaign feels there's some opening there.

WALTER: It has been woven into the fabric of the debate as opposed to into the entire contingent of candidates rather than being its own separate lane that it once was with Ron Paul. So whether it's discussion about the FED, whether it's discussion about the NSA surveillance, the base about the role of American foreign policy, that has all been encompassed within this debate. He doesn't own it.

The other thing that I never understood about the Rand Paul focus was that he was talking so much about what he needed to do as a general election candidate. Here's who we need to talk to. We need to expand the base. It was fine for a general election. It was never going to appeal in a primary electorate.

BAIER: Charles, you mentioned it, but you have Chris Christie who is really swinging hard against Senator Rubio. You obviously have Governor Kasich, Governor Bush, Carly Fiorina. They are all fighting for that spot with Senator Rubio kind of coming off on the establishment side.

KRAUTHAMMER: Yes, it's the three governors and Carly. And I think all of them understand that unless they end ahead of Rubio, they have to leave the race. Their donors, their supporters will all insist on that. So they're going after Rubio, not necessarily Trump or even Cruz, because their contest is an internal one.

But one thing on Cruz and the libertarians, he had his eye on that constituency years ago. Remember when Rand Paul stood up and had his filibuster, ends up on the cover of "TIME" magazine. Cruz then supported Rand Paul and had his own little filibuster. He had good shoes, apparently, lasted a long time. So he went after evangelicals, and you see who dropped out today, Huckabee and Santorum, the evangelical champions. And he went after the so-called liberty vote. And you saw today, Rand Paul. He's been succeeding in inheriting their constituents.

BAIER: By the way, Santorum is dropping out, we're told, and going to endorse. He is on Greta Van Susteren in the next hour.

GOLDBERG: I think it's worth pointing out, though, that Cruz has also been a little slippery about his foreign policy. He said that his foreign policy position falls somewhere between Rand Paul and John McCain, which is like saying the football is somewhere between the goalposts.


BAIER: All right, it is time to check out this week's results from the new SPECIAL REPORT Contenders app. We have added up the results from the FOX News app. The statement about the middle class that was most agreed with was "In 1961 John F. Kennedy reduced tax across the board. The economy grew. In 1981 Ronald Reagan reduced taxes across the board and the economy grew. This has to be the mission we have to do."

That statement belongs to former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, who is still in this race. He is creeping up the board as other drop outs. Here's how all the candidates did. The scale is one to 100, with one meaning complete disagreement and 100 total agreement with these quotes. Users also ranked the middle class topic as a fairly important issue, ranking it on average three and three-quarters out of five stars. Panelists, a couple of you took the quiz. Jonah, who did you end up with?

GOLDBERG: I was with Ben Carson.

BAIER: Ben Carson on his statement. And Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: I was with Fiorina. And my second was Christie.

Could I just say that Gilmore creeping up reminds me of the newly discovered tortoise on St. Helena who is 180 years old? There is hope. I think he's related. Sorry.


BAIER: We'll leave it there.

WALTER: I didn't think we could get those things together.

BAIER: Next week's contenders issue is gun control so logon to the FOX News app and see who you agree with. Next up, the Democrats and who really won Iowa.

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