This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," October 11, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: It's been really in the end an easy decision for me. I know that America needs a new course, and I want it to be with the person who I believe will be the best person to lead America on that course and that is Governor Mitt Romney.

Do not try to equate what has happened in Obamacare with what Governor Romney did in Massachusetts. The president of the United States is raising taxes over and over again to pay for this plan he still won't pay for. What Governor Romney did was what he believed was responsible as governor of Massachusetts to allow people to have access to healthcare.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie endorsing Mitt Romney today, ahead of the debate in New Jersey. As we take a quick look at the latest polls, the national poll, the newest one out, Washington Post-Bloomberg, their the host of tonight's debate, there you see, Romney 24 percent, Cain at 16 percent in second, and Perry and Paul. Take a look at New Hampshire. This is the NBC/Marist poll. Romney with a huge lead in this one. And you see Cain and Paul tied for second.

And a look at Iowa, the newest poll out there specifically to Iowa. Romney and Cain battling it out for one and two and Congressman Paul in third.

We're back with the panel. Steve, timing of this endorsement and how big a deal is it, Chris Christie, Mitt Romney?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, I think it's a good day for the Romney campaign. I mean Chris Christie is one of the most admired governors in the country, and one of the best known governors in the country. If you were going to pick governors, Republican governors to have you endorse your candidate, Chris Christie would certainly be at the very top of the list or near the top of the list.

What I found interesting from Chris Christie though today, was this is a guy who came down to Washington last spring and gave this speech saying it's time to do big things, it's time to be bold. We have to do entitlement reforms. He even threatened to run against House Republicans who weren't pushing hard enough on entitlement reform.

BAIER: You mean campaign against them?

HAYES: Yeah, campaign against them, to campaign for their opponents if they didn't push hard enough on entitlement reform. He didn't say anything about entitlement reform today, he didn't get into any of those things either in his remarks for Mitt Romney today or on a conference call, a tele-town hall they called it afterwards. So you wonder, is he trimming his sails now or is he going to pushing Mitt Romney from the inside on entitlement reform?

BAIER: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well look, Romney is not competing with Congress to get the Republican nomination. He is competing with a field of other people. Who's up there, who's in the upper tier is gonna do entitlement reform? Has Perry proposed serious entitlement reform? No. Of those up on the stage, I think Christie was making a judgment as to who could beat Obama and who could lead America in a different direction.

HAYES: But that's -- just to interrupt -- this is what he said in the speech. "My children's future and your children's future is more important than some political strategy." That's a different Chris Christie than we saw last night.

KRAUTHAMMER: But this is not political strategy in the abstract. The political strategy here is to defeat Obama because if Obama remains in power the direction of America would change irrevocably. Obamacare will become national health care, irrevocably. So that's number one. As I'm saying you have to choose among the other candidates, and none of them exactly is a Paul Ryan on entitlement reforms. So of those who are available and up there and who are running, I think Romney is a choice that is logical, that a man like a Christie would make.

BAIER: Juan, Herman Cain continues to surge in all of these polls.

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: It's an incredible performance.

BAIER: And it is an amazing his performance when you look at his debate performance. He's looking for another debate performance tonight. Governor Perry is -- conventional wisdom needs a good debate performance. Herman Cain reacting to some African-Americans who talked about him and his campaign. Take a listen.


HERMAN CAIN, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I left the Democrat plantation a long time ago. And all that try to do when someone like me -- and I'm not the only black person out there that shares these conservative views. The only tactic that they have to try to intimidate me and shut me up is to call me names and this sort of thing. It just simply won't work.


BAIER: Juan?

WILLIAMS: Well, anytime a black conservative emerges with this kind of level of success that we have seen Herman Cain demonstrate, he is immediately attacked by the far left and especially the black liberal establishment. They are threatened by Herman Cain. Remember, the Tea Party that the far left is trying to label is racist is a great supporter of Herman Cain. So for them, it is totally - it totally discombobulates them.

I mean -- and they are threatened because I think Herman Cain could have tremendous success with the black vote. If it was Herman Cain running as a gospel singer, a guy who grew up in the south, a businessman with real experience, you know a lot of black people would take a second look. Remember, blacks are churchgoing social conservatives.

BAIER: That's it for panel. The underwear bomber trial started today in federal court. Stay tuned for inside look at jury selection.

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