Is Donald Trump taking a gamble on his 9/11 claims?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," February 15, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I love America, and I know we face enormous problems, but I also know he can deal with them, handle them. I'm not an expert in a lot of things, but I'm pretty knowledgeable about what it takes to be president since I were one. And he has got what it takes. He has got character, backbone, philosophy, vision. He can deal with crises, and he would make a really good president.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: President George W. Bush talking with Sean Hannity alongside his brother Jeb as they are campaigning in North Charleston. We're back with the panel. David, how much a difference in South Carolina does this campaign trip make?

DAVID CATANESE, U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: Look, Jeb has put everything now into South Carolina. The press releases saying this is his strongest state. Jeb a few months said he was going it win South Carolina. All you hear about is how President George W. Bush is amazingly popular there. But Trump has now made South Carolina primary, I think, a referendum on the Bushes and whether you can dis them, because the stuff that's coming out of his mouth at a press conference today in the debate about 9/11, and not only saying it happened on Bush's watch, but saying he is responsible for it, saying he lied about WMD's. This is scathing stuff. But frankly no one knows if it is not going to matter because everyone has predicted his fall before and all the things he said. No one knows it's going to matter.

BAIER: He had a big lead coming in, Charles, and by doing this -- by the way, he had two press conferences. I think he had one started a little while ago. Two press conferences today, inserting himself into the George W. Bush, Jeb Bush story. Any reporter is going to ask what Trump said. What about this tactic?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Look, this is a very high stakes gamble for a guy who has got a 10 or 20 point lead in the state that would send him on the way to the nomination or at least make him the prohibitive favorite if he wins by something like that margin. He didn't have to gamble this. You wonder whether it's a calculation or was it just a reaction in the debate where it got the best of him? With Trump, you never know, although he has cleverly done that, taken risks in the past, and he's never been injured by it.

So maybe he figures if Jeb is putting everything on his relationship with his brother on the family, and he attacks him head on, this could be a place where he takes him down and stays the runaway front runner. It's a gamble. I mean, when you begin to sound like Michael Moore, you are praised by Code Pink openly, and you are saying things that even leading Democrats will not say, that you deliberately led us into war knowing it was a lie, that's pretty extreme. If he gets away with that without some diminishment of his support, that means he really is Teflon Don.

BAIER: Meantime the Democrats are out in Nevada pressing their luck out there, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Take a listen.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And everything in my political gut tells me that we have the momentum here are in this state.


SANDERS: That if people come out in large numbers on caucus day, we are going to win here in Nevada.


HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He wants to move toward what he calls single payer. I agree. The goal is great. We have got to get everybody covered. We have go get costs down so everybody can afford what they need. But I think the last thing our country needs right now is to be plunged into another contentious debate about healthcare. It will gridlock us.


BAIER: Common line from Hillary Clinton, "I am not a single issue candidate." That has come up again and again and again, George.

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: What candidate is she? She lost in 2008 to Barack Obama in part because she did not take seriously the caucus states. Now, here is one that she is obviously taking seriously because she cancelled the event in Florida. Her people sort of managing expectations said, well, Nevada is not her style because it's 80 percent white. It's not at 70 percent white. It's actually should be in her wheelhouse for the following reason. It is after New Jersey and California the most urbanized state. And 73 percent of Nevadans live in one metropolitan area, the Clark County, Henderson, Las Vegas area. And it's a heavily unionized population because of the many hotel and casino workers there. So she should do well there.

But one metric of momentum number of donors and size of crowds, and she is just getting crushed by Sanders who, also in a sign of confidence, is saying by the way, the 350 super delegates we have to challenge as anti-democratic.

BAIER: It will be an interesting week ahead of Nevada and South Carolina for the Republicans.

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