Is Donald Trump's first TV ad effective?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," January 4, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The man right there. Here we go, right there.


You are very rude. And I'm not ever going to call on you.

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Every presidential election, people run and believe it or not, it's kind of scary this year, but believe it or not most everybody tries to do what they say they are going to do when they're running.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, Bill Clinton on the trail today, and over the weekend Hillary Clinton getting heckled with questions about her husband's indiscretions, and framed in a different way in that forum. And she, you heard, pushed back.

Meantime, we are 27 days away from the Iowa caucuses, the first voting today. Donald Trump aired his first paid ad. Here is a part of that.


NARRATOR: The politicians can pretend it's something else, but Donald Trump calls it radical Islamic terrorism. That's why he is calling for a temporary shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until we can figure out what's going on. He will quickly cut the head off --


BAIER: It keeps going, and it goes through his main points that he hits on the stump. But there is one part in particular that came under controversy today. He said he will stop illegal immigration by building a wall on our southern border that Mexico will pay for. And this is the video. It turns out that that video is actually Morocco. And the campaign put out the statement, "The use of this footage was intentional and selected severe impact of open border and very real threat Americans face if we do not immediately build a wall, stop illegal immigration. The biased mainstream media doesn't understand, but Americans who want to protect their jobs and their families do." With that, we're back with the panel. Steve?

STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I don't think anybody who is considering voting for Donald Trump right now is going to be troubled by the fact that they were using footage from Morocco. Look, I think it's an effective ad for Trump. I have problems with it. I don't agree with his proposal on banning Muslims temporarily. I think it's un- American. But he makes a case in the ad that is consistent with the case that he has made on the stump. It is simple and it is strong. And the most important line is not any of the specific policy proposals that he lists. It's the opening line, which is "politicians call it something else," which immediately establishes, or reestablishes in the mind of a perspective voter that Donald Trump is not like other politicians. And the rest of the ad goes on to make that case pretty clearly.

BAIER: A.B., I talked to a lot of people over the break, a lot of people in different fields. There is a Trump undercurrent out there among different populations that see him as the shakeup candidate.

A.B. STODDARD, THE HILL: He only is behind in one state, and that's Iowa. So he has the next couple weeks to try to drown out Ted Cruz, who is number one in Iowa, maintain his lead in New Hampshire, and then he has a good firewall in the south. And I think that he -- with bashing the Clintons and going on air with ads he plans to stay in the conversation. And this is his closing act. He is not going to go quietly. He doesn't want to pick on Republicans right now, but he wants to get his message out and he wants to be the person that voters will perceive in the primary electorate as best to go up against Hillary Clinton.

BAIER: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie not going quietly either, taking on Donald Trump head on today.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Showtime is over, everybody. We are not electing an entertainer in chief. Showmanship is fun, but it's not the kind of leadership that will truly change America. If we are going to turn our frustration and anger with the D.C. insiders, the politicians of yesterday, and the carnival barkers of today into something that actually will change American lives for the better, we must elect someone who has been tested, someone with proven experience, someone who knows how to make decisions because he has been making them for years.


BAIER: You see that's a teleprompter speech. Obviously not the average town hall he has been doing time and time again in New Hampshire.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: He is running as the kinder, gentler Trump, as the experienced Trump. I don't know how it will work. But, remember, up until this year he was the tough guy, the guy who actually could have been too tough and too aggressive. He was criticized as that over the years. And now he appears completely mild in comparison. So, I think it's a good tact. That would be his -- if he were going to slip into the race as a real challenger, it would be in that role.

But I have to say that what Trump did with the Clintons is particularly impressive. If it comes to a fight in the end over this issue, I'm not sure how it works out. It could work out either way to help the Clintons garner sympathy or it could help Trump. But I think his deterrence has worked. I don't think that she is going to be coming out with any overt accusations of sexism, and even the ones that she makes will be reasonably subtle. But I think that has actually had the effect it wanted. And it protects him in a way. It also has other candidates looking at Trump and saying he brought it up in a way that I would never have, and it's succeeding.

BAIER: Quickly, Bill Clinton a plus on the trail?

HAYES: I think generally he is a plus on the trail. But I agree with Charles that it's a good fight in the short time for Donald Trump to pick. I'm not sure it's a good fight for Republicans.

BAIER: Do you agree, A.B.?

STODDARD: I think Bill Clinton is great for her right now in the primary race. I actually think the message Trump is giving, which is that they use their power to lie and cover up is a really potentially troubling one for Hillary Clinton in the general election.

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