This is a rush transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume" from January 30, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: When I believe in a man, like I do John McCain, this will become, to me, as important as my own election was.
I'm hopeful that we can secure his nomination very soon, so we can unite our party, and then begin the process of uniting our nation.
So I am very proud to endorse my friend and fellow Republican: a hero, John McCain of Arizona for president of the United States of America.
JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I not only thank him for his friendship, I want to thank him for his leadership of America. I want to thank him as we wage this struggle to secure the presidency of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIT HUME, HOST: Well that was quite a moment out there at the Reagan Library.
Some thoughts on this race from Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of "The Weekly Standard, Mort Kondracke, Executive Editor of "Roll Call," and the syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, FOX News contributors all.
Here it was -- 6:10 eastern time, newscasts all over the country doubtless took at least some of that live. Two famous men there, Giuliani -- he hasn't won anything, but he is famous and remains so. What effect, Fred, of this endorsement?
FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": At the very least it will have a big effect on February 5, Super Tuesday, because it opens up some of the most important states for McCain to win.
In other words, states that Giuliani would be a strong candidate in if he were still in the race, and, of course, if he had done better in Florida and were still running in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. These are states with a lot of delegates, and it's winner-take-all. All you got to do is come in first and you got all the delegates.
And some of the other winner take all states Rudy Giuliani was strong in as well -- Delaware is one, I think Missouri is another.
HUME: Is New Jersey winner-take-all?
BARNES: Yes: New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Arizona, Missouri, Delaware, Utah, Arizona -- did I mention that? There are eight of them. And this is going to help him enormously.
And I think all McCain needs to do next week is win a majority of the delegates and a majority of the primaries and he is the nominee.
MORT KONDRACKE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, ROLL CALL: And Giuliani said that he would knock himself out and go campaign on McCain's behalf if McCain wanted him and where he wanted him. And, as Fred says, in those places where Republicans are more moderate than they are in other places, Giuliani will be a help. That's where Giuliani's vote came from, from moderate Republicans like McCain.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: This is a very important endorsement.
Most endorsements look odd and have no effect, like Al Gore endorsing Howard Dean. These two men are a fit. They have obvious affection for each other, affinity, and their constituencies overlap remarkably, and we saw it last night in Florida, in southeast Florida, Miami-Dade, each of these men were running strongly. It is the same constituency of the non-regular Republicans.
HUME: Then how can Giuliani help?
KRAUTHAMMER: If he drops out, which he did, and he explicitly endorses to McCain, it adds to his column. If you take McCain and Giuliani yesterday in Florida together, add them together, you get 51 percent of the vote.
HUME: But the spectacle of John McCain with Rudy Giuliani at his side campaigning across America in the next week is not going to do much, I would think, to make restive conservatives, who think that John McCain is not one of them, feel any better about him.
BARNES: Yes, except for two things that McCain is doing. One is he campaigned in Florida as a conservative. Now, he didn't do that as much in New Hampshire, but he certainly did in Florida: running on conservative issues in Iraq, I want the Bush tax cuts to be permanent, and so on.
He did have some weird talk about how hurricanes were caused by global warming. And he very importantly rejected that idea pushed by Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who endorsed him, this idea of a Federal Disaster Fund that if your home is hurt by a hurricane, the federal government will come and help you out. It was a horrible idea.
And the other thing that McCain is doing is he is going to appear next weekend at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference where he didn't go in recent years when he had been invited. This is a hotbed of real strong -- these are the people who -- how do they ask it in the exit poll?
KONDRACKE: Very conservative.
BARNES: It is a hot bed of very conservatives. The fact that McCain is going there I think is important, and he's obviously going to try to develop some strong ties there.
KONDRACKE: Maybe he will use the text that Fred Barnes has been trying to get him to enunciate about judges, for example, and really pound that point home.
BARNES: He has talked about judges, and in Florida he did. So he is emphasizing the conservative issues that he believes in. He is not repudiating his earlier stands on things like campaign finance reform, but he is running more as a conservative, and that is what he needs to do.
KRAUTHAMMER: Giuliani will not help him among conservatives or evangelicals. But he is not going to be deployed in Georgia. He will be deployed in New York and on the West Coast, in areas in which he has appeal.
Look, these two guys are the big sheriffs. So he reinforces that. He acts as a surrogate.
And they are also representatives of the Republican agnostics. Giuliani has his problem with abortion, of course. McCain's apostasies are too numerous to actually count.
And so each of them together has this independent Democratic outreach which will be helpful in the general election, and that's where I think he will be important. But, obviously, he will not help in the south.
KONDRACKE: This would create an opportunity for Romney if Romney were stronger and had credibility among the conservatives. For Giuliani, the moderate and the apostate, to be joining up with McCain, you would think that Romney could say, aha, look at those people. Vote for me instead. I'm the real conservative.
But somehow he just doesn't have the conviction.
HUME: That being the case -- and I think Mort's analysis of that is probably widely accepted -- that being the case, is there or can there be now a serious stop McCain movement?
BARNES: The stop McCain movement consists of Mitt Romney.
HUME: I know, but that is because conservatives don't have a real champion.
BARNES: Look, he enunciates all their issues, they just don't think he got there soon enough, some conservatives. But that's their only hope is Romney.
KONDRACKE: It will have to be organized by Rush Limbaugh.
KRAUTHAMMER: And it will fail.
HUME: You heard it here.
When we come back, the panel will take up the matter of John Edwards' departure from the race and what that means to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Stay tuned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN EDWARDS, (D) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Today I am suspending my campaign for the Democratic nomination for the presidency. But I want to say this to everyone: with Elizabeth, with my family, with my friends, with all of you and all of your support, this son of a mill worker is going to be just fine.
Our job now is to make certain that America will be fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUME: John Edwards today in New Orleans -- of course, a genuinely distressed area, part of the very kind of sections of America that John Edwards campaigned in and campaigned for -- leaving this race. He is endorsing no one, by the way.
Back with our panel now. So what effect now -- Edwards is out of the race. He hasn't won anything; declining totals below his previous campaign four years ago. What happens now?
KONDRACKE: Anger didn't work, that's the good news. He did the sonny John back --
HUME: He was sonny John again today.
KONDRACKE: Yes, but in between time he was railing against corporate America and all that, and had from time to time attacked Hillary Clinton and then started attacking Barack Obama as well.
The question is who does this help, obviously. And you could make an argument that since Edwards was a fellow change candidate of Obama's that some support would go to Obama.
However, the votes that Edwards has been attracting are the votes, strangely enough, of conservative white Democrats, some union members and some union officials, blue collar, less well-educated, and those people tend to go to Hillary Clinton when they don't have the competition of Edwards.
And furthermore, the trial lawyer lobby, which is fat, rich, presumably, establishment --
HUME: Like him.
KONDRACKE: -- like him, presumably would go to Hillary.
KRAUTHAMMER: I think Mort is right. It will have no effect on the balance of power in the race.
KRAUTHAMMER: You could say he is more left, almost a sort of Hugo Chavez socialist in some of his rantings in the past, although not today, and Obama is more straight line liberal. But, of course, Hillary has been running left as well when she got in trouble this primary season.
So you really need a microscope to find policy differences between Obama and Clinton on almost anything: on health insurance, on taxation, even on Iraq.
So I think it's only effect is the dramatic effect. It means that in the debate tomorrow, it will be one on one, something that is really rare in American politics. And it's going to be a high noon showdown, sort of a Nixon and Kennedy, in which you've got two candidates who are neck in neck -- Hillary and Obama -- without any distractions, unlike what's going to happen in the Republican debate tonight.
And that is, I think, will have a theatrical effect, and not, I think, any effect in terms of who is going to be stronger or weaker.
BARNES: Just on the Republican debate, I do think it is awfully self-indulgent of Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul to even appear on this debate when it should be a debate between Romney and John McCain. But we're not going to see that.
I agree. That will be a great debate tomorrow night. I look forward to seeing the two. I wonder if Barack Obama will now throw a punch, what he has never done in these debates.
HUME: Remember he did throw that punch about Hillary Clinton being the Wal-Mart lawyer, which brought the rebuke to him about his friend Mr. Rezko.
BARNES: And then what? Then nothing.
HUME: That's true. In other words, you saying he needs to throw another punch?
BARNES: Well, a stronger punch. A punch where he could have said and listed the --
HUME: And you agree with it, basically, this Edwards departure doesn't mean much?
BARNES: Look, if all it took was a phone call to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to have them say yes, ending poverty will be central to our campaigns, he could have done that a long time ago and spared himself a losing presidential campaign. He could just make those phone calls.
When they say yes, John, sure, we're going to adopt all the stuff you were campaigning on, unless you're losing -- please!
KRAUTHAMMER: Sparing us all his unctuous sanctimony, too.
KONDRACKE: One thing you can depend upon at this debate tomorrow night, and that is that Barack Obama will walk up to Hillary Clinton and shake her hand and not snub her.
HUME: Let's take a quick head count on this -- a snub or not a snub, Charles?
KRAUTHAMMER: It was a panic that looked like a snub, but it was fear.
KONDRACKE: It was a snub. It was a social -- ungraceful social snub.
BARNES: Big time snub!
KRAUTHAMMER: The guy just froze.
HUME: Listen, folks, I have been analyzing the body language of these three as they said that, and they didn't mean any of it.
So, does John McCain have a clear path to the nomination it would seem, barring extraordinary developments?
BARNES: Unless a strong recovery by Romney, which is not likely.
HUME: Right. So does Hillary Clinton have such a path?
KONDRACKE: No, not as strong. I think Hillary Clinton is the frontrunner, but much weaker than John McCain.
HUME: Is the momentum in her direction or his direction at the moment?
KRAUTHAMMER: Right now it's neutral.
KONDRACKE: I think demographically, I think --
HUME: There is no-mentum.
KONDRACKE: Demography favors her.
HUME: Having said that, though, I think we can agree that, although we argued a bit about this last night about Florida -- Florida was a race where they didn't campaign and Hillary Clinton ran in at the last minute and held a victory celebration and tried to make a lot out of it.
You think she is on to something?
BARNES: It showed. Mort made this comment before I did last night, was that the demographic of Obama was the one that is not going to win for him in many, many states on Super Tuesday. It is where he wins 80 percent of the African-American vote and only 20 percent or so of the white vote.
He will lose to Hillary in most states if he can't improve the white vote.
KONDRACKE: He needs some sort of breakthrough argument. I'm not sure what it can possibly be. It is either an attack on her as not having much of a Senate record for all the claims that she has made --
HUME: He's vulnerable on that himself.
KONDRACKE: Of course he is, but he has to break through somehow beyond the African-American vote.
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