The rhetoric gets harsher before New Hampshire

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


FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: The job of the president job of the president is to protect America. Our next president must be prepared to lead. I know Jeb. I know his good heart and his strong backbone. Experience and judgment count in the Oval Office. Jeb Bush is a leader who will keep our country safe.

FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER: If I he had a choice between Cruz and Trump, I think I would choose Trump. The reason is that Trump has proven already that he is completely valuable. Cruz is not valuable.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Two ads now running in New Hampshire. One, you saw the former president endorsing his brother, not a surprise there. The other a former president endorsing Donald Trump, quite a surprise, and Ted Cruz campaign jumping on that.

I want to put up the tracker of how many events candidates have done. Yesterday we had had something similar but it did not have Carly Fiorina in there. For that we apologize, because she has had 149 events in the state of New Hampshire since this campaign has begun. And there you see all the others.

The newest poll out is a CNN/MUR poll. And there you see it, 29 percent for Donald Trump. Marco Rubio surging, up seven points from the last time they polled. And there you see Cruz in third. Worth noting in this poll, though, it is plus or minus 6.8 percent. That's a pretty high margin of error, and 209 likely New Hampshire GOP voters, not a big sample.

But there you see definitely decided and leaning towards somebody. Also, voter certainty is something we see in New Hampshire. Almost half of them say they could change their mind in the last week, which makes these days important. Let's bring in our panel, syndicated columnist George Will, "Fortune" magazine's Nina Easton, and Charles Lane, opinion writer for the "Washington Post." OK, George, how do you think it's shaping up?

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Marco Rubio's campaign set out the objective they call three, two, one. Third in Iowa, second in New Hampshire, and first in South Carolina. He did third in Iowa. He is positioned to do at least second in New Hampshire, if it's as fluid as say it is Trump's lead is not certain because nothing is certain. And in South Carolina he has the endorsement, we don't know how much endorsement matter, but if they matter, Trey Gowdy and Senator Tim Scott matter a lot.

The question is, who is most apt to be eliminated either by New Hampshire or the combination of New Hampshire and South Carolina? Kasich, Bush, or Christie, two of those three are apt to go. And then the question is who is ready to play on the first of March? Look at -- that's a long way ahead early in February. But Iowa and New Hampshire have 1.4 percent of the American population. The first four had South Carolina and in February are going to select 160 some delegates. On the first of March, super Tuesday, 624 delegates will be selected. That's the most of any day. It's slightly more than half need to do nominate. And it's going to take staying power and money and stuff in the bank. Cruz has both.

BAIER: Let me just play this one sound bite because while Rubio is looking good in that poll and people say he is surging in New Hampshire, it was not a positive moment for Rubio today when his latest endorser, Senator Santorum, went on the morning show.


RICK SANTORUM, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of the things I wanted is someone who has some experience in this area, and that's why we decided to support Marco Rubio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me ask the question one more time. List one accomplishment that Marco Rubio has achieved in four years in the United States Senate and it doesn't even have to be a passed Bill.

SANTORUM: The bottom line is, there isn't a whole lot of accomplishments, Joe, and I just don't think it's a fair question to say last four years nothing has happened and then blame one person because he didn't get accomplishments done. Neither did President Obama.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To be fair to Rick, Rick has spent the past part of the last year and a half running for president on his campaign. He just endorsed us last night. So I wouldn't expect him to be entirely familiar with my record and my time. Bottom line, I'm proud of my service and public record. We have real achievements not just in the U.S. Senate but in my time as speaker of the house and as a state legislature.


BAIER: Nina?

NINA EASTON, FORTUNE MAGAZINE: First I have to disclose that my husband is a Christie advisor in all of this. But I have to say what's really struck me in the days coming out of Iowa and going into New Hampshire is that this eagerness by Republicans and the media to anoint an establishment candidate. And it seems to be Rubio. And so you see the Rubio getting both positive attention and negative attention and negative attacks.

But here's the thing. Even if Rubio comes in say second and comes out of this, you're going to still have three lanes. You're still going to have Cruz. You're still going to have Trump who has got a commanding lead in New Hampshire which everybody talking about Rubio seems to forget. And then you are going to have the establishment candidate who, by the way, will not have won Iowa or New Hampshire. In 40 years there has only been one candidate to go on to be the nominee who hasn't won Iowa and New Hampshire and that's Bill Clinton. That's -- and he didn't win -- he was comeback kid in New Hampshire and it was, and he didn't win for that reason. You still got this establishment vote that is weak compared to Trump and Cruz.

BAIER: Speaking of Trump and Cruz, today, again, focused a bit on looking back at Iowa.


DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will see what happens. That's up to them. I'm focused only on New Hampshire right now. I don't care about that everybody knows what took place. Everybody knows a lot of fishy stuff going on.

SEN. TED CRUZ, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is very rattled right now. He told the entire world he was going to win Iowa. And then he didn't win. And his reaction is he got very angry. You know, he said, how stupid could the people of Iowa be? I assume the next question he is going to ask is, how stupid county people of New Hampshire be?


BAIER: It is a full-on pushback by Ted Cruz now.

CHARLES LANE, WASHINGTON POST: Boy, the name calling between the two of them is pretty intense. I guess if I had to pick, like Jimmy Carter posed us the choice, I would at least give Cruz the upper hand to the extent that I do think Trump's kind of complaining about the process out there, even though there is a little bit of substance to it, is kind of off message.

BAIER: I think he dialed it back today, and that's that sound bite that you just heard.

LANE: Yes, well, there were a lot of tweets over the last two days, and he has been force to do dial it back because it's not playing well. I just want to go back to one second to that Rick Santorum point about Marco Rubio. The problem that that gets to is what his accomplishment, Rubio's accomplishment was supposed to be was that gang of eight immigration bill way back when, remember. And not only did it go down in flames, but today he can't even stand up for it because it's so unpopular with the Republican base. And so I think that is part of his -- what's preventing him from kind of going over the top yet is that whole history.

BAIER: Quickly, I want to turn to the Democratic side and the new poll out, the CNN/MUR poll has Bernie Sanders now at 61 percent, Hillary Clinton at 30 percent. And there you see the change. Actually, Sanders picking up steam it seems. They have a debate tonight in Durham, George?

WILL: Well, empathy is not my strong suit, but I do feel a certain pathos about the Clinton campaign. She has no aptitude for her chosen profession. She is not having fun, and people are detecting that. And then she got into that little trouble about her speaking fees the other night, when she gave an answer that was Clintontonian in two particulars. One she said, well, that's what they offered.

BAIER: Yes, $675,000.

WILL: Yes. They don't offer. They negotiate with your agent. So they didn't come up with that out of the ether. Second, then she said well, and besides, I wasn't a committed candidate at that time. Meaning, what? I wasn't announced? I wasn't sure I was going to run? People hear that and all they hear is "what's the meaning of is?"

EASTON: At least she is politically calculating. And her big problem, of course, is all this money that she has taken from Wall Street. And so now we have new numbers coming out, something like $20 million that her campaign has taken. I think it was the "The Washington Post" did a calculation all her federal campaigns, Senate and presidential, have taken more money from Wall Street than Bill Clinton's president entire campaign history.

BAIER: I'm sure we'll hear about that tonight.

EASTON: Exactly.

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