Urgency building among GOPers in final days before Iowa

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 29, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

QUESTION:  Senator, there is talk now that, if Donald Trump wins Iowa, he would be unstoppable.  Is that something you`re concerned about?  And why...


SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  No, I don`t think anyone-- I don`t think anyone winning Iowa makes them unstoppable.

I think this is going to be -- it`s an unusual political cycle.  We have a lot of credible candidates.  And I think it`s probably going to go on for a number of states beyond what it normally has.


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  All right, the argument was that if Donald Trump were to win Iowa and New Hampshire, that that double would be putting him in a formidable position, and that that no less than Senator Ted Cruz has said might make him unstoppable.

Still, it`s anyone`s guess how this goes, a lot of folks certainly, judging from the debate last night, could clearly see that Ted Cruz was the target.  And they landed some severe blows.

Republican strategist Lisa Boothe on how severe and how, if anything, that debate might have changed things.

What do you think, Lisa?


CAVUTO:  Very good.

BOOTHE:  Well, I think right now, we`re facing a really interesting election cycle.

This has been one of the most fluid primary processes today.  And right now, we`re beginning the nomination process with Iowa on Monday.  The key here is there`s 2,470 delegates to the convention.  A nominee needs to reach 1,236 to try to get the nomination, so the race is on.

And I think the scenario that -- I know Ted Cruz has said that if Donald Trump wins Iowa and New Hampshire, he may be unstoppable, and I don`t necessarily disagree with that.  If you look at throughout history, no Republican nominee has gone on to be the nominee without winning one of the early primary states.

And so if you have a situation specifically in Iowa where Ted Cruz loses, I think his path to victory becomes much slimmer after that point.  And I think, to Marco Rubio`s point, Marco Rubio is hoping that Ted Cruz loses and the Republican Party coalesces around him, so it becomes some sort of more one-on-one-type scenario.

CAVUTO:  There are a lot of people who look at polls, and when it comes to Iowa, I always say it`s a wasted effort.  But one reading that was intriguing was that, at this time four years ago, Rick Santorum was third in the polls, a distant third at that, went on to win Iowa.

It was a similar position, not quite exact, for Mike Huckabee, who was actually lower.  My only point in mentioning this is that`s the exact position that Marco Rubio is in right now.  And the argument goes something to the effect that the Trump voters, the Cruz voters cancel each other out and up the middle comes Marco Rubio.  What do you make of that?

BOOTHE:  Well, and that could potentially be the scenario.

And I think we`re going to learn a lot from Iowa, not necessarily because Iowa is somehow consequential to win the nomination, because we have seen historically that it is not.  But the fact is that a lot of the biggest knocks against a candidate like Donald Trump is the fact that he hasn`t won a nomination and a lot of his support we`re seeing would potentially come from first-time caucus-goers.

So, I think a test of Donald Trump`s strength would be if he`s able to turn out first-time caucus-goers, which would be unprecedented, to propel him to victory, then that sets him up as a dangerous candidate headed into New Hampshire.

CAVUTO:  But, Lisa, then we have to get into the issue, especially in states like Iowa, how rabid they are, right?  The old argument is, the more rabid your supporter, he or she will go over broken glass through blizzards to get to those caucus sites, and wait it out for you, because the caucusing is fairly Byzantine and time-consuming.

And just fans, or those who have just been glomming onto you, they might not be the same way, hence the argument that`s a Cruz advantage.

Do you buy that?

BOOTHE:  Well, Neil, I think that`s right, in a sense the caucus is a much more difficult task.

It requires much more dedication than just simply going out and voting like you would in New Hampshire or South Carolina.  So, I think that, again, if Donald Trump wins Iowa, I think that sets him up to potentially clean up in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, because if he`s able to get first-time caucus-goers out, then that`s a testament to his strength.

However, I think if someone like Ted Cruz wins Iowa, or Marco Rubio wins Iowa, then that sort of slows down Donald Trump`s pace heading into New Hampshire.  And, as you mentioned, it is true.  Iowa voters, as we saw with Rick Santorum, tend to make up their mind at a later point.

There was a FOX News poll not too long ago that indicated about 33 percent of Iowa caucus-goers are still undecided.  I know there`s been recent polling showing that that has tightened and more people have made up their mind, but we don`t know that yet.

And so I think Iowa on Monday, although it`s not necessarily consequential in a delegate amount and a delegate number to reaching the number that you need, what it will do is show us the strength of Donald Trump, and I think answer some questions about his candidacy.


Lisa Boothe, we shall see.  Good seeing you again.

BOOTHE:  Thank you, Neil.


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