Fox News anchor Bret Baier is poring over his briefing book, gobbling up electoral factoids and Hoosier State minutiae as he preps for Tuesday’s Indiana primary.
Along with Megyn Kelly, the 45-year-old Baier will oversee “America’s Election Headquarters.” He expects a quick night of decisive victories that will most likely secure Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s nominations and force Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders to think about leaving their campaign buses in the garage.
As Indiana preps for its national media closeup, Variety spoke with Baier about his media diet and impressions of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
This is not your first rodeo. Do you have an election night routine?
This is like Super Tuesday 7. I come up from Washington, and I try to go for a run in the morning. Then I have a meal right before we start at five. The big nights can go on forever so you have to have a little stamina. But tonight should be pretty easy.
How many hours will you be on the air?
Three. I think it will be quick calls, at least if it holds true to the polls going in.
What’s the record for the longest amount of time you’ve been on air?
I think it was the Iowa Caucuses last cycle. We started at 6 p.m. Eastern and went to 2:30 (a.m.)
What’s your media diet?
On election days, our brain room, which is our research department, compiles all of the important things in the primaries and there is a booklet and all kinds of tidbits and facts and figures, and it is very helpful. There is also a booklet for every individual primary so I read up on that. It is kind of like cramming for an exam.
You seem like you try to be above the political fray. Are you a Republican or a Democrat?
Registered independent, and I try to cover it fairly. I would ideally like people to not know where any leanings would be. I am trying to be fair but tough to both sides and in the primary to all candidates.
Why is Donald Trump winning?
He has just tapped into this anti-Washington feeling that it’s not working and people want to kick over the table and start over, and shake it up, and even people who have misgivings about Trump, and some of the things he’s said or done, say the overwhelming positive thing is it won’t be business as usual. He is the guy who has tapped into that most.
You have played golf a couple of times with Trump. Do you think he has a problem with women?
Listen, he hires many women in his companies, but clearly if you look at the polls, his unfavorables are pretty high, so if he is going to win, he has to turn that around.
Did you give Megyn Kelly advice or suggestions when she got into it with Trump?
I just offered my support. And I said, “If you ever need anything, I’m here.”
Will Megyn Kelly stay at Fox News?
I hope she does!
How is this election cycle different than 2012?
It is totally unique. Obviously there are different characters completely, and both sides have been a race, because they are both open, and every week has been something different and the attention paid to this cycle has been more intense. The people who are loyal to the major candidates are more emotional about it. This particular cycle is unlike any in recent memory.
How does it change your job?
From my position on the news side, I think you have to be extra careful to be extra balanced with the questioning, and the prep work, and interviews, and who you book, and the stories that you do. We’ve gone out of our way to do that.
You were at the White House Correspondents’ dinner. Did you think that Larry Wilmore’s use of the n-word was offensive?
I’ll put it this way. I think the president was really good. He had his timing down. He does that well. It’s always tough to follow that. Talking to my colleagues in the room from all the different networks, the consensus was that maybe it should have just ended at the president.
How do you unwind? Have a drink? Watch the “Gilmore Girls”?
Not the “Gilmore Girls.” At the end of the day I head home, and if I’m lucky I put my 9-year-old to bed. Then I unwind watching the Golf Channel usually. On election nights, we’re usually working pretty late, I don’t think it is going to be like that, and then the crew goes to a local bar, and has a drink before we wrap it up, and we relive the night.