This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Watch," June 2, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
JON SCOTT, HOST OF "FOX NEWS WATCH" (voice-over): On "Fox News Watch," The New York Times reveals President Obama has a kill list, targeted terrorists who could be taken out by U.S. drones. The story igniting concerns over legality, morality, security, and with an election just months away, the timing.
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MITT ROMNEY, (R), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is not the kind of building that is built by private enterprise.
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SCOTT: Mitt Romney and his supporters start to fire back at the opposition.
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DAVID AXELROD, OBAMA CAMPAIGN MANAGER: (INAUDIBLE)
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SCOTT: Then the liberal press takes aim at Romney, calling him "nasty."
Wisconsin Democrats and their friends in the media pushed for a recall election for governor, protesting in the streets and in the state house. So, how will that same media react once the results are tallied on Tuesday?
Massacres and atrocities in Syria. The images captured by the victims and reported on social media sites. Are the reports too one-sided? And are the professional press failing to do their job?
This book hits number one on the book list, but gets the bum's rush from the press.
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ROBIN ROBERTS, CO-HOST, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA": Good morning Mrs. Obama.
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Good morning. I'm happy to be in the studio.
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SCOTT: The first lady has a new book and the press can't get enough. And this book tells about young Barry Obama. What kind of attention is it getting?
(on camera): On the panel this week, writer and Fox News contributor, Judy Miller; syndicated columnist, Cal Thomas; Jim Pinkerton, contributing editor, the American Conservative magazine; and Daily Beast columnist, Kirsten Powers.
I'm Jon Scott. "Fox News Watch" is on right now.
This week, The New York Times published an extraordinary story which got a lot of attention and stirred up a lot of concerns. Titled "Secret Kill List Proves a Test of Obama's Principles and Will," it was the front- page story. Here are a couple of the quotes. "Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top-secret nominations process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical." "Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq War and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding kill list, pouring over terrorist suspects' biographies on what one official calls the macabre baseball cards of an unconventional war."
First of all, Jim, the story here is pretty extraordinary, but the paper must have had some extraordinary access to get it?
JIM PINKERTON, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINE: I suspect they did, and I suspect they got it right from the Oval Office, right from the president, because they understand that any story like this, even if it upsets the ACLU and liberals and anti-death penalty activists and so on, that’s all good. They need some framing in the center. Everybody on the left, who is criticizing Obama over some aspect of the drone strike business, is still going to vote for him. What he needs is help in the middle, and they realize that. So the idea of President Obama running a kill list against terrorist’s sounds like President Bush to me, including the baseball cards and it's going to help push Obama in the center. Whether it works in the election remains to be seen, but it's certainly a strategy from the White House.
SCOTT: The same president who campaigned against water boarding and outlawed it when he came to office, but killing is OK, killing the terrorists.
JUDY MILLER, WRITER & FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Right. Now, we have his aides on the record explaining, not a flip-flop, but an evolution of thinking about this issue. And, of course, this was a concerted campaign strategy because the same article appeared in Newsweek a day before The New York Times, which is never mentioned by The Times. This was clearly an issue they wanted to address. They want to highlight the president's role as a tough counterterrorist warrior, which he has been.
SCOTT: And didn't it say that he even invited his campaign manager to sit in on some of these meetings?
KIRSTEN POWERS, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes, well, I think the way that this was covered is interesting because, you can imagine, if this was about George Bush, how it would have been covered versus how it's been covered with Obama. With Obama, it is very heroic and decisive. And with Bush, it would have been that he was a war criminal and we would have harkened back to the days of Henry Kissinger targeting villages in Vietnam. So I think that this is -- it's really, very biased in that way.
SCOTT: Remember when George W. Bush made the dead-or-alive comment about Usama bin Laden just days after the 9/11 attacks and he was lambasted in the media to the point where he even issued kind of an apology about it.
CAL THOMAS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Yes, "A cowboy." They did the same thing with Ronald Reagan. He's a cowboy, finger on the nuclear trigger. But look, The New York Times, which almost never finds anything to criticize this president about, in their lead editorial on Thursday of this week, said that his ability to decide, like Caesar, thumbs up or thumbs down in the Coliseum, is too much power for a president. So at least we know, according to The New York Times, where the line is with this president for too much power.
SCOTT: Does this kind of leak, Judy, have any effect on national security?
MILLER: It can but, in this instance, since everybody being targeted knows that America's using drones out there, and since there have been many, many articles on the use of drones to kill people, I don't think it compromises anything to understand the process by which someone's name is added to the list. But I just find it extraordinary that the left has been silent about what is basically a king-like absorption -- assertion of power on the part of the president.
MILLER: That’s unusual. And it's gotten very little comment.
SCOTT: Some of the names on the list are American citizens. There's very little outcry about due process here.
PINKERTON: Right. Well, again, it's --when your team is doing it, it’s OK, whatever it is, and that includes the media team on this score.
MILLER: But there was -- William Saletan, writing in Slate, pointed out something very important, which was the definition of who’s a target is so broad that it minimizes the number of people who are killed collaterally who may have nothing to do with terrorism. And a second point is that this president has been living off of the intelligence provided by the previous administration. We are not capturing more terrorists. We are not interrogating more terrorists. We are just killing them. And that, four years down the road, may have some consequences.
THOMAS: Kudos to Jake Tapper, of ABC, who challenged Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, saying this week, in a direct quote, "There's almost a quality of guilty until proven innocent." And Carney didn't really have much to say in response to that, other than to say, well, this is kind of new technology that the previous administration didn't have.