• With: Judy Miller, Jim Pinkerton, Rick Grenell, Justin Duckham

    This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Watch," January 5, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


    JON SCOTT, HOST: On "Fox News Watch."

    REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO, HOUSE SPEAKER: So if you've come here to see your name up in the lights or to pass off a political victory as some accomplishment, you've come to the wrong place. The door is right behind you.

    SCOTT: Re-elected Speaker of the House Boehner with a message for the new Congress.

    Congress approves a compromise deal to avert the fiscal cliff, for now. Did the media tell you what you it does? Taxes raised on most wage earners right now, but no spending cuts until later. The House of Representatives delays the vote to give more relief to victims of superstorm Sandy, causing a reaction almost as violent as the storm itself.

    GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-NEW JERSEY: Last night politics was placed before our oath to serve our citizens. For me, it was disappointing and disgusting to watch.

    SCOTT: Did NBC's "Meet the Press" host take his anti-gun agenda a step too far? A liberal newspaper in New York reveals the names and addresses of legal gun owners. "The Des Moines Register" publishes a gun ban column, advocating deadly violence against the NRA and Republican leaders.

    The war in Afghanistan is still going on. Nearly 70,000 U.S. troops still there, but media interest is MIA.

    And get this, Mr. Global Warming, Al Gore, sells his failed cable channel to a network owned by a big oil producing country.


    SCOTT: On the panel this week, writer and Fox News contributor Judy Miller; Richard Grenell, who served as press spokesman for the last four U.S. ambassadors to the U.N.; Jim Pinkerton, contributing editor to the American Conservative magazine; and Justin Duckham, Washington correspondent for Talk Radio News Service. I'm Jon Scott. "Fox News Watch" is on right now.


    BOEHNER: There's no substitute for the wisdom of the people. We here are their servants. As speaker, I pledge to listen and to do all I can to help all of you carry out your oath of office that we are all about to take. Because in our hearts, we know it's wrong to pass this debt on to our kids and our grandkids. Now we have to be willing, truly willing to make this problem right.


    SCOTT: The re-elected speaker of the House there, John Boehner, addressing the new 113th Congress on Thursday, part of a very busy week on Capitol Hill for lawmakers and the media. First came the hoopla over a done deal to avert the fiscal cliff, and then some outrage over a vote that didn't happen.


    CHRISTIE: Disaster relief was something that you didn't play games with. But now in this current atmosphere, everything is the subject of one-upsmanship, everything is a possibility, a potential piece of bait for the political game. And it's just -- it's why the American people hate Congress. It's why they hate them.


    SCOTT: That was New Jersey's governor, Chris Christie, one of a few Republicans who criticized the fact that John Boehner's Republican-led House of Representatives refused to hold a vote on a Senate-approved bill to spend $60 billion on hurricane relief.

    Now, they did approve a smaller chunk on Friday, $9.7 billion, and they are promising to hold more votes, but here is how the media jumped on that.

    The Newark Star Ledger, headline, "Christie rips GOP on Sandy bill delay." From the Philadelphia Inquirer, "Christie -- Shame on Congress." CNN called it a bombshell. Is that a little too much drama, Jim?

    JIM PINKERTON, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINE: Well, I mean, it works for Christie, doesn't it? I mean, the governor of New Jersey has now set himself up as a sort of triangulated figure looking down with mostly scorn at both the Democrats and the Republicans, and in terms of the middle of the country, which feels very anti-Congress and is sort of worried about the country's direction as a whole and not all that keen on President Obama either, it's a pretty good position to be in.

    SCOTT: He does have to run for reelection. The decision to delay the vote, though, to make sure that the money was being well-spent -- I know Bill Kristol defended it in the Weekly Standard, but anybody else?

    JUDY MILLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Oh, no, I just think it's indefensible. I mean, if we're going to start talking about well-spent money, you might as well shut down the entire U.S. Congress. I mean, come on, this was clearly a political move. There was a response to a political move that was genuine, not only by Chris Christie, but by Pete King, who said the same thing. Disaster money should not be politicized, and I think that was a theme that many Americans agreed with.

    SCOTT: But I think the point, Justin, that some of the critics of the bill were saying, the Senate bill was that it wasn't all disaster relief.

    JUSTIN DUCKHAM, TALK RADIO NEWS SERVICE: Well, let it go to the floor, and that's what the speaker should have done. He just had an open vote on the fiscal cliff and members were allowed to vote up or down, and he could have done the same thing here, and it looked like they had the votes to pass it.

    SCOTT: The media meme seemed to be that the GOP was out of touch and divided. Maybe Judy would agree with that, I don't know. Is that the way the headlines were casting this thing?

    RICHARD GRENELL, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR FOUR U.N. AMBASSADORS: Well, politics were everywhere, and from the headlines it was all politics. It wasn't substance. And if you look at the substance, this was political. You know, Jim said that this works for Governor Christie. I think it only works for Governor Christie in New Jersey, because he's running for reelection. His campaign is in full swing. This bill was loaded with political giveaways, it wasn't just relief.

    SCOTT: Well, you know, the fact that Eric Cantor voted on the fiscal cliff deal, he was a no vote, and John Boehner voted for it, obviously -- the media were all over that as though there's this gigantic fracture.

    PINKERTON: Well, there was a gigantic fracture, and it wasn't just the liberal media. It was Erick Erickson, speaking of Erics, pointed out on RedState that Cantor had tweeted out -- his press spokesman tweeted before that he was going to vote for it. And then 24 hours later he voted against it. And Erickson said, look, it's not just a liberal conspiracy to call this confusion, when in fact, this is Eric Erickson talking, Republicans are confused.

    SCOTT: But the overarching focus of the coverage after this vote was on the GOP in disarray. It wasn't about what did or didn't get done in this fiscal cliff deal, which was more can kicking. Right?

    MILLER: Jon, I think that was the meme, if I can use Jim's word. This is the political story that comes out of this debacle. There was only one column I saw that was really thoughtful by Robert Samuelson and RealClearPolitics that said this is also a failure of presidential leadership, because the president wasn't talking at all about the fact that the country is spending more than it's taking in.

    GRENELL: But first, it was a financial story, this was not a political story.

    MILLER: It was both.

    GRENELL: No, it really was a financial story, this is about taxes. This is about budget. We should have had the financial reporters covering this. The political reporters, all they did was talk about sparring and who is up and who is down. We got no news. The New York Times coverage was atrocious, it was all politics, it was no finance.

    DUCKHAM: Well, it was not an isolated incident. We saw a GOP schism coming with the Hurricane Sandy bill. We know that Cantor wanted to vote for it, and Boehner was against it. We saw plan B fail, and this is just the latest example. You know, and we also saw the House vote, where we saw the speaker--


    GRENELL: But not all Democrats voted the same way either.