• With: Kirsten Powers, Richard Grenell, Jim Pinkerton, Juan Williams

    This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Watch," March 16, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


    JON SCOTT, FNC HOST: Another week full of news.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We don't have an immediate crisis in terms of debt

    SCOTT: Mr. Obama gives his friend George an exclusive one-on-one. Did it make news or advance his charm offensive?

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There has to be a home and a movement in America for people who believe in limited government, constitutional principles, and a free enterprise system and that should be us.

    SCOTT: Conservatives gather at CPAC to stir the party as the media aimed to stir controversy. Catholic cardinals elect a new church leader, a man of the people. How did the press react to their pick? Liberal big-mouth Michael Moore wants to do something really heartless and stupid. Al Gore gets a grilling over his hypocritical deal with Al-Jazeera, and the media show their support for New York Mayor Bloomberg's many state antics. Which stories made our list? Find out next on "News Watch."


    SCOTT: On the panel this week, Daily Beast columnist Kirsten Powers, Richard Grenell former spokesman to the last four U.S. Ambassadors to the United Nations, Jim Pinkerton, contributing editor of The American Conservative Magazine and Fox News analyst Juan Williams.

    I'm Jon Scott, "Fox News Watch" is on right now.


    OBAMA: We're not going to balance the budget in ten years because if you look at what Paul Ryan does to balance the budget, it means that you have to voucherize Medicare, you have to slash deeply into programs like Medicaid. My goal is not to chase a balanced budget just for the sake of balance.


    SCOTT: So President Obama there appearing on ABC telling George Stephanopoulos that balancing the budget is not his goal and attacking Congressman Paul Ryan for the budget that he proposed. So, Jim, to you first. Did the media ignore the president's contention that a balanced budget is not really in the realm for him?

    JIM PINKERTON, THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINE: I don't think the media have ever thought of that as a particularly high goal for themselves and yet, as Scott Galupo at The American Conservative and Matt Miller at The Washington Post, both pointed out that the problem the president's had on this sort of moderate budget course he's trying to strike, which is, you know, part tax increases and part this alleged spending cuts, is that nobody is really for that and this is too vague and doesn't really gets excited over, and so what you're seeing, though, and what the president has said, including the slash work, he's also used the word gut, G, U, T when it refers to Medicare I think is the beginning of the 2014 midterm elections, where the Democrats are going to come after the Republicans and Paul Ryan on gutting or slashing, their words, Medicare. And I think that action, when you see it in the -- the Democratic congressional campaign committee Twitter feed is really where the Democrats are headed.

    SCOTT: So, when the president says the balanced budget is not his goal, is that newsworthy?

    KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY & DAILY BEAST COLUMNIST: You know, I think for most reporters, they are so used to hearing this. I mean Bush must have said it in every State of the Union and I don't think he had a balanced budget when he left. So it's not -- it's one of the things that just sort of boiler plate these days. When people promise it. The president -- I think when expecting the president to say that he wants a balanced budget right now is a little bit putting it in the Republican paradigm. Because most liberals don't think that is our short-term goal. Our goal right now is to avoid austerity and spend, and keep the economy moving and, you know, in the long run balance the budget, but not -- it's not a short-term goal.

    SCOTT: What about the interview itself, Juan? Stephanopoulos claimed that it was a no holds barred interview, but it seemed more like the presidential charm offensive continued.

    JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that's the overall media strategy, Jon. But you know what struck me was, that even on ABC that night, it was not the lead story in their own news show and when they got to it, the way they teased it was to say the president talks about the hacking scandal for Michelle Obama, the first lady. Now, is that a clue that there's no news? Yes, there was no news. I mean, basically, it is the president using that format, I think, and we saw this with the CBS interview that was so widely criticized, "The 60 Minutes" interview, but he uses the press in this way on his terms and I think this is what we're seeing succeed for him time and again.

    SCOTT: Go ahead.

    RICHARD GRENELL, FMR. SKPSMN, LAST 4 U.S. AMBASSADORS TO U.N.: Except, you know, let's be honest, this is the president of the United States who as candidate called $6 trillion un-American, and $6 trillion is un-American, $16 trillion dollars is not American. I mean, this is the next level and yet, the media are acting like, I think you are correct, Kirsten, well, we've heard it before. But Bush never called his, you know, $6 trillion national debt un-American. Obama did ...

    WILLIAMS: Yeah, but in the ...

    GRENELL: Let's hold him accountable. If it's un-American, let's call him accountable.

    POWERS: The question, though, (inaudible) surplus, so he was in a different ...

    WILLIAMS: Well, that I was about to say ...

    POWERS: Yes.

    WILLIAMS: That we went through a terrible recession here and steps had to be taken and don't forget, Dick Cheney is the man who famously said ...

    POWERS: Deficits don't matter.

    WILLIAMS: Deficits don't matter.

    GRENELL: Yeah, but you're avoiding the number one problem right now, which is President Obama called $6 trillion un-American, he has overseen $16 trillion dollars.

    SCOTT: In the meantime, Jim, Paul Ryan introduced his budget and it's hard to find a good word said about it in the press.

    PINKERTON: You might be thinking of, for example, the Washington Post Jonathan Bernstein, who said, what do you do when one party is this, underline to this, dishonest. And sometimes reporters would say, why do (ph) the headlines? In the text he also called it breathtakingly dishonest, so I guess that kind of speaks for where Mr. Bernstein sees and much of the Washington Post, see, Paul Ryan.

    SCOTT: Why does he not, Kirsten? I mean, disagree or agree with the budget that he puts forward, why does he not get credit for at least putting something on paper and saying, this is what I think we ought to do.

    POWERS: Well, isn't this his job? I mean I don't know why people ...

    SCOTT: It's the president's job to put out a budget ...

    POWERS: Yeah, and president ....

    SCOTT: And he says he can't do it, because ...

    POWERS: And he's been rightly criticized for that, you know. I think that the fact that he's late with his budget is a problem and he's been criticized for it. I don't think Paul Ryan gets extra points just for putting a budget out. I think he needs to put something out that people actually might be a little work together on, and this is not that document. You cannot make your centerpiece of your budget repealing the president's cornerstone, Obamacare, it's a non-starter, and everybody knows it. So, I don't see this as a serious exercise, I think it's something meant to gin up the base and that's the way it should be covered.

    SCOTT: In the meantime, Juan, the president's charm offensive, is it working on the press, do you think?