Friday Lightning Round: What should Romney, Obama debate?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," April 27, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Every week viewers vote for your choice online in this, the Friday Lightning Round. This week Steve's pick won with 40 percent of the vote. Big vote.

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I'm happy.

BAIER: What is the question? Mitt Romney popped up. There he is.

HAYES: The question is this -- if both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were required to participate in one 90-minute debate on a single subject, what would the subject be - or what should the subject be, and why? And my answer is entitlement reform, because given everything that we've talked about with debt and deficits it's the biggest single driver of our debt. And we are not going to make any progress on it unless we have very specific solutions. You can't, sort of BS your way through it in a debate if you don't give specific solutions if it's 90 minutes long.

BAIER: Rick?

RICK KLEIN, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, ABC NEWS: I gave this a lot of though Steve and at first I thought maybe animal control policy would be fun and I'd like to see them debate baseball because I don't think either of them are really fans, Red Sox or White Sox.

(LAUGHTER)

KLEIN: But inherently these guys are nerds and I wanted to see them go through the constitution amendment by amendment. I actually think that for everything else that's out there, all the noise of the campaign, these guys just have different vision of what the government should be doing. It would be fun to see it play out and I think they'd do a good job.

BAIER: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Rick is right and Steve is right. Rick is right about asking Obama how to pronounce Comiskey Park. And Steve is right that the question would be we're $16 trillion in debt. Don't tell us that you are going to eliminate an oil company tax subsidy. Give us your answer on tax reform, what Reagan did in '86, and entitlement reform without which we are going to go the way of Greece.

BAIER: I was surprised, I was going to think energy would be one of the three, specifically energy. But OK.

Speaking of which, the EPA, this administrator who is caught on tape saying his philosophy about going in and making example, basically, the first people, he uses the Turkish village as the Romans went in and crucified people to make an example. The EPA administrator, we caught up with her today, she had a response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LISA JACKSON, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: Dr. Almendariz has apologized. He has acknowledged that his comments were wrong. Frankly, they were inflammatory, but they were also wrong. And they don't comport with either this administration's policy on energy, our policy at EPA on environmental enforcement, nor do they comport with our record as well.

BENJAMIN COLE, AMERICAN ENERGY ALLIANCE: If the president wants to fix the controversy at the EPA. This is a very simple solution. He should follow the advice of the administrator. He should walk into the EPA headquarters, fire the first five people he sees, and it probably will become an agency a little easier to manage from that point forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: All right. Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: Two wrongs don't make a right. Look, what is interesting to me is the fact that there has been almost no reporting on this in the main stream media, which means that the media, like Obama, are not in full re-election mode.

BAIER: Rick?

KLEIN: I think it's obviously bad if you are making any kind of comparisons or suggestions about crucifixion. This is unfortunate language. It's the kind of thing that anyone should avoid. It's like comparing someone to a Nazi. Unless you're actual Nazi, just don't do it.

But I think, I think this is the kind of thing that is damaging because it fuels the critique of the Obama administration, those who feel like there has been executive overreach, those who feel like they've been pushing the envelope too far, to have a high ranking officials talk about it in these kind of stark terms is a bad storyline. And again, in a time that he is gearing up for re-election and he wants to make an argument about the positive force that government can be in your lives, to have people out there saying this is not good at all.

BAIER: Steve?

HAYES: Yeah, well contrary to what Lisa Jackson says -- basically, not a crucifixion, but it has been the policy of the administration to go after the Big Oil companies. And that is what they are doing. He's made an example of Big Oil every time he has an opportunity to target them, he targets them. This will not be the end of this story. The House Energy and Commerce Committee are going to try to require him to show up. And answer questions at a hearing. We will hear a lot more about it.

BAIER: Quickly, John Edwards trial in Greensboro, North Carolina.

HAYES: It's just a spectacle. It's one person lying about another liar and lying to protect himself.

KLEIN: I saw he has an approval rating of three percent with a poll that has a plus or minus of three percent. So you can do the math and figure out where it may actually be.

I actually think if you watch this trial it's gonna be hard for them to get a conviction in this. Because the defense is basically saying look he is a bad, lying cheater. But he wasn't a bad lying cheating politician. He was just doing it in his personal life. Andrew Young was not a great witness, and I think this will be a very hard conviction to secure.

BAIER: Two things, one about the trial, two, how close John Edwards came to actually being a part of this Obama administration, or possibly being a part of any administration.

KRAUTHAMMER: And that makes his behavior the most irresponsible of all. You can imagine what would have happened had he won. It's doing the impossible, the trial. It is eliciting some sympathy for John Edwards. He's a terrible guy and did a lot of terrible stuff, but the idea that he would criminalize it to use arcane finance laws I think is something people imagine is a stretch. The question is, is everything all really bad behavior in American life criminal or not? And I think it's a real question.

(CROSSTALK)

KRAUTHAMMER: He went from three to four percent in his approval rating.

BAIER: He's moving up. That is it for the panel. But stay tuned for an update on North Korea's nuclear program.

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