All-Star Panel: Looking ahead at potential for Hillary Clinton in 2016

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," June 18, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BREAM: Welcome back to "Special Report." It is June 18th, 2013, which means it is time to look ahead to the 2016 presidential election. And today there was a big announcement. This one came from Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill. She wants Hillary Clinton to run. Here is what she said, "It is important that we start early, building a grassroots army from the ground up, and effectively using the tools of the Internet -- all things that President Obama did so successfully -- so that if Hillary decides to run, we'll be ready to help her win."

All right, it is officially on, gentlemen. Charles, Hillary Clinton, there's a lot swirling around her now, but will it all be ancient history by 2016?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: No. I think if she wants the nomination, it will be handed to her. Obviously, the party is swooning and believing that she is inevitable.  Well, you know, she was inevitable in 2008 as well. It didn't exactly work out.

She has a reputation of somebody who has a sterling career. I thought as a senator she was rather good. But people speak about her as a superb secretary of state. You remember that little tat-tat-tat that she had with Obama on television at her retirement – you know one of the great secretaries of state. Can someone name one achievement she had in the four years? Just one. I'm not asking for three. I'm not asking for Henry Kissinger, I'm not asking for George Schultz, James Baker, you know, a great treaty. No, just give me one thing.

So I'm not sure I understand any of this. But if she runs, I think as a conservative I'd welcome that, I think she is eminently defeatable.

BREAM: Well do you think that Benghazi is over for her though? There are still a lot of people still pushing, including us and many others out there. Do you think it will be something that's done it's resolved by then?

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: I mean, I just think she will always be questioned about it. It will definitely be something that comes up. I just don't think it's going to be by her Democratic primary challengers, and I don't think they there are even any of those. So, it would be a general election bid for her.

BREAM: Joe Biden maybe? Yeah, he likes to seem very interested in this. What about the GOP side, Steve?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well it's much less interesting at this point than the Democratic side because of Hillary Clinton and things like Benghazi and Syria and Iraq and the Russian reset and things that haven't worked out. Look, I think what we are not seeing, but is taking place every day now is people preparing to run or at least keeping their options open. If they haven't yet made a decision, an affirmative decision that they are going to run, you have got, I think, a number of candidates on the Republican side who are doing the kind of things that one must do in order to run -- calling fundraisers, trying to set up some sort of fundraising infrastructure, making visits, maybe offering, giving a speech that offers some hint that will generate some buzz about a perspective run --

BREAM: In Iowa.

HAYES: -- in Iowa, in South Carolina.

So all of this is happening -- or most of this is happening behind the scenes. You haven't yet seen many people take big steps forward in a way that kind of announces that they're likely to run, unlike Rand Paul. I think Rand Paul has probably been the most aggressive on the Republican side in that respect.

BREAM: Yeah, and the filibuster – not the filibuster – yeah on the floor, where he -- the "Stand with Rand." For a lot of people that captured their attention. I mean people don't sit around watching C-Span at 1:00 in the morning. It was a big moment for him.

HAYES: Speak for yourself.

BREAM: I did that night.

I want to talk to you about Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, who his name came up many times. It came up the last time around as well. Something that he wrote in an op-ed basically telling the GOP to get it together. Here is part of what he said. "How about we take all this energy being spent on autopsies and focus in on painting a picture for the American public, particularly for young people, of what a free and prosperous American future will look like with smart conservative policies. No more self-analysis; we've had our catharsis. The season for navel gazing has passed." Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: He is entirely right. I think we obviously lost the election if you are a conservative. But the mourning is over. The shiva is done. And if you are a conservative, you should be optimistic. The main argument in the country because a liberal and a conservative is on the scope, the size, the reach of government. Big government as we believe doesn't work in the end. If you think it's true, then you are seeing it before your very eyes, not just in Europe where it's obviously not working, but here. ObamaCare is going to be a train wreck. We see what's happening with the IRS, with the DOJ, all these huge institutions which are obviously failing the American people, being abusive and in some cases, corrupt.

This is a time for an ideological offensive on the part of conservatives, the vindication of the idea of smaller government. So stop the navel gazing and make the case. If conservatives do, they will win.

BREAM: A.B.?

STODDARD: Well, I mean I think it's, you know, Charles is making the case for why they should win. But the question of how is really material. I think you see already a split in the perspective candidates for 2016. You can see Jeb Bush and Chris Christie running a more centrist, reformer Republican brand. They're anticipating a very conservative primary contest with them out of the left wing of the party, making the argument that they are more compelling general election candidates and will be able to form a better national coalition than Rand Paul, or Ted Cruz, or Rick Perry, or the returning former senator Rick Santorum and people like that.

There is -- the jury is still out on Marco Rubio, what his standing is now, because is he under so much fire from conservatives on immigration reform.  But Rand Paul is an island. He is building a national brand that's not going to win him the White House but will keep him a national figure long beyond 2016. And I think it's interesting to watch, but I don't think he is the nominee.

BREAM: Steve, 10 seconds left. Rubio on immigration reform, does it help or hurt him in the long run?

HAYES: As a primary candidate it probably hurts him. As a general election candidate if he were to win the election it helps him and helps Republicans.

BREAM: All right, panel, thank you very much. That's it for the panel.  Stay tuned, though. His threats have sparked reaction around the world. So find out what finally took down a worldwide power broker.

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