(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW ROMANOFF, D-COLO., U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: He
suggested three positions that might be available to me were I not to pursue a
Senate race and e-mailed me descriptions of those positions that day. I
informed him that I was not going to change course.
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Does the leader
of the party have an interest in ensuring that primaries that tend to be costly
aren't had so that you are ready for a general election? Of course.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, "SPECIAL REPORT" HOST: There you have it, the response from the White House today
about the newest job offer or offers dangled in front of a Senate primary
candidate. There you see Andrew Romanoff in Colorado. He says the deputy chief
of staff Jim Messina reached out to him in September of 2009 to try to get him
perhaps not in the Senate primary against incumbent Senator Michael Bennett
with three possible job offers in an e-mail that is now public.
This, of course, comes after the Joe Sestak scenario, and
there are still questions about what was offered specifically and how many
times he was talked to about that Senate primary in Pennsylvania, which he is
now the nominee. That's not all. Let's bring in the panel to talk about all of this,
Tucker Carlson, editor of thedailycaller.com, Erin Billings, deputy editor of
Roll Call, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. OK, Tucker, here is
the latest. What do you think?
TUCKER CARLSON, EDITOR, THEDAILYCALLER.COM: Leaving aside whether
or not it's legal, it's awfully cynical. Mr. Romanoff, whatever his many charms
and accomplishments, is totally unqualified to hold these jobs he was offered. And
he was in fact offered them. I know the White House position is he applied.
CARLSON: Right, the director of democracy for USAID. You
have to be cynical to offer a job like that. By its title, is presumably
important one, spreading democracy to the world, to some guy whose only qualification
in international relations is having taught after college briefly before grad school
I think they will have to answer for that. I was sad that
there weren't more questions today in the briefing asked of Mr. Gibbs on the subject.
I'll be very interested to see how it helps Andrew Romanoff in the primary,
because he has an effect, whatever his role motive, he has in effect to staked
out an opinion against Obama. It helped Sestak in Pennsylvania in the primary. Will
it help Romanoff? That will tell you a lot about what the midterms will look
BAIER: Erin, Representative Issa continues to ask for
questions and other congressmen now are on the list as well saying this is illegal
what the White House has been doing.
There are more questions about the perception here. Politico
had an article today that this is bumbling. Here is a quote: "Taken
together the Sestak and Romanoff cases suggest a White House team that is one
part Richard Daley, the Chicago mayor, and one part Barney Fife. One senior
House Democrat said it's baffling 'how one group of people can be so good at campaigning
and so bad at politics,' a phrasing nearly identical to that of a second
veteran House Democrat who expressed the same sentiment.”
ERIN BILLINGS, DEPUTY EDITOR, ROLL CALL: That's actually a good
point. This is an operation that ran an incredible campaign that got this
president into office. We all remarked at how well they ran that campaign. And
yet the political operation ran by Rahm Emanuel and Jim Messina as the deputy,
obviously whether or not there was something illegal or not, it is a perception
BAIER: They clearly weren't successful.
BILLINGS: They weren't successful. You know, let's see if
there is a third. I hope for the White House's sake there isn't, because if there
is, then we actually have a trend.
The Republicans are going to keep the heat on. Darrell Issa
has been championing this in the House. We have now the Minority Leader Boehner
weighing in, saying we want all the answers. We want everything disclosed. You
promise to be a transparent White House, now be transparent.
BAIER: There is potentially a third. Rod Blagojevich's trial
in Chicago has started and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has been subpoenaed
in the trial to see what the transition team really tried to do to get that
Senate seat appointed.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: And there the prosecutor's
overt charge is that the governor was selling the seat. We know that the
president has a perfectly legitimate interest in getting his appointee to his
seat. But the question is was anything offered in that particular case?
I think it was interesting in the Romanoff case, the White
House is trying to stay just this side of the legal line by using the word "dangling"
rather than "offering."
And look, the White House says there wasn't a quid pro quo,
so that's why it's kosher. But Gibbs admitted what the quo was when he said the
president has an interest in clearing the field. So clearly the objective was
to get him out of the race. That's the quo. And the quid was the three jobs.
So I think it's really out there. This is pretty on the
line. In the Sestak case I think there is less evidence of bribery, but the
real issue there is veracity and lying. The story from Sestak and the White
House don't stack up. The statement from the White House lawyer said there were
inquiries made over the month of June and July. Sestak said there was one call,
under a minute. Well, that doesn't match.
So there are lies here, there is something being covered up.
What were the other offers who made them? So I think it is two different cases
but each of them looks real bad. In journalism, one incident is anecdote, three
is a trend, and here we are hovering in the middle at two.
BAIER: Quickly, Tucker, Representative Issa says the law,
the statute is clear here. While everybody says it happens all the time, he
says as soon as the White House offers a federal job or uses federal paid
employees to make these calls or e-mails to reach out to them from the White
House, that Messina or whomever has crossed a number of lines both ethically
Is there more to this here from Issa and others point of
CARLSON: I believe that to be true. In order to influence a
primary in a specific case. I think that is right, and I think that question
also pertains to what happened in the Blagojevich case. There are federal authorities
under penalty of perjury from two people saying they had direct knowledge of
the White House offering in effect to pay the governor to put Valerie Jarrett
in that Senate seat. That is not a small allegation.
BAIER: OK, we'll follow it here. Go to our homepage at foxnews.com/specialreport.
You can vote on your pick for Friday's lightning round. Go to your choice
online on the right of the screen. Let us know what you think as well.
Up next, what the All-Stars think about the president's
meeting with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Although, I understand the
frustration of the people of Arizona when it comes to the inflow of illegal
immigrants, I don't think this is the right way to do it.
I think this puts American citizens who look Hispanic, are Hispanic,
potentially in a unfair situation. It also creates the prospect of 50 different
laws in 50 states when it comes to immigration. This is a federal job.
GOV. JAN BREWER, R-ARIZ.: I believe we are protecting the people
of Arizona, and beyond that I believe we're protecting the people of America. We
need to secure our border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: In an interview with CNN's Larry King, President
Obama agreed with the governor of Arizona on one thing, that the federal government
has dropped the ball on immigration. There you see their meeting in the Oval Office.
Obviously, there is a lot of back and forth and different opinions
about Arizona's new immigration law, but what about where it goes from here and
comprehensive immigration reform?
We're back with the panel. Erin, what about this meeting and
what was said from both sides?
BILLINGS: It sounds like the meeting was really kind of
"nothing burger," if you will. They had some pleasantries. It was
cordial. They talked about border security, something they both agree on. Obama
apparently pressed for immigration reform, comprehensive reform, and asked
Governor Brewer to join with him in tht effort. She obviously cares about
shoring up the border first. She made that clear.
Did it advance the ball? I don't think so. It didn't appear
to. It was more of a meet and greet. We're back to where we are.
BAIER: And the White House was essentially pressured into
the meeting, conceding to putting her on the schedule after there was an outcry
he wouldn't meet with her. What about this, Tucker?
CARLSON: He's already staked out a pretty stark position. With
Larry King and with the president of Mexico he was saying the voters of Arizona
and their officials are bigots.
That is the fundamental problem with the law is it is discriminatory
in effect. That is a pretty stout thing to say, hard to walk back from that. You
heard Robert Gibbs say today, the clearest explanation of the president's policy
I've heard, to date, saying the governor of Arizona is interested in first
securing the border and moving forward from that.
The president is interested in comprehensive immigration
reform first. His first priority is not securing the borders, which is honest,
if nothing else. He won't win a lot of swing voters but maybe it will help his base.
BILLINGS: I don’t know if that's exactly accurate. He did
offer up this new border security plan. Whether it was responding to political
pressure or not, he clearly said that border security is --
BAIER: That is how Gibbs portrayed the point at the podium. He
made that stark, you know, she's for securing the border first and he is for a more
KRAUTHAMMER: Right, which makes the show of sending the
1,200 National Guard pure show. Gibbs is honest about this.
There is something very odd about this. The executive is required
under our constitution to execute the laws. We have laws about immigration. The
government by its own acknowledgment has failed 10 million times to enforce it
since there are that many illegals in the United States.
And now it says we'll only enforce it if we get
comprehensive reform, i.e., we are not going to enforce an existing law until
we get a change in a law or new law. You can't hold an existing law hostage, the
enforcement of an existing law if you are the executive, to a legislative
agenda you have. You have to enforce the law.
I do not understand how they can say this with a straight
face in a constitutional democracy. You have to enforce the law.
Secondly, politically, it makes no sense. If you want to get
a national consensus on legalization, you will get it only if and when Americans
are convinced this is the last cohort of illegals who are going to be legalized,
not if the door remains open and you're going to get a flood of new people if you
enforce legal immigration.
You shut the border, you'll get a majority of Americans who
want to have comprehensive legalization.
BAIER: At the same time, Charles, the Obama administration
is asking the Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court ruling that upheld Arizona's
right to punish employers for hiring illegals. This is a ninth circuit ruling,
one of the most liberal courts in the U.S., and the Obama administration wants
to take it to the court.
KRAUTHAMMER: Which tells you again it's all for show, it's
all to shore up the base. They are going to have a rough November election. They
want to have Hispanics on their side. They want to show they're pulling out all
There is not a snowball chance in hell of getting this
through the Supreme Court if the ninth, which, as you say, is the most liberal,
has already struck it down.
BAIER: They're essentially saying the ninth was too
conservative in this ruling.
CARLSON: Moreover, if you are not for this restriction, if you're
not for punishing employers for hiring illegals, and you're also not for allowing
law enforcement enforcing immigration laws, then what enforcement efforts are
you in favor of? Are you in favor of any? It's actually an honest question. I
would like to hear someone ask Mr. Gibbs this. What do you favor?
BAIER: Five seconds, Erin. And that's a lot of time. Comprehensive
immigration reform legislation?
BILLINGS: I feel like a broken record, beating a dead horse here.
This year, no. Let's talk in January 2011. There is no appetite for it.
BAIER: That was seven.