This is a rush transcript of "Special Report With Bret Baier" from April 7, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It includes significant reductions in the nuclear weapons that we will deploy. It cuts our delivery vehicles by roughly half. It includes a comprehensive verification regime which allows to us further build trust.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: President Obama praising the new START treaty between the U.S. and Russia signed today in Prague. Let's bring in the panel, Tucker Carlson of thedailycaller.com, A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of The Hill, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.
In a post-Cold War world where obviously the Russia and U.S. confrontation or possible threat is not what it once was, let me start with you, Tucker. What is the significance of the treaty?
TUCKER CARLSON, THEDAILYCALLER.COM: I think it's half good. It's better for the world when Russia becomes weaker militarily and not good for the world when U.S. becomes weaker militarily. Our strength has guaranteed world peace basically since the end of the Second World War.
I think the key though is not the missile reduction but missile defense. And Russia has said point blank we're not for allowing the U.S. to build a missile shield against Iranian nukes. I don't see the Senate going along with it until Russia moves on that.
WALLACE: Well, you brought me to what I want to talk about next with A.B., because Senate Republicans, and you need a super majority -- super, super majority of 67 votes in the Senate to pass this.
Senate Republicans have raised two objections already. One is whether this treaty in any way, it doesn't legally, but whether it in any way constrains the U.S. from proceeding on missile defense, and secondly whether the fact that President Obama overruled Defense Secretary Gates on developing a new nuclear warhead. How much trouble do you think the treaty is in, if any, in the Senate?
A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: It's hard to gauge right now with the members still on vacation back at home. The sense is among Republicans that this might be a good fight to pick generally on the entire nuclear policy, the new posture review, and also the START treaty.
I think they'll have to get back to town to hear each other out before they decide how much of a fight they are going to mount. I think the White House will push very hard. They have their ducks in a row knowing this is important.
These treaties are usually supported with bipartisan votes. They need, as you mentioned, 67 votes. But I think it's worth mentioning, barring a big fight with the Senate, and that might happen, the fact he got the treaty signed is a win for President Obama. If he did not get it signed and he didn't deliver it, we would be piling on right now about the fact he has continued to alienate the Russians and can't bring them to table with sanctions and alienated the Chinese and Israelis and everybody else. So even though it's more symbol than substance, the fact he was able to get to Prague to get it signed is a beginning and a win for him today.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: It's mostly symbolism. The Russians have a nuclear capacity that is so old, obsolete, and decaying that they probably aren't going to have to remove any of their weapons platforms to get to 700. We are.
The real problem is what Tucker indicated. If you heard what the president of Russia said in his remarks after the signing, he emphasized again and again that the validity of the treaty that he signed today hinges on the maintenance of the status quo on defensive weapons. He said in fact it's a legal principle that the circumstances that are the basis of the treaty have to remain unchanged.
What that implies is if the United States does something new on missile defense -- for example, if it were to reintroduce the systems it had originally intended to put in the Czech Republic and Poland, say to reintroduce it in Romania or elsewhere, that would be a step that would undo the status quo and it would make the treaty null and void. That is the implication of what he said. The Russians would walk away.
And since we are the ones who will have to dismantle our missiles under the treaty, offensive weapons under this treaty because we have a robust nuclear deterrent and the Russians' is old and a lot more decrepit, we will have dismantled a lot of weapons.
And the Russians reserve the right to walk away if we, if we make them unhappy on missile defenses.
WALLACE: Let me ask you about another aspect of this. As A.B. pointed out, perhaps U.S.-Russian relations are better than they were when President Obama came in, the famous reset button was set -- the significance of that with a third country, Iran and getting Russia on board for sanctions that will bite?
KRAUTHAMMER: First of all, it's a fatuous claim. The reason that relations have drifted, which Obama again repeated today -- he makes it sound as if it was Bush for some reason that alienated the Russians. It was because Russia invaded Georgia and took over two of the provinces, detached them and annexed them illegally.
That's why relations were cooled. Obama reset and said, OK, you get a mulligan on that one and I'll pretend it never happened. Eastern Europeans know what happened, and they worry about it.
On Iran, we have very little. We've got the president of Russia saying again in the remarks afterwards that he's not ruling out the chance of a Security Council -- what was it -- revisiting the issue again. That is not exactly a ringing endorsement of sanctions that bite.
WALLACE: A.B., are you as pessimistic about getting Russia on board for tough sanctions?
STODDARD: I will say I think President Obama coming out to say they'll have sanctions with bite by spring is probably going to come back to bite him. He has set many deadlines and he's missed them. We know that -- on closing Guantanamo Bay, on health care, on the Afghan policy review, and on and on.
I think that things are better with Russia today than they have been, but yes, it is true, they said anything that affects trade with Iran is something they can't go that far. So we're in a wait and see mode. But the idea that China and Russia are sort of at the table are better than not.
WALLACE: And quickly, Tucker, your take on the U.S. and Russia and Iran?
CARLSON: I would like to hear a clear explanation for why Russia is opposed to the United States attempting to defend itself from potential nuclear weapon from Iran. What is the rationale for that? And somebody has to explain that to the Republicans in the Senate in order to get this through.
And if Russia is really serious about containing the Iranian threat and believes is it a threat, then I can't imagine why it's the ICBM capacity.
WALLACE: All right, we have to step aside for a moment. There is much more information on the new arms treaty on the homepage at Foxnews.com/specialreport.
Up next, will conservative doubts about the census end up hurting Republicans?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, R-UTAH: I'm as conservative as they get and I've been very critical of the census, but we have to fill out the forms if we want to be represented. There is plenty of criticism to go around the census, but we still have to fill out the forms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: That is Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah, part of a growing movement urging conservatives not to boycott the census.
And we're back with our panel. Tucker, how big of an issue is this? How much conservative opposition is there out there to filling out thecensus form?
CARLSON: I think there is some. And clearly the congressman and Karl Rove make a valid point, which is if you want to be represented you have to fill out the form, and plus it's required by law, and of course it's in Article I of the Constitution.
I don't think you have to be a militia member to worry about the misuse of the census data. It happened a lot. General Sherman had census data on his march to the sea. Draft dodgers were rounded up in World War I using it. And the Roosevelt administration used it to round up Japanese American.
In 2003, the Census Bureau gave data on Arab-Americans to Homeland Security. In all cases they did it secretly, and the case of the Japanese they lied about it for 65 years. I'm not alleging a conspiracy, I'm just saying you don't have to be crazy to raise the question.
WALLACE: But give me an example. What thing could the government misuse this information for?
CARLSON: I don't think I'm as creative as the federal government is. I'm merely saying every time you read a press account it's oh, everyone is for this except people in Idaho who are stockpiling weapons and food. That is not true. I think it's fair to question the government and the use of this data.
By the way, if you have seen the form, it's race-obsessed. It's about race. Why is that? Someone defend that. I'd like to see defense of why we need that information on your skin color.
WALLACE: A.B., your thoughts on the census and conservative participation and conservative boycott?
STODDARD: I think it's ironic that the Republican establishment worked so hard this year to make sure that they don't alienate the tea party voters who they hope to pick up this fall. They now have anti- government conservatives threatening their chance at picking up a couple dozen more seats in the redrawing of the districts in Congress.
In Texas and some of the most Republican pockets of the entire country, compliance is extremely low. And they are looking to pick up four seats in Texas. Those would be easy for the Republicans to pick up.
The Democrats are going to turn out the demographics big-time. They have corporations working with Latino Internet companies and on and on to make sure that they are going to get the people out.
I think Karl Rove while it is ironic to see a conservative, Karl rove was just beaten up in the "Washington Post" last weekend for not being a true conservative. But I think it's very smart and true of him to get out there and step up and say everyone should fill this out and participate in our government because it will help Republicans be represented in the Congress.
They really will lose at this redrawing -- they will lose at this redrawing after the census in 2010 if people stay home and refuse to fill it out.
WALLACE: If there is anyone who developed a deep philosophical construct of the pluses and minuses of the census, Charles, I know it's you.
KRAUTHAMMER: Yes, I have worked weeks on this, and the monograph will be out in several days.
Politically speaking, it's stupid if a conservative doesn't fill it out for obvious reasons. It will exclude a whole number of communities from the benefits of being in the census. But I think you can make a principled argument on this. This is a sacred institution. It's not a recent creation. It's not individual mandate shoved down our throat by a narrow majority in the House and Senate. It is in the constitution and it has a purpose. Now, I don't think it's a place we ought to adjudicate all the social arguments we have over gay marriage, over race, affirmative action, et cetera. I recoil when I see the race question on the census. I don't like it. But those arguments ought to be made outside of the census. You want to reshape the census next time? Yes. But when you receive the form, it is what it is. And I think you have a duty to fill it out as a citizen.
WALLACE: What about the Census Bureau -- and Shannon Bream reported on this in her story -- that the Census Bureau itself releasing videos very much appealing to gays and saying if you want to fill out married, you and your same-sex partner, go ahead and fill that out.
Conservative groups are saying that is a direct violation of the Defense of Marriage Act.
KRAUTHAMMER: I think we ought to separate the advertising to get people in to fill it out from the census itself. We can argue about that and whether it's a contradiction on the Defense of Marriage Act. But that is a separate issue. It shouldn't make people not want to fill it out and it shouldn't invalidate the census or make it any less of sacred civic institution.
STODDARD: I don't think we would see the Census Bureau making advertisements like that in a Republican administration. It might be connected to this administration agenda in some way. They are compiling data, demographic information. And no matter how you fill that out you won't get a goody from the federal government, it won't recognize your gay marriage or anything else.
CARLSON: But again, to go back, the purpose of the census is narrow. It's to apportion congressional districts. That's what it is for.
I think we need to make certain again that those data aren't misused. So the individual portions of this are supposed to remain under seal for 72 years. There ought to be a punishment for letting them out earlier than that.
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