This is a rush transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume" from September 28, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN EDWARDS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You have to look us in the eye and listen to us and make a determination about what is inside us. Is this real? Is this something that he will actually stand up for and fight for when it's hard?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRETT BAIER, GUEST HOST: That's John Edwards today, Democratic Presidential candidate making the pitch for his candidacy up in New Hampshire. But he also announced that he plans to request taxpayer funding, which is a sign that he is in trouble on the fundraising side.
Let's take a quick look at some of the fundraising projections. The Democrats, according to Carl Cameron's reporting, the campaign saying Clinton 17 to 19 million, Obama $17 million to 19.
And on the Republican side, Romney leading the pack with about $15 million this quarter. And three you see the rest of the breakdown, with the main candidates and their fundraising. What does all of this mean about the campaign, and where do we head from here on both sides?
Now some analytical observations from Fred Barnes, executive editor for the Weekly Standard, Mort Kondracke, executive editor for Roll Call, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, FOX News contributors all.
Charles, John Edwards saying he is going to take public funding — a bad sign for his campaign?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: It is, but I love the way he said it. This man never fails to be spectacularly cynical when called upon.
He said he is doing it because he believes in the principal of public financing. And what made him believe in that principal is that he is raising about a third of what his opponents are raising, and he is now urging his opponents, who are raising a lot on their own, to join him in this principled stance.
The main is rather shameless. He has to do this because is he is way behind. What is does is it puts restrictions on him, but it gives him a boost of money in January. And since the race will probably be over on the 6th of February, even though he will be broke after that, if he is going to have a chance at the nomination, he is going to have to do it in January, and that is when he is going to have the extra approximately $6 million as a result of this.
But that means he will have nothing on hand if he wins the nomination between then and July, and he'll go dark, and he could be attacked by the Republicans in that period.
BAIER: So Mort, is this the beginning of the end for the Edwards campaign?
MORT KONDRAKE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, ROLL CALL: It makes it sound like that. It looks to me as though it's the beginning of the end. The buzz is all going to be Edwards is gone, right? And the next question is, I would guess that all of the pollsters will be out trying to figure out who is the second choice of Edwards' voters.
And there are some preliminary answers. I've gotten this from people who are close to the Hillary campaign, and what they say is — they've done some polling on this apparently — that the sort of regular liberals who were, including the trial lawyers, for example, who are part of Edwards' constituency, probably will go to Hillary.
The lefties, the net roots, the moveon.org types who are part of the Edwards' campaign will go to Obama. The question is — what is the proportion? They're hoping that the proportion is 60-40 for Hillary.
BAIER: Let's talk about Republicans, Fred. We put up the graphic — $15 million for Romney actually assumes and takes into account that he is going to stroke a big check for himself out of his own pocket. The Republicans, where does it stand now? Romney is probably looking at $15 million with his own money, but what about the rest of them?
FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, the overriding thing that you can't help but notice is that the Republicans are raising less money than the Democrats. They are because Republican donors are less excited than Democratic donors are.
And when you think about when you get to the general election, that's an important fact — the enthusiasm is mainly on the democratic side.
John McCain is sort of in the situation that John Edwards is where he may have to accept public funding as well. But you can make a calculation.
I think John Edwards must have. He did come up with the shameless explanation, but I think he had to figure "I'm getting squeezed here by Hillary and Obama, and for me, I'll probably have more money, I'll get more money if I do public financing than if I just try to raise it on my own."
It doesn't mean he is out of the race. The guy that spends the most money or the woman that spends the most money in Iowa and New Hampshire doesn't necessarily win.
BAIER: So you're saying that public financing is not a death knell for either Edwards or McCain.
BARNES: Look, it's not a great sign, but it's not a death knell either. And they're both in the race, but they're not in the top tier.
KONDRAKE: The problem is that it changes the psychology. If you got to go to public financing, you are admitting weakness, and people start looking at you as a walking corpse.
It might not happen that way. Conceivably Edwards could spend his pile in Iowa and New Hampshire. But how is he going to finance all of those states that are coming up on February 5 with $50 million when the others will have $100 million is difficult to tell.
KRAUTHAMMER: He will have to grow his hair long.
BAIER: That's the last word. When we return with our panel, the president takes on global warming. That's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: With the work we begin today, we can agree on a new approach that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen energy and security, encourage economic growth and sustainable development, and advance negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change.
FRED KRUPP, ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE PRESIDENT: The rest of the world, the developing countries particularly, expect us to take action before they will. I think the time has come for the United States to catch up with the rest of the industrialized world and also agree to mandatory limits.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: Well, the president today capping two days of talks at a White House sponsored climate conference announcing goals. Critics say there have to be mandatory controls for anything to work on climate change.
Mort, we're back with our panel now. Democrats want to push towards legislation to mandatory carbon controls, also what is called a "cap and trade" system. Explain what that all means.
KONDRAKE: The cap and trade system is that you have a mandatory cap on emissions of greenhouse gases, you have to parcel out to everybody what the cap is going to be. And then people who want to exceed that limit buy their right to do it from industries that don't do it. It's a market that gets created, and it's the best solution that anybody has figured out so far besides, maybe, a gasoline tax or a carbon tax for reducing emissions.
But I just want to say about this whole thing, I have never seen a failure of world leadership to compare with George Bush on this issue. Kyoto may have been a bad idea, those limits in 2001. He says the work we begin today.
He has been president for six years. And now he is coming around to what is the international scientific American establishment consensus — it's not unanimous — that the world is getting warmer, that mankind is responsible for it, that the results will be bad, and that have we got to do something about it.
So we finally come around to the intellectual thing after all of these years. There is still no plan. There won't be a plan until the middle of the last year of his administration. That's not what you expect from the United States of America.
BAIER: Here is what Congressman Ed Markey said about this today. He said "For these countries meeting with the president, this must have felt like attending a prayer session led by an atheist."
Fred, the White House thinks these goals in trying to get China and India on board is the way to go.
BARNES: You have to. And whatever that guy's name was, Fred Crup, whoever he is, he is wrong. China and India aren't out there waiting for the U.S., they just don't want to have any of these limits. These are countries that are growing industrially at a very rapid paste. They don't care what the U.S. does. They want to continue to grow, and for that reason they never considered being a part of the Kyoto treaty, and they weren't as a result.
The more Mort was railing against Bush, totally without much cause, the more I realize I like this speech when I hear the president.
What the president said, I think it's just lip service. He doesn't believe that stuff at all. I don't think he believes, in particular, that the global warming that we have had now, one degree over the last 100 years, is necessarily manmade. I think he believes it's uncertain.
KONDRAKE: Then he is a liar. He is a flat out liar. He said all those things
BARNES: Mort, let me finish. You gave your tirade about Bush.
One, no Kyoto, no mandatory caps. And what is the most thing important thing that has to be protected? Economic growth.
BAIER: Charles, step in here.
KRAUTHAMMER: I'm going to play Judge Judy here, and try to adjudicate between the two.
The president is right that unless you include in any scheme China and India, which were not included in Kyoto, it's worthless. China opens a new coal plant every week, and that is the worst offender when it comes to greenhouse gases.
The other test of seriousness is anybody, particularly among liberals and Democrats who want mandatory caps, are you serious about nuclear. Nuclear is the one source of real energy — not wind and solar, which are trivial, you can power a sail boat with wind but not an industrial economy.
If you want to have a real substitution, you have to be ready to go the way Japan and France have gone and do nuclear because it produces no gases. Of course, it has its own problems, but the waist is not dispersed in the air the way it is with oil and gas. It's in one place, and you can handle it, if imperfectly.
And that's a test of whether somebody is serious or not.
BAIER: Quickly on the Democrats and their chances of getting this through — the controls, the caps, the cap and trade.
KONDRAKE: It is not going to happen for the same reason they can't get the end of the Iraq war through, because it takes 60 votes in the Senate and you're not going to get it.
I agree — You can't do this without China and India, but he should have started in 2001 for heaven's sakes.
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