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Special Report

'Special Report' Panel Discusses Whether Obama Will Select Clinton as His V.P. and Bill Clinton's Role in Hillary's Life

This is a rush transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume" from June 3, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think there are a lot of superdelegates who are waiting for the last couple of contests, but I think they're going to be making decisions fairly quickly after that. We feel good about the number of super delegates that we have been accumulating.

TERRY MCAULIFFE, CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: She has given her heart and soul to this campaign. We're going to go through today. Let's see where the numbers are. But it's been a great campaign on all sides.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HUME: Well, where the numbers are, as you can see if you have been watching the bottom of your screen, is 2,123 delegates for Barack Obama, that's five more than needs unofficially to win the nomination, and, therefore, we believe tonight he has clinched it according to the tally kept for everybody by the AP. Some thoughts on this and what will flow from it from Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of The Weekly Standard, Juan Williams, Senior Correspondent of National Public Radio, Bill Kristol, Editor of The Weekly Standard, and Mort Kondracke, Executive Editor of Roll Call, all are FOX News contributors. This comes at an interesting moment, because at the same time, the question was put, it is said, in a meting with some Hispanic leaders to Democrats, to Hillary Clinton, if she would like to be on the ticket or would be on the ticket, and she said she would do whatever it took, whatever she could to help defeat John McCain in November. Fred, how do you take that?

FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: She wants to be his vice presidential running mate, no question about that. She is trying to force herself on the ticket. Obama has won an incredibly impressive victory in winning this nomination over the Clinton machine, which was thought to be a lot more formidable than it turned out to be, but it was still pretty formidable. But it's clear that she's trying to preempt him from picking his own vice presidential running mate, and this will be the first test of Obama as the nominee, whether he allows her to force her way on the ticket as his running mate, something we know he doesn't want. It is well-known he doesn't want that, and it will be an interesting test. And then, of course, he's got McCain, and he's got to prove himself plausible for commander in chief. But right now, his big problem after this incredible victory in winning the nomination is still Hillary.

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: I think that's right. And so it comes down to where are the party elders? Where are the people who could make this deal if it was possible? There are a number of names batted around, including the Washington lawyer who negotiated both of their book deals. People are looking for someone who can say if you look at the Democratic voters right now, actually, Democratic voters like both of these candidates. They would like this dream ticket to come about. But, as Fred said, there's real animosity. There are real hard feelings, and I think that some of those--

HUME: Do you think it is hard feelings that makes the Obama camp resistant to Senator Clinton as a running mate, or is it cold political calculation about who would help win in the fall and who you want around when you are in the White House?

WILLIAMS: Break it down. I think if it is a matter of political calculation, they would then say Hillary Clinton is the number two on this ticket, because she helps with white women, she helps with Hispanics, and she helps with Jewish voters.

HUME: She also presumably helps, if recent results are to be believed, with a lot of white working class men as well.

WILLIAMS: Absolutely. But we know in some case she has been a polarizing figure with working class white men. But I agree with you. And as to the second point on the harsh feelings, I think that the harsh feelings are illustrated today. It's all about Hillary Clinton. This should be Barack Obama's day, but it's all about Hillary Clinton yet again. And you have to wonder is she'd be playing games behind the guy's back from the start!

HUME: Bill?

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I think the harsh feelings will go away quickly. These are grown-ups. They have two-and-a- half months before the Democratic convention. That's not the issue. I don't think anyone really knows whether Hillary Clinton is the best pick for Barack Obama in terms of winning the election. It is very hard to tell in the midst of a primary. There has been little polling done, but it was done when people were still in this fight. Here is what they will do. In a week or two, Obama will be the nominee, and Hillary Clinton will be gracious. And then they will seriously poll a bunch of vice presidential nominees in key states. And I, myself, am very uncertain whether it will turn out that she is one of the strongest possible vice presidential nominees he could have on the ticket, or whether she hurts him.

MORT KONDRACKE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "ROLL CALL: Just to set the table, the way I heard what happened both in the New York--her conversations with the New York supporters and with Hispanic supporters is that they both said he can't carry the Hispanic vote without you on the ticket. And she said something to the effect, I've heard that, too, and I am agreeable to a unity ticket. Now, it's far and wide, and, as Juan said, that's absolutely right, she is stealing his story today, and she is putting it to him.

KRISTOL: She is allowed to have a conference call with a bunch of her supporters.

KONDRACKE: She could have waited until tomorrow--just a second-- if you say in a crowded conference call that you are agreeable to a unity ticket, that is horning in on his story. And she is clearly putting herself out there as a potential vice presidential candidate on the very day when he sealed up the nomination. Now, I can't believe that he is going to regard that as a friendly act on her part. But then it raises the question--does he accede to her demand or insistence that she be on the ticket, in which case he looks weak?

KRISTOL: Would it be friendlier if she had said there is no way I would be on his ticket.

KONDRACKE: No, no.

(CROSSTALK)

HUME: She says I will do whatever it takes.

KONDRACKE: That's one thing. But I am agreeable to a unity ticket. The question put to her was -- wait a minute. The statement put to her was he can't carry the Hispanic vote without you on the ticket. And her response was I've heard that, too. I am agreeable to a unity ticket.

HUME: The other thing is if you have Charlie Rangel, who knows his way around politics, who is one of her supporters, who is, of course, also a very major figure in the House of Representatives and in the Democratic Party, comes out afterwards and starts booming her a bit for this position. So the Hillary Clinton campaign for vice president is underway? Do you agree with that? Do you disagree with that?

KRISTOL: I think it is underway, and I think, in fact, she may be doing him a favor by saying that we can unite the party here.

HUME: Certainly it can unite the convention.

BARNES: It would make Democrats feel better, but there's no reason--look, if she was someone who assured the Hispanic vote for Obama, she would be the first vice presidential running mate who ever pulled in that many numbers. Everybody knows that the vice president isn't going to attract a lot of voters on his or her own. The nominee has to do that. Obama is going to have to do it. Hillary can make, as you say, Brit, for a pleasant and unified convention. It doesn't mean that just because she won some voters in the primary that she is going to win them in the general.

HUME: Let me turn to something else. The exit polling-- obviously, we're not going to make any projections tonight, it's much to early, but we have two states tonight, one of which, South Dakota, Hillary Clinton appears to be getting from the exit polling all of the votes with the kinds of voters she has been getting before. That has been good news for her in the past. If we get a split verdict tonight, which is certainly possible, how does Obama appear? Does he appear to roll in, as Fred was saying earlier, with a tremendous win, is he appearing to come into tonight having pulled off a tremendous win, a big night for him, or does he look different?

BARNES: He stumbled into a tremendous win.

HUME: Do you agree with that, Juan?

WILLIAMS: Yes. I've got to tell you, I'm sitting here as an African-American, and I have tremendous pride in what Barack Obama has accomplished. But the fact is, even on this special night, he has lost most of the recent primaries.

HUME: Seven out of 13, not including tonight.

WILLIAMS: And if you want to go with the business over the popular vote, he has lost the popular vote over that same period of time. And when everybody looked like here is the winner, hail Caesar, for some people didn't react that way. They would say we got to go with the winner here.

KRISTOL: On the other hand, he is a 46-year-old man who has been in the Senate for three-and-a-half years, and so is more likely than any other human being to be the next president of the United States. It is pretty impressive.

KONDRACKE: It is impressive. We used to say if John McCain didn't win more than 40 percent of the vote in these ending primaries against Mike Huckabee, something like that, that it was a weakened party. What's this?

HUME: Now, we're going to talk next about an issue that may figure into Barack Obama's consideration of who he wants as a running mate. The big dog, Bill Clinton, is at it again. We'll take a look. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It's part of the national media's intent to nail Hillary for Obama. This is the most biased press coverage in modern history. It is another way of helping Obama. They had all these people standing up and calling Hillary a white racist, and he didn't do anything about it. He said oh, well. That's what they do. He gets other people to slam her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HUME: And that doesn't even include the unkind things that Mr. Clinton had to say about Todd Purdum, the "Vanity Fair" correspondent who wrote an unflattering piece in the forthcoming issue about Bill Clinton. He referred to him, I think, among other things, as a quote, "scumbag." So the question arises, this is a man who was noted, justly so, for the perfect choice of words, for always being able to frame the issues deftly and with an incredibly light political touch. What has happened to the big dog?

KONDRACKE: Well, I mean, there is speculation in the Purdum article in "Vanity Fair" that his heart surgery had some neurological effect, and that he is off his rocker a little bit, that his temper is worse, that he is not firing on all cylinders.

HUME: That is pure speculation.

KONDRACKE: It is pure speculation, but there have been other people about whom that has been said as well in similar circumstances. What has happened? Who knows? He has made mistake after mistake after mistake in this campaign. He has not been the usual deft Bill Clinton. And you could, if you wanted to speculate, you could say he has a political death wish for his wife. That's been speculated, too.

HUME: But what effect, then, on Barack Obama has he made of the prospect of having her as a running mate and potentially as his vice president--Bill?

KRISTOL: It has to be a little worrisome. I personally loved this. I think it would be great to have a Bill Clinton--this is much more lively then you're typical spouse of the defeated candidate. I don't know. I think it's the biggest drawback of putting Hillary on the Clinton ticket, honestly. They are not certain if they can control him for those two months. If she becomes vice president, having him sitting there in the vice president's mansion could be a problem. Though I suppose he could be appointed to replace her as Senator from New York. And then he would be in the Senate and out of her hair and out of his hair. Maybe McCain will win and spare us all these scenarios.

HUME: Juan, what about it?

WILLIAMS: I think Bill is an honest man. He enjoys the show. It is comic-dramatic. To my mind, it's a problem. But don't forget that Bill Clinton is still one of the most compelling politicians of his generation. And he has had some trouble here, and I might say specifically he has had trouble with comments that were made that were viewed as offensive to black people--the thing about Jackson, Obama is equal to Jackson down in South Carolina. How ridiculous. But I don't think it will take much to put Bill back on top. I think he is down right now, and I might say he is really down among elite media. They really hate him. They really can't stand him. They think he is going to take us back, and it will be the same old Bill Clinton drama. So you got to factor that in to this moment. I wouldn't say this is the defining moment.

BARNES: Juan is exactly right about that. This article shows-- which is not mainly about his heart surgery, it's mainly about his lifestyle now--carousing with single men, and alleged womanizing, and all this stuff--all the stuff that Bill Clinton has always done. Bill Clinton hasn't changed. The media view of him has changed.

BARNES: When you carousing with single men, you mean guys out on the town? BARNES: Yes. The word for it might be "tom-catting." But that is a tough word so I wouldn't use it. But this is the same conduct that all the liberals and Democrats in the media apologized for that Republicans were after him during the whole impeachment thing. It has nothing to do with what he has done in his sex life and so on with Monica Lewinsky. It has nothing to do with his presidency or anything like. He should be free to do this. Why are they mad at him? Because their favorite is Barack Obama, and he's on the other side. So all of a sudden, Bill Clinton hasn't changed, but they have changed. And now they treat Bill Clinton in a way that every Republican who has ever run for office recognizes. They treat him as if he is a Republican because he opposes who they like.

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