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Special Report

GOP Prepares for Iowa

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," August 9, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HERMAN CAIN, R - PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This economy is not going to get any better in the next year-and-a-half with this administration because not one policy puts fuel in the engine. And I don't believe that this president is going to have an immaculate conversion overnight.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R - PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Would you give me your vote on Saturday so I can take this movement and your voice to the White House?

MITT ROMNEY, R - PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It seems that they would substitute the Harry Truman, "the buck stops here," with the new motto for the White House, which is "the buck stops somewhere else."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, we'll take "Special Report" on road starting tomorrow from Ames, Iowa, the site of the debate on Thursday night, the next big debate, and then, of course the straw poll on Saturday in Ames.

Here's the latest Gallup poll just out. As you see the percentages. Mitt Romney, 24 percent, Governor Rick Perry, 17 percent, Ron Paul 14 percent, Michele Bachmann, 13. There you see the rest, Gingrich, Cain, Pawlenty, Huntsman, Santorum.

Rick Perry, governor of Texas, has a big speech in South Carolina this weekend. He has been flirting aggressively with getting in this race. Here is what his spokesman said, quote, "The governor is not a candidate for office at this time. With President Obama's dismal economic record, and Texas' success in creating jobs and balancing our budget, Governor Perry continues to consider a potential run for the White House. Stay tuned." The flirting continues.

We're back with the panel. Juan, Governor Perry seems to be taking a lot of the oxygen out of some of these candidates on the road.

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: He sure is. I mean he's -- ya know -- he's a governor, he's well known, he just had this prayer meeting down in Texas that got a lot of attention, terrific turn-out, raised some criticism about mixing politics and religion, but nonetheless, spoke directly to an evangelical strain that's quite prominent in Iowa. And so, ya know, if he was to show up, as you can see from the polls, he'd be a player.

And I think that's why you're seeing a lot of people who are on the edge right now beginning with Ms. Bachmann, with Michele Bachmann say hey, you know what? He is not the real deal. And they're starting to pick at him in advance of his showing up in the race.

BAIER: Steve, ya know he is not taking part in the debate. He is not going to be at the straw poll. Does that hurt him in Iowa? And where does it put him in the race there?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Yeah, you know I imagine his name will probably come up in the debate.

BAIER: Something tells me.

HAYES: At some point, at some point. Look, I think it does hurt him in Iowa, but the question is, does he need Iowa to ultimately win? I think he could probably make up for that. I think it would be good for the process if he would show up in Iowa.

But I think what he is doing here is actually pretty clever. By giving this speech on Saturday in which he's set to sort of announce that he's going to be a candidate, what he's in effect going to be doing is ensuring that he'll be sharing a headline with what comes out of Ames. And if you look at the people who are likely to do well in Ames, probably Michele Bachmann, maybe Tim Pawlenty outperforms expectations. He is trying to kill who would likely be the rivals for this non-Romney candidate. And if he's sharing headlines or stepping on their momentum coming out of Ames, it's probably not a bad move for him.

BAIER: There are a few people who Ames really is a moment. Tim Pawlenty. Herman Cain says he needs to finish in the top three. Ron Paul traditionally has done well in straw polls and he has organization on the ground. Gingrich, where does he stand? I mean who needs to really make a mark this week, Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Everyone you mentioned. I mean Iowa is the [INAUDIBLE] process. In the caucuses, but now it's really early, it happens in the straw poll and it will happen in the debate. You've got all the second tier candidates whom you mentioned. One of them possibly will survive. Pawlenty, I think has the most at stake because he's put the most in. He has been in there for a year, he's had about, I think at least 40 events. And if he doesn't do well in the straw poll and/or the debates, I think he's done.

The others have lower expectations, but still, if they don't register, Cain, or Gingrich, Santorum or the others, they're basically done.

I think what's really interesting is why Perry is so high in the polls. I mean he really -- he hasn't essentially stepped in in any way. That statement that you read of their campaign was about the most coy statement I have ever heard from a non-candidate. We haven't decided if we're running, but our record is terrific and the president's is awful. Stay tuned. I think he might actually announce on Saturday. Somebody actually wrote today he would be the first candidate who instead of competing in Iowa runs against Iowa by stealing all the thunder. And I think that's his strategy.

WILLIAMS: You know who is interesting to me is Paul. Paul is doing very well out in Iowa. And I don't that's gonna thrill a lot of Republican establishment.

BAIER: If you have a question that you'd like asked, Bret_Baier is the Twitter account. Don't forget to tune in for Thursday's candidate debate sponsored by, of course, Fox News, Iowa Republicans and The Washington Examiner. It begins at 9:00 eastern.

That's it for this panel. Stay tuned to see some analysis on some other double-A plus countries.

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