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Special Report

GOP Field Still Not Set

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," August 17, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK PERRY, R - PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The president said I needed to watch what I say. I ju st wanted to respond back, if I may. Mr. President, actions speak louder than words. My actions as governor are helping create jobs in this country. The president's actions are killing jobs in this country.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R - MINN., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We welcome all candidates to the race. And we're looking forward just to a wonderful election and getting the issues on the table.

MITT ROMNEY, R - PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Having spent some time in business, and having competed with businesses around the world, I know something about what it takes to get an economy going again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Governor Romney one of the candidates in New Hampshire today, Congressman Paul there as well. Speaking of New Hampshire, a new poll out today in New Hampshire. Here is how the breakdown pans out -- Governor Romney with 36 percent, Governor Perry at 18 percent in New Hampshire, Congressman Paul 14 percent, and Congresswoman Bachmann, there you see at 10 percent. The rest of the field coming in low single digits as you see here.

We're back with the panel. 2012, what about how things have developed over the past couple of days, Karen? You were out in there Iowa. How it's developing in the interaction between all of them.

KAREN TUMULTY, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON POST: Well, certainly, Governor Perry has made a very big splash coming in, even as late as he has. But we have also seen, I think, his strength and his weaknesses on the trail very abundantly on display. And -- it's also been interesting to see Governor Romney still sort of laying back and refusing to engage and keeping his fire on Barack Obama. That just can't last.

BAIER: Steve, we had you yesterday talking about Congressman Paul Ryan, and his decision-making process, whether he's getting in this race or not. Anything more today on that fact?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Yeah. I think he is still strongly considering it. He's out on a vacation in Colorado. He is planning to talk with his family, meet with advisors. He's going to do a hike with Bill Bennett, the conservative commentator who has been a mentor to him over the years.

And I think he's still strongly considering a bid. He had some push today from several prominent Republicans. Mitch Daniels, I spoke with this morning said he thought Paul Ryan ought to get in the race. Jeb Bush --

BAIER: The governor of Indiana [Mitch Daniels]. Former governor of Florida [Jeb Bush]

HAYES: Right. And just before I came on --

BAIER: So, Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels...

HAYES: Jim Jordan, who came up with Cut, Cap, and Balance in the House, a leader of the House conservatives. I spoke with Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin just before I came on the air tonight, who put out a very strong statement saying the country needs courage in its presidential candidates and in its president. And that's Paul.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Can I just express a tiny bit of skepticism here with my friend Steve. Look, I wish he were running. I would volunteer to be head of a posse to round him up, tie him up, bring him in to Washington. He couldn't be found.

I know there is all this pressure on him to actually enter the race, but when I hear this, and all the pressure and all the rethinking again and again, I'm reminded of the speech Teddy Kennedy gave in the 1980 convention, his swan song, "the dream will never die." Well, we live in the real world and time is a-wasting.

BAIER: Your status report on the field and the developments over the past couple of days?

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, I think this -- the New Hampshire poll reminds us that even though we had Perry up in the national, the one just a couple of days ago, he is still very strong. And I think I understand his strategy of laying off. And that is he wants to see all the others fight each other in the elimination undercard bout for the right to face the champ. And he is the presumptive one as a result of being a runner up last time around and leading in the polls and in money.

So I think his strategy of not engaging unless heavily engaged by others is smart. He doesn't have to get in there right now. I think he ought to stay the way he is doing, which is attack Obama and be presidential in doing that.

BAIER: Karen, last thing. Congressman Paul continues to pop up on all these polls. He's at 14 percent in this poll in New Hampshire. He finished second by 152 votes at the straw poll. He's in this race in every time you turn around.

TUMULTY: That's right. And I do think that his supporters have a really fair complaint, quite frankly, that the straw poll was seen as a, you know, big victory for Michele Bachmann. She did win it. But it was basically, a virtual tie. And so, you know, I don't see why people see her as a potential nominee as all that much more likely than Ron Paul.

BAIER: Charles, note to follow. That's it for the panel. But stay tuned for summer fun in foreign lands.

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