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Special Report

How Will President's Plan Impact Election?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," September 8, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Looking live at the House chamber as lawmakers crowd in for the joint session of Congress now just a little less than 10 minutes away from the president. His motorcade has arrived there.

This comes on the day when we've learned from multiple sources that there is a specific and credible threat that authorities are looking into for a possible attack. And they are sending out a warning to authorities around the country. We're told from Jennifer Griffin at the Pentagon that the president may actually even mention this tonight on -- we're getting ready for the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

We're back with the panel. As we continue this live look, A.B., this comes in the prism obviously, of this 2012 race. And we saw the big debate out in California last night. How does that set up as we look towards the weeks and months ahead of this race, this speech tonight, how it affects the back and forth?

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: Well, the interesting thing, I think Charles and Steve believe that the White House crafted a plan that could not pass and that that was very cynical. I happened to believe that the economy is so desperate and it is such a liability for President Obama as he tries to seek re-election that I actually think that he believes that these provisions and plans are defensible and will, as I said, do something to jumpstart the economy even if it's nominal.

I think that this is obviously still a fight he is picking with Republicans as he knows that most of the provisions in this plan are not going to be pleasing to Republicans. The interesting thing is you've noticed Republicans toning down their criticism of the president, they are not going to engage in the fight with the president. And they've made that --

BAIER: No response tonight, no official.

STODDARD: No response. They've said we want to have a meeting this week. They sent up a letter, Majority Leader Cantor and Speaker Boehner, saying these are the areas where we could actually find some areas of agreement, some small business tax relief, et cetera.

I think a member of the leadership team today told me they actually had phone call discussions about this in clear terms over the break. They really don't want to play this game with president Obama. And so it's a game that he's gonna have to play with himself and with the yet to be named nominee of the Republican Party.

BAIER: Speaker Boehner, just issuing the joint session to order right now, standing alongside the vice president. Charles, talking about the politics here, you think about a state. Ohio is a big state. The president heads there to pitch this plan Tuesday. He has three people in the first lady's box from Ohio, including, I believe, the Mayor of Cincinnati, how about the politics here and how it's planned?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: This is the first campaign kickoff speech in American history that is delivered by a president in the House of Representatives. Look, Obama did a pivot. But his pivot was a year ago, he was saying, up to six months ago, my plans are working. The economy is recovering. It's slow. Everybody is impatient, but hang on. He doesn't say that anymore. His new message is entirely new. I have a new plan now. It's going to work. The Republicans are going to stop it. And on election day next year, if we have nine percent unemployment or worse or a second recession, it's them and not us. That is his entire re-election campaign message.

BAIER: Steve, you're shaking your head.

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Yeah, he's got a very fine line to walk tonight, because on the one hand, I think he wants to warn about the dire consequences, dire economic consequences of what would happen if this doesn't pass I think knowing full well that it's not going to pass. But at the same time, he has to be careful not to down talk the economy too much. I mean we really are in a serious economic time right now.

BAIER: But isn't there vulnerability also for Republicans here on both sides? I mean if the economy really does continue to slump, isn't there significant vulnerability on that side?

HAYES: I don't think there is significant vulnerability on the Republican side. I think if you look at what has happened over the past two and a half years, the president's economic programs have not worked.

BAIER: OK, panel. We're waiting for the joint session to begin. The president is there and he will begin the walk in about five minutes. That is it for panel. But stay tuned for a look inside the panel's crystal ball, one last look before we toss it over to Shepard Smith in New York. Stay with us.

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