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Special Report

Economic Protests Spread Across Country

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," October 3, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSLYN BRENTON, PROTESTOR: I think that part of the problem is that we just have a small percentage of people in the United States who own the majority of wealth and they also own the majority of power to make decisions that affect other people's lives.

VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISER: This is a movement moment. Something is happening in America. Something is happening in America. Don't you give up on this country. Don't you give up on this movement. This is your movement.

MEGAN OPINCARNE, PROTESTOR: I have been very frustrated for a long time about especially corporate personhood and how that has really squeezed out the ability of the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: OK, today marks week three of occupy Wall Street, this protest movement that started in Manhattan's financial district. It has now spread to other cities across the country. Demonstrators are demanding an end to, what they call, corporate greed, but they have no list of specific demands. The protests continue. We're back with the panel. Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well that's what makes it so interesting. The mainstream press, as you say, disguise them as having no clear objective. Well, a protest without objective is like a party of a picnic of the employment and indolent. Unless you have objective, what are you doing out there?

I was amused when I heard that young lady say she is objecting to corporate personhood. Well, China 30 years ago introduced corporate personhood, meaning capitalism into its economy, even in an imperfect way. And as a result of that one decision, more people were lifted out of destitution and poverty than any in the history of the world, hundreds of millions.

Look, these people are supposedly anti-capitalist. Well, I have news for them. They're about 200 years too late. Protests started a long time ago. And in the meantime, non-capitalist systems have been tried. For example, the Soviet Union, Cuba, or, if you like, Greece. They don't work.

And one other thing, if there are problems with capitalism, of course, there always are, I wonder how many of the protesters are aware that the Obama administration, the one that I would bet 90 percent of the demonstrators supported in 2008, has supposedly attacked all of these problems of the greed and the excesses in a bill it passed last year, whose regulations are being written now, which supposedly was going to cure the excesses and the heavy risk and the use of the government to bail them out and was going to introduce fairness and efficiency into the system. And I wonder why they aren't protesting the administration that in their eyes has not succeeded in doing any of that.

BAIER: Juan, some liberal columnists, including E.J. Dionne, others have said that this is the beginning of a movement on the left like the Tea Party is on the right.

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: Right.

BAIER: If the Tea Party was doing the things that this movement is doing, like for example this video, this weekend, shouting "Take the Brooklyn Bridge" and they arrest 700 of them, would it receive the same kind of coverage as this occupy Wall Street is?

WILLIAMS: The Tea Party gets a lot of coverage. I don't get your point.

BAIER: Well, I mean is it the same as the Tea Party, do you think? And is it being treated the same?

WILLIAMS: No, the Tea Party is much bigger. The Tea Party has had much more effect. I think you look at the 2010 elections and I think the Tea Party is a major force there. I think the Tea Party is a major force in what we see so far of the Republican nominating process. These people are a budding movement, started as you said, September 17. It's now spreading nationwide. We have seen it pop up from Pittsburgh to L.A. and San Francisco. So it seems to be growing, it seems organic in that sense.

But we don't know where it's going, we don't know if it will last. So far, again, to pick up on what Charles said, there does not seem to be any coherence to the message that a lot of young people, and we know that young people are having a hard time finding jobs. And I think that just to express some sympathy with them, these folks are saying, you know what, there is a lot of corporate greed in the world. And when they look at rating agencies and these are things conservatives would agree with, they look at bailouts for Wall Street, tarp. And they say wait a second, why is it that the middle class is having such a hard time? And ya know we're not seeing any help.

BAIER: My point is if 700 Tea Partiers were arrested trying to take the Brooklyn Bridge -

WILLIAMS: Yeah...

BAIER: -- wouldn't there be a big uproar about that?

WILLIAMS: Well, there was an uproar.

BAIER: Ok, alright, Steve?

(CROSSTALK)

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: The uproar in the media was that they were arrested and that they were treated unfairly, not that they were somehow behaving badly, which it would have been if it had been the Tea Party. Let me clean up something I said in the last panel, that was mistaken. I said Richard Trumka when I meant Hoffa when I was talking about the president.

I think if the left wants to embrace, if Democrats generally want to embrace these protests, that is a perfect thing, as somebody who doesn't agree with them, for Democrats to do. When you look at the kinds of Marxist language -- and this is not exaggeration -- true Marxist language that's coming out of this, the redistributionist agenda coming out of these things, the silliness from -- that were hearing from Rosanne Barr and others, I would say to E.J. Dionne and everybody else, embrace these protests. I think it'll be great for your party, great for the country.

And just one final note about the incoherence of this whole thing -- the protests are called "Occupy Wall Street," and there are protests taking place across the country. Think about that.

BAIER: That is it for the panel. But stay tuned to see what President Obama and Texas Governor Perry are possibly really saying. Tune in.

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