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Special Report

Outrage over $750K Gitmo soccer field

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," March 2, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, HOST: Every week viewers vote for your choice online in this, our Friday lightning round poll. And this week Gitmo soccer field won with 27 percent of the vote. You saw the story by Catherine Herridge. We're back with the panel.

It's $750,000. Defense Secretary Panetta said he didn't know about it, but that is the cost at the soccer field down at Gitmo. Thoughts, Fred?

FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Gosh. What a ridiculous expenditure. They are having a game. How would you like to be the referee?

(LAUGHTER)

BAIER: Liz?

LIZ MARLANTES, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: Yes, the Department of Defense says that they need this for moral purposes and the high cost to ship every item in. It's hard to get things into that particular area. They need fence, surveillance, guard tower, all of those things. Obviously this is not a great use of taxpayer money. People are saying why couldn't they build it themselves? Maybe that would have been also good exercise, good morale building. I agree, it's not great.

BAIER: For an administration, Chuck, that wants to close Gitmo as fast as it possibly can, this is --

CHARLES LANE, EDITORIAL WRITER, WASHINGTON POST: It's clearly not true. They don't want to close it. They're going to offer it as the venue for the 2024 World Cup.

(LAUGHTER)

BAIER: Next topic, which is much more serious, and this is the possibility of Israeli action against Iran. And the Israelis, the prime minister is heading to Washington this weekend to meet with the president on Monday. Here is what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said about Iran possibly dragging its feet through the process.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: It could pursue or exploit the talks as they've done in the past to deceive and delay, so they can continue to advance the nuclear program and get to the nuclear finish line by running the clock, running up the clock so to speak. And I think the community should not fall in this trap.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: President Obama giving an interview to Atlantic magazine said this, "I think that the Israeli government recognizes that as president of the United States, I don't bluff." He went on to say "I also don't as a matter of sound policy go around advertising exactly what our intentions are, but I think both the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognize when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapon, we mean what we say." Chuck?

LANE: We're here talking about Rush Limbaugh and contraception, this is something really dramatic developing over the weekend and going into Monday's meeting between these two leaders who have never quite trusted one another and yet they have to work together on a problem that's vital to both of them and the whole world.

They are groping for words that will enable them to determine whether in Benjamin Netanyahu's case he can trust Barack Obama to as the president says, have his back. And on the other hand I think the president is very suspicious of Netanyahu, that he wants to pull something during the election. And I think they are going to have to work out a way that Obama can reassure Netanyahu, if that's possible, that if somehow Netanyahu holds his fire this will be taken care of.

BAIER: Liz?

MARLANTES: I agree. I thought it was a fascinating interview in the Atlantic. We are seeing all of these signals coming out of the administration that seem to be saying to the Israelis, don't strike now. We have your back, but don't strike now. I think in this interview, you really saw the president articulating that as clearly as possible where he said it is not our interest for Iran to have a nuclear weapon. We're not going to let it happen. But we don't want this now.

BARNES: When I hear the word it's "unacceptable," that's meaningless, that doesn't help at all. The president has to recognize most the important thing here is the Israel -- the Iranians are an existential threat to survival of Israel. That is the most important factor here. But I agree with Chuck. Obama and Netanyahu need to be on the same page. The U.S. will be blamed or attacked and criticized if Israel doesn't attack on its own. So the idea will be to have the U.S. involved as well and then you'd have an attack that worked.

BAIER: Very quickly down the row. This week Olympia Snowe in Maine, a Republican, announced she is not running for re-election. At the same time we had Bob Kerrey, a Democrat in Nebraska, saying he is going to run for Ben Nelson's -- retiring Ben Nelson's seat in Nebraska. Will the Republicans be able to take over the Senate?

BARNES: It will be hard. Maine makes it more difficult. Remember Maine is not just an old, the same old blue state. Republicans had a huge victory there in 2010.

BAIER: Liz?

MARLANTES: I think it's a big uphill climb for Republicans now. They got to win Maine, they got win Massachusetts, you know.

LANE: I think the Republicans are doing better than you think in Massachusetts. A couple of polls recently showed Scott Brown with a good lead.

BAIER: That is it for the panel.

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