This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," March 26, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is my last election. And after my election, I have more flexibility.
DMITRY MEDVEDEV, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: I understand you. I transmit this information to Vladimir --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHANNON BREAM, ANCHOR: What was thought all about? Let's bring our panel in to talk about it. Juan, Steve, and Charles, Juan I'll give you the first bite at the apple. The president is taking a little bit heat of that, suggesting flexibility after his election. What kind of deal is he making with the Russians?
JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: I think what he wants to do is have some kind of missile treaty. Obviously, he can take the initiative but he needs Senate approval. So there is nothing he can do unilaterally. But he does feel that if he gets re-elected he will therefore have more standing to negotiate any kind of deal with the Senate. And I think that's the critical point there. The larger political issue is pretty much fun though Shannon, which is people saying, gosh you know, Obama unplugged in the second term. You're already hearing the conservatives say this. He will be up to all kinds of shenanigans.
BREAM: You mentioned the Senate. I want to read reaction from a key senator in these dealings with Russia, Senator Jon Kyl, who has some questions. He says what we don't know is what President Obama has in mind after the election when he would gain some, quote, "flexibility" in negotiating with the Russians. Perhaps the Russians, in whom President Obama recently confided, could shed some light on his missile defense plan to the American people who otherwise have been left in the dark by this president. Steve, he doesn't sound too happy.
STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: There is a reason the conservatives are concerned about President Obama's shenanigans in a second term, and it's because he has a pattern on doing this. We have seen it on Keystone, and we've seen it with gay marriage, we're now seeing this with the question of Russians and missile defense.
The real issue I think, the substantive with respect to the Russians is what they wanted to do and what the administration has wanted to do for quite some time now is share in real-time intelligence and data on the missile defense capabilities of the United States. That is problematic because the Russians are closely allied with Iran and Syria, two countries who are hostile to the United States and for whom this information if it were passed along would be particularly important. I think would leave us very significantly hindered in terms of defending our own shores.
BREAM: Charles, of course we have had a complicated relationship with Russia over the last few years, but are you concerned about the president in his suggestion that if he is in a second term, essentially in the parlance of NASCAR, it will take the restrictor-plates off of his negotiations with the Russians?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I think the relationship with the Russians have been rather uncomplicated the last three years. We have been giving them everything and we got basically nothing in return.
I think the key word here in that exchange was Obama saying to the Russians, this is my last election. It's not that I have another election and I'll be occupied with other issues, let's talk about this. It's a complicated one in December. This is my last election. That's his way of saying with a nod and a wink, look you guys have a free hand because you run a dictatorship. Your elections are rigged. Well, ours aren't rigged, but once I get past my last election I am unleashed, I can do anything I want.
And what he's saying is, you know that reset I began three years ago where I completely undermined our allies in eastern Europe, I canceled missile defense system and I began the process in which our supremacy in missile defenses is now negotiable, which the Republicans had never allowed to be negotiable, well, after Election Day, I can't speak about it now of course, because it's my last election and Americans won't actually like that, after Election Day I'll be open.
This is a huge gaffe. If Etch A Sketch is a problem for Romney, this is the president himself saying I'll be unleashed, I can govern hard left. I can do all this reset stuff in the future unmolested. That is his way of telling people you may have no idea what my agenda in the second term's gonna be, but let me tell you, the Russians, it's gonna be pretty hard left.
WILLIAMS: Let me just say Shannon, that, what you just heard from Charles is the speculation that fuels and I think gives some encouragement to conservatives. But the president said no such thing. What he suggested is what every president looking for a second term suggests, which is that they will have added leverage, added political capital because they have will have been re-elected by the American people. That's the point.
HAYES: Everybody knows that he'll have political capital. The question is what would he do with the political capital?
BREAM: Steve, let me ask you a follow-up question here, because if this is a situation, the same conversation back and forth had been caught with President George W. Bush, how do you think the media would be reacting to that?
HAYES: I think there is no question it would have been paid much greater attention and the president would have been treated sort of as a naive and a fool. This is the way that the media has treated - I think there are huge double standards on virtually everything.
Let me clean up something I said earlier. It's not just that we could be threatened here on our shores. Importantly, especially in the short-term, as Charles suggests, it's the relationships that we have with allies in Europe and the threats that they face from people more close geographically to them. And that's I think, the key problem here is what are our European allies saying when they hear the president say this?
BREAM: I want to give Juan the first bite of our next topic, because we need to hit another point here, another issue the president is having to deal with, and that's pressure from a number of Democratic leaders on the issue of gay marriage. Let's take a listen to senior advisor David Plouffe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID PLOUFFE, SENIOR ADVISER TO OBAMA WHITE HOUSE: He has said what he believed. As he said, this is a very important issue. It's a profound issue. He has spoken of this, you know, with great detail. Here is what I think is important. What is going to be in the Republican platform, if they're consistent with what their presidential candidates have said, is to reinstitute "don't ask, don't tell," to defend aggressively the Defense of Marriage Act.
On the other side, you have the president who has had groundbreaking progress for gays and lesbians in this country. So I think there is going to a big difference on these issues on fairness and equality. And obviously the platform process will play out in the coming months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: Juan, how tricky is that subject for the president?
WILLIAMS: Well, I think it's tricky in terms of negotiating it in public. Behind closed doors it's what Plouffe said. You just wave around the bogeyman of Republican nominees who are far harsher when it comes to gay rights than the president is.
BREAM: Alrigh, final word to you Charles, quickly.
KRAUTHAMMER: What is important here is the fact that he is getting ready to go left on gay rights as he is on the Russian issues. Imagine how he will treat Israel after the election. The key point that Juan missed, he said last election. Not just next election I'll be strengthened. Last election I'm done and do what I want.
BREAM: Gentlemen, we have got to leave it there. That is it for the panel. Thank you very much. You know when you have that kind of vacation that's so exhausting that you actually need a vacation when you get home? If you can relate, stay tuned.
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