This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," April 29, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Before the break, we asked you could Con gressman Paul Ryan win the GOP presidential nomination in 2012? 75 percent of you said yes. 25 percent said no. Congressman Ryan also got some big numbers in the weekly your choice online poll to decide the first topic in this, the Friday lightning round so let's ask our panel. Can Ryan win? Steve?
HAYES: Yeah, I think he could win. And I think there's a chance if Mitch Daniels decides ultimately that he's not going to run for president, I think there is a chance that Paul Ryan can be persuaded to get in the race.
He is running around the country now, to promote -- or the state of Wisconsin now, maybe the country later to promote his budget by saying the country is going to go off a cliff. We're in dire straits. The country can't continue as it's continuing, unless we do something like what's in my path to prosperity budget. Well if that is the truth and if he believes that we're in the peril he argues we are all the time then at some point he's got to be the candidate who carries that message to the country.
BAIER: Chuck, so we should point out some of these town halls have been heated and he has had to deal with some pushback from constituents and others, but he is perhaps getting tested along the way.
CHARLES LANE, WASHINGTON POST: Yeah, sure, it's totally spontaneous this uprising against him. Look, Paul Ryan, I think people across the ideological perspective consider him a serious guy with some interesting ideas. And he has earned a lot of respect at the young age of 41 for a politician.
His problem to me as a presidential candidate is very rare in our history that somebody's gone directly from the House of Representatives, even a committee chairman, to the presidency. And furthermore, he has no foreign policy experience, he has no executive experience. Those are two things that are usually required of a presidential candidate.
BAIER: Senator Obama?
LANE: Well, he was the first one in many years.
And the other thing I think is actually a liability for him is his budget plan, not because of its substance, but because it's so specific. He doesn't have any wiggle room on that. And to the extent it is controversial, as it is, it is going to be a big fat target for the Democrats. I think it would be a better position for a Republican to be in to be kind of, a little vaguer about exactly what he would do on those issues.
BAIER: Some argue, Charles, that the country is now in a place where they're OK with dealing with these big ticket items.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I think so, I think the problem is not his plan it isn't the content or how specific it is. The problem is Paul Ryan. He doesn't want to run, and it's completely understandable. Why should he? He is where he is, where he ought to be, where he is happy to be. He is leading the country in a national debate. He's the head of the budget committee in the house. He's the man who everybody respects who can make that case, who is rising in stature every day as he is the one who stands up against Obama on this.
Why would he want to stop all this and begin raising money and eating rubber chicken around the country and going through the insane ordeal that we make our presidents endure on the road to the White House? So he has no incentive. But I'm with Steve. I think he would have to be drafted and would have to be an appeal to patriotism. Yes, you don't want to do it. It's not a god idea, a good career move but you have to do it if you believe what you say.
LANE: Being president, not a good career move?
KRAUTHAMMER: Well, because his chances of winning are not that great. If he waits, he's -- as you say, he is so young. In 2016, if Obama is re-elected he is the natural candidate for an open seat, a hell of a lot easier. Why would he rush it and risk being tagged a loser?
BAIER: We're going to step up the lightning portion of this lightning round. We were going to talk about the future of NASA, we'll save that for next week since the shuttle launch was scrapped. We had breaking news today about governor Mitch Daniels from Indiana signing a piece of legislation that prohibits government federal funding for Planned Parenthood in his state. What about this; the politics of it; the decision? Charles?
KRAUTHAMMER: The politics of it is he took a rap from conservatives when he said we should have a truce on the social issues, i.e., look -- center on the issue of the size of government, on debt, on spending, on economics and finances, leave all of that aside. And now he does this which I think will earn him a lot of credit among social conservatives. So if he is thinking of running it's a good move.
LANE: I think it's probably a mild net plus for him, for the reasons Charles said. And plus in the country, even people who support abortion rights are often not keen on federal funding for it, and he can position himself that way.
HAYES: Well the important thing to remember about Mitch Daniel's truce is that he didn't say that he didn't -- that he was no longer pro-life, and that he didn't hold social conservative views, he said that he simply wasn't going to emphasize them. This is something that the Indiana legislature passed, it came to his desk, if he wants to sign it, it's consistent with what he said.
BAIER: Quickly. Bill Burton has an outside group that will play a role they say in the election. He's a former deputy White House Press Secretary. White House just said they don't like these groups. Steve?
HAYES: The White House defense on this is hilarious. Really we don't like this. We believe in disclosure. They try to pretend like they wish this wasn't happening. So all of these former staffers of President Obama are going to go out and do this against his will? I mean that's what they would have the public believe. It's laughable.
LANE: Well, look, you can't expect them to unilaterally disarm. These are the rules of the game. Hell, they are going to go out and raise -- I admit it's hypocritical but it's, ya know, it's no more hypocritical than a lot of other things that go on. I think it's -- to me, a nonissue.
KRAUTHAMMER: Well, I think it's an issue if last year it was un-American and near-treason to accept this money. And now it's something that you are going to enthusiastically do. I think it raises a question about integrity.
BAIER: That is it for the panel. But stay tuned for one thing you always need to have in an interview.
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