This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," April 18, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: We ought to pay tribute him today on this tax day Tea Party, because really he is the inspiration for why it is that we're here today. That's right, the Tea Party movement wouldn't exist without Barack Obama.
GOV. HALEY BARBOUR, R-MISS.: We need somebody as president who will look at the American people with plain-spoken common sense and tell the truth.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN: It's my opinion that President Obama will be a one-term president!
DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: We need people that win. We don't need people that lose all the time, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, it was an active weekend for prospective GOP candidates for 2012.
We're back with the panel. We're getting ready to go into a season, Charles, where there will be a lot of these weekends out and about. Where are we and where do you think it's headed?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well of the sound bites you just showed, Haley Barbour looked -- he was rather calm and collected there compared with the other three. I think he is the only serious one, of the ones you showed, serious with a chance of winning in 2012. I think Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann in a sense are competing for the same constituency. They are wonderful Republicans but I don't think either of them has a chance of winning the nomination.
Bachmann could do well in Iowa. She is originally from Iowa, is a very heavy evangelical constituency that surprised the world last cycle by giving Huckabee the victory, so that is possible. But it's hard to see her way after that through the thicket.
And then there's Trump. Trump is the Al Sharpton of the Republican Party, provocateur and clown, unserious. I think he's gonna harm the party if he runs for the same reason that Sharpton harmed the Democrats. I know you can now see all the mail coming in. Address it to me, not to Bret. He is not responsible.
Which means, because, in the debates he'll be up there, I think he's gonna run, this is not just a trial run. He'll be up in the debates, and like Sharpton he's gonna monopolize discussion, draw it away on issues that are irrelevant like Obama's birth. And that can only hurt the party.
BAIER: Well, let me counter. When you and Karl Rove and others say this, you're right, it generates a lot of attention, a lot of mail about Donald Trump. There is some kind of thing happening out there, isn't there, about a straight- talking guy? Do you think it's all about the name recognition or do you think it's a hunger for somebody cutting through the traditional politician?
KRAUTHAMMER: It's all name recognition. And he's a celebrity, he is on television, he's a guy who talks about winners and losers. He's -- the vulgarity of him is offensive. He talked about today, comparing himself with Romney, I have a bigger net worth. That's what you expect from, ya know, somebody who wants to promote himself in business and make a name. That's not what you want from a presidential candidate.
FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I happen to think at the moment that the whole Republican presidential race is irrelevant. It's not where the story is. The story's here in Washington, it's what goes on in the budget, on spending, on deficit, on debt, on the size and scope of government. Those are the huge issues facing the country now. They are critical. And what these candidates are saying on weekends that I intend to spend at the beach, not go out with them.
I'll have to say that Charles has thought this through on all these people a lot more than I have. But there is one worry about Donald Trump. And he's mentioned this. That he may run as an independent. Because if he goes in the primaries and is in debates he can make a big splash. He'll attract some attention and some support.
BAIER: Ross Perot on steroids.
BARNES: And he will not take Democratic votes away from Obama. He'll be taking Republican votes, I'm afraid.
JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: The vulgarity, is that what you said?
KRAUTHAMMER: Vulgarity, yes.
WILLIAMS: The vulgarity of him, I thought that was poetic, in a way. But what strikes me about this is that everybody was out to see the Tea Party because the Tea Party is the driving energy of the Republicans at this moment both in terms of what Fred is paying attention to here in Washington and out on the campaign trail.
And the idea is that if you can capture that Tea Party enthusiasm right now, you can therefore become legitimate in the eyes of people who will put up money. And right now that's a problem. Peggy Noonan had interesting column this weekend in the "Wall Street Journal" in which she said, ya know Barack Obama can be beat, not as strong as he looks. And it's almost as if she was writing to big money pockets in the Republican Party, saying don't keep your powder dry, don't think this is not a worthwhile effort, and they just have to find the right person to get behind.
And right now, the place they are trying to say, to gain that legitimacy fund is the support and enthusiasm of the Tea Party.
BAIER: Fred, do you think that Paul Ryan or Chris Christie or someone who said they're not run could be recruited?
BARNES: Yes, I do think so. We won't know until August, September, October. But since the Republican race hasn't congealed, I think there will be a chance for other candidates to get in the race late.
Who are the candidates that are the most exciting for Republicans right now that are not running, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio. Mitch Daniels, who knows whether he will run? I wouldn't put him in the exciting category of the others but a substantial guy with a great record. Jeb Bush, a great governor. Again, another one who says no, I'm not running.
WILLIAMS: I think you said most of the people are in AAA.
BARNES: I didn't say that. Somebody else might have. That's like saying Jack Kennedy was triple-a when he ran for president.
WILLIAMS: They're not ready.
BAIER: That is it for panel. But stay tuned for newsroom taboo that is all about what is on the screen.
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