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Special Report

What Does Republican Field Look Like?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," April 14, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM, R-PENN., FORMER SENATOR: We going to determine over the next few weeks as to whether the resources are going to be there to do it.

TIM PAWLENTY, R-MINN., FORMER GOVERNOR: I'm not being cute about it. I'm interested in doing it. I'm leaning in that direction.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN.: We are talking to our advisors, trying to lay out a plan to see if it this is something that we want to do. We are guessing along about maybe June that we would make that decision.

MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS., FORMER GOVERNOR: I have said on day one, if I were elected President of the United States, on day one, I will direct the Secretary of Human Services to grant a waiver to each one of all the 50 states from Obamacare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Some of the potential GOP presidential hopefuls. Before the break we asked what do you think the big issue will be. Debt, is the runaway winner, 71 percent of the vote, jobs came in second. Thanks for voting.

We're back with the panel. Let's talk 2012 here. Charles, the president just arrived moments ago in Chicago. He's obviously on his re-election bid setting up the headquarters there in Chicago. The GOP field, however, is not really taking shape that early. What's your assessment?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, hearing Santorum and Pawlenty and Bachmann speaking in those bites before us, I would say all of them are running. You'll notice how everyone used the royal "we" and they aren't even in the White House, so they're practicing. Look, I think it's clear that the field of Republicans is unsettled and that there's nobody who stands out as the most likely or the most, or the strongest candidate.

I think it's interesting that Obama is setting up his headquarters in Chicago. He wants to give the impression as he has throughout his time in office that he is not from Washington. He's not really a politician. He is not even a Democrat. He stands above the fray. Look at the way he acted last week when the deadline approached on the budget. He said you've got to act as grown-ups, addressing the Republicans and Democrats in Congress, as if he isn't a Democrat, he wasn't behind the resistance to the Republican ideas.

He always does this game, the man who hovers above it all, the transcender who isn't in the trenches. It's not gonna work. He has been the president, he is Washington.

BAIER: Juan, GOP field?

WILLIAMS: Ya know, it's worrisome because if you are trying to launch a substantial challenge to President Obama, at this point, the money should be there. And what is absent in all these comments that you hear is the money, so the fundraisers, the people who would really put up the bucks and say this is really worth the time and effort.

BAIER: Well, wouldn't you think that some of that money that's just on the sidelines waiting for the person, that they're -- who's going to get in?

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: No. In some cases there is going to be some money. There will be a candidate and there will be sorta pro forma let's go through it. But in many cases what is you see is the money comes and says you're the person, and it's evidence of the tremendous kind of grassroots, support for that individual. And it's just not there yet.

The guy that I think everybody would like to see is Mike Huckabee, not Donald Trump, but Mike Huckabee. Mike Huckabee who ranks number one in all the polls at this moment. And --

BAIER: Currently a Fox News contributor.

WILLIAMS: Yes.

BAIER: He has not decided.

WILLIAMS: Has not decided but does not look like he has the hunger, fire, appetite in the belly for this. So what you are looking at then is people who are relatively unknown. And I think for the people who raise the money, the question is, is this money down a rat's hole?

BAIER: Steve, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, he's not officially in yet, although he is making all indications that he will be. And Ohio Governor John Kasich has said that he would be in Barbour's column.

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Yeah, it's a very interesting sort of pre-endorsement endorsement of Haley Barbour by John Kasich. And I think it reflects Haley Barbour's strength among sitting governors, current Republican governors. He did a good job at the RGA by all accounts. He raised money for them. He's a skilled politician. He understands politics in a way that few people do on the national level from his time at the RNC to his time running the RGA. And, these Republican governors will tell you, he gets policy. He can point to things back in Mississippi that he understands.

And I think he is going to have a huge problem on national security issues where he seems to be at least flirting with what would be a sort of neo-isolationist foreign policy that I think will not be strong in a Republican primary field. But it's interesting that Kasich would come out and indicate this early that he would support Haley Barbour.

BAIER: Quickly, how late can somebody wait, do you think, in this environment before they say, I'm in?

KRAUTHAMMER: I think because the field is split and weak it can be late. It could be late summer even, which would be unusual, but I think it's still possible.

WILLIAMS: You know what it's getting late early, as Yogi Berra used to say.

(LAUGHTER)

WILLIAMS: But the reason it's getting late comes back to if the president is going to raise $1 billion, then you know you've got to have not only assets but campaign structure.

HAYES: The later it goes the more likely it is that somebody who's not in the field will jump in, like a Paul Ryan.

BAIER: Interesting. That's it for the panel, but stay tuned for magician extraordinaire, the president of the Czech Republic.

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