This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," April 13, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
DOUG MCKELWAY, ANCHOR: Every week viewers vote for your choice up online in our Friday Lightning Round poll. And this week vice president predictions won with 46 percent of the vote. The GSA spending scandal was a close second with 44 percent. So we're going to discuss those two right now.
The V.P. picks -- we know that Rick Santorum is out of it, of course, Newt Gingrich still sticking around for big ideas in Tampa. But Romney is on his own now and he can focus on a V.P. pick. We've got probably a dozen or more candidates and rather than fill the screen with all that, let's ask you guys to choose your top four. I'll start with you Steve.
STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Yeah, I've got the short list. This is it. It's Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Mitch Daniels, and Rob Portman. And they each bring different qualities. Marco Rubio is very eloquent, he can give speeches like probably nobody else in the Republican Party. Paul Ryan is the ideas guy. Mitch Daniels implemented these ideas. He's been a successful governor, 70 percent approval rating. And Ron Portman is sort of the safe pick. He's a guy who would help in Ohio, very smart, and conservative.
MCKELWAY: Chuck, your picks?
CHARLES LANE, EDITORIAL WRITER, WASHINGTON POST: Well, I have the same top two as Steve, Rubio and Ryan.
HAYES: Then you are very wise.
LANE: I knew I couldn't cross Steve.
Marco Rubio would add a whole lot, including being from a swing state. Actually all four that I picked are from swing states. And if this whole women gender gap thing proves to be something that Romney wants to try to deal with, Kelly Ayotte would help. Bob McDonnell who's the successful, popular governor of Virginia is also from a swing state and would help Romney with evangelicals if he wants to shore up his own base that way.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I want to commend Steve on his incredible wisdom. He not only got the right four but he got them in exactly the right order.
MCKELWAY: So you got the same?
KRAUTHAMMER: I rest on his laurels.
MCKELWAY: Ok, there you go. Let me throw a couple of weaknesses. Rubio, not a ringing endorsement of Romney.
KRAUTHAMMER: In fact he did say, he wasn't my first choice. Which is not exactly what you say if you're running to have the job. But nonetheless, I think that Romney, if there's anybody who's unsentimental about running campaigns - and he's been a machine ever since he began - will look aside and if he decides he needs the state, he need a young guy with dynamism who is Hispanic, and he needs all of those elements, he'll pick him. It could be the rumors of Rubio and you've got to make sure he's been vetted. There were stories about financial affairs. I have no reason to believe any of it is true but they're gonna give it the full treatment. Assuming all of it is clean, I think he's clearly the one who brings the most to any ticket.
MCKELWAY: Chuck, you were the only one who picked a woman, the senator from New Hampshire, a regional candidate. You got Romney, Massachusetts, Ayotte in New Hampshire not to --
LANE: -- it is more of a gender play. I just want to point out why both of these guys were the wrong to put Mitch Daniels on the list and that is because Indiana is already a likely Republican state, number one. Number two, Mitch Daniels is the same kind of guy. A busy, technocrat, economic guy. And third, you don't put a guy on the ticket that everybody was talking about as a substitute for you for the top spot at one point in the race.
HAYES: Well, that's true of three of the four people on my list.
MCKELWAY: We've got to move on, this is the Lightning Round and lightning is striking slowly. Let's move on to the GSA scandal. This has all the markings of a drip, drip, drip scandal. Hearings begin on Monday. Charles?
KRAUTHAMMER: Well it's interesting, I think it actually is going to hurt the administration even though it has nothing to do with the administration itself or this one. It's a chronic issue, but the Democrats have learned decades ago to stop using the word spend and to use the word invest. So the next time you hear the president speaking about investing, ask him about investing in clown suits, bikes, tuxedos and mind readers. And ask if America wants to "invest" in that.
MCKELWAY: On that subject Fox News gotten a hold of an e-mail that was written on July 8, 2011, from GSA deputy administrator Susan Brita to Bob Peck and a host of other of her underlings at the agency. She says "A clown suit, bikes, tuxedos, and mind reader don't really lend themselves to a claim of a substantive conference," she writes to her underlings after she's discovered this thing, it's been under investigation by the inspector general. In addition, Brita speaks of a letter of reprimand which they were crafting to Jeff Neely, the GSA regional administrator now on leave. And for starters, she says the letter of reprimand was "not even a slap on the wrist" and she encourages them to pay attention to how The Washington Post would cover this if it were to become a news story. Woulda, shoulda, coulda.
LANE: I approve of paying attention to the Washington Post but I would just add this is a picturesque scandal, which means it's very tough for the administration to knock down. It's got great visuals, clown suits, hotels in Hawaii and stuff. The $16 muffin conference at the Justice Department, remember that, turned out to be phony. This one seems to be real and I think it has legs.
MCKELWAY: Steve, 15 seconds is this the tip of the iceberg?
HAYES: Look, it's not a big deal in terms of the money, but it's a big deal in terms of principles, the contempt or the disdain with which so many bureaucrats in Washington treat taxpayers, treat their money. There is one way it reduce government waste. If you want to reduce government waste, reduce the size of government.
MCKELWAY: Thank you, panel. That's it for them. But stay tuned for the search for an identity coming right up.
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