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Special Report

Tuesday's Primary Races; Helen Thomas' Resignation After Anti-Israel Remarks

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TODD HARRIS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Blanche Lincoln and Lt. Governor Halter have been tripping all over themselves to move as far to the left as possible to embrace as much of the Obama agenda as possib le. And ironically, those positions, while they may win you the Democratic primary are probably going to disqualify you for the general.

From left to right: Bill Kristol, Mort Kondracke, Charles Krauthammer, and Bret Baier

SEN. JOHN CORNYN, R-TEXAS, NATIONAL GOP SENATORIAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: This will be a referendum really on Senator Reid, and I believe that all of the Republican candidates who could win tomorrow, all of them are leading him now. But if Sharon Angle is the nominee, I'm confident she could beat Harry Reid in November.

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BAIER: Two Republicans talking about two specific races Arkansas and Nevada. Big primary day on Tuesday. We have it all covered.

Let's bring in our panel, Bill Kristol editor of The Weekly Standard, Mort Kondracke, executive editor of Roll Call, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.

Before we go race by race, let's get an overview of this day and this election season. Bill?

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I think Republicans tomorrow and the season is going to be the year of the woman. Women are winning a lot of these races, a lot of insurgent women beating establishment male candidates. A lot of conservative women.

Sarah Palin will turn out to have been sort of a precursor of something, which is before that on the Republican side most of the women who got elected were moderates many of them from the Northeast, typically pro-choice. Now you have a lot of Sarah Palin-type candidates who look like they are going to do well tomorrow and do well this year.

BAIER:  Mort?

MORT KONDRACKE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, ROLL CALL: Look, the Republicans keep going far to the right. The Democrats go far to the left. The country says it hates this polarization of politics but they keep electing people that go out to the edges. They can't get anything done together in Washington. It's going to continue tomorrow.

BAIER:  Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I'm not sure. There are the challenges from the wings on both sides. But I -- whereas the story of the conventional wisdom has been up to now Republican civil war, I think the civil war is on the Democratic side, that those Democrats who had been upholding the Obama agenda are under heavy, heavy attack and really have a very desperate chances of the election in November.

And moderates are getting challenges from the Obama wing, which are quite vitriolic, which we will talk about in Arkansas, for example. Whereas on the right you've got the Tea Party activists, which is not a party. It's sort of a tendency. It's a kind of a spontaneous insurgency. They are going to be far more easily reconciled with the establishment Republican, with the Republican establishment than the Democratic left and center.

BAIER:  Mort, let's start in Nevada where the Republican primary is seeking to go up against the Majority Leader Harry Reid. You have Sharon Angle who is the Tea Party favorite and she is now leading in the recent polls against Sue Lowden and Tarkanian, the son of the famous basketball coach. And she is the Tea Party favorite. What about this race?

KONDRACKE: Well, Sue Lowden, who is the establishment candidate, made some boo-boos, you know, said that well, you know, doctors used to accept chickens in return for their services, why not bring back barter. And everybody has been laughing about that ever since.

But Sue Lowden is the Tea Party candidate. She wants to abolish the Department of Education, she wants to abolish the federal income tax. She once recommended some sort of a prison rehabilitation program involving scientologists. So if she gets the nomination, this is Harry Reid's best chance of winning, in addition to which, if Harry Reid were to get beat, John Ensign is gone, because of Republican problems--

BAIER:  The Republican senator.

KONDRACKE: So Nevada, which likes influence in Washington, would have two freshman senators, and Harry Reid can say elect me, keep Sharon Angle out of this, and I have got power.

BAIER:  Quickly, Bill, Republicans, do they think that Angle is less of a winner on the inside?

KRISTOL: The latest poll has her beating Reid I think by two points and Danny Tarkanian by three, and Sue Lowden is losing by one or two. I think an incumbent who is at 41 or 42 percent is in deep trouble. And Harry Reid will be in deep trouble against Sharon Angle.

BAIER:  Arkansas. Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter is mounting a big campaign against incumbent Senator Blanche Lincoln. They had a run off because the last primary couldn't be decided. Lincoln didn't get the 50 percent. Halter seems to have the momentum, Charles, with Moveon.org and big labor.

KRAUTHAMMER: Exactly, this is a clash of the titans here. Halter's insurgency is a hard left insurgency against a centrist Democrat. It's outside unions and George Soros' money and all of the appendages of that against Lincoln, who is supported by Bill Clinton, the former governor, the classic Democratic centrist who succeeded extremely well politically in the 90's with that kind of centrism.

And she cut an ad showing President Clinton at a rally in her favor denouncing national unions who are trying to dictate how you ought to vote. I think it's a very deep split. And it shows, I think that the Democrats are going to have a hard time reconciling themselves. You have a president on the left and a lot of candidates who think if you go with him you are going to lose. If you don't, you will lose a lot of internal support on the Democratic left. I think it will be easier for Republicans to end up reconciling.

BAIER:  California, Bill, two big races out there. On the GOP Senate side you have Carly Fiorina leading big heading into this day against Tom Campbell, and there you see Devore is the third candidate there. The spread seems to be big. Sarah Palin, as you mentioned before, endorsed Fiorina.

KRISTOL: She endorsed Fiorina, and Chuck Devore is slightly more conservative than Carly Fiorina, the favorite of California grassroots conservatives. Palin, and I think this shows a certain shrewdness, went in and said Chuck Devore is a decent guy, but Carly Fiorina can win the general election and endorsed Fiorina.

When she did so, Fiorina was behind Tom Campbell and very close to Devore. She endorsed Fiorina and Fiorina looks like she will win easily.

If you are running in a Republican primary I think anywhere in the country. California is a pretty moderate state. Not the kind of state where you would think Sarah Palin would have an effect in. If you are running in a Republican primary anywhere in the country, I think you want Sarah Palin's endorsement.

BAIER:  And Meg Whitman has pumped enough money into this race to salvage polls.

KRISTOL: Here in California, this deep blue states where Republicans were finished for decades allegedly, two very impressive women are nominees for governor and senator, and both have a reasonable chance of winning.

BAIER:  Mort, I want to turn to South Carolina, quickly. Nikki Haley is leading big in that race on the GOP side for the gubernatorial race. There was some controversy, some allegations that she had extramarital affairs. There was one candidate, one person there that raised her being raised as a Sikh. She says she is a Christian.

This has been an ugly race.

KONDRACKE: South Carolina is famous for ugly politics, the worst of it being John McCain being accused of having a daughter out of wedlock who was black, where he has an adopted daughter who's Bangladeshi.

Anyway, this is the case where South Carolina is coming to its senses. Nikki Haley has been accused of infidelity and was called a "raghead" by one of -- by one of the outliers there. But she is going to win. You know, so there is something good happening.

BAIER:  Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: I find it extremely odd how sexual politics and accusations of infidelity are so dominant. She will probably still win, but it's been the issue for the last month or so in a state which has a lot of other issues.

I would have thought after Clinton that might have receded, but perhaps there is a double standard if the candidate is a woman. I don't know. This is rather new. But I find it puzzling and a little bit disturbing.

BAIER:  And Bill's common denominator Sarah Palin also endorsed Nikki Haley.

KRISTOL: She did. She was running third or fourth and she surged. The accusations seem tohave no effect. It might even be a sympathy rallying for her. She has to get about 40 percent to avoid a runoff. She is hovering around 40 in a four-way race. She was fourth about six weeks ago.

She is an Indian-American. Her parents are from the subcontinent. If she wins and wins the primary and gets elected governor, there will be two Republican governors in the south, Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal, who are Indian-Americans.

BAIER:  Up next, the Helen Thomas controversy. Go to our home page at foxnews.com/specialreport. Vote in our online poll about your reaction to what happened. We will be back with the All Stars' opinions after the break.

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HELEN THOMAS, JOURNALIST: Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa, any better comments?

THOMAS: Remember, these people are occupied, and it's their land. It's not Germany. It's not Poland.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So where should they go?

THOMAS: They should go home to Poland and Germany.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Those remarks were offensive and reprehensible. I think she should and has apologized.

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Her bias against Israel and mostly in favor of the Palestinian cause was evident throughout the time I sat next to her. And she would not uncommonly engage in argumentative exchanges with the press secretaries over that issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER:   Brit Hume sat next to her for eight years. Helen Thomas in the White House briefing room today after the comment and the reaction to it. She did apologize but she also retired from her news service. She now will not be in the briefing room. What about all of this, the statement, the reaction? We're back with the panel. Bill?

KRISTOL: It's a creepy and slightly chilling statement. One doesn't want to dance on Helen Thomas' retirement here and it's good that she is gone. But Brit has said that well, she has always been anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. A lot of people are that. That's pretty different from saying Jews should go back to Poland or Germany. That's a whole different level of just creepiness.

BAIER:   Mort?

KONDRACKE: Look, she should have retired a long time ago. And her colleagues should have had some means, the White House association, to remove her from the front seat when she was a UPI correspondent to somewhere in the back where the columnists live.

Anyway, she, to her credit, did break a lot of glass ceilings in Washington. It's ancient history, but women were kept out of the National Press Club. She broke that barrier. She was the first woman officer. She was the first woman in the GridIron Club, et cetera, et cetera. But, you know, Brit is exactly right. I used to be a White House correspondent. She was anti-Israel going way back, and she would ask questions -- they weren't questions. They were statements, editorial statements condemning Israel, condemning any assertion of American foreign policy. She was really a pretty left-wing person in her opinions all the way along, although when she was a wire service reporter, she managed to be a pro. She was pretty straight.

BAIER:   Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER:  I sort of dissent from all that's happened in the last couple of days. I would not have called for her resignation. She obviously was forced out. I would not have said take her off the White House Correspondents' Association.

I believe generally speaking in the First Amendment. You say what you believe and then you stay where you are and defend it and not be excluded. I would have liked to have had her asked, as she will not be now, to explain exactly what she meant.

Brit says he sat next to her. Everybody who heard her knew how deep was her animus against Israel. And what happened here was that the mask, she removed her own mask. Now we know the venom that was underlying all of that, a belief that Jews ought to be out of Palestine -- she believes in a one-state solution.

And to go back to Germany and Poland -- Poland is where Auschwitz was. Germany is the country that invented Auschwitz. I think it told us what was underlying all that all those years. It's a sad story but she should have stayed where she was.

BAIER:   Quickly I want to get to this. In an interview with NBC that will air tomorrow, this is what the president said when asked about emoting about this BP crisis. "I don't sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers so I know whose ass to kick."

Down the line, what about this from President Obama. Bill?

KRISTOL:  It's pathetic. His advisors told him, you have got to show some emotion, you've got to show anger. So he says something vulgar.

KONDRACKE:  This is a response to all the nagging he has been getting from various people, Frank Rich of The New York Times and so on. You have you got to show emotion. So here he does it with a vulgarity, exactly.

KRAUTHAMMER:  I would like to see the tone in which he delivers it. Is it the way he says "I am very angry at BP"? You know, you can't fake it. I think he is trying to and that won't wear well.

BAIER:   We will follow it tomorrow.