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Special Report

Foreign policy in the presidential race

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," April 26, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: The governor's tough talk about military action is just that, talk. And I would add counterproductive talk. President Obama has said, and I quote, "Now is time to let our increased pressure sink in and to sustain the broad international coalition we have built. Now is the time to heed the timeless advice from Teddy Roosevelt, 'speak softly and carry a big stick,'" end of quote. I promise you, the president has a big stick.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER: OK, Vice President Joe Biden on foreign policy attack against Governor Mitt Romney saying he is inexperienced and inconsistent and ill-informed. We're back with the panel. Tucker?

CARLSON: We're going to take that on faith, Bret. It's a little weird to see, this is one of a series of speeches the vice president has been giving on behalf of the Obama campaign. As the president does, ya know, bits with Jimmy Kimmel, his vice president is out there making the case.

I'm not convinced they can ride foreign policy too far in the race. I'm just not convinced that too many Americans give the president credit for killing Usama bin Laden as if Bush didn't try hard enough or something. The effect of this, though, I think, is interesting because it's going to force Romney to define his own foreign policy views with more clarity. Today the vice president basically accused Romney of being carbon copy of Bush whose foreign policy views were actually not that popular. Romney at some point is going to have to say, how do his foreign policy views differ from Bush's? And I think that's going to be instructive -- that's actually worth hearing, I think.

BAIER: Mara, on this line, the foreign policy, how much does it factor into this general election?

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: I think it factors in very little. There is a threshold that every candidate has to get over. Can you see this guy with his finger on the button, being the commander in chief representing us around the world? I think Romney has crossed that threshold. I don't think that is an issue here.

I do think that for a change -- Democratic candidates usually don't have an advantage on national security and foreign policy. But the president's poll numbers are not bad on either of those. And he is doing pretty good. And I think the White House feels they have a strong story to tell, killing of Usama bin Laden, the ending of the war in Iraq. And they're going to tell it.

Now that being said, that is not going to move a tremendous number of votes. They are putting Romney on the spot because, as Tucker said, he hasn't explained what he would do differently. He has accused the president of being weak, apologizing, undermining our interests abroad, leading from behind, but he hasn't said exactly what he would do differently. As a matter of fact, on Afghanistan, he is for getting troops out in 2014. He just says he wouldn't have announced that date publicly.

BAIER: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well we're going to have six months to discuss the message. Let me just say one thing about the messenger. The vice president has been over the last 30 years, holds the American record for wrong on the most issue of foreign affairs ever. The list starts with the nuclear freeze in the early '80s against Thatcher, and Reagan, and Cole, which was one of the follies of the era. He supported it. He was against aid to the Nicaraguan contras which in the end brought democracy and ended the Sandinista rule at the time. He was against Reagan's expansion of the defense budget which bankrupted the Soviet Union and led to the end of the Soviet empire. He was against Reagan on strategic defenses, which is the big challenge that we have now in the missile age.

And look at where he was on Iraq. He opposed the first Iraq war, the Gulf war that liberated Kuwait, which everybody agrees was a good thing. He supported the Iraq war that he, not I, but he says was a terrible mistake. And then when the surge happened he opposed the surge in Iraq which rescued a losing war and ended with our leaving with our heads held high on some promise of the future.

BAIER: He also wanted to at one point split the country based on --

KRAUTHAMMER: Into ethnicities, into three parts. He is the Herbert Hoover of American foreign policy. And for him to be the spokesman for the administration on these affairs I think is rather ironic.

BAIER: Tucker, you mentioned the rock star quality. The American Crossroads outside group has started running an ad. Let's just run the video of the ad. We don't have to hear it. And it takes on this image of the president out and about at all these shows and identifying with young people, being the biggest celebrity in the world. It goes on and then has these stats about one out of every two college students not finding a job after they leave. We saw something similar in the McCain campaign and it seemed to be effective back then. Is this ad effective?

TUCKER CARLSON, EDITOR, THEDAILYCALLER.COM: I think it's the most effective anti-Obama ad I have seen. And I don't think most anti-Obama ads are very effective. I don't love all of them. Most of them are heavy-handed and dumb. This is not. This gets right to the core in my view of his weakness, which is his callowness, the fact that he is not half as sophisticated as people imagined he was, that he is this kind of Hollywood figure. And he hasn't -- the core message is, he hasn't made the hard choices that he promised he would make. Remember his pitch in '08. I saw this speech after speech. I'm the adult here, I'm going to tell you things you don't want to hear. That is one thing he has never done, is tell people something they didn't want to hear.

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