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Special Report

Friday Lightning Round: WI recall election

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," May 4, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JOHN ROBERTS, ANCHOR: Every week viewers vote for your choice online in our Friday Lightning Round poll. And this week, Wisconsin recall election won with 79 percent of the vote so let's get right into that. Juan Williams, let's start with you. The Democratic primary in that recall is next Tuesday. The recall election is on June 5th. Since Scott Walker's policies went into effect, taxes are down, schools are saving money, it's ranking as one of the best places to do business on the way up. How do you think it's going to go?

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: All the polls show that it's too close to call. And the reason that they show that at the moment is the Democrats have had such trouble in picking a strong candidate to run against Scott Walker. And so the generic Democrat actually beats Walker, but when you start picking specific candidates, including the man that he beat in the last gubernatorial contest, Mayor Barrett of Milwaukee, Walker wins.

Now, the contrary view to the one you offered, John, people in Wisconsin are polled about this, what they say is we're not accustomed to all this static, all this argument, all this constant [INAUDIBLE]. They don't like that part of it. But again, if you look at the actual numbers that you were pointing to, they are not that bad.

ROBERTS: Jonah, when you look at it Democrats really aren't running on the key issue which is restoring collective bargaining rights, because only 12 percent in Wisconsin think that that's one of their top issues? So they're looking at everything but the issue at hand here.

JONAH GOLDBERG, AT LARGE EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: Right. In some ways everybody has been looking at this for the last year like people used to look at the Spanish Civil War as preview to World War II. And much the same way, everybody's been looking at this as a union thing. The unions are looking bad. The union backed candidate Faulk is in third place, is not going to win it. Barrett, who is probably going to win the Democratic nomination, has been tough on the unions itself. I would think, just to directly answer it, I think Walker pulls it out. I think the private sector union vote is up for grabs in Wisconsin, and I think it's going to go for Walker because he's better for the economy.

ROBERTS: Let's take a look at the Massachusetts Senate raise, Scott Brown against Elizabeth Warren. Of course we've all heard that Elizabeth Warren designated herself as Native American in a directory hoping that some people might invite her to lunch. She took that off her designation when she became a professor at Harvard Law School. It's making a lot of news but why should we care about this?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, I'm told that her tribal name is "Tells Tall Tales." Look, nobody will believe that she put this in the directory because she wanted to have lunch people that are one-32nd Cherokee, but as I understand it that directory didn't say which minority you were. That was number one. Secondly, the directory was used by administrators looking to make minority hires. Everybody understands what this is about, and her protest that this was a way to meet fellow Cherokee is really hard to believe. If so, when she became well known over the last three or four years, why didn't she mention her heritage once? She hasn't. She would have had a dozen lunches as a result. The reason people would look at her and say she took unfair advantage of a system that many people think is corrupt in the first place.

ROBERTS: If you take a look at Scott Brown's campaign, too. He's treading some interesting territory for a Republican because in some ways he is embracing President Obama, saying that when he was standing next to President Obama signing the Veterans Jobs Bill, it was, quote, "another of those great experiences." Now it was a veterans' jobs bill, so, ya know, it's good one for Republicans to run on it, but bringing President Obama into the contest, it shows you how interesting Massachusetts politics is.

WILLIAMS: Well, it's Massachusetts politics -- I think that's the key. Obama isn't going to have any trouble winning Massachusetts. And clearly what Scott Brown is after is not only independents but conservative Democrats. I mean he's got to win the seat that's still, I think, associated with Ted Kennedy. And he pulled an upset last time. He had a weaker opponent. Elizabeth Warren is much stronger, getting much more of the kind of funding both in state and out of state that makes her a substantial challenger, although I think she's handled this last controversy pretty badly.

GOLDBERG: Yeah, I register as a Victoria Secret supermodel so I could have lunch with Victoria's Secret supermodels, and it just didn't work.

(LAUGHTER)

ROBERTS: You know, I met one over the weekend; I met a former Victoria's Secret supermodel.

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: Did she look like him?

GOLDBERG: No, let's hope not for their -- for their stock price.

(LAUGHTER)

GOLDBERG: I love this story, I truly love this story, because Elizabeth Warren's campaign, what they're trying to do is say it's anti-woman to make fun of her for claiming she was one-32nd Cherokee. And this is like Tom Wolf novel level identity politics, and I think it's great.

ROBERTS: Let's get into Julia now, because we're talking a lot about this. The Obama campaign, of course, has created this fictional character Julia showing how she benefits form government largesse over the entire course of her life. Republicans are pushing back on this as just an egregious use of entitlements in the nanny state. What do you say Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: If you look at it, the sort of slides of her over her life; at every step helped, assisted, sort of pampered by the government -- this is parody of liberal ideal of the social democratic ideal of the cradle to grave entitlement state, which is exactly what Republicans are running against. I think it shows exactly the attitude that liberals have towards the individual. This is how would you treat an orphan child rather than a grownup. And orphan children ought to be helped. Conservatives believe that is why you have a safety net. But adults who ought to live on their own and be responsible ought not be treated in that way.

(CROSSTALK)

KRAUTHAMMER: I think it's going to hurt the Democrats.

ROBERTS: How do you see this Juan?

WILLIAMS: I guess my friend here is arguing we should kick all those old people off of Social Security, you know why are we taking care of all these old people? But you know what, I think --

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: Oh, that's allowed. The point here isn't the argument it really is about the entitlement society, which is the charge against President Obama. And President Obama's charge is, look, we have a society an economy now that is benefiting the very wealthy and we have to make sure that there are moderating programs in place by the government to help those in need.

ROBERTS: Jonah, 15 seconds.

GOLDBERG: I think it's hilarious, I think it's hilarious that this chart shows that Obama is president for life. I think it will not win over any people in the Democratic Party but it gives permanent fodder to conservatives to make fun of the Obama administration.

ROBERTS: Guys, great to see you, thanks for stopping by, have a great weekend.

That is it for the panel. Stay tuned, though, for a summer blockbuster sneak peek. Here is one you didn't expect.

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