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Special Report

Are Democratic voters energized?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," May 09, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, R - PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The polls I see when they ask Republicans who are you going to vote for, some 90 plus percent said they were supporting me. So that is more Republicans supporting me than Democrats supporting the president. So, if there is a rift in the party, I think it's his. I actually saw in West Virginia, for instance, an inmate got almost 40 percent of the votes against President Obama for the convention. So I think they've got more problems on that side of the aisle than we do on ours.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Mitt Romney on radio in Colorado, he's talking about the West Virginia Democratic primary, where, in fact, Keith Judd, who is an inmate in federal prison in Texas, received more than 42 percent of the vote in that primary, embarrassing for the Obama campaign. He won 42 percent, he is serving 17.5 years for extortion. But it shows you the protest vote in West Virginia. And we talked a little bit about North Carolina.

We are back with the panel. David, it goes to perhaps a vulnerability in some of these states that is underneath, but you see it when these votes come up.

DAVID DRUCKER, REPORTER, ROLL CALL: I think it shows the president doesn't walk on water the way he did four years ago. You don't have a completely energized party with the independents piling on who would do anything to vote out any remnant of Republicanism or the Bush administration. It's a different ballgame. We saw 200,000 Democrats, I believe, in North Carolina voted no preference. We have seen other votes like this.

I wouldn't make too much of it, because in most states where we have seen this, they are states where Obama wouldn't win if he was the only candidate in the general election. But in a state like North Carolina that he wants to win again, the convention's in Charlotte, ya know a couple points one way or the other and you've got a much different election. And it shows he has some work to do.

And that is one of the reasons we've see, even though obviously, the president unopposed at a primary throughout the past few months he has been making some key overtures to his base, whether it was the environmentalists on the Keystone XL pipeline or going after Republicans on tax increases in a particular way. I think it showed that he was trying to say, look, I need you, I want you. Please work hard and turn out for me.

BAIER: Not to focus too much on West Virginia because, as David mentioned, it's not a state that likely is going to go Democratic. But you had Democratic Senator Joe Manchin asked about this today, said "that was something, wasn't it?" And he went to point out it's all about energy, saying that West Virginia is a major coal producer and some in the state have accused the Obama White House of waging a war on coal.

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: Well, you know, Joe Manchin when he was running was pretty dismissive of the president.

BAIER: And in fact, he recently said he doesn't know if he is going to vote for President Obama.

WILLIAMS: That's right. I was just going to say that. What you have here is a situation where he's somewhat distanced himself. I don't think that this is much more than people who just said, ya know, anybody but those who are on the ballot. And I think that there is that sentiment out there in the American mind right now. People are just fed up with Washington. And this was a protest vote.

BAIER: How does the gay marriage dust-few if you will and whatever the president said today play for those folks in some of those states that Democrats feel like they perhaps were going after?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: If I could make a response to Juan on the West Virginia situation. That was not a protest vote. That was a choice between an extortionist on one hand who's in prison and an administration that is expropriating the coal industry, which is what the state lives on. You have to choose between an extortionist who is in prison and an administration that has control of the EPA and thus of you and has issued a regulation a month ago that will kill coal in America, I think it's a protest with substance. And I don't think it's restricted to that one state. It's gonna spread all across Appalachia.

On the gay marriage issue, I'm not sure it's gonna have a direct effect, because I do think in this election, which is so heavily economic and jobs, it will be low on the list, probably even low on the list of the social issues.

BAIER: Quickly, a lot of response to that sound bite from ABC, the president talking about his decision-making when he said, "When I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf," just in the past few minutes we received a lot of e-mails and tweets about it. David, is that a problem, the phraseology there?

DRUCKER: It's one of timing. If the president ends up in real trouble in the fall, this is the kind of thing that can be played over and over. And people could say you know what, yeah, enough already. But if the president is surging and the economy is recovering, they'll be like, yeah, whatever.

WILLIAMS: It excites the Republican base. It's something to talk about for the next few hours, but I don't think it has any power whatsoever. He is the commander in chief. He should have some sense of personal connection if he's sending my son out to get killed.

KRAUTHAMMER: Can you imagine Dwight Eisenhower issuing a statement on D-Day congratulating his troops on Omaha Beach on his behalf? It's inconceivable. It will be inconceivable to him, and the fact it isn't to Obama who actually said it, I think is extremely revealing.

BAIER: That is it for panel. But stay tuned for new details from a long lost letter.

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