What's fair game in the presidential campaign?

Mitt Romney's religion? Yes. Rev. Wright? No


This is a rush transcript from "The Five," May 23, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: So we keep hearing about what is fair game when it comes to criticizing candidates. I've notice a trend. I call it "the never mind then" compromise. For example, when media went after Mormonism, conservatives responded with Reverend Wright. Oh, never mind then.

When the media trumpeted the dog on the roof story, conservatives responded with Obama chowing down on a chow. Never mind then.

When the media brought up something from Romney's past 50 years ago, conservatives just read Obama's book out loud. Never mind then.

It's a pattern. The issue becomes off-limits if it bounces back on Obama.

Trust me when private equity becomes Obama's problem, Bain will disappear faster than Dana in a strong wind.

Fair game is often dictated by the media. Think about what they deem off the table. Take Obama's support of OWS, or how he raises money from Wall Street, just as he bashes them, or how he snubs Congress while moaning about their lack of cooperation.

Which leads me to the biggest ruse of all -- compromise. You're going to hear that word a lot from libs disguised as centrists.

But isn't compromising really defined as you give up your principles and I won't give up mine? It's like an armed thug saying, "I'm glad you see it my way" as he takes your wallet.

Bob, you worked in politics.


GUTFELD: Or so you've told us. I really have no proof of this. Isn't everything fair game?

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: Oh, yes, we do.

GUTFELD: Yes, we do.

BECKEL: Don't say it. Don't say it. Don't say it.


GUTFELD: Isn't everything fair game?

BECKEL: Yes, sure. I mean, everything is fair game, except for your family. That ought to be, you know, something that should not be brought up in a campaign -- unless you're wife's a serial killer or something like that.

But look, so far, I think they have been pretty good. I mean, Ann Romney took a bit of a hit, which I thought was unfair. Michele Bachmann -- Michele Bachmann, oh, man, can I think about that word, and just...

Anyway, Michelle Obama has had very good press, as far as I can tell.

And so, first ladies and the wives of -- potential first ladies seem to get a pretty good pass. And unlike you, who would be vilified every possible way you could, because you don't speak English.

GUTFELD: Yes. And also, I deserve it.

Eric, who decides, though. Who decides what's fair game? The media?

BOLLING: Well, it depends who is president. If you have a Democrat in office, the media, the mainstream media decides. We try and do the balancing act for the liberal media and we do a pretty darn good job of it. Bain Capital -- can I touch on that a little bit?

GUTFELD: We are going to get to it.

BOLLING: Let's stay here then. Let's stay here then. Bob, is there another media outlet that gives you the other side of the underbelly of the White House? No. All you get is the stuff that the White House talking points that you get every morning on your phone. And that's all we hear in mainstream media.

BECKEL: I bet your pardon. I don't take any -- The Wall Street Journal doesn't take on Obama every day?

BOLLING: Who owns the Wall Street Journal?

BECKEL: The person who owns this show.

BOLLING: The parent of this company, exactly.

BECKEL: OK, I'll shut up right now then.

BOLLING: That's the point I'm trying to make.

BECKEL: OK. Good. I'm scared.

BOLLING: I don't know the point you're trying to make.

BECKEL: I don't understand the point you're trying to make.


DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: Can I make a point?

GUTFELD: Dana, I want to ask you. You never hear about what is fair game when Bush was president. They never brought that up, you can't make fun of this or that.

PERINO: Well, I'm going to give a little counter to that, which is that after 9/11, there were complaints from the left that President Bush was untouchable when it came to anything regarding national security. That complaint exists. I think some in the media would say it's not true. But there was that perception.

Another person I remember today that got a raw deal from the press during a campaign was not necessarily a Republican. It was Hillary Rodham Clinton. You remember during that primary, she got a raw deal from a lot of people in the press because of this "never mind then" philosophy. It was like, oh, he voted present 100 times as state senator? Never mind then.

And another example, I'll just give you one more, was on -- last month when the administration argued for ObamaCare in front of the Supreme Court. Remember in the days following everybody thought, oh my gosh, the analysis was, that didn't go well for the administration. All of a sudden you had a "never mind then," it doesn't really matter in the press.

If it had gone well, those stories would have been very different.

GUTFELD: Yes, nothing to see here.

I want to ask Kimberly. Here is the thing. When you go to play a game, you don't go to compromise. You go to win. Isn't that the whole point? So when somebody tells you can't do, that's wrong, right?

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, CO-HOST: Look, it's healthy to have a vetting on both sides. I don't understand why we continue to act like President Obama is sacrosanct in terms of his candidacy to run for re-election. Why not put all the facts out there? They seemed to love to do it, they relish to do it with Romney or any of the other people that might be going against him in the past, and now focusing on Romney. There is a double standard.

I mean, he is so Mr. Perfect that "Saturday Night Live" doesn't even want to touch him.

BECKEL: Sacrosanct? They've got him eating dogs. What are you, kidding me? And the other thing about it is --

GUILFOYLE: He is the one that did it.

BECKEL: George Bush enjoyed more good press than Barack Obama ever enjoyed, after 9/11, he deserved and I though he deserved it. But the fact of the matter is that Obama has never come close to getting that kind of good press.


BOLLING: Right here and right now because I think what's going to happen, I think you're going to see the same thing.

GUTFELD: Well, here, I want to go to you about speaking of fair game about Bain. Let's roll a clip of some Democrats talking about it and then I'll go to you, Eric, for your response.


SEN. HARRY REID, D-NV, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER, MAY 22: I believe that Governor Romney, who holds himself out to be this great businessman, should have his record looked at. I have no problem with that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, MSNBC, MAY 22: I think Bain Capital was a very successful business. I think they got a good return for investors. That is what they were supposed to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, CNN, MAY 22: They're not a bad company. Nobody is saying they are, including the president.

This is not about Bain it's not about private equity in general. This is about a guy who is holding himself out to be a job creator whose record is fair game at doing that.


BOLLING: So, here's what I think is going to happen. The ones that really matter are the Steve Rattners, the Deval Patrick -- the mayors and the governors matter because they are CEOs of their city and their states. And they realize that private equity is an important cash infusion and important to the economy, important job creators.

I think the Democrat who are governors and mayors are going to push back from President Obama disdain for Bain. I predicted this, I predicted this yesterday, I think going forward, they're going to realize this is going to turn around bite them in the butt and they'll push away from it and it won't matter anymore --


BECKEL: We said over and over again we don't have a problem with private capital. And we continue to say that.

The problem with Bain is that Romney has made a big deal out of it, he ought to be president of the United States because he has this little tiny, little private equity company, that 300 some odd companies says he made jobs. I still say --


BOLLING: One of the biggest private equity groups in the world.

BECKEL: That is not the criteria to become the president of the United States. I want to hear him say something about what he did in Massachusetts. He was governor of Massachusetts four days -- four years, rather, 4 days it felt like.

Do you think this guy has ever said anything about Massachusetts?

PERINO: He talks about Massachusetts quite a bit, actually.

BECKEL: On what?

PERINO: Well, on the school turn-around, on the job market situation that he inherited. Then on the Bain stuff, if you look at David Brooks, who's a columnist for the New York Times -- let's not characterize him. David Brooks, smart guy, writes every week. He talked about it yesterday about he can't understand for the life of him why President Obama goes down the road on this Bain Capital when all of the signals are, this isn't working.

So I'm curious, where do they go from here? What else do they have?

BOLLING: That's what I said, all of a sudden, it won't matter anymore.

BECKEL: If they don't think Bain capital is cutting up there, they wouldn't be doing it.

BOLLING: He said at 4:38, after that NATO speech, the second question, he said the campaign is going to be about this going forward, on the podium.

BECKEL: He was asked the question. What is he supposed to do? Talk about growing vegetables?

GUILFOYLE: That makes no sense.

BECKEL: Growing dope in basement of the White House? I mean, he was asked a question about Bain Capital, he gave an answer.

KIMBERLY: That's a losing cause and he's not going to get support.

BECKEL: Oh, yes, yes. OK, we'll find out.

GUTFELD: Kimberly, I want to ask you, on "Fox & Friends" earlier, Colin Powell was on talking about the idea of compromise. And let's just roll it and then I want your commentary.



COLIN POWELL, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The Founding Fathers could create this great nation and write a Constitution by arguing with each other, by compromising with each other. If you don't compromise, you can't get consensus and a country has nothing to, you know, rally behind. And we seem to have lost that ability to compromise. And you know I say, why don't you guys just knock off the hearings, go have a couple of drinks.


GUTFELD: I'm actually all for having a couple of drinks. But the things is, didn't the Constitution come from refusal to compromise? Or else there wouldn't have been a Constitution.

GUILFOYLE: Well, there was healthy debate, at a table like much like this, perhaps five or more people that decided what in fact should be written.

Look, Colin Powell will go down in history as a great military man. A lot of people were disappointed when he went and as a conservative endorsed Barack Obama, who is the most liberal person we have had run for president thus far. I think he's been a little disappointment in that sense.

He is saying compromise now because he is trying to equivocate on his position.

BECKEL: He's great, because was great with the military. But he's bad because he endorsed Barack Obama.

The fact of the matter is --

GUILFOYLE: He wasn't consistent with his conservative principles.

BECKEL: The compromise he talks about, the last compromise we had that worked was George Bush's "No Child Left Behind," there was a compromise between Democrats and Republicans. It was not -- it needed some changes but it was a good piece of legislation. They did it with the Democrats and Republicans.

Since these Republicans, these yahoos have got in House, they refused to sit down and talk to Barak Obama. If they won't talk to him --

GUTFELD: He refused to talk to them.

BECKEL: He invited them all the time.

PERINO: Actually, Senator McConnell says he did not have a meeting with President Obama in the first two years of the presidency. You did legislative affairs. That's craziness.

BECKEL: I know. I agree with that. He should have McConnell down. It would have been a really boring conversation, but he should have had a conversation. But he had other people from the House, new members down. They refused to compromise because these people like Eric's --


BECKEL: -- ridiculous notion that you can't have taxes.

BOLLING: They came up with a deal. According to John Boehner, they had a deal. They were ready to sign a deal with President Obama. Right? Am I mistaken, he had --

PERINO: According to The Washington Post --

BOLLING: President Obama changed it by $500 billion. Do you remember this? Changed the deal on the way to sign it.

BECKEL: There's a lot of discussion on who changed what deal. But that's all right.

GUTFELD: I mean, do you compromise when you order a pizza? No, you say, I want these toppings.



GUTFELD: You do? So, the guy behind the counter goes, I think you should have anchovies.

PERINO: I pick off the mushrooms.

GUTFELD: Really?

GIULFOYLE: I just want pepperoni.

GUTFELD: I'm talking about when you order your pizza.

Anyway, this metaphor is not working.

PERINO: I don't eat a whole pizza.

GUILFOYLE: You can do half. Like half pepperoni and half cheese.

BECKEL: Are you done with this yet?

GUTFELD: I am done with this, Bob. Why, do you have to go somewhere?

BECKEL: I do, actually. I've got to leave.


BECKEL: I've got three of my friends here from college and I've got to go.

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