This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," June 12, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: We are a poorer country today. That is the result of a Federal Reserve study that found the recession took a big toll pretty much top to bottom. If you look at the median net family worth, you can see from 2007 to 2010, there was a drop of almost 40 percent, the median family income, a little bit -- obviously less than that, 7.7 percent drop. In family savings, a drop of 7.8 percent. Now the administration sees a silver lining since 2010. But we're back with the panel. This comes on a series of pretty bad news on the economy, Juan, for the Obama campaign and for this president.
JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: Well, I don't think this speaks to this president. Clearly these numbers are over a span of time most of which he was not President of the United States. This is just bad news for the United States and for everybody who is trying to accrue some wealth and looking especially forward to pensions and retirement. It's not so much that it hit that older age bracket as it hit people who are still of working age and therefore, still planning. They suffered a big loss primarily Bret, in terms of their housing, the value of their houses.
BAIER: So, you don't think this has an effect in the big picture?
WILLIAMS: Well, I think it has an effect to this extent, that it makes people feel bad about their wealth, their level of economic advancement in this society. And if that accrues negatively it's a political liability for the incumbent, OK, that's something to say. But the larger story is here that we went through a terrible recession that took a big chunk out of all of us in terms of our wealth.
BAIER: Steve, the national head-to-head between President Obama and Mitt Romney is still tight. The Real Clear Politics average of polls has it at 46.5 to 44.6. but there are several polls, coming out, including one out in Pennsylvania, that suggests that independents are flocking on the economy overwhelmingly to Mitt Romney in a state that was going to President Obama.
STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Right and there is a Reuters poll out this afternoon that shows President Obama, who was up plus seven a month ago nationally, is now basically tied. So, yeah, this is having an effect.
I don't think we needed a Federal Reserve study to tell us that people lost a significant amount of wealth over the past four years. Nobody in Toledo, Ohio needs a Fed study to tell them that. They already feel that. I think the problem and the reason you are seeing President Obama's numbers erode on this is because he campaigned as the man to fix it. He gave specific speeches at specific times as a candidate promising to fix the economy. He came in, he had a Democratic Congress for two years. He passed what he said he was going to do to fix the economy. And here we are three years later and it hasn't turned around. That's why I think he'll be held responsible.
BAIER: I guess the question that we brought at the beginning, was because it was so staggering the number, almost 40 percent for the average family, 40 percent of your net worth gone over a span of four-and-a-half, five years.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, that I think is what we learned from the Federal Reserve. Everybody knew it was a hard hit. But that is a staggering amount of money. And I hate to say it, because it pains me but I think Juan is right on this. This is clearly not something that you would lay at the feet of Obama. He did say he would fix the economy, but the most you can do after a bubble like this and a collapse of assets in housing, and remember the stock market, what you didn't lose in your house, you lost it in the 401(k), where the market lost half of its value in about a year or less than a year. That is clearly the result of a bubble that was not of Obama's doing.
The best he could have done, which he didn't do, but the best he could have done is restore the economy to some level of functioning, high level of functioning, which still would not have undone the loss of wealth. That is a permanent thing, that was done before him one administration, two administrations all the way back to 1990s. But the president is the one who gets the blame no matter what the cause is for the state of the economy one way or another.
BAIER: Quickly, Juan, is the private sector doing fine starting to dwindle or is this going to be with us for the rest of this campaign?
WILLIAMS: I think it will be used as Republicans who will make it out as if he said the economy is doing fine when, in fact, he said the private sector. It's just the kind of thing that would invite derision and I think his opponents will be glad to do it.
By the way, my heart is beating fast. I've never been in agreement with Krauthammer.
BAIER: We'll leave it there.
KRAUTHAMMER: Well, then you clearly have to reconsider.
WILLIAMS: Thank you, doctor.
BAIER: That is it for the panel. But stay tuned for surrogate stress.
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