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Special Report

Friday Lightning Round: Texas voter ID law

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 13, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, HOST: Every week, viewers vote for your choice online in this our Friday Lightning Round poll. This week, Texas voter ID law won with 41 percent of the vote.

We're back with the panel.  Lightning round now. Kirsten, Texas voter ID law going to court. It's now in the hands of a three-judge panel. Essentially Texas saying that it prevents voter fraud, the Justice Department saying it discriminates against minorities. What do you think?

KIRSTEN POWERS, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK POST: I will say for the record, I think people should have IDs to vote. But there are no noble people on either side of this issue. You have on the one hand, Holder referring to poll taxes, which is absurd.  Having a driver's ID is nothing like poll taxes were in the south.

But at the same time, if white evangelicals didn't have drivers' licenses, I don't think Republicans would be particularly concerned about voter fraud right now. So this is a fundamentally political issue. But I think in the end people will sort of come down on the side of reason, which is to say in this day and age get a driver's license. Get an ID if you want to vote.

BAIER: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, 2008, the Supreme Court decided on the similar law, an Indiana law, on the voter I.D. issue. And it decided it was not discriminatory and constitutional. The majority opinion six to three was written by John Paul Stevens, the liberal lion on the court. The prosecution rests.

BAIER: Liz?

LIZ MARLANTES, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: Well, I will add as a caveat to weigh in on the other side of this that while I don't think it's necessarily an undue burden, or it's hard to envision it being undue burden to have an ID on the other hand in this particular case, the Justice Department is estimating 1.5 million Texans don't currently have one. And given the low rate of voting participation in the country now anyway, I'm not sure we want to be erecting huge new barriers that are likely to keep people from bothering to cast a vote given that most studies show that voter fraud is not particularly widespread.

BAIER: The politics is different obviously from the legal arguments.  We'll follow both of those.

Charles, Syria violence -- obviously violence picking up and also concern about Syria moving chemical weapons. How big of a deal is all of this?

KRAUTHAMMER: It's hard to imagine why Assad would be doing this. He probably has the largest stock of those in the world. That's what the intelligence agencies believe. Some people believe it's to keep it safe, but I don't see how it works. It's after him the deluge. So he wouldn't care what -- if he goes or falls or dies, I don't think he cares what happens to the weapons or to his country.

So the other alternative argument he is moving them to keep them out of the hands of rebels, which I think is a more plausible one. And that raises issue how secure are the stockpiles and how secure are the people guarding it, and what would happen if the rebels, the more radical Islamist elements got hold of them.

BAIER: Kirsten, it doesn't seem like the administration has many cards to lay down on the table here.

POWERS: Right. This is the moment of truth for U.N. at this point, a monitoring mission that was supposed to monitor a cease-fire. The cease-fire never happened. They are now basically there bearing witness to these atrocities, you know, yet another attack where a couple of hundred people were gunned down. And so I think that it's now gotten the point where they have to decide whether to renew this mission, which really is just going to be par for the course, just going to continue, or if they are going to be able to get some movement to get Russia and China on board with the idea of imposing U.N. sanctions at a minimum.

BAIER: All right, Liz, we are running out of time so I'll change to the last topic. Condoleezza Rice, the Drudge Report had a big issue, a big splash saying that she is on the top of the list for VP possibilities for Mitt Romney. Today, Carl Cameron asked Mitt Romney about that and said he is still committed to choose a pro-life running mate for VP. What do you make of all of this?

MARLANTES: Yes. I don't think that Condoleezza Rice is going to be Mitt Romney's VP. I agree with a lot of speculation this is perhaps an effort to change the subject from the Bain story, which has been difficult one for the Romney campaign this week. Condoleezza Rice is pro-choice, obviously. She is too closely associated with the Bush years, which Romney doesn't want to be associated with.

And I think actually the biggest strike against her is she is not a politician and she says she doesn't want to run for elected office. She's said that repeatedly so I take her at her word there. So, yes, I think this is probably not going to be Mitt Romney's choice but a nice diversionary topic.

I will just add I think there is a slight danger for the Romney campaign in this trial balloon or whatever you call it floated this week in that there was a surprising amount of enthusiasm for Rice from many Republicans. And I think it underscores the fact that this has been a not particularly exciting campaign in the eyes of many in the GOP base and they are longing for some injection of excitement. And I'm not sure if Romney will provide them with that with the vice presidential pick, but there is clearly a hunger out there for it.

BAIER: All right, Liz. We'll go over the lightning part of this thing with you next time. I'm just kidding.

(LAUGHTER)

BAIER: Charles, last thing. Ralph Lauren came out moments ago with a statement saying the next Olympics, the winter Olympics will be uniforms made in the USA, just not this one. Your thoughts?

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, apparently the factories for mittens and sweaters is in the U.S. but there are none for track suits. So that is the only conclusion I can draw. This is silly season. This is absurd. How many people today not wearing anything made in China? Why not the athletes?  Big deal.

BAIER: All right, panel, thank you. That is it for the panel.

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