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Special Report

Friday Lightning Round: US relationship with Israel

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 27, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Every week viewers vote for your choice online and this our Friday Lightning Round, and this week, again, Charles pick won. We put it on there and it just wins. We're back with the panel. Charles Krauthammer, your pick.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Once again, I'm humbled by the confidence that the voters have put in me. And I commend the opposition for not running negative ads on my anti-equestrian position of yesterday.

So question -- Obama today signed a bill that was passed overwhelmingly in Congress, supporting Israel and giving it extra money for the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, which Israel has. Question, will this incline anybody who is pro-Israel to support Obama in November? And the correct answer is no, unless he's been in a coma for three-and-a-half years. Obama is simply here continuing, the military cooperation that we've had with Israel for decades, but on the life and death political issues, stopping Iran's nuclear program, which is closer than ever to completion, to pressing Israel to return to the 67 lines and to the way he's insulted and marginalized Israel's elected leaders, I think his record on Israel is a poor one. It's not going to change anybody. Clearly aimed at deflecting the attention Romney will get in Israel tomorrow.

BAIER: Chuck, he signed a bipartisan bill, a lot of support in Congress. It did happen a couple days before -- a day before mitt Romney headed to the Jewish state.

CHARLES LANE, EDITORIAL WRITER, WASHINGTON POST: And another thing that's going on is the Republicans have organized stronger or more specific than usual effort to peel away Jewish voters from the Democrats. I think the correct answer to Charles' question is the two most pro-Israel groups in America are Jewish voters and evangelical Christians. The vast majority of evangelical Christians are going to vote for the Republican and the vast majority of Jews are going to vote for the Democrat, as per usual.

BAIER: Ben?

BEN FELLER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: I'm not sure a bill signing on a defense pact on the Friday of the summer heading into the Olympics is going to change anybody's vote. I mean, this is a small part of a much bigger debate about which candidate is really committed to Israel. And both of them are taking every opportunity, President Obama, Governor Romney, to do that. Strangely coincidental that this would happen as the governor heads to Israel over the weekend. But I think the president won this, the Jewish voting bloc overwhelmingly last time. There is a concern that that margin could be smaller, particularly in a state like Florida where every bit makes a difference.

BAIER: OK, Chick-Fil-A, this controversy over mayors who said they wanted to block Chick-Fil-A restaurants because of the support for traditional marriage, the biblical, as the owner said, interpretation of the family. What about this and the pushback we're seeing, Ben?

FELLER: We quoted a guy in our story referring to the Chick-fil-A president saying it's his opinion. He's entitled. I'm just here to eat. And I think that is probable the prevailing view of a lot of people. You have a prominent and successful business owner whose religious beliefs have inclined him not to open on Sundays and in this case to speak about traditional marriage. You have communities who have thought that that's insensitive or not respectful to diversity and so you have this debate going on.

BAIER: Chuck, even Michael Bloomberg, who had his own outreach as far as sugary drinks and other things thought this was over the line for those mayors.

LANE: I just ate at Chick-fil-A for the first time about two weeks ago and the strawberry shake was terrific. But I guess what I would add to this is Mayor Menino of Boston I think said it all. He was the first one to lash out at Chick-fil-A, and when he realized what kind of a terrible precedent this would set to subject all incoming business to an ideological test, he quickly admitted that he had made a mistake and I think we can all agree with him.

BAIER: OK, we're going to end with as promised reaction from Charles on bust-gate. Charles wrote in his column today that President Obama started his presidency by returning to the British embassy the bust of Winston Churchill that had graced the Oval Office.

Well, Dan Pfeiffer, White House communications director, put a White House blog post on saying "That's patently false, a ridiculous claim, 100 percent false." Quote, "The bust is still in the White House, in the residence outside the Treaty Room." In fact, he included a picture of President Obama showing Prime Minister Cameron, as it said on the photo, "the bust." And there you see the picture from 2010.         However, it turns out there are two busts and the one that was in the Oval Office was, in fact, returned to the British ambassador. It's in his residence here in D.C. Pfeiffer updated later saying "The idea put forward by Charles Krauthammer and others that President Obama returned the Churchill bust or refused to display the bust because of antipathy toward the British is completely false." Not saying that he got it wrong the first time. Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: It's astonishing. I mean, he doubled down. All he had to say was we got it wrong the first time. The British ambassador today said that the bust that's in his residence is the one that was returned when Obama came into office, exactly as I had written, 100 percent as I had written.  So not being able to deny it, he pretends that it never happened, and he says the idea that the bust was returned is false. And then he talks about the reason that the bust was returned was because of antipathy. I never talked about antipathy. He should have honorably had said we made a mistake.  There was an old bust in the White House, been around for 50 years. And we got them confused. That would have been understandable; it would have been end of story. That would have been honorable, but you don't expect that out of this communications office in the White House.

BAIER: OK, that's it for the panel. We'll leave it there on this Friday. But stay tuned for one show's remembrance of an inventor. 

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