All-Star Panel: President Obama comments on his campaign's ads

All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," September 24, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: That was a part of the "60 Minutes" interview with the president that did not see the "60 Minutes" air. It was added online, talking about campaign ads.

By the way, back to our previous discussion, in the piece, Steve Croft notes that this interview, in that room,  at that time, happened, quote, "The president's day was dominated by foreign affairs, the attack on the Libyan consulate that left U.S. ambassador and three others dead had occurred the night before" when that interview took place. We're back with the panel. OK Bill, that part didn't see the air.

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: It didn't. That was a wonderful statement by President Obama. "I'm Barack Obama and not responsible for what my campaign is saying if they occasionally go over the line. I'm reasonable guy, I hate that kind of excessive partisanship." Look, he is a good politician. You watch that and you think he is kind of a reasonable guy, and I've heard there are some problems in some of his ads. But you know it's a huge campaign, he's busy being president, going on "The View" and he doesn't have time to personally review all those ads.

So again, it's one of these things, where if someone -- will he be called on it? Is the Romney campaign going to really make a serious effort now to take his worst ads, Obama's most misleading ads, and wrap them around his neck? I live in northern Virginia, I watch the Nationals games. Every second or third inning there is an ad saying Mitt Romney will raise taxes on middle class families by $2,000. I this it's a pretty effective ad, it's a well-done ad. I have yet to see a response ad from the Romney camp. I have the sense that a ton of my neighbors think their taxes are going to go up $2,000 if Mitt Romney becomes president. So the Romney campaign -- you can't defeat them by --

BAIER: There's not even a response on the stump to that.


BAIER: Juan?

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: I think that both sides have ads that have been questioned widely. And so the question becomes, at what point is it just politics? This is hardball. And sometimes your feelings are going to get hurt and sometimes things that are said are a little over the line or are not quite there in terms of being fact-check secure. I think what the president said was, look, sometimes his campaign has gone over the line in his opinion, but he thinks it's just the nature of politics in 2012.

BAIER: Does that cut it?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: No, like Bill, I also have been watching these Nats games, and I have been assaulted by the same ad which says Romney's going to raise taxes on the middle class based on a string of assumptions none of which are true.


BAIER: Well let's just explain that for one second. We're going to have Jim Angle down in the weeds this week on this very issue. It's based on a policy paper that was put out assuming that the Romney plan closes the loopholes and does not find all the money it needs by doing so, thereby, has to raise taxes on the middle class to find all of the money needed to make it revenue neutral.

KRAUTHAMMER: But it doesn't in any way have to do that. You can do it by decreasing the number of deductions and exemptions, by widening the base. The idea that you are going to end up with a tax increase on middle class is a pure -- is a conclusion based on assumptions about what Romney is going to do which simply aren't true.

And the other half of that, is Obama accusing -- saying Romney is going to lower taxes on the rich. Now, as we saw in the clip earlier in the show, Romney was trying to explain on the airplane that he wants to lower the rates on the rich, but he has made a pledge that the absolute amount, the amount of revenue overall that the rich will pay or the share of the revenue that the rich are paying will remain are the same.

But Bill is right. Romney says that offhandedly in an interview on an airplane and he's got 1,000 ads running against him that he hasn't answered. Who is going to know that it's only a decrease in rates and not a decrease in the amount that the rich are paying?

WILLIAMS: If you lower the rate, you pay less. I don't think it's a secret. And let me just tell you something –


WILLIAMS: The thing that stands out from the "60 Minutes" interview, they kept asking his what loopholes, what deductions? He would not say --


BAIER: He said that you work with Congress on the specifics and you work this out.

WILLIAMS: He said something about the angels are in the policy, ignore the devil in details. I don't need to say that. It looked like just -- you know what, a giveaway and I'm not going to tell you what I'm going to do.

KRAUTHAMMER: The 1986 tax reform, lowered the rates and did not decrease revenue. If you broaden the base you can lower the rates you end up with the same amount.

BAIER: Again, I promise this week we're getting into the weeds. There's going to be an instruction. We might even pull out a chalkboard. I'm not sure.

That's it for the panel, but stay tuned to see what kinds of questions undecided voters are asking.

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