Friday Lightning Round: Defense layoff notices

Panel sums up this week's hot topics


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," October 5, 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 in this our Friday Lightning Round poll. And this week defense layoff notices won with 41 percent of the votes. This is a story that we broke here on Fox, that the administration trying to get defense contractors not to send out notices, warning of sequestration layoffs that may be coming at the first part of the year depending on what happens with those budget cuts. Not only that, but the administration also promising to pay legal fees, if those contractors get sued because the employees who get fired, if they get fired, sue the companies because they didn't get the notices. Senator Lindsey Graham got pretty fired up about it this week.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R –S.C.: This is a huge deal and it is a mini coup. You're having the executive branch unilaterally telling the private sector to ignore a congressional statute. Again, what kind of precedent would do this set in the future? What would stop future presidents from ignoring laws that they don't like?


BAIER: And Graham and Senator McCain sent a letter today saying, among other things, this -- "Despite the administration's guidance not to issue WARN noticing now" -- the WARN Act is the law that requires you to send out the notices, "it's our fear that, should you rely on that guidance and fail to comply with the WARN Act requirements, you will be setting your company up for serious legal and financial repercussions. The Congress should not put the taxpayers on the hook if a private company fails to follow the law." That letter went out to Lockheed Martin, which is reportedly considering serious layoffs. Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Lindsey is exactly right. It's another example of administration lawlessness. For example, in the DREAM Act, which is telling the ICE -- the immigration department, not to enforce a large area of immigration law, that was an amendment that was rejected explicitly by the Congress. They're doing it again here.

And this is lawlessness squared. They're saying not only should you break the law, but if you're sued we're going to use the money that we get in taxes, as a way to protect you in the lawsuit. This is, you know, the executive's obligation is to execute the laws, and they're doing exactly the opposite with obvious impunity.

BAIER: Chuck?

CHARLES LANE, EDITORIAL WRITER, WASHINGTON POST: Well, it sure does invite the lawsuits because if you're a plaintiff's lawyer out there you've got a free shot. The company doesn't even have any skin in the game. They are covered. So you can be sure there will be a lawsuit under this policy.

BAIER: The hope, Steve, is obviously is if sequestration gets worked out.

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Right, but here is the question that that invites. If the administration is operating under the assumption that the sequester is never actually going to be implemented or at least partially go unimplemented, why didn't they do this months and months ago when members of Congress were trying to work out something that would have forced all exactly this kind after outcome and would have given these companies an opportunity to not have to deal with this at all and presumably probably saved companies a lot of money?

BAIER: All right, second, and I didn't say this at the top because I didn't want to embarrass you, but Steve's pick lost and it's second now because I wanted to save you some face.


HAYES: You did a great job of that.

BAIER: Steve's pick --

HAYES: Steve's pick lost.


KRAUTHAMMER: No negative ad.


HAYES: -- what we call second place in my household, first loser. So that's how I feel tonight. No self esteem votes.

LANE: Second winner.

HAYES: So my question is to Charles and Chuck, Mitt Romney's giving a big foreign policy speech next week.n What should he say?

BAIER: Monday at VMI.

KRAUTHAMMER: Connect the dots. There's an explosion of anti- Americanism in half the world and the administration pretends it's about a video. You have to make the case that this is the reaction to the new radical policy Obama announced in Cairo of accommodation and appeasement with the Muslim world, and the fruits are not just that we aren't loved, which was the intention, but we are not respected, in fact, despised in large areas of the world.

LANE: Steve, I'm going to advise him to keep an extra paragraph drafted in case something goes really sour in the election in Venezuela on Sunday, because Hugo Chavez, of course, sits on top of a lot of oil down there. Right now, the opposition is leading the last poll, and a lot of people wonder if Chavez will give up power if he loses and could this thing turn into a revolution. Romney needs to be ready to go in case that situation is sort of blowing up right as he's giving that speech.

HAYES: Both good suggestions.

I would have Governor Romney include in his speech a list of questions for the president, saying, asking -- questions that we're not getting answers to from anybody else in the administration with respect to what happened in Benghazi, with what happened in Libya. These are questions that if he asks them directly, will force them into the mainstream media discussion and the president will have no other alternative but to answer them.

BAIER: I think you should have won. Last one, quickly, what has been the most significant moment in the presidential race so far? It should be pretty easy, I think, but let's see, Steve?

HAYES: I would actually say the debate. I know we're only a couple of days from it, but you had a narrative that was really running Mitt Romney off to the sidelines. And the fact that he did as well as he did in the debate I think took that narrative away and made it, you know, a contest at least in the minds of the media again.

LANE: I think it was the debate, too. But the November 9th, 2011 Republican primary debate at which Rick Perry could not remember the name of the third department he want today eliminate and thus eliminated himself as the man who had the best chance and the most funding to go up against Mitt Romney. If Governor Perry kept his act together that night, things might have worked out differently for the former Massachusetts governor.

KRAUTHAMMER: You both have stumbled on the truth, it is the debate and it's the first in 62 years in which one guy won decisively without a moment, either a gaffe or a zinger, and that makes it unique.

BAIER: That is it for the panel. But stay tuned to see how being a debate moderator can be a tough gig.

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