Friday Lightning Round: Corporate donations to Obama's second inauguration

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," January 13, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: There you see the preparations underway. That was a bit ago, as the inauguration is just around the corner, just outside the White House. And, of course, it will be a big event. With all of the celebrations that surround the second inauguration for President Obama. Every week, viewers vote for your choice online in this, the Friday Lightning Round. This week, inauguration corporate donations won with 40 percent of the votes. Back with the panel. So at one point corporate donations were off-limits for this deal. Now they are on. Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Off-limits if it's your first inaugural and you have to run again. On-limits if it's your second and you don't care. This is of a piece with everything that Obama is doing domestic and foreign. He no longer has to show the pretense, so he can dispense with all the niceties.

BAIER: Kirsten?

KIRSTEN POWERS, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK POST: Well, I'm kind of torn on this one. You don't want the government paying for it, so I guess the preference is corporations pay for it. Or you can cancel it. Those are sort of your options. And if I have to choose one of those I think I'll just go with the corporate donors. I don't know what else we're supposed to do. It's better than having the taxpayers pay for it.

KRAUTHAMMER: And if it's a corporate donor, you owe them. That's the problem.

POWERS: I think that is what our whole system is based on, unfortunately, which is why we need to have campaign finance reform. But the way it is right now, you are sort of already receiving money from corporations, right? You're now saying corporations aren't allowed to give money to the campaigns?

KRAUTHAMMER: I'm just saying when you give, you will one day receive.

JONAH GOLDBERG, AT LARGE EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: Well, first of all, corporations aren't allowed to give campaigns. It's been against the law for like 80 years. But, look, I'm clearly with Kristen, I don't really care about this, except on the hypocrisy angle. This guy campaigned so vociferously about getting lobbyist and corporate money out. He's granted waivers like they were candy to lobbyists that get in there. It's just one of the last cards to be flipped on his hypocrisy on this. I would just like to see him go up there with one of those NASCAR suits, and like – this inauguration brought to you by Aflac and Exxon-Mobil. I mean, it would just be a good look.

BAIER: Second topic -- take a listen to some gun shop owners and gun shows, people going to gun shows about the activity out there.


GALEN PETERS, GUN SHOW CUSTOMER: What I noticed is no assault weapon whatsoever, any AR type of guns, anything like that. I mean two weeks ago, they were there. Now they're not. And people are buying them all.

KENTON MCATEE, GUN SHOW CUSTOMER: It's pretty hard to get ammo, a lot of calibers, and guns and magazines, just because of all the hype all, and everybody is worried about what is going to come about on the gun laws.  


BAIER: So, as this task force continues and the vice president comes out with recommendations, Jonah, it's pretty unprecedented what is happening out there for buying. It's also unprecedented this grass roots effort that is apparently building ahead of January 19, this gun appreciation day.

GOLDBERG: Yeah, and I think there is no chance of any serious gun control legislation coming out of Congress. Something like half of the members of Congress have an A-rating from the NRA. Harry Reid is not going to push through legislation on gun control. It's just not going to happen. But it is astounding that so quickly after Newtown the conventional wisdom was that this was going to be an opening for gun control, and that is just not what has happened.

POWERS: I would never expect Congress to do anything on gun control.  It's because they are all bought and sold by the NRA, and if they are not bought or sold by the NRA, they live in constant fear of NRA basically dropping a lot of money in their districts to defeat them.

GOLDBERG: Also their constituents like gun rights. That's part of it, too.

POWERS: Not always. I don't think most of the people, I don't think 100 people in the country think that we shouldn't have some basic gun laws that the NRA opposes like the slightest change or slightest little protection.

BAIER: Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, we heard Biden on a clip we had earlier say that Newtown was an inflection point, it was a moment where the climate had changed. Obviously it wasn't. What is astonishing is the backlash against the attempt of the antigun people to use the moment to pass new restrictive legislation, the increase in NRA membership, the huge explosion of sales. And it shows we are a country different from all the others in the west, and that if there is ever going to be a change it will take generations. It's not going to happen by legislation and it's not going to happen in the near term.

BAIER: All right, winners and losers down row here.

KRAUTHAMMER: Losers were Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, who were the best, arguably the best hitter and pitcher of their time. Shut out of the Hall of Fame in humiliating fashion. They got less than half the vote necessary, and that's because they were juicers. Winner, I would say the image of the U.S. government in Hollywood. Three films nominated for academy awards, "Lincoln" --

BAIER: -- "Argo"

KRAUTHAMMER: -- "Argo," and "Zero Dark Thirty." I feel like Governor Perry.


BAIER: Alright Kirsten?

POWERS: The winner is the intolerant left for successfully getting the person who was going to give the benediction, a pastor named Louie Giglio, who is a very mainstream, evangelical pastor, a leader in the antislavery movement. He was basically forced to bow out because he gave a sermon 20 years ago against -- really saying what the Bible says about homosexuality. The losers are freedom of conscience if you're an orthodox believer of any kind, really. Whether you're Muslim, Christian, or Jewish, you are not allowed to be part of the --

GOLDBERG: Loser, picking up on what Charles said. Kathryn Bigelow, who arguably was the best director of the year was denied simply because she had a pro-government, pro-CIA, allegedly pro-torture position. Winner is Chuck Hagel, a stunning mediocrity in the Senate who is actually to the left of Barack Obama who has been elevated to some sort of dashboard saint.

BAIER: That is it, for the panel. Loser, my timing. Stay tuned. I don't have more time. 

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