All-Star Panel: Reaction to Cruz's stand on the Senate floor

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," September 25, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


MARK LEVIN, TALK SHOW HOST: Dr. Charles Krauthammer, who I have enormous respect for in many respects, in the 1980's he was working for Walter Mondale. Now, people can change. That's not a problem. I'm getting to my point in a moment. Our friend George Will in 1979 and '80, he said Reagan can't win. First he backed Howard Baker and then he backed George H. W. Bush, eventually backing Reagan. These aren't the people who are going to provide the wisdom and judgment, foresight when we're in a battle like this.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Mark Levin, conservative talk show host talking about Dr. Krauthammer here and George Will, conservative columnist, about their reaction to Ted Cruz and his stand on the Senate floor and stand against ObamaCare. We're back with the panel. Well, Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I stand exposed as the longest secret mole of liberals and Democrats in the conservative movement in the history of the republic. Alger Hiss is a piker beside me.


KRAUTHAMMER: But I will remind you that the sainted Ronald Reagan started out as a very strong supporter of FDR. So I think it's somewhat sacrilegious that I should invoke him, but I will nonetheless. That's kind of amusing. I was young once. I'm sure Levine was as well. That's my excuse.

The objection I had to what Cruz was doing was that he took them down a cul-de-sac in terms of tactics and he implied very unfairly -- he not only implied, he basically said that everybody who didn't agree with his tactic, which is a cul-de-sac tactic, it leads nowhere, is somebody who betrays the opposition to ObamaCare. John McCain and all the other people in the Republican Party in the House and in the Senate fought tooth and nail in 2009. I don't know where Ted Cruz was or what he was doing, but he arrived at the party late. So if you are going to cast aspersions on the people who fought every step of the way, who opposed every twist and turn of this ObamaCare along the way, you ought to be a little bit humble about it and at least recognize their honesty and sincerity in a way that he did not.

BAIER: While the tactics may be a cul-de-sac, the emotion and the spirit in the conservative side was clearly ignited by what wasn't a filibuster, but may have looked like a filibuster to a lot of people. Mara, conservatives were fired up.

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: There is no doubt about it and I would say although we have had plenty of divisions inside the Republican Party, this is the first time I thought, whoa, maybe this is going to be a civil war. I never thought that one of the battlefields would be this table. But yeah, the Tea Party, every movement group is with Ted Cruz. This was an open, bitter split with the mainstream establishment wing of the Republican Party. And I for one want to know where this is going to go, because this is a dangerous place to be for them.

BAIER: And Tim, you wrote about the reaction, media reaction and other reaction to State Senator Wendy Davis in Texas and her filibuster and Tim Cruz standing up. Neither really would advance the ball tactically, and there was different reactions, obviously.

TIM CARNEY, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Yeah, Wendy Davis was able to postpone an abortion -- ban on late-term abortions, but there was not really any mystery. Everybody knew Rick Perry was going to call another session and the bill would pass later. I sort of saw this as rallying the troops, rallying around the flag, and that's what Ted Cruz says he was doing. Despite what Harry Reid said, he was not wasting time. He was not pushing back the vote. The vote happened at 1:00 p.m. ObamaCare is still going to be law.

But he was sort of rallying the troops not just around opposition to ObamaCare but this idea that D.C. doesn't listen to the constituents and actually that the Republican Party sort of tries to pat conservatives on their head and send them on their way. But Cruz gets called -- it's a phony filibuster, he's just grandstanding. While Wendy Davis I thought in most of the media was treated as a hero.

BAIER: Steve, real quick, Steve, because I have got to hit the break. And we will talk more on the online show, but quickly?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Yeah, well, I think everybody recognizes that Ted Cruz went overboard in some of his critiques of his collegues. Rand Paul today said on Neil Cavuto's show, basically, look I would never say that my colleagues don't want to get rid of ObamaCare so he was creating some dissonance there too. But one fact remains. We would not be talking about ObamaCare here tonight if it weren't for what Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Mike Lee did. And to that end, I think they did a service.

BAIER: We'll talk more about this on the online show, a big topic.  Stay tuned for a come from behind win for the Americans.

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