Friday Lightning Round: Shocking political poll numbers

Panel sums up this week's hot topics


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

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Each week you vote in our Friday Lightning Round. What topic we'll pick first. This week you decided to let Charles pick. We're back with our panel.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Yes. And the question is which poll number that came out this week was the most shocking. And I have to say, I hate to admit this, but Juan stumbled upon this truth.

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: Even a blind squirrel --


KRAUTHAMMER:  A phrase I would never use in this context. But Juan actually mentioned it in what you found in a The Wall Street Journal poll, which showed that ObamaCare, the support for ObamaCare had increased by eight points since last month. And this coincides with the worst rollout since New Coke or the new Miley Cyrus, which would otherwise have been the news -- the only news you would have heard, including late into the night with the comics. So it got kind of stepped on, and this reversal is one of the shocking results of a very unfortunate tactic that Republicans had chosen in the shutdown.

BAIER: Let me write that down, Charles Krauthammer on Miley Cyrus. OK.

KRAUTHAMMER: I try to stay current.     

BAIER: That's pretty good. Juan, obviously you said --

KRAUTHAMMER: But she jumped the shark. You might want --


WILLIAMS: I think that when you look at the numbers and you see five percent approval for the Congress, we've never seen a number like that. I mean, it makes you think, well, who are the five percent who approve of Congress? What are they thinking?

BAIER: Friends and family. George?

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: There was a poll in New Jersey where they will vote on a senator to replace the late Frank Lautenberg. Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, darling of the media, darling of the celebrities of Hollywood, well-funded, rising star is barely at 50 percent in a state with 700,000 more Democrats than Republicans. It shouldn't be that way.

ObamaCare was a big topic this week as these health care exchanges continued to have some problems, and Republican Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas is calling for action.


SEN. PAT ROBERTS, R - KS: The problems with the exchanges are critical, and they're profound, and indisputable. And yet Secretary Sebelius is not shooting straight with the American people. The system is crashing. But she continues her promotional tour and advertising at taxpayer expense. This is ridiculous. Everything we warned about has come to pass. Today I'm calling on Kathleen Sebelius to resign her post as secretary of Health and Human Services. Secretary Sebelius has had three and a half years to launch ObamaCare, and she has failed.


BAIER: George, what do you think of that?

WILL: Well, she won't, not least because she's now been told to. Look, this is government in action. Whoever expected government to take over 18 percent of the economy and do it smoothly, whoever expects that has never tried to get their driver's license renewed.

BAIER: Juan?

WILLIAMS: That's true. I have tried, and it's quite a hassle. But the larger point that's interesting to me is Kathleen was governor of Kansas, and Pat Roberts is from Kansas. I got to believe they know each other. Obviously, this is a political play. Republicans don't like ObamaCare, and he is playing to that base. Do I think that she'll resign?  Obviously not. But I think that the idea that there is some difficulty, some glitches as the president says, what's the surprise here?

BAIER: Value Voters Summit today and through the weekend getting a lot of applause for two big senators who have been behind a lot of the push early on, Senator Lee and Senator Cruz. Take a listen.


SEN. MIKE LEE, R - UT: The president is using the vast, immense power of the federal government to hurt the American people. Why? In order to win a political argument. What happens then when we turnover some of the most private, intimate decision in our lives, our health care system, to the government? When will that be used as a tool against us? We must stop it. We must defund it. We cannot accept it.


SEN. TED CRUZ, R - TX: We've seen an explosion of federal government power, none more important or significant or dangerous than ObamaCare.


BAIER: For all of the Washington thought process about these two guys and their strategy, their tactics, for these conservatives, they are hitting homeruns.

KRAUTHAMMER: That is true, but they are claiming to speak -- you'll hear it in all their speeches, on behalf of the American people, and the only way that we can measure that in some way scientifically is either with elections or with polls. Well, the polls are in, and the numbers who support the tactic that these gentlemen have chosen is rather low. So I do think that contradicts the idea that somehow we are insulated and have no idea what's going on out there. The real test is objective information, empirical data. It came in today. The results are in.

BAIER: One poll.

KRAUTHAMMER: You've got one poll. You've got AP, you've got everything that shows you that even though the two sides have been hurt, one side has been hurt a lot more. And in a country where every seed is allocated in the Congress to one party or the other, even if you are hurt, if the other guy is hurt more, you win.

BAIER: That is it for the panel. But stay tuned for our quick math lesson plus, our SR Bing Pulse highlights from both panels, next.

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