Friday Lightning Round: November jobs numbers

Panel sums up this week's hot topics


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," December 6, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: We're back with the panel. Friday Lightning Round now starting with the economy. The unemployment rate dropped to seven percent, jobs, 203,000 jobs added. November unemployment numbers there. The job force is smaller overall. Panel, Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, at least this is one time when the drop is not a direct result of people leaving the workforce. So it's a good report. It does show that after five years that we're starting to get some kind of progress. Now, we also had a good GDP report which was quite high. But the problem is there's a lot of inventory in that, which leads the experts to assume that the next quarter will be a lot less. But this could be the beginning of a real decrease in unemployment. And if it is, once you get the magic number six in there, I think it's going to help Democrats a lot next year.

BAIER: And A.B., the fact that the markets liked it suggests that maybe you get past that thought that they like when the economy is looking bad and that the Fed is going to continue to --

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: I do think, look, we can all say that long-term unemployment and underemployment are still making this nation, most people in this country really struggle. Until we get past that and hiring happens in a much quicker pace it's going to be slow. But it's the right direction. A five-year low is a five-year low, and that's good news.

BAIER: Steve?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Look, Charles is always going out of his way to give the administration credit, to put a positive spin on this --


HAYES: -- for the administration. He did it once again here tonight.  Look, it's --

KRAUTHAMMER: What do you expect from a Mondale speechwriter?


HAYES: That's exactly what I'd expect. I might have trouble getting back together with that.

KRAUTHAMMER: I just wanted to steal your line there.

BAIER: Lightning, people, lightning, people.

HAYES: You're right. It's not directly attributed to a drop in labor force participation, but if you take the longer view and put it in context, over the past year the entire shrinkage is due to the labor -- the drop in the labor force participation rate, and if we had the same participation rate today that we had a year ago, we would be at eight percent. So this is good news only in the context of an Obama economy that isn't doing well.

BAIER: OK, the Boston Globe had a story about the president's uncle who faced a deportation hearing. In 2011, the White House said that the president had never met him. Yesterday, Jay Carney, White House press secretary, said this.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Back when this arose, folks looked at the record, including the president's book, and there was no evidence that they had met. And that was what was conveyed. Nobody spoke to the president. When Omar Obama said the other day, and there were reports that he had said the other day that President Obama, back when he was a law school student, had stayed with him in Cambridge, I thought it was the right thing to do to go ask him. Nobody had asked him in the past, and the president said that, in fact, he had met Omar Obama when he moved to Cambridge for law school and that he stayed with him for a brief period of time until the president's apartment was ready. After that, they saw each other once every few months while the president was in Cambridge, and then after law school they gradually fell out of touch.


KRAUTHAMMER: Why wouldn't you ask the president in the first place, in 2011, when you told the world a falsehood? And you said, we scoured the book, and he wasn't in there, so, we concluded he didn't know him. That's the oddest response I've ever heard. I think -- well, I am not going to speculate, but, clearly, this administration has trouble finding the truth and saying it. And if you don't ask the principle, you're not going to get the truth, and they know that.

BAIER: A drunk driving incident ahead of an election, 2011.

STODDARD: Right, that's the problem, is everyone's families are filled with, you know, are fraught are tension and strained ties. When you become the President of the United States, you are held to a different standard and more scrutiny, and if there is a potential news story about a blood relative, people are supposed to ask you and you're supposed to be honest with the media about it.

And it's just hard to pretend that that line of -- that protocol of just looking up something, some intern looking at a book and not having it go to the top is really strange.

BAIER: And then issue a declarative statement that he had never met --

HAYES: Yes. This is the problem. Either they lied repeatedly, or, best-case scenario for the White House, they didn't do their due diligence and this is how they treat these kinds of issues. When reporters come to them and ask them questions about other issues, is this the kind of way that they treat this? It's terrible.

BAIER: OK, that's it for the panel. But stay tuned for some sights and sounds from a special Christmas tradition here in the nation's capital, a little more fun. Plus, SR Bing Pulse highlights.

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