All-Star Panel: John Boehner blasts conservative critics of budget deal

Reaction from 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," December 12, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R – OH, HOUSE SPEAKER: When groups come out and criticize an agreement that they have never seen, you begin to wonder just how credible those actions are. I think they are pushing our members in places where they don't want to be. And, frankly, I just think that they have lost all credibility.

You know, they pushed us into this fight to defund ObamaCare and to shut down the government. As most of you, my members know that wasn't exactly the strategy that I had in mind. But if you recall, the day before the government reopened, one of the people at one of these groups, stood up and said, well, we never really thought it would work. Are you kidding me?


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: A bipartisan budget deal passed tonight overwhelmingly 332 to 94. This is what TV producers up on the Hill call the jailbreak video.  All the congressmen, all the lawmakers getting out right after that vote -- 32 Democrats voted against it, including Steny Hoyer, the Democratic whip, also 62 Republicans voted against it.

We are back with the panel. Charles, what about Speaker Boehner there and his speaking out against conservative groups like Freedom Works and Heritage Action and others?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Did you see them all carrying bags of money out of the Congress? That is a jail break caucus.

I think Boehner is right. What we had here was a matter of logic.  The only choice of those who would reject the deal would be to go up until the deadline of January 15, and the only leverage Republicans would have would be to shut down the government. Well, we tried that in October. It was a disaster.

And, what it would have meant in January that instead of everybody focusing on the collapse of ObamaCare, the train wreck, all the stuff that we spoke about in the first segment, it would be more stories about Republican obstructionism. You would have nice, sweet, TV shots of Iowa school kids in tears over a cancelled White House visit. And it would be, again, it would go against the Republicans and you would get a change in the polls exactly as happened in October.

So it would be mindless to actually reject a deal like this, which, in fact, on the merits isn't a bad one. It protects and it retains 70 percent of the sequester cuts over the next two years. And, it was -- it managed - - without a lot of leverage, Republicans have ended the endless extension of unemployment benefits, which are meant as a stopgap and not as a way of life as it is in Europe. And that's a triumph.

BAIER: Judge, Freedom Works writes this, "Speaker Boehner may not care about what fiscally conservative groups do, but grassroots groups care what he is doing in Washington. When it comes to credibility actions speak louder than words, and right now it looks like the speaker is leading the charge for spending increases and recruiting Democrat votes in the House to help get it done."

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: The speaker has demonstrated a poverty of leadership.  The speaker has demonstrated that he can --

BAIER: Wait a second, he just got 332 votes.

NAPOLITANO: He did get 332 votes because he got the Democrats to vote with him and he scared, and he lost the Republicans who retain the value of small government. This doesn't decrease the deficit. It adds to it. This doesn't decrease the debt, it adds to it. It spends $63 billion more than we are spending now. It obliterates the concept of the sequester which they said was going to decrease all this stuff two years ago. This is an absolute fraud. They are afraid of reality. They have no sense, the Republican establishment, they have no sense of small government values that they were elected to put into law.

BAIER: Juan?

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: Wow, tell us how you feel.

NAPOLITANO: This is basically Democrat light. There is no distinction between John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi on this.


BAIER: What about the argument that Charles makes, Judge, that holding off the government shutdown allows Republicans to focus on what they want to focus on, which is ObamaCare and other things to win elections because they need W's on the board.

NAPOLITANO: It used to be a basic tenet of Republican principles you don't spend what you don't have and you don't go into more debt. They are spending a trillion more than they are taking in, and that is simply unacceptable. It's going to make matters far worse. That $17 trillion will be $20 trillion at this rate at the end of President Obama's term.

WILLIAMS: Listen, they are doing the right thing finally. Let me just tell you something, they're doing the right thing for American people and for Republicans. You have just written off, by the way, the majority of the Republicans on the Hill because the majority voted for this bill.

BAIER: Unfortunately, we ran out of time.


BAIER: They don't listen to me. That's it for the panel. But stay tuned to find out what the fake interpreter from the Mandela funeral was actually saying.

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