Friday Lightning Round: Calls for head of VA to step down

Panel sums up this week's hot topics


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," May 9, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Each week we ask you to vote online in our Friday Lightning Round poll for your favorite panel topic. This week, you picked the VA scandal and calls for Secretary Shinseki's resignation. We are back with the panel. Charles, Secretary of Veteran Affairs Eric Shinseki said today all of this makes me angry, and he wants to get to the bottom of it. He came to Washington to fix things. There are still calls for him to resign.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Look, in our system, you don't -- in Britain, for example, no matter what happens in your department, if you're the head, you resign. Lord Carrington resigned when the Falklands were invaded even though he was not at fault in any way. You do that. Here we don't. Otherwise, Hillary Clinton would have resigned over Benghazi. Here, only if you're directly involved. So for the secretary, here, the only question is, when did he learn about this and was he in any way complicit in the original offense? I think probably not, in which case he won't have to resign.

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: I think without pressure from Democrats on the Obama administration, which perhaps could come depending on where the investigation goes, but at this point, there's no pressure on him to resign and so he won't.

BAIER: Allegations, obviously, are serious out of that VA hospital in Phoenix.

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Very serious. But what strikes me is Secretary Shinseki is trying to pretend like this is something new. There was a GAO report that was finished in December of 2012, released in January of 2013 that laid out exactly how the wait times were being fudged. This isn't a new problem. Beyond that, you've had broader problems at the V.A. that have been basically at crisis level now for several years. It's way past time for him to resign.

BAIER: Nigeria, the hunt for the 300 kidnapped girls by this group Boko Haram, Islamic terrorists. Steve?

HAYES: Well, every day we think we're making progress, we think there's a new lead, we think that we're learning something more, and we're frustrated again. I think it's good for the president to commit U.S. resources to try to solve this problem and to, I think, try to treat this as a front in the War on Terror, because that's what it is.


STODDARD: I think besides the few people that we have over there are trying to help the Nigerian government track them down, there's not more we can do. We can't run around every time some group kidnaps a bunch of people. This is a terrible, revolting tragedy. I can barely think about it without almost crying, but we can't set a precedent where we're running around the world, doing that type of thing. I hope the people that we've sent and the resources that we've given are helpful, but it's hard to see anything larger than that.

BAIER: I want to go winners and losers -- we're running out of time. Winners and losers down the row.

KRAUTHAMMER: Winner -- Putin. He was just in Crimea. He did a victory lab. He had a parade, he's a national hero. And the loser, as we said earlier today in the show, the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee for the fundraising. There's nothing wrong with it intrinsically. It's hypocrisy on the part of Democrats who raised money after a school shooting within hours on the backs of dead children, but nonetheless, here Republicans have to act as pure as Caesar's wife. Don't give the other side an opportunity to make a cheap, political point.

BAIER: A.B., win or lose?

STODDARD: I'm going to start with my loser. Chris Christie is running out of time to clean the stain from his reputation. Donors are getting very nervous. A bunch of them told The New York Times on the record last week they are hoping that Jeb runs because they are scared to back Christie. And this week, he's facing news of a new budget deficit and the fifth Fitch downgrading of New Jersey's debt and he's taking a lot of gut for that.

And my winner this mother's day is Wanda Pratt, Kevin Durant's mom. And if any of you are left in this country and haven't watched the video of him thanking his mom in his acceptance speech for MVP on Mother's Day, even if you're not a mother, you all have mothers, you've got to watch it.

HAYES: That's a terrific winner. My winner is Tom Tillis and Senate Republican prospects in 2014. Tom Tillis won this primary that was thought to be competitive and it ended up not being quite as competitive as people thought, and I think it enhanced the likelihood that Republicans pick up the Senate in the fall.

My loser is Hillary Clinton. This is a bad week for her. You have a Benghazi select committee which ensures additional scrutiny on her, on her department, on her actions in the aftermath and the lead-up to Benghazi. And you also have this revelation about Boko Haram, the State Department's unwillingness to designate it as a terrorist entity while she was secretary of state. It was a big mistake. It was a mistake at the time, and I think she's going to have to answer for it.

BAIER: That is it for the panel. But stay tuned to see evidence teleprompters can be tough.

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