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Special Report

All-Star Panel: Hillary Clinton running away from president's record?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 7, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: My husband actually had some really serious problems with the Congress when he was in office. They shut the government down twice. They impeached him once. So it was, you know, not the most pleasant of atmospheres. But I will say this. Bill never stopped reaching out to them. If you are going to get something done, you have to persuade, and sometimes you have to persuade by giving something to somebody they want.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton in Colorado speaking about, obviously, her husband and how he governed. Front page of the Wall Street Journal today says this, quote, in part, "In tone and substance the presumed presidential candidate has made clear in recent public appearances that she wouldn't be running for a de facto third Obama term in the White House. The strategy could help Mrs. Clinton tackle one of her biggest strategies if she decides to run, how to separate herself from Mr. Obama without alienating Democrats and Obama supporters. As she mulls a president bid, Mrs. Clinton also has suggested that her husband's administration offers a more viable model for governing in polarized times that Mr. Obama's. "

We're back with the panel. Mara, what about this and walking the line.

LIASSON: Well, I think she has been doing a pretty good job of walking it.  I think she can continue doing this up to a certain point. But, depending on how President Obama's term looks, how popular he is, what the economy is doing, she is going to have some decisions to make if she is a candidate and I think she will be a candidate.

She can't run for a third term of Barack Obama even if he was running great because I don't think that would work. She also can't run as a restoration of the Clinton administration. She has to come up with her own vision and own reason for being president. She hasn't done that yet. So that's why everybody is watching for every single bit of daylight that she puts between her and Barack Obama.

BAIER: Bill Whalen, a research fellow at Hoover Institution had this to say about that, "If the president had 60 percent approval ratings she would be hitching her wagon to him. At 40 percent he's an anchor." And then continues "To the extent that she throws him under the bus she has to run over him at a very slow speed." Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: I think she ran over him in neutral and she is staying right on top of him.

(LAUGHTER)

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, I think her strategy is absolutely obvious and clear and she is doing a good job. Historically, if you go all the way back to the Second World War, whenever you have a vice president, she was secretary of state but she is essentially the leader of the party, so she has the same stature as the sitting vice president, who runs after a presidency.  With one exception -- they always lose. Nixon ran as the heir to Eisenhower.  He lost. You had Humphrey running after Johnson, he lost. And Gore running after Clinton. The only exception, of course, George Bush senior, because Reagan was such a successful and popular president. Obama is not.  If he were, she would run close to him.

She has to separate herself at least to a dilemma. But, in her case, she has one unique advantage that Nixon and Humphrey and Gore didn't have -- her husband's administration. There is no glossy, you know, tone to it.  We had peace and prosperity. It was a glorious decade. Whether because of her husband or not is irrelevant. And that is her implicit message. It is a restoration. It's not explicit. But look at what she said -- my husband was able to work with the other side even after impeachment. It's clearly a separation and clearly she is going to run on her name and husband's legacy, and that's exactly what you would do if you were in her shoes.

BAIER: Meantime, courting Republicans, you had Mark Salter, former Republican chief of staff to Senator McCain, also as New York Times wrote, a neocon fellow traveler, said and quoted in the New York Times that in the event of a Rand Paul nomination, quote, "Republican voters seriously concerned with national security would have no responsible recourse but to support Mrs. Clinton for the presidency." What about that?

HAYES: Yeah, I don't buy that argument. At this point it's unclear that Hillary Clinton is doing much to distance herself from Barack Obama's foreign policy and national security. You get occasional leaks saying that she was a little bit more hawkish here. She might have disagreed with his tone there. But she is ultimately defending his foreign policy and she has to. She was the secretary of state for his first four years. I don't think she has much of a choice. If she wants to run distancing herself from what he did, she would have to in effect argue that I was so ineffective as secretary of state that I couldn't actually get him to it do what I wanted him to do. That's not a very persuasive argue.

BAIER: Quickly, Mara, Ed Klein has this book out, "Blood Feud," that is getting a lot of attention. He says this about where the White House thoughts are.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ED KLEIN, AUTHOR, "BLOOD FEUD": Valerie Jarrett, who, of course, is the consigliore in the White House, she really has huge power there, has urged Elizabeth Warren to throw her hat into the ring because Obama thinks the president thinks she would carry out his legacy a lot better than Hillary Clinton.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Buy it?

LIASSON: Nope, don't buy it. I buy the first part, Valerie Jarrett very powerful. I don't buy the second part about how Barack Obama wants Elizabeth Warren and thinks that she would be the better continuation.

BAIER: Do you think the Obama administration in general thinks that Hillary Clinton is the baton holder for the Obama administration?

LIASSON: I do.

KRAUTHAMMER: In some ways, yes. But I don't think -- I think he thinks of his presidency as sort of self-enclosed. He is a unique. He always had that sense of himself. And anybody who follows him, even a Democrat, will be a shadow of the great man.

HAYES: Yes. I agree. I think he thinks that Hillary Clinton is probably the best protector of his legacy, but I don't think is he particularly invested in her candidacy.

BAIER: That is it for the panel. But stay tuned for a lesson in story placement.

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