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Special Report

Friday Lightning Round: Mideast tension and Mitt Romney

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 11, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Day four, the Israeli air force continuing to target what the military in Israel says are homes of suspected Hamas leaders, command centers and tunnels. Meantime, the rockets continue to fire into Israel -- 180 rockets fired yesterday as this back and forth continues and a ground war may be coming soon. We start there in the Friday Lightning Round. We're back with the panel. Charles, your thoughts?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: The Israelis do not want a ground war. They have made that obvious. They've signaled it by their hesitation. They will do it if this thing continues indefinitely. I think their objective is to use air power to degrade the number of rockets and to kill as many of the high level leaders of Hamas as they can. But if after a week, and this will go on for a while, at least a few more days, if after, say, a week they still haven't achieved their objective, they will do a limited incursion, perhaps a mile in. But I don't imagine they are going to want to take over Gaza again. That will be costly in every way, and the Israelis, particularly the leadership, does not want that.

BAIER: A.B., the administration is signaling they want to get involved to try to deescalate the situation, what about that?

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: Well, because Hamas is a terrorist organizationand we don't negotiate with them, our government is looking for partners. Last time around two years ago we had a partner in Mohamed Morsi, the president of Egypt who is now gone. It looks like the new president there would align himself much more closely with Palestinians.

There is hope that Qatar and Turkey and others might step in. But I think Charles is right that the Israelis are confident that they will prevail in deteriorating the capability of Hamas. It will only take a few days. This will probably end afterwards, and then, of course, you have the reliable president -- Palestinian President Abbas saying this is really unequal.  And I just need some results and I don't want to criticize Hamas, but, you know, they have targeted air strikes and we are just sending these rockets everywhere and it's not the results that we want.

So I think this is not going to last very long. And I don't think we are going to be the one to stop it, but I don't think it's going to go on too long.

BAIER: Steve?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: The United States was virtually without influence in trying to create peace when there weren't rockets reigning down all day, every day.  Why would we think we would be able to be influential now?

BAIER: OK, Mitt Romney, is he running again, a third try? Take a look at the latest MUR poll in New Hampshire. And when he is added to the list he has a 32 point lead over the nearest GOP contender possibly for 2016. Now, he has said he is not going to run. Yet there are some, including Jason Chaffetz up on Capitol Hill, Congressman from Utah, who say he is going to run. Steve?

HAYES: Well, look, Mitt Romney has been popular in New Hampshire for quite a long time. But aside from the people in that poll, and Jason Chaffetz, none of the conservatives I talked to in my conversations around the country are clamoring for a third Mitt Romney run. You hear other names offered in conversation all the time. Mitt Romney is just not one of them.

A.B., quickly?

STODDARD: I think that his popularity in this poll is a sign that it's just a very weak field, that Jeb Bush is no longer a name that we hear as a potential frontrunner. Christie is someone that donors are afraid to give to. And the other governors are not exciting.

BAIER: Winners and losers?

KRAUTHAMMER: Winner is Ed Klein. His book "Blood Feud" about Hillary and the Obamas, the Clintons and the Obamas, is now number one, exceeding the sales of Hillary's own book. How much of it is true, I have no idea, but it is successful.

The loser, Barack Obama -- clueless, checked out, I'm quoting here from other commentators liberal and conservative. He doesn't go to the border.  He appears uninterested and disinterested. Yes, he is still the president, actually is the president, but he is acting as if he is not and the country is leaderless as a result.

BAIER: A.B.?

STODDARD: My winner is Cleveland. They got King James and a Republican presidential nominating convention in one week, the best thing to happen to Cleveland possibly ever. And my loser in case there are a few people left in the country who don't know about the snore loser Andrew Rector, who is viewed passed out at a baseball game and is now suing ESPN, Major League Baseball, Advanced Media, and two ESPN broadcasters who's said this guy is oblivious and this is not the kind of event you should sleep at. But he cannot take the harassment that followed, so he needs some compensation.

BAIER: We just got the alert he may be adding you.

(LAUGHTER)

BAIER: Steve, quickly?

HAYES: So my winner this week is Lois Lerner, of all people, because as evidence accumulates of misleading claims and possible corruption, the mainstream media seems to be covering it less and less. And my loser this week is the New York Times who ran this the day after we learned about this explosive email in which she clearly was trying to hide information from Congress. That's the New York Times coverage, and it was framed as Republicans claim Lois Lerner did thus and such, not that the e-mail says what it the email plainly said.

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