Friday Lightning Round: Fight for Kobani

Panel sums up this week's hot topics


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," October 24, 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 this, our Friday Lightning Round and in the poll for your favorite panel topic. This week you chose the fight for Kobani, Syria, against ISIS. We're back with the panel. There is also a report about ISIS possibly using chlorine gas. Take a listen to the questions about that today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How concerned are you that these terrorists are also using chemical weapons?

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We've seen those reports and we're continuing to investigate them. We obviously, as we have in the past, are - take seriously allegations of chemical weapons use.

REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: There's not an active investigation here on this from a DOD perspective. I think, Tom, it's important to remember what our role and our mission there is. We're advising teams there at higher headquarters levels. We are and flying air strikes, but we're not in present in Iraq in any numbers.


BAIER: So we're either investigating or not. Jonah?

JONAH GOLDBERG, SENIOR EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: Yes, another confidence booster. You know, last time I was here I said that we lost Kobani. I don't think we've lost Kobani. I think Kobani is still in jeopardy and up in the air, but we've stepped things up. But I also think that as evidenced by this little clip you ran, I think the way this administration is running this war is still driven primarily from a public relations point of view. That is what's driving the tempo of it.  That is what's driving the aggressiveness or lack thereof of it, and I don't think that's changed. And that's what we're seeing in Kobani as well.

BAIER: Kirsten?

KIRSTEN POWERS, COLUMNIST, USA TODAY: Well, I think it's the U.S. has -- I think doing the air strikes has been good, but I don't think it's enough, and I think that obviously there has to be something on the ground, whether it's U.S. troops, which nobody really wants to do, but if it's not going to be U.S. troops, then there has to be better partners on the ground who are trained properly.  And according to reports they are only training about 5,000 to 10,000 people, which is obviously insufficient. So it seems that this is going to be hard. We can make a little bit of progress, but there's going to be no way to really win unless there's on the ground, you know, better partners, I think.

BAIER: Steve?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: The White House and the Pentagon ought to agree on whether we're investigating the use of chemical weapons by ISIS. And, as Jonah says, it's not confidence-inspiring that they don't agree. If we're not investigating, we ought to be investigating. It matters if ISIS is using chemical weapons in Iraq, in Syria, and elsewhere.

BAIER: OK, pick a race, midterm. Quickly down the row. Steve?

HAYES: My race is the Wisconsin governor's race. It's basically a dead heat right now. It's been sort of back and forth. Scott Walker came into office and made a promise to erase a $3.6 billion annual deficit. Did it, very controversial. The state is split down the middle. It's one of the states where the battle for independents really will matter.

BAIER: Kirsten?

POWERS: Mine is Georgia, which was considered a real long shot probably a year ago if we're looking at it. It was the one seat the Democrats thought they could potentially pick up, but it was an absolute long shot. It's now neck and neck with the Democrat actually two to three points up. It will be a really big deal, I think, if Democrats win the state.

BAIER: If you don't get to 50 percent, they -- 


POWERS: Right.

BAIER: Jonah?

GOLDBERG: Colorado Senate race. Colorado was supposed to be the model of the future of the Democratic Party. It was purple turning blue. It's also supposed to be placed where the war on women was supposed to work. It's backfired. Cory Gardner is doing shockingly well. He is a good candidate, but it's undermining the entire theory of the electorate that the Democratic Party had.

BAIER: How lightening can our winners and losers be? Jonah?


GOLDBERG: My winner this week is Steve Hayes, who is finally off the terror watch list.

BAIER: Nice.

GOLDBERG: It remains to be seen whether America is a loser by its premature action.


GOLDBERG: My other loser is CNN's Carol Costello who gave an unbelievably smug and condescending schadenfreude bonanza about the Palin family. It was disgusting and she should have apologized sooner and better.

BAIER: Kirsten?

POWERS: My loser is President Obama, who is just getting no love from Democrats. Mark Begich said he wasn't relevant. Kay Hagan wouldn't even say whether he was a good leader or not. My winners are special agents Hurricane and Jordan, the two dogs that fought off that vicious man who jumped the fence. And they are back on duty.

BAIER: Very quickly.

HAYES: My loser are the parents of the girls who appeared in that f-bomb feminism video. Horrible parenting. My winner is Kevin Vickers, the sergeant at arms of Canada's House of Commons who killed the terrorist.

BAIER: That was a good moment. That's it for the panel, but stay tuned -- good moment seeing him honored. Stay tuned for another example of the dangers of a hot microphone.

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