All-Star Panel: Reaction to leaked Obama letter to Ayatollah

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," November 6, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT: An aerial bombardment campaign is mostly I would say a form of theater for rapid and serious battle against terrorism.       

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm not in a position to discuss private correspondence between the president and any world leader. I can tell you that the policy that the president and his administration have articulated about Iran remains unchanged.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R - AZ: Are we now telling the Free Syrian Army that we are working with the people who are major reasons why they have had so many of them slaughtered? I think it's unconscionable.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, a not so secret letter now between the president and the ayatollah in Iran discussing working together to fight ISIS terrorists. Where does this put the deal, the nuclear deal? And how does Congress fit into this equation? We're back with the panel. George?

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, both the Iranian gentleman and the senator from Arizona are right. The war against terrorism conducted from jet aircraft is not a war against terrorism. It is the illusion of, the make believe war against terrorism. And it is said by those who are waging it that the point is to get the Islamic State out of Iraq where in fact no one believes you will get it out of Ramallah and Fallujah and other places with aircraft.

It also is correct as Senator McCain said, that we now have policy spaghetti it is so tangled up now, that we are talking about we're going attack the Islamic State using the vetted Syrian moderates who are losing rapidly in Syria because we have decided that we have other objectives in Syria and around Syria that are more important than the fate of those people. So what we have now is an unintelligible policy that the Iranians are obviously enjoying us fail with.

BAIER: Ron, Speaker Boehner said he doesn't trust the Iranians and bringing them in this complicates the matter further.

RON FOURNIER, SENIOR POLITICAL COLUMNIST, NATIONAL JOURNAL: And Speaker Boehner is right. Why would you trust the Iranians? Look, at the risk of being proven wrong again, the president of the United States is doing what he said he would do, he would reach out to the Iranian. What he did here is not new. He has done it two or three other times.

I suspect first of all that this was leaked by the administration so they could say, hey, we have done everything we can, when this falls apart.  There's a part of me that says, boy, I would like my government to do everything it can to both leverage Iran to fight ISIS and to try to strike a deal with them, but I just don't have confidence. You talk about some high stakes poker there, I just don't have confidence that this team, this president should be playing in a game that level, that they're capable of it. I haven't seen any sense even in domestic policy that he's an able negotiator and a savvy dealmaker. This really -- this scares me because there are a lot of ways this could go on in very big ways.

BAIER: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: This is apparently at least the fourth letter that Obama has written to the supreme leader in Iran, and reportedly not one of them has been directly responded to. We can see who the supplicant here is. And this is a very extended, unrequited courtship that the Iranians are enjoying as they watch the United States and the Western powers month by month weakening the conditions under which they will try to reach a deal, the most important of which is they have abolished the central idea of non-proliferation. You ask the UAE, other countries who have signed onto it, and the first item is you cannot enrich. You start with no enrichment and then we talk about everything else.

We have already conceded enrichment at the beginning of the current negotiations. This is going to end only badly either with a collapse of the talks or a Munich-like agreement. And it isn't only Congress that is being shut out. The UAE, the Saudis, of course the Israelis, who expects more, but the Saudis are furious about our negotiation over their head with a mortal enemy about to go nuclear, and they are looking around for other allies.

FOURNIER: The president's own supporters will tell you he's a terrible negotiator. He negotiates against himself domestically. That's exactly what's happened here as the United States is negotiating against itself.

BAIER: There was once he says in this French bomber, with Al Qaeda and the Khorasan group killed by a predator drone according to senior officials in Syria. 

That is it for the panel, but stay tuned for some analysis on what the president says and perhaps what he means.

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