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Special Report

All-Star Panel: A tale of two senators

DOUG MCKELWAY, HOST: Well, two attempts to derail the $1.1 trillion spending bill passed by Congress this weekend failed, one from the left, of course, by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, the other from the right by Texas' junior Senator Ted Cruz. So we've got a bipartisan deal that managed to pass, but, Juan, bipartisanship is not all that pretty, is it?

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: No. I, for one, think that Elizabeth Warren is right when she says, OK, if you want to have a discussion about Dodd-Frank, let's have a discussion, but why is this all of a sudden crammed into this so called "crum-nibus" spending bill, $1 trillion? The answer is, as you point out, bipartisanship. We need a compromise and we need a budget. Let's get it done, and the only way to get it done is for everybody to bite their tongue and say, oh well, this is an excuse for it. I don't think that makes sense.

I separated out in my mind, by the way, from what Ted Cruz did, and today I think Republicans are more angry with Ted Cruz than Democrats.

MCKELWAY: George, yesterday, on "Fox News Sunday" you made mention of the fact that this is yet another bill because of this bipartisanship that we have to pass in order to find out what's in it.

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: And no one will find out even then. If it's already passed, why bother to read it? We have two exceedingly strange careers under way here. Elizabeth Warren, who has one election, a Democrat in Massachusetts, not heavy lifting, says that she's really worried about risk, and she's focused on some minor matter about derivatives and banks. Yet a few days ago, Fannie and Freddie announced they are going to have mortgages for low- income people with three percent down. This is walking right down the same path to the housing crisis that Fannie and Freddie really gave us that catalyzed the great recession.

Then we have Ted Cruz. There have been 1,950 senators in the history of this country and I can't imagine there's been a more peculiar career than the one he's having right now. He is completely, almost insouciantly indifferent to the idea that politics is a team sport. Juan is absolutely right. Democrats I think are more bemused by him. He is, frankly, loathed within the Republican caucus. And if he seeks the Republican nomination and doesn't get it, then what? He has to come back here? That's awkward.

MCKELWAY: I have to bring up a quote, David Harsanyi writing in the Federalist said of Elizabeth Warren, quote, "Her hard left economics -- what the press quixotically refers to as economic populism -- propels today's liberal argument. It is the default position of nearly every grassroots constituency on the left. The center of the Democrats' agenda. This isn't just reflected in the embrace of class struggle, (inequality), but a slow warming to socialistic ideas. Right now, few if any politicians are better than Warren at stoking the anxiety that makes that work." Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Look, she's going to run against Wall Street, populist, it's called. What exactly is she going to do, and what do we do if she succeeds and brings it down? If you want to break up the banks a lot of conservatives will support that. But I think what's more interesting -- and incidentally, I think she ought to run. I'd be the number one supporter. I'd love to see her run. It would be a festival if you're a conservative or a Republican. We put up anybody sentient on the other side it would be a good night on election night.

But Cruz is a very interesting guy. You heard in that clip, he said, you have to decide if you want to stand with the -- I don't know, with the administration or with the American people. His idea of conservatism is standing with, making a statement, rather than I think the conventional idea is doing something.

Now, there was no way in which the objection he raised over the weekend was going to do anything, anything at all to stop the president's executive order. A 12-year-old with a piece of chalk on a blackboard could have drawn a graph that would have shown how it was impossible. But what it did do is it gave Harry Reid the opening to use procedural tricks that today have given us a surgeon general who believes that gun control is a health issue. So that's his achievement, thus far. We're going to have a couple of others of those as Harry Reid gets new appointees who otherwise would not have been nominated and approved into office as a result of the Cruz maneuver.

MCKELWAY: Quickly, George.

WILL: Elizabeth Warren is a very peculiar kind of populist. Foe of crony capitalism, friend of the export-import bank, also known as Boeing's bank. It's an interesting combination.

MCKELWAY: That's it for the panel. But stay tuned for what happens when Democrats and Republicans compromise.