This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," January 16, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: This is a Fox News alert and a Fox News exclusive. The Department of State has now alerted eight agencies that they have until February 2nd to weigh in and provide their views on the national interest with regard to the Keystone XL pipeline permit application. So basically, they are giving a deadline of February 2nd to get in.
This obviously as this battle keeps on going back and forth over Keystone, oil prices continue to fall. As you take a look at crude oil since September, it has steadily gone down, and that is both a blessing and a curse for the economy. We're back with the panel. Steve, obviously, people in the industry and in Texas really are taking it on the chin, for example, but many people have a lot more to spend in their pocket and retail is picking up.
STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Right. I mean, I think you can empathize with those who are directly affected by the falling prices, but to me there's really not much of a curse. It's almost entirely a blessing. And you are seeing it in consumer confidence rebounding. You're seeing it in the way that people are answering questions about the direction of the country, almost because of the precipitous drop in gas prices.
JULIE PACE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, ASSOCIATED PRESS: And typically when consumer confidence goes up you see things happen like businesses start hiring more, people start looking to branch out and create new small businesses. So the ripple effect could be quite profound. I don't think anybody expects oil to stay as low as it is right now. It will probably start to rise. But…
BAIER: What do you make of the news tonight?
PACE: I think it's really interesting because I don't know the whole backstory behind it, but you could see perhaps this is a way for the administration to get around the Congressional legislation if they push up their own deadline. Maybe the president will approve the Keystone pipeline before he has to deal with a possible veto.
BAIER: That's interesting because he said that -- he told Politico, quote, "I'm not going to spend the next two years on defense. I'm going to play offense." But everything we've heard are these veto threats, including Keystone pipeline. And it's kind of like an ice hockey goalie blocking Republican pucks.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Right.
BAIER: But what about this?
KRAUTHAMMER: Well, I think it makes sense to give another three weeks of examination of a problem that's now been studied for six years and with five reports from the State Department. Look, this is just a way to cook it up to get it out of the way and to dare the Republicans to pass legislation which he thinks he'll be able to override with a veto.
BAIER: Skip to winners and losers. Winner first?
KRAUTHAMMER: My winner is Iran. What Obama said about the negotiations weakens our position yet again. He took the military option completely off the table and he did it gratuitously.
BAIER: I want to pause. This is your loser coming up? Hold on, your loser?
KRAUTHAMMER: My loser.
BAIER: Let's play this.
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KRAUTHAMMER: I would normally have insouciance over a James Taylor performance, but this is happening in Paris flown in by the secretary of state, a way to appease the French over the snub last week. It seems like an Onion story but it is actually real, and it was preceded by a hug offered by the secretary of state to Francois Hollande that Hollande was not quite prepared for. A British newspaper has already called it "Le Hug." It 's now immortal.
BAIER: Quickly, winners and losers.
PACE: My winner is Joni Ernst, senator from Iowa. She's been in the Senate less than a month. She's been chosen to deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union address. She is really seen as a rising star in the Republican Party. She is going to have an enormous audience. We all know sometimes delivering the GOP response may turn you into the loser of the week, but at least for now she is my winner. My loser is Mitt Romney. Typically if you announce that you're considering a run for president you get a couple of honeymoon days. That really has not happened for him.
HAYES: My loser is Hillary Clinton, and sometimes you're a loser not for what you've done or said but for things you haven't done or said. It's been more than a week and she hasn't commented at all on "Charlie Hebdo." I think that makes her a problem as the former secretary of state.
My winner is Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.
HAYES: Wins a game, sends his team to the NFC championship playing basically on one leg, likely to be the league MVP. We'll see if he can do it again this weekend.
KRAUTHAMMER: What an astonishing choice.
HAYES: I never picked a Packer this entire year. I believe this is my first Packer.
BAIER: OK. That's it for the panel. But stay tuned for confusion over an awkward protester chant.
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