All-Star Panel: Hillary Clinton already on cruise control?

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," January 29, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


MITT ROMNEY, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And by the way, you may have heard that I'm thinking of running for president again. I don't miss the adoring press. I -- I don't miss over 300 nights a year in a motel room. I'm not even thinking about getting rich from the speaking fees after I'd leave office. As you no doubt heard, I'm already rich.


ROMNEY: I'm thinking about how I could help the country.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Mitt Romney down in Mississippi talking to a crowd down there as we have some new Fox News polls out today. Obviously it's early, obviously. This is the first page of that poll, and there you see Mitt Romney at the top, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, all others after that. Then there is another poll without Romney, and there is how it stacks up, Bush, Huckabee, Paul, Carson at 10 percent.

Meanwhile there is word that Hillary Clinton may postpone getting in officially. Here is what Politico wrote today, "A Democrat familiar with Clinton's thinking said, 'she doesn't feel under any pressure, and may see no primary challenge on the horizon. If you have the luxury of time, you take it.' Advisers said the biggest reason for the delay is simple -- she feels no rush."

We're back with the panel. Tucker, let's start with Hillary. How about that?

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, her advisers said she will use the extra time to think through her message. She has been in public life since 1980 thereabouts.  If she hasn't thought through her message by this point it suggests maybe there isn't a message beyond her, you know, desire to move to the next thing, which would be president. That's an ominous sign.

Also ominous, is the fact that she potentially could get through you this entire primary season without a real primary and without a debate, without having to bump up against an actual opponent, a peer, not some theoretical Republican she might run against.

If I were backing Hillary Clinton, if I wanted to be ambassador to Belgium and were furiously writing her check in pursuit of that, I would advise her, convince Elizabeth Warren to run. They have done something, work some kind of voodoo, pay her off somehow or intimidate her something to keep her out of the race. And that may be their undoing.

BAIER: And as you look at the Fox poll on the Democratic side, it's, you know, Hillary Clinton all the way. Joe Biden obviously factors in at 17 percent, in there at third is Elizabeth Warren. A.B.?

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: There is actually a little bit of a dustup in Hillary land this afternoon. Reports came out on CNN that there is some disagreement about waiting another three months, that maybe April is better than July, because it seems if you wait because quote, unquote, "there is simply no rush" it looks more and more like a coronation and that she is not trying to earn it.

But I think Tucker is right. She almost ran in 2004. She has effectively been running since 2006 for president. If she doesn't know at this point, if she is afraid of the press and unsure of what she has to offer and say and unconfident about going on the record and taking positions, that's not a good qualification for president.

BAIER: We haven't heard from her a lot. She did a speech in Canada last week. But we haven't heard much at all.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: She is working on her message. And her message is Hillaryness.


KRAUTHAMMER: Offering the nation and the world Hillaryness. That's a pretty attractive offer. And Tucker, ambassador to Belgium? Guantanamo is a better place than that.


CARLSON: My neighbors want to go to Belgium. I don't know why.

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, I think the advice she is getting is right. If you don't have any internal opponents, don't declare. The only argument against it is that is going to look like a coronation. Well, it is a coronation. So admit it.

BAIER: Mitt Romney, it clearly appears like he is running.


BAIER: Positioning like he is.

CARLSON: It does. And if he keeps that posture, he will do well. That's a very appealing side of Mitt Romney, the self-deprecating, the loose, the relaxed Mitt Romney. Hard to keep that up in the middle of an actual race. We'll know, I think, you know, based on the other fundraising numbers whether there is room for him in this. I have got to say, he really has pressed pause on this race though. If he doesn't mean to run for president, this is all just a head fake, you know, it comes at some damage I think to the Republican field.

BAIER: And donors are looking where to turn.

STODDARD: A lot of them are turning, former Romney donors are going to Jeb Bush already. But I think it's interesting that Tucker saw that and thought it was effective. I thought he fell flat and the room didn't know what to do and they "ha-ha-ha-ed" to his rich joke. And that's what happens when loyal friends tell you to be off the cuff.

He is a little bit like Hillary. He's trying to come up with a third incarnation of Mitt Romney. This time it's champion of the poor and super honest about his faith and being really laid back and making jokes, and I think that he needs to go into hiding like Hillary and figure out a message.

BAIER: All right, I'm going to turn now, because everyone always says we focused too much on 2016 too early. I want to ask you about this Taliban thing. There is this one out of five who were released for Bowe Bergdahl who we are hearing at least had some contact with the Taliban. There is concern about this one out of five. Meanwhile, the White House has spent the last two days trying to tell us what the Taliban is, that it's an armed insurgency and not a terrorist group.

KRAUTHAMMER: I'm shocked, shocked to discover that one of the Taliban terrorists from Guantanamo is back in the business. Of course they are back in the business. Is there anybody who thought it would be otherwise? I'm surprised it took them, what, six months or so? The idea that somehow Qatar would be the guardian and would be the jailer for these guys and would prevent any of this activity is preposterous. It was a swap. You gave the guy over. You know he will be in the field. And to pretend otherwise I think is a mistake. You've got to be honest about what the consequences of your actions are.

BAIER: Armed insurgency.

CARLSON: It's almost unbelievable. And I think the public has reached a point of sensory overload when there are so many things going on, all of them bad, all of them discrediting to the administration, that this stuff doesn't seem to stick. I mean, I was at lunch the other day someone said, if this happened in 1998 or 2008, boy, heads would roll. But there's just so much, who could keep track? We really ought to just start a book on this, compiling one after another.

BAIER: We are trying.

That's it for the panel. But stay tuned for a lesson in diplomatic etiquette.

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