All-Star Panel: How foreign policy figures into 2016 race

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," February 18, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


FORMER GOV. JEB BUSH, R - FL: This administration talks, but the words fade. They draw red lines and then erase them. With grandiosity they announce resets and then disengage. Hashtag campaigns replace actual diplomacy and engagement.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R - NJ: I almost feel bad for the president. He is like a man wandering around in a dark room feeling along the wall for the light switch of leadership. Well, let me tell you something, everybody, he hasn't found it for six years, and he is not going to find it in the next two years in the White House.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R - FL: I'm very comfortable about debating foreign policy with anyone in both the Democratic and the Republican Party. And I believe that it's going to become the predominant issue of 2016.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: What about that? GOP prospects, potential candidates, talking about foreign policy as the predominant issue of 2016. We're back with the panel. Charles, you hear Jeb Bush talking foreign policy today. There you heard Chris Christie, Marco Rubio. It seems significant that they are setting up to run against Hillary Clinton potentially on this issue.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: This is going to be one of those rare presidential runs in which foreign affairs is one of the dominant issues. It's only happened really in 1980 and I'd say in 2004. And now, it's back, and it's because we are so deeply into this and because ISIS and the beheading of Americans won't let us away from the issue as well as the fact that we're -- our allies are in retreat in Ukraine and a lot of other places.

This administration, the Obama administration, came into office with the promise that would raise our standing in the world, earn us respect and friendship, and has done probably the worst job in a generation of that. We are at one of the lowest ebbs in terms of our standing in the world, the trust of our allies and fear of our enemies. That is a very ripe field for the Republicans.

The problem is they have to have a candidate who can make the case. The one who up to now is the strongest in making that kind of case is Marco Rubio. The other extreme, of course, is Rand Paul for whom I think it's going to be a hard argument. He was a lot more popular a year and a half ago when he stood up in the Senate for 11 hours and protested the droning of an Al Qaeda American in Yemen. I'm not sure he would do that again today.


RON FOURNIER, SENIOR POLITICAL COLUMNIST, NATIONAL JOURNAL: Charles is right. This is going to be a foreign policy election. I think it's going to be really tough for Hillary given her last job.

Christie is right. The president is fumbling down a hallway looking for the light. The problem for the Republicans so far is none of them, except for maybe Rubio, has articulately made the case for what should be done other than Obama is a bad guy, as well as Charles did a few minutes ago. Jeb Bush today had his big foreign policy speech and rolled out a whole bunch of Bush advisors. It didn't tell us what he might have learned from the mistakes that were made going into Iraq much less the mistakes that were made coming out of Iraq. It didn't tell us what he would do with ISIS other than kill them.

BAIER: I want to play a piece of that about George W., H. W., Jeb Bush talking about both of them.


JEB BUSH: I have also been fortunate to have a father and a brother who helped shape America's foreign policy from the Oval Office. I recognize that as a result my views will often be held up in comparison to theirs. Look, just for the record, one more time, I love my brother, I love my dad, and I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions that they had to make. But I'm my own man and my views are shaped by my own thinking and my own experiences. Each president learns from those who came before, their principles, their adjustments. One thing we know is this -- every president inherits a changing world and changing circumstances.


BAIER: Well, "I'm my own man," Tucker. As you take a look at The Washington Post did a diagram of the newly announced team for Jeb Bush foreign policy, and there you see a lot of men who were in other organizations, including George W. Bush. There you see Paul Wolfowitz, you see Stephen Hadley. What do you make of this?

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: A lot of smart people, a lot of good people. I admire a lot of the people on that list. But it raises the basic question, the threshold question, and not just for Jeb Bush but for Hillary Clinton and everybody running for president, which is what you have learned? So 12 years ago this spring we knocked over the dictator in Iraq. It cost $1 trillion. Lots of people died. Iran got stronger. We got weaker. It didn't end well. Not to re-litigate it. That's pointless. But it's legitimate, in fact it's necessary to ask the obvious question. What have you learned? This fantasy of overthrowing dictators leads to a better world inevitably, is that true? And a whole bunch of other questions. You have no credibility if you can't answer those questions directly, clearly, with a straight face.

KRAUTHAMMER: Bush has to be able to say before I ran for the presidency, I was not out to criticize my family members, dad or brother. But now that he is a presidential candidate, he has to put that in abeyance because the country has to know what he thinks about the past, and he is going to have to be critical, if he is, of the policies of the past. Otherwise, he is trapped in a place where he is into the say what his ideas are. And if he can't, he won't prevail.

BAIER: Can he embrace H. W. and not W.?


FOURNIER: He could.

KRAUTHAMMER: He doesn't does have to attack him Obama-like. But he can say we made mistakes and these are the mistakes --

BAIER: We got to go, Ron. But we have a "Special Report" Online tonight.


BAIER: You can save that comment.

FOURNIER: It's going to be great.

BAIER: And others for that. That's it for the panel. Stay tuned for a sneak peek of what you may have missed during our online show last night.

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