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Special Report

Friday Lightning Round: Early bets in the Candidate Casino

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," April 3, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: The new jobs report came out today, the White House -- it was not as good as expected, 126,000 jobs added, 5.5 percent unemployment rate, stays the same. The other numbers that we often look at, underemployment, it's down from 11 percent, 10.9 percent now.

But 8,575,000 people still unemployed and this is really interesting. The labor participation chart currently at 62.7 percent, that is not a good number.

We are going to start there in the Lightning Round. We are back with the panel – Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Look, you can look for complicated explanation. The obvious one is this is the weakest recovery since the Second World War. When you grow at 2 percent, you are not going to get -- improvement employment situation. And it looks as if the growth in the first quarter of the year is going to be 1 percent or less. But, thus, you get really lousy employment numbers.

BAIER: The White House has all kinds of explanations, weather, all kinds of stuff, but it's just not --

KRAUTHAMMER: It's snowed in winter, what a shock.

PACE: I think this is basically a big flashing yellow light for people who have been really excited about some of the really strong jobs reports that we have seen. This is a recovery that is still very much in process. And I think that the next few job reports are going to be very crucial to determining whether this is a blip or if this is actually where the economy is.

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: The 126,000 jobs is about the number you need to absorb the national growth rate of the labor force. Second, if the workforce participation rate today were what it was when Barack Obama was inaugurated, unemployment rate would 9.7 percent. Third, if we had had the average post-war recovery there would be 14 million more Americans working today than there actually are.

BAIER: It's all about the numbers. And at that we are heading to the Candidate Casino. We're just doing the Republicans today in Candidate Casino and we wanted to point out right before we start that a viewer Dylan tweeted out today that he was spotting some different places if you are planning to visit "Special Report" Candidate Casino tonight be sure to arrive early.  Large crowds expected. And there you can see he has got the casino all set. So, we enter, George, Republicans, where is your money?

WILL: It's $35 on Scott Walker because he appeals to more than one faction and one faction cannot nominate a Republican candidate. Jeb Bush, $30 because attention is now beginning to be paid to his extraordinary conservative record of governor, and $10 on Rand Paul because he may get a slim shot affect out of the early primaries particularly Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, $5 on Cruz because he is raising a lot of money from small donors and had had a good rollout.

And I'm thinking outside the box here. I think the electorate might want the country run by something that itself is run well and it would be nice to be run by Southwest Airlines where they are competent and cheerful.

BAIER: How about that, angling for some tickets are you? OK, Julie?

JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: So I've got 40 on Bush. I've been pretty consistent there. I think he's got a lot of structural advantages, 25 on Rubio, his rollout is coming up soon. I think Rubio is one of the candidates that has potential to catch fire here, 20 on Walker.

Some of the early magic has faded, but I think he still has a chance, 10 on Cruz for the same reason that George said really impressive early funding records from grassroots and 5 on Paul, who we are going to see his rollout coming up next. I think he will get buzz and momentum on that.

BAIER: Charles, welcome back.

KRAUTHAMMER: Thank you. My top tier remains unchanged, Rubio, Bush, and Walker, and I'm taking the radical step of taking the $10 that I normally allocate to my retirement fund and I'm going to put half on it on Ted Cruz. Anybody who can raise $4 million in 8 days becomes the leading long shot.

BAIER: All right, quickly, winners and losers downtown line Lightning Round.

KRAUTHAMMER: The Iranian foreign minister. This is the winner. He is the happiest man on the planet and he received a Charles Lindberg reception upon his return home. Loser Indiana Governor Mike Pence, whatever the rights or wrongs, whatever the virtues of the bill that he originally passed his clumsy handling of it has cost him any chance of entering apart from winning the Republican nomination in 2016.

BAIER: Julie, winners and losers?

PACE: I do mind with the caveat that this could be completely reversed in a couple of months. My winner is John Kerry who has managed to keep his dream of an Iranian deal alive and loser is Benjamin Netanyahu who campaigned tirelessly to disrupt this deal and obviously the negotiations will move forward.

BAIER: Not over yet on that one as you said, George.

WILL: Winner Lois Lerner because she rightly understood that Holder's Justice Department wouldn't collaborate in her obstruction of justice. The loser is the state of California, which now has water rationing because for decades the political class particularly environmentalists have refused to build an adequate water infrastructure and the political class will not allow water to be allocated by the market pricing it as a commodity, which it is.

BAIR: Panel, we got it all in, thank you. That's it for the panel.  But stay tune for a possible new lead in the Bob Menendez case.
 

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