All-Star Panel: 2016 hopefuls hit the road

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," April 14, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I want to be the champion who goes to bat for Americans in four big areas. We need to build the economy of tomorrow, not yesterday. We need to strengthen families and communities because that's where it all starts. We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all, even if that takes a constitutional amendment. And we need to protect our country from the threats that we see and the ones that are on the horizon.

We've got to figure out in our country how to get back on the right track.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: "Back on the right track," not sure the Obama administration wants to hear that, but Hillary Clinton on the stump in Iowa. We're back with the panel. George, you're take?

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, you're right. That's the awkward part of this, is she has to say I will clean up the mess in Washington and I will make America more fair than it is in its current inequitable position. I hope our listeners heard her that one of her four fundamental goals is to change the First Amendment, to empower the political class to write legislation restricting the quantity, content, and timing of political speech about the political class. I don't think anyone has ever announced running for president that they wanted to change the Bill of Rights.

Her ideas are so unbelievably past their sell-by date. She wants 23rd increase in the minimum wage since 1938, free community college, which means get someone else to pay for it besides the people getting the education, and at the end of it all it's inequality is what she is going to stress. Inequality has rocketed during the Obama years because of zero interest rate policy which has the purpose of chasing all the liquidity in the country into equities so the stock market goes up for the enormous benefit of the 10 percent of Americans who own 80 percent of the stocks.

BAIER: Mara, not phrased the way George phrased it. It's more of a dog whistle to the left of the party on Citizens United.

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: What leapt out at me from that list of four things, there was only one specific thing on it, and it was about Citizens United. The other things were pretty anodyne, and, as a matter of fact, I don't think Marco Rubio would disagree with those other three things. But that one on big money, that tells you how big an issue this is for the Democratic left. I mean, it is huge. Citizens United is a very big deal.

And she started out by saying those at the top are doing better. She also pointed out, which is true, that even when workers productivity goes up it doesn't reflect it in wage increases. So, I think as she is reintroducing herself to Iowa, the state where she came in third in 2008, she is making sure she kind of pushes all the buttons and touches all the bases with the Democratic Party.

BAIER: But what about the dynamics here, Charles, the whole going small, the small events even though the media following her is just a crush of cameras? There was a melee to try and get a picture of the van, Scooby or whatever she calls it, what about that?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I mean, going small is about the only way that she can go. She tried going big in 2008 with speeches and rallies, and she couldn't out-speech and out-rally Barack Obama. Now, she doesn't have opponent, but she is not good at that. She is not Bill. She is not even that good at going small, but it beats going large and being a flop. She just can't -- that's not her strength.

But I find it simply astonishing that she could campaign by proclaiming one of her big goals is to get big money out of politics. I mean, isn't that a little bit peculiar coming from the Clintons who are the most legendary raisers of money, who sold the Lincoln Bedroom among other items in the past, and this is her cause? I mean, she has such an unbelievable inauthenticity problem that every time she says something like that I just can't take any of it seriously.

And she says we are on the wrong track. Her party has been in power for six years. You're running on that the country is on the wrong track, I'll put it on the right track? That doesn't sound very convincing.

BAIER: Meantime, on the Republican side, Chris Christie in New Hampshire talking entitlement reform, raising Social Security age.

WILL: He gave us a glimpse of what is unquestionably much the Americans future, which is means testing of entitlement programs. That is making them more progressive, making them less generous to the wealthy.  And, he is up against the dominating fact of our politics, which is we now have the politics of gerontocracy in a country in which one-third of the country is over 50 years old and the elderly vote more than other people because the welfare state is more important to them.

BAIER: That said, Chris Christie is having a hard time, if you listen to everybody, getting off the block in competition with all these other Republicans. Is raising Social Security age the way to get them back in this race?

LIASSON: I don't know. I give him points for being courageous because not only are the elderly an important block, they are a really important block in the Republican Party more than they ever have been.  That is one of the Republicans main constituency groups in their coalition right now. So, I give him points for doing that, for biting the hand that feeds the Republican Party. I think he's trying hard. The big problem he has is he is just so unpopular in his home state and that's going to be a real obstacle for him.

BAIER: I just want to say, Charles, there are tweets and messages coming in to make sure that your eye is OK.

KRAUTHAMMER: The blood in the eye. Well, I should never have borrowed Harry Reid's exercise equipment.


KRAUTHAMMER: In fact, I had a blood vessel that broke. It's completely benign. It will be gone by Monday.

BAIER: See, isn't nice the viewers check in?

LIASSON: Dr. Krauthammer, he can treat himself.

BAIER: Treat himself.

KRAUTHAMMER: Heal myself.

BAIER: That's it for the panel. But stay tuned to see one family's unexpected joy at a hockey game.  

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