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Special Report

Should presidential candidates start discussing Russia?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," August 21, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Vladimir Putin in a sub off the coast of Crimea. Remember when there was the back and forth about how Crimea was going to maybe not go to Russia? Well, it is. They have new passports and a new time zone there, and the Russian president was there this week.

This as the defense secretary calls Russia an antagonist. The incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs says it is existential threat to the United States. We're back with the panel, lightning round. OK, David?

DAVID CATANESE, U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: You know, this isn't being talked about as much I see on the campaign trail, Russia. You know, when Jimmy Carter weighs in for a day, it's definitely going to get news. But I have been out with these
2016 candidates, and if you are talking about a foreign policy issue, which is tough in a campaign at this point anyway, you are going to talk about ISIS. So, you know, you don't really hear -- you are not really hearing the depth on these issues yet. I think this will come later on. There are some groups holding national security forums that it comes up on, but it's not on the tip of the spear of the 2016.

BAIER: Boy, I you tell you, Laura, it's on the tip of every guy you talk to at the Pentagon. Odierno mentioned it when he left, Ash Carter now.

LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The reset has failed. This should be used in the campaign by anybody Republican running. It's been an utter disaster. Vladimir Putin is a nationalist supremely. The motherland is rising again. They are making all sorts of deals, getting that gas over to Europe, and he is going to use every inch of opportunity he can to flex his muscle. And I don't think anyone knows who what to do with it in the United States.

BAIER: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: What's distressing is that it took this administration six-and-a-half years to wake up to the fact that everybody knows that Putin is an antagonist of the U.S. Instead in the meantime we have given away the missile defense system in eastern Europe. We did the reset. We essentially did nothing. Didn't even supply the Ukrainians with weapons for self-defense in Ukraine, Crimea. And now we are pretending that Russia helped us on Iran. It's selling the most advanced missile defenses to the Iranians. A total collapse of that policy.

BAIER: Quickly, winners and losers. Winner first.

KRAUTHAMMER: Winner is Iran, the revelation of the secret deal with the IAEA where it gets to inspect its own facility for the testing and production of nuclear detonation devices, a sign of the utter collapse of opposition in the negotiations. The loser, Russia, Venezuela, and Texas as oil hits $40.

BAIER: Laura, winners and losers.

INGRAHAM: Winner, probably Trump. Hollywood Reporter, TIME magazine, top in every poll except the Ohio poll where he is down about seven points to Kasich.

Loser, everyone who is not Jeb or Donald Trump on the campaign trail. They have not been able to break through. Even with some bright spots for Red Cruz and Ben Carson, they are going to need a lot more money in order to do so.

BAIER: Winners and losers?

CATANESE: Winner Ben Carson. We moved him up in our U.S. News rankings of candidates this week. I think he was an over-performer and a quiet performer in that debate who came out than I even thought in post- debate polling. Loser is Scott Walker who just today couldn't take a position and to me is looking increasingly waffling and weak to donors out there.

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