All-Star Panel: Forecast for economic growth in 2015?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," January 2, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


LORETTA MESTER, CLEVELAND FEDERAL RESERVE PRESIDENT: We're getting to the point where I think that the economy is moving into a stronger growth path. Not that there aren't risks out there for it. Of course any time you do a forecast there's risks around your forecast. But the fundamentals in the economy, I think, are improved. The headwind of the deleveraging in both the consumer and business sector I think is largely finished. And again, you know, the oil price decline is tailwind. It's actually going to lead to stronger growth.


ED HENRY, ANCHOR: We're back with our panel for the Friday Lightning Round. Oil prices, Steve, are good for the American consumer at least in the short- term, a lot less money for gasoline. You hear that talk about economic growth as well. Could it also be an effective weapon against Russia and Iran? They're seeing real problems.

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: It could be. I would argue that it's much more than just a tailwind. I think it's one of the reasons that we are in the position that we appear to be in, one of the reasons that we had five percent growth in this last quarter. Look, if you look at the reasons for this change, I think that they are sustainable. Looking at, you know, the revolution that we have had in the United States, these are things that are not likely to go away any time soon. I've talked to experts who think that we could be seeing price per barrel as low as $30.

HENRY: Julie, this is a big part of the president's economic push.

PACE: Absolutely. He's been talking about the U.S. increasing oil production for a long time. And look, there are a lot of things in Washington that we talk about that don't necessarily trick down and affect the average American's lives. I was home in Buffalo over the holidays. No one was talking about 2016, no one was talking about North Korea hacking Sony, but people were talking about oil prices and the price of gas.

HENRY: They were talking about Jeb Bush stepping off the corporate boards?


CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Look, it's the biggest story of the year. It's damaged our enemies, the Russians, the Venezuelans, the Iranians, and of course it's propelling our economy. And when Obama says that we have been increasing oil production, think of this. Oil production on federal lands has declined by 16 percent since 2010. So this has happened in spite of Obama and not because of Obama. It's occurred entirely on state owned and private lands.

HENRY: You mentioned the president. Presidential library, Hawaii?  Chicago? New York?



HENRY: You're getting briefer too in the New Year. Julie?

JULIE PACE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Chicago looked to have the inside track. A lot of people in the library committee are from Chicago. It's obviously where the president had his political start. The fact that they're having problems, though, I think is really shocking. I think they'll still get the library in the end, but I think Hawaii will get something as well.

HENRY: having heartburn right about now.

PACE: Yeah, I think so.

HENRY: They'll probably cough up some more money to get it done, I would think. What do you think, Steve?

HAYES: I think the real question is where does Michelle Obama want to run for the Senate from? Put it in that state. I think it ends up probably in Illinois. They'll get their act together. And it's sort of more natural place for the president than New York.

HENRY: Yeah. And Hawaii is so long to get dignitaries out there for events and actually get people to visit it. Though Dan Springer is reporting they might put some sort of presidential center out there.

HAYES: It's a good place for a boondoggle.

HENRY: As is Havana, apparently.

KRAUTHAMMER: And why did he agree that he did?

HENRY: Right.

We're going to be we're going to be right. Thanks for that lightning round. But those new the New Year's resolutions I promised are coming up right after this.

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