All-Star Panel: How does energy play into presidential race?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," August 14, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


OBAMA: Governor Romney even explained his energy policy this way.  I'm quoting here, "You can't drive a car with a windmill on it." That's what he said about wind power, "you can't drive a car with a windmill on it."  Now, I don't know if he has actually tried that. I know he has had other things on his car.


ROMNEY: Of course, I like all the sources of energy. You probably heard the president say he is for all of the above. And I wondered what he meant, because I see how he has been waging war on coal. And I wondered, how could he possibly say that? Then it came to me. He is for all the sources of energy that come from above the ground, none of those that come from below the ground like oil, and coal, and gas.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: OK, two states, two energy arguments, the president in Iowa talking tax credits for wind energy, Governor Romney in Ohio talking about a war on coal, he says, by the administration.

We're back with the panel. How does energy play as an issue, Bill?

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I think it plays well for Governor Romney. If he just -- it's a cute line he has. But every time Governor Romney tries to deliver one of these cute lines his speech writer has written for him, it always comes off, in my opinion, slightly clunky. He's better off just staying on the core message. He is a pro-energy -- he would be a pro-energy president and President Obama has sacrificed all kind of energy, drilling and production to the environmentalists. There's no [INAUDIBLE] what happened to the pipeline. That's just an easy distinction to make, I think.

BAIER: And wind energy is a winner for President Obama?

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: In Iowa it's a big winner because there are so many jobs connected to it -- wind energy. Nationally, though, I think XL pipeline is a loser for President Obama. And so when Mitt Romney says that he would pass or approve of the XL pipeline, I think it speaks to a lot of anxiety out there to Americans who say, yeah, yeah, let's drill, the old drill, baby, drill thing. So I think that's a winner for Mitt Romney.

BAIER: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I agree. I think when you go for coal, which is where Romney is now going now. It's almost half of all the electrical production in the United States. Solar, for example, is 0.2 percent. It's minuscule. I mean, if you are going to be the green energy guy, you are going to get people on the left that Obama already has. To appeal to the country nationally, you go for coal, the restriction on oil drilling, the fracking, regulations, I think you win the argument in a very broad way. And I think Keystone is the symbol of it, but coal, I think, is the heart of it. The regulation that was passed quietly in the EPA that everybody in coal in the country knows will devastate the industry.

BAIER: And what about the mention of Seamus, the dog? I thought we were done with the Seamus the dog references.


WILLIAMS: -- it was pretty funny.

BAIER: Didn't we end it with the eating of the dog back in that whole thing?

KRAUTHAMMER: I have an image of the dog pedaling on the top of the car, driving a windmill which is driving the car. I think that could be an answer to our energy problem.

BAIER: Bill, in coal country, as Charles mentions, boy, there is a lot of animosity toward this administration. The coalminers union sitting out this election. That plays in a lot of states, including Ohio and Pennsylvania.

KRISTOL: It's almost hard to publicize these regulations, which as Charles says are just administratively -- you know, put in the federal register. It's kind of hard to explain why they so suppress energy development and production and development, especially on coal, but also on oil and natural gas.

I think you can make a big issue of the whole, Obama's EPA. There are parts of the Obama administration that are really radical. Other parts that kind of tried to stay a little more to the center because they are more politically sensitive. The Justice Department was taken over by left-wing law professors, the EPA taken over by left-wing environmentalists, and I think he can make a big issue of that.

BAIER: Juan, Vice President Biden in Danville, Virginia, not North Carolina, in Virginia said this today about Governor Romney.


VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Look at what they value and look at their budget. And what they are proposing. Romney wants to -- he said in the first 100 days he's going to let the big banks once again write their own rules, unchain Wall Street. They are going to put y'all back in chains.


BAIER: the Romney campaign said that is not acceptable for political discourse.

WILLIAMS: Well, you know, clearly he is talking about taking the chains off of banks in terms of regulation law and put the American people.  But he is talking to a very strongly African-American audience there in Virginia -- in Danville, and I think people therefore said, you know, it's like you are saying you're putting the black folks back in chains. So it's a terrific gaffe. And you know, is this the first time we've heard him have a slip of the tongue, my friend? I don't think so. So people can make fun of it, but I know what he was trying to say. It wasn't racial, if that's what you --

BAIER: That's what the Obama campaign says, it was a metaphor, and that the vice president was referring to Republicans who say unshackle Wall Street.

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, this guy is so off the wall that he is able to make a lifetime of gaffes and he doesn't get attacked for it because nobody expects any better. You know, it's just the crazy uncle in the attic, as Ross Perot used to say, and he turns out to be the crazy uncle in the attic. I think it is offensive. If anybody else said it, it would have been a huge deal.  But Joe Biden, is it a big f'ing deal? I don't know.


WILLIAMS: Wait a minute!

BAIER: Holy cow! Really, you're going to drop that, on a Tuesday?

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, you know, I'm just --

BAIER: Save it for Friday.

KRAUTHAMMER: I'm quoting the vice president of the United States.

WILLIAMS: Oh, Chuck, please.



BAIER: OK, that's it for panel, but stay tuned for details on how the other potential VP options received the news.

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