This is a rush transcript of "Special Report With Bret Baier" from May 14, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOUG SUTTLES, BP CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER: We have already spent over $450 milli on. We're throwing every resource required at this problem. And I think I would ask people to judge us on what we're doing. We're not talking about limits on liability. We're talking about doing what needs to be done.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I know BP is committed to pay for the response effort and we will hold them to their obligation. I have to say, though, I did not appreciate what I considered to be a ridiculous spectacle during the congressional hearings into this matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: A lot of news today and some tough words on the oil spill on the Gulf. Let's bring in our panel to talk about it, Steve Hayes, senior writer for The Weekly Standard, Mort Kondracke, executive editor of Roll Call, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Welcome all, gentlemen.
Charles, what do you make of the president's tough talk today?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, he says, "I do not appreciate." You know it really isn't about him. Look, I don't attack him on the policy. There is not much the feds can do about the blowout. But the tone and the arrogance of his speech was really quite remarkable, and it's not unusual for him.
There is something rather contradictory he seemed unaware of in attacking the oil executives for blaming each other when his entire speech was laying the blame on everybody, of course, except himself.
Now he did say at one point, of course, the federal government is also responsible, and then what did he immediately say after that? The problem has been in the federal government for about a decade. Who does that mean? That mean George W., of course, like everything else on earth. He's the father of all evil.
And then he said the Secretary of the Interior Salazar has been working on this from the very beginning of this administration. If he has, he hasn't really done anything. Clearly 11 days before the blowout, his department had given environmental waiver to BP. I don't attack the Interior Department for doing that. It couldn't have predicted.
But for the president, as always, to hover above the issue and the problem and hurl Zeusian bolts from above at everybody except himself is really un-presidential.
BREAM: OK, not a fan of the speech today. Mort?
MORT KONDRACKE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, ROLL CALL: What struck me most was that he said that domestic oil drilling continues to be part of our overall energy strategy, which means he is not caving in to the environmental left over this and saying we're going to cancel our decision on offshore drilling.
What he did say was that we have to make sure this can never happen again. This is going to be the biggest environmental catastrophe in U.S. history, not world history but U.S. history. And if it is not going to do to offshore drilling what the Three Mile Island disaster did to nuclear power, that is to say, shut it down forever, then steps have got to be taken.
I'm surprised that he did not announce a commission today, that there should be 9/11 style commission to get to the bottom of this, assess blame, and figure out what we have to do to make every drilling rig out there safe.
BREAM: He does usually favor the idea of a commission, or regulation, or investigation.
KONDRACKE: It's the legitimate thing to do.
BREAM: Steve, you said you saw a lot of passion out of him and you really hadn't seen out of some other topics you thought that might warrant this.
STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: It's interesting me that the president could get so angry and so worked up about this, and I'm not trying to minimize it. I'm not saying it's not deserving of anger. I'm not sure it's directed in all of the right places.
But he doesn't get worked up about Iran. Iran, last summer, 11 months ago, as the regime putting down protests in the street and killing people, he didn't say anything. Instead he said rather decidedly from leaks of the administration officials that he wasn't going to speak out because it would be meddling.
So we haven't seen that kind of presidential level of anger, which I think is interesting that he's choosing now to do it. We saw it a little bit, I think, in the speech he gave on Wall Street. So you see in those two choices, times to choose to sort of unveil his anger, I think you see a lot about his priorities.
It's very interesting someone who is cool and calm, at least by reputation, cool and calm as Obama is to choose those two times to do it.
It's also interesting because we've really spent the better part of this spring talking about how anger inpolitics is unhealthy. If you read the mainstream media that's all we hear about. You see it in The New York Times, these investigations of the Tea Parties and of anger.
But I'm expecting that we won't see the same thing in The New York Times tomorrow on the front page about how the anger is either misplaced or inappropriate.
BREAM: We have some interesting polling numbers. We look at how the public perceived how this thing is being handled. First, how the president is handling the oil spill — 42 percent approve, 33 percent disapprove. And then how BP is handling the oil spill, the numbers are almost flipped — 32 percent say they approve and 49 percent say they disapprove.
Do you think we will see a shift in the numbers at all, Charles, if this continues to go on for weeks or even months?
KRAUTHAMMER: I can understand the disapproval of the oil company because it's had no success in stopping the flow. As long as it does, the numbers will get worse and worse. If it had had success early we would haven't had any of this. But it's unprecedented, drilling in mild-deep water, which is at the edge of our technology. So, there isn't a big repertoire of success in doing this.
I think Obama has handled — I think politically it works to get angry and say I don't appreciate what the oil companies are doing, and make them the scapegoat.
But for national policy, we depend on oil, the Gulf is our source of the oil. One reason that the drilling is happening in the Gulf that deep is his allies on the left aren't going to allow it in the intercontinental shelf where it's more safe and in the Arctic where we know how to do it and where if you were to have a spill it would injure the seals and caribou but not humans as is happening on the Gulf Coast of the United States.
KONDRACKE: I think there is one failure on the part of the government, and that is to have accepted the low estimate of what the flow is going to be, because if you don't know how big the flow will be, you don't know what you have to do to protect the marshlands against it.
So it seems to me that there is something that the federal government should have done, brought in the laboratory in Massachusetts. They've got a better technique for figuring out what the flow is than BP had.
BREAM: All right, we're going to wrap it up there because we have a lot to jam into our lightning round. Find out more about the oil spill at foxnews.com/specialreport.
And again, the Friday lightning round coming up and your choice online topic of the week. Stick around to see what it was.
BREAM: Every week on the foxnews.com "Special Report" page viewers vote on what topic we should discuss first during the Friday lightning round. As of 5:00 today the winner is predictions on the House and Senate midterm results.
Let's start with next week's primary. We have a focus on a couple of big states. Senator Blanche Lincoln, does she hold onto her seat in Arkansas?
HAYES: I think she does. Polling over the past couple of weeks has shown her in two different polls, one with a nine point lead over Lt. Governor Bill Alter, one with a 12 point lead.
It will be testy, and he could pick up points because of the voter intensity. He is running to the left of her and could excite the left wing base. But I think she probably wins and goes on to face John Boozeman in what will be certainly a widely watched general election contest.
BREAM: Mort, you're keeping an eye on Kentucky, where the top Republican in the Senate has endorsed one person and the tea party endorsed somebody else.
KONDRACKE: Trey Grayson is the secretary of state and the establishment candidate. Mitch McConnell, Dick Cheney, Rick Santorum, it goes that far right, that his support is. But that's not good enough for the tea party people, or this is a human sacrifice, a purification campaign going on in the Republican Party and he is one of the victims.
So Rand Paul, who's the son of Ron Paul, Jim DeMint, Sarah Palin, far right wing candidate, is going to win the primary and then he will lose the election in the fall. It serves the tea party people right.
And it should be a lesson to the Republican Party not to go that far right because all the tea party people are doing is narrowing the Republican base, and it's not good for them.
BREAM: All right, Charles, a big race that Carl previewed for us, Sestak and Specter.
KRAUTHAMMER: Specter, the grand old political opportunist. He's a Republican, he's a Democrat.
BREAM: Democrat, Republican, democrat.
KRAUTHAMMER: Sometimes, some days he forgets which he is in a couple of speeches he did. Running against Admiral Joe Sestak, member of the House running on his left. Sestak is ahead in the polls.
Lately he's run one of the great ads in American history in which he showed Bush endorsing Specter in '04 I think, in the last election, which is pretty devastating to a Democratic state like that.
I will go against the grain and say Specter I think will pull it out because the Democratic machine is going to work the Philadelphia area and turn out to vote, but I think he loses in the general election. There is so much swerving and reversing that an electorate can take.
BREAM: All right, that's the viewer topic now. Now let's talk about Elena Kagan, the nominee to the Supreme Court. She made the rounds on the Hill this week. Steve, did we learn anything new about her? Will we?
HAYES: We learned very little. People expected this to be the nominee for weeks, and in some cases months. I think ultimately it was a good week for her because there wasn't anything that came out initially in the first week where people said, wow, this could sink the nomination.
She's got issues she will have to explain but nothing that was potentially sinking the nomination.
KONDRACKE: The Republicans are throwing everything at the wall to see if anything sticks. The most ridiculous charge of all is she lacks judicial experience, as if she's never been near a courtroom. She was a clerk for a court of appeal judge and a Supreme Court justice and a solicitor general, and she knows what happens in the courtroom.
BREAM: Charles, you like her softball stance?
KRAUTHAMMER: I do. I think she would make a good infielder on the Nationals.
BREAM: Maybe last year.
KRAUTHAMMER: A bench player.
She's a down-the-road, middle-of-the-road liberal. We learned nothing extreme about her. There is nothing to make my hair stand on end.
President won the election, elections have consequences, he's a liberal, she is a liberal. She is not out of the mainstream. I can't see anything that will stop her nomination that we know of now. So in the absence of a surprise, she is a shoo-in.
BREAM: All right, I want to get a quick response on the issue of Iran and whether or not it's helping out top members of Al Qaeda or at least loosening the reins on them. Steve?
HAYES: The big news here, and it shouldn't be news to people but it is because it hasn't been covered well for years, is that the senior leadership of Al Qaeda, many of them have been in Iran and formerly given safe haven now under some sort of very loose house arrest. The report from the "Associated Press" this week said they're being let go to replenish their ranks.
This is a story that should be dominating news programs and newspapers across the country and it's not getting enough attention.
KONDRACKE: It should be a point that is being made by the administration to put heat on the Iranian government in these negotiations. The Iranians are not going to be any significant sanctions at the U.N. Even the Brazilians are going to fight it. Why they don't throw the book at Iran I do not know.
KRAUTHAMMER: It's because this administration has no intention of doing anything significant about Iran and thus it doesn't want to make Iran an issue because it'll look more weak than it is.
The myth is always that Iran is Shiite, it is not going to cooperate with Al Qaeda, which is a Sunni. That has always been silly because Iran is the prime sponsor of Hamas, which is Sunni, the arms that fund it and it never had an ideological or religious objections. It finds allies where it can, and Al Qaeda is an excellent ally in attacking the Great Satan.
BREAM: Excellent lightning round, gentlemen. Thank you very much.
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