All-Star Panel: Reaction to media buzz around Hillary Clinton

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 30, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


JOE TRIPPI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: She has got the best of both worlds. She can pull back and do what she wants to do for the next year or two while she has a full-fledged political operation.

MATT SCHLAPP, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: This election is still years away. Is this the right time to kind of be having this much frequency in terms of the attention on your persona? It's certainly not the way most PR experts would advise to you approach it?

HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS MEDIA ANALYST: The Diane Lane mini-series comings up, which, by the way, starts in 1998, which means it starts in the full flower of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

LESLIE MARSHALL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I don't think it's going to help her at all. Quite frankly, networks are doing this. You can kiss a politician's butt only so far. At the end of the day you have got to get ratings and you've got to make money.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, Hillary Clinton is the talk these days. It's a little early to be talking 2016 politics, but she is the talk because of a number of different reasons, not to mention a CNN and an NBC documentary and mini-series. You have the Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner story. You have a number of stories. Plus you look at the latest polls as you look at polls of 2016 on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton at 55 percent in the average Real Clear Politics polls. We are back with the panel. What about this? Is all of this attention now a bad thing? Kirsten?

KIRSTEN POWERS, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK POST: I don't think it makes any difference. I can't imagine that come the election many, many years down the road that anybody is going to be looking back at what's happening right now, especially talking about the scandal, you know, with her aide and her husband in New York City. I just – I can't imagine that anybody will care about that when it comes time to cast a vote for president.

BAIER: What about this dust-up in New York, Steve, or the company run by Clinton's brother Tony Rodham is at the center of these allegations with this homeland security nominee, Alejandro Mayorkas, the number two spot at DHS?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, there are interesting and outstanding questions on that particular scandal and maybe it leads somewhere or maybe it doesn't. I tend to agree with Kirsten. I don't think a lot of this is going to happen right now. Everybody is focused on Huma Abedin and what effect that might have on Hillary. I agree with Kirsten, in three years nobody is going to be thinking about that.

The bigger challenge, I think, she will face as this moves forward gradually is she is going to have to answer for her time as secretary of state. And if you look at the world today, and you look at the policy initiatives that drove her tenure there, there is not just a lot to say on behalf of it or in favor of it.

And I think that that picture is likely to look worse in a year or two than it is to look better. When you look around and you look at Syria, you look at Iran and the potential for a nuke, you look at the many problems that we have not only in the region but globally, that's what she is going to have to run on.

BAIER: Charles, we also have the nomination of former first lady aide Evan Ryan to be assistant secretary of state threatening to revive this talk about the Clinton finance scandal back in the 90's, California businessman Johnny Chung pleading guilty to federal charges of this $50,000 payment. This is involving Evan Ryan. This is what Chung said back in '99 to O'Reilly, very quickly.


JOHNNY CHUNG, FORMER DNC FUNDRAISER: Evan Ryan went out of the room and come back saying first lady have a huge debt to the DNC in Christmas of '94. I don't remember exactly amount, could be $80-some thousand. My light bulb goes on. I know what they mean by that. Then I said, I want you to know at that time I'm still new kid in town in Washington, D.C. I said I'd be very happy to donate $50,000.

BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: On the spot you said that?

CHUNG: On the spot.


BAIER: OK, Ryan denied soliciting any donations. She was cleared by the committees. Here is what just moments ago the State Department put out, Jen Psaki, "18 years ago, beginning a career of public service, Evan was working as a 23-year-old assistant answering phones in the White House.  She was interviewed during a broad investigation, it wasn't the target of any inquiry, and two separate Republican-chaired committees determined she knew nothing about any wrongdoing, end of story. She's gone on to serve in high level positions of public trust and Secretary Kerry looks forward to having her at the State Department." Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Look, in terms of Hillary this is going to have no effect. This will be written off. The Clintons will say it and the press will say it, old news, old history, 15 years old, like all of the rest of the 1990's and the scandal will be old history. Why are you bringing it up again will be the mantra.

I think Democrats have decided that this is a coronation. I mean, she has a better chance of winning the nomination than George Alexander Louis has of becoming the king of England. It's something -- they have decided she is their one hope. And I don't think there is -- her position is unassailable. She has the opportunity to ignore all the hoopla, to make a lot of money in her speeches, and declare at any time she wants. In the meantime, nobody is going to it enter the field.

BAIER: That is it for the panel. But stay tuned for another local news lesson in making sure the taped piece actually runs.

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