All-Star Panel: US, Israel differ on Iran threat

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," August 24, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Every week viewers vote for your choice online in this, our Friday Lightning Round. This week, Israel-Iran latest won with 31 percent of the votes. We'll get to that momentarily, but with all the shakeup of the convention just days away we thought we'd start there. Ann Romney now will speak on Tuesday night. Carl Cameron reported that in this show.  Moving from Monday since the network broadcast network said they we're not going to cover Ann Romney's speech on Monday. Big deal. What about this Steve?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: There has been a scramble in the past few days to accommodate Ann Romney when it became clear that the networks were not going to be covering her on Monday night. There was serious talk about switching her to Thursday and switching Marco Rubio to Tuesday night. I just got a statement e-mailed to me by Matt Rhodes saying –

BAIER: Campaign manager --

HAYES: -- campaign manager for Mitt Romney -- saying that Senator Rubio had graciously offered his spot to Ann Romney so that she could speak in prime time on Thursday. But they wanted to keep Rubio where he was because he is such an important figure in the future of the Republican Party.

BAIER: Two assets for Romney, obviously. Ann Romney, a big asset that humanizes him, right Chuck?

CHARLES LANE, EDITORIAL WRITER, WASHINGTON POST: Yes. They really – like I said before – they really are trying to emphasize the biography, the family, the personal side such as it is for Romney in an attempt to rebrand him a little bit when the voters are starting to focus. It does tell you what a big asset they believe Ann Romney to be that they would shuffle things around so urgently.

BAIER: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: She is an incredible asset. Look, if the election is about the economy on performance, on ideas, on plans, Obama is nowhere near to winning. The only reason he is ahead is he is more likable by a huge margin. She humanizes him, she is incredibly attractive. I think she speaks with a kind of ease that he doesn't have. Having her up there is essential. Having her on Tuesday is going to be wonderful because you're going to have an hour of hot and cold, sweet and sour. It's going to start with her and then you're going to get Chris Christie throwing all kinds of thunderbolts at this administration. It will make for a really interesting night.

BAIER: Sticking on the convention topic, obviously this week with the comments of Rep. Akin in Missouri, Democrats have been bouncing on Republicans saying that their views on abortion are radical and that the Republican platform is radical. The Democratic Party platform, take a look at how it's written in 2008 and we are expecting it to be exactly the same.  "The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion." The 2004 version of that in the DNC platform said "Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare."  So the question is about partial birth abortion and what the president, and then-state senator voted for when he was in Illinois. Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: Talk about extremism. We're talking about in the Akin case, he's a congressman that nobody ever heard of who is a candidate for Senate of one state out of 50 on one hand. On the other hand you have Obama who is the president who took a position on partial birth abortion which is scandalous. Pat Moynihan, the great Democratic senator from New York said it's the equivalent of infanticide. And we have Obama who's been a long supporter of it, that is extremism.

BIAER: Chuck?

Lane: Well --

BAIER: I should point out the Republican Party in total almost has called for Akin to step out of that race except for a few leaders in the conservative -- the Christian conservative movement.

LANE: I guess I'd give the Republicans a "nice try" for trying to change the subject to partial birth abortion this week. I think senator-to-be or would-be senator Akin's performance is overwhelming that and will continue to overwhelm it.

The main point here, though, is I don't think the voters relish the discussion of abortion right now.

BAIER: Which is why it's dangerous at a Democratic convention, right, to spend a lot of time on it?

LANE: Not if you are teamed up with the Republicans portraying him as an extremist. Everybody agreeing that he is an extremist. I don't think voters relish having this be the number one issue.

HAYES: Wait, who is changing the subject here?


HAYES: This is yet another attempt by Democrats to avoid talking about the economy and Obama's record.  They have been trying to make this war on women case for six months. And they just haven't been able the make it stick.

LANE: Changing the subject desperately from Akin by --


HAYES: You're talking about going from abortion -- you are talking about a discussion that Democrats initiated on abortion to partial birth abortion, versus a discussion and a campaign about the economy and the future of the country to a narrow issue of --


LANE:  -- I believe Akin initiated the discussion of abortion.

HAYES: That is nonsense. The president wants to be talking about that so he doesn't have to be talking about his record.


BAIER: I have to get to Israel and Iran. Quickly, Charles, since people voted for that, I promised it. What do you think the latest is?  Talks broke down today.

KRAUTHAMMER: Yeah, the Israelis are extremely nervous. Look, Obama doesn't even claim that they have done anything that would restrain a nuclear program of Iran. Their claim is that Iran is isolated as a result of all they've done.  This week 130 nations are going to be showing up in Tehran, the leaders of the [INAUDIBLE] movement, and the secretary general of the United Nations. This is the great achievement of this administration, isolating Iran? It's America that's isolated and Iran is getting a free pass in developing its nukes.

BAIER: You'll have to save your comments on Iran and Israel to a later date. That is it for the panel, but stay tuned for the perils of nonstop weather coverage on a news channel, weather coverage of a developing storm.

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