All-Star Panel: Vice president factor in 2012 race

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," August 16, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: I called the audible. We'll continue to talk about Medicare and the campaign trail. Juan was making the case about Paul Ryan's budget.  Mitt Romney was out today talking with a whiteboard about how his plan for Medicare has no change to Medicare, traditional Medicare now, does not affect anyone as far as Medicare goes. Steve, there is a lot of Democratic talking points about Paul Ryan's plan and how seniors would have to pay more, and the president is even using that on the stump. Is that effective?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: We'll see if it's effective. But I don't think it's true. Look, the way that the Paul Ryan's plan works is a plan of competitive bidding and premium support. So insurance companies will make offers, we'll say we can provide this coverage for "x" amount of dollars. The second lowest bid among those offers will be chosen. So there will always be an opportunity to spend less or to choose the plan that costs less. So ultimately, it's not the case that seniors are going to have to pay $6,400 more. And I'll just say that the one crucial --

BAIER: -- but here's the one crucial part, I guess, is that we're now in the weeds of the Paul Ryan plan that is no longer a plan. I mean it's essentially passed the House but is not going anywhere, and Mitt Romney is not running on it.

HAYES: And no one is asking what the Joe Biden plan for Medicare reform is, by the way. The only reason we're talking about Paul Ryan is because he presented a plan --


BAIER: Because when the president gets on the stump and says seniors will pay $6,400 more that is not true under the Romney plan.


HAYES: There is one key distinction between the Romney plan and the Ryan plan, and the big distinction is Paul Ryan preserves the cuts and then sends them back into Medicare by -- into the Medicare trust fund. Mitt Romney eliminates the cuts. He doesn't want cuts. He's said that, he doesn't want the cuts. So there is a difference between the Ryan plan and the Romney plan, and at this point Mitt Romney is the candidate. His plan wins.

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: So the difference here is that Mitt Romney embraced the Ryan budget. This is a budget that passed the House of Representatives. It represents the Republican will and wisdom as the best way to proceed. Mitt Romney chose this man as his vice president. And so people in coming to know Paul Ryan -- and most Americans don't know Mr. Ryan – coming to know him, say this is the guy that was going to absolutely savage Medicare? Is that who Mitt Romney says is his choice? And that's why we're having this conversation --


CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Obama opposed the Iraq war. He made as his number two a guy who supported the Iraq war. Does that mean that Obama then reversed his position on the Iraq war? No. The ticket's position on the Iraq war in 2008 was Obama. He is in charge, he is the guy. It's his position. End of story.

BAIER: That's right. President Obama didn't absorb Vice President Biden's split Iraq into three parts, when he was on the campaign trail -- to Charles' point.

I want to get to one more point about the vice president. Here is the question today from Ed Henry to Jay Carney.


ED HENRY, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Since the president has given the vote of confidence, and you've defended the vice president repeatedly, is this once and for all, all the speculation, this is the ticket, Obama- Biden?


HENRY: That is a yes or no --

CARNEY: Yes. And that was settled a long, long time ago. And while I appreciate, I have great admiration for and respect for and a long relationship with Sen. John McCain, the one place I would not go for advice on vice presidential running mates is to Senator McCain.


BAIER: Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, the reason this sprung up because of the remark that Biden made a few days ago saying you're all going to go into chains, speaking to a mixed audience. The problem is that Obama should and could have simply said it was a slip of the tongue, it was a mistake, It was a little extra enthusiasm. But he didn't. He backed him up. And on an issue so sensitive I think it's a big mistake that the president should have been honest about it. He doesn't have to drop him on the ticket, but he simply could have said it was a misstatement, I wish he hadn't said it.

BAIER: But bottom line, Obama-Biden is the ticket. The bumper stickers are made.

WILLIAMS: Oh yeah, no question. And of course, the shot was about Sarah Palin.

BAIER: And here's a programming note. Please join Juan Williams Sunday for a special look at fixing our schools. We'll see what is working and what isn't. You can see it at 9:00 p.m. eastern time. Told you I'd get that in.

That is it for the panel, but stay tune for a behind-the-scenes look at convention preparations.

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