Friday Lightening Round: New Census, Brazil Oil

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," March 25, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JIM ANGLE, ANCHOR: Now every week viewers vote for your choice online in our Friday lightning round poll. This week, drum roll, please, census report won with 40 percent of the vote.

And now we're back with our panel. And actually the census report is our first question here. One of the things, Chuck, that was interesting about this was that the group that grew the most, 43 percent, were Hispanics. What are the political implications of that and that fact that the center of gravity in the nation, if you will, seemed to shift just a little south and a little west?

CHARLES LANE, WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think it wasn't a surprise. We all knew that was coming. And I actually think in one way this is gonna favor the Republicans in the presidential race. Why? Because the population of states, the total population of states that reliably vote Republican is increasing dramatically and therefore increasing the representation in the electoral college. Texas which has always gone Republican in the last eight or ten elections will gain four electoral votes.

I did a little math, the 22 states that John McCain carried, are gaining a net total seven electoral votes. They're going from 173 to 180. So, in spite of the fact that Hispanics generally have voted majority democratic, I think this population result shifts the electoral college map in favor of the GOP.

ANGLE: OK, anybody else want to comment on that? Or can we go to the next question?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Let's go to the next question. He covered it all.


ANGLE: Alright, nothing to add, alright. This is an amazing moment for you Charles, it's very very impressive.


ANGLE: Let me ask you about Brazil. The president --

KRAUTHAMMER: You mean my reticence?

ANGLE: Yes, exactly.

KRAUTHAMMER: A first on television?


ANGLE: The president on his recent trip to Brazil seemed more enthusiastic about Brazilian drilling than he is about American drilling. The Ex-Im Bank is guaranteeing loans so Brazil can buy equipment from the U.S. And the U.S. even issued a permit for the Brazilians to drill in the Gulf of Mexico at a time when they seem rare for the American companies.

KRAUTHAMMER: We have perennial recurring problem in the country. Every few years, you have spike in the price of oil, it strangles our economy, it enriches the likes of Hugo Chavez and other unfriendlies. And we have two answers in the country. The Republicans say drill, baby, drill, and Democrats say drill in Brazil. I like Brazil. It's a nice place for drilling. But why not in the Gulf? Why not off the east coast? Why not in ANWR? Why not off Alaska?

ANGLE: And the thing is Steve, that there's also - I mean, there's a lot of tax money to be made by state and local governments, something that you hear from a lot of gulf state lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans, not to mention, the fact that, ya know, it's our oil and you reduce the dependence on foreign nations.

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Right. But by exporting the development, what the president is doing is exporting his potential political problems. If there's a spill, the spill happens in Brazil, it's not immediate, it's not right in front of us. But just a word about the Ex-Im Bank. I mean, that is the source of more is the source of more corporate welfare in the U.S. government. If Tea-Partiers want someplace to look to shut down government and to save money, I would start with the Ex-Im Bank.

ANGLE: Chuck?

LANE: Well guys, we're all talking here like there wasn't just the biggest oil spill in American history in the Gulf of Mexico, just last year. What do you expect President Obama to do? He's done what any politician, Republican or Democrat, would have done. He slowed down drilling.

In fact, it was in 2002, that George W. Bush, to help his brother Jeb get re-elected governor, shut down drilling off the coast of Florida. This is unfortunately, a very emotional issue for people. It's "not in my backyard. We don't want to drill in my backyard." And, so it's terrible irony but I can't say I think that only a Democrat would have done this.

ANGLE: OK, very quickly, on the last one. Republicans are headed to Iowa this weekend. It's a crowded field this year. What surprises does anyone see among the candidates? Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: Michele Bachmann essentially throwing her hat in the ring. She hasn't announced officially, she says she'll decide in June, but she looks serious. I think she and Palin - she will take the Palin constituency, will be rather strong, especially in Iowa.

ANGLE: Steve?

HAYES: I think the surprise is likely to be Haley Barbour, actually. He's much -- he's a formidable political figure, we all know that. He ran the Republican National Committee, he has ties with fundraisers, he ran the Republican Governors Association, has a strong relationship with governors. But he is also better on domestic policy issues than people think. I think people will be surprised on that.

ANGLE: Chuck?

LANE: Well, I'm surprised actually, that the Republican field is so amorphous and so lackluster at this stage of the election cycle. You would have thought, with a president who is eminently beatable, some stronger folks would have emerge. You would have thought a Mitch Daniels or perhaps even a Chris Christie would have taken the plunge. But unfortunately, for folks like that, they can't pass the litmus test with the Iowa caucus voters, and so they are hanging back.

ANGLE: OK. That is it for the panel, but stay tuned for a speech that was lost in translation.

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