Friday Lightening Round: Will Israel strike Iran?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," February 10, 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 poll. This week, "Will Israel strike Iran?" won with 65 percent of the vote. Let me ask you about this. "Will Israel strike Iran before the election?" is really how the question read. Ehud Barak, the defense minister in Israel, recently said just last week "Those who say in English 'later' may find out that later is too late."

Here is a look at two poll numbers from our new poll. U.S. military action to keep Iran from getting nukes, 60 percent support, 30 percent oppose. When the question is phrased this way, if Iran and Israel went to war, should the U.S. use military action to help Israel? Yes, 45 percent, no, staying neutral, 48 percent. The key question, Charles, will Israel strike Iran before the election?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Our own secretary of defense has said it's highly likely and he gave a timeframe -- April, May, June, which means the Israelis think that the moment, the zone of immunity where they can no longer attack successfully is approaching. I think he is right. I think the Israelis are serious unless something happens between now and mid-year or even November that will threaten the regime, because it won't change the policy. I think Israel will strike because it cannot live under the threat of annihilation from Iran.

BAIER: The other night on the online show you said 90 percent yes before the election.

KRAUTHAMMER: Unless something intervenes. I cannot imagine the Israelis are going to allow Iran to go nuclear and to hold a Damocles sword over six million Jews all over again. Israel was established to prevent a second Holocaust, not to invite one.

BAIER: OK, Juan. What about it?

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: That certainly is the logic and the approach. Now, there appears to be a covert war already going on with U.S., Israeli, possibly others involved in trying to subvert the effort to have this nuclear capability on Iran's part. So that is what could intervene in the meanwhile.

What strikes me are the poll numbers. You know, gosh, we want to stop it, but we don't want to go to war. More than half, about 48 percent say they don't want to go in. Look if that happens, there is a great potential for world war.

BAIER: Steve?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I think it's certainly more likely than not. Part of the reason is that the Iran -- the discussion is about the nature of the Iranian regime. This is not a regime that can be talked out of its nuclear weapons. This is not a regime that can be pressured out of its desire for nuclear weapons. They have shown again and again and again they will do virtually anything to obtain the nuclear weapons, including secret facilities including violating international agreements. They want a nuclear weapon. They are going to try to get one. The Israelis will stop them. I hope we will help if they decide to.

BAIER: Juan's pick was the influence of billionaires in this election cycle. Today at CPAC Foster Friess, who is supporting the super PAC that backs Rick Santorum introduced Rick Santorum. What about this role of billionaires in this cycle?

WILLIAMS: Well, you know, it's playing out for everyone to see in the Republican primaries. I think Newt Gingrich would not have survived to this moment without Sheldon Adelson coming in, the casino mogul from Las Vegas. He has been a clear savior for Newt Gingrich. Foster Friess, a savior for Rick Santorum.

On the Democratic side, people like Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Hollywood mogul, have been pouring money into the Obama camp. The Obama people now have gone back on the previous pledge of saying we don't like these super PACs. We think they are corrupt. They're jumping in the pool, too. So I think big money is playing a big role. You can say money is free speech, let the boys talk. But I must say, if you are rich in America you have a louder voice.

KRAUTHAMMER: It shows that three decades of attempting to take money out of politics is utterly futile. The way to do it is abolish all the laws, allow people to contribute with no limits and have full disclosure.

HAYES: I agree. You can have instant disclosure. If I go to Starbucks right now and buy a $2 coffee it shows up on my account the next day. I can see it. I can get a printout. That technology is available. If we abolish all the limits, lift the caps, immediate disclosure for people over $1,000 contributors, $5,000, it solves a lot of problems.

BAIER: Sure, down the road. Coming up to the general election outside money's going to play a big role.

HAYES: No question. It's a free-for-all.

KRAUTHAMMER: Obama in '08 promised he would abide by the limits. He decided he'd make a lot of money otherwise, so he didn't. Everybody is in it for now. I think it's says say we have to stop these insane attempts to control the amount of money because if you have a First Amendment ultimately it's impossible to do.

BAIER: That is it for the panel. But stay tuned to see why focus groups aren't always reliable.

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