Friday Lightning Round: Donald Trump, Mideast Violence

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," April 8, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Before the break, we asked you whether Donald Trump is really serious about running for president. And the results, you see them here, 67 percent of you said yes, 23 percent said he is doing it for the publicity. It's a non- scientific poll, but an interesting one nonetheless.

Now, Donald Trump is making the rounds and he appeared on Bill O'Reilly's show to talk about one interesting topic.


DONALD TRUMP: I have a birth certificate. I have my birth certificate. In fact, they said the one I gave yesterday wasn't good enough. So I actually got the one from the health department which is the perfect one, OK. Because they were saying, oh the one I gave yesterday wasn't enough so I got the other one. People have birth certificates. He doesn't have a birth certificate.

Now he may have one, but there is something on that birth certificate -- it may be religion; maybe it says he's a Muslim. I don't know. Maybe he doesn't want that. Or he may not have one. But I will tell you this -- if he wasn't born in this country it's one of the great scams of all time.



BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Talking, of course, about President Obama, Donald Trump saying that he has actually hired investigators to look in Hawaii for the president's birth certificate, the long form version. We're back with the panel. We'll start there. This is what the viewers voted for, for the first topic in the Friday lightning round. Pete?

PETER WIENER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, I'd say the biggest problem that Donald Trump has is hair. It's worse than mine, which is saying something. That is a big problem.

He's not a serious figure and what he is doing is hurting the Republican party, the stuff about the birth certificate. It's silly. It's wrong. It's counterproductive, and I hope he gets off of it. If he wants to help the Republican Party he should actually engage the issues.

But if you listen to him, he has some bizarre ideas. I mean, I think his energy policy is to seize Iraqi oil wells. That is not going to fly. The reason he is polling well, is he has high name ID. Because he has a tower named after him, because he's host of a show. But this guy would not withstand scrutiny and this will be a short-lived story.

BAIER: But yet you believe he's running?

WIENER: Look, I think that he wants to create the impression that he is to get attention. I would be surprised at the end of the day if he runs, he just could not win.

BAIER: Kirsten?

KIRSTEN POWERS, "NEW YORK POST": He's so destructive to Republicans it's almost like he is a plant from the Democrats. I mean the things that he is doing are so destructive, like what he was saying. He also has said that nobody from Obama's childhood remembers him or something his classmates. Ya know, that Politifact gave that a "pants on fire." What he just said to O'Reilly, maybe it says "Muslim" on there, I mean, he's just wildly irresponsible.

It is his name recognition. He has 96 percent name recognition. And I think the most interesting thing of this is though is what it says about the Republican field that he is polling so well, which is that the field is very, very weak because there is really nothing compelling about him.

BAIER: Chris?

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS POLITICS EDITOR DIGITAL: These fellows who are dragging their feet in the Republican primary are looking at Donald Trump and kicking themselves, because he is waded into an open space. We know 40 percent of American voters think that it's a reasonable question to ask about the president's birth certificate or place of origin. Trump's waded right in, he's taken all of that.

So if you are Haley Barbour, if you're one of these guys. Or you're Mitt Romney and you're sitting on the sidelines, you realize you've got a problem because here is Donald soaking up all of the spotlight. I think it's too early to say the field is weak, but it's too late for the field to be so empty.

BAIER: That said, there is a hunger you acknowledge for someone that Republicans could rally around that is a straight talker or straight shooter or something.

STIREWALT: What the Republican field needs and what Republicans want is somebody who can speak in an unvarnished fashion. And right now what is out of vogue, is Obama-ian, I would say obfuscation, but as certainly vagueness is not attractive. What is attractive is blunt directness.

Now, Trump is able, because he probably will not end up being the Republican nominee for president, is able to let it rip in a way that other politicians can't, but the other Republican nominees have to start speaking more plainly.

POWERS: Does it matter that what he says isn't true, though?

STIREWALT: Well, look --

BAIER: What happened to my lightning round?


Alright let's go to the Middle East? Obviously there is turmoil all over the Middle East. You have Yemen, Syria. Egypt is still trying to figure out exactly what's going to happen with that election. What about this and the big picture and what it means? Chris?

STIREWALT: It's a dangerous moment. And I think America is starting to see that we have a limited ability to influence events in this part of the world, it's looking increasingly like a polar dispute between the Shia of Iran and the Sunni Muslims of Saudi Arabia. And we -- these are big tectonic moves. And we can't change it.

BAIER: Kirsten?

POWERS: Yeah,I mean, there is a lot of hope for what is going on in the Middle East. But time is what's going to tell. This is going to play out much longer. It's sort of interesting that Libya's become almost like a side show. Ya know, no one really seems to be paying attention to what is going on over there. That you have ya know, NATO having now, ya know, hit the rebels twice, having a NATO general come out and say we're probably not going to be able to beat Qaddafi. I mean people aren't really paying attention to what's going on there.

BAIER: Well, we're doing a story every day because, boy it seems like a standoff there.

WIENER: That's right. Ya know Chris said that it's dangerous moment. And it is. But it's also an inevitable moment. I mean this is human nature that is reasserting itself. People want to cast of the chains, whether they succeed is an open question. But this kind of stability that people for decades said could prevail in the Middle East, that is coming apart. I still think Egypt is the key country here, historically, politically, and culturally.

BAIER: Quickly down the row, I have 30 seconds, the significance of this judicial race in Wisconsin if it turns around, as it appears it is.

WIENER: It's a very big deal. Labor put a tremendous amount of energy and time, and if they get beat here it hurts.

POWERS: Yeah, it's definitely big deal and a very sort of fascinating and shocking story.

STIREWALT: Keeps -- It shows us that Wisconsin's still a swing state for 2012.

BAIER: OK, that is it for the panel. They made it lightning in the end. But stay tuned for some viewer e-mail.

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