Friday Lightning Round: Navy SEALs ad campaign

 This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," August 17, 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, Navy SEALs ad campaign won with 40 percent of the votes. This is former special operators and former intelligence personnel running a campaign really against the president.


GEN. PAUL VALLELY: Worse than ever are leaks coming out of the White House.

FRED RUSTMANN, CIA OFFICER: I don't see why anybody would purposely put lives in jeopardy.

BEN SMITH, NAVY SEAL: It will get Americans killed. It is my civic duty to tell the president to stop leaking information to the enemy.


BAIER: A couple of those videos surfacing. We're back with the panel. Steve?

HAYES: I think the emphasis on the leaks is a much better argument for them to make than the criticism on the bin Laden raid. They have authority to speak on bin Laden raid, but certainly the emphasis on the leaks I think is something that they can speak to that will have broad appeal.

BAIER:   Chuck?

CHARLES LANE, EDITORIAL WRITER, WASHINGTON POST: National security is not a big issue in this campaign. To the extent it is, Obama has enjoyed an advantage. I do not expect this ad, which I find disturbing because I don't believe military and intelligence people even retired should have major role in politics. I don't think it will change very much.

BAIER: OK. Charles, different topic -- Israel and Iran. We talked to the ambassador of Israel, U.S. ambassador yesterday. There is increased word on the street in Israel that increased action. What is the latest? And people are concerned about it.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: This is serious talk. There is a lot of opposition within Israel, there's a lot of support within Israel, this is a real debate. It's not a bluff, it isn't a put-on. They're trying to decide as the window is closing. There is one extra new factor which is the main threat to Israel, if it attacks would be retaliation. Not from Iran, but from Hezbollah in Lebanon which is 50,000 rockets and could set Israel on fire. It worries about that above all else.

However, Hezbollah right now is on the losing side of the civil war in Syria, it's supporting Assad. It's losing support within Lebanon. So it's worried and preoccupied. And it knows that if it launches a war against Israel on orders of Iran, having nothing to do with Lebanon, itself, and Lebanon suffers retaliation, as it surely will, it could lose everything in Lebanon. So it has a disincentive to attack, and because of that the Israeli calculation is slightly more positive.

BAIER: Steve?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Six months ago I talked to a former senior U.S. intelligence official who told me that the best time for an attack from the Israeli perspective would be during the near or around or during the U.S. political conventions because it would force politicians here in the United States to support Israel and to do so in public and forcefully.

BAIER: You think that is going to happen?

HAYES: I have no idea. But that person is smarter than I am.

BAIER: Do you think that's going to happen?

KRAUTHAMMER: I think the odds of an attack before Election Day are probably more than half, maybe three to one.

BAIER: What do you think?

LANE:   I usually defer to Charles on these things. The one thing I do agree on with Steve is that the optimal time would be in the heat of the political campaign.

BAIER: OK, we will be all over it, obviously, if we get any indications.

Winners and losers this week. Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: Obviously Paul Ryan, but not just because he was chosen but because he showed instantly how he could change the debate in the country and make Medicare a winning issue for Republicans. Loser unfortunately, Joe Biden. His remark in Danville about chains -- there are two responses you can have. Governor Wilder found it condescending and offensive, which I think it was. The other response is the one that laughs off because he is a clown, but that raises the issue of fitness for office if you're a heartbeat away.

BAIER: Chuck?

LANE: I'm going to go with Mitt Romney for winner of the week because I think he has already weathered an early onslaught against Paul Ryan. My loser of the week was sort of between Tim Pawlenty for not being picked and me for predicting that he would be picked.


But I decided to go instead with Joe Biden for many of the same reasons Charles just said. You know, you can only put your foot in your mouth so many times.

BAIER: Steve?

HAYES: Mitt Romney for being bold and for coming out of the first week looking good. And it's hard to disagree with Joe Biden.

BAIER: OK, that is it for the panel and that's it for this week. But stay tuned for new ad for an old product that uses a recent dust-up.

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