Friday Lightning Round: Top Donors in White House Jobs

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," June 19, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The people who got those positions got them because of their credentials. They also happen to be donors, in some cases, there are numerous and far many more cases of people who weren't donors who were appointed to jobs.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney talking about what viewers voted on for the Friday Lightning Round, top donors in White House jobs. We're back with the panel. Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, they say the definition of a diplomat is a gentleman sent abroad to lie for his country. The definition of a Press Secretary is a gentleman who stays at home and lies on behalf of his president. Look, this is such a transparent lie that it's almost innocent. Any administration giving the large donors appointments is like the sun rising in the east. I am not shocked, shocked.

BAIER: It happens in every administration. It does happen, it seems in a more frequent -- or the numbers are bigger in this administration.

CHARLES LANE, WASHINGTON POST: Yes, I read the report. It's an interesting report. It's a good report. I'm with Charles though; it's not a shocking report. This is a difference in degree not in kind with what has gone on before. And I would just add, in my career as a foreign correspondent, I met a lot of these big donor ambassadors, some of them were a lot better than the foreign service people who would have been in there instead.

BAIER: Yeah. People are just looking at it as Senator Obama on the campaign trail and all he said --


STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: -- that's the obvious point. This was his whole rationale for running, right? He was going to come in and change Washington. He wouldn't, ya know -- I won't even be seen with a lobbyist, much less employ lobbyists. And ya know, now he is giving waivers to lobbyists working in his administration, he's got the highest percentage of these big donors working for him. There is also an interesting media angle on this. Ya know, if this were the Bush administration, I get tired of making this point --

BAIER: We make it a lot.

HAYES: But I mean, this would be front page of the New York Times every single day and there would be extensive investigations. But this is a one day thing and we'll move on and nobody will talk about it anymore.

KRAUTHAMMER: But on that take, the idea that the president engages in hypocrisy. I'm not shocked about that either.

BAIER: Okay, so collectively not shocked.

KRAUTHAMMER: No, I'm not shocked --

BAIER: Okay, Operation Fast and Furious -- roughly 2,500 guns sold under this operation, 700 have been recovered by police at crime scenes in Mexico and the U.S. There's big testimony about this. We are covering it extensively. Some media outlets are as well. Steve, it seems like it was an operation gone deadly.

HAYES: Yeah. It was a bad operation. I mean, I think, there's not anything wrong necessarily with the way that this was conceived. I mean this is something that you do, whether it's with guns, whether it's with terrorists. Where you take a small fish terrorist and send them back to see he goes and meets with Zarqawi, to try to get the big one. But it seems like this was under resourced, underfunded, and ill-conceived from the very beginning with tragic, tragic consequences.

BAIER: Chuck?

LANE: Well the trouble with letting guns walk, as opposed to say a bag of marijuana walk, is that the gun can be used to kill somebody later on. And that is why as I understand it, ATF had not regularly done this in the past. I think it was probably an idea that made some sense at the time. But it all depended on resources and execution as Steve says. And that's where it fell short.

BAIER: Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: I would agree. Look, in principle, it's not a bad idea to infiltrate the bad guys either with trackable weapons or even with agents. That's what you do in wars. But you have to be able to actually track the weapons, know what is happening. And that's where it seems to have become a fiasco. No tracking. No oversight. Bad management. The execution was terrible.

BAIER: Very quick answers. The debt negotiations under Vice President Biden, will something get together before the debt ceiling has to be raised, the deadline?

KRAUTHAMMER: I think it will happen around August 2, probably a week or two after, when things get kind of hairy. But yes, it will probably happen in August. I can't see it ending, ya know, up in the winter.

BAIER: Chuck?

LANE: I'm more optimistic than ever before that they will put some real points on the board. What makes me optimistic is the ethanol vote, which shows that there is movement on tax expenditures within the Republican Party. And that is going to be part of what makes this go.

BAIER: And Medicare cuts on the Democratic side.

LANE: Medicaid, I've heard them talking about.

HAYES: And Medicare. I was told the other day. Look, the big news on this is going to be additional pressure coming from the right next week with Jim DeMint, who used his speech today [INAUDIBLE] to talk about his cut, cap and balance plan. And he's got a pledge to ask the presidential candidates to sign, members of the Senate, members of the House, people running for office. Jim Jordan has done the same thing in the House of Representatives, really pushing from the right to get leadership, to adopt these ideas of theirs.

BAIER: We'll try to have some update of the Boehner-Kasich, President Obama-Vice President Biden golf match from Saturday, on Monday. That's it for the panel. But stay tuned for what may be an example of the apple not falling far from the tree.

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