This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," June 3, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS., FORMER GOVERNOR: Three years into his term, we have more news unemployment ticked up again. We have 16 million people out of work or have just stopped looking for work.
RUDY GIULIANI, R-N.Y., FORMER MAYOR: The policies of Barack Obama have been a disaster for the country. I mean, I don't care who you are, Republican or Democrat, you can't look at this results for our economy and think that this man has the slightest clue on how to lead it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: One presidential candidate and another possible. Here is Herman Cain's quote - "Experience has taught me that government cannot create jobs. Instead government is responsible for creating a favorable environment for businesses to thrive and succeed. Real results are needed now."
Newt Gingrich, "America cannot wait. We must take immediate steps to put America back on the path of economic growth and job creation." Tim Pawlenty, "Today's underwhelming jobs numbers report demonstrates president Obama's failure to address the tough challenges we face as a nation." Some of the Republican response.
No president has won re-election with an unemployment rate above 7.2 percent. Now to get to seven percent by election day 18 months from now, the economy has added 1.8 million jobs since the recession ended in February of last year. That's about 120,000 jobs a month. To get to seven percent by Election Day, the economy would have to add 4.5 million new jobs in the next 18 months, that's about 250,000 jobs a month, double the current pace of job creation. Just some stats and history. Back with the panel. Charles?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Originally, I think Republicans had an idea that the way to attack Obama was on Obamacare, the main issue in the midterm election, on the expansion of government, and responding to the native sense that is not what America is. We want smaller government, less regulation, et cetera.
The Medicare issue blunts that at least to some extent. It looks as if there is now a huge opening to go after Obama simply on stewardship, not about ideology. He told us he would get us out of a ditch and now we have all this extra debt. We have nowhere to go, high unemployment, et cetera. He can't run the economy.
And what you do I think, is you want to link it with stuff that people are experiencing every day. Again, on energy, you show a clip of Obama in Brazil encouraging drilling in Brazil and saying we're going to be a customer. And you say if you want American jobs in energy, and you want to lower our prices over time by increasing this industry, something that we can do, vote against Obama. I think that is how you do it. He can't handle the economy.
STODDARD: I think it's true. I think he knows that if these trends continue and this is not a 'bump in the road,' he is not going to be re-elected. Something like more than half of the country believes that we are in a recession or a depression.
BAIER: Do you think that these numbers dramatically change that tide? Because just two weeks ago there were multiple reports about -- oh President Obama is a shoo-in.
A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: Well, President Obama approval rating 36 hours ago was at 54 percent in one poll. So he's been on the up. The trend lines for -- the economic numbers for the last couple of months unemployment-wise have been pretty good. They're trending in the right direction.
And what his path to re-election was, until today was, you know, if he could show incremental improvement, that was the right trajectory in a new normal for an economy that won't recover for 25 years or maybe in our lifetime, the housing market that will not come back.
So he's in serious trouble if this continues. If it's a bump in the road, he can show incremental growth again, he might do OK. Interesting to note, the economies of the states he has to win, of Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, have all improved during the Obama administration. They will be all that matters, okay? Not - seriously -- it's not going to be the economy of the state of New York, or what is going on in Maryland. It's going to be in those swing states next year.
STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: People who were saying that President Obama was a shoo-in were wrong. I think that's clear. He's always been vulnerable; he's going to continue to be vulnerable. I think the two people who benefit most from this in the current Republican presidential field are Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty. Romney, spent a lot of time talking about jobs and growth and the economy. He didn't talk when other candidates were putting out statements about foreign policy issues, he stuck to jobs and growth in the economy.
It was a risky strategy, it wasn't clear that this was going to happen, that we were going to see this. And I think it redounds to his benefit. Tim Pawlenty has a big economic speech coming up on Tuesday in Chicago, where he is going to propose an overhaul of the tax system, he's going to talk about regulatory reform, he's going to get into a bunch of these kind of economic issues that I think on the heels of this news will make him look like he knows what he is talking about.
BAIER: Change the equation?
KRAUTHAMMER: That's how you do it. I think if you talk about his record, you do a Reagan on Carter. Are you better off than Obama had promised? The answer is no.
BAIER: Friday lightning round will come back next week. We have thought this was important. That's it for the panel, but stay tuned for a little review.
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