This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," October 5, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SHANNON BREAM, ANCHOR: Alright, updating a story we told you about moments ago. Breaking news, Sarah Palin says she will not run for president next year. Palin has released a letter to her supporters. Here is part of that, quote, "After much prayer and serious consideration I've decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for President of the United States. I will continue driving the discussion for freedom and free markets, including in the race for president."

Let's talk about it with our panel, Steve Hayes, senior writer for The Weekly Standard, A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of The Hill, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. All right, Steve, I'll start with you. Any surprise here?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, I think there is a little surprise. I mean if you lock back at what she had done, she had not laid the groundwork for a presidential campaign. She hadn't been out setting up committees in Iowa, spending a lot of time in New Hampshire, except with a couple of stops over the past few months. So she hadn't been doing the kinds of things that one expect her to do if she had been running for president.

Having said that, she certainly liked to play like she was a potential candidate. Ya know whenever there was news in the presidential race, Sarah Palin followed quickly after. And I think that was her way to inject her voice and continue to be heard and speak out for the things she said she wants to be heard on going forward.

BREAM: Well, and as late as yesterday, we had gotten some indication that there were some inquiring on her behalf or potentially on her behalf into some of the filing deadlines making sure that she had all the information that she would need to know. So it sounds like maybe A.B., this is a very recent decision on her part?

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: I don't think so. But we don't really know. I just -- I think this is no surprise. I don't think she was ever running. I don't think she made any of the steps that she would have had to have taken to mount a serious run. And I would add, there are others who don't do this. I mean, Herman Cain, as I repeat myself about this -- he is having a wonderful time but he is on book tour. He's not running a serious presidential campaign and trying to win in the early contests and trying to create momentum for real contests that would ultimately make him the nominee for the Republican Party.

So running for president is often a really good way to get yourself -- to promote yourself. I don't think Sarah Palin was ever doing it, because she makes money when she stays in the news. If she ever falters and she would fail in a contest like this, her stock would plummet and she wouldn't get paid what she gets for a speech and she wouldn't get book deals and she wouldn't command this kind of attention. So I think that, as you see, she is not endorsing anybody. She wants to keep alive the prospect she might run as independent next year. And she wants to tease us with the promise that she'll stay in the debate and on the issues and not tell us yet who she will be supporting. I think she wants to be kingmaker, she want to be troublemaker, but I never thought she was running.

BREAM: Well, and just like we parse anything that Chris Christie, Marco Rubio says, Sarah Palin, too, you mentioned, I mean, her statement says "I decided not to seek the 2012 GOP nomination," and there are gonna be people who say, is she going to consider something else?

STODDARD: That was intentional.

BREAM: Ya know what do you think, Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: I heard my friends parsing every sentence that Paul Ryan said over the last six months to find Jesuitical reasons, to explain why he was really was going to run if you merely read the text in the correct way. I don't think it means anything. I think she is not running, two days in a run the sun rises in the east -- yesterday Christie, today Sarah Palin. And I have actually new news. I just spoke this afternoon with someone in the Godot camp, and Godot is not going to run for the presidency this year.

BREAM: Really? So we shouldn't be waiting.

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, he doesn't want to abandon his position in the Beckett play. He has a pledge and he has to stick with those people.

Look, I was fooled by Palin for two weeks when she made the announcement about the Iowa speech on September 3 which looked as if this was gonna be something big. But otherwise, except for that two-week delusion period, I've been saying for a year, year-and- a-half, she isn't going to run for the same reasons A.B. has said. If she were to run, she is already a celebrity, she is already a former nominee. If she runs and loses, which she absolutely would have, she would be diminished. If you come out of nowhere like a Huckabee in '08 or a Cain today and you do well, then you become a player in the Republican Party and national politics for years to come. With her, it would have been the opposite. It made no sense at all. And that's why I think it's again sun rising in the east.

BREAM: Well Steve, alright, these two think she definitely was never running. Or at least other than your two week, you said, delusional period.

KRAUTHAMMER: But she wasn't either, I just was fooled.

BREAM: [INAUDIBLE] But Steve, do you think at some point they may not think she would have been successful. She may have thought at some point they would have been successful. Do you think she ever gave consideration and saw the field saw the strength of the fundraising numbers from some of the folks in this field and eventually reached a decision that there wasn't a spot for her? Do you think she ever had that consideration?

HAYES: Yes, with all due respect to my esteemed colleagues here, it's nice that they knew what Sarah Palin was thinking because most of the rest of country really didn't. And I think it's entirely possible that she seriously considered a race.

Ya know one of the turning point may have been the Bachmann surge. I mean the fact that Michele Bachmann did as well as she did may have helped, ya know, crowd out Sarah Palin, not because they were both women or they had the same profile, but they believe in the same issues and to some extent were talking to the same people. But I have to disagree with Charles. I mean it's not -- this may not be the case with Sarah Palin, that she was never going to run. It certainly wasn't the case with Paul Ryan and it wasn't the case with Chris Christie. They actually spent a fair amount of time, I think Paul Ryan more seriously than Chris Christie, actually exploring a real race, talking to the people that you would talk to, sitting down with pollsters, meeting with strategists, calling on filing deadlines, talking to people in key early states. You could be a little bit cynical as Charles likes to be about media being taken along, but there was real reporting, there was actual real consideration taking place.

KRAUTHAMMER: With all due respect, two response. Number one, that's where a three-year residency in psychiatry comes in.


BREAM: This is Dr. Krauthammer we're talking about.


KRAUTHAMMER: Number two, I don't deny that with a Ryan or with a Daniels they really went through a process. I don't think it was all - it was decided events. But if you looked at it objectively, Ryan in the future, a Daniels in the future and with Palin all the more so, if you were an outside observer and you thought if I were him, would it make sense, I think the answer in all cases was no. And therefore you would intuit that if Ryan gave it a good long thought, which he did, he would come to the conclusion that he did.

BREAM: A.B., let me ask you, some of the candidates who were in might have had fears or wonders about whether she was getting in. Now that it's official who is most relieved, do you think out there in the GOP field that Sarah Palin is not gonna be joining them?

STODDARD: Well, I think Mitt Romney is disappointed because every time someone comes in and has a boomlet, he manages to pick up a few more dollars and endorsements from the sidelines, though his support doesn't seem to get any better. In the polls he can't seem to break 30 percent. But divided conservative vote is better for Mitt Romney.

I think that, ya know, Rick Santorum, is really -- he's not doing that well in the polls, but I think the debates has really singled himself out as the most serious heft on policy, very articulate, willing to land a punch. I think Newt Gingrich again, is not really in this for the real prize. I don't think Michele Bachmann is relieved about Sarah Palin's decision because she is in a place in this race now, where she can't come back no matter what anyway.

BREAM: Alright panel, thank you very much. Stick around. By the way, Sarah Palin's gonna be On the Record tonight with Greta, that's 10:00 p.m. eastern. And we're gonna have a whole lot more with this panel in "Special Report" online. We hope you'll join us. You can log on right now to get ready at our website at foxnews.com/sronline. We begin after this program ends at 7:00 eastern.

Up next, the latest on the operation Fast and Furious scandal.

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