Political winners and losers for the week

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," September 18, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


REP. DEVIN NUNES, R-CALIF.: I think maybe there is way too big of a bureaucracy between what's happening in the field and then when you get to the top, it becomes a -- not only bureaucratic but very political. And it's susceptible to politics.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What the president has repeatedly thought from his national security team is the clearest and best assessment of what exactly is happening on the ground. And that's what the president routinely asks for. And that's what the president has confidence that he has routinely provided by his national security team.


BAIER: Cooking the books on intel about ISIS. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee says knows it's been going on since 2012 because he was told by informant manhattans that it was going on back then. What about all of this? We start the Friday lightning round there. We're back with the panel. Steve?

HAYES: Well, I think this is a big deal. This has been a lot of media focus over the past couple weeks, past couple months about intelligence manipulation as it relates it to ISIS where you had analysts who provided information, provided assessments that said that ISIS was actually a growing threat and a real danger, and those threats were systematically rewritten to down play the threat from ISIS.

But most of the media is treating this as a new scandal. My argument is that this isn't a new scandal at all and in fact it has happened both before with respect to the war on terror but also involving DIA and Cent Com. And that goes back to the translation, the exploitation of the documents that were captured in Usama bin Laden's compound.

The same thing happened. Those documents, there were games played with them and the administration was arguing at the time that Al Qaeda was no longer a threat. That it was, in fact, recreating when you had somebody like Lieutenant General Mike Flynn, former chairman of the Defense Intelligence Agency, saying at the time that Al Qaeda had doubled in strength. I think this is potentially the biggest scandal of the Obama administration.

BAIER: OK. Mark it down. Amy?

WALTER: Here we go. Well, that is saying something if that indeed does come the cause. It comes on the heels of other bad news out of the Middle East this week about the number of fighters that we have trained.

BAIER: That went from apparently five to nine. Now it's nine.

WALTER: They're nine now.

KRAUTHAMMER: It's nearly 100 percent increase.

WALTER: This there we go. I feel -- that's a lot better. So, this is creating this on top of that. Plus now, Putin in the region, I mean, we are now looking at a very messy situation there, which not only is the Obama administration going to have to deal with this, but, let's face it, this is something that the next president is going to have to deal with.
And so these are the questions that every single one of these candidates is going to have to answer and be more specific in their answers than they have had to be in the past.

BAIER: More than New Hampshire town hall. Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, it's absolutely clear that the reality that's happening in Syria. Totally contradicts everything that the president and high administration officials have said. So either the intelligence was wrong or the intelligence was deliberately manipulated. That's the only question at stake here, which of those two is true.

BAIER: Winners and losers?

KRAUTHAMMER: My loser, Obama for blaming the failed training program, nine active fighters for half a billion dollars, on his critics, and the -- what the presidential spokesman said Obama never wanted to do this in the first place. And they made him do this, and now look what has happened.

BAIER: Hillary Clinton one of them.

KRAUTHAMMER: Exactly. And Republicans, of course. I mean, that is the most pathetic defense of a non-strategy I have ever heard. And it's kind of, you know, squealing on the opposition and whining about it.

And the winner is Bashar al Assad who is now propped up by poor -- by Russian troops, aircraft helicopters supporting a losing regime.

BAIER: Winner and loser?

WALTER: Well, you took my winner with Carly Fiorina obviously with a great debate performance, and the question now is not even so much how does she respond to criticism but can she raise the money that goes along with what has been seen overall as a great night and put the infrastructure together in her campaign.

For the loser, Scott Walker. He was a candidate that not long ago was looked upon as the frontrunner, and now there are talks looming that may maybe his campaign is going to have a shakeup. Donors are upset. His numbers are plummeting. He has got to find a second act.

HAYES: Winner is Vladimir Putin. When he had Russian forces move into Ukraine, the Obama administration said that the punishment would be isolate. He would be isolated, that he would be shunned. We read on the front page of the "New York Times" two days ago that, in fact, the U.S.
military is considering engaging with Vladimir Putin and the Russians militarily in Syria. My loser, the New York Giants who in a series of mistakes at the end of the game had a chance to steal a road game against the Cowboys. Three consecutive mistakes gave the Cowboys a chance to win it, and the Cowboys won it.

BAIER: Sorry, Mike Emanuel.

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