Should President Travel During Time of Crisis?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," March 18, 2011. 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 our Friday lightning round poll. This week, drum roll please, growing opposition to short term continuing resolutions, 70 percent of the vote for that one. We're back with our panel. The CR, continuing resolution, funding until April 8. What about this, Steve?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, I understand the objections to people who don't want to continue to fund the government based on two or three week small increments, it makes sense to tackle the big things. My concern is that by focusing on these and making a battle of opposing continuing resolutions, you're not actually getting -- you're fighting about little stuff. You want to be fighting about big things like entitlement reform.

CHARLES LANE, WASHINGTON POST: I have to believe that President Obama would be very happy to see a fight develop within the Republicans over this issue. John Boehner knows that and I think he's trying to prevent it.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: That's why it makes no sense for the House freshman to oppose the leadership on this. If you are cutting $2 billion a week, that is real money. If you stop it and threaten a shutdown you put all the leverage on the side of Obama and the Democrats.

BAIER: President Obama is traveling to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador. It's a trip -- he's canceled foreign trips before. We're in the middle of the crisis, obviously in Libya and Japan, but this is his trip coming up. What about this and the message perhaps it sends? Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: When he postponed the earlier trips to Asia, it was because of his concern for his domestic agenda, Obamacare it was in trouble in the Congress -- and he postponed it. Here he's got a war he's about to lead, send soldiers, essentially, into battle in some way, and he is taking his trip. It shows you his priorities.

BAIER: Chuck?

LANE: I don't have a problem with the fact that he is going. I'm a little uncomfortable with the itinerary. There is one country he is leaving off, Colombia that has done yeoman work with the United States over many years fighting drugs and terrorists and, at least according to the president, is a place where we want to do more business with. As a free trade pact pending, I think it's a snub he shouldn't be doing.

BAIER: Steve?

HAYES: I don't think he should be going at all. And to pick up on what Charles said, he's got a war he's starting to lead. I think that's the problem. He is not starting to lead the war. We're merely sending troops.

BAIER: Last topic here, Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin -- is it possible that he is being resurrected politically. You have a new poll out, a public policy polling, Governor's Walker's favorability among Republicans, 55 percent favorable, unfavorable 11 percent, not sure 34 percent. Is it Walker 2012?

HAYES: I don't think he is going to run for president. But I don't think he went down as far as people thought. Some of the polls were worded poorly. I think this is guy, who in a Republican primary is going to excite a lot of voters and I think his endorsement in 2012 will carry a significant amount of weight.

BAIER: Chuck?

LANE: I don't see him as candidate at least until I see a poll showing independents like Scott Walker. It doesn't surprise me at all that a majority of Republicans give him 55 percent. Frankly, the 34 percent who aren't sure is something that I think is a little more significant.

BAIER: Plus he's getting vilified every day by union representatives and others.

LANE: Yeah, and I think that that has had an impact on independents, fairly or not. And I think it's a little premature to be talking about that.

BAIER: Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: Walker in 2012 is ridiculous. He's been in office a few months. He makes Chris Christie look like an old veteran. And clearly, he has got to wait until he has shown by what actually happens in Wisconsin that the proposal in the law he passed is going to work. It happened for Mitch Daniels in Indiana, his numbers went up, but only after four years. Walker has to wait, one day he'll be in the wings. He could be a number one or a number two.

BAIER: Now you guys were really lightning today. I'm very impressed. So --

KRAUTHAMMER: And we've got time leftover.

BAIER: -- do you have a NCAA favorite? The president chose Kansas. Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: Red Sox in six. That's what I'm saying


BAIER: Chuck?

LANE: I like Notre Dame. I have them going to the final four.

BAIER: Really? Steve?

HAYES: Can I pick anybody other than the Wisconsin Badgers?

BAIER: That's true.

HAYES: They're fourth seed.

BAIER: You're all Wisconsin. I like Ohio.

KRAUTHAMMER: Is McGill in the tournament? It's my alma mater.


BAIER: There you go. That is it for the panel but stay tuned for a unique way to calm people down.

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