Should the White House trust the Muslim Brotherhood?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," April 5, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: In the aftermath of Egypt's revolution, we have broadened our engagement to include new and emerging political parties and actors, because it's a fact that Egypt's political landscape has changed and the actors have become more diverse and our engagement reflects that. The point is that we will judge Egypt's political actors by how they act. Not by the religious affiliation.


BRET BAIER, HOST: Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood of course helped push Hosni Mubarak out of power in Egypt and move in a more Islamist candidates inside the parliament there in Egypt. At the time they said they would not put a candidate up for president. Now they have. And now Muslim Brotherhood officials have met with the mid-level White House officials about way forward in Egypt, that meeting happening at the White House on Tuesday.

We're back with the panel. Bill, is this a big deal, people who are critical of it? What about it?

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: It is a big deal. I think the White House is engaged in a war on women. The Muslim Brotherhood, really? Do you know what their position is on reproductive rights and all these feminist issues, women in the workplace, equal pay for equal work? I don't think they are very good on that issue. And they are letting them in the White House. Mitt Romney should have a press conference tomorrow to say this proves that the President, Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden and Mr. Donilon and Mr. Lew and the male top-heavy White House staff doesn't care at all about the plight of women in Egypt.

I'm partly kidding, I'm mostly kidding, there are other reasons not to deal with the Muslim Brotherhood, but I'm trying to make the point about how ludicrous the war on women moralizing is. And incidentally, this is a tough policy now that they are dealing with the situation they are dealing with. I don't -- I think ultimately the failure to deal with Syria, the failure to deal with Iran is what the administration is going to be judged on more than this complicated minuet with the different groups of Egypt.

BAIER: Susan, many of the critics say the Muslim Brotherhood originally said they weren't going to put up a presidential candidate. They did. That is the history of dealing with this group is that they say one thing and change it down the road in the future. What about this meeting?

SUSAN MILLIGAN, U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: That's true. And there are reasons not to trust the Muslim Brotherhood, to be sure. Unfortunately in Egypt right now, and I think is often the case in a country where there has been a revolution, you have to choose between bad and worse and worse. And in this case, there is actually somebody who is becoming quite popular running who is much worse, if that is possible, than what we hear about the Muslim Brotherhood. He wants to get rid of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

And I think from a practical level you have to deal with whoever ends up being in power, and you have to keep some line of communication open. It don't think it means that you necessarily endorse them. But it doesn't look like there are a lot of good prospects now, certainly no female prospect anywhere in the Middle East, including Iraq.

BAIER: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I think there are two points here. Number one, you have to speak with the Brotherhood because it's now in control of parliament and it's likely to win the presidential election. It will end up sharing the power or monopolizing it with the military, depending whether the military can hang on to the part of the power it has now. So to be realistic, you have to talk to them.

However, the second point is there is no reason that they have to be asked into the White House or even to the State Department. That gives them a level of prestige and approval from the United States that is completely gratuitous. There is no reason whatsoever. Yes, we have to have contacts, and we have it in Egypt. We have an ambassador and we have embassies. The idea is to conduct negotiations and let them know, the Brotherhood know, what the redline of America is, which is that you have to observe the treaty with Israel, other obligations, and not ally yourself in any way with Iran. Those are our redlines. So you do have negotiations.

But why you would have a delegation into the White House which will be used by the Brotherhood at home to say look, we are not people you have to worry about. Even the Americans have us in the White House, we'll be OK, is absurd. It's a continuation of Obama's idea that as long as engage somehow you will soften the other side. It's naive. It doesn't work.

BAIER: I want to touch briefly on Syria. The Assad regime has agreed to a cease-fire on April 12, but before that has increased the violence exponentially, we're told, on the ground. What about this and where this is going, Bill?

KRISTOL: It's a total disgrace, the U.S. policy there. This is an embarrassment for the United States. The Assad regime is using helicopters to kill civilians and kill dissidents and protesters. Some of us have been calling for a no fly zone for about two or three months, Senator McCain and others. And all the smart people said a no fly zone, that is pointless. There is no flying around. You have to have a no drive zone. We sat there doing nothing, saying it's unacceptable, and the slaughter continues.

BAIER: Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: I don't believe a word Assad says. Everything he says, he breaks. If he wants to, he is obviously killing more people. We saw earlier in the show he's shelling again the city of Homs and it will continue. It's the Alawites and Assad who are going to fight to the death because if they lose they will die. So there will be no agreements and no interim arrangements. It will be life or death.

BAIER: Susan, I owe you the last comment next time.

MILLIGAN: I agree with what both of them said. Unfortunately in situations like this, I saw this in the Balkans, when you have a cease-fire everybody uses at its an excuse to go in and settle every last grudge they have and kill as many people as they can. And I'm not excusing Assad, but it's terrible. It's a terrible tragedy.

BAIER: That is it for panel.

Content and Programming Copyright 2012 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2012 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.