'Special Report' All-Star Panel on the divide in the Democrat Party, food shortages

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This is a rush transcript from "Special Report"," March 25, 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator):  Some country is 
highly dependent of certain imports, coal and gas for example. We have 
taken the decision that these imports are not part of the sanction's 
regime. 

JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I know that eliminating 
Russian gas will have costs for Europe, but it's not only the right thing 
to do from a moral standpoint, it's going to put us on a much stronger 
strategic footing. 

URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT:  The U.S. commitment 
to provide the European Union with additional, at least 15 billion cubic 
meters of LNG this year is a big step in this direction. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

EMANUEL:  Critical economic issue, trying to keep the U.S. and Europe 
together against Russia is obviously energy, and that was big news today. 
Let's bring in our panel, Harold Ford Jr., former Tennessee Congressman and 
co-host of THE FIVE, syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt, and Kimberley 
Strassel, a member of the editorial board at "The Wall Street Journal." 
Kimberly, lead us off. 

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL, "WALL STREET JOURNAL":  It was good to see the 
president talking about how they are going to help Europe with those 
commitments, and it's been really impressive to watch Europe, which after a 
couple of years with really flirting very heavily with mostly climate 
policies which put themselves in this situation with Putin seemed to have 
finally taken on board this sobering reality and they are moving quickly. 
You see Germany greenlighting LNG terminals. You see Italy talking about 
getting some floating regasification plants off of its coast, new pipelines 
in North Africa, Norway, some countries even talking about drilling. 

So they're taking it seriously. I guess we need to see whether or not the 
United States is able to implement policies here that make those commitment 
possible. 

EMANUEL:  Harold, your thoughts on keeping the U.S. and E.U. together on 
these energy issues? 

HAROLD FORD JR., FORMER TENNESSEE REPRESENTATIVE:  First, thanks for having 
me and happy Friday. I think we have to give the president a lot of credit. 
I served in Congress after 9/11 and we gave President Bush, Dems and 
Republicans, a lot of latitude. We should give this president some first. 

NATO is united, historically united. I think Putin is understanding that, 
too. I think problem the most important proclamation long-term is that the 
president said today, our president said today that we would help make 
Europe energy independent, which is a punishment for Putin. Three, he made 
clear to Putin, if he used chemical weapons, we will respond. And four, 
Putin's actions are really the ones punishing these Russian people. The 
fact that their economies crippled as it is, is because of Putin. 

The Russian people should understand, if they retire Vladimir Putin, the 
world will welcome them back into the world community. But until then, they 
will suffer because Putin is making them suffer. I give President Biden an 
A for how he's handled this up to this point. 

EMANUEL:  There was one awkward moment today when the president was 
speaking to American troops, and it sounded like he was saying American 
troops may be going into Ukraine. Let's play it. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The Ukrainian people have a 
lot of backbone, have a lot of guts. And you're going to see when you're 
there, and some of you have been there, you are going to see, you are going 
to see women, young people standing in front of a damn tank. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

EMANUEL:  White House aides were quick to tell FOX there was no change in 
the president's position. Hugh, your thoughts on this and the energy 
matters as well? 

HUGH HEWITT, SYNDICATED RADIO HOST:  That was a gaffe, Mike, but I'm with 
Harold on this. The president is doing a good job in Europe. I'm also of 
the old tradition that when a president is abroad and especially when he is 
on the board of a warzone, it's not for Americans to criticize their 
president. I love seeing him with the 82nd Airborne today, I love seeing 
him with the Polish refugees. I applaud the effort to rally the free world. 

And again, Harold and Kimberley are right. NATO is killing it. They are 
coming together. They're acting correctly. They're trying to get their act 
together. And it's all about Putin the villain. And the early reporting out 
of "The Telegraph" and "The Financial Times" tonight is that Russia is 
announcing a change in their war plans. They are addressing themselves, we 
really just want to lock down the Donbas. Well, let's hope that's the case 
and not disinformation. Maybe they are getting realistic about the fact 
that this was not an invasion that Putin ought to have launched. 

EMANUEL:  One possible reason for that from "The Hill," let's put in on the 
screen, "Russian troops fatalities in Ukraine nearing losses over 10 years 
in Afghanistan. NATO estimated Wednesday the Russian forces have lost 7,000 
to 15,000 soldiers in the war with Ukraine, an estimate on par with the 
15,000 troops Russia lost over the course of a decade in Afghanistan." 
Kimberley, your thoughts on the impact it's having on Putin's military and 
on his psyche. 

STRASSEL:  Yes, it's actually worse than that. If you go on to read the 
report, they're estimating that those of the numbers dad. But if you take 
into account those who are missing in action or who have walked off of job, 
they think the number could be as many as 40,000, which if you consider 
there are 190,000 Russian troops that came in here, that is an absolutely 
stunning number. Then add in estimates that 10 percent to 15 percent of 
their military equipment has been disabled, and that attack that we saw on 
a Russian warship, and you begin to see why they might be coming up with 
excuses to reorient their strategy, as they are saying, toward the east. 
That is the area that Hugh was just referencing, which is where they had 
essentially been running things anyway. Let's hope maybe this is the 
beginning of somewhat of a retreat. 

EMANUEL:  Harold, your thought on the impact that massive losses could have 
on Putin's next steps? 

FORD:  I agree with everything that Kimberley and Hugh have said. I think 
the two most important things that Vladimir Putin underestimated, one was 
the readiness and preparedness of his own military, and first and foremost, 
the resistance and resolve that the Ukrainians have shown. 

EMANUEL:  Up next, the Friday lighting round, progressives versus Biden, 
inflation, new FOX polls, plus Winners and Losers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  One of the most powerful 
voices we hear in the country today is from our young people. I hear their 
voices. If you listen, you can hear them too. 

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, (D-NY):  We need to acknowledge this isn't 
about middle-of-the-road, an increasingly narrowband of independent voters, 
but this is really about the collapse in support among young people, among 
the Democratic base, feeling that they've worked overtime to get this 
president elected, and they aren't necessarily being seen. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

EMANUEL:  So a potential split between progressives and President Biden. 
Potential reason for that, let's put up the FOX poll on the rising gas 
prices for your family, a major problem now, 52 percent, minor problem, 36 
percent, not a problem, 12 percent. And has the Biden administration made 
the economy better or worse? Better, 22 percent, worse, 53 percent, no 
difference, 24 percent. 

We are back with our panel, Kim, Harold, and Hugh. Kim, your thoughts on 
the split between AOC and the Biden wing of the party? 

STRASSEL:  The question was when this was going to come, and Biden has been 
really reluctant to have this argument with them so far. I think if you 
step back, what you're seeing is that the war is actually requiring him to 
finally do it as he bucks them on some major issues, whether it be defense 
spending or military spending or, for instance, energy policy.

So the argument that AOC is making is, hey, you're going to lose all the 
young things in America. But the problem for the White House and looking at 
those polls is it's them or it's the vast, bigger majority of America, all 
those Republicans, independents, and a more, bigger part of the Democratic 
Party that are having issues with the policies from progressives that got 
us to the situation. 

EMANUEL:  Harold, as a formally elected Democrat, your thoughts? 

FORD:  I disagree with the congresswoman and align a lot more with what 
Kimberley has said. Inflation is an issue for every American, whether you 
are young or old or Democrat or Republican. The president's right to focus 
on that, and COVID and the war are big causes and accelerators for that. 

Two, voters in the country, more Democratic voters live in urban areas, 
more Republican voters live in rural areas. The suburbs are where this will 
be fought, and we have to be mindful and honest about that. And if the 
president and my party are unable to address those issues, inflation, gas 
and food being a big part of it, they're unable to address crime and the 
border, I think foremost, the president has got to win in Ukraine, we won't 
win in in November, and frankly, we shouldn't. I think the congresswoman 
should look at those issues as she thinks about young voters and, for that 
matter, every voter. 

EMANUEL:  Hugh, is this making Republican strategists happy heading into 
the midterms? 

HEWITT:  I think we should fund a 24/7, 365 cable channel for AOC. I just 
want her on TV all the time talking about everything, because she gets 
Bronx, she gets Queens, she understands New York, but she doesn't 
understand the country. And I just love having her talk. 

EMANUEL:  OK, President Biden warning about food shortages in light of the 
Russia-Ukraine complex. Let's play it. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  And it's going to be real. 
The price of these sanctions is not just imposed upon Russia. It's imposed 
upon an awful lot of countries as well, including European countries and 
our country as well. And because both Russia and Ukraine have been the 
breadbasket of Europe in terms of wheat, for example, just to give one 
example. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

EMANUEL:  Hugh, what about that concern as we look ahead as this crisis 
drag zone? 

HEWITT:  Jen Psaki came on and immediately said and corrected the record 
that the United States will not be suffering food shortages. We are blessed 
with an abundant agricultural supply. And so again, the president has got 
you get back, for me, on United States soil before I open up on this trip, 
but the White House corrected the president on that one as well. 

EMANUEL:  OK, now it's time for Winners and Losers, a highlight on every 
week on SPECIAL REPORT. Kim, start us off. 

STRASSEL:  I blew mine in our first segment, but I will do it again. My 
winner actually is the United States for its commitment that is going to 
double LNG exports to Europe through 2020. Let's see if they actually 
follow through and doing the permitting and the building that they need to 
do here to do that. So that's my winter. 

My loser is the Russian navy, which after the Kremlin put out all those 
propaganda about the warship that it had landed at that Ukrainian port, the 
Ukrainians blew it up. We got some pretty amazing visions of that, but that 
is why Russia is now rethinking strategy. 

EMANUEL:  Harold, your turn. 

FORD:  My winner is the cellist in Lviv, Ukraine, who comes out and 
represents the very best of humanity, unity and resistance. I thank him for 
his music and his calming way. And my loser of those college basketball 
fans, those of us who rooted against Duke but never rooted against Coach K. 
He wants to win three more games, he's won 1201, I think, so far, 100 NCAA 
games. I wish him the best. I don't know if I want him to win the other 
three, but his impact in the game has been unbelievable. So we'll miss you. 

EMANUEL:  Hugh, bring us home. 

HEWITT:  My winner is the Republicans on the ballot in the fall. The loser, 
Democrats on the ballot in the fall, because the soft on crime president 
nominated a soft on crime judge who will be confirmed in the Supreme Court 
by soft on crime Senate Democrats. And every Democrat on every ballot will 
pay because it matters. 

EMANUEL:  Hugh, already looking ahead to November. Good stuff. 

Panel, many thanks for your time. Have a great weekend. 

 

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