This is a rush transcript of "Special Report With Bret Baier" from February 13, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOUSE MINORITY LEADER JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO: The bill that was supposed to be about jobs, jobs, jobs has turned into a bill that is all about spending, spending and spending.
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF.: Historians will judge that this is a remarkable achievement for President Barack Obama, never before has a president passed his first major economic proposal so boldly and so swiftly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, HOST: The House voted to pass the economic stimulus bill today. There you see the vote, 246 to 183. No Republicans voting to support this plan. As we take a live look in the Senate, the Senate floor there looks empty, but they're still voting. In fact, there are just three senators left to vote — Evan Bayh, from Indiana, and Kirstein Gillibrand from New York and Sherrod Brown from Ohio, all three Democrats. The count now is 57 for, 38 against. Unless those three Democrats have an amazing change of heart, they will reach 60 and pass this economic stimulus package.
Now some analytical observations from Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard, Juan Williams, senior correspondent of National Public Radio, and syndicated columnist, Charles Krauthammer — FOX News contributors all.
Charles, they will get to 60, and this will pass.
CHARLES KRAUTHMAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, and Pelosi is right. It is historic. It is probably the greatest abomination in American legislative history. It is not only the content here. The content which, as we know, including $8 billion for rapid transit which includes a pet project of Senator Reid of Nevada, which is a mag-lev monstrosity that connects Anaheim, Disneyland and Vegas, known as the "Fantasyland Express", exactly what the country needs in dire economic straits.
It is the process. I'm not sure any senator or member of the House has read it. Obama had come into office and promised a new way of doing business. It would be open, transparent, and there would be a comment, that the people would see it. In fact, it's been largely behind the closed doors. There is stuff in here that we'll discover tomorrow and the day after, after it's been passed and signed.
It is a contradiction of everything he said he would do and bring. And the process, I think, is going to hurt him, in the sense that he was going to be a new kind of president, and that we now know is not true. He is going to rule, govern in an ordinary way, ramming stuff through if he has to, exactly as he has done in this piece of legislation.
JUAN WILLIAMS, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: the closest I can come to agreeing with Charles on this is that, in fact, haste makes waste. And that there is some waste in this package. I think Charles is right, you'll see some of it, as we discover, down the road, because this thing has been cobbled together with some sense of urgency.
Now, having said that, we're in an urgent situation. There are people out there who are genuinely hurting, hurting in terms of mortgages, declines in their retirement packages, people who have lost jobs. You don't have to go far to discover this. This is a reality in our country. The idea that you would say, oh, let's sit around and have long deliberative discussions about an appropriations process. You know, I just think — and all that we can pass short-term is going to be more tax cuts, that does nothing but perpetuate, I think, some of the problems that have absolutely killed off our economy to this point.
And so the idea that you would say, the problem is he didn't take enough time to review it, you know, I mean, it just doesn't play given the severity of the recession at the moment.
FRED BARNES, EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, if you had a bill that just dealt with the severity of the recession, that provided some stimulus and some amelioration of the pain, then there wouldn't be these complaints.
You know what I was struck by, though, the most, Bret, looking all that Barack Obama did. He had this primetime press conference. He had these road trips, you know, to Fort Myers, Florida and Peoria, Illinois, and places like, Elkhart, Indiana. He talked to five TV anchors, was interviewed by them, and he made phone calls. He did all these things, and what did he get? He got a couple more Democratic votes in the House. That's the most he got. No Republicans.
Here is a president who is popular. Barack Obama is personally popular, and yet he has no clout. The most striking one was that young congressman from Peoria, Aaron Shock. You know, he singled him out and when he spoke at Caterpillar and said, I told everybody you got to get this guy to vote for my stimulus package. And Shock got up today and said he wasn't voting for it and said nobody at that event, nobody came up to him afterwards and said vote for it. He said all his mail and e-mails, 1,400 of them were all against it. Where is the clout? I think Obama has very little.
BAIER: Winner and loser in this whole process?
BARNES: Well, Obama, look, he wanted this package, Obama did, the president did. He got it. He is obviously a winner.
WILLIAMS: I think he is a winner short term. I think in terms of him setting a bipartisanship standard, he lost.
KRAUTHAMMER: Short term he wins because he showed muscle. In the long run he loses, because I think as the elements of this unfold over time, he will get hit on this time and again with every little piece of it that's discovered and people are shocked by.
BAIER: The Friday lightning round is up next. Israeli politics, American politics, baseball politics, all coming up after the break.
BAIER: It's the Friday lightening round. We will start with international politics in Israel, a very close election.
Charles, the challenge will be organizing a government.
KRAUTHAMMER: It looks as if it will be a government led by Likud, Benjamin Netanyahu will have Tzipi Livni of the Kadima Party who, is now the foreign minister in the coalition. She will remain in the foreign ministry. It will be a broad coalition. Its affect on the peace process will be nil, because there isn't a peace process. The Palestinians aren't prepared for serious negotiations and until it happens, there is not going to be anything. You are going to have a charade, you are not going to have anything real.
WILILAMS: Hardliners win in Israel. Any hope that would come from a new administration in this country, bringing new energy and a new sense of purpose under George Mitchell to this process, I'm afraid it's been wasted away by the anger and antagonism of the hard right in Israel.
BARNES: Well, they have a big thing on their agenda — it's called survival. Of course, the Palestinians have never agreed, as most in the Arab world, haven't ever agree to, the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. The problems are going to be, though, for Obama, which I think you were suggesting. He is going to try to push Ben (ph) Netanyahu around and I don't think that will work.
Remember, Netanyahu ran against Iran as the big troublemaker in the Middle East, and now we know what Obama is up to there.
BAIER: Judd Gregg pulls out as Commerce secretary nominee. Today, day two, Fred, what do you think?
BARNES: Well, there are still a lot of ripples from it. The way I understand it is what happened was, is — you know, he gets the nomination, this is after the stimulus bill had already passed the House. He gets the nomination. Two days later it leaks out that the census is going to be overlooked and the White House will have a role in looking at the census. He goes to Rahm Emanuel and says, look, you have to send that back to commerce, or I won't take this job. Finally, saw Obama and they didn't undo it, so he quit.
WILLIAMS: It is the end of Judd Gregg. I mean, this guy who wasn't going to win re-election in New Hampshire, he says he wasn't going to run again, actually, in 2010. So, he thought he was going to be a player. I think Fred is right. The Census is going to go to the White House and, so that wasn't going to happen. And it showed on the stimulus bill, he had to recuse himself. I just think he's — it's good for Republicans in the Senate because he is a good, smart man, but it hurt President Obama. He literally asked for the job and then turned his back on Obama.
KRAUTHAMMER: It did hurt Obama. The reason, I think, he quit was because he was humiliated on the Census. It emasculated him, he had no choice but to say no.
BAIER: Quickly, A-Rod says he used steroids in 2003. Thoughts?
KRAUTHAMMER: Baseball lives on history and records. It is not a spectacle like football or basketball. These guys by juicing destroyed all those records. I would leave him in the game but I would suspend, expunge, and erase all their records. Home run king, Henry Aaron.
WILLIAMS: I agree with Charles, 100 percent. I would go one step further, why doesn't Bud Selig put out the entire list of all these people, and stop the charade?
BARNES: Because it was taken under the rules of confidentiality. That is one reason.
Look, there is something different with A-Rod. He would — his record of hitting home runs did not increase during the period when he was taking steroids. It stayed the same. They did not seem to help him. I don't know why he took them.
As he said, he wouldn't need them. Well, he took them anyway, but his record stayed the same. His power hitting was the same. I think he will wind up in the Hall of Fame as a result.
BAIER: Sad for baseball.
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