'Special Report' Panel on the Christmas 'Naughty and Nice List'

This is a rush transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume" from December 25, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, "SPECIAL REPORT" GUEST CO-HOST: So it's Christmas day, so we thought we'd have a Christmas panel and have t hem have their naughty and nice list. We're going to start with the naughty list for the year.

Some analytical observations of who is naughty from Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of "The Weekly Standard," Mort Kondracke, Executive Editor of "Roll Call," and syndicated columnist Charles Kraut hammer, FOX News contributors all.

All right, panel, Christmas naughty lists — Fred, you start first.

FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Hollywood film producers who have made movies attacking American troops in Iraq, misrepresenting them, pretending as if they're all killers and horrible people when they're fighting for freedom in Iraq. These people are worse than naughty.

BAIER: Worse than naughty — Mort?

MORT KONDRACKE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, ROLL CALL: My naughty list is a disappointment list rather than a real bad guy list, like Hollywood producers, or you know, maybe Fidel Castro, or something like that.

So my first naughty is President Bush, and I'm disappointed in him because of the two vetoes of the S-Chip, the children's health insurance plan — 9 million children remain uninsured.

The president had the opportunity to advance a tax credit scheme to ensure lots of people who are lacking health insurance. He did not have either the interest or whatever it took to advance that proposal and make it the law of the land. So I'm disappointed in his performance.

BAIER: Although some people said he won the battle with Congress at the end.

KONDRACKE: He won at expense of — he established his bona fides as fiscally responsibility on the backs of American children.

BAIER: Naughty, says Mort — Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: My first pick is man of the year, Vladimir Putin — a naughty boy dismantling democracy, muzzling the press, making a cult of personality where he is worshipped in the country. There is a way in which his opponents and critics end up either being shot or poisoned in exotic ways untraceable to him.

He's a secret policeman. He's not a communist. He's more a leader of the mafia, which is what he runs in Moscow, and has chosen, despite invitations by the west to join the west and be an ally and a friend, but to make Russia not an enemy, but an opponent, adversary of America.

And it will be a problem for a generation because of the way he steered Russia into this oppositional position. It will be a problem.

BAIER: New year for Putin — what happens?

KRAUTHAMMER: He will rule through his puppet. And it may even be that the president who succeeds him I suspect in a year or two will resign for reasons of health, and Putin will succeed him as used to happen in the old Soviet Union.

BAIER: All right, Fred, round two — naughty round two.

BARNES: Look, Putin is naughty, but at least he's smart. Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela is naughty, but he's kind of dumb.

He believes that socialism and socialist economies, which are proven to be ruinous wherever they have been, are the wave of the future, and he wants to imitate them, particularly the economy in Cuba run by his idol, Fidel Castro, now by Castro's brother, Raul Castro.

Cuba would be the Switzerland of the Caribbean, absent the communist- socialist system that the Castros have brought to it, and now it's a complete basket case which needs to get aid from Venezuela, cheap oil — it used to get it from the Soviet Union, and so on. They're not even self- sufficient in sugar. And Hugo Chavez wants to imitate them.

But here is where he was stupid: he had an election which would have expanded his powers and made him a full dictator in Venezuela, and he somehow thought he was so popular that he would win the election, and he didn't even steal it. He wasn't even smart enough to steal it.

He had stolen an election before, but this one he didn't, and he lost, and he is on the way out.

BAIER: That is more a stupid list than naughty list.

BARNES: His intentions were bad, he was naughty.

KONDRACKE: Mort, number two?

KONDRACKE: I forgot to mention, by the way, as to George Bush that he has also flat funded medical research for the last year.

But my next is Mitt Romney. This is another disappointment list. An upstanding fellow in many ways and was the moderate Republican governor of Massachusetts, and now has totally pandered his way as a Republican presidential candidate.

The worst of it is on the immigration issue. I mean, this is a guy who had a heart for illegal immigrants and wanted to — and basically believed at one stage that they should be allowed to become legal residents if they earned their way — essentially, the McCain position.

Now he has turned so far against that position that he was endorsed by Tom Tancredo, the most nativist candidate on the entire list — disgusting.

BAIER: All right, Charles, we're going to end it with you.

KRAUTHAMMER: The big story of this year is the remarkable success of the surge and the turnaround of our fortunes in Iraq. And the naughty list are the defeatist core of Pelosi, Reid, and Chuck Hagel, who argued against it all year.

You have Pelosi saying at the end of this year it is not working, there is no light at the end of the tunnel, Harry Reid in April saying the war is lost, the surge is not going to achieve anything, and Hagel, who said it would be the most dangerous policy blunder in the country since the Vietnam war.

They were wrong. It's good thing that they were not listened to.

BAIER: All right, there's the naughty list. When we come back, our panel will get nice. Enough of who has been naughty, let's find out who is nice. It's time for the all-stars to play the role of Santa Claus, next.


BAIER: All right, enough naughtiness. Now we will talk about who has been nice this year. We're back with our panel. Fred, let's start with you. We're going to lump them all together.

BARNES: No one has been nicer than the new president of France, Nicolaus Sarkozy. Think of it: a French president who loves America, who actually took a summer vacation in New Hampshire, and backs America around the world with the Iranians, and while he doesn't want France to be involved in Iraq, backs what America is doing in Iraq, loves to come to America.

I mean, how nice can you be? You can't be nicer than that for a French president.

And my second choice is David Ortiz, the designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox — two World Series in four years. Have you ever seen him? A smiling guy, he has changed the whole personality of this team. They used to be a bunch of loners. Now they are a great team, they stick together.

You can say that George Bush brought down Saddam Hussein. David Ortiz brought down the New York Yankees.

BAIER: A little sports niceness — Mort?

KONDRACKE: I have a passel of people. Condi Rice, Bob Gates, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, who have turned around American foreign policy and made it both realistic and tough and effective, I think.

General David Petraeus, he is the man of the year. Putin is not man of the year. David Petraeus is man of the year.

And John McCain, the comeback kid, just could be the man of the year of 2008.

BAIER: Do you really think he could do it?

KONDRACKE: Could, could, could.

KRAUTHAMMER: I salute Rice and Gates and Petraeus and McCain, especially on Iraq, but, in the end, the man who turned the tide of this year and of the war was the president, the decider. He made a decision a year ago against all advice, against public opinion, against the establishment. He doubled our bet on Iraq and it paid off.

BAIER: Now hold on. It was naughty list for Mort, nice list for —

KRAUTHAMMER: He got it wrong. It's very simple.

KONDRACKE: You can be both naughty and nice.


KRAUTHAMMER: And also James Thompson, the researcher who ten years ago isolated embryonic stem cells, and this year achieved the holy grail of stem cell research. He developed it without the production of embryos. He's so nice that he'll be rewarded with a Nobel Prize for sure in a couple of years.

And he also had the honesty and courage to say that if human embryonic stem cell research has not made you at least a bit uncomfortable, you haven't thought about it enough. He was honest about that.

He did that research, but the stuff he has now achieved will probably mean the end, ultimately, of destroying human embryos in stem cell research.

BAIER: So I'm going to call an audible here. I want one prediction for 2008 from the panel, quickly — Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: This is going to be the most confusing primary election in American history, and that is a weasel out, because there is no prediction there.

BAIER: Mort?

KONDRACKE: Contrary to what I said about John McCain, I think it will be an all Democratic government that emerges from this, a Democratic president, a Democratic congress.

BARNES: I tend to agree with that, but then when we get to 2010, it will be one of the great Republican years of all times, because there will be a backlash against Democrats. Republicans have hurt Democrats in 2007, but they haven't really built themselves up enough yet to win in 2008.

BAIER: All right, panel, naughty and nice — nice job. Thanks.

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