Special Report Online: 2/8
Romney prepared for Santorum challenge?
- Duration 30:33
- Date Feb 8, 2012
Romney prepared for Santorum challenge?
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Welcome to another edition of special report on line I'm Bret -- if you haven't been here before welcome aboard this is a place where you can ask questions interact.
With the panel and will be asking is some.
Some questions throughout the night -- him right here just vote will have some.
Results for you throughout the night squall -- types and I hope Brett can stay awake through special report on line.
I hope I can to do I got home about 2:45.
This morning and my eighteen month old has an ear infection.
He got up to 43 so it's been in -- -- -- lots of coffee.
Back -- -- panel David Drucker Charles Lane and Charles Krauthammer let's start where we left off.
About this this election and where we are.
-- the we've talked a little bit about Romney -- you -- it was a disastrous night for him.
The Romney campaign will say hey listen no delegates were appointed.
Missouri was didn't even have delegates tied to the Missouri delegate contests is actually march 17.
And they say in the big picture.
Listen we knew we're gonna lose contest Romney said today McCain lost eighteen or nineteen.
On his way -- the nomination.
All is that not -- All true and -- all irrelevant because.
Picture after Florida was OK he's -- Newt Gingrich you riding high he's on a roll he's inevitable again.
Right and now that whole picture is.
In doubt once again and not only is is he not inevitable anymore but he's got all of -- -- this new -- cropping up who.
I'd venture to say his campaign was not prepared for an early on not prepared.
To counter they might have been prepared for some other people.
So he's facing a contest that I think is is is treacherous for him in Michigan on the 28.
That's a blue collar state very similar to Pennsylvania.
It's got a lot of Catholic voters in -- and by the way Rick Santorum is gonna benefit a lot from what Obama has done.
These are the Catholic institutions.
And you know if Mitt Romney cannot be -- -- and Michigan and I think he's got real trouble.
Not only that -- by the way frank Moran types in from Quincy mass you look tired -- man.
Frank talk to make up.
They've not only in Michigan is it is there a potential there on the Catholic issue.
But you have Mitt Romney who originally was against the auto bailout.
In Michigan which.
That plays now as you saw Clint Eastwood and -- time in America where it's everybody is saying here we go Detroit's back.
And the Democrats are hammering Romney over his early statements about how really they should have gone into a controlled bankruptcy and and wasn't for that the bail out at the beginning.
Yeah I I think that as we've learned from watching this campaign nothing is a gimme for Romney even when we think.
It's he has me even when we think it should be.
And I think he's gonna have to work very hard over the next month and this is something I I.
Couldn't get into in -- -- regular panel.
He he -- that's why we have online which is works out stranding.
Take Charles airtime and a which nobody wants but I do anyway.
I I think that Romney needs to make.
One tactical shifts and that is to.
Start explaining to people what he wants to use his talents.
To do as president.
He's talked a lot about what he's capable of doing as an economic turnaround artist and what his skills are but.
Particularly because this race is not being put to bed.
He needs to start talking to Republicans about what exactly he would use his skills for.
And if he can do that he can first -- help him we claim the offense of high ground but.
It will also put him in a much better position to prevent Rick Santorum.
From really surging -- to a position that it threatens Romney's.
Nomination and and that is because.
Rick Santorum is a tougher match up.
For Romney -- is Newt Gingrich or even some of the other candidates that have drifted away now.
He's he's likable.
He knows how to speak to conservatism and in -- he does and I think -- plenty of baggage to exploit that could be troubling to Tea Party conservatives.
He does not have the same kind of baggage or personal history by any stretch.
And is simply a better campaign and -- are many that came before him and so it's in the imperative that Romney.
Heading into Arizona and Michigan that could be very favorable to him that put him back on a -- But speaking of favorable Charles I mean if the adjustment is to start.
Dumping on Rick Santorum and we saw a little bit of that.
Today if -- if they unload the missiles on now Rick Santorum as -- campaign did on Newt Gingrich.
The risk there is that actually unfavorable for Romney continue to go up.
In the midst of this pretty drawn out what looks like campaign.
They you have to -- right if he keeps doing.
You know is default position is there's so -- rise as you do a lot -- you.
You go to death for -- six and you launch over missiles it work but Romney I mean you were quick Gingrich.
I -- -- -- work -- Santorum because he doesn't have the amount of they know the liabilities for Gingrich and he also has a much thicker skin he hasn't.
He doesn't explode if you light a match you know within a half mile of him as happens when Gingrich.
But I think what David is saying is true he can't just go negative because in the end it is gonna hurt him.
He has to say what do you see -- what he's gonna do he's just dissolved in about the biography I'm a businessman I can do this.
Now he has outlined certain specific economic proposals.
Which are rather good he gave a very good speech wants.
On entitlement reform and tax reform.
He hasn't gone back because I think he worries that that can be used particularly in the general election by the Democrats who say you.
Hard how -- you -- UN affiliate granny in the snow etc.
Yeah and we talk about this how the danger of Romney running a general election campaign in -- primary right is costing him.
Both so why does need do tax reform.
Well we're coming at a C pack and we could see -- rumor is gonna come out there could be a bold chains -- in ironic campaign.
-- knew -- -- to be the perfect venue for him to try and in turn around the you know every day since the Florida victory yet let me bring in James Rosen who covered the story for -- lead story tonight thoughts -- -- -- that she left on the table -- Well I I agree with the thrust of the comments thus far Bret that that we if Mitt Romney seeks to attack new Rick Santorum in the same when he needed Gingrich.
He win Rick Perry before that.
He will have a tougher time of it because.
We're Santorum with his personal biography having to leave the race to attend to an ill child and so forth.
And and given santorum's own focus almost relentlessly so on the issues.
Makes it less susceptible to those kinds of attacks I do predict that one area in which you might see.
A Romney and perhaps profitably attack Rick Santorum is on santorum's rather consistent voting record.
In support of big labor and of course -- will explain that as a function of his representation of a state that includes Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
But that might be one area we sought probable little bit prior to these contests.
But there was no real need for anyone to go heavy on -- I think you'll see more of that.
In terms of C pac ten and governor Romney attending to UC -- to reposition himself four to redefine himself.
I think the issue for the Romney campaign is the familiarity that the electorate forty has with the candidate who's been running for president for six years.
-- it is it is unlikely it seems to have to to any seasoned observer that Romney is now going to be able to.
Sell himself convincingly as the true conservative in the race.
What he can really accentuate -- when he can try to develop more profitably seems to me is the idea that he's the one who can beat Barack Obama in November yeah but what -- Talking about I guess is is us shift of focus and maybe a more paid.
Bold pitch that kind of firms up his 59 point economic plan and may be embraces.
Fully this is the president's deficit and debt commission or.
Really gives a hug to Paul Ryan and his plan.
Full you know endorsement as opposed to one speech a couple months ago and thereby getting people fired up for something more bold.
-- Charles use the phrase earlier whack a mole as the mood the sort of -- in which governor Romney has been operating I would use a slightly different one which is the the the the exterminator.
He has been thrust in the role every time he goes forward and he wins convincingly tough contest were too and he's talked have been and then the inevitability talk starts again.
Then something like what happens in South Carolina or what happened.
-- Tuesday night this week happens again and he's forcing the role of the pest exterminator goodness gracious I have to go out and exterminate another -- and and continue on my slow.
And and costly march.
-- he does retain those organizational and financial advantages.
Rick santorum's ability to compete on Super Tuesday are still remains in question I would say.
Yeah very good that wasn't -- -- impression was it was just an -- Canada.
No I -- thank you for that -- aren't good I'm glad James thanks for sticking around back with the panel.
-- in Pennsylvania says word is -- get his ties really doesn't -- what we say here has been.
-- this year until this storm is from moments for Brooks Brothers Mike is Princeton shop if you have now.
Brooks Brothers okay let's get back to substance what we said that he could swing for the fences super.
But he needs to shift from the biography angle to the policy and it's not hard to do.
I would he would do it is C -- is it that's cuts kind of an applause line.
Place to a very sober speech.
At the Detroit Economic Club or somewhere you announces a major speech people who show up and -- -- Adopt a policy a big -- like tax reform for example it's a little bit less.
Scary and toxic -- entitlement reform -- you talk about tax reform and a great success in 1986.
Reagan had that he reached across the he worked with Tip O'Neill it was probably the best piece of economic legislation in the generation.
-- -- -- and Obama has run away from it's been proposed over and over here.
-- him you know all over with -- that issue but make yourself.
Have a proposal Reagan had supply side economics -- a little bit of a grander issue.
But you can't just keep running -- I'll do would trust me I did the Olympics not gonna work.
Missy says she hates my tie.
The -- -- and says Romney has lost five out of eight I repeat lost five out of eight.
I think the ground has kind of shifted under Romney's campaign Stuart Stevens has been pretty open about saying.
This who's spokesman for the -- can use -- campaign brains of the campaign.
We're banking on this being an -- election on jobs in the economy in other words were banking on this being.
During a bad economy -- right now the economy is not great but it does seem to be.
On the rise and there and I think actually is a problem for all the Republicans unfortunately for them -- -- Fortunes hinge on Obama's fortunes being pour.
And what Romany sort of lacks what they all lack in a way is an alternative message to the one that says -- that -- what we all knows the economy is in the tank.
And I think Mitch Daniels in his rebuttal -- -- its follow on speech to present state of the union.
At least offer another -- they could pick up this -- -- red -- national solvency is Federer.
Because that deficit issue on the spending issue and all that is still going to be there even if unemployment is down.
They -- -- argued on this panel many times as if the nominee of the Republican Party fights on the president's field.
They will lose if they take that Mitch Daniels.
They have -- shot of winning it's still going to be an uphill battle -- of a shot of winning.
And it seems sometimes in this campaign of Mitt Romney has chosen to battle on the president's battlefield.
Well I think that's picked as an astute observation and I and I think that that Charles -- is correct which probably doesn't surprise a lot of people but.
I think that -- What Mitt Romney.
What any of these candidates really need to do is remember that number one.
Even though you are running as a conservative and you're running in a primary.
And you want to present a different positive vision.
Then the president ultimately if you don't make it a referendum on the president and make -- Primarily about whether he has done -- the job or not you you have a harder time winning.
Right -- I guess the point is what -- the very poor comment came out of a policy discussion that was aimed at really making sure everybody understood that he was trying to protect the middle class right okay instead of raising everybody up and worrying about deficit and debt he was making sure that.
Like President Obama he was talking middle class voters and that was a trip up moment.
You're right and actually in -- you raise a good point and here is actually why I think that -- Well.
That caused Mitt Romney so much trouble with.
The focus was on the general election how do you -- into a general election saying you -- no concern for the poor but we're in a tough primary and the reason it -- -- I think so much trouble and still has.
Created lingering problems for him is because if you listen to conservatives.
What they heard is -- basically you're fine with the safety net existing and the fact that some people needed.
And as conservatives we are always attacked for not caring about the -- when in fact we care very much about the port and want them to not be -- anymore.
And our policies are designed for everybody -- and how is it -- we're gonna nominate a candidate.
Who doesn't understand what we're all about and possibly agree with what we're all about never mind whether we think your tax policy is to ten that are too bold.
But that you're you're fine.
And and so I think that that it's cost of a problem in the primary in -- one of the things that I don't think he needs to try and reinvent himself won't work anyway but just to.
Talk about what he believes in probably a way that.
She wouldn't argue with any way if he's -- -- doing it.
And he has actually believe it.
I really think he can roll out a proposal.
Prepared by his economic advisors or whatever look what propelled the Republicans what was the secret of victory in 2010.
When there was no -- -- everybody out there on his -- the Republicans argued.
On the basis of obamacare big government intrusion.
Higher spending debt it said it was all it was all about issues.
And they ones smashing way.
I mean and -- sort of been lost you don't hear Romney articulating any of those arguments which have already been shown to win.
And those haven't changed it's -- economic conditions improved for Obama have an easier time.
But he can't undo obamacare and we seeing a huge example of it how intrusion it is on the religious issue it's all out there and Santorum.
Knows how to articulate that Romney doesn't he needs to actually try to do it.
Chuck what about that Tea Party factor we haven't talked a lot about the Tea Party.
A lot of people thought South Carolina have a lot to do with that Tea Party kind of movement feel.
There are some people who -- -- -- -- saying hey listen Tuesday had a lot to do with the undercurrent of the Tea Party that was.
Not reported not fell -- before 2010 in the loop and indeed.
In the level that it ended up turning out big.
This is so important Mitt Romney is attempting to sort of square circle here -- pursuing the Republican nomination he's trying to get through and win a primary.
In which a whole heck of a lot of the voters -- of the Tea Party without attaching himself to the Tea Party.
-- in Erica by the way we understand the keyboard is not monolithic we understand that it's a it's a living breathing organization that has many different parts I just refer to it as the Tea Party as a movement -- -- and we.
What what what it's what that is is causing him to do.
Sort of do just enough conservatism.
To provoke the incoming of -- the left and not enough.
To get the support from the right and on you know hee -- young.
Sand in that debate with Santorum about apropos health care it's nothing to get angry about remember that.
There are a lot of voters in the role of primary or who were angry and -- and have a right to -- but there are.
And the thing that.
Arousal without first Herman Cain and then Newt Gingrich and then even Rick Santorum is they evoke and they they touched that -- very they appear angry.
And Romney is a very cool.
Not angry placid character who does not excite them for that race.
Okay let's turn.
Quickly at some time left for foreign policy in the situation Syria we've.
Seen a series of reports there.
It seems to be getting worse the crackdown on dissent by the Bashar Al Assad regime.
The death toll continues to increase the Arab League monitors failed.
And now the pressure is coming from all sides except Russia and China -- vetoed a UN Security Council resolution over the weekend.
Charles where -- this had.
-- -- the United States Senator Obama is leading from behind again which means it's lagging.
We have the secretary of state -- about considering.
Humanitarian aid from can't say what mister Lincoln Center that's automatic.
To what you want to consider and to think about how to do how much to do.
And by what -- to do with his military -- this is a civil war -- is gonna kill everybody he needs to -- his stepfather did.
In Hamas for thirty years ago.
If you kick it's not as if if there's an embargo on arms you can make any difference on the part of the government it will kill it'll be that the opposition will be defenseless.
And strategically Iran is in their Hezbollah's and -- have the Russians are in their this is an opportunity to set the fact that hole.
Coalition and the American anti.
Sunni Arab anti peace and he stability coalition led by -- Iraq.
A huge defeat we should be beginning to funnel arms and through Turkey or clandestinely by -- means it is a civil war let's at least help one side win.
-- David says we should help with Syria only if Israel really becomes in danger I think.
You know increasingly there is this this stream inside the Republican Party and and throughout the country that embraces this.
Ron Paul kind of feel about foreign policy that -- we should bring everybody home and it's gaining steam as the economy has not done well over the past cup.
-- the country's war weary and there's also there has always been a stream within an American political thought and just the general.
Outlook on of the public that we don't want.
-- get entangled.
Mean war is constantly as much as the Cold War has been about him was about.
Alliances and entanglements.
Informant to the found in the country there was always limited amounts of energy.
Com among among the public for for being involved in military conflict and and I think that after ten years.
And Afghanistan and Iraq and coupled with the economy.
It's a much harder sell and it hasn't -- as.
Easy to understand where the public is on these issues today as it was probably ten.
Or fifteen years ago yeah.
But -- administration -- -- made the argument before Libya that we can not stand for thousands of bodies in mass graves.
In Syria while the president says it's a case by case basis.
This case -- kind of unfolding day by day.
No evidence of flat contradiction with the doctrine he lay down and Libya that's clear.
On and the only bright side I guess you could say to this terrible situation is that I think it's not only.
A threat to this sort of axis the Charles describes the region I think that that axis has already -- gone breaking down under pressure you see Hamas now has joined with.
Fatah and the Paulson and territories that's clearly consequence of their.
Being pressured out of Syria amid all this chaos and losing that support there so it would seem that even if you work.
Fixed interest in and humanitarian rescue -- the plight of the Syrian people you would approach this and -- strategically and see the potential upside for the US.
The -- we should point out that all of this is interconnected.
That the Iran Syria connection I mean they're they're essentially best friends in the region.
And the big concern about the Iran nuclear program and whether Israel acts.
Directly affects the situation with Syria and.
It's very complicated but on the the other hand has kind of clarity but the Cold War head where you -- Eastern Europe was lined up with Russia.
-- -- lined up with Cuba Nicaragua Vietnam against our guys the good guys Western Europe.
-- year of the lines are drawn very clearly Iran.
-- the only Arab state there's an open ally of Iran.
Syria is a sponsor of Hezbollah which -- -- taken over Lebanon.
And it's also a sponsor of Hamas that's the anti.
Western elements and ironically Saudi Arabia the gulf Arabs are friends the Jordanians and the Israelis are on the other side.
-- us and the Europeans and opposing Iran and Syria.
But it's not a question the American intervention.
We're not talking about a Libya style intervention.
Syria as a serious air force Libya didn't you -- -- and be in an air combat.
We're only talking about in direct support the way that we did when Truman announced in 1947.
The doctrine of surfing the Russians -- question to invade Russia or even join in -- civil war it was to give arms and weapons to the Greek.
Anti Communist it succeeded -- stop the Russians and it was the beginning of containment that the century.
Later work nobody -- saying they -- American troops in Syria.
But why aren't we helping the opposition which is being slaughtered Scott Jensen in Wisconsin has a frequent.
Online participate in these he watches the show -- -- he's also Ron Paul supporters he is a question about.
Do you think Iran.
Would send troops to help the Syrian leader.
Probably already are in court today -- -- -- which is one of the Israeli papers.
And the Israelis have rather good intelligence have become a scientist who shot.
Tehran and it's no accident -- -- -- and they know where to -- on what to do.
They had a report I don't know how true it is -- -- go to Cairo I read it about an hour or two ago -- brigade of group from Revolutionary Guards already in Syria.
There are Hezbollah elements are also a client of Iran -- Syria.
And one of the things that would and could happen if I -- collapsed.
And the revolution succeeds is that Syria would be inclined.
To be anti Iran and he has though wouldn't be -- gland and on.
And would be a sort of a positive element of the -- -- -- -- -- Just turn -- back to politics as you look at this GOP race.
One would think that foreign policy may factor -- more heavily and as we get into the general election.
That that could be by that time a big issue depending on how the -- is going by them.
David could you see that the focus possibly changing and who does it benefit in the GOP's.
On the senate for months that given the improving the -- -- that's awful and I mean I should debate.
-- -- Given the unpredictability and the volatility.
Of what has been happening in the Middle East and around the world.
I feel like we are one you know other than to war war -- away from having foreign policy -- -- -- role in the campaign.
Which is why I I fought.
Earlier in the Republican race and that.
The idea that you might have made the Republicans might have nominated somebody like -- Herman Cain.
Who didn't seem to grasp.
Of basic foreign policy was problematic -- the single one of two ways.
There can be an event.
The Obama administration the president can exhibit really strong leadership.
Americans tend to rally around the president depending on what the event is war the administration can bungle it.
-- or just not have a really good option the Republican nominee palaces.
And it once again we get back to a question of whether the president is a strong enough and decisive enough leader which -- -- we haven't talked about probably cents.
The bin Laden killing but as we've seen in his first three years.
There have been moments where there's been a really large question about whether.
Leader and leadership is the kind of emotional thing in voting they of the Obama administration appointed a sounded -- -- say what you yet just what -- correct which is why I said since then but.
But leadership is the kind of thing -- can motivate votes and it's not about policy it's just an emotional feeling that you're not a good leader I need better leadership.
Chuck -- Obama right now enjoys substantial lead in the polls on foreign policy issues I think we should bear that in mind.
Not just on fighting terrorism but on foreign policy in general.
In historical terms for Democrat -- the Republican Party which usually -- that national security -- I think to the degree this election shifts to foreign policy issues with that in the background it could actually -- to his advantage of course depending on.
On how to handle.
You have -- I mean there are elements of that that there are holes in for example the Arab Spring.
Is is looking pretty wing Jewish currently.
And and what happened in Egypt.
And the lack of support for Iran and then you just don't all the revolutionaries -- -- June of 2009 that a man.
-- religious -- your fresh poll numbers he's over 50%.
Well above water and those issues.
And I think let's face it it's not exactly Republican policy but pulling out of Iraq.
And pulling out faster from Afghanistan and probably benefited him politically you can be sure of.
I have been -- -- I have no doubt that if there are no intervening events he stays ahead on that issue right until Election Day.
Because it was John McCain said on good of the -- and -- together.
Bin Laden than Obama went and got.
And that insulates him from every argument and he's been -- week on Russia.
Arab swaying around but that doesn't matter who prefer public opinion.
He got to say and that's the big deal.
However there could be an event and there will be an event between now -- of them speaking -- events Tony and Orange Park Florida wants to know down the road -- around does Israel attack Iran.
Before the election.
But have greatly and I was about to say that I'd say the probability.
-- I -- I said if Israel attacks Iran on Panetta for November yes Leon Panetta was said there is a high likelihood.
And he's -- senator -- he knows a lot he wouldn't be saying that.
If he didn't think it was true unless it's a dis information campaign -- sophistication.
And level of which we rarely are able to see in Washington.
I think there's a very high probability that unless there's a dramatic change in Iran a collapse of the currency I don't know.
A -- a revolution that restarts highly unlikely defeat in Syria knows.
The Israelis will attack and the United States can have to make a huge decision.
Obama's have to make you decision on which his presence he could hidden behind me percent that wasn't too lightning but.
I -- -- let me answer is this is the optimum moment politically for Israel to strike when the US presidency is up for grabs.
I'm convinced that they will do it.
Unless -- collapses.
I don't know -- -- do it before the election but I think it will hinge on if they think they have to do it if they will.
They feel they have to it won't matter what the timing.
Okay what's -- those are rolling thunder rolling.
It was not a life and how -- that threat okay -- -- Georgia.
This camera can you get this he -- send a check to Rupert Murdoch to fix that failing red light behind Charles.
Thank -- satellite over -- -- -- picture of him.
And just pushing the Charles Woodson I think it's behind his head now she's seen over a little bit that way -- ago I see that right.
And there it right there that actually is a road did.
Up over the hill and those I think our lights from cars.
-- what do you think America.
Well I it's annoying to some viewers I got and he can do you mean you got the email from.
Nine year old viewer who said that was so knowing.
He was never gonna -- show again never watch again that's right clutch again yeah.
I found one day we put duct tape over it it just didn't feel right if I were like -- helmet.
-- -- By producers in the control -- just said are we waiting for Colorado for a call what are we doing we get out of here.
Okay thanks for watching a special report on line it's fun isn't -- join us every -- of course Fox News Channel 6 PM eastern for special report.
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