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Welcome to another edition of special report on line I'm Bret Baier thanks for joining us if you have been here before it's a place -- you can type in questions or comments.
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Of course joining us Steve chuck and Charles and continuing our panel first.
I would be remiss if I didn't notice that about fifty people have wished you happy birthday Charles thank you very much.
Unacceptable humility and gratitude.
-- -- We'll start there we go if I was always rather puzzled by it if I can make it into an issue.
That's what the panels for stop I've never I never pay any achievement it just means you.
You lived long enough to reach an expert in which it's very nice but it.
It's not like you know you.
-- succeeded in deviate or something of that -- and you may know what thank you very I don't mean to be embraced this.
What she said this kid -- to indicate I never got Kate yeah.
Maybe there's I said it.
Bennett who are you never got K now I'm -- at NASA.
Are well we'll start there.
We were talking about the panel that the White House -- in the -- the fallout.
There's also a question about where this new outreach is coming from.
And whether it's directly tied to the presence.
-- losing some numbers in polls.
And may be over shooting them sequester which included the White House tours.
Charles your thoughts about that and -- -- written about it but.
He met with Republicans today up on the hill.
-- about it.
I think there -- two.
-- results of what they did on the sequestered.
The first was ridiculed because of the apocalyptic stuff.
And then Obama saying there are some who say that have been predicting the apocalypse of course -- -- -- because he was doing was predicting.
He and everybody ordered onto the station's staff.
That -- after the ridicule was in the cynicism and I think they really.
They jumped the shark with the White House and tourism.
Goes through Iowa tots who went on FaceBook and said please let us come.
And to do it during spring break and to think of the families so I and you know Obama's constituency his base is the media.
And they just at a certain point can no longer cover for him in this they they showed the contradictions and and really -- will be.
Predictions and then they went after of even though gently but they expose the fact that this is a pretty cynical decision.
So that's why I think they decided to do some of the strategy -- reaches.
Obviously number one I don't think much will come of it I think it is for show.
And I think the reason there's which you mentioned basically.
At the end of the show which is Obama says debt is.
A problem century -- it's not going to be a problem for a decade.
And the Republicans believe entirely opposite and that's a chasm and -- -- ideological sort of you know it's a reality chasm you see the world and that I think -- -- truly unbreakable.
I assume that everybody knows would jump the shark means but just for those who don't know what jumped the shark means.
It is derived from happy days.
When they started to fall in the ratings and the -- was jumping over everything with his motorcycle including stacks of -- buses.
And everything and they had another jump every week this is -- the the time when pinky tested -- was a part of happy days this is.
Mike you you think you need to explain to some people happy days and -- yeah yeah.
So at one point they decide to do episode of him jumping the shark tank and at that point.
It became you know what that's just too much is jump too many things that they've jumped sure.
Yes this is what you get in the on -- -- I'm not I'm special.
Other thing we want to catch American culture that we can get answers you get -- great.
Well you know I am a little.
Confused about what the White House is up to politically I think maybe they're a little confused too it's true they thought or seem to think there.
Coming -- the Election -- held all the cards that they could.
Sort of win another fight over the sequestered on.
Didn't work out I think it's fair to say it best they fought the Republicans to a draw maybe a little.
Worse than that and part of the reason is that it's looking in hindsight like the strategic retreat the Republicans made on taxes has served them well over the long term politically because it's enabled them.
Sort of like swallow one big hit and then say no more and kind of weirdly.
Get a little more united around that position.
Meanwhile certain things sort of happen in the democratic camp like -- and see that Obama's gonna cut social security and he's taking.
In coming there.
And on than his numbers on the economy started to go down I think that's a little strange since the economy itself went up.
But I think those numbers may reflect a couple things to reflect the fact that gas prices are high.
And they reflect the sort of general sense that -- the sequester is bad you know people don't actually feel it.
Canada relies so I think the president's is strangely for a guy who just came out of those elections so strong -- kind of lost his footing for the moment.
I thought my happy days stuff was accurate but apparently John in Texas says it wasn't -- shark -- -- -- -- bonds did it on water skis.
I'm so sorry.
You can point you jumped the shark I had jumped the shark in my definition and again Laura from the -- wasn't shark tank.
It was jumping a shark in the Pacific Ocean and -- it -- cooler than jumped the shark and went the whole happy days gang went to California.
Thank you okay point is I tried to explain what services talking about Steve.
You have tough competitor having it's happy days tutorial and happy days it was it was set in Milwaukee with Mexican -- -- Look I don't find what the White House is doing.
That mystifying I think this is.
All set up I think it's -- campaign move I think -- he's trying to reach out because.
As Charles suggested his constituency here is the media and he lost them temporarily.
It was too much they eat even even the media.
Even Washington reporters here.
Could make a phone call and check on the various things the White House was claiming it it didn't take a lot of work they -- policy isn't going to be the fact.
That the janitors at the capitol are gonna lose money and and some are going to be -- -- -- you know they keep these things are easily -- -- They checked them.
And one after another after another of these things turned out to be true and I'm not as scandalized by the White House tour is issue -- on its own.
But as part of that pattern that's where I think it becomes maybe politically damaging.
For the president I think what he's trying to do here is reach -- that he can demonstrate goodwill to the white house press corps and others in Washington.
Who say -- president hasn't done enough to reach out he can reach out.
It won't work.
For whatever reason Republicans will say because the president's not want to engage on entitlements the president will say it because Republicans are ideological extremists.
And the president will then be able to say see I try and these guys are crazy and the big question is you know what do the three or 400 media types in Washington who shape.
National public opinion on these things.
Mercifully less than they used to.
What they do where does it go and I think it's an open question I think Republicans feel good about going into this debate because they're the ones who came out and were aggressive on -- reform.
Years ago and the president hasn't been I think the fact he's losing some footing doesn't help me there you know.
I saw your piece and I you didn't think that this is real this outreach.
-- Paul Ryan today come out and say that the president did himself some good in meeting with house Republicans today.
Others said that they thought he was actually trying to do a big deal are they just saying that.
I think a lot of them are descent and I talked to three different members of the Republican conference who were in the inning and they said basically one on one -- Texted me back not credible.
And this is somebody -- I think would have been open to.
To listening to here -- the president out.
You know I think you're likely to have a range of opinion and I also think just as the president wants to be seen as putting his.
Best foot forward and being open to some kind of a compromise you have people like.
Paul Ryan and others who immediately after the president -- are you are not likely to go public and say.
You know this is terrible -- there's nothing we can do he's he's a normal person.
Well there's also some history there I mean go back to.
The last Ryan budget when.
Remember the president kind of invited -- to this talk and answer chewed him out right to his face so I think -- In a way is is is trying to just.
And make him you know have a little bit better appearance with the president the presence may be.
Trying to make things up with -- person is the second time right I guess this week's event together.
I don't know guys I mean I agree with it you all in the sense that it's silly in politics to look at people's sincerity and could faith.
In anything like very -- terms that there are times when people sort of forced into agreements are forced to deals.
And I would add that there are senate Republicans who look at this problem differently from the way certain house Republicans do some of the more running for reelection.
Some tomorrow opened the revenues we're talking about people you all know the -- Saxby Chambliss may be Bob corporate -- folks like that.
And if something were some deal didn't come together in the senate right.
You could have a vote on a mouse and might not pass the majority of Republican votes -- -- Democrats yeah exactly so I mean I think you know it's it's a highly unlikely if it is highly entitlement it's highly unlikely that I don't think we should sit around this table and simply sell -- all of a farce because it's going to look -- I just real briefly respond and it.
I agree with you and -- Usually I usually do like to -- to sort of suspend disbelief when it comes to motives.
But I think the president has demonstrated now for four years that he's not serious about deficits he said he said before the election he's now said in the past 24 hours.
He doesn't considered that an urgent threat he doesn't considered an urgent issues so I think given the fact that we know.
Through a series of highly detailed reports what the president wants to do with respect to 2014 and that's -- Republicans.
And we know that he's not been serious about debt and deficits I think it's fair at this point actually conclude.
He's not doing this in good faith can you also have the White House White House aides who have said for the past several weeks.
It's pointless to engage these Republicans and and the president turns on a -- and -- -- tags and White House towards this is the best you guys have no wonder GOP approval is at 11%.
He says fox will never get it.
-- I think.
That Steve's point was he was making its bigger than White House tours it's about the president.
Walking back a decision they made.
To stop the White House tours to inflict the most public pain that they could find at the time.
And now they're walking that back and that's what the stories about more along the big picture than it is just about the White House tours and it will not -- I think it's exactly right I think the real story is Obama has been demonizing the Republicans for years.
And he basically says I care about the national interest of these people care about they want to throw.
-- off a cliff orphans in the snow.
Because they wanted to -- breaks -- rich people of lead their party of the rich that's a summary of how he's explain everything Republicans have done the last few years.
So he takes the mantle of Emanuel Ax in the national interest and now we areas caught red handed with the most cynical manipulation.
Of a small amount of money.
In order to inflict maximum pain in the way that everybody can see and is undeniable and that I think is the larger issue.
You know he claims to be the one guy who cares about things seriously and then he goes and he does this as a way to blame Republicans and it doesn't work.
And the white house press corps which he had in his pocket can swallow this let me give you another -- which is more important example.
The change CPI the changing of the way and we should calculate.
Inflation when you do.
When you increased amount of Social Security every year and also where you determine the brackets that people are in when they are paying income tax.
He offers change CPI always he's said that he would in a bargain with Republicans.
Now why he's not a bargaining chip.
If you want the president of the United States -- is -- more accurate reflection of inflation it will help the -- help that deficit.
And -- be a more accurate and just wait calculus.
Why is it a bargaining chip why don't you just propose it and do it because you the president.
That I think is the larger expression of this moral issue of the way I was too.
But -- monetary on the issue -- station.
Charles would agree that has been sort of a two way street I think there's -- -- little demonization of Obama going on over the -- energy vehicular traffic has been good yes OK mostly when.
Just just a small reality check from Africa and the -- once -- the other thing is is that he had there was the out of flexibility.
That Republicans wanted to get to the White House nor has said you know what -- that antenna and I that's what I was talking about before when I said they mishandled the sequester.
Because if he had accepted that offer along with the -- -- been a much stronger position right -- Right anyone because -- White House source well all right maybe -- important but I think there's a process would use to sequester as a club.
Cool that's the only reason correct.
I repeat he overplayed his hand on the sequester but that's a separate question about whether he's ever been demonized but putting -- to one side I think what's about to happen under this.
March 27 deadline very quietly no one's talking about you know was was that a continuing resolution.
March -- -- that was going to be another clip.
He's going he's caving on that he's letting that happen.
-- may be a little bit more flexibility put in in senate appropriations that's very interest OK if he doesn't wanna fight over sequestered and more.
He's I think he sees it that's turned in the kind of us a losing battle is just gonna let it happen and this goes -- my point before about why we shouldn't write off the grand bargain.
There is the debt ceiling coming up in August did you sort of like one last benchmark.
-- if you wanted to get everybody together.
And and put together.
Republicans are -- contest this.
In any serious way.
They've learned their lesson that's not a place you can really apply pressure because in the end you can't go ahead with it and -- -- -- and they came alive when.
You're very quietly and the other thing that happened today Obama caved on the welfare work requirement remember that.
There's now -- bill pending in the house that would.
-- any waivers of the welfare.
Work requirement and the president's.
-- -- -- today issued a statement saying they would not Ito.
And their reason being is that the states that supposedly wanted these waivers right none of them none of them is actually asked for one and so they say in the statement well.
None of them want it anyway after also won't make any difference that we won't -- do they think he'll be stopped and send.
-- they prepared.
Doesn't say it doesn't say in the statement but it sounds like.
They decided it was a -- -- -- Black smoke rising from the White House still waiting for leadership John and Chicago wonders if I have any Laverne and Shirley stories here.
I don't thanks John.
Steve let's turn to a different topic if we could and that's Afghanistan.
Guest writes my son is heading with his unit to Afghanistan January 2014.
What do you think might happen considering.
This supposed dramatic reduction and -- Review of the US.
It's a good question.
You know this isn't the first time we've seen what we thought was that collapse of the relationship for the partial collapse of the relationship between the us government.
And Karzai on the one hand Karzai's very needy he's corrupt a lot of people understand that and didn't you can look at.
The words that he used.
With one truck -- was in country as basically setting himself up for a post American.
I don't know what to say to people who have.
Did you know to people going over there you know it seems to me that we've reached a point that if we are not going to fight to win.
We should get out -- and my view always was.
You know I supported the surge although I didn't like the way the president -- -- I thought that -- a real chance at.
Doing well establishing a reasonably stable government in Afghanistan.
Now working with.
Afghans to root out corruption.
I think we're past that point and I'm my -- if if we're not going to be serious and we are playing a -- game there that we -- Just -- -- community and the beauty says great question guests think your son for his service.
Is more of that sentiment than there has been in a long long time in part.
One would think is because the president has not talked about Afghanistan he really hasn't talked about it since.
Isn't giving a speech on it since West Point when he announced that that timeline.
For withdrawal the surge and then when they were going to come out I mean this present as opposed to last president.
Did not talk about US troops in Afghanistan.
He talked about a rock -- happening -- tuchman just.
You can't fight a war unless the president is committed.
Unless he believes that unless he wants to win anyway at least has an objective that is more than just getting out.
It was not clear where the president was within minutes speech on December 1 2009 -- announced the surge.
Although in this sentence after the one where he announced the surge he said we're getting out by certain date which sort of undermine our enterprise.
And I've been very skeptical ever since he has not made any speeches he's not expand that and how some political capital.
To garner support for the war and Americans are not very warlike.
Very hard to sustain.
Support for wars overseas especially when they are.
The murky any insurgencies.
The bush presidency spent a lot of capital -- could argue about.
The merit of the war or whether it was worth it -- you can't argue that he didn't try to keep the American people engaged and informed.
As a way to try to prevail in the war.
And once -- in a condition where Obama the president commander in chief is Natalie.
The country's gonna say no.
And even now it breaks my heart when -- -- the father writing about seven will be going over you come back for the question John Kerry yes.
Two in congress after he returned from the Vietnam War something like -- -- US command to be the last one to die for a mistake.
And if we're getting -- we're not invested in this then why are we sending new people over we should be.
Getting the most rapid evacuation -- with chuck.
Senator Obama is right war -- this was when President Obama took office do the right 11 and he wanted to fight.
So now how does President Obama in -- -- down define victory I don't think yes I think he has.
-- everything but define victory he has said things like the tide of war is receding.
Passive voice you know it's as if -- just kind of flows in and flows out on its own schedule.
And there is no.
To this situation I think what we're.
Heading toward is potentially a couple of things first.
A very messy outcome on the ground in Afghanistan and it's very hard to perceive.
How Karzai is gonna hold a central government together there and once we're gone although now you hear things about another 8000 American troops will stay after all.
-- and the second thing is I think this is leading a bad taste in the American people's mouth for a very long time to come.
It's not like Vietnam it's not a disaster like Vietnam but it's very inconclusive it's very costly it's very -- and it's very confusing it's not.
-- happy experience and you see even in the Ryan budget there's a little echo of that Paul Ryan.
A man who ran with Mitt Romney on a platform of raising defense spending is talking about a long term cap.
On defense spending there's a spirit that settling into both parties actually.
Maybe we've got to start limiting defense -- we've got to start you know pulling things in a little bit international affairs and I think it has a lot to do.
With the experience not.
-- in Delaware says Brett you had a great paper chase on your desk there.
You're right we had some moving parts.
In the show which -- often.
Clean up a little bit here okay realized that yeah I think that the problem is that the president.
As he thinks about the the war in Afghanistan.
He doesn't have us fighting for a particular dot -- outcome so much as he has and has us fighting to a particular date.
And he said this in his speeches when he has talked about Afghanistan where he says the war will end.
On schedule Cold War wars don't end on schedule wars and when -- one.
And the president isn't it seems to me.
He's not building a policy on the presumption that we're going to win or win anything like a piece or or any kind of a stable government.
He wants to fight first to a certain date and then be done with -- then sort of washes hands I think it's a bad way that.
-- foreign policy it's bad way to run a war the problem is.
Maybe we can't win you know maybe there is no defining -- -- that point now I don't think that we were at that point well when he came to office I agreed with.
That thinks he -- when we came off I got back could well be but I think 11 way or another it has turned into wars that we we certainly can't lose -- -- were fighting.
We can't look who's it.
But maybe we can.
When -- and the question is do you -- -- Of course I think the only.
The only argument in favor.
Is that it would be nice to have some place.
In the vicinity where we have our forces.
Because there was a threat from Pakistan.
The decision -- creation of the takeover of terrorists.
Drone base whatever -- Pakistan and his surprise.
It is a problem if -- okay guys really -- the -- does this got -- There is nothing in Afghanistan that anybody wants.
So do you want to have a base in the region.
Or not and I don't know whether Obama has decided.
He talks about leaving behind a residual force but only has to do these two two ball moving negotiations as they did.
Negotiating the residual.
Forced to be left behind in Iraq and then we say well the Afghans refuse to let us do it so -- so I do think.
Depending how you play.
You can make it look as if we wanted to stay -- and able to -- and in fact you just want to get out and not have any responsibility.
And -- got to have one other thing that's been very consistent about president Obama's discourse about this -- to the extent that he's talked about it he's emphasize the financial cost.
Constantly talking about how many billion dollars -- cost he wants to bank those savings.
And that would but we're spending it well I don't know what he's doing there.
And has done.
-- undermined any support the world could and yes continue.
Because the implication is that it's not worth it yet and that from the beginning he's continually talking trip as -- number of troops indecent speech after speech we have to build -- nation.
Can I also at in addition to Pakistan and I would say.
The importance of residual force -- some kind of -- US presence there.
Is also bulwark against Iran and if you if you believe as I do that Iran -- -- -- -- -- that either.
There's going to be a war or that Iran -- -- -- -- -- those are number two options I think diplomacy is not likely to lead anywhere.
And if Iran gets a nuclear weapon does it then try to spread influence in the region that would be I think has as good or maybe more important then and even Pakistan.
A lot of comments more birthday wishes were chosen -- flowing in here if you -- rather -- it Peter L says is another.
Exit question is that Charles regrets coffee cup do you guys actually drink coffee and shows -- This is my coffee cup in here is throat coat.
-- it helps the throat and southern giggle box says please tell Steve he looks like Matthew Crawley on accountant happy.
Which one is Matthews crowd -- -- -- He's but he doesn't have he's not handsome ones didn't hear.
He's one was just killed off you -- But what's it there and I thought okay.
A lot of your car so I got a lot of hope coverage today Pope Francis.
The new Pope for Roman Catholic like -- this is a big deal.
And to be an option to see how the church changes -- doesn't change in what this means for the Catholic Church one point two billion.
It's worldwide I don't think -- -- -- -- Catholic but.
What does it mean do you think in the big picture it's such a big part.
Well the first thing is that geographical -- When they chose a Pope John Paul the second.
It had a tremendous impact on Europe's history it was the first time in several centuries it was a non Italian.
And that I think commands something the fact that this is the first from the Americans.
I think really is -- saying a -- A Third World country.
And it is a way of saying that the center of gravity of the church is no longer work always had -- in Europe and now it's moving abroad.
So I think that's -- MES and the personalities of the choice of his name and the humility that he's displayed.
As we've heard during the show in his lifetime indicates a man who I believe and who who gives the impression of being -- abilities and service.
And she sees himself extremely humbling so those -- the two things -- one can see immediately.
As to how he runs -- church what he does in terms of reform I think that's completely obscure there's really no way to know.
But it looks like a choice that was extremely well has been and is being extremely well received in the Catholic world.
Jorge says hope and change.
All right thank you Wren says I just overturns more people to god.
Truck we you know it's it's true I'm not Catholic and where don't feel qualified to comment I guess the only.
Think I would say in it as a non-GAAP as an -- -- portrait from the outside it looks to me like they've chosen somebody old.
He's 76 years old and would ever impact he would -- Coming from a new part of the world so to speak.
Is just going to be necessarily limited by that he doesn't have that many good years left that's one question.
Meant to ask cardinal -- on -- Totally forgot spaced out and and it but it simply shoot you right I mean that going that was that he was going to be like John Paul the second the young kind of evangelist.
-- -- the second was people forget because in his later years he was so.
The -- yeah he was a rock star when he started out.
And and Charles I think meant to allude to this but the fact he came from Eastern Europe -- country that was under Soviet.
Domination at the time was very dramatic step.
I don't think this quite.
Remotely rises to that couple.
There are some people have described an earlier today as being kind of a grandfatherly.
Figure who commands respect in a church that needs.
Right -- -- you know listening to people who know a lot more about this than I do one gets the sense that they've brought that somebody who they chose somebody with that kind of gravity.
Who could implement some reforms now I'm not the reforms that I think the secular media and the United States might like to see.
-- but the kind of reforms that people who spend a lot of time studying.
The Vatican talk about and and if that's the case and you know there's a lot being read into the way that he introduced himself to the world today in.
-- -- following script and was that meant to signal something and was that sort of a follow on.
-- Pope John Paul the second.
If you know if that's the case I think that there are probably a lot of Catholics who would welcome that kind of change that kind of Vatican centered change but there's no question that he is in -- from a stalwart defender of Catholic traditionalist and as it relates to we know what we shorthand here in the United States as social issues he's been outspoken and uncompromising and I think again for a lot of Catholics that will be something that they're happening here.
Let me just say one word about his -- and longevity.
Mean there's no reason by actuarial standards.
He shouldn't have a good decade yourself.
And our presidents are only eight years and -- impact the country.
You know in that reverberates for decades so I wouldn't underestimate what you can do -- -- doesn't have to be.
One will be in power for thirty years even at his age he appears to be in good health there's no reason why can't sort of service line and our president's new.
And -- a significant impact.
Lot of people saying 76 is not old Michigan -- I was very very adamant about that.
She is seven.
Exclamation points it's -- adults I insisted to push back a little bit -- you know when Ratzinger Benedict.
Took over he was in his late seventies and seemed more vigorous and you know turned out -- have to retire after few years it's it's a riskier.
Proposition obviously they're going to be.
Gosh John Paul Stevens is on the Supreme Court so it was nine.
Factor that and I may have voted for humble.
That's what I've done and.
-- Pope Benedict I think could be remembered.
If his resignation becomes.
A precedent now of course it's so unprecedented.
He could be I think a good thing for the church.
Where you don't have the final years like.
The physical weakness I think it could set a standard where there's sort of a kind of term limits in the church might conceivably if this works out.
Adopted as a rule rather than the exception.
OK panel thank you as always.
Online show every Wednesday night and of course we're back tomorrow Fred Smith of FedEx talking about the economy.
He talked some about somebody who knows the US economy perhaps even ahead.
Of the US economy.
Fred Smith FedEx will be on special report tomorrow control room.
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