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Special Report Roundtable - January 29

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume


SEN HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: The question really is, we face a lot of dangers in the world and in the gentleman's words, we face a lot of evil men. You know, people like Osama bin Laden, comes to mind. What in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad man?



HUME: Well, that got a huge round of laughter, as you heard from the audience and later on, the press was pressing her as the press will about who she was talking about and so forth and she said, "Lighten up everybody. You know I was trying to be light, your always telling me to be light. I was light and now you're psychoanalyzing me."

Well, some psychoanalyzation (ph) now or analysis from Fred Barnes, executive editor of the Weekly Standard; Mort Kondracke, executive editor of Roll Call; Mara Liasson, national political correspondent of National Public Radio -- FOX NEWS contributors all.

Well, Barack Obama was out today in New Orleans appealing to what he thinks, no doubt, is a natural constituency for him. Hillary Clinton is in a place where she must go, before all is said and done, in Iowa. It strikes me that what we're seeing here in that episode and in the video and so on that she made is a different side of Hillary Clinton that she is trying to exhibit.

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: There's no doubt about that. Her public image is of someone who's cold and calculating and cautious and rather unapproachable and here she is, first sitting on the nice comfy, (inaudible) couch, you know, announcing her candidacy and now she's trying to interact with people and show herself as warm and engaging and also a formidable and tough and capable of poking a little fun at herself.

HUME: Capable of poking a little fun at herself. It's always a welcome quality for politicians.

LIASSON: Yeah. Yeah, I think she's -- given that she can't do it on the one-on-one or even five or 10 voters at a time basis that she would like to, of course she had a thousand people at that town hall meeting.

HUME: In this conversation.

LIASSON: Yeah, in this intimate chat that she wants to have -- a one- on-one chat, you know, this is a.

HUME: One-on-one thousand.

LIASSON: Yeah, one-on-one thousand. This is about as good as she can do it and I think that she is -- you know, Mrs. Clinton is a hard worker and she leaves no stone unturned. And she is going after this, I think, in exactly the way that she has to.

MORT KONDRACKE, ROLL CALL: Yeah, I -- the -- to the extent that I could divine what Iowa voters thought by reading all kinds of Iowa newspapers today, she did fine. The people said she was witty and intelligent and warm and all that stuff. She's got to visit there a lot more. You do not when Iowa in one visit in two years. And her staff thinks that she did a great job, I mean, they were all high-fiving themselves today, apparently.

HUME: Everybody was high-fiving her.

KONDRACKE: Well, I don't know about that. But in any event, they thing that if they spend -- if she spends as much time in Iowa, or something like as much time in Iowa as she did in New York, when she was running there, up state New York, she can win upstate Iowa's hearts and minds, as well.

HUME: Do you sense any falseness in this -- this new image, this new -- I don't want say it's an all new image.

KONDRACKE: Look, she used to be very charismatic; until Obama came along she was the most charismatic person in the Democratic race. Now she's.

HUME: Because she was exhibiting charisma or because the competition was so limited?

KONDRACKE: Well, partly both, but there's a certain charisma to her. She's a former first lady, she's a front-runner in the party. She's got a lot of energy and all that.

HUME: Is that because of her charisma or in spite of it?

KONDRACKE: I think she does have charisma. She's doesn't have as much as Obama.

LIASSON: She's a big celebrity candidate. I don't if you.

HUME: She's got celebrity.

FRED BARNES, WEEKLY STANDARD: Let's not confuse the words resume and charisma.

KONDRACKE: What's that suppose to mean?

BARNES: Well, they're completely different things. Look, politicians -- one of the most important things is being likable. You know, people tend to vote for people they like, not always, but at least at the margin it helps.

But of course, you missed something there, Mort, that was the most important thing that happened there, the most telling thing that happened there about that joke. Look, and this is going to badger her in her entire campaign and in a general election and that's her marriage with Bill Clinton and the whole psychodrama that is involved there.

Now, if you think jokes about that help her get elected, I think you are entirely wrong. This is not what people want to see in a president, somebody, man or woman, that's going to drag the country through that stuff.

LIASSON: Well, wait a second.

BARNES: The press has a lot to do with it because it automatically going to dwell on that and ask questions about it. I'm not defending it, but I'm saying this is just the beginning, it doesn't help her.

LIASSON: Wait a second. Are you assuming that she was making a joke about her husband?

HUME: Well who do you think she was taking about?

BARNES: Well, yeah.

LIASSON: Well, I think all the people -- all the men who have attacked her and tormented her, that's just as plausible.

BARNES: No, the press -- no, please, please, please.

LIASSON: Wait a minute, you think that's what she meant? Because I don't think that's how people in the room took it.

BARNES: Well, why was she laughing? She laughed even before the crowd did, it looked like.

LIASSON: I think she was thinking Newt Gingrich and Republicans.


KONDRACKE: The press thought that she dealing with -- she was reflecting on the bad Bill, you know, that that's who she was talking about. That's who they all.

LIASSON: Well, that's the press. If you think that she is purposely bringing up her marriage.

HUME: Fred.

BARNES: OK, it may have been the press, but the press is going to continue to do this.

KONDRACKE: Just one more thing, though, on Iraq, I, for the life of me, don't understand why she doesn't say what John Edwards said about the war in Iraq. "I was wrong in my vote." She said practically the same thing, she said...

HUME: Well then what difference does it make?

KONDRACKE: Because she's being attacked as being some sort of George Bush clone..

LIASSON: No, I don't think that's going to be -- no, that is not her biggest problem. That is not her biggest problem -- yet. I mean, we have yet to see if the Democratic -- the base of the Democratic Party is going to reject her because she has refused to repudiate her vote.

KONDRACKE: Oh, no. Look, Frank Rich, in the New York Times, our friend Chris Matthews on that other network are constantly accusing her of being soft on, you know, on Bush.

HUME: Well, it appears that she has lost Frank Rich and Chris Matthews.


BARNES: If you look at the polls on Hillary, her -- the lave of a repudiation of that vote is not hurting her.

LIASSON: That's what I said.

BARNES: I know. You're right.

KONDRACKE: I think it's probably good for her as a general election candidate to have some distance from the left.

HUME: Not much, though, in your opinion?

KONDRACKE: I don't think she's got much difference from them. She's not in favor of a pullout, that's different.

HUME: When we come back with our panel, we'll discuss the Senate's difficulty in mustering 60 votes for a resolution on the Iraq war. Stick around for that.



SEN CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: That resolution will not only get a large number of Democrats, most Democrats to vote for it, but a large number of Republicans, close or even a majority and that will send shock waves through the White House and through the country.

SEN MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: We're going to have a series of different votes on different kinds of resolutions none of them are going to be binding. All of them, as virtually every measure in the Senate will require 60 votes, there's a reasonable chance none of them will pass.


HUME: Two contrasting views, there. Democrats', says Senator Schumer, and perhaps the majority of Republicans, that would get you to about 75 votes, well enough to meet the 60 vote filibuster threshold in the Senate. Senator McConnell says he doesn't think anything might pass. What about this, Fred, is this whole thing -- this whole juggernaut we saw just a couple of weeks ago about to fizzle?

BARNES: Yeah, maybe.

HUME: This is all -- what we're talking about, of course, folks, is just -- sorry Fred -- is a nonbinding resolution expressing disapproval in one way or another of the president's approach in Iraq. There's a softer one from Senator Warner and...

BARNES: But not only that, there's going to be one by John Cornyn of Texas endorsing the surge -- John Cornyn of Texas endorsing the increase of troops in Iraq.

HUME: That won't pass.

BARNES: Not, but there will be one by -- and there's the McCain resolution saying he's in favor of that, but it has all these things that the Iraqi government has to do. There will be one, even, that will say probably say, filed cynically by a Republicans, saying we want to cut off support, right now -- cut off all funds and immediately withdraw. That one actually may get the most votes, but the truth is, see, they're going to negotiate this, so the key word -- or the key number that McConnell used was 60 -- to avoid having this debate on all these resolutions go on, you know, through the month of February, they will probably agree that -- to pass a resolution it has to have the 60 votes. Well, will the -- I don't think the resolution -- the main one, the Biden resolution that Schumer was talking about, will get 60 votes. The Warner resolution will probably get the most, that's sort of critical of the surge of troops and we'll get some more additional Republicans, the Cornyn will.

Anyway, there's this -- if the single Biden resolution, that Schumer was talking about, was there, it might get over 60 votes, but when there are all these alternatives it's not going to do as well.

LIASSON: Yeah, look, the -- couple of things -- you know, President Bush's plan will get a vote of some kind of a no-confidence in some form. However, it's completely nonbinding and there are now...

HUME: Well, if doesn't pass how is it.

KONDRACKE: It can't pass.

HUME: It can't pass.

LIASSON: Right, but there will be some show of opposition to his policy...

HUME: If you're a terrorist trying to recruit somebody, you going to say, "Look, in the U.S. Senate yesterday, on the preliminary vote for the non-binding resolution that didn't pass but it got 53."

KONDRACKE: The way it is likely to come along is that there will be several resolutions that are voted on and each one -- and maybe none will get 60. Warner's pretty close to 60.

HUME: So, you'll get a headline that says, "The majority of Senate opposes Bush on Iraq?"

KONDRACKE: Right. Right. I think that's the headline.

LIASSON: Yeah, that's what I'm saying. There will be a strong show of opposition. However, as Fred said, there are now a lot of places for Republicans to park themselves. If there was only one place, that would have been bad, but this is what happens in the Senate and interestingly enough, John Warner did not agree to negotiate with Biden and Levin to kind of meld his resolution. He was going to stand alone. This is going to be, actually, sounds like a real debate

KONDRACKE: So you need -- look, you've got 49 Democratic senators who are there, because Jim Johnson was in the hospital, so then you need 11 Republicans to vote.

BARNES: Lieberman is not going along.

KONDRACKE: That's right.

HUME: Forty-eight, you need 12 Republicans.

KONDRACKE: Twelve Republicans. I don't count 12 Republicans at this point.

HUME: Nobody can.

KONDRACKE: I can count 11.

HUME: So, Chuck Schumer, who -- it may be making a horseback estimate.

KONDRACKE: Now, significantly, thought, Senator McConnell said, on Face of the Nation, that he -- I -- he, McConnell, is a strong supporter of the war and he says this is Bush's last chance. And if he is saying that then the Iraqis may -- might ought to get to worrying.

HUME: The worry in the White House is not that the minority leader will say something like that, the worry in the White House appears to be that it sends a signal to the enemy that says -- a clear signal to the enemy that says this policy is collapsing at home, and so fight on. The fact that -- it's kind of hard for me to think that -- you know, the terrorist leaders are going get up and said, "The minority leader says that this is the." I'm just saying, you think of the things that could happen from the point of view of the White House, this isn't a bad outcome.

KONDRACKE: Except that what Schumer said on one of the other shows was that if the president doesn't get the message, we're going to ratchet this up. And I believe that.

HUME: I know, but if he can't pass the Senate resolution, how is he going to pass anything else?

BARNES: What Republican senators do after the lunch -- General Petraeus is going to be there, who will be leader of the counterinsurgency and the surge in Iraq

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