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Special Report Roundtable - March 2

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI(R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ronald Reagan used to say, "My 80 percent ally is not my 20 percent enemy." What he meant by that is we do not all see eye-to-eye on everything. You and I have a lot of common beliefs that are the same and we have some that are different.

MITT ROMNEY(R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I vetoed a tuition breaks for illegal and said no to drivers' licenses.

(APPLAUSE)

McCain-Kennedy gives benefits to illegals that would cost taxpayers millions, and more importantly, amnesty didn't work 20 years ago, and it will not work today.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANGLE: OK, there you have two Republican presidential candidates. First, Rudy Giuliani trying to relay fears that he might be too socially liberal or conservative activists, and then Mitt Romney suggesting that he's more conservative than John McCain -- Senator John McCain, who chose not to attend.

So, let's have some analytical observations on all that from Fred Barnes, executive editor of the Weekly Standard; Mort Kondracke, executive editor of Roll Call; and the syndicated columnist, Charles Krauthammer -- FOX NEWS contributors, all.

So, Charles, this is quite a beauty pageant today with people going up before conservatives to try to show that they are indeed the one true- blue person, and I believe, almost everyone mentioned Ronald Reagan.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Everybody wants to be Reagan, nobody is Reagan, and you try to get as close as he can. I thought Giuliani did a creditable job, after all, he's the least socially conservative of the lot. And he basically offered an amnesty, a truce between him and conservatives.

Romney, I thought, had a very strong speech. And as we saw in that clip, it was a clever way to handle things. Nobody attacks John McCain frontally, but mentioned his name and the bills that he proudly has sponsored, and you mentioned him in the company of two flaming Liberals, Feingold and Kennedy, because remember, Romney attacked McCain to Feingold and said he would veto it, he would actually try to repeal it. He wants to actually repeal McCain, and he did it in this sort of clever way, by attaching them to two issues, immigration, campaign and financial reform -- were conservatives get very angry at McCain.

And also, McCain, as I said last night, showing up is 80 percent of life. Actually, in a group like CPAC, which has been historically, sort of marginalized and disrespected, it's about 98 percent white. I think McCain hurt himself, here.

ANGLE: Mort.

MORT KONDRACKE, ROLL CALL: Well you know, I thought it was interesting that Giuliani was the one candidate, that I heard, who had no digs at anybody else in the Republican field. He touted his on record in New York...

ANGLE: All good governance.

KONDRACKE: Estimable, you know, fighting crime, lowering taxes, reducing welfare...

ANGLE: Reducing welfare rolls from 800,000 to 200,000.

KONDRACKE: Exactly, where as Romney had two digs at McCain and Romney -- you know, Romney -- this was panorama time for Romney. You know, he -- here he is, he is pandering to the xenophobes and the nativist in the party, you know, I would never have McCain-Kennedy -- he's against amnesty and all that kind of stuff. And you know, that's what this group loves, I mean, that -- this group is a kind of nativist...

ANGLE: But why is that pandering instead of just laying out your views?

KONDRACKE: Well, and he didn't stop pandering there, he said he would sign the Grover Norquist tax pledge, which he'd never done before. You know, I mean, it never stops. When Huckabee referred to some people having more...

ANGLE: More conversions?

KONDRACKE: More conversions on the road to Damascus than a Syrian camel driver, he was talking about Romney.

(LAUGHTER)

ANGLE: Fred.

FRED BARNES, WEEKLY STANDARD: Look, this does tend to be a paleoconservative group. They're small government conservatives. I don't know if they're nativists or not, I didn't drop by, I guess Mort did and found out they were all nativists there.

(LAUGHTER)

KONDRACKE: I can smell them from here.

BARNES: Yeah, sure. I know, but Mort, they're way across town.

They do tend to be unhappy with the state of the Republican Party. I think it's significant, Charles doesn't, but I think it's significant the great perception that Romney got and Giuliani got. It shows that these conservatives are very accepting, I think, of people who are moving in their direction, which clearly Giuliani and Romney are.

Look, if you're the recipient of pandering, you tend to like it. You tend to accept those people when they're pandering in your direction. When they're pandering in the other direction, say to the lift, well then you're going to think they're phonies and horrible and so on, but Conservatives will accept them -- both Romney and Giuliani.

KONDRACKE: I heard very little in the way of pandering on Giuliani's part. I mean, he stuck to his guns, he said, you know, we don't agree on a lot of stuff, but he knew what he was talking about.

KRAUTHAMMER: Pander if somebody agrees with a group you don't like.

BARNES: Yeah, exactly.

KRAUTHAMMER: Otherwise it's not a pander. So it's a pretty...

KONDRACKE: There you go. I guess I'm out...

KRAUTHAMMER: I thought he was reaching out to another...

BARNES: Seeing the light.

ANGLE: All right, we don't have much time left. There was some talk today that Fred Thompson might get into the race. Fred Thompson, who's now on Law and Order, but a senator and a jovial fellow who's known around town is also involved in the Scooter Libby defense fund. What are the prospects of that?

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, we've had an actor in a White House, but he also was a two-term governor of the largest state in the union and quite an accomplished political thinker. In getting a guy right out of a television show -- it's not going to happen, especially in wartime.

KONDRACKE: I completely agree with that. And Fred Thompson, you know, was the chairman of the government operations committee in the Senate and basically did nothing while he was there. I mean, he doesn't have much of a record.

BARNES: There's a space for more candidates, I suppose, always, but I agree with Charles, it's -- I mean Ronald Reagan, you know, was governor, he didn't just jump from Death Valley Days right to a presidential campaign.

KRAUTHAMMER: I'd say he's finished.

(LAUGHTER)

ANGLE: There is one good thing, and that is when he -- right after he first got elected and came to Washington, he said, "I just want to say one thing. I haven't been here very long, and yesterday, I accidentally spend some of my own money."

So, at least he has a sense of humor.

Next on SPECIAL REPORT, an Iranian visits to Saudi Arabia, North Korea's suddenly willingness to cooperate in an Iraqi neighbors' conference? What's up with all this diplomacy? More with the all-stars after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN MCCORMACK, STATE DEPT SPOKESMAN: Whether it's there support for terrorism or their pursuit for weapons of mass destruction or their efforts to block any sort of progress in building a Democracy in Lebanon or the Palestinian areas, we hope would hope that the message to the Iranian leadership is that they need to change their behavior.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANGLE: And that message would come from Saudi Arabia because Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is headed their tomorrow to talk with Saudi leaders. Charles, why would Iran be going, and it was at their request -- why would they be going to talk to Saudi leaders at this point?

KRAUTHAMMER: The upside here is that it indicates that the Iranians are feeling pressure from the sanctions, from the bank squeezing that we've down, from our build up in the Gulf. They're worried also about uniting all the Sunni Arabs against them, which is what's happening now. They've been pushing really hard and aggressively.

What's happening, interestingly in the last couple of months, is that in Lebanon, the Hezbollah, which is the proxy of Iran, has pulled back. It was almost at the point of coup to get rid of the government, which is a Saudi ally and it pulled back. Hamas, also a proxy of Iran, has agreed in the Mecca Accords in Saudi Arabia, to a coalition government.

So, in these areas where the Iranians looked like they were overreaching, they're worried about the Arabs completely opposing them. The question is what is the deal going to be on Iraq? If the Saudis have a sense that we're going to leave, they may want to cut a deal with Iran over Iraq that will leave us high and dry. And I think one of the reasons that we've had Cheney over there and others is to say at least for the next two years, America's stays. And it could be that the Arabs, through Saudi Arabia, are going to be putting pressure on Iran, which can only help us in our trying to squeeze the government right now.

KONDRACKE: Well, you remember it was the Saudis who called Cheney over there to give him the riot act about don't you dare leave and let the Iranians take over in Iraq. And it's fascinating that the Saudis and other gulf states have agreed to a nuclear cooperation agreement.

Now, Mark Kirk, the congressman from Illinois, who's the head of the House Iraq Study Group, points out how many decades has it been that the Israelis have had a nuclear weapon? And did they Gulfese (ph) ever have to go nuclear on that account? No way, you know. This shows you who they're really scared of, and that's the Iranians.

ANGLE: Well, and good reasons to be scared of Ahmadinejad. I mean, he talks about going to war as if it were nothing.

BARNES: Yeah. Well, he doesn't talk about eliminating Saudi Arabia, but he says he can imagine a world without Israel and the United States.

You know, I tend to agree with Mort and that the Saudis are also worried about the group that America is a part of, the Europeans, that are supposedly leaning on the Iranians so they won't build nuclear weapons, and worried that the Iranians will get nuclear weapons before the sanctions are tough enough to dissuade them. So, they want to hear what the Iranians have is say.

ANGLE: Now, when everybody sits down in Iraq at these multi-party talks, it'll be interesting, and you saw earlier what Chris Dodd said today, which is there's no way we should be talking to this guy. And any serious negotiator should be sitting down and talking to them about their nuclear program. What will their role at these talks be, Charles, and what should the U.S. do in handling Iran as it sits next to them or near them?

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, we're obviously not going to be speaking with the Iranians about the nuclear issue in these talks. This is about Iraq. We are not going to offer them direct talks because we made a condition, only after you stop uranium enrichment, and they have not.

But the Iraqi government wants the conference because it's going to end up one way or the other living with Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, others as neighbors. It's got to make a deal and it's looking for the future. Our role is to watch and listen and to make sure that the Shiite -- the government isn't selling us out in these talks.

ANGLE: Mort.

KONDRACKE: Well, you know, I think that we can perfectly well say that the Iranians -- here's the evidence that we've got that you guys are killing our troops, cut it out.

For more visit the FOX News Special Report web page.

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