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Special Report Roundtable - May 8

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume


RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It would be OK to repeal and would be OK if its construction is judged and viewed as president and I think a judge has to make that...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would it be OK if they didn't repeal it?

GIULIANI: I think the court can make that decision and then the country can deal with it. We're a federalist system of government, the states can make their own decisions.

No, for some people it is inconsistent, for me it's my position and I believe it strongly. And if fact, I think a lot of people come to the conclusion and I come to.


HUME: And that position is that it is OK if Roe vs. Wade, the decision legalizing abortion, making it right, indeed, a constitutional right, is upheld. It's also OK if it is reversed.

Mayor Giuliani also has said that he hates abortion and always has, but he and his former wife gave money to Planned Parenthood, they -- foremost abortion dispenser back during the 1990s. So, has Mayor Giuliani, whose position on abortion has been known for a long time and who seemed on effected by it, now in a situation where he's painted himself into some difficulty.

Some thoughts on this now from Fred Barnes, executive editor of the Weekly Standard; Mara Liasson, national political correspondent of National Public Radio; and Mort Kondracke, the executive editor of Roll Call -- FOX NEWS contributors all.

How about it?

FRED BARNES, WEEKLY STANDARD: He's in trouble. Look, his problem is that's made this a big issue by being unclear in the first place. You know, one of the things, if you're a candidate, you have to decide in the beginning, is what's my message, what am I going to say? Obviously, this was going to be an issue because his was the unconventional position, the pro-choice position, that's the minority position in the Republican Party.

So, what he needed to do was say look, OK, I'm for abortion being legal, I'm for Roe v. Wade being upheld, I'm for these limitations, whether it's parental consent or whatever...and I'm against partial birth abortion, and leave it at that. But be clear. Even today -- was it today that interview with Laura Ingram on the radio, he was all mixed up on how many adoptions had occurred even though he encouraged these when he was mayor of New York, How many of those occurred, his numbers were challenged by Laura and then he sort of backed off when he said there was an increase every year. Planned Parenthood, Brit, which you mentioned, he well, he just wanted -- he supported them because they got information out. Well, they do, but they mainly do abortions.

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Look, I think Rudy Giuliani started out with a position that people thought was defensible, he was pro- choice, personally, but for "strict constructionist judges," which people understood and with some reason to kind of code for people who would uphold brokers, it turns out that's not the case and what he's really saying is...

HUME: You mean my reverse...

LIASSON: I meant in reverse. And...

HUME: Basically that the judges he appoints they do one or the other and either one's OK with him.

LIASSON: Now look, what he's say --- now that position you -- is defensible. I don't, it just depends upon the Republican Party and what he's saying is: I'm agnostic on this.

It's extremely to an important to me, let the judges deal with this, this not important to me, but it's extremely important to a large part of the Republican primary voters and, you know, I think this is one of the reasons why his numbers are dropping.

MORT KONDRACKE, ROLL CALL: Look, the Gallup Poll shows that there are about 35 percent of Republicans who are pro-choice -- identify themselves as pro-choice. So, it's an uphill climb for him from the beginning.

HUME: And he's about 33-35 percent support, which is more than anybody else.

KONDRACKE: Yeah, well, you know, I think he had a defensible position, personally opposed to abortion, but believes it should be a woman's choice. However, he has any sense, Roe v. Wade doesn't make any difference whether it's overturned or not. Well, if it's overturned, then in some states, almost certainly, women will be deprived of the right to have an abortion. It'll become illegal. Now, how can he be in favor of a woman's choice? He's going to be the president and the United States of America, he wants to be, just of some state or some city or something and he's got to say what the law of the land ought to be, and this is a very important issue and he ought to be clear about it, as Fred says, and he's not.

BARNES: ...important issue and he needs to be clear to have it stop being an issue for him.

HUME: As he got himself so, sort of, tangled up in this now with the -- and now you got the information about the money to -- the contribution issue to Planned Parenthood, that it would be difficult to disentangle at this stage?


LIASSON: I think it would be hard.

BARNES: Let me comment on what you said about he's trying to say it's an important issue to him. But it is an important issue. He said, look, I hate abortion. It's horrendous, I recommend against it. Yet there is a powerful liberty interest that women have, he says. So, this is obviously and issue he's thought about and he does care a lot. He can't dismiss it as something I don't care much about, it's not important....

HUME: Well, I think Mara maybe it's certainly true that he wishes the issue weren't so important among Republicans.

LIASSON: Yeah. This is something -- there are a lot of Republicans who wish that social issues didn't have the prominent place that they do in the Republican Party, and I think he's one of them. He would rather talk about terrorism.

HUME: So, is John McCain the big gainer from this particular -- but he's had a pretty consistent position.

KONDRACKE: We yeah, any pro-life candidate is advantaged in the Republican Party and I always thought that this would cause Giuliani trouble and here it is. Now, the next -- now we're going to move onto gay rights, which is another thing. I mean, he's pro civil unions, which the party tends not to be. He's against the gay marriage, but you know, his record is one of being pro-gay and that's problematic in the Republican Party, too.

HUME: Everybody agree with that?

LIASSON: I think it's problematic in the Republican Party. I mean look, the whole question about the improbable rise of Rudy Giuliani has been, well the Republican Party is willing to overlook all of his kind of apostate views on socialism because he was the hero of 9/11, and we're going to find out the answer.

HUME: When we come back with our panel, the all--stars opn Paul Wolfowitz and the goings on at the World Bank. Stay tuned.



MCCORMACK: The president has said we firmly support Mr. Wolfowitz continuing as president of the World Bank. We understand that there are internal processes underway within the bank.

QUESTION: Does the administration have the same confidence it has two weeks ago?

SNOW: Yes, it still has confidence.


HUME: Well, that's the latest from the State Department White House on how Paul Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank, stands, at least, with this administration with the president; however, a panel at the World Bank has found that he was guilty of a conflict of interest in his handling of the personnel matters surrounding a woman who was his companion before he got there and whose personnel matters he tried to recuse himself from being involved in when he got there only to be told by the bank's ethics committee that he really couldn't do that and that he would have to address the conflict of interest, which he tried to do, and then when he did it, the next thing you know he's up on charges, as they say. Where does this matter now stand? What is the outcome of this? Is he being railroaded? What's going on -- Mort.

KONDRACKE: Well, first, I've known Paul Wolfowitz for more than 20 years and he's an idealist, he's a small "d" Democrat, he cares deeply about the plight of the poor around the world and has been trying to do something about it including trying to stop their governments from stealing the money that the World Bank has been giving them and the World Bank only lends money, by the way, to governments -- and they routinely steal it and he was trying to deal with corruption.

The World Bank is a corrupt institution. It's bureaucrats make exorbitant salaries, tax-free, they travel around the world, business class or first class, they -- it takes eight years to process a loan. They have refused to give any money to Iraq. They give money to Iran. I mean it's deeply political. And the bureaucrats and the Europeans and others on the board hated Wolfowitz from the beginning because they thought he was one of the authors of the Iraq war and they've been trying to figure out how to resist him and they've created what amounts to a corruption trap for him and he, unfortunately fell into it and now he may lose his job.

HUME: Can he survive this, Mara, do you think?

LIASSON: I think it's going to be very difficult. You know, the problem is this kind of a thing does create a self-fulfilling prophecy. I mean, if the whole bank staff is against you, and it's very hard for -- it does compromise your credibility because credibility is about appearances. But, I do think a lot of this is very confusing to an outside observer...

HUME: Well, it dose seem that he try to avoid the very problem he's having.

LIASSON: But it's probable that there is a Larry Summers effect, too. We hear that a lot of bank employees reacted against the high-handedness of his aides who came in, he had a very close circle of aides. He didn't reach out to people. So, it's a management style problem, too. Also, you have this...


...these op-ed pieces written by African diplomats saying that we want him to stay and they're the very countries that the World Bank is supposed to help. So, it's very confusing.

BARNES: It's going to be hard to stay and the question is whether he wants to stay in a situation where it would be very difficult to deal with all these high-paid bureaucrats there, and the European governments that don't want him there. To me, Paul Wolfowitz is the perfect person for that job for exactly the reasons that Mort mentioned, someone -- a conservative with a real feeling for poverty around the world and how to deal with it, he wanted to deal with it in a different way, to have the money, not just worry about how much money you were shoving out the door, but what was actually happening to that money? Was it leading to serious development, particularly in African countries, there, or was it just being siphoned off by governments to do with whatever they want in Swiss bank accounts and so on. He wanted some accountability. Look, this is a stale, corrupt, bureaucracy at the World Bank that didn't want him there, doesn't want him there and they may get their wish. But, I think that decision has to be made by Paul Wolfowitz.

KONDRACKE: Now the bank is trying to extort the United States government into getting rid of Wolfowitz. If the New York Times is to be believed they're offering a deal. You get to keep the World Bank presidency. I mean, apparently the Bush administration is standing up to that and is not playing the game. But they may lose.

For more visit the FOX News Special Report web page.

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