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Special Report Roundtable - Aug 14

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume


NANCY NORD, CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMITTEE: There's absolutely no excuse for lead to be found in toys entering this country. It is totally unacceptable and it needs to stop.

SEN HILLARY CLINTON, (D) NEW YORK: We have to have tougher standards on what they import into this country. I do not want to eat bad food from China, or have my children having toys that are going to get them sick.

GOV BILL RICHARDSON, (D) NEW MEXICO: China is a strategic competitor, and we have to be tougher on China when it comes to human rights and trade.


ANGLE: OK. So the Chinese have got yet another trade problem with defective products. Now some analytical observations now from Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of The Weekly Standard, Nina Easton, Washington Bureau Chief of Fortune Magazine, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, Fox News contributors all.

Obviously, this will generate a political response as well. But before we get to that, let me just ask first--is this what happen--and I have got a two-page list here of recalls, just since March, mind you. Is this what happens when communists try to engage in capitalism, or is it something else?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, that is a lot of the story. They have a semi-capitalist economy, deeply corrupt, and, in many ways, centrally directed--fairly efficient for their own growth, but quite dangerous for the rest of the world.

They don't have anything like the regulatory schemes here, and they don't have the consumer advocacy, the kind of resistance that you get in the west in an open democracy. So all of this happened as we saw the scandals--the head of the Chinese FDA was executed for taking bribes.

But the problem here is that this issue is going to be exploited. It is a real issue, we have to protect ourselves. But the people who oppose free trade are going to exploit it as a way--we heard Richardson speaking about it as a way to shut it down.

That is why the administration and conservatives who believe in free trade have to be very tough here, insist on spending a lot of money, regulations and a new regulatory scheme, inspectors, and insisting that the Chinese contribute for our inspection and not rely on their inspections.

ANGLE: Nina, what do you think?

NINA EASTON, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, FORTUNE MAGAZINE: I think there is an element, actually, of cowboy capitalism that we are seeing here, much like you saw when the Soviet Union became Russia. This guy that they executed, who was head of, essentially, their Food and Drug administration, was a crook, he was taking bribes. And his actions actually killed people, and so they took his life.

I think it's something--this is a country--it's a complex relationship, and it's a complex country. They have an interest and a stake in remaining part of the global economy, so you're going to see dramatic actions like that.

ANGLE: They have a lot at stake here.

EASTON: They have a lot at stake.

And the other thing to keep in mind, it is a baby in terms of capitalism. We didn't have a health and safety regime in the country even 30, 40 years ago. The administration is pushing them in that direction. Other world players are pushing them in that direction.

We can talk about this later, the Democrats want to act to try to force them in that direction, and that is going to be a real big political issue here in the presidential campaign.

ANGLE: Fred, you have a government here that is known for ferreting out family if they want to have more than one child, or finding political dissidents in an enormous population.

You would think they would be able to figure out a way to deal with this, because this is, after all, the engine of their economic growth, and one they depend on to create jobs for their people.

FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, WEEKLY STANDARD: Look, all they want is to generate the growth, they don't care about any side effects that it has. And this is a bad side effect. We might not have had a regulatory state here years 40, 50 years ago, but consumers could decide, and I don't think that is the case in China.

And I think, right now, the biggest threat to China is the American consumer. You mentioned--I have that same list--two pages of problems with Chinese products--

ANGLE: Killing pets, among other things.

BARNES: I know--just in the last few months. American consumers, I think, are going to start looking at "Made in China" as a being a signal of a product they don't want to buy.

I already had to throw away a bunch of toothpaste last Marcy or April that was this fake toothpaste, I think from China, and I didn't know whether I had gotten it or not, so I just threw it away.

And this is gong to be a huge problem for China--the American consumer.

ANGLE: And as this becomes as political issue, I don't think the Chinese could possibly appreciate what a political football this will be in a presidential election.

EASTON: In a presidential year, and in a year, by the way, with the Olympics in Beijing next summer, at the same time that both candidates will have their nominees.

And I think what you are already seeing is this casting a long shadow over the presidential campaign, for the Democrats see China more as an adversary, the Republicans believe more in quiet talk.

KRAUTHAMMER: The Chinese are going to learn that you ethnically cleanse, the world will give you a pass, but you don't mess with Elmo.

ANGLE: Next up with our panel, the all stars look at the Bush administration strategy, tactics, and agenda in the post Karl Rove White House. We will be right back.



DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: I think we are going to have to see in terms of how much of a showdown Congress wants to have. The president has said he needs the appropriations bills to his desk, they have not sent him one.

JEFF KAPLAN, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF: The tank is full. The president's priorities haven't changed, nor has his ambitious agenda. When we come back in the Fall, the Congress is going to have a full plate in front of it.


ANGLE: Nor has the Democrats determination to block everything the president intends to do. So we are back with our panel to talk about what happens now in the remaining little more than a year of the Bush administration, especially as you have new people picking up the task that Karl Rove, among others--Dan Bartlett, Rob Cortman were playing.

How much time does the president really have, Charles, to press his agenda at this point as we go into a presidential election year?

KRAUTHAMMER: None. It's over. When Kaplan talks about an ambitious agenda, he is really taking one for the team.

That is absurd, there is no agenda. The only agenda on domestic issues is to stop the spending bills with the veto and create a crisis over that, and create an issue for the November election.

And even the Democrats are not going to be serious about having an agenda. Everything between now and next year is about forcing a vote on an issue, not as a way to get it enacted, but as a way to embarrass the other side.

The only agenda of this administration is Iraq and related terror issues, like the FISA law. And the title of the most important person in this administration long ago left Karl Rove and attached to David Petraeus.

ANGLE: Now, the veto strategy is one possibility. And I have talked to one official who said don't throw us in that briar patch. The Democrats came in saying low taxes will hold spending down. And, of course, now you have all sorts of proposals for tax increases and higher spending, and the president probably will veto some of those bills.

EASTON: Including the SCHIP proposal, which is a children's health care bill, with lots of legitimate concerns, I guess, about it. But how does it look that one of your few vetoes has to do with children's health insurance.

But I disagree. I think there are some important domestic policy items on the agenda still. One is free trade, some real critical free trade things coming down the road.

The other thing--energy. There could conceivably be some work on energy, and fuel conservation measures.

There's 28 federal judicial nominees hanging out there.

And, to me, the person to watch, everyone is saying that Karl Rove is gone, but the person to watch is Ed Gillespie, Senior Advisor. He already ran the RNC during the 2004 campaign, played a critical role there. He played a critical role in getting John Roberts through, the Chief Justice through, getting Supreme Court nominee Alito through the Congress.

He knows how to work with Congress, and I think he is the person to watch now.

BARNES: I know about Gillespie, but I don't think he is responsible for getting Roberts and Alito through. They were great witnesses and the did a good job.

I will break the tie, here--Charles is right, Bush has no agenda. I am all for free trade--it's gone. Democrats are rejecting all four of those free trade treaties. They didn't extend--so you can't amend what a treatise does.

Look, here is what the Bush administration wants to do, and it is what they would do if Karl Rove were there. They are going to hammer away at certain issues. One is they want Republicans to get back their reputation for restraining spending. You do that by vetoing all those bills.

And the Democrats say we are only over your number by about $22 billion. And the truth is, for what they like to do, that is not much, but it doesn't sound good around the country. Bush will push away at consumer- driven health care rather than government-run health care.

And here is where Bush is going to have his biggest role, I think, in the campaign next year. He is going to inject himself in the foreign policy issues. And Charles mentioned FISA--that is going to be a huge issue about intelligence gathering. Iraq will be a big issue. The war on terror will be a big issue.

And if the Democratic nominee--we know in early February who it is--if strays and really goes to the left, I think that person will get hammered by Bush over and over and over again.

For more visit the FOX News Special Report web page.

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