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Panel Discusses Clinton's Superdelegate Defections

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is a big difference between making speeches and offering solutions. And what we need to be doing in America today is offering solutions to the problems that the people of Ohio and our country face.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's true, I give a good speech. What can I do?

But, understand, the reason why the ability to motivate people and inspire people is important, because the problems we face right now are not technical.


BAIER: There you get a flavor of the Democratic campaign trail, Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama back and forth over who gives a good speech and what it means.

Also, Barack Obama had some good news today: the endorsement of the Service Employees International Union; also word from Democratic Congressman John Lewis that he will not vote for Hillary Clinton as a super delegate at the convention. Since his district is voting for Barack Obama, he will vote for Barack Obama.

No word on an official endorsement. He had been a Hillary Clinton supporter.

Some analytical observations from Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of "The Weekly Standard," Mort Kondracke, Executive Editor of "Roll Call," and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, FOX News contributors all.

Fred, this news about John Lewis is very interesting today.

FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Well, it was. And I suspect--he had been backing Hillary Clinton, of course. He will ultimately not only vote for Barack Obama but endorse him as well.

John L. Lewis is a Historic figure--

BAIER: John Lewis.

BARNES: Yes. John L. Lewis was a great labor leader. John Lewis was a great civil rights leader who was beaten by police in Nashville and other places. He really is a historic figure, and he carries a lot of influence with other African-American super delegates, members of congress, in the congressional black caucus, and they're all automatically super delegates.

So a shift by John Lewis is very, very important, and a huge gain for Obama. The Service Employees I think means nothing at all. Those unions can't deliver much of anything anymore. John L. Lewis probably can.


BAIER: Congressman John Lewis.

KONDRAKE: I'm not sure that Andy Stern can't deliver something. He's a pretty aggressive labor organizer.

But, in any event, the way the Clinton people portray it, anyway, John Lewis has pulled this whole thing back and is not really saying what he is going to do, and they seem pretty confident about this.

But the way I hear it, they are sufficiently shaken by this whole John Lewis back and forth, that they are going to go make a special effort to shore up their support among the congressional black caucus members who have endorsed them, and some of whom allegedly are under extreme pressure, some of it kind of nasty, from their constituents to go with the black guy, Barack Obama, and they've got to sort of keep them in line.

Some of them are pretty solid, like Stephanie Jones and Sheila Jackson Lee, but some of the other ones are a little shaky.

BAIER: We've heard from the Clinton campaign how Ohio and Texas are essentially the fire walls. She has to do well there, even the campaign is acknowledging that.

In a new poll out today; ARG has a poll out that says Barack Obama is at 48 and Hillary Clinton is at 42 percent in Texas. Obviously this is one poll. Others show Hillary Clinton up. But, Charles, is there a tide turning here for the Clinton campaign?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: If the polls that you just showed is true, it's over, because unless she wins Ohio and Texas, it's over.

And I think what's important is that the Clintons had assumed that they could put pressure on super delegates or rely on their loyalty, the Clintons being the insiders, and that might shift the balance in a close race.

It's not going to happen, especially after Lewis's announcement. Even if he doesn't shift over, his rationale was his district went three to one Obama, and he wouldn't want to go against it.

The idea that super delegates will independently act against a winner is not going to happen. And if Obama, who's now ahead by 600,000 in the popular vote, he's ahead by over 100 in the elected delegates, if he maintains that--and it will be easy to maintain it, because in a proportional system it's hard for Hillary to make that up--if he maintains that, there's no way super delegates are going to override the will of the majority.

BAIER: Real quickly: Florida and Michigan. We have to talk about this quickly. Florida and Michigan, of course, moved the primaries up. They were penalized by the DNC, took the delegates away. Now there is really a fight here to seat these delegates.

In Michigan, Barack Obama wasn't even on the ballot.

BARNES: Plus there is 2.3 million Democrats voting, the biggest turn out ever in Florida. Now, remember the Democrats in 2000: count every vote? What are they going to do, just ignore these 2.3 million voters so they can have two empty places for the Michigan and Florida delegation at the convention? Are we going back, as Charles was saying earlier, to a 48- state America?

BAIER: So is it a caucus? Is it a re-do?

KONDRAKE: The Clinton people will never agree to a caucus. They are going to have to do a re-do. If they are going to legitimately seek those people, they have to do a re-do, because Obama wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan, so how can you give the delegates to Clinton?

KRAUTHAMMER: It is moot. Unless she wins Ohio and Texas, it won't be an issue. So unless she pulls out a miracle, I don't think these states will have a big voice anyway.

BARNES: She can win both of those states. It doesn't take a miracle.

BAIER: When we come back with our panel, outgoing Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to flex his rhetorical muscles, this time saying he will aim missiles at his neighbors. We'll explain.



DANA LEWIS, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: If you permit me to ask you about your comments regarding the possible targeting of Ukraine with nuclear missiles, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday called those comments "reprehensible rhetoric, and unacceptable."

So I would ask you if you would like to step down from those comments, or at least explain them today.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: If they do in such a way take it or leave it(ph), then bases will be developed in Ukraine. What will we do in that situation? We will have to retarget the missiles to targets that threaten our security.


BAIER: That was Russian President Vladimir Putin answering a question from Fox's Dana Lewis yesterday in a press conference that was 4 hours and 40 minutes.

He is the outgoing president of Russia, he is handing over power of the presidency, at least, to Dmitri Medvedev. But he, Putin, will remain the prime minister in Russia and, of course, will retain a lot of power.

We're back with our panel. Charles, you look at this news conference, 4 hours, 40 minutes. What do you make of all the things said in that time?

KRAUTHAMMER: He is a feisty guy. And, obviously he is still in control and he is going to remain in control.

He was asked if he will put the portrait of the new president in his office. He said "No." The Czar doesn't put a portrait in his office of the president.

So he is going to be in control. But, look, you have to remember two things about this guy: he is a Russian nationalist and he is also a secret police bully. And those have served him well in consolidating his power domestically and abroad--on Ukraine, on the Czech Republic and Poland, and now on Kosovo.

He is resisting the western pressure on him, and in strong terms. He threatens to actually incinerate Ukraine, or at least to point the missiles if they join NATO.

So he is reasserting Russian nationals, and he has not accepted the bargain the west had offered to join the democracies in the G-8 or the EU. He wants to be a Russian nationalist, and that's who he is.

KONDRAKE: I think this is a terrific question to be put to the Democratic presidential candidates: what are you going to do about Putin? Are you going to do allow this man to threaten countries that want to join NATO? Do you believe in NATO expansion?

Do you believe in a missile shield? Would you put it there, or would you let Putin intimidate a country like Ukraine or Poland into getting rid of the missile shield?

I mean, will they stand up to a thug? He is one. Some of the language that he used in this press conference was eschatological. He is the kind of guy you want to have a policy to resist. I want to find out if they have a policy like that.

BARNES: You really didn't need a translation. You can just there that he wasn't backing down from what he'd said.

BAIER: This comes as Russia is extending--they had the fly-by of the U.S. carriers, the Russian bear bombers--

BARNES: That's empty saber rattling.

But this should be a lesson to Barack Obama, in particular, who says we have to talk to the bad guys. President Bush has made an effort. I have heard him explain this. His policy towards Putin was not to attack him publicly but to really develop a strong personal relationship with Putin in hopes that that would whittle off the rough edges. It has utterly failed, it's clear now.

So Obama ought to look at that and say "Maybe I'm not right about this meeting with all these bad guys, because it often doesn't work."

BAIER: It will be interesting to watch Russia.

For more visit the FOX News Special Report web page.

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