Panel on Republicans for Obama

Panel on Republicans for Obama

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume - October 30, 2008


COLIN POWELL, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The party has moved even further to the right, and Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift. I would have difficulty with two more conservatives appointed to the Supreme Court, but that's what we would be looking at in a McCain administration.


HUME: And so said Colin Powell, who has served the Republican administrations as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and under this administration as Secretary of State. He is supporting Barack Obama.

And he's not the only one. There are several others in addition to him. Let's look at a few of them. Bill Weld, the former Massachusetts governor, he's for Obama. Powell, himself, of course. Ken Adelman, a long time defense and foreign policy aid and advisor to Republican presidents.

And Christopher Buckley, who is a popular and very humorous novelist, in addition to being the son of none other than William F. Buckley, the rounder of the modern conservative movement in this country.

What is going on here, Fred?

BARNES: These are not famous conservatives, that's for sure. Colin Powell is not a conservative. I think he backed Obama because he agrees with Obama. And he certainly repeated all the Obama campaign talking points, including the ones that are palpably false.

He was impressed by what Obama did during the financial meltdown. Obama didn't do anything during the financial meltdown. And he was mad at McCain because McCain has gone negative. What, Obama hasn't gone negative? He has been every bit as negative in his campaign.

But in any case, most of these aren't conservatives. And one thing, when is the last time you heard from Ken Adelman or Bill Weld? Never. The mainstream media plays these up because they are people that are Republicans endorsing Obama and the media loves Obama.

Now, one more thing. I spoke to a group today of about 200 lawyers in Washington, people who really keep up in politics. There was no other reason to come and hear except because was going to talk about politics.

I asked the crowd "How many of you have heard of Wendy Button." One hand went up. Do you know Wendy Button is? Wendy Button is a former speechwriter for Obama and for John Edwards who has switched and endorsed John McCain.

Now, we haven't heard of her because the media doesn't play her up. Look, I had to hunt for it. I heard about it from you last night, Brit. I had to hunt online, and I could barely find out anything about her.

HUME: Well, she will be on this panel tomorrow night!

KONDRACKE: Are you talking about former secretary of state Wendy Button, or former Senator Wendy Button? Former White House--

BARNES: A speechwriter for Obama!

If it was a speech writer for McCain, Mort, who all of sudden switched, it would be big news.


KONDRACKE: She deserves to be paid attention to, I agree.

BARNES: That's my point, thank you.

KONDRACKE: And I agree, none of these people who have endorsed Obama are conservative Republicans. I believe Colin Powell has described himself as the last Rockefeller Republican. Most people don't even know who Nelson Rockefeller was anymore, but he was a big government, social liberal, vice president of the United States Republican.

I think Colin Powell still regards himself as a Republican, but I think the Republican Party has left him long since.

HUME: Or he left it in its current configuration.

LIASSON: Look, a couple of things. First of all, there is not any kind of significant group of conservative Republicans who are endorsing Barack Obama. There are some liberal Republicans and some moderate Republicans.

And Colin Powell is in a different category altogether. He is someone who is extremely respected. Of all those people you put up on the screen, his endorsement probably matters the most as giving Barack Obama a kind of moderate, mainstream stamp of approval.

On the other hand, there is going to be a big debate in the Republican Party about his future, but it is not going to be because people broke ranks and supported Obama.

HUME: Let me ask you this question about Obama and conservatives. Does Barack Obama in his program or in his candidacy in any way really offer anything to Republicans? Has he reached out to Republicans in any way? Is there anything he has said or emphasized that would attract conservatives?

KONDRACKE: He promises that he is going to reach out across party lines.

HUME: What has he done so far?

KONDRACKE: Look, what he has famously said, a Rorschach test, and the people who want bipartisanship, post-partisanship, pragmatism, read into what he promises--

HUME: If you have to have bipartisanship, you have to have some ideas that the other side will like. Mara, can you identify any?

LIASSON: He does not have a record, with the exception of working across the aisle with somebody like Tom Coburn on ethics and Dick Lugar on nuclear proliferation, no.

But I think the test will come when he makes his cabinet. If he offers someone like Dick Lugar secretary of state--

HUME: Dick Lugar is not a conservative.

BARNES: That's not the test. The test is whether on policy issues, on legislation, whether he crosses the aisle.

Look, here is what Mort would not answer. For heaven's sakes, I don't know why. But most liberal senator, fourth most partisan, fourth most partisan. This is the National Journal. I didn't dream this up.

And you rate that onto basis of how often does the senator normally vote with his party--84 percent or something. He is at 96 percent. Here is a guy who has a record that is the opposite of bipartisanship. So there's nothing for conservatives there.

HUME: It's something like the fairness doctrine. Do you think he would buck his party if they wanted to pass that through, the restoration of the fairness doctrine?

KONDRACKE: I would hope so.

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