Skip to main content

tv   Special Report With Bret Baier  FOX News  February 28, 2012 4:00am-5:00am EST

4:00 am
that's it for me. i will see you next time. tomor. >> bret: the next phase of the republican presidential campaign begins in just hours, live from michigan, this is special report. >> . >> good evening, i'm bret baier, we're live in birmingham, michigan, about 20 miles north of detroit. after a three week break the republican presidential campaign enters a crucial stage tomorrow. voters in arizona and here in michigan will begin an eight day stretch in which more than 500 convention delegates are at stake. that's about half the total it it it takes to win the nomination. and chief political correspondent carl cameron starts us off tonight. >> facing a dead heat in the polls and a must-win tomorrow in his native state of
4:01 am
michigan, mitt romney attacked rick santorum not able, with a line he's reserved for president obama. >> he's a nice guy, but never had a job in the private sector, worked as a lobbyist, elected official, that's fine. if the issue of the day is the economy, i think to create jobs, it helps to have a guy as president who's had a job and i have. unemployment in michigan is 9.3%. >> i need your vote. >> santorum is running one of the most socially conservative bids in decades. >> talking about social issues again. talking about freedom. >> he stepped up his poplist attack in an op-ed. he says his proposed tax cuts would be revenue neutral and borrowing the language of occupy wall street and promises the top 1% will pay for the cuts. no pro growth tax policy there. more obama style class warfare. >> are we going to have a good day the at the polls?
4:02 am
>> polls show a nail biters and democrats may vote in the open primary. the research group along with other michigan survey show virtual ties. real clear politics average puts romney ahead. and romney's worked michigan early votes hard and 16% who have cast ballots, polls suggest he has a 2-1 lead. >> it's sure been fun the last ten days or so, he we started off about what, 15 down in the polls and now we're leading in the polls and thanks, you guys, appreciate the support. thank you. you're the best. >> nationally, the latest gallop tracking poll gives romney a slight edge. 32-28, but santorum leads the real clear politics average by 3 1/3 points. and mitt romney won the michigan primary by 9.2% four years ago. so, for rick santorum, even coming in a close second would amount to a triumph, causing romney to spend time, resources and money, defending
4:03 am
his native state. it would make romney look politically weak, with just over 24 hours before the polls close, about one in ten michigan primary voters is still undecided, bret. >> bret: carl cameron live about seven miles up the road in royal oak. carl, thank you. we've traveled across michigan the past couple of days, making stops in all of these cities, you see on this map. and following candidates, talking to voters, and we'll bring you along throughout the pr program. rick santorum is scheduled to start receiving secret service protection on tuesday. mitt romney already has it. newt gingrich has requested it. ron paul said today, he did not see the need for it. >> i haven't considered it, i guess they're joining the welfare state, they're the not likely to do it pt i can't say absolutely the not, but i'm just never, i guess, maybe i don't think that governments can do things better than
4:04 am
private sources can do. >> tuesday we will be in new york, and we'll bring you special coverage of the michigan and arizona primary. to begin the special report at 6 p.m. eastern, we'll have results as they come in throughout the night and it could be a long night. we'll see. both romney and santorum lead president obama in a poll of swing state voters. romney holds a 48-46 edge in the survey, that includes michigan and 11 other states. santorum does even better in swing states. leading the president 50-45. and the president had his say today after being called a snob by rick santorum over the weekend. chief white house correspondent ed henry explains it has to do with education and how much a person should have. >> what a snob. >> former senator rick santorum is not backing down from ripping president obama saturday for allegedly saying all americans need to go to college. even though that's not what he said. >> the idea that somehow or another, everybody needs to go to college, i just, i think is
4:05 am
intellectual snobbery. there are people in this country who, you know, live good, strong, fulfilling lives without having to go to college. >> santorum also bristled the at questions about why he called colleges indockt indocktrination mills, stocked with students foe the president can get his base. >> the idea that college are not lib early bastions and doing a bad job telling the real story what goes on in our country and with respect to, you know, our traditions in our country and traditional values of our country. come on. >> at the white house where he was already planning to talk about education with governors, the president seemed delighted to weigh in, going out of his way to clarify where he stands. >> i have to make a point here. when i speak about higher education, we're not just talking about a four year degree. >> what the president has been saying is high school students should pursue a variety of
4:06 am
options from community college to a four year degree, anything to help outcompete china and others. >> the unemployment rate for americans with at least a college degree, is about half the national average. >> one of the president's sharpest republican critics, arizona governor jan brewer said at the white house today, she agrees with mr. obama's approach, one day after she endorsed republican mitt romney over santorum. >> and higher education is all tied together and that's what is going to keep the country great and i believe the president-- >> it appears that rick santorum agreed with the president on some of this in 2006. his senate campaign website that year listed a commitment to higher education. >> it did not seem that senator santorum was clear on where he heard the president say this, the president did say in the state of the union, he says that all people should be able to afford college, not necessarily attend college.
4:07 am
bret. >> bret: ed henry live on the north lawn. thank you. for from that interview later. more deadly violence today in afghanistan over the burning of muslim religious materials. a suicide car bombing at an n.a.t.o. base in eastern afghanistan killed nine people today. all of them afghans, national security correspondent jennifer griffin reports on americans murdered since the koran incident came to light. >> the four u.s. service members killed in retaliation for the mistaken burning of korans have begun their return home. lt. colonel john loftis shot in the back of the head sitting at his denvering inside the afghanistan security ministry. one of the most security buildings in kabul. killed by a security officer. the officer from maryland killed the same way. tj conrad shown here with seven month old son bentley and joshua bourne, arrived for the first tour, and both
4:08 am
killed when the gunman turned a gun on them last thursday. and. >> and if i can't say that things aren't tense here in kabul, they certainly are, but i will tell you it's getting calmer mere. >> 24 protests on saturday. nine on sunday and two today, plus, a car bombing alt the gates of an airport used by the u.s. military killed nine afghans. >> anyone who believes they can weaken our resolve through these cowardly attacks is severely mistaken. >> afghan president hamid karzai urged calm in a televised addressed offering condolences, but no apology, as republicans continue to criticize the president. >> i think enough is enough, i'd like to hear apologies from those that attacked and killed our poom. >> and the congressman is introducing legislation to ban afghan to work as cards at u.s. bases. the and the senior civilian
4:09 am
n.a.t.o. representative in afghanistan until last year. >> i think that's a bad idea and i think it limits the flexibility of our commanders on the ground. there are some very good reasons to have private security contractors and others do certain missions and free our soldiers up. >> and thinks the president's plan to draw down to 68,000 troops by september is too much too fast the president doesn't want u.s. troops to be in afghanistan any longer than necessary. at the pentagon, jennifer griffin, fox news. >> bret: on the other side of lake erie from here, a terrible tragedy at a school in ohio. that's coming up. this is special report, on the road in michigan. . >> this is battle creek, michigan, i'm actually walking over the battle creek river. the city is nicknamed the cereal city, kellogg is based here, it's also a conservative part of the state. and western michigan is considered a conservative strong hold. this city, kalamazoo, grand
4:10 am
rapids, to the the northwest, holland, michigan. there are big pockets of catholics here, you would think that would bode well for rick santorum an although mitt romney has been getting catholic support in michigan as well. the real test in western michigan, who is the true conservative, and how well ron paul and newt gingrich do here j nhñ xç@÷ 0@h@
4:11 am
4:12 am
4:13 am
4:14 am
4:15 am
4:16 am
>> announcer: meet mary. she loves to shop online with her debit card, and so does bill, an identity thief who stole mary's identity, took over her bank accounts and stole her hard-earned money. now meet jack. enough to enjoy retirement.saved angie, the waitress at jack's
4:17 am
favorite diner, is also enjoying his retirement. with just a little information, she's opened up a credit line, draining the equity in jack's home. unfortunately, millions of americans just like you learn all it may take is a little misplaced information to wreak havoc on your life. this is identity theft, and no one helps stop it better than lifelock. see, ordinary credit monitoring services tell you after your identity has been stolen. they may take up to 60 days to alert you-- too late for jack. lifelock has the most comprehensive identity theft protection available. if mary had lifelock's bank account alerts, she may have been notified in time to help stop it. if jack had lifelock's 24/7 proactive protection, he could have been alerted by phone or e-mail as soon as they noticed an attack on their network, before it was too late. lifelock has the most comprehensive identity theft protection available, guarding your social security number, your money, your credit, even the equity in your home. while identity theft can't be completely stopped, no one works
4:18 am
harder to protect you than lifelock. you even g a $1 million service guarantee. that's security no one can beat. you have so much to protect and nothing to lose when you call lifelock right now and get 60 days of identity theft protection risk free-- that's right, 60 days risk free-- use promo code "not me". order now and get this document shredder to keep sensitive documents out of the wrong hands-- a $29 value, free. [click-click] [♪...]
4:19 am
4:20 am
>> welcome back to birmingham, michigan. a wonderful town here about 20 miles north of detroit. one day before the big primary election here. i spent part of the past two days watching some of the candidates hustle for votes. i caught up with former pennsylvania senator rick santorum last night. >> i feel great. you know, the fact that we're in a tough and competitive race here in the state of michigan, i would have never thought that. the fact that we're in this game and clearly a running, two person race, is exactly what i was hoping for, this race would eventually get down to and a lot sooner than we thought. >> bret: so you were up 15 in some polls, up 10. >> yeah, yeah. >> bret: and it's tight now. >> yeah. >> bret: so now are you the underdog? >> of course, look, when you get outspent as much as we have been by the super pacs, you're the underdog whether you're ahead in the poll or
4:21 am
not. once you pop your head up they're going to come up and try to cut it off. they've been hammering, hammering away at us and the last ten days our numbers go down and that's what negative advertising works. but i think the key thing is, as badly as we've been outspend, if you look at other candidates who have gone through that with governor romney, they've dropped like a rock, we've not so i'm optimistic. if we just be close we might have a chance to nip him. >> bret: to your credit you've said that from the beginning. even when though one was giving you a shot. >> yeah. >> bret: but looking forward, if you don't win michigan, you don't win arizona, where does the game go from there? is washington the firewall, fight hard in washington? >> we are, and we're going to fight hard everywhere, you know that, bret, i haven't passed on any state. i've worked every single state. we've been out to washington and we're going to go there again and we've been to idaho, to north dakota and you know, been to ohio, and i think ohio is going to be a good state
4:22 am
for us. we were in tennessee yesterday, felt good about the state of it tennessee. been to oklahoma, another super tuesday state and looking at those states and where we stand now and a chance to finish very well in those three states and maybe pick up a caucus in washington, idaho. >> and georgia is potentially one we can finish hopefully a strong second there and maybe ahead of governor romney, which again, would be a good sign for us. >> you have a shot to win tuesday night, do you think? >> you know, look, michigan-- >> i have a shot, sure, i have a shot to win. i don't think we have to win here, i don't think we have to win in arizona. these are states tailor made for mitt romney and these three days, but if we run well and you know, finish both these races, where it looks like it's a two person race, i think that's good things, going to mean good things for us going into super tuesday. >> bret: senator, thank you. >> thank you. >> bret: appreciate your time. >> thanks. >> bret: here is mitt romney working the crowd in albion, michigan, wrapped up an event
4:23 am
talking to folks, supporters. in fact, a few moments ago held up a poster somebody brought in, a poster for his father, george romney in 1968. a lot of people remember george romney in this state and obviously, mitt romney is trying to tie into the family ties and connection to his early life here, but he's also making a pitch as he did here on the stump for his business experience. and why that's important in this country, particularly in this state right now. take a listen. >> i believe you want a president who can create jobs and get this economy going again. i believe that if you think about what america needs right now, you'll recognize that what we want is an economy that's strong, an economy so strong it will grow and balance our budget. so if for you, the question you want to have answers is who can best get this economy going? i hope you recognize that the best way to get an economy going is to have someone who has actually had a job in the real economy to get it going
4:24 am
and i have. [applause] >> the song "born free" here playing loudly at this event. we tried to have another one-on-one pull aside with governor romney, but didn't work out for whatever reason. the campaign saying that the schedule is too tight. so we'll continue to go from event to event and try to get candidates to step aside and talk to us. michigan is a big event. and mitt romney needs a win in michigan for momentum and he's hoping for one. asking people here to get out and vote and get their families to get out and vote, a common appeal. we'll see if he sways some voters tuesday night. >> welcome congressman ron paul. [applause] >> we're at the ron paul downtown detroit little rock baptist church. as you can see ron paul speaking to the crowd here, traditional message about the
4:25 am
economy, about cutting back, about cutting government and getting out of foreign wars. and it's very well-received here in this crowd. we tried to talk to congressman paul one-on-one and didn't work out scheduling-wise, but after the event, he did hold a media availability, with a group of press reporters, press pool that covers him day-to-day, talking about why he should be the nominee. >> it's where the opportunity presents itself. you know? and if it's winner take all it's more difficult for us, because we don't have those many, many millions of dollars to compete. so, and so far, we're pretty happy with the way things are going, but this will work out in the next few weeks to find out, you know, we'll be counting, you know, more of the absolute delegates. >> he has last off questions about a coalition between himself, his campaign, and mitt romney and his campaign. and he's laughed it off, said it's not a big deal, it's not
4:26 am
a factor. there have been studies, however, about his tax and his spending in the debates, for example, the 20 debates, the new study suggests that 39 attacks by congressman paul were against candidates that were not mitt romney, and he had zero attacks on mitt romney during the 20 debates and he's been asked about this, he's laughing it off, but in virginia, he's the only one on the ballot going head to head with mitt romney. we'll continue to follow the ron paul campaign, well received here at this event and he bounces around michigan before tomorrow night. the big question is how well he'll do in this state and who it affects. we should point out that former speaker of the house newt gingrich is campaigning today in tennessee not here and that's why we didn't catch up with him here in michigan. no grapevine tonight so we can bring you for politics.
4:27 am
and the arizona primary there. >> about 130,000 people live here in warren, michigan. of those, more than 20,000 of them either work for chrysler or general motors. the auto industry is a huge deal here in michigan. the top two frontrunners, rick santorum and mitt romney, and santorum is making a blue collar pitch, revitalization of manufacturers, how that pitch sells in a place like warren could make a big with the capital one cash rewards card you get a 50% annual bonus. and everyone likes 50% more cash -- well, except her. no! but, i'm about to change that. ♪ every little baby wants 50% more cash... ♪ phhht! fine, you try. [ strings breaking, wood splintering ] ha ha. [ male announcer ] the capital one cash rewards card. the card for people who want 50% more cash. ♪ what's in your wallet? ♪ what's in your...your...
4:28 am
4:29 am
4:30 am
4:31 am
>> welcome back to birmingham, michigan, ahead of tuesday's presidential primary. another big election tomorrow, it's out west and the strategy in arizona has been different. correspondent alicia acuna has that story from phoenix. >> reporter: as far as the campaign battlement winner take all 29 delegates is relatively quiet. the candidates are not spending much in this. >> all four contenders were required to be here last week to compete in what could be the final debate. locals complained there wasn't enough discussed about the economy or that big concern here, immigration. >> it's very, very-- in arizona has the right to defend itself, if you will, from the-- being overrun by illegals in the state of arizona. >> however, santorum did not receive the endorsement from the state's tough on illegals
4:32 am
governor republican jan brewer, that went to mitt romney. >> we need a leader, somebody that can go out there and make a difference and lead the people and work with governors in this states, because we are where the rubber meets the road and i know that mitt romney, mitt romney will do that. >> reporter: according to a recent poll conducted by the american research group, romney is in a statistical tie with rick santorum. the real clear politics arizona poll has romney with a double digit lead over his close rival. >> i think it's going to be a fight the next few months. >> democrats point to u.s. census figures that grand canyon state hispanic population is growing, which could help the president. >> a large demographic population, and i think it's going to change the face of arizona politics. >> that change probably won't be noticeable tuesday night. whether red state arizona turns purple will be something to watch for. >> of course, a lot of people
4:33 am
are following the campaign on the internet. and tonight, a story about how your internet freedom could soon be threatened. chief washington correspondent james rosen tells us about a move by international bureaucrats to regulate the worldwide web. >> this obscure branch of the united nations is called the international telecommunication union or itu and delegates from the 193 member nation, the u.s. among them, are meeting in begene have a, to upset issued in 1988. robert mcdowell an appointeer of george w. bush sees countries like russia and china, conspiring to seize this moment to tighten international regulation of the internet and there by threaten its historic role for freedom of expression and economic growth. >> everything from economic regulation of the internet to administration domain names like dot-com and dot-org.
4:34 am
>> an i.t. spokesman says that itu's members do not want heavyhanded regulations and there are no proposals on the table that would limit access to or freedom of the internet. at any rate the obama administration appears to be opposed to spinning greater regulatory webs around the web. >> an internet constrained by an international treaty will stifle the entrepreneurs who continue to have been responsible for its growth. >> we don't actually have any other model. we might like to think we do. people who want, you know, to build larger buildings in geneva or fill existing ones. >> we asked to speak to the white house, but the white house respond for an automated e-mail and when dialed connects to an automated number in washington. in most years 60 delegates. since michigan moved the primary up. the g.o.p. docked half of the
4:35 am
delegates and now has 30. there are two at large delegates for the state, and there are 14 congressional districts with two delegates in each one. and so, a candidate could conceivably, tuesday, win the popular vote, win the state of michigan, but lose the delegate battle. i'm standing in the 10th congressional district in troy on the other side of dequinder road is the 9th congressional district in troy. and someone could win the two delegates here and lose the two delegates there and possibly lose the delegate battle overall,
4:36 am
4:37 am
4:38 am
>> welcome back to detroit, michigan, we thought we'd do a local panel to give awe real sense how people are looking and seeing this primary on tuesday. and we are overlooking comerica park and in the distance, ford field. comerica park, the home of the detroit tigers and ford field of course the detroit lions and we'll welcome a local
4:39 am
panel. jack lessenberry, professor at wayne state university, a political analyst, long time political analyst. henry payne editor of the michigan and bill ballenger, inside michigan politics. thank you for being here. jack, let's put the groundwork out there. how is this shaping up ahead of tuesday? >> well, it's shaping up as a race between mitt romney and rick santorum. it appears that romney may have pulled a little ahead and maybe the governor formed some the establishment, but you never know who is going to vote in the primary. >> henry, there seems to be a battle between the conservatives who may have a problem with mitt romney and have shifted to santorum and it seemed in recent days that perhaps romney made some headway getting people to come his way. >> i think it's smart on santorum's behalf. romney is a local boy, well-known here, entrepreneur,
4:40 am
fits michigan's business culture and santorum, i think has done effectively, he's come into the tea party base and the tea party here is very strong and he's talked relentlessly about romney care and that's where the tea party base mistrusts romney. >> bill, your thoughts? >> well, i think everything has been said so far is absolutely true. santorum was shown in polls a week ago to have a huge lead among tea party supporters, compared to romney. what romney had to do was peel those away and get back in the game with the tea party. probably half of the electorate next tuesday is going to be strong supporters of the tea party. >> bret: now, explain the primary system here. you can, if you're an independent or a democrat, go in and request a republican ballot and vote. >> correct. >> bret: and there are some efforts by and other democratic organizations, to get out the vote and they say, for santorum. and does that make a difference ever in someplace like this, in michigan?
4:41 am
>> sometimes. in 2000 it made a huge difference because supporters of john mccain, democrats and independents raided the republican primary and stole it away from george w. bush, no question. this year, i don't think it's going to happen, because i think independents and democrats are going to look at the candidates and mitt romney is no john mccain, compared to the or three. they're all going to be unacceptable. i think there are going to be some people who vote for ron paul, libertarian has cross-party appeal and i think there will be medleers and will be for santorum and they're going to split up and i don't think they're going to-- >> if you vote you've voted in the republican primary and jack, you have this essentially you've voted as a republican and that may deter some of the folks. >> for one fact. they may not want to get calls from republican fundraisers, but i think most people in michigan don't understand how the system works, we go back and forth with the system.
4:42 am
we change our primary system every time and people may not find that out until they get to the voting booth. >> bret: and what are the issues that most important? >> still, it's still very much an economic issue here, and, and frankly, woofer' been through this already. a year ago, we had, two years ago we had a gubernatorial race here, went through the same issues and we elected a businessman republican to run the state. and snyder just endorsed romney, the governor here. it will be interesting to see if that plays to romney's advantage. >> bret: how do you think that plays? >> i think there's somewhat of a split on what i call the economic fiscal side. the polls last week showed romney even when trailing santorum overall actually led among people most concerned about jobs and economic growth. when you get to taxes and spending and national debt and federal issues, santorum had a big lead over romney.
4:43 am
>> michigan is not a republican state. the republicans haven't carried the state in a presidential election since 1988 and it's going to be a relatively small electorate. if a million people vote in the republican primary, a big turnout. you get 5 million in the general election. >> bret: last time roughly 750,000, henry, voted and romney carried it with 39% over mccain's 29.7. so, turnout could be what? low? >> i'd defer to bill on that. he knows the political ground game here pretty good, but i will say this, i mean, what you're seeing here, michigan is very key here in the national election, more important to democrats. democrats, obama has to have this state. if obama and romney are fighting over ohio, that's the swing state. if they're fighting over michigan, obama is in trouble and i think that's why you've seen this extraordinary effort by the obama camp during this last week to interfere in this primary. they're running ads about the
4:44 am
auto bailout which obama thinks plays well here, trying to mobilize the base and getting them primed for the general. >> bret: does it play well here, the romney bailout explanation and how he's come out on that issue and what he said at the beginning. >> i don't think it's going to matter in the republican primary. but in the general election, democrats are desperately trying to make sure it really does play and it plays to their advantage and so far, the polling indicates it's working in obama and the democrat's favor, but we've got a long way to go to november. >> bret: we talked earlier about history, long time history here. george romney, obviously the former governor and father of mitt romney and there was a split with conservatives and barry goldwater, explain that. >> well, george romney was running for reelection in 1964 and barry goldwater was the republican nominee and george romney did not endorse him and barry goldwater got creamed in michigan by lbj, but george romney went marching to
4:45 am
victory and a lot of conservative republicans were very bitter about it. and guess who is running now for president, mitt, george's son and they think he's a little suspicious, as somebody who's not a down the line, trustworthy republican and maybe there's some kind of lineage going on here. >> and you look in massachusetts when he was running. >> exactly. >> that's an old story. >> old story, oh, they've long memories here. >> bret: in michigan. >> with the conservatives, yes. >> bret: let me go down the line. what are the things we're not focusing on as national media about michigan that maybe we're overlooking about this place, and the politics here? >> well, i would say, again, that autos are sort of the sacred institution of michigan. and i think that romney may have a logical explanation for why he took his stance, but to the voters, it's going to sound an awful lot like john kerry saying i voted against
4:46 am
it it before i was before it. >> bret we're sitting downtown detroit. and last week 43rd murder in 50 days. there was a blood bath here in detroit right now and a lot goes to the family issue the inner city family disintegrated in detroit and young boys leading up fatherless and leads to every criminal pathology in the city and it was interesting last week to hear romney and santorum touch on family in the arizona debate because that goes to a central problem here in detroit. >> bret: bill. >> back to jack and henry, we're going to have a higher turnout in 2008 and anything relating to family and some of the issues they're going to have a subterranean effect on the final result. >> bret: very interesting panel, overlooking the ball parks, too bad they're not playing today. [ female announcer ] with swiffer wetjet,
4:47 am
cleaning betr, doesn't have to take longer. i'm done. i'm going to... drink this... on the porch! ♪ give me just a little more time ♪ [ female announcer ] mops can be a hassle, but swiffer wetjet's spray cleaner and absorbent pads can clean better in half the time so you don't miss a thing. swiffer. better clean in half the time. or your money back. and for dry messes big and small try swiffer sweeper vac.
4:48 am
4:49 am
4:50 am
>> when we learned of the incident last week involving sacred religious text included in the koran, we took immediate steps to apologize to the afghan government. anyone who believes they can weaken our resolve through these cowardly attacks, is severely mistaken. >> i think enough is enough. i'd like to hear some apologies from some of those that have attacked us around the world, that have killed our people. >> four u.s. service members have been killed in afghanistan since the protests began there, big protest over the weekend, continuing today, with a car bomb at the afghan airport. what about the situation pan the policy involved? let's bring in our regular panel now from washington,
4:51 am
steve hays, senior writer for the weekly standard, kirsten powers, daily beast and syndicated columnist charles krauthammer. i know you talked about this on friday, but it it seemed to pick up over the weekend and now two more service members killed. what about this and the latest developments in afghanistan? >> i think what's happened over the last few days is definitive evidence of how effective the apology has been. if i thought the apology could save one american life i'd swallow hard and say to the president to go ahead and do it. but he did do it and it did not do-- in fact, it intensified the violence. we had the shooting in cold blood of the two american advisors in the interior ministry happening the day after that apology. we had the grenade thrown at american soldiers in northern afghanistan, the next day. and then we had this morning, as you mentioned, the suicide
4:52 am
attack on the american base outside of jalalabad. and it didn't clearly have any effect whatever. and even more than the embarrassment, i think of all of those wall to wall apologies is what it does to our strategy, because our strategy is to hand over the war to the afghans. and the immediate step for us for advisors, civilian and military, with afghan officials. the problem now, there's a small minority, a small, but deadly minority of afghan officials who so hate the united states, or to put in a conspirator yial way, so infiltrated by the enemy that it's no longer safe. so we've withdrawn our advisors which undermines the entire strategy and puts in question the entire effort in afghanistan. >> bret: steve, let me ask you this, democrats are pointing to the apology by president bush back in 2008 to prime minister maliki from iraq when
4:53 am
a koran was desecrated there and they're saying what's different now? that's what they're pointing to here, as far as the apology goes. >> yeah, look, i think it's fine. if you want to acknowledge the mistake which i would categorize what president bush did acknowledging the mistake. that's fine if all that's been done in this instance. it wasn't. we had repeated and extended apologies in a way that i think made the united states look like we were almost supplicants and speaking their favor. that didn't help. now it's to look to find a way in which we reestablish the fact that we are in charge over there, that we are dominant over there. look, if you want to have the united states government acknowledge the mistake and make an argument about the damage that was done by these extremists who are passing messages through writing in the koran, by the way, against the teachings of the koran and then talk about consequences for similar behavior in the future, something that we acknowledge the basic problem
4:54 am
that was caused by the extremists at the time. >> kirsten? >> well, i just want to go back to charles talking about the fact that the violence has intensified since obama made his apology. there's no connection between the violence intensifying and the apology. i don't think that we've seen more violence because of the apology and i think the only reason not to make an apology would be if it's going to lead to violence and i don't think there's an argument that it did. i still believe that it's the right thing to apologize, it's the right thing to set the standard of conservatives or i think are blowing this out of proportion and saying that all of these apologies when in reality we had a letter from the president, with the diplomatic letter, to hamid karzai and we had general allen say a couple of remarks about it and somebody here apologized to the muslim community. i don't think that's overkill. and the only reason not to make an apology would be is if it would risk more american lifers which it doesn't and i think that we have our standards and our standards are we don't burn korans and
4:55 am
when we do we apologize for it. >> and charles, quickly, does this, does this affect policy as far as the plan for the obama administration and what plan they had for handing over to the afghans. >> i think it it does. i think the brave talk out the defense department that it it will not alter our strategy is simply bravado. if we cannot trust the advisors whom the americans are working with and who are the ones taking over when we leave, then the entire strategy of the transfer of authority of power is in jeopardy. i think it means they have to recalculate, whether, how and when the americans and the other-- the europeans can actually leave. >> bret: 15 seconds, steve. >> we are in the middle of negotiating a strategic partnership agreement that would leave 20,000 americans there into 2014. after 2014. the fact that this is happening now in the middle of negotiations is not helpful for anybody and i think
4:56 am
jeopardizes our future relationship with afghanistan. >> bret: steve, kirsten and charles, thank you very much. and i know it's much warmer in washington than it is here in birmingham, but it's a lovely place here. thank you very much. that's it for the panel. stay tuned for final thoughts from here in michigan, before the big day tomorrow.
4:57 am
4:58 am
4:59 am
>> bret: finally tonight invitation for join us tuesday for coverage of the michigan and arizona primaries. it kicks off with "special report" 6:00 p.m. eastern time. we will be live at america's election headquarters in new york. we will, of course, have reports from both primary states and throughout the night we will bring you updates and coverage as the results come in. i will be sitting alongside megyn kelly as always, chris wallace and karl rove, joe trippi will all be there. we will have a host of folks all analyzing the results. thanks for inviting us into your home tonight. thanks to birmingham, it's been wonderful. that's it for this "special report," fair, balanced, and unafraid.