‘Special Report’ All-Star Panel on primary election ‘warning shot’ at Biden – Fox News

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This is a rush transcript of “Special Report with Bret Baier” on June 15, 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: We’re strongly committed to bringing inflation back down, and we’re moving expeditiously to do so. We have both the tools we need and the resolve that it will take restore on behalf of American families and businesses. The American economy is very strong and well positioned to handle tighter monetary.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: We feel that we are in a transition right now for a historic economic growth recovery. And so going into that transition with stability and steady growth, we feel that’s going to help with inflation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: Let’s bring in our panel to talk about that and much more, Jason Riley, “Wall Street Journal” columnist and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, Amy Walter, publisher and editor in chief of the “Cook Political Report,” and syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt.

OK, we hear the positive happy talk from the administration, but look at this brand new FOX News poll, how people are feeling about the U.S. economy. Optimistic 32 percent, pessimistic 65 percent, and you can see tracking back a couple of years there. Jason, the American people are not buying this. They have grown increasingly pessimistic about our situation when it comes to the economy.

JASON RILEY, COLUMNIST, “WALL STREET JOURNAL”: You are right, Shannon. They are not buying it. And they’re increasingly concerned about the economy, which really has to worry the Democrats going in to this midterm election. They won’t be able to deflect. They won’t be able to blame it on Russia or oil companies or COVID supply chain problems and so forth. All of that is, of course, contributing to the problem, but the American people seem to want to hold responsible the people in control of them. Right now, that is the Democratic Party, and they are going to have to deal with that.

And you look at the — we are at a 40 year high here with inflation rate. We haven’t seen this in a very, very long time. And the Fed has to meet its two percent target. It’s probably going to have to raise them more sharply than it did today. But it also says to me, Democrats back off your antigrowth agenda here. If we’re worried about going into a recession, we don’t need $1 trillion spending package even though Democrats are still trying to persuade Joe Manchin to go along with a smaller version of build back better. This is not the time for that.

BREAM: Well, and let’s talk about specifically the issue of gas prices, because, Amy, the White House, the president continued to try to message that this is the Putin gas hike. This is what our FOX News polling shows. Who is contributing more to the current gas prices? Fifty percent say Biden and his policies. Far behind that, Putin and war 32 percent, but both 13 percent. Amy, is the message getting any traction from the president?

AMY WALTER, NATIONAL EDITOR, “COOK POLITICAL REPORT”: Well, I think Jason said it well, which is when you are the party in charge, you get the credit when things are going well and you get the blame when things are not going well.

And look, I think if you’re Democrats right now, there is not much you can do about the price of gasoline. Obviously, the president trying to do things like releasing oil from the reserves or having conversations with the Saudis or increasing ethanol production. All of those things will not be able to single — to make a big dent in the price of gasoline.

And so, you have to have a story, a narrative that says this isn’t just about one thing. We’re going to blame two things, not just Putin and the war, but also profiteering from oil companies, and try to make them the bad guys.

BREAM: Yes, and to that point, the president has fired up a strongly worded letter to U.S. oil refineries. Part of that says this, “Your companies and others have an opportunity to take immediate actions to increase the supply of gasoline, diesel, and other refined products you are producing and supplying to the U.S. market. With prices for your product where they are today, you have ample market incentive to take these actions.” Hugh, this has been a frequent target for blame from the president and from this administration. Can they be doing more?

HUGH HEWITT, SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: They could be doing a lot more. They can invoke the defense production act and increase capacity at refineries. Them could have approved the Keystone pipeline. They could reverse the president’s first day in office decision to cancel that. They could expedite the leases that Admiral Kirby at the White House press podium today said there are 8,000 leases. That doesn’t get them past various regulatory hurdles like the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act. They could do a lot to increase production in the United States. They are not doing it.

Instead, the president is sending absurd letters. What he should not have done was the reckless spending last year. He got mad at the AFL-CIO yesterday. He yelled at voters, told them he didn’t want to hear any more lies about his reckless spending, that they were changing lies. Simply, last night was a warning shot, another one, a third, a fourth one, that Democrats are sailing into heavy weather because people stop at the gas pump every week and they blame Joe Biden, and they have right to do so.

BREAM: OK, Hugh, let’s have you start us off on the next issue then, and because you brought up the midterms and these primaries last night. Nancy Mace is a current sitting congresswoman who had, we talked earlier in the show, been very supportive of President Trump, and then after January 6th, very critical. He endorsed someone that was a strong challenger against her, Katie Arrington, but Congresswoman Mace came out on top.

“Politico” says this, “The first term Republican teetered back and forth between supporting Trump, including taping a supportive video outside Trump Tower soon after he endorsed against her, and fiercely criticizing him after the January 6th Capitol attack.” Hugh, did she find the right formula for keeping together the various coalitions within the Republican Party?

HEWITT: I think she did. And people are reading too much into what President Trump can and cannot do. He very much got J.D. Vance nominated in Ohio. He very much got Dr. Oz nominated for the Senate. If he endorses Joe O’Dea in Colorado, he will get over the Democratic spending on behalf of the far right candidate running against Joe O’Dea. He could get Eric Schmitt into the primary in Missouri. He could get Billy Long into the primary in Missouri. But if he gets behind Eric Greitens, it won’t matter. We’ll lost that seat.

He’s being strategic. He’s batting 500. That’s pretty good. If we get rid of the ones that are just a lock solid, and he waited in Alabama, and he basically exiled Mo Brooks to the sideline. So he matters a lot. He just doesn’t matter when races are not all about Donald Trump.

BREAM: Amy, what stands out to you from the results last night?

WALTER: Certainly, that one is important because it was taking place in the same state where Congressman Rice, who was one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach the president lost his primary. And I think it is right. It’s not always about Donald Trump. What candidates who succeed who have either angered Donald Trump in some way, shape, or form, or where he has not endorsed them in the race, he endorsed their opponent, the way you win is not by running as the alternative or the anti-Trump. The way that you win is by leaning into the things that you have done well, the ways in which you agree with many of the policies and the positions of President Trump, but you do not make the race a referendum on him. And you saw people like Brian Kemp in Georgia successful as well. So, I think those two were, the split screen here in South Carolina was really interesting.

BREAM: Jason, I want to get a quick word from you on the Mayra Flores win last night. Is there a warning there for Democrats as well when it comes to Hispanic voters?

JASON RILEY, COLUMNIST, “WALL STREET JOURNAL”: There could be. This is a special election. She is going to have to run again in November where she is going to face an incumbent in a redrawn district that heavily favors Democrats. So, I am a little cautious about reading too much into that race.

But you are right, Biden’s numbers among Hispanics are down, particularly among Hispanic men. They are down among blacks as well. And this is worrying to the Democratic Party. This is not where they want to be going into November. So, yes, I think they are looking at this right. I think they might be holding the power a little bit for November, but they are clearly worried about their numbers in terms of how they are doing among various demographic groups, yes.

BREAM: Jason, Amy, and Hugh, thank you all very much.

HEWITT: Thank you.

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