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Condoleezza Rice, John Kerry, Roundtable

Fox News Sunday

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace. The U.N. acts against North Korea's nuclear program, next on "Fox News Sunday".

Nuclear saber rattling in North Korea, sectarian violence in Iraq, and then there's Iran. What does the U.S. do now? We'll ask the Democrats' once and possibly future presidential nominee Senator John Kerry and the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice.

Plus, with three weeks till election day, can Republicans put controversy behind them and keep control of Congress? We'll poll our Sunday regulars, Brit Hume, Mara Liasson, Bill Kristol, and Juan Williams.

And our Power Player of the Week brings Hollywood to Washington, all right now on "Fox News Sunday".

And good morning again from Fox News in Washington. Let's start with a quick check of the latest headlines. North Korean officials reacted angrily to the unanimous U.N. Security Council vote Saturday that imposed financial and weapons sanctions on their country.

North Korea's U.N. ambassador called the action gangster-like and warned any more pressure from the U.S. would be a declaration of war.

In Iraq, signs that sectarian violence is getting worse. In separate incidents over the weekend, more than 60 people were killed. And in Baghdad, the U.S. military reports five American soldiers were killed Saturday. October is now on pace to be the deadliest month for American troops since January of 2005.

And joining us now is the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, who comes to us from the presidential retreat at Camp David.

Secretary Rice, welcome back to Fox News.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: Good morning. Nice to be with you, Chris.

WALLACE: Let's start with those sanctions that the U.N. Security Council imposed yesterday on North Korea. The resolution bans trade in weapons and luxury goods, but it explicitly excludes the use of military force and it does not impose the kind of sweeping trade embargo that Japan wanted.

Question: Do you really believe that preventing Kim Jong Il from getting his cognac is going to stop his nuclear ambitions?

RICE: Well, this is a regime that very much likes luxury for itself while it starves its own people, and so I think it's probably gotten their attention. But there's really much more to this story, Chris.

China, which has never wanted to impose sanctions, particularly on a state with which it has close relations, Russia, the United States, Japan, and the entire international community have now imposed the toughest sanctions on North Korea that have ever been imposed, done it unanimously.

It will allow efforts to prevent proliferation in the weapons of mass destruction that Kim Jong Il is brandishing, and it sends a very strong signal to North Korea that it is now completely isolated.

It of course leaves open the possibility of returning to six- party talks and implementing the joint statement that was signed on September 19 of 2005, but this is (inaudible)...


WALLACE: But, Secretary Rice, China -- and we're having some technical difficulties, but I'm going to press ahead while we continue to sort them out. I hope you can hear me.

China, which is North Korea's biggest trading partner and shares an 880-mile border with that country, has already said that it is not going to inspect cargo coming in or out of that country, which certainly leaves the possibility that the North Korean regime can still ship out nuclear material.

You're leaving Tuesday for a trip to the region where you're going to talk with North Korea's neighbors. Are you going to try to get them, especially China, to crack down?

RICE: I think you have to, again, Chris, go to where we are. This is remarkable unity of purpose and unity of message to North Korea. It is also the case that there are many details to be worked out, particularly about how this embargo and interdiction might work.

I understand that people are concerned about how it might work so that it doesn't enhance tensions in the region, and we're perfectly willing to have those conversations, but China signed on to this resolution. It voted for this resolution.

It is a Chapter 7 mandatory resolution, and so I'm quite certain that China is going to live up to its responsibilities. But you cannot underestimate how big a blow it is to North Korea to have all of the neighbors now, including what has been its strongest supporter, China, fully united behind sanctions against its nuclear program.

WALLACE: But to press the point, if I may, what do you make of China already saying that it does not intend to inspect cargo going in or out of North Korea?

RICE: Well, China is signed on to a resolution that pledges cooperation in stopping the proliferation trade with North Korea. And I'm quite certain that China has no interest in seeing the proliferation of dangerous materials from North Korea. This is the toughest action that China has ever signed on to vis- a-vis North Korea, and I think when people say well, the United States should have done this bilaterally, you now see why it is important to have all states united.

There will be details to work out. There will be differences in emphases, but the North Koreans now face a united front that will not allow them to continue to pursue their nuclear programs without consequence, and that's an extremely important step.

WALLACE: Secretary rice, is the U.S. prepared to go outside the U.N. to form another coalition of the willing to act on its own to interdict all shipments in or out of North Korea?

RICE: We are very satisfied with this resolution, and we believe now that this resolution should be fully implemented. It will take some work to talk about the implementation of the resolution. That's part of what I will do when I go out to the region on Tuesday.

We believe that there may be other steps that will be necessary given North Korea's behavior. But we are very satisfied with where we are right now, to get a 15-0 resolution that sanctions North Korea under Chapter 7, and I want to just underscore, a mandatory resolution that brands North Korea now a threat to international peace and security, requires North Korea to do some things, requires member states to do things...


RICE: For now, we are very pleased with where we are.

WALLACE: Listen, we're continuing to have some technical difficulties, Secretary Rice. We apologize. So why don't we take a break here? And when we come back, we'll continue our conversation with the secretary of state.


WALLACE: And with the hope that our technical problems are now solved, we go back to Camp David and the secretary of state.

Secretary Rice, I want to take you back to the president's state of the union speech in 2002 where he announced -- listed the axis of evil and made this pledge. Take a look.


BUSH: The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons.


WALLACE: Secretary Rice, since then, the U.S. has invaded Iraq, which turned out not to have any weapons of mass destruction, and meanwhile both Iran and North Korea have continued full speed ahead on their nuclear programs.

Hasn't the Bush administration failed to keep the promises pledged that day?

RICE: Chris, let's be accurate with the history here. First of all, everyone thought Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. One thing is certain now. Saddam Hussein's regime will never pursue them again in the way that they did throughout the '90s to the point that they actually used weapons of mass destruction against their neighbors. So Iraq is not a WMD threat.

When you look at Iran, Iran is now under international pressure to give up the early stages of the development of its nuclear program, its enrichment and reprocessing capability. It is a multilateral effort, not just a U.S. effort, and that is extremely important because the United States doesn't need to do this alone and can't do it alone.

Countries have to be committed to sustaining the non- proliferation regime, and with Iran we have six countries, the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany, that are pursuing that.

And with North Korea, which has been pursuing nuclear weapons for decades -- this goes back probably to the late 1960s, certainly to the late 1970s and early '80s -- you finally really have a coalition of states that are determined to keep the North Koreans from keeping their nuclear weapons program and progressing.

WALLACE: But, Secretary...

RICE: So this administration has done more than at any other time to make sure that there is really an international coalition to deal with these cases.

WALLACE: But, Secretary Rice, for whatever reasons and whatever the diplomacy, the fact is that compared to 2002 when the president made that speech, Iran has a more developed nuclear program than it had in 2002. North Korea has tested a long-range missile when the president said that would be unacceptable. It has now had a nuclear test.

Aren't two-thirds of the axis of evil more dangerous now than they were in 2002?

RICE: There is no way to suggest that having China, Russia, the entire international community finally unified around a plan, around a program to deal with the nuclear threat from North Korea is somehow less successful than where we were in 2002 when the North Koreans were pursuing a new path to nuclear weapons, where they were breaking out of bilateral agreements with the United States -- where, by the way, just two years before that, they had, in fact, tested missiles.

No, it wasn't a good situation in 2002 -- 2000, and they have continued to pursue their programs, but we finally have the right coalition of states to put enormous pressure on North Korea to reverse its course. We did not have that in 2002 when the president made that speech.

WALLACE: Well, let's talk about how effective diplomacy has been. You appeared on "Fox News Sunday" back on June 4th and I asked you how long Iran had to respond to an offer to end its nuclear program. Here's what you said at that time.


RICE: I think it's fair to say that we really do have to have this settled over a matter of weeks, not months.


WALLACE: Secretary rice, it has now been 19 weeks, 3.5 full months, since those comments, and the fact is the United Nations has not imposed a single sanction on Iran.

So how effective is the diplomacy, and how much credibility does it give us when we threaten Iran and North Korea?

RICE: Chris, you skipped one step. In July, the United Nations made mandatory the Iranian suspension of its enrichment and reprocessing with a resolution, 1696, that was also 15-0.

We then decided to pursue an option to allow Javier Solana, the E.U. high commissioner for foreign policy, to see if he could find a way for Iran to agree to suspend its program so that we could begin diplomacy. We felt that that was worth it.

But it is now very clear that Iran is not going to take that course, and the work on sanctions has begun in capitals and will begin in the Security Council this week.

So we're moving right along here from February when the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, said it was not acceptable for Iran to enrich and reprocess, through a resolution in July, to a resolution now within, I think, a few weeks here that will begin to impose costs on Iran for its continued enriching and reprocessing.

And we've done all of that while having put forward a package of incentives that Iran could have taken up and could still take up...


RICE: ... its nuclear program. So the international community has achieved a lot. These are not easy matters to handle. But the United States is much better off working with its allies than trying to do this bilaterally and being isolated itself.

WALLACE: Secretary Rice, we continue to have some technical differences there at the end. We want to thank you. Whoops, I think she's gone. Thank you so much for appearing this week and safe travels on your trip overseas starting on Tuesday.

RICE: Thank you.

WALLACE: Joining us now, not by cable line, fiber line, from Camp David, but here in the studio with us is the 2004 candidate for president, Senator John Kerry.

And, Senator, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday".

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Glad to be with you.

WALLACE: Let's start with North Korea. What effect do you think that the U.N. resolution is going to have on North Korea and its effectiveness in trying to stop their nuclear program, and what would you do?

KERRY: Well, let me begin by saying that North Korea is a renegade nation and it's a nation we all understand does threaten.

That said, I think the administration -- and just listening to what I could hear -- I couldn't hear all of it -- of the secretary's comments, they're living in a world of make-believe, Chris. They're living in a complete fantasy with respect to the foreign policy they put in place.

It is a failure. It's a failure in Afghanistan where they have a sort of cut-and-run policy of not completing the job. We have seven times the troops in Iraq.

WALLACE: Well, forgive me.

KERRY: Well, I want to comment, because it's all tied together.

WALLACE: Let's talk about North Korea.

KERRY: Well, this is about North Korea, because the problem with Iraq is that it has diminished our hand and reduced our ability to be able to deal with Iran and North Korea. They are related.

One of the reasons that North Korea can misbehave the way it is today is because the United States has lost its leverage, lost its credibility and doesn't have the capacity to be able to bring countries together in the way that it used to. That's number one.

Number two, with respect to North Korea itself, you hit it on the head. This administration is tolerating. This administration is doing exactly what it said it wouldn't do, which is allowing North Korea to get away with what it's doing.

These sanctions are not the bold, tough sanctions that the secretary talked about. China walked out of there and said we voted for it, but we're not going to enforce the cross-border mechanism, it's too dangerous for our region.

So you have sanctions that are just, by statement of those involved, not going to do the job.

WALLACE: So what would you do differently to deal with this very erratic regime of North Korea?

KERRY: I would do precisely -- I would do precisely what I said for the last five years consistently, which is engage in bilateral, face-to- face negotiations with North Korea, make it absolutely clear to North Korea that we are not intending to invade and have a regime change, and work on the entire set of issues that are outstanding since the armistice with regard to the north.

WALLACE: But, Senator, let me ask you about that. Let's look at what you espoused as your basic foreign policy principle during the 2004 campaign. Here it is.


KERRY: America is stronger. Our troops are safer. And our success is more certain when we build and lead strong alliances, not when we go it alone.


WALLACE: Alliances, not going it alone. Multilateral, not bilateral. Doesn't it still make sense to engage North Korea in talks with all of its neighbors, including China and South Korea, who have a lot more leverage than we do, rather than just get into a conversation about nothing with them ourselves?

KERRY: But it's not a conversation about nothing, Chris. It's a negotiation. Just as Ronald Reagan was prepared to go negotiate with the evil empire and come to an agreement with Gorbachev, we have to be prepared to go negotiate with North Korea, just as Nixon...

WALLACE: But what leverage do we have?

KERRY: ... was prepared to send Kissinger to China -- the leverage of the stakes between the two nations.

Let me go back in time. Bill Clinton was in office for eight years. When he started out in office, there was enough fuel for bombs for about one to two bombs. They were members -- North Korea was a member of the non-proliferation treaty and North Korea had not tested.

At the end of Bill Clinton's term, they had enough fuel for one to two bombs, they were members of the non-proliferation treaty, and they had not tested. Now they have enough fuel for nine to 10 bombs. They say they're going to build -- get enough for five to six more. They've pulled out of the non-proliferation treaty. We no longer have cameras in the reactor. We no longer have inspectors in the reactor. We no longer know where the fuel rods are. We know that they have now tested.

The United States of America is less safe, and the six-party talks have been a cover to get away from the idea, because George Bush and Dick Cheney decided ideologically in 2002 they would break off the oil trade, they would not build the nuclear reactors, they would not keep the framework that had been agreed on, and from that moment on, it's been downhill with North Korea.

WALLACE: Senator, there are several points you've made that I'd like to ask you about.

KERRY: Absolutely.

WALLACE: But first of all, one, all independent experts say that by 1997, North Korea was cheating on the Clinton agreement.

KERRY: Absolutely. But cheating...

WALLACE: If I may ask my question -- and in fact, had already begun secret uranium enrichment. I think to get to the larger issue...

KERRY: Can I stop you there for a minute? Because it's very important, what you just said. Uranium enrichment -- their bombs are plutonium.

And the fact is with respect to the threat of the United States, while we knew they probably were cheating, we were on a road where we had them in the non-proliferation treaty. They didn't have additional bomb capacity, and they hadn't tested.

And if we had stayed on that road, then we could have perhaps had a better opportunity to be able to curb this.

One other very critical thing. Eisenhower taught us this. I mean, Richard Nixon taught us this. By working through the diplomatic process and doing it in a legitimate way that builds you credibility, you bring people to your side so that if and when it comes to the moment of crisis, they're prepared to be with you.

Nations are not prepared to be with us today because this administration has broken faith with all of that kind of effort.

WALLACE: I mean, some people would say you want to have it both ways. In the case of Iraq, you blister the United States for acting unilaterally, and here you're attacking them for acting multilaterally.

KERRY: No, Chris.

WALLACE: But if I may, let's go to a speech that you made in New Hampshire...

KERRY: No, no, no, you can't make a statement like that and just get away with it. I am not going to let you do that.

WALLACE: I'm going to ask you a question, and then you can answer the whole thing. You made a speech in New Hampshire on Friday night where you blistered the Bush approach to North Korea. Let's take a look at that.


KERRY: When George W. Bush turned his back on diplomacy, Kim Jong Il turned back to making bombs, and the world is less safe today because a mad man has the Bush bomb.


WALLACE: The Bush bomb?


WALLACE: I mean, don't you really think you should blame this on Kim Jong Il, not President Bush?

KERRY: It's a bomb that has been developed because of the unwillingness of this administration to engage in opportunities that every expert says have been there all the time.

President Carter went over there in 1994 and President Carter negotiated an agreement. Now, rather than continue that agreement in 2002, this administration just arbitrarily decided, out of ideological whatever - - anything but Clinton -- they proceed down a different road.

And things have gotten worse. Things have gotten worse in Afghanistan. Things have gotten worse in Iraq. They're not telling the truth to the American people about a civil war in Iraq.

They don't listen to the generals on the ground in Iraq. The generals have said it's a debacle. They've said Rumsfeld doesn't have credibility. They're not standing down while the Iraqis supposedly stand up.

In every aspect of our foreign policy, this administration has misled Americans and misled the world. And they don't have credibility. Chris, this is not political. This is not political.

WALLACE: Well, it's a little political.

KERRY: No, it's not political. No, it's not political. It used to be that foreign policy was something that was done on a bipartisan basis. It used to be that the politics ended at the water's edge.

And the fact is that they have so left people out of this process, so disregarded all the advice that they've been given, even their own advice in their administration, that they've now isolated themselves in the world.

And our troops are paying the price of an administration that has not leveled with the American people and has lost credibility in the world. And that's why Iran is emboldened, and that's why North Korea is emboldened.

WALLACE: Senator, back in 2004 -- and this is the summer of 2004 by which point we all knew that, in fact, there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- President Bush challenged you on whether you would still have voted for the authority to go to war. Here's what you said.


KERRY: Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it was the right authority for a president to have.


WALLACE: But this week you wrote this, and let's put it up on the screen, "There's nothing -- nothing -- in my life in public service I regret more, nothing even close. We should all be willing to say I was wrong. I should not have voted for the Iraq war resolution."

Senator, if it was right to vote for the Iraq war resolution in 2002 and it was right in August of 2004, why is it now your biggest policy mistake?

KERRY: Because this administration has made every mistake and abused every authority that it was given to such a degree beyond where we were at that point in time.

And also, we have learned since then, Chris, of the degree to which they misled us, the degree to which they have abused the authority that they were given. At the time...

WALLACE: But you didn't know that in August of 2004?

KERRY: No, we were about one year out from the start of the war then, Chris. A whole series of things that we thought could be done -- I was still saying that I thought we could, hopefully, if they made the following decisions, make it a success.

I went to Fulton, Missouri. I went to New York University. I went to Georgetown University. I gave three speeches in which I laid out what I thought the president needed to do to make a success of Iraq.

In each case, we offered the president the best advice that we could give. The president didn't follow that advice. On the last occasion, I said this may be the president's last chance to get this right. The president didn't do what's necessary. He still hasn't.

You have to resolve the differences, political differences, between Shia and Sunni. And there's nothing our troops can do to do that. General Casey has said this can't be resolved militarily. Condi Rice has said this can't be resolved militarily.

So I ask you, Chris, and I ask the president, where is the summitry? Where is the statesmanship? Where is the diplomatic effort similar to those we've seen in the past in American history to resolve those differences and end the civil war?

And if you don't engage in that, then our troops are going to continue to die with a strategy that is wrong.

WALLACE: But I want to ask you a question which goes to you...

KERRY: Sure.

WALLACE: ... not to President Bush, because this, quite frankly, is a rap against you. Isn't this -- and I'm talking about your vote now for the war resolution and now your recanting of this -- isn't this another case of I was for the $87 billion before I was against it?

KERRY: No. I was for the $87 billion if we paid for it and if we had a plan, and we voted on that in the Senate. And when the vote lost, then I voted against it because I thought it was a matter of conscience and principle. And I should have said that more clearly.

In the same way now, this vote -- look at what the president's done. He said he would go to war as a last resort. He didn't. He said he would exhaust the remedies of inspections. He didn't. He said he would build a legitimate coalition. He didn't.

He now has made every mistake possible so he has isolated our troops, isolated America. This is a civil war. He even continues to mislead Americans about Iraq being the center of the war on terror. It is not now and it hasn't been the center.

We were attacked by Osama bin Laden from Afghanistan. We have seven times the troops in Iraq that we have in Afghanistan, where they're still plotting against American airliners and against Americans. The center of the war on terror is Al Qaida, now distributed in some 65 countries around the world.

And this administration even cut and run and failed to do...

WALLACE: All right.

KERRY: ... what it could have done at Tora Bora to capture or kill Osama bin Laden.

WALLACE: We've got a little over a minute left, and I want to ask you a little about politics, because it's no secret that you are actively considering the possibility of running for president in 2008.

And you said in a recent article, "Next time I would campaign in more states, next time I would respond more aggressively to the swift boats." But why shouldn't Democrats say look, here was John Kerry in 2004, he had a great chance, he was running against a president who had gotten us into war for reasons, for intelligence that turned out to be wrong, he had his chance and he blew it?

KERRY: Well, some will ask that question, and they have a right to. But there's an answer to that question. The fact is that in the course of a campaign, you make some judgments.

Our judgment was that the truth was out there, that enough newspapers, enough people had the truth about my record. That was a misjudgment, a miscalculation, but I don't think that a tactical miscalculation necessarily eliminates you from whatever basic policies, basic experience, basic life commitment and ability to be president.

And finally, most importantly, you know, I think the real test is that it was a very different time. We were at war, one year out from the war. Osama bin Laden appeared in the last hours of the campaign, changed the whole debate.

I'm not embarrassed by that campaign. We did a hell of a job. Our people were extraordinary. You know, I'm proud that I won 10 million more votes than Bill Clinton did winning reelection in '96.

We exceeded our vote goals in every precinct in America. We came within 59,000 votes of wining in one state against a president in time of war who lied about my record personally -- the campaigns did -- and who lied about the war.

WALLACE: We have only 30 seconds left. A lot of Democrats, I'm sure, are saying look, a lot of bad things happened over the course of these four years from 2004 to 2008, because you -- it may have been a good campaign, you got a lot of votes -- you lost.

KERRY: That's right.

WALLACE: Why shouldn't you be held responsible and why should you get another chance?

KERRY: Well, Some will, and I'll make the decision based on what happens over the next few weeks. And when I do, I'll make the argument for why I should get a chance.

But look, why should Ronald Reagan have won four times for the nomination and finally on the fourth he won the nomination? John McCain, their leading candidate -- didn't he get kicked around South Carolina by the same president because he wasn't patriotic enough as a prisoner of war? He's now their leading candidate for president.

Richard Nixon seemed to get kicked around pretty badly both running for president and governor, turned around and came back and got elected president.

I think in America, Americans give people a second chance. And if you learn something and prove you've learned something, maybe even more so. Now, I don't know what I'm going to do yet. We'll make that decision down the road.

WALLACE: And you always have a place here at "Fox News Sunday" to make that announcement, Senator.

KERRY: Oh, thank you.

WALLACE: Thank you so much for coming on and talking with us again. And please, don't be a stranger. Come on back.

KERRY: I'm happy to be here.

WALLACE: Thank you, sir.

KERRY: Thank you.

WALLACE: Coming up, our Sunday regulars on the nuclear standoff with North Korea. Is a diplomatic solution still possible? Stay tuned.



BUSH: We are united in our determination to see to it that the Korean peninsula is nuclear weapons free.


WALLACE: That was President Bush on Saturday talking about the new U.N. sanctions against North Korea. And it's panel time now for our Sunday gang, Brit Hume, Washington managing editor of Fox News, and Fox News contributors Mara Liasson of National Public Radio, Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard, and Juan Williams, also from National Public Radio.

So, Brit, what do you make of this U.N. Security Council resolution that they passed yesterday? Do you think it will have -- and it's pretty hard to predict when it comes to Kim Jong Il -- an effect on North Korea's nuclear ambitions?

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS WASHINGTON MANAGING EDITOR: It's better than nothing. It's not nearly as strong as it could be and perhaps needs to be. The most important provision is the one that calls for the inspection of cargo coming in and out of that country, mostly cargo, I think, comes in and out of that country by sea, which sets up -- it says that all nations can enforce such an inspection regime, which raises the possibility that if, you know, neighboring nations or the U.N. itself is not willing to do this, then the United States with willing allies could do it, or the United States could do it by itself, which I think is probably the best hope for having that be effective.

WALLACE: Although I will say I asked Secretary of State Rice that, and she is not willing to go that far.

HUME: Yet.

WALLACE: Yet, exactly.

HUME: Right.

MARA LIASSON, NPR: I think the real question is who's going to execute this. I mean, China -- as soon as we finally got China and Russia on board, at least for this language, China was saying it's not going to do the inspections, it's not -- and a tremendous amount of stuff comes over the border to China, too. I don't know if that's the way they would export nuclear technology, but a lot of this is going to be about execution and how willing countries like China or Russia are to actually do these inspections.

I agree with Brit, better than nothing, got everybody on the same page at least on these sanctions, which on the face of it looked pretty tough, but they have to be enforced.

WALLACE: Bill, in the new issue of The Weekly Standard, you -- and you really know how to hurt a guy -- talk about the Bush foreign policy. You compare it to Clintonian huffing and puffing. Has your opinion changed now with the passage of this resolution?

BILL KRISTOL, WEEKLY STANDARD: No, not really. I mean, North Korea has a nuclear weapon. They've launched a missile. They're going to probably test more nuclear weapons. What happens the next time they put a missile up on a launch pad, incidentally? Are we going to let them test again? I don't think so.

The sanctions are not serious enough to bring down the regime or to cripple their nuclear program. Therefore, we now have -- we are acceding to a nuclear North Korea, it seems to me, and we're going to accede to a nuclear Iran, it looks to me like.

WALLACE: So what should...

KRISTOL: What we should do is go back...

WALLACE: ... the Bush administration do?

KRISTOL: ... to the Bush policy, the Bush policy articulated...

WALLACE: Wait a minute, this is the Bush policy.

KRISTOL: No, it isn't. You played the clip of President Bush. What did he say in that wonderful -- in the state of the union...

WALLACE: 2002.

KRISTOL: ... in 2002? The United States of America will not permit the most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the most dangerous weapons.

What did Secretary of State Rice just say to you? We can't do it alone, we need the international community. That's not what President Bush said in 2002. He said on a matter of this fundamental importance, we will lead, we will not drag ourselves down to the lowest common denominator, of what China will accept in the U.N. resolution.

I'm afraid the president in the last year has -- he's put such -- maybe he feels he has to, but he's putting such great stock in the notion that we can't be separated from our European friends with Iran, we can't be separated from China and Russia with respect to North Korea, that we're acceding to what we once said we would not accept.

JUAN WILLIAMS, NPR: Well, but the change, Bill, is that you've got, you know, 140,000 American troops in Iraq at the moment, and you've got a situation where even, you know, the British are talking now about pulling out, their army chief of staff this week saying, you know, they're going to pull out.

And you have the U.S. Army chief of staff, Peter Schoomaker, saying this week that U.S. public support even for the war in Iraq is tepid. That's his word.

And here you are suggesting well, in fact, what we need to do is be more aggressive, put more boots on the ground and go at the North Koreans in some way without our allies. And even the British, our best allies, are pulling out on -- you know, are suggesting they're ready to leave Iraq. I mean, how many fronts can we fight on?

KRISTOL: More than one. I mean, this is the fundamental question. Has Iraq so weakened us that we can't do anything about North Korea and Iran? Can we accept that? Iraq's more difficult than we thought. Does that mean we accede to a nuclear Iran or a nuclear North Korea? I don't think so.

WILLIAMS: No, but you're going to have to take steps and you have to build. I mean, the key point here is to engage in some kind of meaningful alliance with the Chinese, with the Russians, with other people, especially with the Japanese, I think, to try to hold and contain North Korea. But to suggest you go bomb them...

HUME: Well, Juan, it's pretty hard to argue, it seems to me, that the administration isn't doing exactly what Juan just described, which is to try to engage in a meaningful alliance.

What I think is happening now is that the limits of such alliances are being tested. To have an effective alliance against North Korea, you need China to be a willing and active participant. China is kind of a semi- willing and active participant. Similarly with Iran, you need other nations to be willing to be as tough as you are. We're partway there, but not very far.

At the end of the day, the question really is -- and it's being slowly answered -- is whether the United States is going to have to deal with these threats in whatever way it can ultimately and almost entirely by itself.

WALLACE: But, Brit, let me ask you about this. Let me ask you, in effect, the same question I asked Secretary of State Rice. I mean, when you look at the fact that it's 19 weeks after she said weeks, not months, for cracking down on Iran, and in fact, there hasn't been a single sanction imposed on Iran, and you see what they have come up with, and clearly it was weakened and watered down in the U.N. Security Council against North Korea, does that send a message of strength or weakness?

HUME: Well, it depends on how you look at it. I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about whether it's 19 weeks or 19 days. What matters in the end is -- how much progress they could have made on their nuclear weapon in that period of time, nobody knows.

But at the end of the day, this is likely to be judged by what is actually forthcoming, and then we see what effect that has. This process of doing this diplomatically is not going to be swift. It never has been, and it never will be. So I wouldn't worry too much about the time tables. I'd worry about the results.

WALLACE: Let me ask you, Mara, about the politics of this, because -- kind of an interesting debate this week as to whether the North Korean crisis in effect helps the Republicans because it puts national security and the war on terror back as the top issue, or in fact that it hurts Republicans and helps Democrats because it says look, they have not been able to deal -- to get under control Iran and North Korea while they've been bogged down in Iraq.

How do you think it cuts politically for November?

LIASSON: You know, right now I don't see it helping the Republicans. I don't see it necessarily helping the Democrats a lot. But it's not necessarily a great achievement for the Republicans to show that their policy has so far not been effective.

As Bill has said, you lay down some red lines. The North Koreans walked right up to them and crossed over. I don't think this makes people think the Democrats are going to keep us safer, but I don't think it's the slam-dunk that usually national security events are for Republicans.

WALLACE: Take a drink of water.

Bill, your thoughts on the political...

KRISTOL: Yeah. I mean, national security is supposed to be the advantage for Republicans, and now it's neutral. I mean, John Kerry's recommendations are even more ridiculous than Condi Rice's wishfulness. It reminded me why, at the end of the day, I still prefer the Republicans to the Democrats.

But you can't really -- you know, Bush isn't doing anything -- the advantage Bush had in 2002 and 2004 on national security, the advantage Republicans had, is gone. That's what's going to account for the different outcome this year. That is the big change.

For all the talk about how tough the first term was, unilateral, big problem, Bush won in 2002 -- Republicans won in 2002. Bush won in 2004. He's adopted this wonderful multilateral diplomacy, U.N.- focused policy in 2006, and he's frittered away the advantage he has over the Democrats...

WALLACE: And we've got about 30 seconds left in this segment. So did George W. Bush fall into the Democratic trap by going multilateral?

WILLIAMS: No. I think that it's the right thing to do. But you're in a situation here where, you know, in fact, they've tried to blame the Clinton people, tried to blame... HUME: Who in the administration did that?

WILLIAMS: John McCain.

HUME: Name one person -- McCain is not in the administration.

WILLIAMS: Well, I think McCain was carrying administration water here when he...

HUME: Oh, please.

WILLIAMS: ... tried to blame Clinton, saying it was Clinton policy. But look, the problem is that he's clearly now in a position where the things that were giving him a boost -- the president I'm talking about -- the things that were giving him a boost in September are not working in October.

So unless Karl Rove is going to bring out Osama bin Laden or something, the Republicans have not had a good month so far.

WALLACE: Let's take a quick break here. We can continue this conversation. And in fact, as the rhetoric gets tougher here at the table, it also is getting hotter on the political trail. We'll examine the battle lines for '06 and '08 right after this break.


WALLACE: On this day in 1991, Clarence Thomas won Senate confirmation as a justice of the Supreme Court. He replaced Thurgood Marshall, becoming the second African-American to serve on the court.

Stay tuned for more from our panel and our Power Player of the Week.



CLINTON: Some of the reason we are facing this danger is because of the failed policies of the Bush administration.



MCCAIN: The framework agreement her husband's administration negotiated was a failure.


WALLACE: Senators Clinton and McCain, the two leading presidential contenders for 2008, threw some punches this week over who's responsible for the mess in North Korea.

And we're back now with Brit, Mara, Bill and Juan.

Well, Brit, I detected more of an edge this week than we've seen generally from John McCain, especially when he went after, as he put it, Senator Kerry and Mrs. Clinton.

HUME: Well, he was responding, obviously, to something that she'd said. You showed it there. And that was an issue in which he was involved at the time, and it was critical, as I recall, at the time of what the Clinton administration did.

The idea that Juan suggested, that he was doing this to carry water for the Bush administration, borders on the ludicrous. McCain speaks for himself, and the Bush administration would love to get him to speak for them more often. It doesn't happen very often, and didn't happen this time.

But it is a symptom of '08 ambitions and possible rivalries as well as anything else. Privately, they're said to get along, Senator Clinton and Senator McCain, rather well, but not for that moment.

WALLACE: But, Mara, let me ask you about this, because Senator Clinton had to apologize to Senator McCain personally this week, I guess on the phone, but called him directly. Talk about that, if you will. LIASSON: Right, for something else. Apparently, somebody, a Clinton advisor -- we don't know who it is -- talked to Maureen Dowd on the telephone, the New York Times columnist...

WALLACE: Maureen Dowd, the columnist for the New York Times.

LIASSON: ... and said that when McCain said that, he looked like he was back as a prisoner of war in Hanoi spilling the names of his comrades.


LIASSON: Well, first of all, she apologized for that. That was way out of line. The McCain-Clinton rivalry, of course, is great fascination for everybody in the press corps. Also, it's at a fever pitch now, 2.5 years in advance. And I think the two of them are going to be going at this for the next 2.5 years like this.

I think more interesting is how the debate about which administration is more to blame for North Korea is going on right now in the context of the 2006 midterms, and it has become an issue.


KRISTOL: Well, Senator Clinton was right to apologize for the alleged comment of her alleged advisor to Maureen Dowd. I mean, it was a ridiculous comment and she was right to apologize.

WALLACE: Let me turn and ask you about something else, Juan, and that was there was a big surprise this week in the presidential race, the 2008 presidential race. Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner, who had raised about $10 million and seemed to be doing pretty well in positioning in the south as the kind of moderate alternative in the Democratic race to Hillary Clinton, suddenly dropped out. Here's how he explained it.


WARNER: For a while I want a piece of a real life. And as good as things look politically, I'm not going to take the next step.


WALLACE: Are we all incurably cynical to immediately doubt anyone in American politics who says they want to spend more time with their family?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, we probably are. But he's got a lovely family. He really is a family guy.

WALLACE: But we do doubt it, don't we?

WILLIAMS: Well, of course we doubt it, because we've been around for a while. But he has a lovely family, as I said, and you know, now the competition is who is going to be the anti-Hillary, who's going to be the person who comes up and challenges. And he was in good position, not only former governor of Virginia, but in keeping with the notion of former governors like Clinton and Carter, southern governors coming along.

WALLACE: And is the more effective threat to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic field from the right, as Warner wanted to be, or from the left?

WILLIAMS: Well, now I think there's nobody on the right. I don't know who you would put there, because I...

WALLACE: Evan Bayh, perhaps?

WILLIAMS: Maybe, but I don't see him as having, at the moment, the kind of support, the kind of fund raising prowess, that Warner had.

So what we come down to now is the possibility of Edwards, maybe John Edwards, a southerner, or then you go to the really outlandish possibility, I think, of Barak Obama, or, maybe not so outlandish, Al Gore. Does Al Gore get in? But Al Gore would be coming at her from the left again.

KRISTOL: Al Gore will be a powerful challenger to Hillary Clinton. I think he'll run, and there will be a moment in the debate, which I hope you two are moderating, in late 2007 when Al Gore will, on the stage in New Hampshire or Iowa, will say, "With all due respect, Senator Clinton, Senator Edwards, Senator Kerry, Senator Biden, you were all in the Senate and you voted for the war, and I said it was a mistake. I was right."

And for a Democratic primary audience, that is a powerful message that Al Gore will bring, I think. So I think Gore will be competitive against Clinton.

LIASSON: You know, I don't know if Gore will actually run. He might be happier doing what he's doing now. But I agree with you, that's a moment that any politician would really hate to miss.

Look, for a long time, I've said that the debate inside the Democratic Party for the nomination was going to be Hillary vs. some red state governor. But now I'm not sure. I do think there's -- there was always going to be challengers from the left and the right to her.

But she has very effectively, I think, taken up some of the ideological terrain on the right, so that I think the challenge might come from the left. She's also worked very hard to tamp down all that left-wing dissatisfaction with her. She's been a lot tougher on Bush lately. So I don't know if there's actually going to be a credible red state alternative to her.

HUME: Let's talk about this possibility. It seems likely now in almost all cards that the Democrats will get control of the House, which will bring us two years of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is not a popular figure or a respected figure nationally. Her behavior will be more visible than ever, more conspicuous than ever.

What effect does that have on the possibility of Hillary Clinton being nominated or elected in 2008? I think it's a very good question. I suspect the effect would not be terrifically positive.

WILLIAMS: Well, I think that if you look at Hillary Clinton, people are going to have enough problems with her as a polarizing figure without going into Pelosi. But I am interested to hear the great Brit Hume say that he now thinks the Democrats will win the House of Representatives, if that's what you're saying.

HUME: If the election were held today, they would.

WILLIAMS: And so you think that's what's going to happen when the election is actually held in November?

HUME: Well, don't ask me to predict.

WILLIAMS: Well, look. I think the Republicans have had a bad time. Bob Ney now is, you know, pleading guilty but he's not resigning. That just keeps this thing -- the Foley thing.

But I mean, it strikes me that what's really telling in this 2008 scenario is that McCain has all along been a key supporter -- this is not ludicrous, Brit, but a key supporter of the Bush administration on Iraq.

And given his military credentials and the fact that, as Bill Kristol, I'm sure, will tell you, Iraq will be the determinative factor in 2008, McCain has been a supporter.

HUME: He's also been a consistent critic of the way the war has been managed and handled. He has been one of the harshest critics of John McCain -- I mean of Donald Rumsfeld, so make no mistake about that. To say that he speaks for the administration is silly.

WALLACE: Let me just ask Bill Kristol, do you share Mr. Hume's pessimism about Republican chances in November?

KRISTOL: Yes. I mean, I've talked to a bunch of pollsters and campaign strategists who are working on real races late this week. Our colleague Fred Barnes did, too. Fred's even more cheerful, usually, than I am, and he thinks the House -- certainly, if the election were held today, the House would be lost.

And there has been real erosion over the last week in a bunch of House polls and even in some Senate polls.

WALLACE: In about 10 seconds, Mara, do you agree?

LIASSON: I think the situation looks worse for the Republicans than it did a couple of weeks ago, and they've only got about 3.5 weeks to turn it around.

WILLIAMS: I've been out on the campaign trail, and boy, I'll tell you, local issues are counting, and those do help Republicans. WALLACE: Help Republicans.


WALLACE: All right. Thank you, panel. That's it for today. See you next week. More to talk about.

For more visit the FOX News Sunday web page.

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