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James Webb, Lindsey Graham, Roundtable

Fox News Sunday

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace. A weekend of deadly violence in Iraq, next on "Fox News Sunday".

First, an upset winner in November. Then, chosen by his party to respond to the president's state of the union, and now his first interview on "Fox News Sunday". We'll talk about Iraq, politics and more with Democrat Jim Webb.

Also, can Senate Republicans block Democratic efforts to pass a resolution opposing the Bush war plan? We'll find out from one of the president's most vocal supporters, Senator Lindsey Graham.

Plus, You Decide '08. Will Giuliani run? Did a verbal slip sink Biden's campaign? We'll hear from our Sunday regulars, Brit Hume, Mara Liasson, Bill Kristol and Juan Williams.

And our Power Player of the Week -- from football bust to member of Congress, he's the comeback kid, all right now on "Fox News Sunday".

And good morning again from Fox News in Washington. Here's a quick check of the latest headlines. There was more violence in Baghdad today. At least 13 died in a series of attacks. On Saturday, more than 130 were killed in the deadliest single bombing in the capital since the war began.

A top Iranian nuclear scientist has died under mysterious circumstances. One report claims the physicist was assassinated by Mossad, the Israeli security service.

And out of Asia, reports that North Korea is ready to stop operations at a key nuclear facility in exchange for oil and an easing of U.S. financial restrictions.

Well, joining us now, one of the intriguing new figures on the political landscape, Democratic Senator Jim Webb of Virginia.

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

SEN. JIM WEBB (D), VIRGINIA: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

WALLACE: You gave the Democratic response to the president's state of the union speech recently, and you laid out a few markers for Iraq. Let's watch.


WEBB: Not a precipitous withdrawal that ignores the possibility of further chaos, but an immediate shift toward strong, regionally- based diplomacy, a policy that takes our soldiers off the streets of Iraq cities and a formula that will in short order allow our combat forces to leave Iraq.


WALLACE: Senator, what's the difference between a precipitous withdrawal, which you reject, and getting our troops out in short order?

WEBB: Well, I think what we have right now, even with this so- called new strategy, is half a strategy -- not even half a strategy, honestly. You cannot deal with Iraq simply as a military situation even inside Iraq.

We just finished a full month of hearings on the Armed Services and the Formulations Committees. I'm on both of them. And the preponderance of the testimony was basically saying that we're not going to be able to fully deal with the situation without an aggressive diplomatic strategy that is in tandem with a military strategy. And we've not seen that for four years.

I was one of the people who were saying early on, before we even went into Iraq, that if you did not have aggressive diplomacy, the military component itself wasn't going to be able to work.

WALLACE: So in the absence of a diplomatic agreement -- and we'll get to that in a moment. In the absence of that, is all this talk from Democrats about troop caps and withdrawals irresponsible?

WEBB: I don't think it's irresponsible. I think what has been irresponsible has been the administration coming forward with solutions or so-called solutions that simply go back to the well again and again to the military without addressing the elephant in the bedroom.

And the elephant in the bedroom is dealing with Iran and Syria. And we're getting that across the board. We even get it from the Baker- Hamilton report. We had them in front of us a few days ago, and I asked them about that.

What actually would be the procedure for the United States government to reach a point where there was a diplomatic umbrella so that we could then begin withdrawing our troops?

You're not going to do this simply by sending more troops in again and again, the way that we've been doing, and addressing a situation that even the National Intelligence Estimate has said is probably worse than a civil war.

This isn't even sectarian violence anymore. There are so many components to it that it's chaos. And if you're a military person on the street, there's only so much you can do.

WALLACE: But let me ask you about that, this idea of yours, of regional diplomacy. What makes you think that Iran or Syria would have any interest in helping us out in Iraq? WEBB: I think they're -- I think if you break those two countries apart and look at them, I think there are reasons for them to come to the table on both. And I'm not saying that we are -- we should be going to them on our knees or that we should be giving up on certain conditions. But it is in their interest.

First of all, with Iran, if you look at what happened after the Afghani invasion in '01, Iran directly participated in the round of talks that resulted in the Karzai government. We had India, Pakistan, other countries in the region, and Iran was a direct player in that.

And then after the axis of evil speech, Iran was the one that kind of receded. With respect to Syria, it is not in Syria's long- term interest to be an ally of Iran. Syria and Iran have never been natural allies. They're different ethnically. They're different politically.

And if you can break Syria apart from Iran, then you're going to be able to affect other issues in the region in a dramatically different way - - Hezbollah, the Palestinian situation -- if Syria were a different player. I think you can get them to the table.

WALLACE: But let's talk about Iran, if I may, sir...

WEBB: All right.

WALLACE: ... because it would seem -- I know it does to a lot of people -- that Iran is thoroughly enjoying the fact that we're tied down and that our blood and treasure is being spent in Iraq.

You talked about the National Intelligence Estimate, the NIE, the considered judgment of all 16 U.S. national intelligence agencies. They disagreed with you. They came out with a report on Friday and said Iraq's neighbors are not likely to be a major driver of the prospects for stability.

WEBB: That's not really a disagreement.

WALLACE: Well, but they said it's primarily an internal...

WEBB: They also were saying...

WALLACE: Well, if I may, they said it's an internal problem and that these outside forces, the neighbors, cannot be the major driver.

WEBB: No, what they were saying was that even though these countries may be meddling inside Iraq, that they were not the major players inside Iraq in terms of the military solution.

And what the administration is doing right now is playing up Iranian participation in order to try to drive the stakes up to the extent that we don't deal with Iran.

Now, yes, Iran's definitely, from everything that I can see, playing in some way inside Iraq. And tactically, as a former Marine, in the places where Iran is definitely playing, they should be dealt with.

China was playing inside Vietnam when I was in Vietnam. So was the Soviet Union. There wasn't a weapon that was used against me that wasn't made in Eastern Europe or China.

At the same time, that doesn't mean that we should have been isolating China and not dealing with them. In fact, the reverse was true. The Chinese situation is a direct parallel to the situation we have with Iran right now.

We had a rogue nation with nukes, with an American war on its border that it was assisting, and we aggressively dealt with them and brought them into the international community.

That doesn't mean you have to give up on weapons of mass destruction. That doesn't mean you have to give up on the Israeli situation. But we are not responsibly in the region if we don't deal with them.

And the situation that we have right now where we continue to talk only about the military side -- again, it's half a strategy.

WALLACE: Okay. You, as you point out, fought in Vietnam where you won the Navy Cross. And back in 1985, you had this to say. Let's put it up on the screen.

"If I had one lesson that stands out in my mind, it is that you cannot fight a war and debate it at the same time." Senator, why not? What's the problem, especially for our troops, when we're trying to fight a war and debating it at the same time here at home?

WEBB: Well, the difficulty that we have right now -- there are so many people trying to make a direct parallel between Vietnam and Iraq, on both sides of the issue, by the way.

You have the people who are opposed to the Iraq war saying this is just another Vietnam. You have the people who supported the Vietnam war, many of them -- I supported the Vietnam war. I still support what we attempted to do in Vietnam -- trying to draw direct parallels, and there are no direct parallels.

WALLACE: Let me ask you directly my question.

WEBB: Right, I'm getting to your question. But I need to be able to, you know, put my experiences on the table so that people can understand what I'm saying here.

The way that this war has been defined is a 20-year war. In fact, I got mail at the beginning of this war when I was opposing it, before we went in, basically saying you need to sit down and shut up because you're being disloyal to a president.

But when do you start talking? Twenty years from now? And particularly in a situation now where the -- all the conditions that are being predicted if we withdraw from Iraq -- and basically, by the way, they're saying precipitous withdrawal, and no one is saying that -- are the conditions that those of us like myself were predicting would occur if we went in and are on the ground.

Empowering Iran? That's one of the reasons I said we shouldn't go in. Being less able to fight the war against international terror -- we were saying that. Focus on international terror, don't focus on this. Loss of American prestige around the world -- we had the world with us before we went in. Economic disadvantages -- we're going to put, what, $800 billion more into this war if we keep going?

WALLACE: But Senator, if I may go back to my question...

WEBB: We have to be able to discuss this.

WALLACE: I understand, but if I may go back to my question of the dangers of debating and fighting at the same time, which you said was the lesson you took from Vietnam. Some people say that's exactly what's going on right now.

The Democrats, including yourself, voted unanimously a few days ago to confirm General Petraeus to lead all U.S. forces in Iraq...

WEBB: Right, right.

WALLACE: ... at the same time that they want to pass a resolution that would oppose the plan that he helped write for the troops he says are necessary to win.

WEBB: Well, you see, that's not an inconsistency. And I voted for General Petraeus. And I don't agree with the whole national -- lack of national strategy that -- this administration has not had a strategy. They continue to focus on the military side rather than diplomatic side.

WALLACE: But you don't see...

WEBB: Please, let me...

WALLACE: But if I might just -- you don't see the inconsistency...

WEBB: I'm trying to answer your question, because there is not an inconsistency.

WALLACE: Why not?

WEBB: When the administration puts forward a general officer to fill a billet that exists, I will take a look at his qualifications and see whether I believe he is qualified to be a commander. That doesn't mean that I have to back a political strategy that impels him into motion.

It's the same question in reverse...

WALLACE: But what his military strategy that he is the author of?

WEBB: He has written some military viewpoints. I met with General Petraeus. I've talked with him about this. He has promised me he's going to give us continual feedback on what he's doing.

The reverse of that, by the way, in terms of the difficulty of being a military officer, is what we've just had to do with General Casey. He's up now to be chief of staff of the Army. There are many people, and particularly the people who support the administration's political policy, who are trying to hold General Casey as the scapegoat for the fact the Iraq war isn't working.

And as I said in the confirmation hearings when he was up, these people represent the anomaly of high-level military service. On the one hand, if you speak up too loud, you get fired in this administration. There's a string of people.

And if you speak too softly, when things go bad you get blamed instead of the administration and the civilians who put this policy into place.

WALLACE: In your response to the state of the union you also talked about the dangers of economic inequality. And this week the president spoke out and said that he agreed with you. Let's watch.


PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: The question is whether we respond to the income inequality we see with policies that help lift people up or tear others down.


WALLACE: Senator, don't Democrats want to, in the president's word, tear people down by raising taxes on the rich?

WEBB: The difficulty that we have in this country right now is this. Corporate profits are at an all-time high as a measure against national wealth. The average major corporate CEO, according to the Wall Street Journal, makes $10 million a year in compensation.

At the same time, wages and salaries for workers are at an all- time low as a percentage of our national wealth. And part of this is the internationalization of corporate America. Some of it's inevitable and some of it isn't.

But if you're an American worker looking at the situation in America today, you see three components working against you. One is that in the shift with technological expertise, white collar and blue collar people are seeing a lot of jobs going overseas where they can be done more cheaply. The corporation benefits. The worker loses the job.

The second is the manufacturing base is going away. We've lost three million manufacturing jobs during this administration. Take a look at the steel industry. A huge percentage of that has flipped into China where they have different environmental standards, different worker standards, so it's very difficult for an American worker to compete fairly even given productivity. And then the third thing an American worker looks at -- people will say well, you can't export infrastructure jobs, you can't export being a waiter. But we have this massive labor pool as a result of immigration here, so even in those jobs, the wages and salaries are being pulled down.

So there are ways, and obligations, I believe, from people who are in government who are representing those interests to do put them into play.

WALLACE: Well, I understand all of those aspects, and I think the president would agree with you on a bunch of those, but let me just ask...

WEBB: I don't see any evidence of that, by the way. I don't think I can let that one pass.

WALLACE: Well, but would you also like to raise taxes on the wealthy?

WEBB: You know, what I said during the campaign was that I would -- and this was mischaracterized in ads against me. I would not raise taxes on anyone who is making a living by salaries, you know, on working people.

The major problem in this country right now is corporate America and the breaks that have been built into the system. And part of that is the tax structure, and part of it is, you know, other basic economic fairness issues.

For instance, we have a provision in the tax law right now where if an American corporation takes a plant and sends it overseas, we start off by losing the jobs, but they do not have to pay taxes on the profit from that plant unless they repatriate the profits back into the United States.

So on the one hand, we lose the jobs, and on the other, they're not going to reinvest the money in the United States because they don't want to pay taxes on it, and so we continue to have this bifurcation between the people at the top and the people at the bottom.

And you know, there are ways that that should be addressed.

WALLACE: Finally -- and we've got less than a minute left -- you have a reputation, and it has only strengthened since you were elected, as being -- forgive me -- combative.

You had that icy exchange with the president when he asked about your son who is serving in Iraq. During the Democratic response, you said if the president doesn't act, we will be showing him the way. Are you combative?

WEBB: I fight for what I believe in. I'm not ashamed of that. But I think that, you know, if people look at me, I've had eight years in government before now. And I know how to work with leadership. I know how to cooperate.

And I think Peggy Noonan said it right about this White House exchange, which has been vastly overblown, and that is we need more courtesy in government. And in that particular situation, I don't think the lack of courtesy was mine.

WALLACE: Senator Webb, we're going to have to leave it there. I want to thank you so much for coming in. Please come back, sir.

WEBB: Nice to be here.

WALLACE: Up next, Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the few Republican senators who not only supports the president's war policy, but thinks he should send in even more troops. Stay tuned.


WALLACE: Joining us now, one of the strongest supporters of the president's Iraq war policy, Senator Lindsey Graham, who comes to us from his home state of South Carolina.

Senator, we had another terrible bombing in Baghdad Saturday, killing more than 130 people. While the National Intelligence Estimate talks about the dangers of pulling out, it also says the following, "The intelligence community judges that the term 'civil war' does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict in Iraq."

Senator, do you really think that sending another 17,000 U.S. troops into a city of six million is going to stop something that's even worse, more complex, than a civil war?

GRAHAM: Yes, I think additional troops would help dramatically. What's the biggest mistake we've made in Iraq? You talk about me supporting the president's policy. I've been saying for three years now that General Shinseki was right, and Abizaid and Casey were wrong, when they talked about the military footprint necessary to achieve stability.

General Petraeus' plan is not more people doing the same. And if anybody says that, they're not listening to General Petraeus. This surge has a military component. Seventeen thousand, five hundred additional troops in Baghdad would double the combat capability of the American military to hold areas cleared.

I see results that are in -- that make me feel like this can work. The bombing was an act of terrorism to divide the country and to break our will and to topple the government.

But 17,500 more troops in Baghdad married up with the new Iraqi strategy of going into any neighborhood we need to go into to hold territory that was previously cleared will work to allow political reconciliation.

This idea that our key to success in Iraq is through Syria and Iran is naive. The things that unite Syria and Iran -- the one thing that unites Syria and Iran is that they don't want a democracy in Iraq because it's a threat to their dictatorships, and that's what divides us from Syria and Iran.

So very simply put, we need to surge militarily, economically and political to allow the Iraqi government to achieve political reconciliation. That's the key to success in Iraq. And nobody will get a political deal with this level of violence.

We need more troops. We need more economic aid. We need more political assistance.

WALLACE: Senator, but the National Intelligence Estimate, the NIE, which came out at the end of this week is very pessimistic about what can be accomplished over the next 18 months even with a troop surge.

Take a look if you will, sir. "Even if violence is diminished, given the current winner-take-all attitude and sectarian animosities infecting the political scene, Iraqi leaders will be hard-pressed to achieve sustained political reconciliation."

GRAHAM: And what does the NIE tell us otherwise, that if we withdraw from Iraq in the next 12 months to 18 months, there will be a bloodletting Iraq, sectarian nature, that there'll be a problem between Turkey and the Kurds in the north, and that the problems in Iraq will spill over into a regional war.

So this is our dilemma. The best chance left for us to stabilize Iraq, in my opinion, is to surge militarily, economically and politically, allowing the political leadership of Iraq the opportunity to get some breathing room, to share the oil revenues with the Sunnis and do the other political deals they need to make to bring about stability.

If we leave, it is a death blow. If we say we're going to leave at a date certain, it will freeze every effort to reach political reconciliation. I can not guarantee you success, but I can promise you this: The day you set time lines and deadlines, it's lost in Iraq and it becomes a bigger war, not a smaller war.

So this is our last best chance, and I do believe General Petraeus knows what he's doing. I'm going to support him and I'm going to fight any effort by the Congress in a non-binding resolution to say there's no confidence in his new plan, because I have a lot of confidence in his new idea. And we should have done it years ago.

WALLACE: Senator, you and John McCain have introduced your own resolution that would set benchmarks for the Iraqi government...

GRAHAM: Right.

WALLACE: ... including -- one of which is that they would keep their share of -- their commitment to send more troops into Baghdad.

But Defense Secretary Rumsfeld -- or Gates, rather, said Friday that Iraqi units are arriving in Baghdad at only 55 percent of the manpower that they were supposed to have. Haven't the Iraqis already started to break their promises to us on keeping their commitments? GRAHAM: What we've got to do is judge them across the board. The resolution says that we have confidence in General Petraeus, that he will never be denied what he needs to implement this new strategy, and it realizes, Chris, that a million new American troops won't solve the problem.

The only way we're going to have success in Iraq is through political reconciliation, political compromise. The thing that I'm looking for is, number one, will they reach a deal on the oil. Will they allow the Sunnis a piece of the oil revenue in Iraq so the Sunnis would have something to fight for, not against?

Will they go after the militia? The biggest threat to this infant democracy, which is eight months old, is out-of-control militia groups. We're finally going to where the militias live and hide and we're making progress.

WALLACE: But, Senator, if I may...

GRAHAM: Yes, the Iraqi military needs to...

WALLACE: ... what do you make of the fact that the Iraqi units -- here we have this big agreement with Maliki -- we're going to send in more troops, you're going to send in more troops -- and the Iraqi units are arriving at 55 percent manpower?

GRAHAM: I don't know enough of the details yet, but it's certainly something to watch and be concerned about. What I've seen and what I've heard is the Iraqis are fighting better. They're standing side by side.

And this idea of Senator Clinton that we're going to defund the Iraqi army and not provide security to the Iraqi political leaders to me is a dangerous thing to be publicly saying.

We're going to watch the performance of the Iraqi army. We're going to watch the performance of the politicians in Iraq, but we're not going to tell the enemy we're leaving. We're not going to empower Al Qaida. We're not going to let Syria and Iran topple this young democracy by meddling.

We're going to stand with the forces of moderation, as imperfect as they are, and we're going to try to get this right by making up for past mistakes. We cannot have a democracy with militias roaming the country out of control. You can't have a democracy with 40 percent unemployment in Baghdad.

We need more American capacity across the board to help the Iraqis. In a year from now, if this thing fails, it will be a war a lot greater in nature than it is today. So that's why we need to get it right while we still can.

WALLACE: Senator, what do you think are the chances that any of these resolutions -- your resolution with John McCain, the Warner compromise -- that any of these resolutions will get the 60 votes they need to pass the Senate? GRAHAM: I don't believe any of them are going to get 60 votes except the resolution not to cut off funding or put troop caps in place. I hope there's a resolution.

If the Democrats really believe this war is lost and this is just another Vietnam in another form, cut off funding. The worst thing this Congress could do, literally, is to let the troops go forward, after approving General Petraeus with no -- unanimously, but say we don't believe in your mission; we're going to let you go, but we don't believe in your mission.

So these resolutions -- the Warner-Levin resolution disapproves of the surge, and it doesn't allow any new reinforcements in Baghdad. Are you going to give the capital of the country over to the terrorists and to the extremists?

We have to deal with sectarian violence in Baghdad. We're either going to deal with it now or we'll deal with it later, and it will be a bigger problem later. So I don't think any of these resolutions should pass.

Former Senator Edwards had something right in this regard. Bush would ignore it if it did, and he should. He should ignore these non- binding political resolutions that mean nothing other than domestic political politics, and the enemy won't ignore them.

If we pass a resolution saying this is lost before it's given a chance to be implemented, the enemy will seize upon that, be emboldened, and our troops will be sent off in a disheartening fashion, because these resolutions are terrible ideas.

WALLACE: Senator, you talk about Senator Clinton and Senator Edwards, but the fact is there are a lot of Republicans -- we count 16 -- who have either opposed the president's troop surge or have expressed doubts about it.

How much panic is there in the Republican Senate Caucus when it comes to Iraq and 2008?

GRAHAM: There's a lot of panic. There's panic among the Democratic '08 hopefuls. They're panicking. Senator Clinton has gone from the middle of the road to the left ditch. I mean, everybody's trying to get to the left of each other in the Democratic primary for president.

WALLACE: How about in your party, sir?

GRAHAM: And we've got some Republicans who are -- excuse me?

WALLACE: I'm saying how about your party.

GRAHAM: Oh, yes, we've got some Republicans that are worried about how this will play out for '08. And here's what I'm telling my Republican colleagues. A non-binding resolution that is a vote of no confidence, that says we can't fight in Baghdad, and just give the capital over to the enemy is not going to help you one bit in 2008. And if you're looking at this whole year between now and 2008 -- how to get re-elected, you're missing the boat. We should be united as a country to make sure we're successful in Iraq, because this is not about the next election. This is about decades to come.

And we're about to make a huge mistake I don't think Ronald Reagan would have made. You know, Jim Webb worked for Ronald Reagan. Well, he missed the economic message of Ronald Reagan, and I think he missed what Ronald Reagan did in the Cold War.

Now's the time for us to adjust our strategy, and not more of the same, but reinforce Iraq before it gets to the point that we can't turn it around. We still can turn it around.

A non-binding resolution is a political exercise that does nothing but harm to the war effort, in my opinion, and it's a small moment for the Senate.

WALLACE: Senator, we're going to have to leave it there. I want to thank you so much for talking with us. And please come back, sir.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

WALLACE: Coming up, our Sunday regulars on the Democrats who want to be president. Who helped themselves this week and who didn't? We'll be right back.



SEN. BARACK OBAMA, D-ILL.: I was opposed to this invasion publicly, frequently, before it began.



FORMER U.S. SENATOR JOHN EDWARDS: It is a betrayal not to stop this president's plan to escalate the war when we have the responsibility, the power and the ability to stop it.



SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, D-N.Y.: If we in Congress don't end this war before January 2009, as president, I will.


WALLACE: Those were the leading Democratic presidential candidates at a party conference this week trying to outdo each other in opposing the president's Iraq policy.

And it's time now for our Sunday regulars, 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 the big issues for those Democrats are how early were you against the war and what are you going to do now to try to stop it.

Brit, all the pressure in the Democratic Party seems to be coming from the anti-war left.

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS WASHINGTON MANAGING EDITOR: No doubt about it. And I keep thinking that this presidential season, which started, you know, the morning after the last election back in November, is going to hit a lull. I keep thinking it's going to calm down. After all, this is '07. We're only in February of '07. It isn't happening.

And these next few months I think are going to be critical to the outcome of the election, because you see the Democrats staking out these positions. And if things go as badly as they appear to believe they will, and perhaps some secretly hope, that might help the Democrats immensely.

If they don't, though, the Democrats -- all of them -- they're all headed in the same direction, essentially, with some nuanced differences. I think there's a real risk for them, so we'll see.

MARA LIASSON, NPR: Look. Right now, you've got -- Mrs. Clinton is in the unusual position -- we wouldn't have predicted this a year ago. She has no challengers from her right. There are no moderate centrist candidates challenging her. Everyone is to the left.

And I think Mrs. Clinton's rhetoric has gotten more anti-war. I think Lindsey Graham said she went into the left ditch. I wouldn't go that far, because her positions have not changed.

She now says she's for a cap on troops. She's still against a time line or a date certain for withdrawal, whereas Barack Obama has said March 31st, 2008 as the date for troops to be gone, and of course, John Edwards wants to defund the operation right away.

So it's going to be really interesting to see how and if she changes substantively over the next six months or eight months.

WALLACE: Bill, Democrats -- and it was only a few weeks ago -- took over Congress talking about governing from the center, but this anti-war fervor seems to be sweeping all that aside.

BILL KRISTOL, WEEKLY STANDARD: Yes. Mara said Hillary Clinton is against a date certain for withdrawal. She said she was 2.5 weeks ago, by contrast with Edwards and Obama, except Friday she said if Congress hasn't forced Bush to withdraw the troops by January 2009, I will end the war. In other words, she's for a date certain for withdrawal, too. The date certain is when she becomes president on January 20th, 2009.

The rapidity of the Democrats' march or panicked flight to the left on the war in this last month has really been extraordinary. I mean, it only began in early January when the president announced the surge. The Democrats decided to be against that.

Now they've decided not only to be skeptical about the additional troops, but to go from that to being against fighting the war and for getting out. And you know, Brit said, correctly, obviously, if the war gets better, the Democrats are going to look a little silly.

But I think even if things don't go well in Iraq, do people want a party that just wants to quit? I mean, that really -- I'm really personally a little shocked that now we have the three leading Democratic presidential candidates all in favor -- all resigned -- let me put it fairly -- all resigned to losing the war in Iraq.

I'm not sure that's ever happened actually in American history, a party which has accepted American defeat on a major military engagement.

WALLACE: Juan, is that putting it fairly?

JUAN WILLIAMS, NPR: No. I mean, I don't know what to say, Bill, but 57 percent -- this is in a Fox News poll out this week -- want troops withdrawn. That's 57 percent of all Americans. I don't think that's the far left in the country. I think that's a mainstream sentiment when you get up to 57 percent.

HUME: But that doesn't make it victory.

WILLIAMS: That doesn't make it victory, but it suggests to you that what's going on there is not victory. It doesn't seem like we're on a path to victory.

I think what people are saying is we have to look for options. As you just heard a few moments ago, we have to look for political solutions that involve not only bringing in allies but discussions with people in the region.

We have to look at things such as Senator Biden has suggested about partitions and even surrounding, you know, Iraq so as to stop the possibility of insurgent flow, but not necessarily put our forces in the midst of sectarian or civil war violence.

President Bush said yesterday -- when he was meeting with the Democrats, he said this war is sapping our souls. So is he on the far left, Bill Kristol?

WALLACE: I'm not going to let you answer that. We'll talk about Iraq a little more in the next segment.

But I want to keep up with all the political news this week. And one of the more interesting things, Brit, was Senator Joe Biden, whose announcement this week -- I'm in the race, I'm officially running -- was drowned out by comments that he made about Senator Barack Obama. Let's listen.


SEN. JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., D-DEL.: You got the first sort of mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.


WALLACE: It is the first time I know of when a politician on the same day issues his declaration of candidacy and an apology.

HUME: Well, remember this about Senator Biden, who is a man with a truly golden heart. I mean, this is a man who really would give you the shirt off his back, and I think most of the people in the party know that, which is why I think he will survive this.

Twenty years ago, Chris, I was covering Capitol Hill for ABC News, and I wrote an article for The New Republic about Senator Biden. Michael Kinsley, who was then the editor of the magazine, took the liberty of putting on the cover of the magazine to call attention to the piece an overline. It said "Shut up, Senator Biden."

This has been an issue with Senator Biden all along. He is garrulous -- talkative -- and he has tried over the years, with some success, I think it's fair to say, to discipline his mouth. But it is a continuing challenge for him.

Look. I mean, I was looking at that as you put it up on the screen. I suppose if you put a comma in the right place -- you know, he was saying the first African-American of a certain kind, and then he was going on to say of Obama, not necessarily to distinguish him, perhaps, from the rest of -- from others, that he had all these other attributes.

It didn't come out that way. It didn't sound that way. And that's why he had to apologize.

WILLIAMS: Al Sharpton said he takes a bath every day.

LIASSON: Yes, "clean" was a poor choice of words. Look, Senator Biden, I think, was not considered one of the leading candidates to begin with. I think this probably, you know, put a stake through the heart of his candidacy even though it didn't have much of a chance before.

But this is just one of those little bits of political theater. I mean, it was really unfortunate that it happened. But I don't think it measurably affected Biden's chances, which were next to zero.

WALLACE: Let me switch to the Republicans, bill. Former New York city Mayor Rudy Giuliani -- most of the polls he's leading, sometimes by narrow margins, over McCain, but usually in the lead, but there continue to be doubts as to whether he's actually going to run.

Yesterday down in South Carolina, he talked to an A.P. reporter and said, quote, "There's a real good chance", end quote, that he will. Two questions. One, do you think that Rudy Giuliani will actually get into this race?

And secondly, can he overcome his stands on, you know, social issues - - pro-gun control, pro-choice, pro-gay rights -- particularly with the Republican conservative base?

KRISTOL: Yes, he will run, I believe. I mean, I've talked to people close to him just this last week. They're doing a lot of briefings. The fund-raising is moving ahead. I think he intends to run and most likely will run.

Two, he may be able to overcome enough of these problems. Well, he certainly is a competitive candidate for the nomination. He and McCain are clearly the two leading candidates.

And I think -- and the conventional wisdom is well, once he gets in the race and everyone learns that he's pro-choice, and has a different view on gay rights and has been pro-gun control, that his support will collapse. I'm not so sure. This is a war election. The Democrats are going to be the anti- war party. McCain, Giuliani, Romney are all for -- are all against renouncing the use of force in dealing with the jihadist Islamic threat.

I mean, that's what this election's going to come down to. Do you want a party that renounces the use of force or do you want a party that's willing to use force? And I think...

WALLACE: And do you think social conservatives are willing to hold their nose on the social issues?

KRISTOL: I think if Giuliani is conservative on judges, if Giuliani says look, I served in the Reagan Justice Department with John Roberts and Samuel Alito, they're the kinds of judges I'll put on the court, I might vote differently as a legislator on abortion, but let's not have the federal courts resolve these issues, let's give them back to the democratic processes in the states -- if he makes that a very key part of his campaign -- his conservative view on judges -- I think he has a chance to overcome social conservative concerns.

But most social conservatives want to fight the war against jihadist Islam. If they think Giuliani can do that, they'll be open to him.

WILLIAMS: Well, very quickly, I just think the war is going to be the big issue in '08. And if that's the case, what we see already in the polls is a tremendous gap with the American people saying they want Democrats in control.

So if that's the picture you're painting, I think that means the Democrats -- they'll make '06 look like it was nothing in terms of the Democratic landslide coming in '08. I think you're really setting up the Republican Party for a loss.

And one last point on the Democrats. I think the difficulty that Biden had is you've got a woman, Hillary Clinton, and a black man, Barack Obama, as the two top leading candidates. I don't think that white males are accustomed to talking about people in a way that's effective without getting into race and gender, and gender on military issues. It's a difficult moment in American politics.

WALLACE: All right. We need to take a break here. But coming up, where does the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq fit into the political debate here at home? Some answers from our panel when we come back.


WALLACE: On this day in 1789, George Washington was elected the first president of the United States. Washington is the only president to receive a unanimous vote in the electoral college.

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


BUSH: I have made it clear to the Iraqi government just like I made it clear to the American people: Our commitment is not open- ended.


WALLACE: That was President Bush on Saturday defending his Iraq war policy at a meeting of House Democrats.

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

Well, we've been quoting today from the new National Intelligence Estimate that came out late this week -- pretty tough document. It says if U.S. troops pull out, it's a disaster. If we stay in, it's still pretty bleak.

Brit, both sides see evidence for their position in the NIE.

HUME: Well, I don't think that the NIE is surprising, though, I mean, and it certainly doesn't say that it's mission impossible, which is, of course, the thing you'd be afraid of, which would completely torpedo the whole basis for the president's surge, which is this is still doable, we can still get it right. And after all, it's produced by this administration.

The other thing is, you know, it's remarkable how this works, isn't it, that in Washington, after you had a colossal intelligence failure -- I think it's fair to argue that it was a global intelligence failure -- on weapons of mass destruction, now the same agencies have produced another National Intelligence Estimate, and because it supports the position in one way or another of other people it's being quoted as an authority. One wonders about these things.

Have you noticed at the same time how wise in the eyes of many Democrats General Casey and General Abizaid have suddenly become now that the president has taken a different strategy than the one they took? It's remarkable in Washington, isn't it?

LIASSON: Look, one of the things about this intelligence estimate is apparently the intelligence agencies bent over backwards to include dissenting views and to try to correct whatever mistakes they had in the run-up to the war.

But look. It's true that both sides can look at this estimate and take away evidence to bolster their position, but on the other hand, the thing that was amazing about it was that it undercut -- seemed to undercut one of the main premises of the surge, which is to tamp down the violence and give the political process some breathing room so that the Iraqis can come to some kind of reconciliation.

But the estimate said that even if the violence is diminished, they don't know if Iraqi -- they said the Iraqi leaders are going to be hard- pressed to perform that...

HUME: Well, does anybody doubt -- is that new? Of course they're going to be hard-pressed. It's perfectly obvious they're going to be hard- pressed.

LIASSON: Well, they cast doubt on the ability of...

HUME: That's almost a truism.

LIASSON: ... the Iraqi leaders to do this...

HUME: Well, no kidding.

LIASSON: ... even if the violence subsided.

WALLACE: Bill, let's look at the situation the last few days, as I went through it with Senator Graham -- terrible bombing, another terrible bombing, one of the worst single bombings, I think, of the war in Baghdad - - more than 130 people killed; Bob Gates saying that these units, Iraqi units, are arriving in Baghdad at 55 percent manpower.

Same question I asked Senator Graham -- can 17,000 U.S. soldiers make all that much of a difference in a city of six million?

KRISTOL: Yes. Doubling the U.S. troop presence in Baghdad can make a big difference. Look, you know, if I were a Sunni extremist and was worried, which I would be, about a doubling of U.S. forces in Baghdad, what would I do?

I would try to convey an impression of chaos. I would get the biggest truck bomb possible and drive it into a market in a Shia area. I mean, if that's going to drive us out of Iraq, that's just ridiculous.

I mean, that would just send the message that any place we have interests, all the most ruthless group of terrorists have to do is kill a bunch of civilians and we're going to leave.

There's no evidence they can stand up to U.S. troops. There's quite a bit of evidence that they're worried, actually, and retreating, the extremists on both sides. So I would say on the whole, actually, over the last few weeks some of the news for Iraq is slightly optimistic.

It's going to be tough, but I see nothing that persuades me that the surge can't work quite well.

WILLIAMS: Well, I had a conversation with President Bush this week in which he said to me...

WALLACE: Well, how about that? And let me say it was really an interesting interview. You made a lot of news.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, Chris.

WALLACE: And I'd like to invite the president to come on "Fox News Sunday" while we're at it.

WILLIAMS: But he was saying all the Iraqi troops are beginning to show him something in terms of the battle that had taken place last weekend in Najaf. But then later, what we discovered, as Chris was saying, you get only a small share of Iraqi troops showing up.

And in fact, U.S. forces had to supplement and support them in a marked way to just try to stop the violence there. When you say that there's no evidence that they can stand up to U.S. forces, that's true.

But gosh, you know, we've been there a long time, Bill, and we have tried different strategies. We've gone out to Anbar province and other places and tried to stop it.

The president's response now is but we didn't hold those areas and so we have to go in and hold them. Well, the question is then how long do you hold them. That's where the problem comes in.

And in addition, CBO came out this week and the Democrats were like you know, look, the president's sending in 21,000, but it really means you're going to have to send in support forces, another 15,000 to 28,000.

So it seems as if the strategy is ignore the argument over the war in the United States, ignore the Congress, just go ahead and send more troops and put us in a position where it's hard to extricate and hard to have even a political argument, because the Democrats, as you know, are hamstrung by the idea that you've got to defend the troops.

You can't say anything negative that would in any way call into question your support for the troops because then you would open yourself to criticism from the Republicans that you're unpatriotic, and you're a bad person and you don't want the U.S. to win.

KRISTOL: I wish the Democrats were hamstrung by that. They're not, unfortunately. They're passing a resolution, a totally irresponsible resolution, in the Senate which will then presumably -- well, I don't know if they can pass it, if they're going to be able to get 60 votes.

But they're trying to pass a resolution in the Senate that will undercut...

WILLIAMS: So do you think...

KRISTOL: ... the message the president is trying to send. Nancy Pelosi said she's going to bring that up in the House. She also said yesterday at the meeting that President Bush went to of the House Democrats that if it looked like we might do something against Iran, she would ask the House to pass legislation prohibiting the president from acting against Iran.

So the Democratic Party's position is the way to deal with the Middle East is to abjure and foreswear...

WILLIAMS: No, no, no.

KRISTOL: ... the possibility of the use of military force.

WILLIAMS: Do you also think that it's weakness when you have even a McCain resolution that would say let's just set benchmarks? Is that weakness on McCain's part?

KRISTOL: No. The McCain resolution...


KRISTOL: ... supports General Petraeus and the troops...

WILLIAMS: No, no, no. It says...

KRISTOL: ... and the war.

WILLIAMS: ... let's set real benchmarks so we can measure or say that there is or is not progress taking place in Iraq. Do you support the Warner resolution?

KRISTOL: No, I don't support the Warner resolution because it undercuts the attempt to win the war in Iraq. The McCain resolution supports the attempt to win the war and says of course we want our Iraqi friends to act in certain ways, and he will lay out some of the benchmarks.

WALLACE: Brit, what happens if, after all the sound and fury, the Senate ends up passing nothing?

HUME: Well, the Senate...

WALLACE: It seems like a real possibility.

HUME: The truth is if they pass something, it would still be sound and fury because it is simply a non-binding resolution expressing a viewpoint. It's the Senate's...

WALLACE: If you pass nothing...

HUME: When I covered the Senate, we used to think of sense of the Senate was a contradiction in terms. And it really is -- we used to laugh at sense of the Senate resolutions. They passed them with some regularity. This one has political importance. It has no legislative importance.

If nothing passes, I think that probably is less of a vote of no confidence in the troops and in the mission than would otherwise be the case, and it does make those who have been marching around under the banner of what they call courage in favor of this thing look a little foolish.

WALLACE: And, Mara, very quickly, your guess. Think that something will pass or not in the Senate?

LIASSON: I think at this point it looks hard for anything to get 60, but it will be a big defeat for the Democrats who went out of their way to join up with John Warner in order to increase the majority.

WALLACE: Thank you, panel. See you next week.

For more visit the FOX News Sunday web page.

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