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Hillary Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Roundtable

Fox News Sunday

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace. And this is "Fox News Sunday."

She's the Democratic frontrunner in the race for president and for the first time in more than three years, she's on "Fox News Sunday." We continue our series "Choosing the President" with Senator Hillary Clinton.

Then is Clinton the toughest opponent for Republicans or the easiest? We'll ask a man with his own presidential thoughts, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

Plus, Iran's president comes to New York. Should a major university give him a forum? We'll ask our Sunday team: Brit Hume, Mara Liasson, Bill Kristol and Juan Williams.

And our Power Player of the Week, Ken Burns, making World War II as current as today, All right now on "Fox News Sunday."

And good morning again from Fox News in Washington. Today we continue our series "Choosing the President" with the Democratic frontrunner, Senator Hillary Clinton, who joins us from her home in Chappaqua, New York.

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

H. CLINTON: It's great to be back, Chris. Thank you.

WALLACE: Senator, in an interesting bit of karma, we are talking on the first anniversary of my interview with your husband, and I would like to show you a clip from that interview. Here it is.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: You did Fox's bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me.


WALLACE: Senator, talk about conservative hit jobs, right-wing conspiracies -- why do you and the president have such a hyper- partisan view of politics?


H. CLINTON: Well, Chris, if you had walked even a day in our shoes over the last 15 years, I'm sure you'd understand.

But you know, the real goal for our country right now is to get beyond partisanship, and I'm sure trying to do my part, because we've got a lot of serious problems that we're trying to deal with. This week I rolled out my American health choices plan. I'm going to work very hard to travel around the country, talk about why we need to tackle quality, affordable health care for every American.

We've got to deal with the economy and some of the problems that people are facing in the mortgage market and the fact that a lot of people are not getting ahead.

In the last six years, the average family income has dropped $1,000. That's not good news for our economy or for real hard-working people.

So what I'm focused on is coming forth with ideas that I believe are in the best interests of our country. And clearly, around the world, we've got to restore America's leadership. That starts with ending the war in Iraq and bringing our troops home, but there's a lot more to do.

And I think it would be great if we had a debate on the substance, that we really talked about what each of us will bring to the White House, because I'm excited by what I hear as I travel around America.

I think people are ready to start acting like Americans again. They want to roll up their sleeves. They want to tackle these tough problems, and I believe we can.

And I'm confident and optimistic that we can make progress together again starting January 20th, 2009.

WALLACE: Senator, I want to talk about health care in a moment, but this is a question that one of your Democratic competitors, Barack Obama, mentions in criticism of you. You talk a lot about taking on the right wing in your campaign. Let's watch.


H. CLINTON: For 15 years, I have stood up against the right-wing machine, and I've come out stronger, so if you want a winner who knows how to take them on, I'm your girl.


WALLACE: Question: Why do we want another president who thinks so much in terms of right versus left and red state versus blue state?

H. CLINTON: Well, if you look at what I've done in New York, Chris, I won reelection with nearly 67 percent of the vote, carrying a lot of the same counties that George Bush had carried just two years before.

I've been able to get a lot of Republican and independent support in this campaign. I know how to seek and find common ground, but I also know how to stand my ground.

You know, I'm not intimidated by all of the efforts to try to undermine what I think is right for the country or to come after me or Democrats personally, because I think we need to try to get back to the center.

And I don't think that it's in the best interests of our country that people try to pull the debate off of what I believe is important, and that is coming to some resolution about these problems that are not getting better.

We now have more uninsured Americans than we did before.

WALLACE: Senator, can I ask...

H. CLINTON: We have a lot of hard-working Americans...

WALLACE: Senator, can I ask you about health care?

H. CLINTON: ... who've given up looking for work.

WALLACE: Let me ask you about health care, because you did...

H. CLINTON: Yes, I'd love for you to ask me about health care.

WALLACE: You did come up with a new plan this week which you say would insure the...

H. CLINTON: I did.

WALLACE: ... 47 million Americans who are uninsured. And let's talk about how you would pay for it.

You say that you'd get $52 billion from repealing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and $77 billion from making the system more efficient.

Senator, saying you're going to save billions from waste and fraud is an old technique. I covered Ronald Reagan back in 1980 who talked about doing it that way and we ended up with huge deficits.

If you're unable to get those savings from waste and fraud and abuse, would you raise taxes further or would you cut your program?

H. CLINTON: Well, Chris, let me first describe the program. The American health choices plan does not create any new bureaucracy. It is not government-run health care. If you are satisfied with your health care, you keep it, no questions asked.

But if you are one of those 47 million uninsured, or if you are one of the many millions more who actually have insurance except when you really need it and the insurance company won't pay for what your doctor has prescribed, you will now have the same choices that are available to members of Congress, because we will open up the plan that members of Congress have and give you a health choices menu to choose from.

We will also provide a health care tax credit for those who cannot, on their own, afford it or who don't have employer help. Similarly, I will provide a new small business health care tax credit because a lot of small businesses tell me that they'd love to be able to help provide health care for their employees, but they just can't afford it, and we're going to make it affordable.

But in our system, we have a lot of inefficiencies. Let's take electronic medical records, because if we were to have a system where everyone had a private, confidential health care record -- this is something that I've worked on with Newt Gingrich -- we would see that we would save a lot of money. It's been estimated by not me but others who have studied this -- about $77 billion a year.

If we better managed chronic care, we would save money, because right now we don't, and we pay a big price for it. So there are a lot of cost savings.

And let me just correct you for a minute. My plan has about $52 billion in tax cuts because of what we're doing by moving the tax rates back to the pre-Bush era. And yes, taxes will go up on people making $250,000, but most Americans will see a net tax decrease.

And we have about $55 billion in savings from electronic medical records, chronic care management, taking away some of the overpayment to HMOs that have unfortunately driven up the cost of Medicare prescription drug benefit.

And if people want to see how I will both get health care and how I will move toward fiscal responsibility, please go to my website,, because we talk about how we will pay for all of the initiatives that I am proposing in this campaign.

I take fiscal responsibility very seriously. I regret deeply that President Bush threw out fiscal responsibility over the last 6.5 years. And under my administration, we will move back toward fiscal responsibility.

WALLACE: Senator, you talk, as you just did, a lot about choice in your plan, but the fact is you still have sweeping government mandates, and let's take a look at those.

You mandate that all Americans would have to buy insurance or face penalties, even young people who may not want it.

You mandate that large businesses would have to insure employees or pay a tax. According to a top Harvard economist, 200,000 people would end up losing their jobs because of that.

And you mandate that insurance companies would have to offer coverage to all applicants no matter how sick they are.

So, Senator, isn't there still a good deal of government coercion in your plan?

H. CLINTON: Well, there is certainly a shared responsibility that goes with having a health care system that both can afford to provide quality affordable health care for everyone and puts responsibility on everyone in our country.

Individuals will have to have insurance, but we're going to make it affordable.

The health care industry, the drug industry, are going to have to change the way they conduct business. Right now the way that they do has driven up costs and unfortunately lowered choices for many millions of Americans.

Business will take responsibility, but within a system that will actually get their costs down. And we have, you know, reams of evidence and lots of experts lined up to say just that.

In fact, most of the independent experts who have looked at my plan over the last week have been very favorably disposed toward it.

But the most important thing is we cannot continue down this path. It is a moral imperative that we provide health insurance for the 47 million uninsured Americans, including the nine million -- the president's response is, when we tried to extend insurance to children, to say he will veto that. I don't think that's a majority opinion in our country.

And we also know that we have to deal with this economically because we can't continue to increase the amount of money we spend on health care.

We, frankly, don't get the best results for all the money that we've spent and we lose jobs right now to competition because we don't have a system that everyone shares responsibility in achieving quality, affordable health care for every American.

WALLACE: Senator, you have refused to criticize the ad about General Petraeus. And in fact, this week you voted against a Senate resolution denouncing it.

President Bush said that you and other Democrats are more afraid -- his word -- afraid of irritating the left wing and MoveOn than you are about insulting the American military. Does he have a point?

H. CLINTON: No, he doesn't. But I think it's clear I don't condone attacks on anyone who has served our country with distinction and with honor, and I have been very vocal in my support of and admiration for General Petraeus.

I did vote for a resolution that made it clear I do not condone and do condemn attacks on any American, impugning their patriotism, and that includes people like Senator Max Cleland and Senator John Kerry.

I think we need to call a halt to any kind of attacks, from wherever they come, that would go after anyone based on their service to America.

But you know, this is not a debate about an ad. This is a debate about how we end the war in Iraq. That's the debate that I want to be participating in, and I think a lot of people on the other side don't want us to have that debate.

Many of us are trying to move our Congress and the White House toward what we believe must be done, and that is extricating our troops from this sectarian civil war. I'm going to continue to speak out about that. If the president doesn't do it before his term ends, when I am president, I will.

But let's keep the debate focused on where it needs to be. We have young men and women who are serving honorably and heroically and who are dying in this sectarian civil war.

We have an Iraqi government that won't move the way it should to deal with the political problems. And we have a Bush administration that has not engaged in the diplomatic efforts with any urgency.

So I think we should stay focused on what the real debate in America is about, and that is how do we extricate ourselves from Iraq and begin to bring our troops home.

WALLACE: But, Senator, I want to follow up on this question of the real debate, and I want to put up an article by liberal columnist Richard Cohen this week.

He wrote when the entertainment mogul David Geffen, once a Clinton supporter, called both Bill and Hillary liars, Hillary not only decried the remark as a particularly vivid example of the politics of personal destruction, but she demanded that Barack Obama do the same and return a $2,300 donation Geffen had given him.

Yet when Clinton herself was asked to repudiate the abuse of Petraeus, she either saw no reason to do so or, much more likely, was afraid to alienate an important constituency, the 3.3 million members of

So let me ask you specifically. Do you repudiate the ad?

H. CLINTON: I have said, and I have voted for, condemning anyone who goes after the patriotism and service of any American.

But let's put this in a broader context. You know, there are many people who have assaulted over the years the patriotism and service of other Americans. I think it's time to end all of that.

And what I voted for in the Senate did that. It was balanced and it said, very clearly, we condemn attacks on anyone who has served honorably in our country's uniform. And I am absolutely of the mind that this should not be part of our debate.

But I am not going to be taken off my course, which is to try to end the war in Iraq. You know, others want a debate about an ad because they don't have a strategy or a policy to begin to extricate us from Iraq.

I think we should focus on what is happening in Iraq to our young men and women. Nearly 3,800 have been killed. More than 30,000 have been injured.

So I think it's very clear that when you cannot come up with a strategy that will get us out of Iraq, you obviously are going to focus on and try to bring attention to, you know, political strategy.

I think it's time that we all said, "Look. This is not working. It has not worked." And unfortunately, the president refuses to change course, so when I'm president, I will.

WALLACE: Senator, we've got a couple of minutes left. Let's talk about Iraq. There are reports that the president is going to submit a new spending bill this week calling for another $200 billion in spending for Iraq.

Last May you voted to cut off spending. Will you do so again with this spending bill?

H. CLINTON: I will not vote for any funding that does not move us toward beginning to withdraw our troops, that does not have pressure on the Iraqi government to make the tough political decisions that they have, that does not recognize that there is a diplomatic endeavor that has to be undertaken.

This has gone on now, unfortunately, for years, with the president holding on to his failed policy and with Republicans in the Senate and on the campaign trail deciding to support that failed policy, and it's really the only way that I can register my very strong disapproval of this policy, and I will continue to do so.

WALLACE: But, senator, some of this money, as you well know, goes to protect our troops from mines and IEDs. No matter how you feel about the war, how can you vote to cut them off when they're still on the front lines?

H. CLINTON: I think the best way to protect our troops is to start bringing them home. And I have been a strong supporter of the American military.

I have fought hard for body armor when the Bush administration was not able or willing to produce it in the quantities that were necessary.

I've stood with my colleagues to fight hard for armored vehicles because we knew that they needed additional protection in Iraq and they weren't getting it.

I have stood against the no-bid contracts and the cronyism that has wasted billions and billions of dollars, taxpayer dollars that should be going to protecting our troops. But this administration, unfortunately, keeps turning a blind eye to the abuses in the contracting process.

And I will continue to do everything that I can to protect our troops, starting with trying to get to a policy that will recognize their heroism and their valor, but also the fact that there is no military solution. Everyone knows that. Everyone agrees with that. And yet that is the only policy that this administration is willing to support.

And it's time that we said to the Iraqi government they do not have an open-ended commitment of our young men and women and tens of billions of dollars that Americans, you know, no longer believe is being put to good use in Iraq, and that we will do everything we can to try to bring our young men and women home.

That is my goal, and I think that is, you know, my ultimate and most important responsibility. I have been guided by an overriding principle to do what I think is best for my country and best for the troops that serve it, and I will continue to do so.

WALLACE: Senator, we've got about 30 seconds left. One final question. You spoke out very clearly when Iranian president Ahmadinejad talked about going to ground zero.

Now he's going to speak at Columbia tomorrow. Do you think that Columbia should rescind this invitation?

H. CLINTON: Well, I'm going to leave that up to Columbia, but I was outraged that he wanted to go to ground zero and did speak out very forcefully, and thankfully he will not go to ground zero.

Obviously, we have a very difficult problem ahead in dealing with Iran, something that I think the Bush administration put on the back burner for too long, outsourced to the French, the British and the Germans, instead of, you know, going forward and seeing if there were any ways that we could rein in this regime and certainly prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons.

And that's going to be my focus as a senator and as president.

WALLACE: Senator Clinton, we're going to have to leave it there. We want to thank you so much for joining us today. Don't be a stranger, and please send my best to the president.


H. CLINTON: I'm sure he'll be happy to hear that, Chris. Thank you.

WALLACE: Up next, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich on the Clinton health care plan and the Republican presidential field, right after this break.


WALLACE: Joining us now, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

And, Mr. Speaker, welcome back.

GINGRICH: Good to be here.

WALLACE: Let's talk first of all about Hillary Clinton, because I was struck by her appearance and several things she said. She said we need to get back to the center. We need to get beyond partisanship.

Are we seeing a new Hillary Clinton?

GINGRICH: I think at one level we are. I think Senator Clinton really does recognize -- and I thought, for example, on electronic health records she's in the center. I mean, that part of her proposal is a very good, very sound step forward, something she and I worked on.

So in some ways, for a very liberal candidate who has a very liberal background, she's doing what she can to try to move towards the center, plus she knows if she's going to be the nominee, she's not going to win on the left.

You cannot get elected -- as Celinda Lake points out this morning in the Washington Post, you can't get elected on the left in this country. So she's got to find a way to try to get to the center.

WALLACE: Let's talk about the Clinton health care plan, because she says that she's learned from all the problems of 1994 and, unlike Hillary care then, this plan does not create a massive government bureaucracy.

It allows people to keep their current plan or to choose from a menu of options -- the word choice is used over and over again. And she points out it would insure all Americans. And she says, and it's true, none of the plans by Republicans that have been offered so far would do that. GINGRICH: You know, let me offer a radical proposal. Instead of saying yes/no, why don't we take this as the start of a dialogue? Some things that she proposes are interesting and useful. Some things need to be challenged very directly.

There are two parts, I think. One is she's very disingenuous about the government part. This is a big government, high-tax, bureaucratic plan. It's much better than Hillary care of 1993, but it is nonetheless, in the end, a big government plan.

The thing I'm concerned about is that no one wants to make government accountable. We know that in New York state, there's $4.4 billion a year of fraud annually in Medicaid or more. Nothing's done.

We just had a report last week that in three counties in south Florida, there may be as much as $2 billion a year of fraud in HIV/AIDS programs. Nothing's done.

And the first question I'd ask Senator Clinton is why would you think government is an accountable, reliable provider of these kind of services. And I think that's the heart of her plan.

But to start with the idea, some of the goals are right. The delivery system is probably wrong. Now let's have a conversation rather than a yes/no debate.

WALLACE: Speaking of solutions, you're going to be hosting a conference this week called American Solutions with workshops across the country.

Give us a sense briefly of how big it will be and how it will work.

GINGRICH: It will start Thursday night at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta, and we will have nationwide over 2,000 sites. It will be available on Dish TV and DIRECTV and will available on the Internet at It will be bipartisan.

Elaine Kamarck, who was the head of Al Gore's reinventing government, is doing a workshop on how to get rid of bureaucracy.

Governor Roy Roemer, former Democratic governor of Colorado, who spent 6.5 years as head of the Los Angeles school system, is doing an Ed '08 discussion workshop on education.

Brian Bilbray, the congressman from San Diego, will be doing a workshop from the border on immigration.

So it will be a very interesting development of ideas, and it starts with a very simple premise. We need dramatic change in our system, and we are not going to get dramatic change inside the current political structure without an enormous effort by the American people.

And that's not just the presidency, which is what this city focuses on, but there are 513,000 elected officials in the U.S., and Americans Solutions is aimed at moving the entire system over the next five years to 10 years.

WALLACE: As you talk about bureaucracy and immigration and health care and education, how does that get translated into a coherent set of principles, or doesn't this end up being Newt Gingrich picking and choosing whatever he thinks is right?

GINGRICH: Well, let me say first off, if you look at what Dennis Smith has done at New York University in studying how Giuliani dramatically improved crime using evidence-based government and metrics, you see a beginning.

If you look at what Elaine Kamarck has worked on in the last 10 years about replacing bureaucracy, or what Steve Goldsmith did in Indianapolis, we see the beginnings.

I did a very brief 3.5-minute video on YouTube called FedEx vs. Federal Bureaucracy. And if you look at that and you think there's a world that works -- UPS and FedEx are examples. There's a world that fails, the federal government, which can't find 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants, can't control the border.

Let me give you a radical platform. Levees shouldn't fail. Bridges shouldn't fall. Schools should educate. And these are just -- I mean, think about what you see around you. Borders should be controlled.

And then you say, "You know, if those things were true, look how big the change in government would have to be."

WALLACE: You say -- and you talked about change -- that the Republican Party needs to make a clean break from George W. Bush.

What does that mean? And how can Republicans say that they're the agent of change when it's been a Republican president and a Republican Congress in power for most of the last six years?

GINGRICH: Well, I think that's part of the challenge, is to make the case authentically, but it's not about President Bush as an individual person.

The current system doesn't work. A couple of quick examples: We ought to have English as the official language of government. We ought to have intensive education in English for everybody who comes here.

We ought to guarantee that you have the right to say one nation under God as part of the pledge of allegiance. There are a whole series of steps people want.

The Detroit schools should actually teach kids, as opposed to just pay bureaucrats. I mean, there are a number of things we should be doing. That requires fundamental change.

And I tell every Republican activist they should read Nicolas Sarkozy's testimony, because...

WALLACE: The president of France.

GINGRICH: ... as the president of France, was in Chirac's cabinet when he issued a speech saying we need a clean break.

Now, he's serving as the interior minister of the government he's saying we need a clean break from. The left nominated a very attractive woman candidate, Segolene Royal. She should have won.

But in fact, by the election, people said, "You know, if I want real change, I need Sarkozy, because she represents reactionary bureaucracy and she won't change things."

WALLACE: You've been flirting with the idea of running for president for months. And this week you said you want to see if you can get pledges of $30 million before deciding. How is that going to work?

GINGRICH: Well, I've said all along for the last year, I'm going to focus -- I personally am focusing totally on doing American Solutions, having the workshops on Thursday and Saturday, reaching out across the whole country on a totally bipartisan basis.

Next Monday, Randy Evans, who's been my friend and adviser for many, many years, will hold a press briefing. Randy will spend the next three weeks checking with people around the country.

If he reports back that, in fact, we think the resources are there for a real race -- remember, Governor Romney has been very successful legitimately as a businessman. He can write a $100 million check.

I mean, there's no point in getting into a fight with a guy who can drown you unless you at least have enough resources for a vote.

And so if we have enough resources, then close to that we'll face a very big decision in late October. If there aren't enough resources, I'm not for doing unrealistic things.

WALLACE: But why even go through it unless, if you get the money, you'd run?

GINGRICH: I think the odds are very high, if we ended up with that level of pledges, we'd -- I don't see as a citizen how you could turn that down.

WALLACE: So you'd run.

GINGRICH: I think you'd be compelled to.


GINGRICH: I think any citizen -- how could you turn to all of your fellow citizens -- if they walk in and say, "You know, we think you're the person who ought to debate Senator Clinton, and we think you're the person who can actually explain where we ought to go," how could you turn to them and say, "Well, I'm too busy?" Couldn't do it. WALLACE: So basically, it's going out, reaching out, seeing if you get the commitments. And if you get the commitments...

GINGRICH: But I want the commitments first. I don't want to go out on personal ambition. If there is, in fact, enough people in the country who think we need this kind of approach and this kind of change-oriented policies, then I think I'd feel a responsibility to run.

WALLACE: We're talking less than two months, if this is now into November we're talking about -- two months before Iowa, three months before Super Tuesday.


WALLACE: Do you really think you can mount a serious campaign in that short a time?

GINGRICH: I think in the age of television, we are reaching more people today than Abraham Lincoln reached personally his entire career.

I mean, you know, your show has literally that much more penetration than Abraham Lincoln's entire career. So I think in the age of television, I've been in Iowa many times. I just came back from Mackinaw in Michigan yesterday.

You know, we have many friends across the country. If we have enough friends, I think we could mount a campaign in a matter of weeks.

WALLACE: Mr. Speaker, we want to thank you. Thanks for coming in, and good luck with your conference this week, sir.

GINGRICH: Thank you.

WALLACE: Up next, our Sunday regulars on the week in politics, from Hillary Clinton on Fox News to Rudy and Judy on the phone. You won't want to miss this.


WALLACE: And it's time now for the 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.

Well, let's start with Hillary Clinton, and I'm sure that it was the subject of great conversation inside the Clinton campaign whether or not to come on Fox News.

She hasn't been on our show for 3.5 years and, of course, none of the leading Democrats have been willing to debate on Fox News.

Why do you think she did it? And what did you think of her message, which clearly was aimed at let's get beyond partisanship, common ground, return to the center?

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS WASHINGTON MANAGING EDITOR: Well, I have no idea why she did it. I would only guess that she figures that sooner or later she's going to have to be in touch with as many voters as possible, and here was an audience that she might not get on another channel.

I have to tell you, Chris, I thought she was in terrific form. If she could handle the interview that you did with her as well as she did, I don't know why she wouldn't be on here all the time, because you threw her tough questions and she handled them all, it seemed to me, smoothly, particularly that first question, which had to be a little bracing and unexpected, about why are they so hyper-partisan based on the excerpt from your interview with Bill Clinton which had become so contentious, and she had answered that by bursting out laughing, which is always disarming, always engaging and always attractive.

WALLACE: And the response I often get to my questions, which is just gales of laughter.

HUME: Particularly from us here on the panel, right? I thought she handled herself very ably. You know, I'm not saying that everything she said is something that everyone would agree with, but she was in very good form, indeed.

WALLACE: Mara, there has been some reporting that the senator wants to use her new health care plan to show that she is moving to the center, that she has learned, she's not the old liberal Hillary and that she can build a consensus. Is that what's going on here?

MARA LIASSON, NPR: Well, yeah. Look, I think the classic task for any candidate, obviously, is to move to the left, at least if you're a Democrat, in the primary just enough, and she certainly has been doing that on the war and other issues -- trade -- but not to box yourself in so that you don't have the running room you need to get back to the center in the general.

Now, I think that what she did this week when she rolled out health care was sending a message about a couple of things -- not only that, but that she is a different person than she was in 1993.

I mean, one of the big questions about Mrs. Clinton, Senator Clinton, is that in 1993, she made some decisions -- her most direct executive experience came in the health care project. She made some decisions about that that turned out to be wrong.

Now she's saying, "Look. I've learned from that experience. I'm taking a different approach to health care." It's a much more moderate plan. It doesn't have an employer mandate. It does have an individual mandate, which actually was part of the Republican plan back then, which was interesting -- some Republican plans.

And, yeah, I think that the health care plan says, "I'm not going to force as much change down your throats, Mr. and Mrs. American Consumer of Health Care, as I was going to in 1993," and I think it says something about her as a person and also about where she is politically.

WALLACE: Bill, do you buy that?

BILL KRISTOL, WEEKLY STANDARD: No. I mean, Senator Clinton has never repudiated intellectually her health care plan of 1993. She just thinks it's unfortunate that the political system wasn't ready for it.

She's come up with a cleverer way to disguise what ultimately is a step toward government-run health insurance in this country, government-run health care.

WALLACE: Well, wait. Why do you say that, because she keeps talking about menus of options, you can keep your same plan with your same doctor, you can go to a bunch of other plans? Why is this now still government health care?

KRISTOL: Because once you set up the government -- the individual mandate and a government-provided insurance plan, and once you don't override the expensive mandates that are put on each of the health care plans, you're going to end up with some of these plans being unaffordable and the government having to guarantee everyone the ability to purchase it.

And you're going to end up with basically -- I believe, with a more or less government-run health care plan.

I agree, though, that on the surface it looks more moderate, and it is more moderate, than the previous plan. It's a step on a path toward the previous plan rather than an all-at-once attempt to get there.

But the vote this week on which you asked her about is really startling, I think. She was one of half of the Democrats in the Senate who refused to condemn the attack on General Petraeus.

WALLACE: Explain briefly, because there were two votes.

KRISTOL: There were two votes. There was a Democratic alternative which condemned equally attacks on Senator Cleland and Senator Kerry during their campaigns and General Petraeus. All the Democrats voted for that.

Then half the Democrats -- that failed to get 60 votes. And then half...

WALLACE: But that one also didn't mention

KRISTOL: Right. And I don't think the final one actually mentions it by name, but it says attacks on General Petraeus.

What strikes me about -- so she voted for General Petraeus before she voted against him, very much like Senator Kerry voted for $87 billion before he voted against it in 2003.

But what's striking about the Democratic alternative is they equate attacks on politicians in the heat of a presidential campaign with an attack on a serving United States general and commander of troops for betraying this country.

Now, that, to me, is revealing. They think it gives them cover to say, "We're against all nasty attacks. We're against nasty attacks on John Kerry and we're against nasty attacks on General David Petraeus," as if those are the same thing.

It's deeply revealing, I think, about the degree to which the Democrats and Senator Clinton think everything is partisan politics.

JUAN WILLIAMS, NPR: Well, on the health care front, let me just say that I think the Republicans are now moving more toward Hillary Clinton when it comes to health care, more toward this idea of some kind of universal coverage, an idea that was absolutely viewed as an anathema back in the early '90s.

I think now, given what Mitt Romney, for example, did as governor of Massachusetts, I think that idea is far more palatable to people on both sides of the political aisle.

And there's a seriousness in the body politic at the moment about this issue that I think is critical. Americans say, you know, it's just too much to have so many of their fellow citizens uninsured and in need of critical care, especially children.

So I think lots has changed since then, and I don't think there's going to be the reaction you're talking about.

And with regard to the ad, what a distraction. As Hillary Clinton said to Chris, this is a situation where I think Republicans are playing politics in terms of saying, "You know what? This is a great ad. We can beat up on it because everybody loves the military. Everybody wants to support the military, so we'll just go after this and distract from discussions of the real issues," which is ending the war in Iraq.

WALLACE: I don't want to let this week pass without discussing Rudy Giuliani's appearance before the National Rifle Association -- big speech for the mayor because of his long record in favor of gun control.

And right in the middle of the speech, he gets a phone call on his cell phone. Let's watch.


GIULIANI: Hello, dear. I'm talking to the members of the NRA right now. Would you like to say hello?


WALLACE: What makes this even stranger -- and let's put this tape up -- is that last June in a speech in Florida, the exact same thing happened. In the middle of a speech, he got a phone call from Judy Giuliani.

Mara, what's going on here?

LIASSON: I mean, "yeesh" is all I can say about it. I mean, it's so weird. Because he did it before, and because this man gives thousands of speeches before audiences, you'd think he would have the cell phone thing down.

It makes absolutely no sense that he would have thought that would have been an endearing thing to do before the NRA, a group with which he has some very particular problems.

You'd think if it was actually for real, and he didn't know it was going to happen, you'd think the way to handle it would have been to ostentatiously go to put your phone on vibrate and display your holster in the process.

It just makes no sense to me at all. I don't know what he was thinking, why he thought that would be a nice thing to do. Apparently, he got a much warmer response to it the first time than when it happened before the NRA.

WALLACE: That's what I always say to my kids. Never repeat a joke. It's never as funny the second time.

LIASSON: Yeah. Yeah.

WALLACE: But, Brit, let me just ask you, on the substance of this, over the years, Giuliani has likened the NRA to extremists. He supported the Clinton assault weapons ban. He supported a lawsuit against gun manufacturers. How did he do in the NRA, and how is he doing generally in trying to soften the edges on the Second Amendment?

HUME: Well, the record is what it is, and there's no escaping it. So given that, I think he probably did about as well as he could, and he may have gained a little ground with these people.

After all, you know, he does at least have sort of a tough law enforcement attitude toward this, and he doesn't seem on a personal level to be the kind of a guy who has a sort of a soft aversion to guns.

Beyond that, though, he's got a very burdensome record when it comes to these people and that issue.

WALLACE: OK. We need to step aside for a moment.

But up next, should Iran's president have been invited to speak at Columbia University? Our Sunday regulars weigh in when we come back.


WALLACE: On this day in 1952, Richard Nixon spoke to the nation about a campaign contribution scandal. Known as the "Checkers speech" for a dog given to his daughters, it's one of the first times television was used for politics.

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



DEAN JOHN COATSWORTH: ... Hitler were in the United States and wanted a platform from which to speak, he would have plenty of platforms to speak in the United States.

If he were willing to engage in a debate and a discussion to be challenged by Columbia students and faculty, we would certainly invite him.


WALLACE: That was Columbia's dean of international and public policy saying before the U.S. went to war with Germany, it would have been just fine to invite Adolf Hitler to speak there, by way of defending the decision to invite Iran's president to speak to Columbia tomorrow.

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

So, Bill, did Dean Chatsworth convince you, Hitler pre-invasion of Poland OK, and so is Ahmadinejad?

KRISTOL: You can't make up, you know, the idiocy of American higher education. And this man was president of the American Historical Association, the dean -- Lee Bollinger, the president of Columbia, very distinguished former law school dean.

It's unbelievable. This is not just a student group inviting Ahmadinejad and Columbia not preventing it. He's officially been invited by the university for a distinguished lecture series.

They're giving him the credibility, the legitimacy, of this podium. And then their answer is, "Well, but we're going to ask -- President Bollinger is going to ask tough questions of Ahmadinejad." I'm sure that terrifies him.

That gives him even more legitimacy, showing up on the platform with him. I hope every Columbia student boycotts this, Admadinejad's speech.

HUME: Good luck.

KRISTOL: No, I think they could, though. Here's why. The Iranian government is directly responsible for killing and maiming American soldiers in Iraq. There's no question about that anymore.

These soldiers, many of them, are the same age as those Columbia students. They're relatives sometimes, friends and high school classmates of those Columbia students.

As a gesture of elementary decency and solidarity with those American soldiers, they should refuse to attend the speech of Ahmadinejad. They can't stop Lee Bollinger from being an idiot, but the students could show a superiority to their elders here, I think.

WILLIAMS: You make sense.

KRISTOL: Thank you, Juan.

WILLIAMS: I would hope that some people would protest. I disagree with you about the idea that you would not allow the man to speak.

And I think Lee Bollinger, the president of Columbia, has made the point that this is not simply a lecture, but this is an exchange with students, and he will be questioned and I...

WALLACE: Have you ever seen an interview with President Ahmadinejad?

WILLIAMS: He talks endlessly.

WALLACE: It's a lecture.

WILLIAMS: Yeah. Well, but let's see what happens. I wouldn't prejudge it. And I think that, in fact, that's what may occur, Chris. I wouldn't hold that -- but the idea is you put people in a position where they have to defend their position.

How he's going to defend the idea of denying the Holocaust, or saying that Israel should be destroyed, or saying that his country is, in fact, deserving of having nuclear weapons -- let him try to defend that, Bill. Let's have it...

WALLACE: So you're saying invite him.

WILLIAMS: Let's have light. Why not have a free, full-hearted, full- throated discussion in which he is, you know, revealed to be the charlatan and the reprehensible character that he is?

HUME: Across America every day somebody is running afoul of some speech code in which someone on a university has said something that made somebody else feel uncomfortable or feel offended.

That is the atmosphere of political correctness on the American university campus. How striking an exception is this?

Now, look. A university ought be a place where people with the most controversial, exotic and even outrageous ideas can come and announce and declaim them and discuss them.

In the case of this man, though, this isn't a man whose ideology or thought process is what everybody's interested in.

This is a man whose actions -- and he is in it -- because he is the leader of a country and has that kind of power, his words are also a form of action.

And between the killing, as Bill mentioned, of American soldiers at Iranian hands, and the deadly threats that he's made against Israel and perhaps other countries, he is well beyond the realm of somebody who's simply an idea man with outrageous ideas. WILLIAMS: Well, isn't free speech a virtue?

HUME: Free speech is a virtue. However, no one is saying that he can't speak. They're simply...

WILLIAMS: Well, I thought that's what you were saying.

HUME: Free speech does not guarantee you any platform of your choosing.


WALLACE: May I throw one more thing into this and also bring Mara in? Some critics note that President Bollinger, Lee Bollinger, the president of Columbia who gave this invitation, is the same fellow who voted to keep ROTC off the Columbia campus because of their don't ask, don't tell policy on gays.

So military training for the -- ROTC military training off-limits at Columbia, Ahmadinejad OK.

LIASSON: Yeah, that seems a little inconsistent. But look. I think now that he is coming, I agree with...

HUME: Actually, it seems disturbingly consistent.

LIASSON: Well, if you're going to let Ahmadinejad come, you should probably have ROTC there, too.

But I think now the spotlight is on Lee Bollinger, and the questions he's going to ask, and how the student body of Columbia reacts, and whether or not this does give this guy a bigger platform and make him seem legitimate or somehow unmasks him as, you know, somebody with...

HUME: Unmasking? He needs no unmasking.

WILLIAMS: What's inconsistent? What's inconsistent about ROTC? We are an American people. We can dispute and dissent from the policies of our government and our military, and say it and speak up and decide, "No, you're not welcome. We disagree with you." And in terms of...

HUME: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Woah, woah.

WILLIAMS: Go ahead.

HUME: No, you're not welcome because we disagree with you.

WILLIAMS: Nobody said they weren't welcome to give a speech. Nobody said they weren't welcome to make their case.

In terms of saying that they're welcome on the campus as an institution that's backed by the campus, that's a different business. No one is endorsing President Ahmadinejad. No. KRISTOL: He is giving a -- he is the first speaker in the distinguished lecture series run by the Columbia University. He's not being sponsored by some little group of students for terror, or students against...

WILLIAMS: Students for terror.

KRISTOL: ... the Holocaust, or students for killing American soldiers.

He is a guest of the university. It is a total disgrace. It's an even more -- it's an equal disgrace or a greater disgrace that Columbia doesn't have ROTC on campus.

It's a separate issue, though it's revealing, that they are so appalled at having -- helping young Americans serve their country that they want to have Ahmadinejad here.

There's no shortage of Columbia professors who make arguments that are anti-Israel or antiwar. There's not even a shortage of some -- you know, so the issue isn't that Columbia students are being denied those kinds of views. It is an outrage to give -- Brit is absolutely right.

He is the head of a regime that is directly responsible for killing young Americans. It is an outrage for the Columbia president to host him, and I really hope Columbia students boycott...

WILLIAMS: The United States government is granting him a visa to come and speak at the United Nations. And it's important, I think, that we not say we don't allow free speech in this country.

We let everybody speak and we reveal them for who they are.

HUME: Well, nobody said he can't stand at the corner of 47th and Madison and declaim if he wants to, or get on a soap box in Central Park.

WALLACE: Got to go, folks.

HUME: This is a question whether he's a distinguished lecturer.

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

For more visit the FOX News Sunday web page.

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