News & Election Videos
Election 2008 Obama vs. McCain | Clinton vs. McCain | Latest 2008 Polls | Latest 2008 News

SEND TO A FRIEND | PRINT ARTICLE

Govs. Doyle & Strickland on "Fox News Sunday"

Fox News Sunday

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

The fight for the Democratic presidential nomination -- can Hillary Clinton stop Barack Obama's momentum in the upcoming states? We'll find out from Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, who backs Clinton, and Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, who supports Obama.

Then, House Democrats and the White House square off over terrorist surveillance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: By blocking this piece of legislation, our country is more in danger of an attack.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Is the country in danger, is the president fear- mongering? We'll ask the director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell.

Also, we'll handicap how John McCain matches up against both Democrats with our Sunday panel -- Fred Barnes, Mara Liasson, Bill Kristol and Juan Williams.

And we'll look at the week's most surprising moments "On the Trail," all right now on "Fox News Sunday."

And hello again from Fox News in Washington. While Republicans are uniting behind John McCain, the Democratic race couldn't be tighter.

Joining us now, the Democratic governors of two battleground states that may well decide the race. Ted Strickland, who supports Hillary Clinton, is in his state of Ohio. And Jim Doyle, who's endorsed Barack Obama, comes to us from Wisconsin.

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

DOYLE: It's good to be with you.

STRICKLAND: Thank you, Chris.

WALLACE: Let's start with the political situation in your states.

Governor Doyle, the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls shows Senator Obama with a slim lead of just four points in Wisconsin and yet, Governor Doyle, the conventional wisdom is that he has to win big on Tuesday in your state to keep his momentum. Is that what's going to happen?

DOYLE: Well, we'll see, of course. You know, this is a state that is naturally very much a state for Hillary Clinton. If this were a couple of months ago, I think you'd be looking at polls that would have shown her 15 points, 20 points ahead.

Bill Clinton's carried Wisconsin with very big margins twice. She and her husband have been here on many occasions. The demographics of the state that the Clinton campaign talks about often match up in Wisconsin. So this is a state that I think if you were looking at this a few weeks ago you'd say is a Hillary Clinton state.

But something extraordinary has happened here over the last couple of weeks, and I've just been a witness to it as I've traveled with Barack Obama -- the enthusiasm, the excitement, the incredible crowds.

This is something really different that's happening from anything I've seen in politics, and I think that it is going to be a close race. But I think given what we have seen here over the last week that it's very likely Barack Obama will win.

But again, this is a state that's -- if you look at all the demographics and you look at the prior voting history, this is a state that will be very close.

WALLACE: Governor Strickland, let's look at the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls in the state of Ohio, which shows Clinton with a huge lead of 17 points.

STRICKLAND: That's right.

WALLACE: Governor, doesn't she have to win big in Ohio in two weeks, on March 4th, to have any choice at the nomination? And will she?

STRICKLAND: Well, I think she'll do very well in Ohio. I've been with her for two days. Bill Clinton's going to be in Ohio today. I'll be with him throughout Ohio. She's being well received here.

Her message of health care coverage for all Ohioans and Americans, her job creation efforts, her concern that we begin the process of bringing our soldiers home from Iraq within 60 days -- all of these messages, I think, are well received in Ohio. And I think Ohio will give her a very strong vote on March the 4th.

WALLACE: Well, let me try to pin you down a little bit, because you were a little more specific last week. Let me put up a quote of yours. You said, "It would be very difficult for her," Senator Clinton, "to proceed to eventual victory without winning Ohio."

Fair to say it's a must win for her, Governor?

STRICKLAND: Chris, I don't know if I used those exact words, but I do believe...

WALLACE: Well, that's a quote.

STRICKLAND: ... there's a lot of truth -- I believe there's a lot of truth in the fact that Ohio is the heart of the country. I believe as Ohio votes, we will elect a president in November.

And so I think it's very important that the senator win here. I think she will. She's, as you said, well ahead in the polls, and the enthusiasm of the crowds coming out to hear her is great.

And so we've been all over the state. We've talked to working class folks, and there are a lot of working class folks in Ohio, blue collar workers who respond very, very well to the senator's message of health care for everyone, education, and bringing this war to an honorable end.

WALLACE: There's a lot of concern within the Democratic Party right now about whether or not you could be headed for a train wreck this summer over the issue of superdelegates. Those are the elected officials, like the two of you, or big party bigwigs who get to go to the convention without being elected by delegates.

Now, Clinton strategist Harold Ickes says that he will no longer call them superdelegates but, rather, automatic delegates.

And he says that if neither candidate has clinched the nomination by the time the voting ends in June, that these superdelegates should vote their best judgment regardless of which candidate has the most elected delegates or the most popular vote.

Governor Doyle, what do you think about that?

DOYLE: I think that's wrongheaded. To me, we have a very elaborate and very democratic process in the Democratic Party, and you're watching it from little states and caucuses to big open primaries in Wisconsin and others. And that's the way the delegates are chosen.

And I think it would be an absolute disaster for the Democratic Party for the superdelegates to undo the will of the people who have been selected in the primaries and in the caucuses and by the rules that were set out.

I guess I'm of an era where I can remember Chicago in 1968 in which the party bosses took over. And particularly in the case of Barack Obama, in which he has -- this has been a campaign of people coming out for the first time ever.

His messages of unity and of healing and of getting past old divisions and old politics -- to see that, this movement -- and I know Ted's seen some nice crowds with Senator Clinton, but wait till he sees what's going to happen in the next couple of weeks as Senator Obama comes into Ohio, the kind of incredible grassroots enthusiasm.

I just think it would be a disaster for the Democratic Party to thwart what has happened out in the caucuses and in the primaries. And so I really hope that the party is -- that the superdelegates are going to honor the choice of the people who have been selected through the primaries and caucuses.

WALLACE: Let me just ask you to quickly follow up on that.

STRICKLAND: Can I speak to that, Chris?

WALLACE: Wait, I'm going to ask you, Governor Strickland, in a second.

But let me ask you just to quickly follow up on that, Governor Doyle. When you compare it to Chicago in 1968, and for those of us -- and I guess the three of us are old enough to remember that -- that was a pretty bitter convention.

Are you predicting that if the superdelegates thwart the will of the people we're headed for another Chicago in '68?

DOYLE: No, we're not headed to another Chicago, and I don't mean to imply that the -- all the violence. I mean, it's a different time, and I think...

WALLACE: Well, no, I didn't mean that. Yes.

DOYLE: ... but I do think that the idea of a Democratic Party moving forward with a nominee who is someone other than who the majority of the people of the country, through the Democratic primaries and caucuses, have chosen would be very, very harmful to the party.

And again, I really want to emphasize in the context of the Barack Obama campaign, this is phenomenal, what's happening. Look at the turnouts that are happening. He's turned little caucus states into big primary states.

WALLACE: Governor Doyle, let me bring in...

DOYLE: So it's very important that...

WALLACE: ... let me bring in Governor Strickland at this point.

And let me put up first, as I ask you this question, Governor Strickland, the state of the delegates. And you can see that at this moment Barack Obama not only has a lead in the number of delegates who have been elected by the voters, he also has a lead, a sizable lead, in the number of total votes.

After the 2000 election and Al Gore talking about every vote counting, would the Democratic Party really go against the will of millions of voters?

And what do you think, Governor Strickland, the reaction would be in the African American community if the superdelegates, who are overwhelmingly white, were to go -- to put Hillary Clinton in over Barack Obama? STRICKLAND: Well, I would like to make a couple of observations. First of all, I think it's regretful that words like party bosses would be used here. We have a system of electing delegates, and it varies, quite frankly.

Caucuses elect some delegates. And you know, in caucuses, many people are totally shut out. Anyone serving in the active military can't participate in a caucus. People who are sick and confined to their homes, older people who can't get out at night, can't participate in caucuses. But that's part of the process.

Some delegates are elected through the primary system, which I hugely prefer, a primary system like we're having here in Ohio, where everyone has a chance to participate.

And then the rules allow for these superdelegates. And so those are the rules. I don't think we should change the rules in the middle of a contest.

If we want to get rid of superdelegates or if we want to get rid of caucuses, then we ought to do that in the next election but not change the rules in the midst of this election.

And to imply that somehow party bosses are going to thwart the will of the people, I think, is a distortion of the process that we have in place, that we have created as a Democratic Party.

I'm a superdelegate. I think my responsibility is to vote my conscience, and I intend to do that. And I would hope that all the superdelegates would do the same.

WALLACE: Let me ask you a follow-up, if I may, Governor Strickland. You say we shouldn't change the rules in the middle of a game.

The rules were that the Democratic National Committee said that Michigan and Florida did not get any delegates -- were stripped of their delegates because they moved up in the process, and all the candidates agreed to those rules.

Do you agree that those rules shouldn't also be changed?

STRICKLAND: Well, I don't know what the candidates may have agreed to. But I think that the Democratic Party, through the rules committee, will be charged with resolving that issue. It's a very, very difficult issue and it has no easy answer.

WALLACE: But why should that rule be changed...

STRICKLAND: But we cannot...

WALLACE: ... in the middle of the game when you said that the superdelegates shouldn't be?

STRICKLAND: Well, because the rules allow the credentials committee to make those decisions. That's a part of the current rulemaking process of the Democratic Party.

That's not changing the rules at all. It's giving the authority to determine who is a valid delegate to the credentials committee, and that will be done.

WALLACE: Governor Doyle?

STRICKLAND: And that's a part of our rules.

DOYLE: Chris, I have great admiration for Ted, but he's just made two totally inconsistent arguments. Obviously, nobody's talking about superdelegates changing the rules.

What we're talking about with superdelegates is asking the superdelegates at this convention to look out for what's best for the party and to honor what has been the selection process in state after state.

As I will say Barack Obama hasn't chosen to go to one state or another. He hasn't skipped one and said it isn't good for him. He goes from one -- he has carried this campaign to every single state, through every caucus and every primary.

And on the Michigan-Florida, again, I admire Governor Strickland a great deal, but the fact is the rules were the rules. They were very clear. And we have seen in every state where Barack Obama has gone and engaged, big Clinton leads have disappeared in a hurry.

So to keep him out of Florida, not have his name in Michigan, and then somehow try to bring those delegates -- claim victories in those states -- I think everybody who looks at that realizes just how basically unfair that is.

So the Democratic Party is the Democratic Party, and it is so important, I think, that the people who have gone out to those caucuses and gone out and voted in the primaries -- that their voices are the ones that are really heard.

WALLACE: Governor Strickland, we have less than two minutes left and I want to get into one final issue with you.

STRICKLAND: Yes.

WALLACE: There's been some talk -- because Ohio, as you pointed out, is such a key state, so important for the Democrats to win if they're going to get back the White House, there's been talk that Hillary Clinton might name you as her running mate at the convention if she gets the nomination.

Do you think you're qualified to be vice president, sir?

STRICKLAND: Well, I don't want to be vice president. And the fact that -- I'm the governor of a big state. I've served in the Congress for 12 years. But I have no intention of being vice president even if I were asked. But the fact is I want the most qualified person to lead this country. These are dangerous times. If you compare Senator Clinton's experience and background, her maturity, with that of her opponents, there is no choice in this race.

And she has proven herself. She's a fighter. She has stood the test of time. She has withstood the attacks of the opposition. And quite frankly, we are not suggesting that any rules be altered or changed.

Governor Doyle's just wrong if he would suggest that that's what I'm saying. I want to follow the rules as they exist within the Democratic Party.

WALLACE: Governor, we...

STRICKLAND: And the credentials committee will make the decision as to who is a qualified delegate, and that's as it ought to be.

WALLACE: Governor, we have about 30 seconds less and I can make your life a lot easier over the next few months. Do you want to make a Shermanesque statement that you will not take the vice presidential nomination?

STRICKLAND: Yes. Chris, I will make it. I will make a Shermanesque statement. I love being the governor of Ohio. It's a great state. It's the heart of the country. And we will bring a great victory to Senator Clinton on March the 4th and we will lead the way in November to electing a Democrat to the presidency.

WALLACE: But you will not accept the nomination for vice president?

STRICKLAND: No, sir, I will not. I think it's presumptuous of me to even contemplate the possibility of that.

WALLACE: Governor Strickland, Governor Doyle, we want to thank you both.

And I apologize, Governor Doyle, for not asking you whether or not you want to be vice president. But we'll see how Wisconsin and Ohio...

DOYLE: Ted Strickland would be a very good vice president.

WALLACE: All right. We're going to see how Ohio and Wisconsin vote over the next couple of weeks. Gentlemen, thank you both so much for coming in.

WALLACE: Up next, the fight over terrorism surveillance. Is the White House trying to scare the public or have Democrats put the nation at risk? We'll sit down with the director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell, when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: A law which gives President Bush powers to monitor communications among terrorism suspects expired at midnight. The question now is whether this has exposed the country to new threats.

And here in a Sunday exclusive to help answer that is the director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell.

Director, welcome to "Fox News Sunday".

MCCONNELL: Thank you, Chris. Delighted to be here.

WALLACE: As we said, the law lapsed at midnight. And without giving away any secrets, is there anything that you can't do today in monitoring terrorist communications that you could do yesterday?

MCCONNELL: Well, Chris, when the law was passed -- updated last August, part of the provisions that were authorizations that were put into place August, September and so on, would extend for a year. However, that is something that you already know about, something that you have planned for.

If something new comes along, we have to have a directive for a new private sector company now that's in question, so it introduces a level of uncertainty that is going to be very difficult for us.

Let me make one other point just -- very important. The entire issue here is liability protection for the carriers. And so the old law and extended law are an expired law if we don't have retroactive liability protection for the carriers. They are less inclined to help us, and so their support...

WALLACE: When you say carriers -- let me just interrupt -- these are the telecommunications companies that you get some...

MCCONNELL: Private sector.

WALLACE: ... data from.

MCCONNELL: That's correct. WALLACE: I want to get into all of those in a moment, but let me ask you a specific question, because as you know, there's kind of a general issue here.

The president, in a clip we played at the top, said that the country is now more in danger of attack. Here's what leading Democrats are saying, and let's put it up.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says, "The president's comments are wrong, divisive and nothing but fear-mongering." Senator Ted Kennedy says, "The DNI's," that's you, "The DNI's latest comments show yet again the shamelessness of the administration's tactics."

Question: Is the White House making the situation sound worse than it really is?

MCCONNELL: Chris, President Bush is repeating advice that I'm giving him. As you know, I am not a political figure. I am a professional. I've been doing this for 40 years.

And our situation now, when the terrorist threat is increasing because they've achieved -- Al Qaida's achieved de facto safe haven in the border area of Pakistan and Afghanistan -- the threat is going up.

And therefore, we do not have the agility and the speed that we had before to be able to move and try to capture their communications to thwart their planning.

WALLACE: Well, let me ask you about that. We'll get to the telecoms in a moment. Let me ask you first, though, as you pointed out at the beginning, under the law that was passed in August, you had the ability, and you exercised that, to issue orders that allowed you to monitor terrorism suspects -- communications involving alleged terrorist groups.

The law has expired as of midnight. But those orders to monitor are valid for a year, so they stay on the books and allow you to monitor them till at least August.

And the argument the Democrats make is that if there's somebody new that springs up, some new group that you haven't already covered, that you can go after them over old existing law. So they argue you haven't lost any operational capability.

MCCONNELL: Chris, last summer we were in extremis, because we had lost under the old law about two-thirds of our capability.

The issue is it's very dynamic, and the FISA court had ruled...

WALLACE: When you say dynamic, you mean that new groups are springing up, new possible targets?

MCCONNELL: New information, new personalities, new methods of communicating.

So when the program was returned to the FISA court in January of '07, initially we had coverage that we had asked for, but over time, because technology had changed and the law of '78 -- it had not been changed, because technology had gone from a wireless world to a wired world.

Foreigners communicating in a foreign country -- more than likely the communications would pass through the United States. Therefore, the court said if it touches a wire, consistent with the law, you have to have a warrant.

Now, a warrant means probable cause, which is a very time- consuming process to go through. So we were in that situation last summer. We passed the new act to make it -- improve our situation. That act has now expired.

WALLACE: Isn't the central issue here that you've lost your power to compel telecommunications companies to cooperate with you and also your ability to offer them legal immunity?

Again, the Democrats would say, "Look, if the cooperation is legal, they don't need legal immunity."

MCCONNELL: Exactly right. The issue now is there's uncertainty because the law has expired and the law of August, the Protect America Act, allowed us to compel -- compel -- support from a private carrier. That's now expired.

So we can make an argument to a court but, you see, that makes my point. If I'm in court arguing for an authorization, then I'm missing a dynamic situation.

WALLACE: So just to summarize this, how -- would you say that the country is in great -- greater danger now of terrorist attack because this law has expired?

MCCONNELL: Increased danger, and it will increase more and more as time goes on. And the key is the -- if you think about the private sector global communications, many people think the government operates that.

Ninety-eight percent of it is owned and operated by the private sector. We cannot do this mission without help and support from the private sector. And the private sector, although willingly helped us in the past, are now saying, "You can't protect me. Why should I help you?"

Chris, could I just read something I think is very important for the American people to know? This issue of liability protection -- what I'm going to quote from is the Senate report when they debated the Senate bill for improving this law, if I could.

This is with regard to private sector immunity. "Indeed, the intelligence community cannot obtain the intelligence it needs without the assistance of these companies. Given the scope of the civil damage suits and the current spotlight associated with providing any assistance to the intelligence community, the community was concerned without retroactive immunity the private sector might be unwilling to cooperate with a lawful request from the government in the future without unnecessary court involvement and protracted litigation."

That's the issue. We go back into protracted litigation and debate, as opposed to being dynamic.

WALLACE: Director McConnell, you don't appear on Sunday shows often, so I'd like to take this opportunity to ask you about some of the threats that you do face around the world.

First, the assassination of terrorist Imad Mugniyeh this week -- did the U.S. have anything to do with that?

MCCONNELL: No, Chris. I'm aware of the circumstances around it, and we are now -- interestingly, from the kinds of capabilities we're talking about, we can see how various parties are commenting and so on.

And the big question, of course -- Hezbollah has blamed Israel. But there's some evidence that it may have been internal Hezbollah. It may have been Syria. We don't know yet, and we're trying to sort that out.

WALLACE: You talk about Hezbollah, which is promising to avenge Mugniyeh's assassination.

MCCONNELL: That's correct.

WALLACE: How seriously do you take that threat? And do you see it primarily as a threat against Israel or the U.S. as well?

MCCONNELL: It is a serious threat, and it's primarily against Israel. But let's just -- let me just mention about Mugniyeh, the person we're talking about -- responsible for more deaths of Americans and Israelis than any other terrorist. with the exception of Osama bin Laden.

There was a warrant for his arrest here in this country for a murder of a U.S. citizen. So this man over time had lots of enemies. Remember, he's a Shia, and oftentimes his targets could be Sunni as well as against Israel and so on.

So they blamed Israel. The threat is higher to Israel. We also are watching. And we watched through the means that we're talking about, the FISA legislation, to protect our country.

WALLACE: You told Congress recently that Al Qaida is gaining strength in its safe haven in Pakistan. You also said that they're improving their ability to recruit westerners who may have an easier time blending into the United States.

Question: Do you believe that there are Al Qaida cells or operatives currently in this country?

MCCONNELL: We have not located an Al Qaida cell inside the United States that is directly associated with Al Qaida.

There are other groups that we watch closely, but the attempt on the part of Al Qaida -- they have safe haven. They have leadership. They have the middle-grade trainers. And they're recruiting.

They have been successful in recruiting any number, and they've trained them in Pakistan and then sent them back to their home country.

Often, they will try to recruit in a country that does not require a visa to get inside the United States. So you can see these are very sophisticated people, and they're looking for any means to come back into the United States.

Casualties greater than 9/11 -- that's their objective.

WALLACE: Do you believe Al Qaida is more of a threat now than any time since 9/11?

MCCONNELL: No. Following 9/11, Al Qaida's leadership and operatives were degraded probably two-thirds or three-quarters.

Now, this period of time since about the fall of 2006 -- and they established a safe haven and started to recruit and train -- they've come back. But they're nowhere near where they were, their capability, in 2001. But they are there. They are viable. And they are recruiting and training.

WALLACE: Speaking of Pakistan, which is where Al Qaida has its safe haven, how confident are you that Monday's parliamentary elections in that country will produce, one, a stable democratic government that, two, can stand up to Islamic radicals?

MCCONNELL: Well, that's the objective, Chris. The whole effort in our work with Pakistan, negotiations back and forth, is to see these elections be fair and free, hopefully to return them and put them on the path to democracy.

The army is deployed to ensure that we don't have events like the horrendous suicide bombings of the last few days.

WALLACE: Finally, you have dialed back on the recent national intelligence estimate that reported that Iran gave up its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

In fact, you said you wish you had the opportunity to redo the public presentation. Do you feel that the NIE understated the threat from Iran?

MCCONNELL: No. Chris, if the words in the NIE were correct, what I think we probably didn't do an adequate job on is reflecting -- there are three parts to a nuclear program.

You have to have fissile material. You have to have a means to deliver a weapon. And you have to have the technical -- to design a weapon.

The only thing that they terminated in 2003 was the design feature of the weapon. They're still pursuing fissile material. They're still pursuing missiles for delivery. As it turns out, though, the hardest part is fissile material. The easiest part is weapons design. So when I testified on the Hill recently, the attempt was to put it in context.

WALLACE: So are you saying that Iran and its uranium enrichment program and what that could lead to is as much of a threat as it ever was?

MCCONNELL: I am saying that. And I believe that the path they were on to achieve nuclear weapons has not been significantly changed because they terminated this technical design feature.

They can turn it on. Remember, it was secret. They've never admitted it. They could have turned it back on now and we wouldn't necessarily know. We'll try to know, but we're not 100 percent sure of that.

WALLACE: And the time frame for them to get the ability to make a nuclear bomb?

MCCONNELL: We've done an estimate in 2001, 2005 and 2007, and each time it says the same thing. They could do it by 2009 -- unlikely. The range is 2010 to 2015. And the best guess is about the middle range there for having a nuclear weapon.

WALLACE: Director McConnell, we want to thank you so much for coming in today and talking with us, sir.

MCCONNELL: Thank you.

WALLACE: Up next, our Sunday panel on the Democratic presidential race. Can Barack Obama be stopped? Is Hillary Clinton in trouble? Some answers when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

H. CLINTON: You know, some people may think words are change, but you and I know better. Words are cheap.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: She's right. Speeches alone don't do anything. But you know what? Neither do negative attacks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: That's a snapshot of the increasingly bitter nomination fight this week between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

And it's time now for our Sunday panel -- Fox News contributors Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard, Mara Liasson of National Public Radio, Bill Kristol, also from The Weekly Standard, and Juan Williams, also from National Public Radio. Guys, we could have a fight here. It's great.

Where is the Democratic race at this point, Mara, as we head into Wisconsin this Tuesday and then Ohio and Texas two weeks from Tuesday? How strong is Obama and how much trouble is Hillary Clinton in?

LIASSON: Obama is in the lead, period, in the overall delegate count, including superdelegates. He is well positioned for Wisconsin and Hawaii that vote on Tuesday.

She has to win Ohio and Texas, which vote on March 4th, and at which point, if she wins by a big enough margin, she conceivably could get back into the lead.

But I think it is now a mathematical certainty that both of them will end the primary season, which is June 7th -- Puerto Rico is the last one -- neither of them having the 2,025 to win, and superdelegates are going to have to make the difference.

So that's why you have this huge debate over how superdelegates should weigh in, and when, and what criteria they should use.

That's why you also have this huge, raging debate about whether or not Michigan and Florida, the delegations that were stripped of their votes by the DNC, will or will not be seated. WALLACE: We'll get to the superdelegates and the states in a moment.

But, Bill, your assessment of the race at this point.

KRISTOL: That was a pretty good assessment for someone from National Public Radio.

(LAUGHTER)

I have very little to quarrel with. I think the biggest event -- I agree with that.

The biggest event of the last day was Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal reporting that Hillary Clinton, having previously been scheduled to spend Monday and Tuesday in Wisconsin fighting for that state -- she's only been behind in the polls by about four or five points, the public polls from last week -- is pulling out of the state after one event Monday morning, which is really startling to me.

It tells me that their own tracking polls from Friday night must have collapsed, unless they're doing some incredibly fancy deception where she's going to pull out and they think they have a chance.

Wisconsin voters -- I was there Thursday and Friday. Wisconsin voters are really thrilled that they will make a difference this year. This is a state with a great history of making a difference. They put Kennedy over the top against Humphrey in 1960. They helped Carter win in '76.

It's a state she was only behind by a handful of points. It's not a bad state demographically for her. I think the fact that she's pulling out of there Monday suggests that they think she's weak and that he could win Wisconsin pretty easily.

WALLACE: Juan, let's step back for a minute. How did we get to this point? Does Obama just have a stronger message, or strategically, in terms of organization, is he running a better campaign than she is?

WILLIAMS: Well, I think he has a tremendous message, one of hope, unity, an end to racism. I think so many people are tapped in, black and white, to the idea that this is an opportunity to make history, to have an African American president.

Hillary Clinton, obviously, would make history as the first female president, but because of her association with Bill Clinton, I think that gets diminished somewhat, and she's seen as somewhat, you know, as an extension of the Clinton legacy.

But the fact is that he has run such an extraordinary campaign. I mean, there's just no way to get around it. I mean, it's been an astounding performance. It's beyond politics as usual because, I mean, as you well know, if you go to an Obama event, the fervor there -- just extraordinary. And his base, as a black man -- his base is in the white community. Until recently, he's used that base to convince blacks that, really, he has a chance to be that first president.

So you have turmoil right now within black politics in the country that I find fascinating, where the black politicians who were reluctant to support Obama initially have now been put in the position where they're trying to, you know, catch up with a parade in the black community rushing to support Obama.

And any time that Bill and Hillary Clinton attack Obama, Obama has pivoted just like a boxer, to say, "Oh, this is a racist attack," and it's hard for them to know exactly how to go about countering and pointing out that he's inexperienced and really has so little background on so many issues.

And the press -- the press has been playing along like, "Hey, we want to be part of this parade, too. We don't want anybody to call us racist."

LIASSON: Well, wait. You know, I disagree with a little of that. I think they were attacking him on his inexperience quite, you know, fairly for quite a long time. I think that was not what was reacted to as racist.

It was only later when there were comments made about Jesse Jackson and other things that that came into it. I think that that -- I think it's been a remarkably fair fight, actually, both of these candidates having tremendous strength and drawbacks.

WALLACE: Fred, fair or unfair...

BARNES: Yes.

WALLACE: ... why has it turned the way it has so far?

BARNES: Well, it's turned because -- one, because Obama's such a great candidate. He's so likable and he gives such a great speech. He's so appealing.

But secondly, he's better organized. It seemed like Hillary Clinton's campaign was only planning on going through Super Tuesday and then she'd have locked up the race and didn't organize in all these caucus states in particular where Obama did. And so as a result, he's won more states, he's won more delegates and he's won more popular votes.

But the race certainly isn't over yet. Just think about this for a minute. If Hillary Clinton -- I think she could still win Wisconsin, though it's not -- it shouldn't be very encouraging to her campaigners in Wisconsin that...

WALLACE: That she's leaving the state?

BARNES: ... that she's bugging out early, but on the other hand, there's Texas, there's Ohio and there's Pennsylvania in April. If she wins those three states, I think she'll hold on to the superdelegates that are pledged to her now and she has a lead and will put her in a strong position then to argue over Florida and Michigan and what to do about those states.

WALLACE: Mara, let's get to these superdelegates, because it really seems to me to strike at the core of what the Democratic Party says it's all about.

Superdelegates, again, just to point out -- these are either elected officials or party bigwigs who get to go to the convention, don't get elected by the voters when they vote in the primaries or the caucuses.

Harold Ickes, the chief superdelegate hunter for the Clinton campaign...

LIASSON: And one himself.

WALLACE: ... and a superdelegate himself -- as is Bill Clinton, for that matter -- in a conference call yesterday, as I discussed with the two governors, says he's not going to call hem superdelegates anymore, they're automatic delegates, and yes, they should vote their conscience, they should vote their judgment, they shouldn't vote on the question of who has the most popular votes or the most delegates.

Let me just put up briefly a graphic which shows -- and there you see one of the reasons he may be saying that is because at the moment, Barack Obama leads in terms of, one, elected delegates and in terms of the total votes that all the Democrats have cast in all the caucuses and all the primaries.

So to get in a long-winded way to my question, Mara, what happens to the Democratic Party if Barack Obama ends on June 7th with the most elected delegates and the most popular vote, and these predominantly white superdelegates put Hillary Clinton in the nomination?

LIASSON: I actually don't think that's going to happen. I actually think there is remarkable agreement among people like David Axelrod, Obama's strategist, and Harold Ickes, who say superdelegates should vote for the candidate that they think is going to be the best for the party.

I think this is going to sort itself out. I think the superdelegates -- they generally ratify a winner. In other words, they put someone over the top who's in front but doesn't have the necessary 2,025.

I find it hard to believe that Obama would be way ahead of her in popular vote and pledged delegates and all of a sudden the superdelegates swing it to her. I think it's going to be sorted out. I really do.

I think that there are some people, like Ted Kennedy and John Kerry and Deval Patrick, who are superdelegates who clearly went against the will of their state. They're with Obama. And then there are other people who are sticking with Hillary whose constituents voted the other way. But I think it's going to sort itself out.

I think the bigger question is Michigan and Florida. That is really - - you heard Governor Strickland today saying, "Well, part of the rules is that we can go to the credentials committee," and there are Clinton people who are saying, "Even if we don't have a lead in the pledged delegates, we think we can kind of pack the credentials committee and get those delegates."

WALLACE: Fred Barnes, are you so satisfied that this is all going to work itself out?

BARNES: No, I don't think so at all. I think Mara is being very Pollyannaish about the whole thing. Look. The truth is, 1.2 million people in Michigan and Florida -- and Obama was on the ballot in Florida -- went to the polls and voted for Hillary Clinton -- 1.2 million. That's a lot of people who voted.

Are the Democrats going to disenfranchise them? Are they going to pretend like it's only a 48-state America, and they're not going to have delegations from Michigan and Florida?

I mean, look. They're going to have to work this out. The truth is I know what they decided earlier, that those delegates wouldn't count. They're going to have to come up with some remedy that -- but not that one.

LIASSON: I think the superdelegates will work it out. I think Michigan and Florida is a big problem still that has to be -- that a resolution hasn't been found yet.

WALLACE: All right. We have to take a break here.

But when we come back, we'll look at John McCain's effort to get Republicans on board for November, and we'll discuss whether the fight over terrorist surveillance is a winner for the GOP this fall. Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: On this day in 1801, the House of Representatives broke a tie and elected Thomas Jefferson president over running mate Aaron Burr.

The Constitution was later amended to require separate votes for president and vice president.

Stay tuned for more panel and "On the Trail."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: By blocking this piece of legislation, our country is more in danger of an attack.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PELOSI: President Bush tells the American people that he has nothing to offer but fear, and I'm afraid that his fear-mongering with this bill is not constructive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: That was President Bush and House Speaker Pelosi arguing over extending the terrorist surveillance program this week.

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

Well, let's talk about the politics of this fight, because it seems to me it represents the strongest challenge so far by the congressional Democrats since they have gotten the majority in Congress to President Bush's national security policy.

In the past, they've huffed and puffed and generally caved in to what the president wanted. This time they didn't. They allowed the law to expire and went home.

Bill Kristol, what's different this time?

KRISTOL: Well, they're emboldened, I guess, and they seem to believe that the director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell, a career military man, career intelligence guy, director of the National Security Agency under Bill Clinton for the first half of the 1990s -- that he is not telling the truth.

That's what Ted Kennedy said, that the DNI's statements, the director of national intelligence's statements, are shameless on the part of the administration.

President Bush says he's following his recommendations. They need this liability protection for the telecommunications companies to make sure they have robust private sector cooperation across the board, not just on eavesdropping or, I think, for our spying efforts, our eavesdropping efforts.

They say this has stopped threats. McConnell says that the Al Qaida is reconstituting itself in safe havens, unfortunately, in the northwest side of Pakistan.

I think it's kind of unbelievable, frankly. It's a judgment call. We don't know. Not to give the administration the benefit of the doubt when they have career people, military people, intelligence people like Mike McConnell and Mike Hayden, and the attorney general, Mike Mukasey -- I mean, these are not political hacks. These are not ideological people.

When they say this is important for our national security, the Congress -- to block this legislation I find pretty amazing.

WILLIAMS: Well, when President Bush comes out and says, "We're in danger of being attacked," and the fear-mongerers -- you heard Nancy Pelosi say -- I think it raises it to a political level.

What you said is true. There are a number of career people involved. But I think they're being influenced in service to this administration in their approach to this.

Now, let me just add quickly that the Democrats wanted a compromise and wanted to, in fact, extend this bill to allow a discussion of a possible compromise to take place.

The administration rejected that and said, "We don't want you to have any temporary extension. It's now or never." And because they saw political advantage in somehow saying, "Oh, you know what, you Democrats, you're weak on national defense," -- and then Steny Hoyer came out and said -- you know, he's speaking to any possible terrorists -- "We want you to know that, in fact, we can still monitor you," and if -- any wiretaps or warrants that were put in place under this Protect America Act, in fact, still are in place for a year after they have been officially granted by a court.

WALLACE: Fred, beyond the merits of the argument, is it good politics at this moment for the Democrats to be standing up to the president on this issue? Or is it the kind of thing that could end up biting them in the fall?

BARNES: No, I think it definitely could bite them in the fall, and I think McCain will do the biting, for sure, on this issue. Look. Do you want to be on the side of the terrorist surveillance program or do you want to be on the side of making the terrorist surveillance program more difficult?

And that's the side the Democrats are on. They want to make it more difficult to carry out this program. I just think that's a huge mistake in response to...

WILLIAMS: We're talking about a democracy.

BARNES: Juan, just a second. They've had plenty of time to work on this. You know, the deadline -- I mean, they knew the six months were coming up. They had a two-week extension. Then they want another one. Then they want another and another.

For the life of me, I don't understand why Democrats are doing this, because at the end of the day, they're going to agree with the Senate program, which the administration supports, which does give immunity to the telecom companies.

And they're going to do that, and they ought to do it now, because that makes more political sense.

WALLACE: I mean, what about that, Mara, that at some point in the fall John McCain is going to say when there was a question of whether or not you wanted to give us power to listen in to Al Qaida, the Democrats voted no?

LIASSON: Yes, I fully expect that he would say that. But I also think that by then there might be some kind of a compromise on this issue of immunity, which is holding this whole thing up -- you know, retroactive immunity.

WALLACE: All right. Let's turn to John McCain, who swept the Potomac primaries this week and then got his endorsement -- I think surprise in terms of timing, not eventually -- the endorsement of Mitt Romney.

And I want to show you two very different images from Tuesday night. First of all, take a look at Barack Obama on Tuesday night speaking before a young, enthusiastic crowd of 17,000 supporters in Wisconsin.

And now here's a look at McCain on that same night surrounded by a few politicians in a hotel room in Virginia.

Boy, everybody's laughing. I mean, isn't that a problem, Bill? I mean, I know it's just two rallies, but doesn't that illustrate a problem for the two candidates?

KRISTOL: No, I don't think so, because at the end of the day, it will be McCain against Obama in a national security election.

The Democrats can say -- Nancy Pelosi is now very fond of quoting Franklin Roosevelt -- we have nothing to fear but fear itself.

We do have something to fear but fear itself. We have terrorists to fear, and we have people who want to kill Americans to fear, and people who want to totally destabilize the Middle East to fear. And I think that's a pretty good argument for McCain to make against Obama.

WILLIAMS: Well, you know, look. If he wants to make the case on the war in Iraq, and he says, "Oh, U.S. forces are going to be in there for 100 years," which is what he said, I think most Americans are going to say no. I think it's something like half of Americans want some sort of deadline to get out. So on the war issue, I think, you know, he's going toe have some trouble.

And when it comes to this FISA stuff, I think people are going to say, "You know what? We have civil liberties in this country, and we believe in courts, and we're not going to give anybody blank checks. And yes, we want to fight terrorists."

But why do you think the Democrats are any less interested in protecting Americans than Republicans? This is sort of old and tired politics, and it's politics of fear.

BARNES: Well, look. National security is going to be an issue, and McCain's going to make it one just because of who he is. The war in Iraq - - and now that it has improved so much -- and now the steps that have been taken toward political reconciliation just this past week, by the Iraqi parliament, you know, meet with these famous benchmarks and so on.

I think Democrats are losing their argument over Iraq and they can just say, "Well, we have to take the troops out right away," but I think people, particularly by November, will realize that that's a disaster.

And I think McCain has one thing that's going to help him a lot. Conservatives are going to come together. He doesn't have to worry about them anymore. They're going to come together, and they already are massively coming his way.

He's got to worry about picking up those moderates and swing voters and independents that in the past he's done very well in attracting.

LIASSON: Well, so does Obama, and that's the battleground for the fall, if Obama is the nominee. I mean, they're going to be fighting over those moderate swing voters. Obama showed in primaries he can get them. McCain has a history of getting them, too.

But look. A lot is going to depend on what Iraq looks like. And remember, there's now been a pause in some of the troop withdrawals. Is that going to be the case in the fall?

WALLACE: Well, there hasn't yet. There's talk that there might...

LIASSON: Or there's going to be. There might be.

WALLACE: ... be one in the summer.

LIASSON: Right. And that's going to make a big difference, too. And look. I think McCain, you know, showed pretty clearly in his victory speech -- even though it might not have been the right optics, he did make an argument about hope not tied to correct ideas is just a platitude, and I think he's going to try to paint Obama as someone who is callow. WALLACE: Well, let me ask you about that, Bill, because, I mean, isn't that a lot like the argument that Hillary Clinton's been making, you know, that it's just speechifying, it's just rhetoric?

LIASSON: I think it's a little different, because McCain is going to tie it to an ideological debate where there is none of that in the Democratic primary. They're almost identical on everything.

McCain is going to -- I think, if he's successful, going to try to run an ideological campaign from the center, which is something that he is uniquely positioned to do. However, he's also got a lot of baggage.

I mean, one thing we've got to -- you know, he's got tremendous -- the enthusiasm gap is tremendous. The turnout gap, the money, everything -- all of the headwinds are against the Republicans this year, so he's got that.

But I think he has a real -- there are huge differences in a general election which there aren't in the primaries.

WILLIAMS: And the economy is the big issue, not the war at the moment.

WALLACE: All right. We're going to have to leave it there. Thank you, panel. See you next week.

And, Juan, yes, indeed, you did indeed get the final word.

Time now for some mail about our interview last Sunday with President Bush.

M.J. Verona writes, "You can't help but admire this very principled man who, despite all criticism, has done his very best to keep us from another attack."

But Nancy Moody from Texas saw it different. "President Bush said McCain's a true conservative? How would he know?"

Be sure to let us know your thoughts by emailing us at fns@foxnews.com.

Up next, we go "On the Trail."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: There were two very different story lines in the presidential campaign this week. Once bitter Republican rivals stood side by side, while the Democrats have more turmoil and a new frontrunner, "On the Trail."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I've got about a dozen donuts.

(END VIDEO CLIP) H. CLINTON: This was Patty's decision. I have the greatest respect and affection for her. She's going to remain as a senior adviser to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Though we won in Washington, D.C., this movement won't stop until there's change in Washington, D.C. And tonight we're on our way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: He has, I think, according to the NationalJournal, the most liberal voting record in the United States Senate. I have one of the most conservative.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: It's clear that he knows who his opponent's going to be, and I'm looking forward to a great debate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

H. CLINTON: We're going to sweep across Texas in the next three weeks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I am honored today to give my full support to Senator McCain's candidacy for the presidency of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: I look forward to campaigning with governor Romney.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

H. CLINTON: Now if he would only copy my health care plan and provide coverage for every single American instead of standing in the way.

(END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The last thing we need is to have the same old cast of characters doing the same old things over and over again and expecting a different result. We need something new.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: And we'll see what happens Tuesday when Wisconsin and two other states vote.

Be sure to tune in to Fox News Channel starting just before 9:00 p.m. Eastern for our election coverage with Brit Hume and our political team.

And that's it for today. Have a great week, and we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."

For more visit the FOX News Sunday web page.

Facebook | Email | Print | AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sponsored Links