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Dick Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, Karl Rove, Roundtable

Fox News Sunday

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

Down to the wire for Super Tuesday 2. Will Barack Obama's winning streak continue? Can Hillary Clinton turn things around? We'll find out from two key advisers, Senators Dick Durbin, who supports Obama, and Dianne Feinstein, who backs Clinton.

Then Obama and John McCain give us a preview of what the general election may sound like. We'll ask Republican strategist Karl Rove how the GOP will go after the Democrats.

Plus, is a candidate's middle name...


(UNKNOWN): Barack Hussein Obama.


WALLACE: ... fair game or over the line? We'll ask our Sunday regulars -- Brit Hume, Mara Liasson, Bill Kristol and Juan Williams.

And the candidates' elbows get even sharper "On the Trail," all right now on "Fox News Sunday."

And hello again from Fox News in Washington. Well, we've had a number of make or break moments in this Democratic presidential campaign -- New Hampshire, Super Tuesday 1 and now Super Tuesday 2.

The question: Whether voting in Texas and Ohio this week will finally determine who wins the nomination. For answers, we turn to two Senate colleagues and supporters -- Dick Durbin, who is national co-chair of the Obama campaign -- he comes to us from Springfield, Illinois -- and California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who's supporting Clinton.

Senators, Welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

FEINSTEIN: Thank you very much. Thank you.

DURBIN: Good to be with you.

WALLACE: let's start with Hillary Clinton's latest and perhaps toughest T.V. commercial in which she basically says she's ready to be commander in chief and Barack Obama isn't. Let's watch.


NARRATOR: It's 3:00 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep. Who do you want answering the phone?


WALLACE: Senator Feinstein, do you agree with Clinton that she is ready and tested to be president and Obama isn't?

FEINSTEIN: Well, the way you put it -- I know Hillary is ready and tested. I've known her for 15 years. I've watched her carefully. I've talked with her socially. I've watched her in committees, her service on Armed Services, the fact she's endorsed by more than three dozen flag officers.

I think she knows her stuff, and I think she knows the world, and I think knowing the world right now is extraordinarily important. Yes, I believe she is ready for a 3:00 a.m. phone call, and I don't believe Iraq was a 3:00 a.m. phone call.

Iraq was essentially a considered judgment that was made, rightly or wrongly. It was a considered judgment. It was discussed on the floor of the Senate. It wasn't a missile on the way to the shores of the United States at 3:00 in the morning.

WALLACE: Let me ask you about that. Could you give me one example where Senator Clinton has had to answer a 3:00 a.m. phone call and handle a crisis?

FEINSTEIN: Obviously not in that sense, Chris. You know that. She has never been commander in chief, nor has Senator Obama, nor has Senator McCain.

WALLACE: But she's the one saying she's ready and tested to handle that phone call.

FEINSTEIN: Well, she's been tested by the anvil of a White House for eight years, of going to some 80-plus countries, of serving on the Armed Services Committee of the United States Senate...

WALLACE: But, forgive me, I mean, that's...

FEINSTEIN: ... of traveling to Iraq.

WALLACE: That's being first lady or a senator. That doesn't mean she's ready or tested to handle a phone call, an emergency with a split- second decision at 3:00 a.m.

FEINSTEIN: I disagree with you. I think it means she is. It's the best experience anybody could possibly have that has not been a president of the United States.

WALLACE: All right.

Let's look at how Obama answered that attack ad. Here it is.


OBAMA: We've seen these ads before. They're usually the kind that play upon people's fears and try to scare up votes.


WALLACE: Senator Durbin, do you agree with Senator Obama that Clinton is fear-mongering?

DURBIN: Well, it does, of course, strike a note of concern and fear about what might happen. And you know, the basic question is not whether the president can wipe the sleep out of his or her eyes and think clearly, but the judgment that they'll use once that phone call is understood.

And I think that Senator Obama has met that test. I remember one of those moments in the Senate. It was almost 2:00 a.m. on October 11, 2002, and that's when we were called on to vote as to whether to authorize President Bush to invade Iraq.

There were many senators who decided at that time to give the president the authority. Barack Obama said clearly he would not. His judgment was right at that critical moment in history. And I think it's judgment that people are looking for.

So if you're asking me whether I want him to be there in a position to take that call and to use his judgment, I think he's been tested, and I think he's proven that he's used the right judgment on one of the most important foreign policy decisions in recent history.

WALLACE: Let's look at the latest numbers from the key states on Tuesday. The RealClearPolitics average of recent polls in Texas shows Obama with a slim lead. It's actually less than 1 percent, one point. Meanwhile, in Ohio, Clinton has a slightly bigger lead of four points.

Both campaigns -- and let me start with you, Senator Feinstein -- say that their opponent has to win both states on Super Tuesday 2. Who's right?

FEINSTEIN: Well, I don't think anybody's right. I think we have to wait and see how this plays out. There's been a lot of talk -- well, if Senator Clinton loses this state, she should kind of pack it in. I disagree with that. I think she should stay in the race. Her candidacy...

WALLACE: Even if she loses both...

FEINSTEIN: Her candidacy is extraordinarily important. If ever a qualified woman could hold the presidency of the United States, this is the qualified woman.

And for those of us that are part of "a woman need not apply" generation that goes back to the time I went out to get my first job following college and a year of graduate work, this is an extraordinarily critical race.

And I hope she stays the course and stays in it. And then we count up the delegate votes and we make a decision.

WALLACE: You talk about women. Do you think there's been gender bias in this campaign?

FEINSTEIN: I do. I do. I read the newspapers. I read a lot of newspapers. I read a lot of columns. I'm amazed at the number that are spent on really picayune things about Senator Clinton -- her hair, her suits.

And I think some of this just drives toward the insecurity of having a woman running for this office. If anyone is qualified to run for this office, Chris, Senator Clinton is -- eight years in the White House. Sure, it's first lady. I know that.

You know Hillary. You know her interest in policy. You know her care and concern about people. And most important, right now I think it's the economy and her knowledge of what's happened to the middle class in the last eight years and how you mend that and bring people up into becoming economically upwardly mobile.

That's what we should be talking about, instead of -- I read a lot of stuff which is really irrelevant to the kind of president she will be, and I think some of it is driven by the fact that it's easy to hit at a woman.

WALLACE: Let me ask you about both aspects of this, Senator Durbin. First of all, do you think that there's gender bias? Do you think that it's easy to hit at a woman?

And how do you feel? Do you think that Clinton should continue in this race if she loses both states, Ohio and Texas, on Tuesday?

DURBIN: Well, two very big and very important questions. First, I'm so proud of our Democratic Party. Let's be very honest.

We have two extremely extraordinarily qualified candidates, and either one of them will make history as the first African American president or the first woman president of the United States. And both of them have faced discrimination in the course of their personal and political lives.

In terms of whether Senator Clinton has faced some bias because she's a woman, of course she has. All of us who have worked hard to bring women into politics -- and Dianne knows this personally -- know the struggle that they faced even with other women in convincing people of their fitness.

But secondly, understand that African Americans have also faced many, many burdens and obstacles, and Barack Obama has been facing that during the course of this campaign.

Some of the rumors -- and I know Dianne is well aware of them; we've talked about them on the Senate floor -- about Senator Obama are vicious and negative and totally false. And they are abounding across the Internet. Many of them leak into some of these reports and the like, these blogs, and even journalism that should be more discerning.

Let me just go to the point, the bottom line point, in terms of what Senator Clinton should do. She's an extraordinary person. I respect her very much. And if she's the nominee, I'll support her wholeheartedly.

But my choice is Barack Obama, and I hope that both of these candidates will look honestly at where we stand today. On Tuesday, 370 delegates will be decided. At the end of the night, we need to do an honest calculation -- who came out ahead in these four states, who didn't.

And if there's ground to be gained, it has to be gained by Senator Clinton if she's going to move toward the nomination. She's 161 delegates behind going into Tuesday. How many of those delegates will she make up on Tuesday?

After Tuesday, only 611 elected delegates remain to be chosen. And if she is going to win after Tuesday, she needs extraordinary percentages to be the winner and nominee -- almost 62 percent of all the remaining delegates, if, in fact, there's no measurable change on Tuesday. That's an extraordinary hurdle.

She has only had that type of margin in one state so far, the state of Arkansas. Barack Obama has double-digit wins in about 18 states so far. So it says that she has a lot of ground to cover. And I just hope ultimately she makes an honest appraisal of her chances.

WALLACE: Let me ask you about this, Senator Durbin, in a less mathematical way. We saw this week Senator Clinton question Obama's, either directly or indirectly, fitness to be president, to say he's been missing in action on the Senate floor.

Her campaign is urging reporters to investigate Obama's relationship with the indicted businessman Tony Rezko. If she decides to stay in the race past Tuesday, and this is assuming that she doesn't win both states decisively, does that hurt Obama as a general election candidate in November?

DURBIN: Well, of course, we would like to see the party come together, heal and focus on winning in November, and both Senators Clinton and Obama have said from the beginning that's our ultimate goal.

Whatever decision is made by Senator Clinton, I hope it serves that goal. She, of course, has the right to make this choice herself with her family and her closest supporters.

But I hope that her decision on her future after Tuesday is made in the interest of unity of our party and ultimately winning in November.

And let me just say that some of the charges that have been made in the closing days of this hard-fought campaign, of course, have been tough on both sides.

In terms of Barack Obama's fitness to be president of the United States, I probably know him better than any other elected official. We've stood side by side in Illinois for several years as senators. I've watched every single vote on the floor. It's true he hasn't been there as much as he ran for president, but that's also true of Senator Clinton. We expect them to campaign vigorously across the country for the highest office in the land, and it's hard to make every committee hearing if you keep that promise.

WALLACE: Let me bring in Senator Feinstein.

If Clinton does not pick up sizable number of delegates on Tuesday, really begin to close this gap of more than 100 delegates between Clinton and Obama, don't you have any concern that by staying in the race Clinton is weakening, hurting, the eventual nominee of your party?

FEINSTEIN: Look, this is not an also-ran candidate. Hillary Clinton is a major candidate. She has every right to stay in the race if she chooses to do so.

WALLACE: I'm not asking you whether she has the right. Obviously, she has the right. But you know, she said some things that hurt Obama this week. Fine. It's a campaign.

At a certain point, does it make sense to continue bringing up and trying to weaken -- raising questions about the presumptive nominee?

FEINSTEIN: Well, I don't believe she will do this. I believe that she will be constructive. She always has been constructive on the campaign trail.

Some people believe she's taken too much the positive and not enough the negative. Hillary Clinton's campaign has basically been a very positive campaign.

WALLACE: Do you think it was positive for her campaign to say investigate Obama's relationship with Tony Rezko?

FEINSTEIN: I don't know who said what in that...


FEINSTEIN: ... and I don't know what the relationship is, so I'm not going to comment on that.

WALLACE: Howard Wilson, a senior adviser to the Clinton campaign, in a conference call said there are a dozen questions that haven't been answered about Rezko and Obama.

FEINSTEIN: Well, that may well be true. I don't know. But I think that's not this campaign. This campaign is about the future of America.

And I think Hillary has spent a lot of time on health care, a lot of time on education, a lot of time of what she would do to improve this economy, to make the middle class economically upwardly mobile, to deal with this housing crisis of the subprime marketplace that we're in. I mean, this woman has put through -- put forward major policy initiatives to effect change in a way that it means something, in a way that it's much more than a speech, in a way that it conditions the thinking of the people of this nation, and in a way which gives those of us in the United States Senate the opportunity to really back a president.

WALLACE: Senator Durbin -- and we have less than a minute left -- if Clinton doesn't win Ohio and Texas decisively on Tuesday, do you expect a lot of pressure from party leaders on her to drop out?

DURBIN: Listen, there won't be pressure on Senator Clinton because all of us respect her and her family and what they brought to America and to the Democratic party.

But I hope that there's an honest appraisal of her chances to win the nomination after Tuesday. And having made that appraisal, I hope that -- and only she can make this decision. I hope she'll understand that we need to bring our party together and prepare for a victory in November, which is the ultimate goal.

She's waged a very vigorous and good campaign. I agree with Senator Feinstein. But look where Senator Obama's come from, so far behind in the national polls, 20 points, now leading in the delegates, now leading in the national polls. It is a dramatic surge of an underdog candidate.

And I think it shows that he really has struck a responsive chord across America, not just with Democrats, but with independents and even Republicans who are crossing over to join our party.

I think this is a movement whose time has come, that can really bring leadership to America to unify us and start solving some of the problems in Washington.

Senator Feinstein knows, as I do, how frustrating it is in the Senate to see issues like turning the economy around and health care for Americans frustrated by this partisan sniping, filibusters that just won't end.

We need an end to that, and that's Senator Obama's message.

WALLACE: Senator Durbin, I don't know if Obama's time has come, but our time for a commercial has come. We want to thank you both so much for talking with us, and we'll see whether or not this Tuesday settles anything. Thank you both.

FEINSTEIN: Thank you, Chris.

DURBIN: Thank you.

WALLACE: Up next, with John McCain waiting in the wings, how will the Republicans go after whoever the Democratic nominee is? Some answers from GOP strategist Karl Rove when we come back.


WALLACE: We got a sneak peek this week at what a general election campaign between John McCain and Barack Obama would sound like, especially on foreign policy.

To get a better idea of how Republicans will go after Obama or Clinton, we're joined by former White House adviser, architect of two presidential election victories and now, most important of all, Fox News contributor Karl Rove.

And, Karl, welcome back.

ROVE: Thanks, Chris.

WALLACE: Let's assume for the moment that Barack Obama is the presumptive Democratic nominee next Wednesday. In general terms, and we'll get more specific, how should John McCain go after Obama?

What are things that he could do to Obama in a general election campaign that Hillary Clinton couldn't do in the fight for the Democratic nomination?

ROVE: Well, the most important things he needs to do are not connected with Obama. Let's come back to those.

But what he needs to do with Obama is treat his words as serious. She's been dismissive of his words. McCain needs to treat them as serious. And he needs to not point just to the thinness, but he needs to point to the values, views and actions that those words would lead or have led Obama to.

Second of all, he'd need to draw attention to the gap between the rhetoric and the reality. Obama makes two very important claims. He appeals to the desire of Americans to see their leaders in Washington come together in bipartisanship, but he's not done that in the three years that he's been in the Senate.

In fact, on many votes where there is a bipartisan agreement, out there in the group of dissenting Democrats is Obama. And then he makes the claim that tough issues require leadership. In fact, he made a very dramatic statement in the Wisconsin speech, Wisconsin victory night speech, in which he had a litany of issues that were important and required leadership.

And McCain is going to be able to say, and should say, "You're right, those require leadership, and I've been providing it. You haven't been." So at the end of the day, he, McCain, creates an image of himself as a reform-minded leader strongly who has worked across party lines and will tackle these big issues.

WALLACE: Let's break this down. That's a really good overview, but let's talk specifically about Iraq. Here is how Obama fired back at McCain on the war in Iraq. Let's look.


OBAMA: John McCain may like to say he wants to follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell, but so far all he's done is follow George Bush into a misguided war in Iraq.


WALLACE: And if we look at the latest poll, voters oppose that war in Iraq by almost 2-1.

So, Karl, if it comes down to a question of whether to keep fighting in Iraq, which is McCain's idea, or to begin, and pretty quickly, to pull out, which Obama says, doesn't Obama win?

ROVE: No, because Obama's position is, "I'm for withdrawal from Iraq regardless of the consequences and the conditions on the ground."

The American people don't like this war. But they do not like the idea of withdrawal without paying attention to the conditions on the ground. They want the military commanders to say what we can and should do. They don't want politicians to do it.

There was another poll this week that I think said 15 percent of the American people believed in unconditional withdrawal from Iraq.

So if this becomes a battle between a guy who says, "Look, whether you like whether we got -- whether you agreed with us going there or not, we're there, and the question is should we stay there and win and pursue the right policy, or should we withdraw without condition and suffer the consequences," and a candidate who says, "I'm for withdrawing without regard to what the conditions are," John McCain will win that argument.

WALLACE: All right. But Obama has found a clever way to link the war in Iraq to our domestic problems with the economy here at home. Let's watch.


OBAMA: We are spending $12 billion per month. That is money that we could be spending here in the United States, rebuilding our infrastructure, building schools, sending kids to university.


WALLACE: If he's able to define Iraq in terms of where do you spend that $12 billion, on the battlefield over there or on infrastructure and social programs here, doesn't Obama win?

ROVE: Well, Obama -- it's a good argument for Obama, but I'm wondering where it goes, because it really is a very neo-isolationist argument. It basically says, you know, "We should not be involved in the world because of the consequences to the budget here at home."

Well, we were not involved in the world before 9/11, and look what happened. Look at the cost to the American economy after a terrorist attack on the homeland. We lost a million jobs in 90 days after 9/11.

If we were to give up Iraq with the third largest oil reserves in the world to the control of an Al Qaida regime or to the control of Iran, don't you think $200 a barrel oil would have a cost to the American economy?

So you know, it's a cute thing in a primary. I'm not certain over an 8-month general election that you can make the argument that we ought to take a look at every foreign policy commitment in the United States and measure it on the basis of the number of dollars that we've got there.

I happened to be in Los Angeles on Monday, and somebody had heard Obama say this to me, and they were Democrat, and at dinner they said, "I'm worried about that, because does that mean he's going to be looking at our support, for example, for the state of Israel and looking at it in terms of what could we be doing at home with those dollars?"

And it was a nice line, but I'm not certain how durable a line it necessarily is.

WALLACE: All right. What about the economy itself? I mean, the sort of cliche is people vote for peace and prosperity.

McCain is defending an unpopular war. As for the economy, let's take a look at a recent poll which shows that 66 percent, two-thirds, of Americans think the country already is in a recession.

How does McCain counter Obama not only on the war but now also on a Republican economy?

ROVE: Right. Well, first of all, what will matter really is the state of the economy in the fall.

In the early part of 2000, for example, the economy was in pretty good shape. But by the fall, people had a sense that there was a slight deterioration. That helped Bush over Gore.

So the question is what's the economy going to be in the fall. And if it's bad in the fall, this is going to be a real problem for McCain.

Then the question gets to be what are you going to do about it. And I'm not certain that we know how that debate is going to play out yet. We're starting to see the outlines of it, McCain saying, "I want to keep taxes low, I don't want to raise taxes, I want to keep spending in check, I want to do something to help the people who are losing their jobs."

We have -- at least in Ohio, we have Obama taking the perspective that trade agreements, NAFTA and other trade agreements, are bad for our economy, and we need to do something about these big corporations that are offshoring jobs.

And we'll see how that plays out over the next eight or nine months. I'm not certain that an isolationist or a protectionist or a populist campaign necessarily works as well in a general election as it does in a primary.

WALLACE: All right. Let's talk about the magic word in this campaign, and that is change.

ROVE: Right.

WALLACE: McCain will be 72 this fall. Obama will be 47, and he's already playing that card. Let's watch.


OBAMA: I respect John McCain, but he's tied to the politics of the past. We are about the policies of the future. He's the party of yesterday. We want to be a party of tomorrow.


WALLACE: I mean, you've not only got rhetoric, you just have the images of the two guys up there on a stage in a debate against each other.

One looks like he could be the other guy's father or, conversely, the other guy's son. How does McCain fight that?

ROVE: Well, first of all, every presidential election is about change. I mean, let's not kid ourselves. This is not a new word in a presidential election. Every election, presidential election, is about change because every presidential election is about the future, not the past.

This is a problem for McCain. He's 72 -- will be 72 by the election. He's got a vigorous, young opponent on the other side. And we'll have to see how that plays out. There's nothing that he can do to make himself younger than Obama.

The question is can he make himself more -- can he make people more confident in his leadership and his experience and his ability than Obama can.

Obama has the other side of the equation, which is he's got to do more to shore up to the "I'm up to the job."

I thought it was interesting, incidentally -- you'll notice that in this particular segment, Obama said -- you know, Obama's taken -- early on was saying, "We honor John McCain for his 50 years of service to America." He started in Wisconsin -- started dropping the 50 years.

I think it's because probably somebody inside the group focus- grouped it or inside his campaign focus-grouped it or tested or somehow woke up to the fact that that was a little -- you know, sort of that was blowing up in their face.

That was a little insulting to say 50 years to try and make it appear that he was way over the hill when, in reality, a lot of people reacted negatively.

WALLACE: We're running out of time. I want to hit a couple of last final points quickly.

A speaker at a McCain rally this week talked about, repeatedly, Barack Hussein Obama. The Tennessee Republican Party talks about support for Obama from anti-Semites and anti-Israel people.

I know McCain has denounced this. You're shaking your head. But if you don't have your fingerprints on it, is this kind of talk out in the bloodstream of the American politics helpful?

ROVE: Look, the Hussein -- using his middle name helps Obama. It doesn't hurt him. So anybody who wants to help John McCain would stop using...

WALLACE: Explain that.

ROVE: Well, because I think people look at it and say, "Hey, look, that's one step too far. You're trying to leave an implication that he is a Muslim when I know he's not."

And I think it -- you know, a lot of times attacks in politics fail -- in fact, they turn into a negative for the person who's doing the attacking -- because people think it's gone too far. And this, frankly, goes too far.

Now, having ties to Louis Farrakhan and his anti-Semitic comments -- you know, people have a reasonable -- that's a reasonable question. "Well, do you agree with him or do you renounce him? Do you reject him?"

But this idea of getting up there and using the guy's middle name in order to imply something about him is -- it goes too far.

WALLACE: All right. We've got 30 seconds left. What are the chances that this conversation is completely irrelevant and that Hillary Clinton ends up upsetting him?

ROVE: Well, she could. She's going to -- it looks like she'll do well in Ohio. The question is how close does she get in the popular vote in Texas.

I noticed a very interesting thing. Obama is spending this weekend, part of this weekend, in Rhode island. He's trying to take the state. It was expected to be hers. I think he's trying to go for three out of four.

And I think, though, it is a mistake for his campaign to be calling on her to be thinking about getting out. That is not the thing you do when the other guy is going down. You're rubbing their nose in it and it never leaves good feelings.

It's, you know, better to be like McCain is with Huckabee and say he's got every right to be here, and I applaud him for...

WALLACE: And is that you read Durbin as doing today?

ROVE: I read Durbin as trying to figure out how to do both. I mean, because on the one hand, he did say it's up to her to decide. But on the other hand, he was cautioning her to basically think about getting out if she can't win.

It's up to the delegates of the convention to decide who wins and loses, not the Associated Press report, you know, on who has what kind of delegate count.

WALLACE: You mean we don't get to decide that?

ROVE: No. The American people decide.

WALLACE: Thank you for reminding us of that. All right, Karl. Thank you. Always interesting. See you for this week's primary coverage.

ROVE: Yes, sir. Thank you.

WALLACE: Up next, is Super Tuesday 2 Hillary Clinton's last stand? We'll hear from our Sunday regulars when we come right back.



KRISTOL: The way you puncture euphoria is reality or, to be a little more blunt, fear. And I recommend to Senator Clinton the politics of fear. She needs to say, "Let's wait a second here. Is this man ready to run against the Republicans for president of the United States in a time of war?"



NARRATOR: It's 3:00 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep. But there's a phone in the White House and it's ringing.


WALLACE: That was Bill Kristol giving advice to the Clinton campaign last Sunday, advice she seems to have taken.

And it's time now for our Sunday group -- 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, apparently, the Clinton strategy team, and Juan Williams, also from National Public Radio.

Well, Bill, is that what Hillary Clinton is doing with her latest ad, practicing the politics of fear? And if so, did she pull it off?

KRISTOL: I think she did what -- I think she made the right move strategically. I mean, she has to raise the question of whether Democratic primary voters are comfortable with Barack Obama as commander in chief.

And she has a claim that on foreign policy she knows more, she's more experienced, and I think she won't say this more -- she probably should say this more explicitly -- she's more hawkish. I mean, that's the real subtext. And I guess they're just scared to say that in a Democratic primary.

As a result, the T.V. ad is a little imprecise. There's a crisis somewhere in the world, and don't you want Hillary Clinton in the White House? I think she should have -- might have cited one or two things that Obama has said that would make you worry about his being tough enough to be president.

But look. The ad is kind of clunky, and it was used in 1984, and I watched it and I snickered, and I thought, "Oh, has Hillary Clinton really ever answered the phone at 3:00 a.m. in the White House and, if so, what was the crisis? It wasn't a national security crisis," and all that.

Having said all that, she is changing the debate. Everyone's talking about foreign policy in this last weekend instead of "Obamamania." And I think she might -- it might help her.

WILLIAMS: I think they're talking about fear and fear with regard to experience. Who's the experienced hand that picks up the phone? And I think she's playing to women voters, and I think that's why there are children in that ad.

And if you ask -- I think it's something like 40 percent of voters in Ohio and Texas, who are key, obviously, this week, say that inexperience is Obama's principal deficit.

So they're trying to exploit that and play it up and, I think, play it largely to women voters so that women voters who have been Hillary Clinton's bulwark stay in place.

WALLACE: I think it was interesting in that regard that Dianne Feinstein was saying, "Well, you know, the media and everybody's been unfair to Hillary Clinton because she's a woman," so they clearly are trying to reach out to them.

But as Bill pointed out, Brit, this is not the first time we've seen these ads. In fact, let's do a trip down memory lane. First of all, this is Walter Mondale against Gary Hart in 1984. Let's listen for a moment.


NARRATOR: ... lies in the hand that picks up this phone. The idea of an unsure, unsteady, untested hand is something to really think about.


WALLACE: Now let's listen to in 1980 Jimmy Carter in his campaign against Ronald Reagan.


NARRATOR: ... but when it comes time to decide something, President Carter must decide alone. No matter how many advisers and assistants, a president can never escape the responsibility of truly understanding an issue himself.


WALLACE: All right. Enough of our film festival.

Brit, have those worked in the past? Do you think it's going to work this time?

HUME: You know, that Jimmy Carter ad, I believe, began with a shot outside the White House, Jimmy Carter working late -- this was against Ronald Reagan, of course, in 1980. I don't think it worked.

Mondale ultimately overtook and beat Gary Hart in 1984, but I don't think that ad was crucial to that. I think that ad was, you know, one of the things he tried.

In short, I don't believe those ads have worked very effectively in the past. And I think that the problem that Senator Clinton faces is this would be a better ad for the general election. It would be a better ad in a Republican primary.

But for a Democratic electorate which is soured on the war on Iraq and, I think, soured generally sort of on the war on terror and this whole idea that we're facing constant threats, I don't think the ad is likely to be particularly effective.

I think it almost promises this -- vote for Hillary Clinton, there'll be a crisis on day one.


And I just think it -- I just don't think it -- I just don't think it works.

WALLACE: And, Mara, let me ask you the question I asked Senator Feinstein. I mean, she asked this as sort of a rhetorical question, "Who do you want answering the phone?"

In fact, Hillary Clinton hasn't been tested in that sense, hasn't had to answer the phone except to pick up the phone and say, "Hey, Bill, it's for you." So does that really work for her against Obama?

LIASSON: Well, she was asked specifically about that on the campaign trail, and she said, "That's not the point. The point is that I have a lifetime of experience, and Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience, and we are going to -- we could go toe to toe against each other on that ground and Obama doesn't have that."

But that is a good question about her. You know, what is the moment she's picked up the phone and dealt with a crisis? And her campaign hasn't really come up with anything when asked that.

But, look. I think this coincides -- she is changing the debate to foreign policy. She also has raised the issue of press scrutiny of Barack Obama, which at least getting some soul searching on the part of the media and it's getting some coverage.

And also, it coincides with John McCain basically starting the general election campaign against Barack Obama. I mean, he's also kind of coming at him, you could say, obviously, from the right.

And I agree with Bill. That's something that she has been very loathe to do this entire campaign, is say that I am more of a hawk than he is. And what's interesting about it is all along she had the general election in mind.

I mean, she was prepared to kind of pivot and show her true inner hawk when and if she got the nomination, whereas he has never, to my mind, given any evidence -- Obama hasn't -- that he has that in mind.

WALLACE: The great thing about all this, Bill, is we're going to find out what actually worked and didn't work in about 48 hours on Super Tuesday 2 in Ohio and Texas.

If you look at the polls, Obama has closed this double-digit gap in both states, very close within the margin of error in both states. How do you read Tuesday?

KRISTOL: If you accept the proposition that she's taking my advice, she's going to lose, because given my track record, from supporting Scoop Jackson when I was in college, to the Bush-Quayle reelection in '92, I'm the kiss of death for a candidate.

I think Obama will be the nominee. I've thought that for six or eight months, obviously, and I've said it many, many times. I actually think she may have a tiny little comeback here at the end and eke out a victory on Tuesday in Ohio and even in Texas.

I just have a hunch that at the end some of those voters -- you know, they're not that liberal, the Ohio and Texas Democrats. They're not all upscale latte drinkers, you know, 23-year-olds who are falling in love...

WALLACE: But they weren't in Wisconsin, either.

KRISTOL: ... falling in love with Barack Obama. No, that's true. But she didn't raise this issue in Wisconsin. And she's fought harder in Texas and Ohio. And she has pretty good surrogates making the case for her. I think she could eke them out.

WALLACE: Juan, how do you read it?

WILLIAMS: Well, I don't think -- the difference between Ohio and Wisconsin is I think in Wisconsin it was easier for independents and Republicans to come over, and they overwhelmingly came into the Democratic primary and voted for Barack Obama.

I think in this one, what you're seeing is the reason the gaps closed is the power of Obama's oratory. He's just terrific on the campaign trail.

And secondly, he's outspent Hillary Clinton in terms of T.V. ads almost 2-1 in Texas and in Ohio. I think going forward, though, it's this buyer's remorse issue. Are you sure? Are you absolutely sure?

Because if Hillary Clinton does not win Ohio and Texas on Tuesday, I think she leaves the race. I don't think there's any justification -- because the argument to superdelegates has been that Hillary Clinton is winning the big states.

I think it's something like 14 out of the 24 states that Barack Obama has won are red states. They're not going to go to Democrats in a general election. It doesn't support the idea that he can win the general election.

Hillary Clinton has won New York, California, you know, Florida and Michigan.

WALLACE: Let me bring Mara in.

LIASSON: I just disagree. There's this mantra in the press, if she doesn't win, she's going to have to leave, or there's going to be incredible pressure on her to leave.

First of all, there's a huge, long period of time between now and the convention. Many things could happen. There could be buyer's remorse among the Democratic Party. Barack Obama could start running 10 points behind John McCain. Who knows?

The point is she has a lot of delegates. Why would she give all that up? Why wouldn't she do something that wouldn't create bitterness in the Democratic Party, stay in in a way that's not divisive, but just stay in just in case?

WILLIAMS: So you're suggesting she would suspend, or hold off, or...

LIASSON: I don't know exactly how she'd do it. But I can't imagine her exiting the stage after Texas and Ohio. There also could be a muddled outcome. She could win the popular vote in Texas and he could get more delegates.

HUME: It is certainly the case that Barack Obama has vulnerabilities vis-a-vis John McCain. Principally, the vulnerabilities lie in this area of the bipartisanship which Barack Obama promises.

McCain has scars all over his body from joining in bipartisan compromises and being attacked from left and right, particularly from his own right.

Barack Obama is absolutely without any battle wounds from that because on the tough issues, when there has been bipartisan compromise in the Senate on immigration, on judges, on terror surveillance, and down the line, you find that McCain is in the middle of it voting for the compromises, taking the heat, and Barack Obama is missing in action, declaring he loves the idea of compromise, but when the votes come, he's not there.

WALLACE: All right.

HUME: And I think that's happened repeatedly, and it's a real vulnerability but not one really available to Hillary Clinton, because she hasn't either.

WALLACE: All right. I'm not going to ask you, because you don't play this game, but I'm going to ask your three colleagues here, in one word or less, when we meet here a week from today, will Hillary Clinton still be in the Democratic race? Juan?

WILLIAMS: It's a close one, but I would have to say the odds are against her at this moment.


KRISTOL: Yes, I think.

LIASSON: She'll still be in, yes.

WALLACE: She'll still be in the race.

LIASSON: In, yes.

WALLACE: Do you want to make a prediction, Brit?

HUME: I think she'll still be in.

WALLACE: Wow. I'm amazed that you made a prediction. There we go. All right.

We have to step aside for a moment here, but when we come back, the Republican race. John McCain had some rocky moments this week. We'll show you what happened in a moment.


WALLACE: On this day in 1836, Texas declared independence from Mexico. Six weeks later, declaring "Remember the Alamo," the Texas army defeated the Mexicans, forcing their recognition of the Republic of Texas.

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



BILL CUNNINGHAM: At some point, the media will quit taking sides in this thing and maybe start covering Barack Hussein Obama the same way they covered Bush.



MCCAIN: I did not know about these remarks, but I take responsibility for them. I repudiate them.


WALLACE: That was John McCain distancing himself from conservative radio talk show host Bill Cunningham at a campaign stop this week.

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

Well, we talked about this a little bit with Karl Rove. You've got this radio talk show host at a McCain campaign stop, Bill Cunningham repeatedly talking about Barack Hussein Obama.

You also have the Tennessee Republican Party saying that Obama's foreign policy will be shaped by advisers who are anti-Semitic and anti- Israel.

Brit, what's fair game here in politics and what's over the line?

HUME: Well, Barack Hussein Obama repeated again and again was obviously done for the purpose of suggesting that he's perhaps a radical Muslim. We know he's not. So it was pointless. It was over the top. It was a cheap shot. McCain was right to repudiate it.

The Tennessee Republican Party's remarks are pretty crude, but the general area of policy toward Israel is a valid one and one that, I think, you know, everyone is free to explore.

Now, they would have to be pretty specific about identifying the advisers and determining, you know, with some basis that they're anti- Israel in some way, and that's open territory. The way they did it was clumsy, shorthand, crude, not effective. Valid area, but not well done.

LIASSON: You know, the great irony of that is finally he got a conservative talk show host to be on his side...


WALLACE: And immediately got in a fight with him.

LIASSON: ... and immediately got in a fight with him, and apparently afterwards, I read that the guy went back and, on the air, said, "That's it with me. Forget McCain. I'm voting for Hillary." Anyway -- OK.

HUME: Some conservative.

LIASSON: Yes, some conservative. But anyway, he joined the Ann Coulter camp after that.

But look. I think that, you know, repeating the guy's middle name over and over again is obviously over the line, but you know, ideology is going to play a big part in this.

And you know, Barack Obama is rated as the most liberal senator by National Journal, and I think that John McCain has the ability, if he chooses to, to run an ideological campaign from the center against Obama that can be completely civil and aboveboard.

WALLACE: Is it any worse to say Barack Hussein Obama than it is to keep saying, "And I want to commend John McCain for his half century of service to the country?"

LIASSON: Yes, old, old, very old.

KRISTOL: Yes. Well, I don't know if it is or not. I mean, the Obama campaign has been very effective, actually, in turning these things against both Senator Clinton and Senator McCain.

When The Drudge Report posted that photo, that comical photo, of Obama dressed up as sort of an African elder because he was making a visit to an African country -- and of course, politicians do that as a courtesy -- before anyone even knew -- and I think we still don't know exactly where that photo came from or whether it was some kind of dirty trick, nefarious trick...

HUME: It's on the record somewhere. It's available.

KRISTOL: But who e-mailed it to Drudge? And they made a -- the Obama campaign attacked the Clinton campaign for stooping to a new low in politics.

And I think the Obama campaign is very clever in trying to de- legitimize -- it's taking unfair criticisms and trying to inoculate him against fair criticisms.

It is fair to raise the question of what Obama's position on Israel is compared to Senator McCain's. It is fair to say that Obama is -- for example, has defended racial preferences. That's a legitimate issue going forward in this campaign.

He intervened in a Michigan referendum in 2006 and defended affirmative action. Fine. That's a legitimate position. McCain has a somewhat different position. They should debate it.

I do think the Obama campaign is going to try to make it hard to run the kind of campaign Mara was talking about, a more ideological campaign, where one makes the legitimate point that Obama's a pretty liberal Democrat.

WILLIAMS: Well, I think that a lot of this has a racial base to it, and it has to do with racial code, and I think it goes back to arguments about Farrakhan and Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who is Obama's minister, and his embrace of Farrakhan, and what we saw in the debate last week where Obama had to say to Clinton after she came back, "You know, I not only renounce, I reject."

WALLACE: Yes, but it wasn't because Farrakhan is an African American. It's because Farrakhan has said hateful things.

WILLIAMS: Right. Correct. But the idea that somehow then that Barack Obama has to take responsibility for everything that Louis Farrakhan said is ridiculous. And it's unfair.

And to somehow say, "He's black, and he's black, and therefore they think alike," that's not fair.

HUME: Now, wait a minute, Juan. Wait a minute. That doesn't state the facts correctly. What happened is that Farrakhan came out and endorsed Obama...


HUME: ... having said all these things.

Obama was then asked to either accept or reject the endorsement of this man who said such hateful things.

And after some dispute between him and Clinton, he said he denounced his racial comments, but he never rejected the support, and he was pressed to do that, which he finally did.

I don't think race really entered into the equation there.

WILLIAMS: I think you missed the whole story, because I think it was all about the whole idea that he was saying, "You know what? Louis Farrakhan never offered to do anything for me. He simply said he supports my campaign." But he's not involved in his campaign. He's certainly not an adviser to his campaign.

WALLACE: When the evangelical pastor this week endorsed McCain...

HUME: And was attacked.

WALLACE: ... there was a criticism of some of the anti-Catholic comments that he has made.

HUME: Was that racism?

WILLIAMS: That had nothing to do with racism. That has to do with whether or not, in order to secure the conservative evangelical base, that you will start to see John McCain easing over to people that he previously described as agents of intolerance at one point. That is the focus and direction of that campaign.

But let me just move on here. I think that Bill's right. It's a legitimate argument. The Jewish community has its problems and questions about Barack Obama. He's got to settle that going forward especially if he hopes to win in the general election.

John McCain, I think, has a bigger problem in terms of this war issue you were discussing with Karl Rove, which is that John McCain said this week, "Look, you know, if I can't persuade the American people on Iraq and that the surge is working, I lose. I lose."

Now, he tried to repudiate and turn back from that comment, but I think that's the comment that's on the target, that's the real issue, the war going forward.

WALLACE: All right. Before we run out of time here, I don't want to let this little nugget pass. Senator McCain had a slip of the tongue this week. Some would say it was a Freudian slip. Let's watch.


MCCAIN: I'm a proud conservative liberal Republican -- conservative Republican.


Hello. Easy there.


WALLACE: I love that, "Easy there."

But, Mara, you know, the most interesting part -- he obviously misspoke and he had some fun correcting himself.

But the interesting aspect of this is McCain says, and his staff says, he is absolutely determined to campaign as John McCain, meaning he's going to ride the Straight Talk Express, he's going to talk to reporters, he's going to hold town hall meetings in which one makes those kinds of slips.


WALLACE: General election candidates generally go into a cocoon and are very scripted.

LIASSON: Yes. WALLACE: Do you think he can run a general election campaign in that kind of loosey-goosey McCain style?

LIASSON: Yes, because he has no other choice. He has no other choice. He has to continue doing exactly what he's been doing and, quite frankly, it's worked for him.

Yes, no one's ever done it in a general election campaign, but it would be a real mistake for him to try to be something else. The lesson of his life, as he says over and over again, is whenever he's tried to do that, it's always been pretty much of a disaster.

You know, you can make the argument that he's a conservative Republican who's liberal on some issues or a liberal Republican who's conservative on some issues.

The point is John McCain has a complex record, you know, on some bedrock issues to conservatism. He's 100 percent with them on other things, you know. He's met in the middle with Democrats.

WALLACE: Bill, can he campaign in that kind of open John McCain way?

KRISTOL: Yes, I think so. And I think -- I'm more conservative than John McCain, but I think it would be a mistake for him to just make himself into an orthodox conservative in this election.

The reason he is a stronger candidate than a lot of other Republicans would be is that he is a little bit heterodox. He's got his own views. He shouldn't back off on that, I think, actually.

HUME: And if the conservatives don't want a President Obama or a President Clinton, they ought to get off McCain's back and let him campaign as whatever he wants to and campaign from the center.

WILLIAMS: It's funny to see the Republicans all of a sudden saying such nice things now about John McCain and turning on Barack Obama, given all the Republican support he's had.

But both of them, Obama and McCain, I think are hypocrites on this public financing issue. Boy, they have turned tail on that.

WALLACE: All right. We're going to have to leave that final comment hanging there in the air. Thank you, panel. See you next week.

For more visit the FOX News Sunday web page.

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