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Senators Durbin & Schumer on "Fox News Sunday"

Fox News Sunday

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

Showdown in Pennsylvania -- with just two days until the primary, what are the keys to victory in the Keystone State? We'll ask top advisers to both campaigns, Senator Dick Durbin, who supports Obama, and Senator Charles Schumer, who backs Clinton.

Then, an in-depth analysis of Pennsylvania and a look ahead to the general election with strategist Karl Rove, the architect of two presidential election victories.

Plus, Pope Benedict at Ground Zero -- we'll discuss the holy father's U.S. trip with our Sunday panel -- Brit Hume, Nina Easton, Bill Kristol and Juan Williams.

And the sights and sounds of the most bruising week yet, "On the Trail," all right now on "Fox News Sunday."

And hello again from Fox News in Washington. With less than 48 hours before voters go to the polls in Pennsylvania, here is where we stand in the battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Senator Obama has widened his margin in delegates after picking up several superdelegates this week, and he continues to hold a solid lead in the popular vote of more than 700,000.

Joining us to discuss the race are Senator Dick Durbin, national co- chair of the Obama campaign, who's in Illinois, and Senator Charles Schumer, a key Clinton supporter, who comes to us from New York.

Well, gentlemen, another week and another tape of a closed fundraiser. This time it's Hillary Clinton after Super Tuesday blaming her election defeats on activists coming out. Let's listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, D-N.Y.: We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn.org didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that's what we're dealing with.

They know I don't agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

WALLACE: Now, Senator Schumer, generally speaking, candidates actually like activists to come out and vote. Is that what she thinks of the activist base, Senator Clinton, that they flood into caucuses and intimidate her supporters?

SCHUMER: No, not at all. I mean, MoveOn and many of these other activist groups are very, very positive for the Democratic Party. They've motivated a whole lot of people. We've increased registration. I think Hillary agrees with that.

You know, they're very vocal, and sometimes they take little shots at every one of us, and that's part of the game. But overall, we in the Clinton campaign believe they're a very positive and good thing.

WALLACE: Well, I mean, you can understand that we would have difficulty after hearing what she had to say that she was thinking that they were positive.

I want to put up again something that she said in that closed- door fundraiser. She said, "MoveOn didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that's what we're dealing with."

First of all, Senator, that's incorrect. MoveOn didn't oppose the war in Afghanistan -- at least that's what they say. But is that what she thinks of the anti-war left, that they're wrong and irresponsible, that's what we're dealing with?

SCHUMER: No, I think Hillary Clinton has a very strong position of getting out of Iraq soon and quickly. I think she's allied with these groups in her view.

And as I said, you know, in the push and pull of campaigns, sometimes you get a little frustrated here and there, but overall the view of this campaign is that the activist base is very, very good. In fact, it's an antidote to some of the right-wing talk radio and other stuff that has hurt us in previous elections. We're glad it's there.

WALLACE: Senator Durbin, I don't have to tell you Clinton has been all over Obama for his comments in another closed fundraiser about people in small-town Pennsylvania being bitter and clinging to guns and religion.

What do you think of her talking about activists and blaming them for her election defeats?

DURBIN: Well, I think Senator Clinton and Senator Obama understand that this has been an extraordinary election cycle -- 250,000 newly registered Democrats in the state of Pennsylvania. We worked hard in the Obama campaign to bring them out and register them.

A hundred thousand more registered voters in the state of Indiana, dramatic increases in every state -- that's good for our party. It's good for our country.

And I think this kind of activism is really going to make a difference in the November election. When it comes to all these comments behind closed doors, we're living in this YouTube era now where almost anything can be taped and played back. That's the reality of political campaigning.

But I can tell you this. After the last debate, after all of the comments back and forth, Senator Barack Obama is not going to allow the Republican Party to define him. He is going to make it clear what he stands for, what his values are.

And when you take a look at that rally Friday night in Philadelphia, 35,000 people showed up. That's an amazing turnout, the biggest we've had in our campaign. It's an indication that he's inspiring a lot of people to get involved in politics.

WALLACE: Of course, at this point he doesn't have to worry about the Republican Party trying to define him. He has to worry about Hillary Clinton trying to define him.

Let me ask you, Senator Schumer, another question. Clinton is questioning Obama's toughness, she says, complaining about some of the hard questions that were asked in that debate this last week. Let's listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CLINTON: I'm with Harry Truman on this. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

WALLACE: But in fact, Clinton and her campaign have been complaining for months about the media. Let's listen to her comments during an earlier debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Can I just point out that in the last several debates, I seem to get the first question all the time? And I don't mind. You know, I'll be happy to field them, but I do find it curious.

And if anybody saw "Saturday Night Live," you know, maybe we should ask Barack if he's comfortable and needs another pillow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Senator Schumer, a new Washington Post poll out this week shows that a sizable majority of voters now feel that Clinton -- don't think that she is honest and trustworthy.

When she criticizes Obama for doing what she's been doing for months, doesn't that add to people's doubts about her honesty and trustworthiness?

SCHUMER: No, I don't think so at all, Chris. And let me just say a couple of things here. First of all, I think both campaigns -- every campaign is frustrated in a certain sense with the media, and with some good reason. You guys are interested in the new issue of the day.

So even though the average citizen cares far more about the health care plans of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and then John McCain, or the lack of one that he has, the media says, "Well, we covered that back in December. We're going for the issue du jour."

And of course, it gets magnified by the media, but the average citizen cares most about the things that make their lives better.

WALLACE: But wait a minute.

SCHUMER: Now, as for your question...

WALLACE: Senator, wait a minute. You're being very disingenuous there. I mean, Hillary Clinton, your candidate in that debate -- questions were being asked by ABC, that's true, but she piled on every time about the bitter comment, about William Ayers, about Jeremiah Wright.

I mean, she commented on all these things. Why is she talking about it if it's irrelevant?

SCHUMER: You have heard complaining about the media from all the campaigns, Democratic and Republican, and from the public at large. And that's a fact of the -- that's a fact of life, Chris.

And that is that these little tiny issues -- they may be brought up by somebody else, but the media magnifies them and plays them much longer than the public thinks -- the issue du jour of three weeks ago is forgotten about today.

And so I think what we ought to be focusing on here is specifically who can do the most for the public, who can make people's lives better.

As for the honesty question, let me tell you. I mean, I saw this happen when Hillary ran in New York for the Senate in 2000. At first, there were many, many doubts, and they threw all kinds of adjectives at her.

The longer she campaigned, the more people got to know her, the more they saw that she is somebody who cares about people, who has a great deal of integrity, who is forthright -- and that's going to come across in both this primary campaign and the general campaign.

WALLACE: Senator, I just can't let this...

SCHUMER: The more the people get to know her...

WALLACE: Senator, I just can't let this pass, though.

SCHUMER: OK.

WALLACE: I mean, ever since...

SCHUMER: Well, you know, sometimes you get criticized the way you criticize us. That's how it is.

WALLACE: That's not the point. The point is that since the debate, Hillary Clinton has been non-stop talking about how Barack Obama isn't tough, and that he was complaining. Bill Clinton said he was whining about the debate.

Now you're making it sound like they haven't said that.

SCHUMER: Well, I didn't say they hadn't said that.

WALLACE: We have two cases here. Are they supposed to believe what you say or what they hear out of their own ears?

SCHUMER: What I am saying here, Chris, is that the fundamental issues of this campaign matter far more than any of these specific little comments.

Obviously, one of the key questions here -- we know that the public at this point prefers the Democratic Party when it comes to foreign policy, when it comes to domestic policy. And we know that the Republicans are going to throw at us these diversionary nasty issues.

How you deal with them is an important issue in this campaign -- not the most important, but an important issue.

But again, 90 percent of what Hillary Clinton has been talking about is how she is going to help the average person in terms of health care, in terms of education, in terms of going after the oil companies to bring down prices.

Listen to one of her speeches in Pennsylvania. That's what 90 percent, 95 percent of it is about. But of course, the media...

WALLACE: I want to move on, Senator.

SCHUMER: ... the media chooses...

WALLACE: I want to move on, Senator, but that clip was taken from a speech this week in Pennsylvania.

SCHUMER: Oh, I know. The media...

WALLACE: But let me move on.

SCHUMER: Wait a second. Let me just finish this point.

WALLACE: Senator, let me move on...

SCHUMER: The media focuses...

WALLACE: ... since we want to talk about...

SCHUMER: The media focuses...

WALLACE: ... other issues. SCHUMER: ... on 5 percent, not on...

WALLACE: Both candidates pledged this week...

SCHUMER: ... the 95 percent.

WALLACE: Senator, I'm going to try to move on, if you'll let me.

SCHUMER: Go ahead.

WALLACE: Both candidates pledged this week not to raise taxes on middle class taxpayers, but both have talked about raising the capital gains tax. In fact, Obama has talked about almost doubling it, from 15 percent to 28 percent.

Senator Durbin, when half the tax returns reporting capital gains come from households making less than $50,000, why isn't that a considerable, substantial, middle class tax increase?

DURBIN: Chris, let me tell you what's happened here under the Bush administration. The economic policies that have brought us this recession have created such terrible income disparity -- the policies that really haven't been sensitive to the increase in costs that American families are facing, policies that really don't understand the trade agreements many times are costing us good-paying jobs right here at home.

Those are policies that are going to change when Barack Obama is in the president's position. And what he said is, "We're going to focus our tax policies on helping those who are in middle income categories, the working families who have been left behind by the Bush administration," and John McCain's embracing that same economic philosophy.

WALLACE: But, Senator, you're not answering -- if I may, sir...

DURBIN: Now, I'm getting right to your...

WALLACE: You're not answering my question, which is...

DURBIN: I'll get to your question. I'm on my way to your question.

WALLACE: ... let's talk specifically about capital gains.

DURBIN: I'm going to tell you...

WALLACE: If 50 percent of the tax returns come from taxpayers, households, making less than $50,000, how can you say that's not a middle class tax increase if you double the capital gains tax? Answer that specific question, sir.

DURBIN: Well, let me tell you, the point I was getting to, Chris, is this. Barack Obama is the first candidate running for president who said he will have a middle class tax cut. He's also said that tax increases will be measured against income, so that people who are in the lower income categories are going to have a better break than they've had under George Bush.

I'll tell you this. He wants to make sure that at the end of the day, working families, middle income families, will pay less in taxes than they are under the Bush-McCain approach to the tax code. That is the difference.

Now, you can pick out any single tax you'd like, but he is looking for the tax burden facing these working families, wants to bring it down so that they can pay for the increased costs of gasoline, and health care, and day care and food.

These are sensitivities that he has based on campaigning across Pennsylvania and all across this country.

WALLACE: Gentlemen, I generally dislike questions about how well candidates have to do in primaries, the margins of victory, but Hillary Clinton is running into some serious math here, and let's take a look at that.

If she and Obama split the 566 delegates still at stake in the remaining contest -- forget about the superdelegates -- then Obama will be within 100 of the number needed to clinch the nomination when all of the contests are done in early June.

So, Senator Schumer, how big a win does Clinton need Tuesday in Pennsylvania?

SCHUMER: Well, look. I think that she's going to do very well in Pennsylvania, and I think she's going to do better than either the polls, which have always underestimated her, or the pundits have stated.

I think she's going to have a strong win in Pennsylvania. I think she's going to win in Indiana. And I think that she has momentum, and you're going to see people saying Hillary Clinton is the best candidate to both beat John McCain -- you look at her. She won Ohio. She's way ahead in the polls in Florida.

My guess is she'll win Pennsylvania by a significant amount. These are the key states that matter.

WALLACE: What's a significant margin? Double digits?

SCHUMER: Well, I'm not going to get into the choosing of numbers here. I think she's going to win by more than people think.

WALLACE: Well, people generally are talking 5 percent. More than that, five points?

SCHUMER: Well, again, as I told you, more than people think.

WALLACE: Well, we don't know what people think.

Senator Durbin, is any victory good enough for Clinton, or does she have to win by a certain kind of margin?

DURBIN: Well, the math is very unforgiving at this point when it comes to delegate counts, and that's what it's all about.

At this point, Senator Clinton needs more than 60 percent of the vote in Pennsylvania. When Barack Obama went into that state -- and he's campaigned in every state. He hasn't been picking and choosing. He's gone in every state.

When he went into Pennsylvania, Senator Clinton had a 60 percent lead over him, and then -- I should say 60 percent total. And then, of course, she had the support of Governor Ed Rendell, who's a terrific organizer and a great Democratic leader.

But if you look at the remaining contests, you understand that the Clinton campaign is running out of real estate. There are only a handful of states left. She needs over 60 percent of the vote in each one of them to catch up with Barack Obama.

WALLACE: So are you setting that as a marker, that she has to get 60 percent of the vote in Pennsylvania?

DURBIN: Well, I'm telling you that if you just do the math of what she needs to catch up with the lead that Barack Obama has put together all across the United States, he has the overwhelming majority of states that he's won. He's won more primaries, more caucuses. He has more elected delegates. He has a higher popular vote. We've campaigned across the country in every state.

And now for Senator Clinton to have a viable chance for the nomination, she needs over 60 percent of the vote in every remaining contest.

WALLACE: So will you say what people think, Senator Schumer? Senator Durbin says that she needs 60 percent. Is she going to beat what that person thinks?

SCHUMER: Well, let me say I think she has momentum. She has shown herself to be really forward and, you know, indefatigable. She falls down and gets right back up. And this race is a neck-and-neck race right now.

Barack Obama has had several chances to put it away. He hasn't. It's very close. I think everyone's watching for two things -- who has the best chance of beating John McCain -- I think that's Hillary Clinton -- and who has the best chance of being a good president.

And I think while both of them would be good presidents, I think that Hillary Clinton has a better chance, and that's what the public is focusing on. That's why she keeps moving forward, and that's why this race is neck and neck.

In Pennsylvania she's ahead even though Obama has spent about 2.5 times what she has on television.

WALLACE: Senator, we're going to have to leave it there. Senator Schumer, Senator Durbin, thank you both so much. It's always interesting. And we'll see how the world turns on Tuesday night.

SCHUMER: Thanks.

DURBIN: Thanks a lot.

WALLACE: Up next, is the bitter Democratic race handing Republicans a big advantage? We'll break it down with Karl Rove when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)










WALLACE: For a closer look at what to expect in Pennsylvania and the general election, we turn to the architect of two presidential election victories and now Fox News analyst Karl Rove.

And, Karl, welcome back.

ROVE: Great to be here.

WALLACE: Two days out from the Pennsylvania primary, how do you see things going Tuesday night both in terms of the geography of the state and the demographics?

ROVE: Yes. Well, James Carville famously once said Pennsylvania consisted of Philadelphia in the east and Pittsburgh in the west and Alabama in between. This is the so-called "T." It doesn't look like a "T," but that green area is called "The T" in Pennsylvania.

There'll be 3.8 million, 3.9 million registered Democrats. Only registered Democrats can participate in the primary, so we're likely to have half or more of those people turn out to vote.

About one-fifth of them are down in Philadelphia, 750,000 Democrats. Philadelphia itself is roughly equal African American and white population. This is going to be a strength area for Obama. How big and how well he does among African Americans on Tuesday night we ought to watch.

About 14 percent of the voters are in Allegheny County, which is Pittsburgh. They're blue-collar Democrats, much smaller African American percentage. About 27 percent of the citizens of Pittsburgh are African American.

Then you have the Philadelphia suburbs, which are these four counties outside of Philadelphia, and they are socially liberal Democrats, about 600,000 of them.

You have almost a million in cities around the state like Erie, and Scranton, and Wilkes-Barre and Harrisburg, industrial towns by and large. And then finally, what's interesting is you have over a million registered Democrats in small-town Pennsylvania, in 50 counties. These are culturally conservative people who live in rural and small- town Pennsylvania that were the -- I guess sort of the focal point of Obama's comments.

WALLACE: Well, and let me ask you about that, because some liberal commentators say that Clinton has been using the Rove play book going after Obama on values like guns and religion. Does what you've have heard from her the last week sound familiar?

ROVE: Well, it's not exactly what I would have done, but, I mean -- and look. There are Democrats who are troubled by some of the things that Obama says. And why she has not made this an issue earlier, particularly framing it up as an issue that would be raised in the general election and what's his answer now, has eluded me.

For example, he very early on made the comment about true patriotism consists not on wearing a flag lapel pin but speaking out on issues. You can be a true patriot and speak out on issues and wear a flag lapel pin.

He was sort of questioning the patriotism of people who might put on a flag lapel pin but disagree with his opinions.

WALLACE: Now, Obama -- and we saw this in the debate and we've seen it ever since -- has gone back to playing the new politics card and saying that all of this are the political distractions, the game playing, of the old Washington.

Does that work? Is that effective?

ROVE: I think it would work more effectively if he were not himself reflective of the old Washington politics. We've seen him go after both Senator McCain and Senator Clinton in ways that even the media have come to say was fundamentally unfair.

I think if you step back for a minute, the narrative that's happened over the last four months since his win in Iowa to today is that he's become more of an ordinary politician, more of an ordinary Washington politician, a member of the United States Senate, not this aspirational and inspiring figure that he was during that period in November, December and January.

WALLACE: And can he recapture that brand as he's trying to do right now?

ROVE: Well, I don't think he can recapture it between now and the end of the primary season, because he is in a battle and it's sort of hard to get out of that particular battle.

But can he reposition himself for the general election? Yes. Let's see how well he does when he tries.

WALLACE: All right. Let me play the margin game with you I was trying to play with the two senators. How well does Clinton have to do? Is it enough for her to win, or given that unforgiving delegate map does she have to win by a certain margin to establish at least some momentum?

ROVE: Well, Senator Durbin was correct. From here on out, she needs to win just about 59.8 percent of the delegates -- of the 898 delegates who have yet to be elected. She has to win just under 60 percent of them in order to secure the nomination.

So she's got a stiff -- you know, a really steep hill to climb, yes.

WALLACE: Well, OK. But she doesn't need -- she's not going to get 60 percent of the vote.

ROVE: Oh, no, she's not going to get 60 percent. The polls are pointing to a -- right today, roughly would point to a six-point victory for her, which would mean that she would win 84 delegates to the 74 delegates of Obama and have roughly -- pick up about 10 delegates.

WALLACE: Is that enough for her?

ROVE: You know, it's better than nothing, but again, you've got to be winning 60 percent someplace in order to get there, either 60 percent in these primaries or more than 60 percent among the superdelegates who have yet to express an opinion.

WALLACE: All right. One of the big issues in the Democratic race is electability. And we're fortunate here at Fox News. You've been putting together these electoral maps. And let's put one of them up on the screen.

These are recent public state polls, state by state, and then you then assign states, red obviously being Republican, blue being Democrat.

This is Obama versus McCain, and you have McCain at 261 electoral votes there, which is just nine short of the majority he needs to get elected president. This, of course, is a snapshot in time. But that's up 20 for McCain from three weeks ago.

ROVE: Right. Look, if you take a look at all the -- either the individual state polls or the Gallup tracking poll, the last month or five -- you know, five weeks have been good for Senator McCain.

And look. We are several geological ages away from the fall election, so nobody should take this as determinative of how the election's going to turn out. But this race is far more competitive at this point than I suspect either the Democrats are comfortable with or that McCain would expect it to be.

He should be way behind at this point. He secured the nomination, dropped off the front page with two very, you know, strong Democrat candidates who are emphasizing, both of them in their own way, change, both of them willing to say Bush-McCain in the same sentence a lot of times, and yet McCain is hanging in there with both of them in the polls.

WALLACE: You say that it's been good for McCain, but let's take a look at the Clinton-McCain map, which is different. You now have McCain at 214 electoral votes against her. That's down 48 for McCain from three weeks ago.

ROVE: Right.

WALLACE: You have some states, toss-up states like Washington and Oregon there I see in the northwest, that were for McCain and now you have them -- yes, they were for McCain and against Clinton, and now you have them as toss-ups.

ROVE: Right. Yes, that's interesting. But even more important than that is the industrial Midwest. For example, McCain carries Ohio against Obama, but not against Clinton.

Clinton is able to keep together blue collar Democrats who, if she's not the nominee, defect to McCain. And so she, in an odd way, is sort of firming up the Democrat base, making her more comfortable in states like Ohio.

Obama is able to contest states like New Mexico and Colorado. He's in better shape in those states than Clinton is.

WALLACE: Looking at that poll and everything else -- her high unfavorabilities, his agent of change but also he's made some gaffs -- right now -- and I understand it's -- as you say, it's a long time till November -- who do you think is the stronger Democratic candidate, Obama or Clinton?

ROVE: You know, I've tried to avoid answering that question, because it focuses your mind on the wrong thing, which is which one do you beat. But I do think that each one of them has their strength and weakness.

She is a more durable candidate who's better known and tougher to move. On the other hand, Obama is the untested candidate and can either perform extremely well as he did in Iowa, or extremely badly as he did in the debate last week.

I would have to say that I think that on points, I'd give it to Clinton, but not by much.

WALLACE: OK. Let's turn to another issue, the vice president, because people are -- perhaps because there isn't much going on on the Republican side, starting to talk about possible running mates for John McCain.

We asked you. You came up with these four, and let's take a look at them. There they are. That's Mitt Romney, Governors Pawlenty of Minnesota and Charlie Crist of Florida, and former congressman and Bush budget director Rob Portman of Ohio.

How do you handicap that race right now? ROVE: Well, first of all, this is a big presidential decision. It's the first presidential decision that any candidate, Democrat or Republican, makes, even before they get elected president. So they need to make it seriously.

I picked those four as sort of representatives of the kinds of areas that McCain has got to be looking at. Romney represents the people who ran in the primary. And he is probably, of the people who ran in the primary, the most plausible.

Pawlenty represents sort of -- you know, sort of more experienced people who have been around. He's a two-term governor of Minnesota.

Crist represents sort of newer faces. He's been governor for only two years, but he's a big battleground state.

And then sort of an out-of-the-box choice, you know, Rob Portman represents a battleground state, Ohio, with a varied record, respected member of Congress, very strong on economic matters, very strong on trade, for example, which is going to be a flashpoint in the general election.

WALLACE: Now, I notice you didn't mention another name that's getting a lot of attention, Condoleezza rice. Do you think it would be a mistake for McCain to name somebody who is so closely tied to the Bush administration?

ROVE: Well, I don't think that question even needs to be asked. I had dinner with Condi, who is a close friend. And I said to her during the course of dinner -- I said, "I've got some friends in Congress who want to go out there and boost your name for vice president, and I've been holding them back and discouraging them from doing so," and she said, "Tell them no."

I mean, look. She has no interest in elective office. She wants to return to Stanford. She's got a couple interesting careers. And the only election that Condi Rice would like to participate in is the election for NFL commissioner, and that's not available.

WALLACE: Finally, should McCain name his running mate sooner or later?

ROVE: He needs to keep a little bit of -- first of all, this will take some time. If you do it right, it takes a lot of time, because you have to vet these people. You have to go into every nook and cranny of their life.

I mean, you know, this is the YouTube era, and it's the culture of the visual, and it's the Google era. And everything that they have done will come out. So you need to very carefully vet it and understand the strengths and weaknesses of the record.

The second thing is you need to keep something exciting for a time when nothing else -- nobody else will be wanting to pay attention to you. So it strikes me that you either make this decision and announce it in late July or early August, at a time when we are going to be looking for ways to draw attention to you, or you save it for the convention.

The Republican convention, our convention, is the first week of September, so that's awful late. That's eight or nine weeks before the election. My gut tells me they'll probably end up doing something in late July or early August.

WALLACE: Karl, thank you. We're going to leave it there, but we'll be back together on Tuesday night to cover the Pennsylvania primary.

ROVE: Looking forward to it. The "T."

WALLACE: Me, too, the "T," the Pennsylvania "T." Thank you, sir.

Coming up, Pope Benedict comes to the U.S. We'll look at his emotional trip today to Ground Zero. Back with our Sunday group in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)










WALLACE: And that is Ground Zero in New York City where Pope Benedict is making an emotional visit to the site of the former World Trade Center towers to pay tribute to the thousands of people who died there on 9/11.

And it's time now for our Sunday group -- Brit Hume, Washington managing editor of Fox News, and Fox News contributors Nina Easton of Fortune magazine, Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard, and Juan Williams from National Public Radio.

Well, it has been an extraordinary mission to America for the pope -- big crowds, a number of indelible moments. And let's start with the pope at Ground Zero this morning -- his prayer not only for the victims and their families but also that people whose hearts are filled with hatred will turn to love.

Brit, your feelings about the significance of this particular part of the pope's trip.

HUME: My sense about this pope is that he turned out to have something we might not have fully recognized. He had the reputation before this as being kind of the enforcer, the tough guy in the church hierarchy.

And he turns out to have about him sort of a beatific sweetness that I think is enormously important for a religious leader, that you're drawn to him. You feel a need to be around him.

And when he was doing the mass here in Washington, afterwards when he was working his way through the crowd and the way he kissed a baby, there was no loss of dignity in any of that.

But there was a tremendous sense of his kindness and of the message always which permeates the Christian faith of forgiveness.

I also think, Chris, that he did about as much as he could on this trip to address the stain that lingers on the church from the pedophilia scandal. He was stern about it. And he said, perhaps most importantly of all, that the church needed to have good priests, not necessarily many priests. That's a strong statement when you stop and think about it.

EASTON: You know, that term "beatific sweetness" -- I think you captured it, because I was trying to find the right adjectives for his speech, particularly -- his sermon particularly at the -- here in Washington.

I think this entire week is a landmark moment for the church. For those of us who grew up in the church, for those of us who know victims of this pedophilia scandal, it's been a long time coming. I remember in detail the state investigation coming out of Massachusetts, the details of the abuse.

And when he arrived -- even before he arrived on the plane, he said -- and in stark contrast to the Vatican's silence on this, he said he's deeply ashamed of this whole scandal.

When he came here to Washington to the stadium -- in his sermon, he talked about the importance of protecting children. You know, even these grown adults now -- he referred to them as children of sexual abuse, victims of sexual abuse.

And then he met with victims, which was a huge moment, and I think if there is a potential for renaissance of the American church, which has been facing, you know, a decline in -- priest shortages, decline in priests, and closing of parishes and so on, I think this has the potential of reinvigorating the church here.

WALLACE: You know, it's interesting, Bill, because when he made his comments on the plane coming over, some people thought, "Well, he's gone through the motions. He's checked off that box."

But no, at almost every public appearance, meeting with church officials, with priests, with religious -- in the public at these mass prayer services, masses at the National Stadium, and then of course, most powerfully, in his private meeting with five victims, he's talked over and over again about the tremendous pain that this caused the victims of the priest abuse and the tremendous shame that he personally feels.

Do you think that's done something, one, to repair the damage to the church and, two, obviously, the terrible pain of the victims and their families?

KRISTOL: I guess I think he's saying what he believes. You know, he's sincere, and it's impressive. The Catholic Church has had two very impressive popes in a row.

They've had a very good 30 years, I've got to say, and that college of cardinals is doing a very good job of selecting popes. Maybe they should branch out and do some stuff for other leaders, you know?

I mean, John Paul II and Benedict are just...

WALLACE: During the Pennsylvania primary...

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: Well, that's fine. That would be fine with me, you know? You know, they're just two -- leave aside, you know -- I mean, they're just two extremely impressive individuals -- moral stature, very intellectual, seriousness and education, political courage, certainly in the case of John Paul II and I would say in the case of Benedict. It's impressive.

WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, to me, you know, I'll leave the religious thinking to you guys, but on the politics of his visit, I thought he was very impressive.

On immigration, I think he made a very clear statement. Some want to say it's because he's supportive of immigration and family reunification in this country because the Catholic Church is being fueled by immigrants and the increasing number of immigrants who are Catholics.

And on the issue of the treatment of people who are detainees, again he came out and said, "You know what? You've got to respect human rights no matter whose human rights it might be."

And finally, also again related to the terror issue, when it came to developing countries, he made it very clear that you cannot continue to have this class stratification in which poor countries are denied opportunity and people don't have the opportunity for economic growth.

He said, "That's going to simply create more terrorists." I just thought that was a strong political message and should not be lost.

EASTON: But he also, as part of his political message, talked about the materialism and secularism of this country and the relativism, you know, on values.

So he had -- there was a very traditional conservative side to his message as well.

WALLACE: Let me just go back to Ground Zero, though, and this message -- you know, one of the other things that we haven't talked as much about is that he's reached out repeatedly to other religions.

And here he is at Ground Zero reaching out to religious extremists and saying, "Turn your hatred, your hearts that are filled with hatred, and turn it to love."

Do you expect any response at all from the Muslim world, Brit?

HUME: Well, some, possibly. Look. Christianity, despite what some people believe, is the fastest growing faith in the world. That's not all Catholic. But in places like Africa, Christianity is booming.

And to the extent that the pope, as a critical and the most visible moral leader in the Christian faith, is seen doing these things and stating these messages, who knows whom it might touch?

Who knows who may be swayed by this message instead of the message they're hearing from Islam, young people in particular across a continent where the effort has clearly been made to try to recruit people into Islamic fundamentalism and extremism? WALLACE: Let me ask you about that in terms of the popular response, Nina. The conventional wisdom was, "Well, this guy can't, you know, fill the enormous shoes of John Paul," who was such a towering religious figure but also a towering popular figure.

One of the things that has struck me is the size of the crowds and the enthusiasm of the crowds. You see young people screaming with delight, almost like a rock star, as they see the pope pass by. Are you surprised by that? And what do you think is the reason?

EASTON: I was surprised by that. My poor mother was on the White House lawn and couldn't get a glimpse of him because it was the largest arrival ceremony in the history of the White House.

I mean, it was huge. I was struck. At Yankee stadium it's going to be 56,000. Here it was 46,000 in the stadium. Huge crowds, enormous enthusiasm, flights full of people flying in from, you know, the West Coast, all over the country, full of young people as well.

WALLACE: And why do you think that is?

EASTON: I think there's a yearning. I think there's a yearning. There is in this country always that spiritual yearning that he has managed to touch. And I actually have to say I was struck because we hadn't really been exposed to him on this level yet, and there was still that outpouring.

And I think -- again, I think it's a potential -- there'll be a trickle effect. I think there will be a ripple effect. I think this will -- his words -- and people were drawn to him watching him on T.V., not just seeing him in person. I think it's going to -- it's going to have an impact.

WALLACE: All right. We're going to take a quick break here.

But coming up, we move from the pope to the fight to the finish in Pennsylvania. Does Hillary Clinton have to win or win big to keep her campaign going? We'll get some answers in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: On this day in 1972, Apollo 16 landed on the moon after problems with an engine almost aborted the mission. Apollo 16 was the 15th to land on the moon and the first to land in the Lunar Highlands.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: This is not a throwaway election. This is one of the most important elections we've ever faced.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We won't just win in Pennsylvania. We will win all across this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: That was Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama making their closing statements to the voters of Pennsylvania.

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

Well, we've been talking about this race for weeks.

Bill, now with just two days to go, how do you rate? How do you figure? How do you read the race in Pennsylvania?

KRISTOL: I think Clinton is going to win. I think she might win pretty comfortably.

WALLACE: What's pretty -- you sound like Schumer.

KRISTOL: I know. Like in Ohio, eight points, 10 points, I think, strong enough to keep on going, which I certainly once again encourage her to do and say how much I admire her toughness and her grit.

I actually do admire her toughness and her grit, incidentally. And I actually think it's a little bit offensive for all these people to be telling her to get out of the race. And I think she's going to beat him again in a major state.

WILLIAMS: Yes, I think she...

WALLACE: How do you read Pennsylvania?

WILLIAMS: Yes, I think she wins in Pennsylvania. I don't know -- you know, it's interesting. If you look at the tracking polls right now, she has the momentum. She's the one that -- but you know what? At the same time, he's been a terrific campaigner. He's gotten these large crowds. He excites young people.

But I think the whole argument about electability is very much in play. The superdelegates aren't persuaded at the moment one way or the other, especially after Barack Obama's very weak performance in that debate, where she focused on electability.

But nonetheless, I think people are looking at things like what's going on with John McCain. John McCain is running very well. I'm astounded that any Republican could be doing this well at this point. And that throws up the question, "Well, who is the better candidate?"

You just heard Karl Rove say he would actually say that Mrs. Clinton is the better candidate. I think Mrs. Clinton may take that out as an ad very shortly, because people all over are questioning whether or not all these issues that circle around Barack Obama suggest some weakness.

WALLACE: Brit, what about this margin game? Does Clinton have to -- is any win enough, or does she have to win by a certain number?

HUME: My sense is that the margin is less important than we may say in the media that it is, because I don't think that her winning Pennsylvania by a big or small margin -- the delegate count won't change all that much as long as he makes at least a respectable showing.

She also has a chance to win in Indiana and gain a little ground. He'll probably win North Carolina. And so we kind of bump along here toward a conclusion in which he remains ahead in pledged delegates and probably ahead in the popular vote. That's not where her chance lies.

I think her chance lies with the superdelegates and lies in the possibility that there may be more Obama pratfalls and revelations that will tell us more about him, that he is a man, perhaps, who hasn't done any of the hard things that would need to be done for him to be what he claims he is -- you know, post-partisan and a unifier and so on.

And you know, a few more statements like the one he made at the fundraiser in California and you've got a candidate about whom the superdelegates will be even more worried than they are.

WALLACE: But, Nina, let me ask you about that, because we talked with the two senators about the superdelegate -- or the delegate map, which does get pretty unforgiving.

If it ended up kind of 50-50, if you split the remaining 566 delegates in the actual races until June, the fact is that he'll be within 100 votes of clinching at the end of the process in early June. Can you deny him the nomination at that point?

EASTON: At the end of the day, the math still favors Barack Obama. And you know, Hillary -- there's two things going on here. There's the race for superdelegates, but there's also the race for the popular vote.

So if she wins by these large margins in the next three states, it's conceivable, according to our favorite mathematician here at Fox, Michael Barone, that she could win the popular vote, and then she can make her case to the superdelegates.

But meanwhile, he continues to pick up superdelegates. And what really struck me about -- he had a really bad week. And what struck me about going into Pennsylvania -- he had a really bad week. She knocked him off his game and continues to knock him off his game by saying he wasn't tough in that debate.

I mean, she continued to dig in, saying -- and I thought that was even more powerful than raising his past associations -- was for her to say, "Well, if you can't handle it in a debate, quit whining. How are you going to handle it in the White House?" I thought that was incredibly effective.

And yet you see the blowback among Barack Obama supporters. They released that tape of Hillary Clinton at the fundraiser in which she's attacking a big portion of the Democratic base, the activist base, MoveOn and so on.

You see the media largely coming to his side. Every time she attacks, there's such a blowback from the Obama camp, it's hard for her to make head way.

HUME: Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos found out about that this week, didn't they?

WALLACE: Let me ask you about this question as to who has the momentum, Bill. The Gallup organization -- and let's put up this poll -- has been doing a daily tracking poll every day, and it's a three- day rolling average.

And as you can see there, Obama's at the top, Clinton's at the bottom. He's had for a month a big lead, and just yesterday, for the first time in a month, Clinton actually beat him. Now, the margin is not significant, but the trend lines there -- there are.

You can see that she has really closed the gap with him in the last month, and particularly those numbers get -- the lines get sharper since the debate, so that would seem to indicate that Clinton has the nomination.

But yet as Nina points out, Bill, he continues to pick up more superdelegates than she does.

KRISTOL: Yes. She's not going to win the nomination unless something huge happens. I mean, he's going to be ahead, and the superdelegates are not going to overturn the verdict of the pledged delegates.

They are not going to cause a civil war in the Democratic Party and have, you know, hundreds of thousands of people in the streets of Denver saying, "The nomination was stolen from Barack Obama." The great myth of some in the media is that the superdelegates like the Clintons or would like to be for the Clintons. That's not true. A lot of them resent the Clintons.

The Clintons were here in the '90s. They lost Congress in 1994. They had grievances with the Clintons from the White House, the way all politicians do. They didn't get jobs they wanted. Their friends didn't get jobs, et cetera.

The superdelegates, I think -- assuming it goes as expected in the next month, the superdelegates on June 4th, the day after the final vote, will rally to Obama. He'll have 55 superdelegates endorse him, and it will end.

She really needs to blow him out over the next few weeks. She needs to win Pennsylvania and, I think, you know, win everything, basically, to really get the sense that the Obama candidacy is collapsing. Otherwise, he'll be the nominee.

WILLIAMS: You know what strikes me...

KRISTOL: She can still be the vice presidential nominee, though, and I think she has a good -- I want to just say, she has a good claim on that.

And it would be an insult to her and to her millions of supporters not to offer her the -- she will have gotten 15 million votes. What's the rationale for not having an Obama-Clinton ticket? Don't you think he needs to offer it to her? She'll take it, and that will be interesting.

WALLACE: That's the kiss of death, isn't it?

WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know about the kiss of death. I think you're snickering. But you know what? Democrats like both of these candidates, in all honesty. And you know what? They would like to see some kind of reconciliation that would allow people on both sides to come together and support the ticket.

What strikes me is that when you talk about the superdelegates and the conversations going on there is it is a real surprise to me. Going in a year ago, I would have said to you, "It's the Democratic political machine that's going to bolster Hillary Clinton."

But if you look back now, Bill Richardson being the most prominent one, but others like the Kennedys defecting and leaving the Clintons -- I just didn't understand the deep well of resentment toward the Clintons that existed at the highest levels of the Democratic Party.

WALLACE: Interesting to see all of these members of the Clinton cabinets -- I think there are about a half dozen now, the most recent one being Robert Reich, who knows the Clintons from the 1960s when he and Bill Clinton were Rhodes scholars -- and they've all turned against the Clintons. WILLIAMS: Well, and in the midst of this -- and this plays to what Bill was snickering about a minute ago -- John McCain goes along his happy way.

KRISTOL: Snicker?

WILLIAMS: Yes, you're up to...

KRISTOL: Chuckling. Chuckling is the word I would say.

WILLIAMS: You're up to mischief.

But you know, John McCain, it seems to me, this week gave the speech on the economy. He says he wants to keep the Bush tax cuts. You know, he wants to go forward with the president's policy in Iraq.

I think, gosh, it's unbelievable to me what's going on with John McCain. But it's going to come a point when you have Clinton or Obama out there, and then we'll see what happens. But right now you've got to say John McCain is appealing to people in a way that's unbelievable.

HUME: And he's being helped in that, Chris, I think, by the revelations about Barack Obama, who remains, as Bill and Nina suggested, the likely nominee.

And I think that conservatives see that -- they listen to Barack Obama speaking in what seems like unknown tongues about the capital gains tax this week, something that matters to conservatives, and I think it is helping -- Barack Obama is helping John McCain with his base in ways that perhaps he could not.

WALLACE: Well, don't you think Hillary Clinton would also be sure fire for the Republican base? I mean, if there's anybody that animates Republicans, it's Hillary Clinton, no?

EASTON: Yes. No, obviously, she...

HUME: Yes, but she's not -- she doesn't look like she's the one, though, at the moment, so...

EASTON: Yes.

HUME: ... how much of a factor can she be, really?

WALLACE: And, Bill, we've got about 30 seconds left. Her negatives are so high -- I mean, we saw the dishonesty -- or people who think that she's untrustworthy up at 59 percent, her unfavorables over 50 percent.

I mean, is her only hope just to slam Obama?

KRISTOL: Yeah, absolutely. And that's why most of her ads up in Pennsylvania are negative ads. She's being outspent 3-1 on the air by Obama.

WALLACE: All right. Got to go. Thank you for the quick answer.

Thank you, panel. See you next week.

Time now for some mail about the "Obama Watch."

John Gleason from Grand Rapids, Michigan writes, "Wow. So Senator Obama will not go on the Chris Wallace Sunday show. However, Senator Obama claims if elected he would have a meeting with the president of Iran. It seems Chris Wallace is more fearful than Iran's prosecute. Mr. Wallace, you must be one tough guy to face."

But S.L. Young of Clinton, Maryland disagrees. "The 'Obama Watch' proves to America that President Obama will not be bullied or intimidated by his enemies, foreign or domestic."

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

Up next, we go "On the Trail," but first, we want to note once again we invited Senator Obama to answer some questions this week, and once again he declined, so the "Obama Watch" rolls on, 765 days and still counting.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: In the final countdown to Pennsylvania, the attacks keep getting sharper as the stakes keep getting higher. It has been a week to remember "On the Trail."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: But I think his comments were elitist and divisive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: It may be that I chose my words badly. It's not the first time. It won't be the last. But when I hear my opponents, both of whom spent decades in Washington, saying I'm out of touch, it's time to cut through the rhetoric and look at the reality.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: It wasn't just me responding to them. It was people who heard them, people who felt as though they were aimed at their values, their quality of life, the decisions that they have made.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The problem that we have in our politics, which is fairly typical, is that you take one person's statement, if it's not properly phrased, and you just beat it to death. And that's what Senator Clinton's been doing over the last four days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: She was taking every opportunity to get a dig in there. That's her right, to kind of twist the knife a little bit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

B. CLINTON: They've been beating up on her for 15 months. I didn't hear her whining when he said she was untruthful in Iowa.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MURTHA: ... it's no old man's job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: I guess Congressman Murtha will have to speak for himself and his own condition.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT: There's no one in this theater who can fix the mess we're in?

CLINTON: Let me handle this. Try toggling the input.

STEPHEN COLBERT: OK.

Senator Obama! Won't Senator Clinton be happy that she fixed our screen?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: And be sure to see how it all turns out Tuesday night when Brit anchors our coverage from America's election headquarters starting just before 8:00 p.m. eastern. 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.

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