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Senators Feinstein and Bond on "Fox News Sunday"

Senators Feinstein and Bond on "Fox News Sunday"

By Fox News Sunday - September 27, 2009

WALLACE: I'm Chris Wallace and this is "FOX News Sunday."

Global flash points -- Iran secretly expands its nuclear program. Afghanistan, where the top U.S. commander wants reinforcements. And here in the U.S., a serious terror plot is uncovered.

We'll examine all of them with the chair and vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Republican Christopher Bond.

Then, the key race for governor of Virginia. Has the November election become a referendum on the Democrats' control of Washington? We'll sit down with Republican candidate Bob McDonnell.

Plus, how did the president do on the world stage? We'll ask our Sunday panel -- Perino, Liasson, Krauthammer and Williams.

And our Power Player of the Week, the young man behind those undercover ACORN videos, all right now on "FOX News Sunday."

And hello again from Fox News in Washington. With new developments this week from Iran to Afghanistan to homeland security, we're joined by the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the chairman, Dianne Feinstein , and vice chair, Christopher Bond.

And, Senators, welcome back to "FOX News Sunday."

BOND: Thank you, Chris.

WALLACE: Let's start with Iran and the disclosure that it has been building a secret nuclear enrichment facility.

Let me start with you, Senator Feinstein. How strong is the evidence that this is to provide fuel for a bomb? And how sure are we that there aren't other secret facilities in Iran?

FEINSTEIN: Well, the evidence is strong that there was -- that there is such a facility, that it's capable of about 3,000 various -- oh, I've lost the word.

WALLACE: Centrifuges.

FEINSTEIN: -- centrifuges. We don't know that it's for enrichment to HEU precisely...

WALLACE: Highly enriched uranium.

FEINSTEIN: Yes. But we've known it's been there. I think what the three countries have done -- the United States, United Kingdom, France -- is a very straightforward charge to Iran to sit down this next week, to be open to negotiate a solution and to do so.

And I think this is the moment of decision for Iran. Iran can either make itself a pariah, or it can recognize that it has much more to gain by eliminating any potential military aspects of a nuclear program and seeing that all peaceful aspects of a nuclear program are carefully inspected and supervised. WALLACE: Let me follow up on that, if I can, with you, Senator Bond, because just this morning the Iranians have test-fired two short-range missiles, which seems to be another provocation.

Now, the U.S. -- as Senator Feinstein said, the U.S. and our allies are going to meet with the Iranians Thursday to try to get them to stop their nuclear program or face economic sanctions.

How confident are you that even if we can get the Russians and the Chinese on board for sanctions that the Iranians will stand down, that they'll stop their nuclear program, especially in light of this new provocation?

BOND: First, I -- we have seen now Iran three times lied to us about what they were doing. They've been caught in bald-faced lies.

Now, the facility they've set up potentially could be for peaceful purposes. But why was it so heavily guarded? Why was it surrounded by the elite Iranian Republican Guard? Why did they deny its existence?

Today's action in firing the missiles is really a poke in the eye to those who think that diplomatic efforts and agreements and inspections are going to change the way that Iran is going.

I think, as the "Show-Me State" senator, they've shown us enough, much of it through speeches by Ahmadinejad saying, "We're going to wipe Israel off the face of the earth." He has launched the missiles to show that they are taking seriously their threat.

WALLACE: So are you saying you don't think sanctions are going to work?

BOND: Oh, I think sanctions -- we have to have sanctions, and we have to have sanctions -- strong sanctions, economic sanctions that can force either regime change or the ayatollahs to change their policy.

I'm a co-sponsor of a measure by Senator Lieberman to give the power to the president to impose sanctions on company -- on tankers taking refined petroleum to Iran. That's something we can do, along with Treasury sanctions. But we need Russia and China -- real question whether they will actually go along.

WALLACE: Let me take this another way, Senator Feinstein. Defense Secretary Gates says that even if we launched a military strike, he thinks it would only buy us one to three more years, buy us a little more time, but only a couple of years, if Iran is determined to continue its nuclear program.

Do you share Secretary Gates' pessimism about the effectiveness of military action?

FEINSTEIN: I do. We have been told that specifically. And I think you can slow it down. Whether you can stop it or not entirely, I think, is unknown. The facilities are in several different places. Some are hardened, underground, in tunnels.

You'd have to have a ground operation as well as a military operation, and that's very difficult to do. It would be an attack on a...

WALLACE: You mean troops on the ground in addition to...

FEINSTEIN: Yes...

WALLACE: ... to an air strike.

FEINSTEIN: ... I think so, to get into some of them, to really penetrate them, so -- that's not to say that a nation can't try to stop it. It is to say that it is a much better alternative to sit down and negotiate.

There's nothing positive for Iran becoming a military nuclear power for any country in the world. It becomes a major pariah, a major threat, and I think in the Middle East it creates enormous and potentially catastrophic consequences.

WALLACE: Let me turn, if we...

BOND: Well, I would agree with that. And I think that the election riots and the continuing unrest in Iran shows that there's a significant body of Iranian people who don't like the direction that they're going.

And that's why I think that strong economic sanctions, which have to be applied by the world community, not just us -- we can make an impact -- are the best way to go.

Nobody wants to see us use military power but, as Senator Feinstein said, a nuclear-armed Iran would be a disaster for the world.

WALLACE: Let's turn to Afghanistan, where we learned this week that the president's -- President Obama's commander on the ground, General McChrystal, is warning that if he doesn't get more troops, our mission there will likely result in failure.

But the White House is saying not so fast. I want to take you both, Senators, back to six months ago today when the president made this announcement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Today I'm announcing a comprehensive new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. We have a clear and focused goal to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Senator Bond, now, just six months later, President Obama says he wants another strategy review, at least -- we learned today from the national security adviser, at least five meetings over several weeks, no deadline, and that in the end he may reject his commander's urgent request.

Senator Bond, is that being flexible or being indecisive?

BOND: I'm afraid it's being indecisive. I supported President Obama very strongly when he came out six months ago and when he gave General McChrystal the charge to launch a full-blown counterinsurgency strategy like the one we launched -- finally launched successfully under General Petraeus in Iraq. It brought us to the progress we have seen.

Dithering right now and delaying troops, as General McChrystal -- and I spent a wonderful Saturday afternoon reading his assessment, which is very thorough, and he lays out the fact that we need resources, troops, now, because the next nine to 12 months will be decisive.

We are not going to get the Afghan national security forces built up in that time. We need to move their training forward. But we have to have troops...

WALLACE: I have to -- you said dithering. Is that what you believe the president's doing?

BOND: I'm afraid that for some reason he is -- he has the answer that he asked -- the question he asked of General McChrystal. It is here. It is clear. It is in great detail, outlines a full range of things, why we need troops.

We need troops now. And he said if we fail to provide that assistance now, it will be too late.

WALLACE: Senator Feinstein, I want to play a clip from Secretary of State Clinton this week where she was asked about and discussed Senator -- or, rather, General McChrystal's request for more troops. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: There are other assessments from, you know, very expert military analysts who have worked in counterinsurgencies that are the exact opposite.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Now, we're talking about the president's commander on the ground whom he personally assigned to this mission six years ago. Should he just be one of a group of analysts who the president consults on the strategy review?

FEINSTEIN: No, of course not, and he isn't. He has submitted a full-blown counterinsurgency structure, strategy, tactics. I've read it, too. To me, it's a 10-year plan.

I think the president is correct to take his time, to really examine what the alternatives are at this time. True, the Afghanistan strategy so far has not gone well. True, about one-third of Afghanis are now living under some form of Taliban control. That is untenable.

True, there is some nexus between Al Qaida and the Taliban.

True, that represents a threat to the homeland of the United States and, therefore, creates a mission that's important for the United States.

Also true that you have a central government which is unreliable and not very competent in Afghanistan. I'll just leave it at that.

Now, the question comes is there an alternative to this long- term, comprehensive, full-blown counterinsurgency strategy which he has laid out. I hope there is, because I do not believe the American people want to be in Afghanistan for the next 10 years, effectively nation-building, building schools, building a government, doing...

WALLACE: Let me -- let me pick up on this. And I know this is something that you feel very strongly about, Senator. Should General McChrystal be called to testify before Congress? Or should it wait until after the strategy review, which is what Secretary of Defense Gates says?

BOND: We've waited too many months now. And he said it is absolutely critical. I think that General McChrystal has presented a viewpoint that has been thoroughly discussed among all of the people who are on the ground and know what's happening.

I believe, based on all I've learned and all I've heard, anything short of fully resourcing a counterinsurgency strategy with additional troops, a change in philosophy, a change to focus on the local areas...

WALLACE: But why have him testify when the civilian leadership hasn't decided what to do?

BOND: Because we're part of that process as well. And I think the American people deserve to know in a little bit shorter form what he has said.

There are -- there are pundits on the outside who say we can do something different. But let me tell you this. From everything I've heard and everything I've learned, short of a -- the full-blown strategy that McChrystal has outlined -- if we try just shooting at -- shooting at terrorists and going back to the camp, then the Taliban will come back over the border from Pakistan.

They will bring with them their friends in Al Qaida and they will re-establish Taliban control of Afghanistan, which is a disaster for us and the region.

WALLACE: I want to move on to something else, but I just have to ask you to respond quickly. Do you think that Senator -- that General McChrystal should testify before the president has made up his mind? FEINSTEIN: I think it's always useful to hear different points of view. I don't have a problem with that. But look. The president is the commander in chief. He should take his time and do the right thing here, whatever that may be.

I do not believe -- you know, the election in Afghanistan has not been concluded. How it ends, the strength of the central government -- that's very important to the mission. And you know, if Karzai doesn't shape up, a lot of people have questions as to whether anything can really be a success in that country.

WALLACE: Let's -- let me move on. There have been at least three separate terror attacks that have been uncovered here in the U.S. in just the last week. Now, several provisions in the Patriot Act are set to expire at the end of the year.

Senator Bond, is this any time to take weapons away from our agencies that are protecting the homeland?

BOND: Clearly, it's not. And the weapons that are under -- the tools that are under discussion are vitally important tools in discovering and exposing and attacking these terrorist acts.

And you didn't add the one of the North Carolina people who were planning to attack Quantico. So there really have been -- there are four. That shows the existence of American citizens who have been trained in Pakistan who are threatening our country.

And the tools in the Patriot Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that I worked on for the last couple years, are absolutely critical tools now. We must have them. We can't weigh them down with any more delaying procedures.

WALLACE: We've got about a minute left.

Senator Feinstein, I'm going to throw one other thing into the hopper. The White House is now acknowledging they almost certainly are not going to meet their deadline by next January for closing the prison at Guantanamo.

And there is a story today that indicates they are close to making a decision to send some of the detainees, the 223 detainees, to locations here in the U.S. Will Congress allow that?

FEINSTEIN: Well, as you know, I'm one that believes very strongly Guantanamo should be closed, and I believe it can be done.

I'm also one that's somewhat familiar with the prison structure in the United States. And I know that there are maximum security prisons from which no one escapes in the United States, which are isolated from neighborhoods.

And no one is going to put these people in anyone's neighborhood, as some have tried to say.

WALLACE: So you'll be OK with having some of these detainees in California?

FEINSTEIN: Yes. In a maximum security prison, I don't worry about it, provided the prison is set up to accommodate it, and I believe we have facilities that are.

WALLACE: Senator Bond, you get the last word.

BOND: I -- this is one of the areas on which Senator Feinstein and I disagree. I think Guantanamo is the best place to hold these hardened criminals. We don't want to put them in our general prison population where they have and will radicalize other prisoners.

They will draw their friends in Al Qaida to come into the area from the outside. I wouldn't mind seeing them at Alcatraz, but my California friends have minimum amount of high enthusiasm for that.

But if they're sick, they're transferred to the federal Springfield, Missouri medical facility in my state, and my constituents and I think that would be a very bad idea.

WALLACE: Senator Feinstein, Senator bond, I want to thank you both so much for coming in, discussing these very important issues with us. Please come back, both of you.

FEINSTEIN: Thank you very much.

BOND: Just ask. We'll be back. Thank you very much.

WALLACE: All right. We'll do it. It's a date.

Up next, Republican Bob McDonnell discusses his strategy for winning this year's biggest election, the race for governor of Virginia. Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: Joining us now to discuss what may be the most closely watched election this November is Bob McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor of Virginia.

We want to note this summer we sent repeated requests to Mr. McDonnell and his Democratic opponent, Creigh Deeds, to participate in a debate. McDonnell said yes. Deeds repeatedly turned us down.

And so, Mr. McDonnell, welcome to "FOX News Sunday."

MCDONNELL: Thanks, Chris. Pleasure to be on with you.

WALLACE: You have made the economy your top issue, and you are campaigning as a jobs governor.

But your opponent says in your 14 years in the legislature that you never wrote a bill to create jobs and that you voted three times to cut money from the governor's opportunity fund which you now say is the fund you're going to use to build the economy. Your response?

MCDONNELL: Well, it's -- it's just simply not accurate. I've spent a lot of time during my legislative career and as attorney general finding ways to reduce the tax and regulatory burden on folks, to create tax credits for job creation, all of which, I think, contributed positively to the real good economic base that we've got in Virginia.

And I've made a number of proposals, of course, during this campaign to expand the governor's opportunity fund, to promote small business and entrepreneurship, and...

WALLACE: But let me ask you...

MCDONNELL: ... to keep taxes low.

WALLACE: Let me just ask you, if I might, about the opportunity fund...

MCDONNELL: Yeah. Sure.

WALLACE: ... because it is a fact -- we looked it up -- in 2002...

MCDONNELL: Yeah. WALLACE: ... and 2004 you voted three times to cut a total of $16 million out of this governor's opportunity fund, which is an economic incentive and...

MCDONNELL: Right.

WALLACE: ... improving and increasing the economy.

MCDONNELL: Well, there was a different time then. First of all, there were -- those were part of overall budgets, as opposed to individual bills, that we did that in.

Secondly, my opponent voted for reduction of the opportunity fund over the last couple years as well.

But most importantly, Chris, is that times right now are much different. We're in a global competitive environment competing against Carolina, Tennessee, Pacific Rim countries.

We've got to have a lot more aggressive approach to economic development, and that's why now I believe, when I looked at the fact that we've got only a third of the incentives of North Carolina, I believe now we've got to be much more aggressive.

We can't rely on our reputation. That's why I'm very aggressively pursuing not only opportunity fund expansion but any number of other tax credits to be able to get new jobs to Virginia.

WALLACE: Perhaps the biggest problem that Virginia faces now is a decaying transportation infrastructure, and you pledged to fix it without raising any taxes by, among other things, diverting billions of dollars from the state's general fund.

I want to put that up on the screen, because currently, 46 percent of that fund goes to education, 24 percent to health and human resources, and 11 percent to public safety.

Mr. McDonnell, which of those areas are you going to cut to pay for transportation improvements?

 

MCDONNELL: Well, if we do a good job on job creation and economic development, Chris, you don't cut any of them, because you're going to expand the economy.

My opponent's got a very different view. He wants to raise taxes by billions of dollars to add to the budget. I don't. I want to have economic development incentives to grow the economy so that the pie grows and you don't take from one -- one or the other.

His argument is just wrong that I'm stealing from education, because what I plan to do is take about a percent and a half for transportation, because it's a core function of government but, Chris, also to use bonds and public-private partnerships down the road, the monies for privatization of our ABC stores, from offshore drilling.

WALLACE: We should point out those are -- the state actually owns the liquor stores in your state.

MCDONNELL: Right.

WALLACE: But I've got to tell you, you know, I've read a number of reports from both Republican and Democratic newspapers' analyses. They say you can't get here from there. You can't get the billions of dollars you need for state transportation by doing the things that you're saying.

You're going to have to cut other functions or you're going to have to raise revenue.

MCDONNELL: Well, I disagree. I mean, I think governor of -- being a governor takes leadership, and I've been a leader for the Army, and attorney general, in the general assembly for a number of years.

If you stake out a vision and you're strong about these things that need to be done, with public-private partnerships and bonds and general fund direction to transportation, you can get the job done.

Chris, I put a bill together back in 2007 with Republicans and Democrats that got passed. It's going to take that same kind of leadership. My opponent's only solution is to raise billions of new taxes, which is the wrong approach for Virginia. I'm finding other ways to do it without raising taxes.

WALLACE: You enjoyed, according to the polls, a solid lead in this race until...

MCDONNELL: Right.

WALLACE: ... it was revealed that in 1989 you wrote a master's thesis in which you said -- and let's put up some of the things on the screen -- this has obviously been a big issue here in Virginia -- "The new trend of working women and feminism that is ultimately detrimental to the family."

You criticize tax credits for child care. And you even opposed a Supreme Court ruling legalizing birth control for married couples. Mr. McDonnell, isn't that a pretty radical agenda?

MCDONNELL: No. I think those are a couple of quotes out of a 100-page document, Chris, and what the whole purpose of the -- of the thesis was to say, "Look, families are the bedrock of society." And I think there's broad agreement on that, and that government programs should not undermine the family, because that will lead to more government spending for problems that occur when the family's not intact.

Look, it's 20 years ago and some of my views over time have changed. I strongly support women in the workforce. That was one of the criticisms my opponent made. My daughter's been in Iraq. My daughters both work. My wife is working in -- outside of the home.

I mean, those -- those allegations that I think have been inferences from a quote or two out of that old thesis are simply not accurate, and...

WALLACE: But if I may, your opponent says -- I'm going to represent his interests here because he's not here to speak for himself...

MCDONNELL: Yeah.

WALLACE: ... that it isn't just what you wrote 20 years ago when you were age 34 in a master's thesis, that you have followed these as a state legislator. Let's put up an ad that Creigh Deeds is running.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: Bob McDonnell introduced 35 bills to restrict a woman's right to choose. He wants to outlaw abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. And McDonnell opposed birth control for married adults.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: In fact, we checked the record. As a legislator, you voted against a resolution that would have called for ending wage discrimination based on gender.

You voted against extending child care services.

And you voted against extending or requiring health insurance plans to cover birth control. So it's not just the thesis.

MCDONNELL: Well, that's -- you know, Chris, I've had 100,000 votes in the general assembly. As attorney general, 90 percent of the bills that I introduced got passed. My opponent voted for 98 percent of them.

I think you have to look at the entire record. I'm pro-life. I believe the government should protect -- should protect life. My opponent's got a very different view.

I've gotten bills passed like bans on partial birth abortion, parental consent. My opponent's opposed to those. So we do have a different view.

I believe marriage is between one -- or between a man and a woman. He's opposed that constitutional amendment. So we do have some different views.

But, Chris, my time in public service was devoted primarily to public safety initiatives, welfare reform, drunk driving reform, tax reform -- a lot of common-sense things that I think have made our state much better.

So to be able to pick on one or two of those things is just simply not accurate. And the ad has got several errors in it.

In fact, most of the major newspapers in the state have editorialized over the last seven or eight days that many of these ads are just outright lies. They're not honest. They're deceitful. I mean, these are all the major editorial pages in the state.

So I think he's just wrong on most of those contentions, and it's because he's standing with the federal government on card check, cap and trade, unfunded mandates, higher taxes. And I've got a different view, and he doesn't want to talk about those important things.

WALLACE: Well, let's talk about now the race itself. As I said, you enjoyed a solid advantage in the polls, but let's look at the latest polls. And we have here the RealClearPolitics average that shows in the last two weeks your lead over Creigh Deeds, which was much bigger, is now just over four points. What happened?

MCDONNELL: Yeah. Well, but what we're not thinking about is in June I was down by six points when he won the primary. I then went up to 10 to 15. We didn't think either one of those were right. I wasn't down by a lot and I wasn't up by a lot.

This is a state, Chris, where Barack Obama won by seven. Mark Warner won the Senate last year by over 20 points. So it's a competitive state. We've known that for a while. It's a purple state.

For me to be up on the average of 5 points right now with 37 days to go -- we think that's a good position. And the more people look at who's endorsing me, all the business groups, all the pro-free- enterprise groups, all the job creators supporting me, all the national labor unions supporting my opponent, I think people are going to realize I'm the guy that's going to create jobs.

WALLACE: You know, we're talking, obviously, here to a national audience. The Virginia and New Jersey governors' races, which are always held the year after the...

MCDONNELL: Right.

WALLACE: ... presidential election, are always seen, because we're political junkies, as something of a referendum on the president, whether he's new or has been re-elected.

Barack Obama was the first Democrat to win Virginia since 1964. Where do you think he stands now? And do you think President Obama helps you or your Democratic opponent?

MCDONNELL: Well, probably a little of both. And what I've said is look, I'm going to stand for what's right for Virginia, what's good for our job creating environment and what's good for businesses in Virginia.

When the president or the Congress is wrong, I think, on things like card check, and cap and trade, and unfunded mandates, and federalizing the health care system, Chris, I'm going to say as governor that's wrong.

When he's right on things like charter schools and performance pay, I'll say fine.

WALLACE: Do you think his standing in Virginia has dropped in the last 12 months?

MCDONNELL: Oh, absolutely, dramatically, probably 15 points. I think it's about a wash. The last couple of polls I've seen he's averaged about 50.

He's been in for my opponent. I'm sure he'll do more. Our governor, Governor Kaine, is the DNC chairman, so I -- I'm running against them as well as all the national labor unions.

But I really do think that these federal issues, where I am opposed to the intrusions into the free-enterprise system and to these things that will hurt Virginia businesses and families, are wrong, and my opponent's on the wrong side of those, and people are paying attention to that.

WALLACE: We have -- finally, we have about 30 seconds left.

MCDONNELL: Yeah.

WALLACE: Usually, the candidate who's behind wants to debate. The one...

MCDONNELL: Right.

WALLACE: ... who's in front doesn't. As we pointed out, Creigh Deeds refused to appear on this debate, and he's refusing to appear in a lot of other debates.

MCDONNELL: Right.

WALLACE: He's only agreed to two.

MCDONNELL: Right.

WALLACE: Why he's ducking debates?

MCDONNELL: Well, he's agreed to four. We asked him for 10. He repeatedly refused. I think that the issues that are important to the citizens of Virginia, particularly the independent voters, Chris, favor me. It's jobs, it's economy, it's transportation, it's energy.

I've laid out detailed plans. He hasn't. He wants to hike taxes by billions. I want to keep taxes low to be able to promote economic development. I think on those issues where I'm right and he's wrong, he knows that more debates mean more exposure for his weak positions, and that's why he's not here.

WALLACE: Mr. McDonnell, we want to thank you. Thanks for coming in today.

MCDONNELL: Thanks, Chris.

WALLACE: And as if I had to point it out to you, just over five weeks till election day.

MCDONNELL: Can't wait. Thanks, Chris. WALLACE: Coming up, the president goes to the United Nations and the G-20 economic summit. How did he do on the world stage? Our Sunday irregulars give us their thoughts after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: America had acted unilaterally without regard for the interests of others, and this has fed an almost reflexive anti- Americanism which too often has served as an excuse for collective inaction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: That was President Obama telling the U.N. General Assembly this week that multilateralism is a two-way street.

And it's time now for our Sunday panel of Fox News contributors -- former White House press secretary and first-time panelist Dana Perino, Mara Liasson of National Public Radio, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, and Juan Williams, also from National Public Radio.

So the president told the world's leaders this week what he said during the campaign, that he wants to engage with the global community.

Charles, what did the president have to show for his new policy?

KRAUTHAMMER: Right up until now, he has nothing to show. I think he indulged himself in his speech at the General Assembly, which started out as sort of adolescent utopianism and then it went downhill.

He started out saying things like no nation can dominate another. He said no group of nations ought to be above others. Well, what about the Security Council on which he sat the very next day?

And then he said that no -- that alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of the Cold War are senseless. Does that mean that NATO is senseless, that our alliance with Japan is senseless?

What do our allies think when they hear that and when they hear, as we saw in that clip, Obama denigrating his own country and presenting himself as the man who will redeem America from its wickedness?

And he said that those of you who doubt the character of America should look at what we, meaning I, have done in the last eight months, including a bunch of gestures -- including joining the Human Rights Council at the U.N., which is a body which we should take no pride in being on.

I thought it was a sorry performance. It did not advance our interest in the least.

WALLACE: But, Juan, let's talk about specific policies and the question of whether he can get more international buy-in. And specifically, let's talk about Iran, because we did have the president on Friday announcing -- disclosing this new secret Iranian nuclear facility.

And right alongside of him -- there you see in the picture -- you have the prime minister of Britain, the president of France, talking about sanctions by December, a line in the sand. Even the Russians said sanctions may be inevitable. So may there be some more international buy-in to U.S. policies?

WILLIAMS: I don't think there's any question. I mean, to me it was a terrific speech that spoke to this moment in our history. What it said was this is a moment when people have previously had these anti-reflexive U.S. attitudes because of issues like Guantanamo Bay, like torture.

Clearly, they -- President Obama said he has tried to make an effort to join with the world to engage, and now you see a result immediately when you have Dmitry Medvedev, the president of Russia, saying clearly this is a moment of a clear violation by Iran, when you have Sarkozy and Brown standing next to President Obama and you hear them saying things that are even more bellicose than President Obama in terms of the need for Iran to be responsible or face consequences -- a line in the sand, said Gordon Brown.

I mean, to me, this is evidence of a new set of policies that engage the world so that if we have to have greater effort in Afghanistan, for example, we can expect that we will have more of a team effort coming from the world's partners.

WALLACE: Dana, how confident are you -- and as the White House press secretary, you had to deal with this over the last couple of years. How confident are you that this tough talk from the French, from the British, even a little from the Russians, is going to translate into economic sanctions and that it will have an impact in Iran?

PERINO: Well, we better hope that it does, because if not, there could be additional further slippage of these deadlines that come and go and Iran doesn't do anything.

You know, the policy of engagement that President Obama has espoused indicates that there was no engagement before. And every president has to have diplomatic engagement.

And on Iran, we've stood with Germany, everybody else before. Russia has said these things before. And I think what will be key is are they able to force a decision in October. And if there isn't a concession by the Iranians, or if there aren't really tough sanctions, is America going to be prepared to walk away?

WALLACE: Would you be prepared to say, Dana, that if -- and it's a big if because, I agree, there have been speeches before -- but if the world community, and especially Russia, and maybe China, agreed to sanctions, then the policy of engagement would be successful?

PERINO: That would be an important step. They have to be very serious, because we need external and internal pressure building in Iran so that they change their behavior. They need to feel that they are going to be less secure when they're on a path to a nuclear weapon than if they didn't have that path.

WALLACE: Mara?

LIASSON: Yeah, I think what happened this week was significant, not so much for what President Obama -- I don't think the speech he gave is what got our allies to somehow sound tougher on sanctions. It was the discovery of this nuclear site in -- I don't know if I'm pronouncing it right -- Qom.

WALLACE: Qom.

LIASSON: Qom. I think that was a clarifying moment. Now, it was scary and bad because there was something that they were building in secret for all these years.

On the other hand, it did give the White House a potential point of leverage to get Russia, in particular, to seem more open to sanctions than they'd been in the past. Now, we'll see if they -- if it actually comes to that, will they agree to put really tough sanctions on.

But I think what this means is that the policy of engagement now has a different cast. Instead of just talking to them in the hopes that we're going to negotiate Iran out of its nuclear weapons, the policy of engagement has a much more limited time frame.

The president and all the other allies said if they don't come clean by a certain date, we're going to have to do something else more serious. I think engagement is now less open-ended than it was before.

WALLACE: Charles, let me bring up another aspect of the policy of engagement, the Middle East.

The president has tried mightily since he took office to engage with the Palestinians and the Israelis to try to jump-start the peace talks. You can them shaking hands there this week up in New York. So far, nothing.

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, that's because he undermined the idea of negotiations when he came in and decided he would reinvent the world as he does in this issue.

He imposed a demand on the Israelis of a settlement freeze. And the Israelis left, right and center will not accept a freeze, which involves Jerusalem. The president insisted.

And the Palestinians and the Arab states looked at this and said if the Americans are putting these unilateral demands on the Israelis, we are not going to negotiate. Abbas himself, the leader of the Palestinians, was in Washington a few months ago and he said, "We will not lift a finger until Israel complies."

And the reason it's a -- it's a policy that makes no sense is because for 16 years, the Israelis and the Palestinians had negotiated without any preconditions. All of a sudden Obama imposes this, and negotiations have stopped.

What happened in New York this week is that the Obama administration caved in and has now abandoned this precondition. The Israelis are ready to negotiate and the Palestinians are still holding out wanting the freeze on settlements, which is not going to happen.

WALLACE: Yeah, and let me talk about that, because Charles is exactly right, Juan. Now the president says, "All right, enough with the preconditions because they're not getting us anywhere. Let's go immediately, directly, to final status talks." What are the chances that's going to work?

WILLIAMS: Well, the chances, if you look at it now, are pretty minimal, but the -- but that doesn't negate the idea that something needs to be done. You've got to have some progress in this area.

We've been talking about Iran. We've been talking about engagement, about getting the world together, to say, "You know what, it's not just up to the U.S., you can't just wait for the lone superpower to take action."

Much of the world's grievances, especially the Iranian grievance coming from Ahmadinejad, has to do with what's taking place between the Palestinians and Israel. Doesn't seem unreasonable to me to say to Israel, "Settlements are a bad thing. We can't -- you can't be an occupying power if you are truly serious about negotiation."

WALLACE: Do you really think if there were Middle East peace, the Iranians wouldn't be pursuing nuclear weapons?

WILLIAMS: No. I think the Iranians are acting like outlaws. I don't have any question in my mind about that. But I think they use this as a pretext. And so many others use it as a pretext, including Osama bin Laden. So it's time to remove it. It's time to settle the issue.

And Charles argues for simply maintaining the status quo. "Oh, they've always -- they've been negotiating. No need for the -- any change. Why is the Obama administration going on to this arid ground?" It seems to me to the credit of any American administration to say, "Time to end this farce."

WALLACE: Ten seconds for Mr. Krauthammer to respond to that personal attack. KRAUTHAMMER: Well, I'm in favor -- I'm in favor of negotiations. The Israelis and Palestinians were talking up until Obama came into office. He's the one who undermined it by imposing a precondition. It makes no sense at all.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, I see we have peace in the Middle East, huh?

WALLACE: All right.

KRAUTHAMMER: We don't even have talks.

WALLACE: OK. We have to take a break here. I knew that -- I knew Charles would never get the last word.

But when we come back, the president faces a tough decision on Afghanistan with pressure from his top military brass on one side and from his political base on the other. Our panel tells us which way he'll go after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: On this day in 1964, the Warren Commission released its finding there was no conspiracy in the assassination of President Kennedy. The commission concluded Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, firing three shots at the president.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: My solemn obligation is to make sure that I get the best answers possible, particularly before I make decisions about sending additional troops into the theater.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: That was President Obama discussing the tough decision he must make soon whether or not to send more troops to Afghanistan.

And we're back now with the panel.

Well, Washington Post super reporter Bob Woodward did it again this week. He had a front-page story revealing that the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, has made an urgent request -- and there you see it -- to the White House. He needs more forces in the next year or our mission, quote, "will likely result in failure."

But, Mara, the president says not so fast. We learned today he's going to have at least five NSC meetings on this over several weeks, no deadline. I wasn't around, I must say, for Truman and MacArthur, but I've never seen something like this play out publicly between a president and his generals in the middle of a war.

LIASSON: I don't know if it's gotten to the point of Truman and MacArthur, but it was extraordinary to have the Pentagon or to have somebody leak this incredible report in an attempt, it seems, to force the president's hand.

The president has to decide whether he wants a counterinsurgency strategy, as outlined by McChrystal, which is kind of full-blown, a lot of troops, protect the population, or a counterterrorism strategy, which some in the White House, including the vice president, prefer, which are these surgical strikes, kind of just go after Al Qaida targets.

You know, clearly, that is the more politically popular choice, especially within the president's own party. And there are people in the White House who say without a credible partner in the Afghan government, how can you have a counterinsurgency strategy.

However, I think when you -- when you listen to what counterterrorism is, the surgical strikes, it sounds too good to be true, and it probably is. The fact that you could achieve the president's goals, which is to destroy Al Qaida, to not allow it to ever have a base there again, just with surgical strikes, very few troops -- I think if you're looking for a face-saving way to get out of Afghanistan, you've come to the conclusion that it's a lost cause, that may be the way to go.

But this reminds me a little bit of Donald Rumsfeld's light footprint, you know, thinking he would do these things on the cheap, and in the end we know what happened with that.

WALLACE: Dana, as our political insider, what's your best guess as to the back story of this leak? Was it, as Mara suggests and I think most of us guess, somebody in the military chain of command who wanted to box the president in and force him to send more troops?

PERINO: You can imagine it happening, especially if General McChrystal says that this is an urgent need and the White House is preoccupied working on its domestic agenda, and health care, and this Iranian announcement, that somebody probably felt like, "We need to make sure that this is out in the open."

I wish so much that this would not have become public, because if you are a member of our military, I mean, you're following the strategy that President Obama laid out last March. That means you're in the counterinsurgency mode, and you're getting out of your vehicle, and you're intermingling with the population, and you're risking your life for something that the administration has just repudiated.

And so we need to get this right. We owe it to ourselves to do so. And I agree with Mara. Counterinsurgency is a contact sport, and we have to get it right. We owe it to ourselves and especially to the Afghanis, including the girls and the women. We cannot forget them in this fight.

WALLACE: I want to ask you just one more question about this. I don't know that you had military leaks, but you certainly had CIA leaks in President Bush's White House. How do presidents react when they suddenly see top secret advice to them on the front page of the Washington Post?

PERINO: Oh, I'm sure -- well, it makes them very angry, in one instance. I don't know about the current occupant of the White House. But I would imagine so, because you need to have that trust and that confidence between you and the military, you and the intelligence, where you can have private conversations.

It would be better for everybody, and it would not have undermined the confidence of our allies and the Afghanis, who we need to be sending us intelligence so that we can protect ourselves, if -- they should have kept this in private.

And I think it's interesting. If General McChrystal says this is so urgent and now they're going to play this out over the next six weeks, I don't know what that says to our military. WALLACE: Let me -- let's talk, Charles, about the merits of this debate. You've got McChrystal. You've got General Petraeus, the author of the surge and now the head of Central Command. You've got Admiral Mullen, who is the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They all apparently support a beefed-up counterinsurgency in Afghanistan, what McChrystal is calling for, like a surge in Iraq.

And then you have, on the other side -- and not just him -- but Joe Biden, who wants a scaled-back presence on the ground and more counterterrorism, as Mara was saying, drones, special forces over the border in Pakistan. Who's right?

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, you've got the sage of Wilmington, the man who wanted Iraq split into three, arguing for a surgical strike policy.

Here is the irony and the problem. McChrystal is the world's expert on this. He conducted exactly these surgical strikes, the late-night raids on Al Qaida in Iraq, for four years. If there's anybody who knows -- and he was extremely successful. He killed hundreds of bad guys.

If there's anybody on the planet who knows how to do it, who knows all about it, knows its potential and its limitations, it's McChrystal. And he's the guy who says it can't be done. He's the guy who says, "Unless we have the counterinsurgency strategy, boots on the ground to protect the population, like the surge in Iraq, we will not succeed."

So when I hear the vice president, with his vast experience in this area, give the counter-argument, I think I know which way I want to go.

WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know why the need to sort of insult Vice President Biden. The man was head of foreign relations. He has extensive, in fact, experience in this arena.

But I would point out that this is a moment when you need to take stock. I don't -- I disagree with Dana. I don't think this is about repudiating the counterinsurgency strategy. I think the president is saying, "Let's look at this."

The only voices that you're hearing, the only voices that appeared on the screen a minute ago, were voices from the defense military saying, "Yes, we want more boots on the ground." They always want more boots on the ground. They want to overwhelm. I mean, go back to the Powell doctrine of overwhelming force.

But what you're hearing from Vice President Biden and -- you know, you might not like this, but politics here come into play -- the politics of the moment from the American people is we are war weary after what took place in Iraq. So let's make sure...

WALLACE: Well, we were war weary in Iraq, and the surge...

WILLIAMS: Exactly. WALLACE: ... ended up turning things around.

WILLIAMS: Right. But the question is are the American people going to support this. Remember, we've been in Afghanistan eight years. What do we have to show for it?

Look at the history of other countries that have gone into Afghanistan and tried to do what we're talking about. It's not a happy picture.

So the question is, is President Obama content in sending, as he just said, young people in that arena with any confidence to say to their parents, "This is something we are committed to over time?" This is a war we've got to win. We've got to beat back the Taliban, because if the Taliban reestablishes, they're going to...

WALLACE: And are you -- and are you convinced counterterrorism -- General Williams, are you convinced that counterterrorism -- no, I'm not making fun of you, but are you convinced...

WILLIAMS: Yeah.

WALLACE: ... that counterterrorism is going to win, as opposed to counterinsurgency?

WILLIAMS: No, I'm not convinced any one would win. But I'm -- any one of those strategies. But I think it's good that the president would stop at this juncture instead of simply saying, "Yeah, send 40,000 more people into that theater."

No. Let's stop and think, because everybody's talking Vietnam as the analogy of the moment. Are we simply going to say, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, just unload with troops?"

WALLACE: I will try again.

Final 20 seconds, Mr. Krauthammer.

KRAUTHAMMER: But agonizing in public is not a correct response. If he wants to end the war or leave the war, you should explain it and do it. But agonizing and mulling in public with our allies wavering and people on the ground wondering about our policy is the worst way to go about it.

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

And don't forget to check out the latest edition of "Panel Plus," our after-the-show discussion that we post at foxnewssunday.com where we'll keep talking about exactly this.

Up next, our Power Player of the Week.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: Rarely does a piece of investigative reporting get such a big and quick response, and rarely is the undercover reporter such a fascinating character. Here's our Power Player of the Week.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

O'KEEFE: We thought it would be a funny YouTube video, and we'd get them to say something silly like, "Oh, you guys, that's cute," but never in our wildest dreams did we ever imagine this.

WALLACE: James O'Keefe is still marveling at the impact of his undercover ACORN videos that provoked Congress to vote to cut off federal funding.

But the 25-year-old filmmaker now has his own problem with ACORN suing him for taping workers in Maryland where the law requires all parties agree.

Didn't you break the law?

O'KEEFE: I don't know what the law is. If you want to equate the concealment of the prostitution of children with videotaping someone without their consent, that's your moral prerogative. That's your moral choice. But that's just -- that's just not right.

WALLACE: We wanted to find out what drives O'Keefe, who describes himself as a progressive radical. And what we discovered is a special outrage with liberal hypocrisy.

O'KEEFE: If you use their rules against them, you can really just tease them and mock them and really destroy them.

WALLACE: As a student at Rutgers, he became fed up with political correctness, especially about race. So on St. Patrick's Day 2004, he met with an administrator to demand they stop serving Lucky Charms cereal with its Irish leprechaun.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O'KEEFE: As you can see, we're not all short, green, but we have our differences of height and we think this is stereotypical of all Irish Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'KEEFE: They said yes, and then I realized, "OK, now I'm onto something."

WALLACE: Two years ago he called Planned Parenthood offices to say he wanted to donate money to abort black babies so his child wouldn't be hurt by affirmative action.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

O'KEEFE: So that's definitely possible?

IDAHO PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Oh, always. Always.

O'KEEFE: Can I put this in the name of my son? IDAHO PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Absolutely.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

WALLACE: This summer when Hanna Giles called and proposed they sting ACORN, he was on board.

O'KEEFE: She said, "I can be a prostitute." And that's when I said, "What if I'm a pimp?" And then we said, "What if there are 13- year-old girls involved?" And we just upped the ante and just made it more ridiculous.

WALLACE: O'Keefe wants to set the record straight. He denies reports on left-wing blogs he got any money from conservative backers. And he says he'll release all the tapes soon to show if any ACORN offices did the right thing. Why not release all the tapes at the start?

O'KEEFE: We knew that they would lie and they would say, "Oh, you've got nothing," or, "You're dubbing your voice in." But you release a little bit at a time, and they get caught in their lie.

WALLACE: O'Keefe says he wants to do more undercover films, and he has some targets in mind. He says his friends always tell him the next sting will never work.

O'KEEFE: They'll never say yes. That's ridiculous. That's absurd. Every time they say yes. So people say you're never going to do it again. I disagree with them. I think that I'll come up with a new strategy and I'll get them to say yes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE: O'Keefe says in a few days he'll release video of their undercover visit to ACORN's Philadelphia office. And he denies the charge ACORN threw the two of them out of the office and called the cops. We'll see.

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

 

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