Senators Kyl & Bayh; Howard Dean & Mike Huckabee

Senators Kyl & Bayh; Howard Dean & Mike Huckabee

By Fox News Sunday - November 29, 2009

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

Decision time for Afghanistan -- President Obama announces his plan Tuesday. We'll get a preview from two top senators, Jon Kyl , the number two Republican, and Evan Bayh , a Democrat on the Armed Services Committee.

Then, a debate over health care reform and more with two political heavyweights, former presidential candidates Republican Mike Huckabee and Democrat Howard Dean.

Plus, they walk the line, meeting the president, vice president and other dignitaries at the White House state dinner. How did they give the slip to the Secret Service, and why? Our Sunday panel discusses the story everyone's talking about.

And our Power Player of the Week, celebrating a century of caring for the nation's wounded warriors, all right now on "Fox News Sunday."

And hello again from Fox News in Washington. Tuesday night President Obama lays out his new military strategy for Afghanistan. Joining us now, two senators whose support the president will need -- from Arizona, Jon Kyl , the Senate's number two Republican, and here in studio, Indiana Democrat Evan Bayh , who sits on the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees.

And, Senators, welcome back and happy Thanksgiving weekend.

KYL: Thank you, Chris.

BAYH: Thank you, Chris. Same to you.

WALLACE: President Obama will announce his plan Tuesday night in a speech to the nation from West Point.

Senator Kyl, what will you be listening for? What do you want to hear in the president's speech?

KYL: Let me divide it into two pieces, Chris. First of all, we'll want to hear the details. Will he follow the recommendations of General Petraeus and General McChrystal in moving at least 40,000 troops into the area as quickly as possible? And add the other two key elements, both the political and the economic elements of counterinsurgency.

But in a broader way, the second part of this I'm going to be looking for is as follows: let's don't have talk of a phased deployment -- we'll send a few troops immediately and then we'll see what happens, see how it plays out, maybe send some more.

That's kind of reminiscent of Vietnam. That escalation -- that slow escalation didn't work there. You need to put in everybody you can as quickly as you can and deliver a knockout punch to the enemy. Secondly, talk of an exit strategy is exactly the wrong way to go. And I hear that on the -- in the media. I certainly hope the president doesn't do that, because all that does is signal to the enemies and also to our allies, to the folks in Pakistan as well as the Afghanis, that we're not there to stay until the mission is accomplished.

And they've got to know that we will be there for them until the mission is accomplished, or they'll make other arrangements and it won't be to our benefit.

WALLACE: Senator Bayh, what are the keys for you? What do you want to hear from the president Tuesday night?

BAYH: Chris, this is a very complex situation, so I'm looking forward to hearing the president's rationale for choosing the strategy that he has.

I think he's going to adopt the optimal strategy, but there are other good arguments, and I'd like to hear him address those. That's number one.

Number two, I'd like to hear him address the costs of the situation and be very forthright with the American people about that.

Number three, and probably most important, Chris, how are we going to keep the pressure on the Afghans and the Pakistanis? Because ultimately, this is not up to us. Ultimately, it's up to them.

And there, I agree with much of what Jon said. I think we need to get the troops in the field as quickly as we can. There are some issues there about the capacity, the infrastructure in Afghanistan to absorb them right away, but get them there as quickly as we can.

My slight area of disagreement, though, is we have to keep the pressure on the Afghans and the Paks to do their part. If we just give them an open, you know, check and basically say, "We're going to be there forever, don't worry about it," well, then they're going to back off some of the hard things they have to do. So it's a fine balance.

We've got to show that we have the determination to see this through on the one hand, but keep the pressure on them to do their part. And by talking about an exit strategy under the right set of circumstances, I think you do that.

WALLACE: Well, let -- let's break it down, because you both gave me overviews, and there's a lot to chew on here.

Let's talk, first of all, about troop levels, Senator Bayh. Senator Kyl made it clear he would like to see the full 40,000 that General McChrystal, the U.S. commander on the ground, asked for. Is that going to be your way of measuring the president -- how close he gets to the 40,000 McChrystal request?

BAYH: No, I'm going to trust the tactical judgment of Secretary Gates, who was, we will recall, the secretary of defense under President Bush as well. I mean, this is a serious man.

I think the president and the secretary of defense have to show some deference to the general's recommendations, but these are just recommendations. They're not the 10 Commandments, after all, Chris.

You'll remember General Westmoreland in Vietnam wanted more troops even at the end. I think -- wasn't it -- General MacArthur in Korea wanted to drop nuclear weapons on China. You don't always go with the recommendations of the battlefield commander. You take them into account and then make the appropriate decision.

So as I understand it, we're going to go with 30 to 35,000 American troops. We're going to try and make up the difference with NATO. They're probably not as good and effective as Americans, but I think it's good that we have some burden-sharing.

After all, the American taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for this whole thing if our allies are willing to step up and do their part.

WALLACE: Senator Kyl, I want to talk about -- and you raised it -- this question of the president sending a dual message on Tuesday night. It's been described as a policy of escalation and exit.

Yes, there are going to be more troops, but the president is going to indicate our commitment is not open-ended, that he has a strategy to leave.

Now, you talked about the fact that it may send the wrong signal to our allies and our enemies. What about Senator Bayh's argument that it does send a message to the Karzai government, which obviously has been a disappointment so far, "Get your act together or we may be out of there?"

KYL: Yeah, you're sending that message in a different way. And I am in total agreement with Evan that you've got to continue to pressure both the Afghan government, the new President Karzai recently reelected, as well as the Pakistanis.

But I was in both countries in April and at that time, the Pakistanis did not seem to be committed to the effort as much as we wanted them to be. And our government -- Dick Olber (ph) specifically asked me -- he said, "Make sure that you send the message to them that we're there for the long run until the mission is accomplished."

Well, not long after we got back, they made the decision to really begin to press the terrorists in Pakistan. They went in in a big way, and I think a lot of that was due to our pressure, which is necessary. But they also did it because they believed that we would be there with them.

And you cannot signal that they are going to be doing their part but then, as soon as it's inconvenient for us to stay, we begin to leave, because that's exactly what we've done in the past. It's exactly what they fear.

I talked to a bunch of tribal leaders down in Kandahar. That's what they feared. They want us to make sure the job is done before we leave.

And that's why I think all of this talk about an exit strategy is really dangerous. It tells the Taliban just to lay low until we leave. And it does not encourage the Europeans, for example, or our other NATO allies that this is a cause worth sending their troops to support.

So I really hope that we can stay away from all this talk about an exit strategy.

BAYH: Well, Chris, I do think there's a difference between setting -- circling a date on the calendar and saying, "Look, by X date, no matter what the circumstances are, we're out of here." That would be an inappropriate exit strategy.

What I'm talking about, and I think what the president is going to say, is to say to the Afghans and Paks, "We are with you, we're here for the duration, as long as you're doing your part." I think that's the kind of exit strategy he's talking about.

WALLACE: Senator Bayh, you brought up the question of cost, and the administration has put the cost -- and this is kind of astonishing to, I think, a lot of people -- $1 million per soldier per year, so if you sent 30,000 soldiers, that would be a $30 billion price tag.

Now, some top Democrats are talking about the idea -- the new idea of a war tax to pay for the escalation in Afghanistan. Good idea?

BAYH: No, I don't think it's a good idea, not at this point, Chris. First of all, you need to provide for the nation's security regardless of your financial situation, and there's no bigger deficit hawk in Congress than I am.

I think we need to start coming to grips with this. We're going to have a big vote coming up on the debt ceiling. I don't think we should vote to raise the debt ceiling until we have a strategy in place to get our deficits down.

So we've got to take the fiscal situation seriously, but, number one, national security comes first.

Number two, we've got to look at cutting spending in other parts of the budget before we even talk about raising taxes.

And number three, if ultimately you're going to have to start talking about raising taxes, you shouldn't do it until the economy is robust and really on its -- on some pretty good footing.

WALLACE: Senator Kyl, one last question about Afghanistan before we move on.

KYL: By the way, I agree with Evan on his points about taxes. This isn't the time to be raising taxes. But go ahead.

WALLACE: Some congressional Democrats have indicated they don't have much appetite for escalating in Afghanistan.

If there is a sizable number of Democrats who defect from the president's plan as he outlines it on Tuesday, will Republicans -- will you and your colleagues in the Senate and the House make up the difference and support the president, particularly when it comes to supplemental war spending?

KYL: We will support the president -- that is, we, Senate Republicans -- I can't speak for every one of us, but I know that we've talked enough to know that this is not a political issue with us. We believe we've got to prevail over the Taliban and Al Qaida.

We've got to do what we need until that mission is accomplished. And obviously, that means supporting the president. What we hope is that his strategy will conform more or less to what General McChrystal and Petraeus have recommended, so that we can be very, very supportive of it.

I'm afraid that if it is less than that, or if we continue to hear this talk about an exit strategy, then as much as we want to support it, it's still not going to succeed.

So it is important for the president, as I said, to get as many troops in there as quickly as he can and to try to dissuade people from talking about eventually leaving.

We cannot leave until the mission's accomplished, and that's a message that we've got to send to our friends and to our enemies alike.

WALLACE: Let me switch, if I can, to health care. It's the other big issue in the Senate this month, and -- starting with the debate on the floor this week.

Senator Bayh, what has to change in the health care bill for you to support it?

BAYH: Well, I'm reserving judgment until we see what the amendment process is, Chris. But starting with cost, we've got to get this deficit down. The CBO says this proposal begins to do that. That's encouraging.

But Congress in the past, as you know, has sometimes not lived up to its commitment. So I think we need to have an enforcement mechanism in there, as best we can, to ensure that future Congresses will have the backbone to put some of these efficiencies into place. That's number one.

Number two, I'm going to be looking at -- and we haven't gotten the score from the CBO yet; they're about to give it to us -- what does this do for the cost of insurance for people who currently have it.

We want to cover the uninsured, yes, but we don't want to do it in a way that's going to drive up the costs for folks who currently have it. That's one of the biggest complaints that I hear from people. So I'm going to be looking very carefully at what the bean counters have to say about that.

WALLACE: If you don't get the changes you want, are you prepared to be the one Democrat who will break with your party -- seriously -- and kill health reform?

BAYH: Well, I hope to be able to vote for a good bill. This is a major challenge. And frankly, my major concern, Chris, is that this is such a big, complex issue.

The political process as it's currently constituted in Washington may just be incapable of coming up with an ideal solution. So we may be left with alternatives that are less than ideal. Number one would be to do nothing. I don't think we can afford to do nothing with costs going up 10, 15 percent a year.

The other thing would be to vote for a bill, frankly, that we continue to have some questions about. That may be the choice that we're left with. So my objective is to try and make that alternative of doing something as positive as we possibly can, realizing that there -- at the end of the day it may be just imperfect.

And unfortunately, that's the way Congress works from time to time.

WALLACE: I want to sneak two things in.

Please give me a brief answer on this, Senator Kyl. Obviously, every Republican voted against health care reform. Do you have a plan to kill it?

KYL: Well, we would like to start over and write a bill that actually solves the problems that face the American people, rather than having a government takeover of our entire health care system, as this bill does.

There's no way to fix this bill. And that's why every single Republican voted against going to this bill. If you just look at what the House Republicans proposed, it actually reduced -- according to the Congressional Budget Office, reduced premiums on the average family by about $5,000 a year.

And yet the Congressional Budget Office scored the bill that came out of the Finance Committee, which is roughly the same as the one on the floor now, as increasing insurance premiums for the average family -- in Arizona, for example, of $7,400 a year.

So Republicans have better ideas, and what our hope is -- that enough of our friends, like Senator Bayh, will say, "This bill can't be fixed and still work to the advantage of the American people. Let's write one that takes one step at a time to regain the trust of the American people and solve the specific problems that face us."

WALLACE: Finally, I want to ask you both, and I'm sure you talked about it over your Thanksgiving dinner, both of you -- I know we did at our house -- about the couple who apparently crashed the White House state dinner. Senator Bayh, let me start with you. How seriously do you take it? Should Congress investigate? What should happen to this couple?

BAYH: Well, Chris, it's an incredible situation. I mean, of course, people have been laughing about it because it is so incredulous, but it's not a laughing matter that people could get that close to the president and the vice president who aren't supposed to be there.

So the Secret Service has come out and appropriately said they're embarrassed. They're going to get to the bottom of it. You know, these folks could be like the -- what is the name, Richard Reed, who changed the way everybody travels through the airports because of this one guy. This couple may change the way people go to the White House.

WALLACE: The alleged shoe bomber.

BAYH: Yeah. And I'm supposed to go see the president on Wednesday. I'm kind of wondering what I'm going to be facing to get into the White House this time. It's probably going to be a lot stricter than it has been.

WALLACE: Do you think that authorities should throw the book at this couple to at least send a message?

BAYH: You've got to send a very -- yeah. Yes. I mean, you've got to -- you've got to send a strong deterrent that people just don't do this kind of thing.

WALLACE: And, Senator Kyl, in about 30 seconds, your thoughts about a congressional investigation and about criminal charges for this couple.

KYL: I agree with what Evan said. I think you have to have a strong deterrent against this kind of thing. And therefore, if it's a federal crime to lie to a federal agent, and these people didn't tell the truth about their invitation, then they should be in some way brought to justice here, again, as an example to others not to do it.

But clearly, the Secret Service as well as the White House protocol office have got to beef up their tactics, their procedures and protocols for dealing with this kind of a situation. I don't know about congressional hearings.

I suspect the Secret Service is embarrassed enough to fix the problem. And of course, the White House protocol office has to get involved in that as well.

WALLACE: Senator Kyl, Senator Bayh, we want to thank you both so much for coming in and sharing part of your holiday weekend with us.

KYL: Thank you.

BAYH: Thank you, Chris.

WALLACE: And for coverage of the president's speech Tuesday night, you can watch on the Fox Broadcast Network as well as all of these Fox News outlets.

Up next, Huckabee and Dean on health care, the economy and more. Back in a moment.


WALLACE: Joining us now, two influential political voices. Howard Dean, former chair of the Democratic Party, comes to us from his home state of Vermont. And Mike Huckabee, former Republican presidential candidate and author of the new book "A Simple Christmas," which is already a national bestseller -- he joins us from his home state of Arkansas.

Governors, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday" and happy Thanksgiving weekend to the two of you.

HUCKABEE: Thank you, Chris.

DEAN: Thanks -- thanks, Chris.

WALLACE: Governor Dean, you gave an interview to the liberal Web site "Huffington Post" this last week in which you said that Senate Democrats are in deep trouble on health care reform. And let's put it up on the screen.

You said that moderate Democrats are likely to water down the bill further and then added, "This is going to be death for Democratic campaign committees. Why would anyone donate to them if they're supporting candidates who defeat the Democratic agenda?" Governor Dean, things really that bleak?

DEAN: Well, you know, I think it's tough right now. We've got to get a decent bill with a public option in it so that we don't -- aren't forced into this -- what we've been forced into for the last 30 years.

Look, insurance companies take 27 percent off the top. They don't do a terribly good job. The costs have been going up at 2.5 times the rate of inflation. And the Democratic base expects, as we say, change you can believe in.

And so I think Harry -- who I'm a huge fan of -- Harry Reid has got a real problem on his hands, and he's got to get these folks to pass a decent bill.

WALLACE: Governor Huckabee, one area that you and Governor Dean seem to agree on is that -- as I was doing the research yesterday, you both say that there isn't all that much reform in this health bill -- health care reform bill. Explain what you mean from your point of view. HUCKABEE: Well, I think the critical area has to be to move toward a preventive-based system rather than what we currently have, which is intervention at the catastrophic level.

Eighty percent of the $2.5 trillion we spend on health care in this country is spent on chronic disease. We really don't have a health care crisis, Chris. We have a health crisis.

And the American population is like an NFL football game, 22 people on the field in desperate need of rest, 70,000 people in the stands in desperate need of exercise.

If we don't address this fundamental difference between the health and unhealthiness of the American population, we can spend all kinds of money, but we're never going to spend our way into a system that will be functional and affordable.

WALLACE: But, Governor Huckabee, what about all these restrictions in the bill on insurance companies that you can't drop somebody if they're sick, you can't drop somebody if they have a pre- existing condition? Isn't that reform?

HUCKABEE: We need to touch the difference between the uninsured and the uninsurable. There are people who are uninsured because they choose not to be. They'd rather have a new truck. But there are people who truly need insurance coverage, and they're the uninsurable.

But a better way is to look at something like we already have in about 18 states called TEFRA, passed back in 1982, the Tax Equity Family Relief Act, which empowers families, does not bankrupt them, but lets them have access to affordable health care for developmentally disabled family members.

That makes a whole lot of sense, and I think Republicans could go along with something -- because you don't want to see families bankrupted because, through no fault of their own, they have a family member with a severe, debilitating disease, illness or medical condition.

But there's a way to do that without upending the entire health care system in which 85 percent of Americans had rather have what they have than to have the government take the system over.

WALLACE: Governor Dean, if you're as down as you are on what it looks like's going to get passed by Congress, and if there is not much real reform in health care reform, why spend a trillion dollars over the next 10 years?

DEAN: Well, let me say, first of all, I think Mike Huckabee just said the most sensible thing I've heard about health care reform in a long time. We need a preventive-based system. We've got an illness- based system here.

We're spending trillions of dollars on it, because all the incentives are to take care of people when they get sick instead of doing something about it. So there's one thing we agree on. Secondly, there isn't a lot of reform in this bill. The insurance reform doesn't exist anymore. You know, we've done all this stuff. Fifteen years ago when I was governor, we did real insurance reform.

And here's the problem with the insurance reform in the House and the Senate bills. You can still charge two, three or four times as much to sick people as you do to healthy people.

We don't do that in Vermont. We have guaranteed issue. But you can't charge more than 20 percent above what you charge your lowest rate to anybody that gets insured.

So if you -- you don't really have insurance reform. All you've got is the public option. Now, I know Mike and I disagree about the public option, but I think people ought to have a choice.

We have a socialist system of health care in this country that's called the Veterans Administration. It's the number one rated health care system by its consumers of any system in the country, private or public.

We have a single payer in this country. It's called Medicare. Most people like it. I think the Republicans actually did some good things with it with Part D. And I was wrong at the time about Part D. It's worked out very, very well.

But why can't we have a choice between the private system, between the so-called single-payer system of Medicare and between the socialized system of the Veterans Administration? Give us choices. Those are the kinds of choices that will make a health care system better.

WALLACE: Before we get into another subject, I'd like you to respond to that, Governor Huckabee.

HUCKABEE: Well, the one fear that I have about a public option is if you have the entire system subsidized by the federal government, then you put one entity -- in this case, the government -- ultimately in control. And more people, particularly small business owners, are going to be forced into that system because they can't compete.

And one area that just has to be confronted is that Medicare, all the way to tout it -- recent studies show that it is twice as likely to deny a person a claim as is private insurance.

I'm not here to defendant private insurance companies, but to make it as if Medicare is wonderful and never makes a mistake, and the private insurance companies are demons -- the facts just don't always bear that out.

WALLACE: Let me...

DEAN: Well, Medicare can...

WALLACE: Well, go ahead. DEAN: ... make mistakes, but let us have our choice. We can leave Medicare if we want to under the system that's in the House...

HUCKABEE: But not if there's not...

DEAN: ... and go back to the private sector.

HUCKABEE: ... a system to go to. If the private...

DEAN: Sure there is, in the private sector.

HUCKABEE: ... system goes out of business, there won't be any.

DEAN: There's not going to -- nobody's going to put the private sector out of business. That doesn't happen even in places like Germany or France or Britain.

Fifteen percent of all the dollars are private dollars, even in Britain, which is the most socialized system in the west.

WALLACE: Gentlemen, let me step back, if we can, for a minute. Let's take a look at the -- at the big picture.


Governor Huckabee, how do you think President Obama is doing so far? You said recently that you think his priorities are wrong and that he is emphasizing redistribution over recovery.

HUCKABEE: I really believe that, and I think it's unfortunate. We have an unemployment rate of 10.2 percent. The actual unemployment rate -- probably more like 17 or 18, because so many people just quit looking for work.

The number one issue in this country is jobs, getting people to work. That is not going to happen if government continues to scare the daylights out of business operators who -- every one of them I know -- every one is hunkering down. Nobody's hiring. Nobody's expanding.

They're trying to hang on. They're scared to death of what government is going to do to them. And that is affecting the fact that a person cannot find a job today who wants it. That ought to be the number one priority. Everything else needs to be put on back burner until we get Americans back to work.

WALLACE: Governor Dean, I'd like you to respond to that, but I'd also like you, if you would, in your answer, to answer this, which is that it seems that a number of -- a growing number of Democrats are having doubts about this president, that he has not delivered on the kind of transformation either in policy or process that he promised.

So answer Governor Huckabee's question, but also answer the question, "How much trouble is he in with his own base?"

DEAN: I think he's not in big trouble with his own base. I think we need to give him time. If we are successful -- and I do think there's a better chance than not that we're going to pass a decent health care bill at the end of the day. It's just a frustrating, difficult time right now.

But I think he needs some time, and he's going to have that time. And we're going to pass a decent health care bill that really is going to start reform.

I think Mike is right. Jobs are the biggest concern right now. I will say this, the stimulus package, which has come under -- come under Republican attack, has been unbelievably successful in saving jobs, hundreds of thousands of teachers and police officers that would have been laid off by the states.

Now, we've got a big problem coming up. That money is going to be spent halfway through the next fiscal year, and states are really going to be on the hook -- these huge drops in state revenues as we go through this recession.

But I'm more optimistic than that. I think small businesses are going to be helped enormously by health care reform. Small businesses with payrolls less than half a million dollars don't have to buy health insurance anymore for any of their employees. I think that's a big step forward.

So I do think the president's going to do fine. I think he's going to get re-elected. But I think we're going to have a tough election in 2010 unless we can start dealing with, as Mike says, the job situation.


DEAN: We have some very capable...

WALLACE: ... let me -- let me bring in...

DEAN: Go ahead.

WALLACE: ... Governor Huckabee, if I may, because I could see you coming out of your chair at the -- at the argument that more stimulus and health care reform...


WALLACE: ... are the answers to the job issue.

HUCKABEE: Yeah, I've got to throw a flag on that one, Chris, because I'm looking at the stimulus bill, $787 billion. The unemployment rate wasn't going to go above eight. Now it's well above 10.

The only jobs we're creating are government jobs. This nonsense about we're creating and saving jobs -- they're non-existent. Four hundred and forty phantom congressional districts that don't even exist -- now we find out that thousands of these jobs -- they don't exist either.

This has been the biggest scam and waste of taxpayer money. And Howard is right on one thing, and I think we both would agree as former governors, the impact on states is going to be huge, but the states' economy impact usually is 12 to 18 months trailing the feds.

So watch for states to be sucking air somewhere this year and going into the election cycle of 2010, and it is going to be brutal -- equal to, if not worse than, ‘01 and ‘02.

WALLACE: Let me...


HUCKABEE: ... struggling.

WALLACE: Since you -- since you brought up the election cycle, let's end with a little bit of politics, gentlemen.

Governor Huckabee, I want to show you a couple of polls that I suspect you already know about, but let's put them up on the screen.

Seventy percent of Iowa Republicans view you favorably. That is more than any of the other mentioned likely presidential possibilities for 2012. And a national poll of Republicans last month had you in first place -- national poll -- ahead of Romney, and Palin and Gingrich.

So, Governor Huckabee, why wouldn't you run for president in 2012?

HUCKABEE: Well, there's obviously a lot of smart people in Iowa and the rest of the country. Let me acknowledge that. But the reason I wouldn't is because this Fox gig I've got right now, Chris, is really, really wonderful.

And you know, it's easy to say, "Oh, gee, don't you just want to jump back in it?" But jumping into the pool -- you've got to make sure there's some water in it. And there's a whole different deal of saying some folks take a poll and whether there's the financial support.

Howard and I have both been there, done that. It's a wonderful experience. But I am nowhere near ready to say that that's what I want to do three years from now.

WALLACE: So let me ask you a silly question three years out. What do you -- would you say at this moment are the chances that you will run, 50/50, better, worse, what?

HUCKABEE: It's hard to say. A lot of it depends on how the elections turn out next year and whether Roger Ailes continues to like my show on the weekends. And if all those things factor in, you know, it's less likely than more likely, just because I would have to see that the Republicans would be willing to unite behind me.

The last time out, my biggest challenge was with the establishment Republicans who just never showed their support. And while I think a person can possibly win without them, the Republican Party needs to unite if it's going to win in 2012. And anyone who thinks Barack Obama is an easy mark off, just remember Bill Clinton was just labeled politically dead and came back to win a resounding re-election in 1996.

WALLACE: And, Governor Dean, we have less than a minute left. When you look -- let's not talk about 2012. Let's talk about 2010. When you look at the Federal Reserve, which came out with a -- with a projection this last week that unemployment's going to be up at about double digits at the end of 2010, and the Federal Reserve says that the economy won't get back to normal for five or six years, how much trouble are the Democrats in in 2010?

DEAN: Well, a lot of it is whether our base comes out or not. And that's why I said what I said to the "Huffington Post" about health care reform. In politics, as Mike well knows, your base matters. That's where the enthusiasm -- that's where the activism is.

We didn't see our base come out either in New Jersey or Virginia in the 2009 elections. I don't think it was a referendum on Barack Obama . Barack Obama wasn't on the ballot.

But you've got to do the things that -- to get your base energized. And if you don't do that, they're not going to come out in 2010. And that -- that's why we need a -- real health care reform -- that's real health care reform -- and not just some papered-over subsidy for the insurance industry.

WALLACE: Governor Dean, Governor Huckabee, we want to thank you both so much for coming in today. And, gentlemen, please come back.

HUCKABEE: Thank you, Chris.

DEAN: Thanks, Chris.

HUCKABEE: Thank you, Howard.

DEAN: See you, Mike. Take care.

WALLACE: Up next, how do you slip into a state dinner at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Our Sunday panel gives us their take on the White House party crashers.

But first, what does the president need to say about America's future in Afghanistan? We'll discuss that right after the break.



OBAMA: After eight years, some of those years in which we did not have, I think, either the resources or the strategy to get the job done, it is my intention to finish the job.


WALLACE: Well, after three months of deliberations, President Obama is finally ready to announce his new strategy for Afghanistan.

And it's time now for our Sunday group -- Fox News contributors Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard, Nina Easton of Fortune magazine, former White House press secretary Dana Perino, and Kirsten Powers of the New York Post.

So, Bill, let's start with a question that I asked the senators at the top of the program. What are you going to be listening for Tuesday night? What do you need to hear from the president?

KRISTOL: Well, I hope he comes as close to General McChrystal's recommendation in terms of troops, resources. As the president said, let's have the right resources and the right strategy. It's a winnable war. The delay makes it a little harder, but it still remains winnable.

2010 will be a tough year, I think, because the surge won't really have its effect until late in 2010, and the president needs to prepare the American public. There are no instant results. We can't be looking for the off-ramps when we're just beginning to build up.

2011 I think could be a year of decisive progress. The president's got to commit to this, therefore, for the rest of his first term, I think. He can win this war. We could win this war in 2012 and achieve a huge amount of good.

I think the other thing I would like him to do is not simply say, "This is tough. This is difficult. There will be casualties," all of which is true. This is an opportunity. Pakistan is improving. If Afghanistan can be stabilized and can improve there, you could really stabilize Southeast Asia, which would be a huge victory in the global effort to set back Islamic jihadism.

WALLACE: Nina? EASTON: Well, I think we're going to hear a lot about exit strategy, which I think is a good thing. And I'm glad to hear Bill actually be supportive going into this, because I think you're going to hear a lot of conservatives complaining that he's talking about an exit strategy even though he's going to probably come very close to McChrystal's request.

This is going to be the most significant and politically dangerous speech and moment of his presidency so far. The left is already making hay out of this, is already concerned. Nancy Pelosi is talking about unrest in her caucus.

And I think what you're going to see, particularly from the -- from his liberal base, you're going to see a lot of talk about it's -- the jobs issue, linking this with the jobs issue -- 10 percent unemployment, and we're spending $34 billion to send troops over here to a possibly unwinnable war.

I think this is a time for conservatives to step up to the plate and stand behind the president on this. And it will be interesting to see if they do, Dana.

PERINO: I think they will.

WALLACE: Well, it is funny that you said that, because that was exactly the question I was going to ask Dana.


WALLACE: If the leaks are correct and if the president announces somewhere between 30 and 35,000 more troops, and trying to ask NATO for another 5,000, and gets pretty close -- maybe not all the way, but pretty close to McChrystal's request for 40,000, will conservatives declare victory and say, "Look, the president has the right strategy?"

PERINO: I don't know if they'll declare victory, but I do think they'll rally behind the president and the commander in chief. I think they'll have to set aside the fact that they think it was a really sloppy process, that he undermined President Karzai, that he alienated General McChrystal, and say, "This is the right thing to do. We wish he wouldn't talk about exit ramps so soon, but this is the right thing to do," and providing the generals what they need.

I think on the jobs issue, though, and on the cost, one of the House Democrats, leading House Democrats, suggested that we increase taxes in order to pay for this. And I think tying taxes to this war, one, is a bad thing to do in a recession; two, makes the war even more unpopular.

And one of the things that President Obama will need to do is rally the nation and say that he's fully behind this.

WALLACE: Now, wait a minute. You said he alienated or the process alienated President Karzai. There are an awful lot of people who say Karzai has been a bad actor, a weak actor, and it's important for the president in the course of this to make sure -- make it clear to Karzai, "Either you clean up your act or we're not going to be there."

PERINO: All of those things may be true. He might not have done enough. But he is the guy that you have to go into battle with in order to try to win this war. And so alienating him so publicly was a bad idea.

I think they probably thought that the other guy was going to win, Abdullah Abdullah was going to win. He didn't. And then we had another delay waiting to get McChrystal the troops that he needed. President Karzai is the president that they're going to have to work with.

WALLACE: Kirsten?

POWERS: Well, I think that his main audience actually is going to be his own party. It's going to be Democrats. Sixty-one percent of Democrats oppose sending more troops in the ABC/Washington Post poll. In the Gallup poll, 57 percent are opposed to -- or support beginning a withdrawal, actually.

So I think that he has a big problem with the Democratic Party, and he's going to have to really make a case. I mean, he's going to have to basically be starting from scratch in convincing people that this is something we need to be doing, explaining why we should be spending this much money on this at this time when our economy is doing so bad, why Afghanistan is still in our national interest now that we know that Al Qaida has moved.

Why are we not focusing on Pakistan, which has nuclear weapons? Why are we going to be successful there when, you know, there -- other countries have gone in there and not had success there? We have been there for a long time. And I think people are really -- want to -- going to have a clear explanation for why we have to be there and how we're going to win.

WALLACE: Let me ask you about that -- and let's put up on the screen, because Nina mentioned this before. This week, this past week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that there's serious unrest in our caucus, the Democratic caucus in the House, about can we afford this war.

There's -- I think there's serious doubt about a lot of issues, all of which you've raised. How much do you expect -- benefit of the doubt do you expect Democrats to give him? And how much pushback do you expect from a lot of his liberal base?

POWERS: Well, I think -- look, they're -- where they're coming from is they're going to be up for re-election. And in 2010 people are going to be talking about the fact that we have high unemployment, no -- you know, people worried about jobs, why are we spending all this money. And so I think that's where they're coming from.

How much pushback will there be? You know, I tend to think they're -- they are somewhat empty threats. There's not a lot that Congress can do. They're not going to cut off funding. They're -- they can pass these resolutions. And I think the war tax is the one thing that could possibly come up. The White House clearly does not want that to happen, and...

WALLACE: I don't know that Democrats running for re-election really want a war tax either.

POWERS: And I think -- well, I think people who want to try to -- you know, who are against the war and want to show that they're pushing back in some way may try to push this. I doubt it's going to get any traction.

I just don't -- look, they weren't able to stop George Bush from doing things. I don't think they're going to try and stop Barack Obama .

WALLACE: Bill, in the end, I think we all agree the only thing that matters isn't the process, isn't -- it's whether or not this policy works or not. Given -- and you were pretty optimistic, but given the war weariness in this country, and given all the problems with the Karzai government, you really do think there's a chance for success?

KRISTOL: Sure. The surge in Iraq worked under much more difficult circumstances, much more hostility in the U.S., the Democratic Party in Congress trying to sabotage it at every stage.

The Republican Party will not do this over the next year or two. I really do believe that a lot of us watched what happened in 2007 and 2008 and thought the Democratic Party's behavior, frankly, was disgraceful.

It's unfortunate that even now, with a Democratic president, the Democrats apparently in Congress can't bring themselves to try to win a war, as opposed to get out of a war when the going gets tough.

But the Republicans, I think, will be a loyal opposition. They will support the president. The president simply needs to be patient, give the -- General Petraeus and General McChrystal know what they're doing.

And believe me, no one wants less to send American soldiers into harm's way for a war that can't be won than Dave Petraeus or Stan McChrystal, so trust them. They think it's winnable. Give them the resources they need.

Tell the American public to be patient. Tell his own party to be patient. Tell some of his own party to go jump in the lake. And President Obama will be in a happy position, in my view, in 2012, of having had considerable success in Afghanistan.

WALLACE: Nina, we have about 30 seconds left. What, in the view of the American people, would be success? I mean, I don't know that we're expecting a Jeffersonian democracy. What is success? And given the war weariness -- and look, we've been in this war eight years -- how long does he have to show really tangible results?

EASTON: Let's go back to President Obama's own words last summer which apparently his supporters weren't listening to when he said we cannot let this become a sanctuary for terrorists, A. And B, we can't let it be a possible sanctuary for destabilizing Pakistan, nuclear- armed Pakistan. So those are the two key things that he's got to go back to.

And just going back on the sloppy process that -- I -- you know, he spent -- he spent, yes, a long period looking into this. George Bush took a year before he made the personnel changes and finally made the surge to -- steps to do the surge, and that was a -- I would call that a sloppy process as well.

So I don't think -- I think this is one of those moments where this president actually is going to deserve some credit. And again, I hope conservatives, who I just -- I am getting the sense are going to complain that he's talking about an exit strategy, a lot of them -- I hope they step up to the plate on Tuesday and stand behind him.

WALLACE: You have -- as a matter of personal privilege, you have 20 seconds to respond to...

PERINO: I would just say I don't think you ever saw George Bush criticizing a general in public or undermining the president of Iraq -- prime minister of Iraq, Prime Minister Maliki.

There was a lot of criticism in private. And that's appropriate. But public criticism should be set aside.

WALLACE: We have to take a break here, panel.

But when we come back, the wannabe reality TV stars who apparently crashed a White House state dinner -- we'll talk about what you're talking about right after this break.


WALLACE: On this day in 1952, President-elect Eisenhower traveled to war-torn Korea. The trip fulfilled a campaign promise that he would visit the region to find the key to ending the conflict there.

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



ANNOUNCER: Mr. and Mrs. Salahi.



REP. PETER KING: This isn't a game. This isn't breaking into a fashion show or -- and we're talking about, you know, the security of the United States being at risk here.


WALLACE: Well, there you have it, Washington's most infamous couple getting into a White House state dinner without an invitation, and the reaction from the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee.

And we're back now with our panel.

So, Dana, as a recent top official in this building, help us understand how it could happen, how someone could get into a state dinner without an invitation. And just guess, what would the reaction be in the Bush West Wing if this had happened?

PERINO: Well, I think it would be similar, right? The U.S. Secret Service said they're deeply embarrassed, they're very concerned. And it -- you know who it was embarrassing for, our president, which means it was embarrassing for the American people.

I think it's possible that the uniform division Secret Service officer decided to let them through to the next ring. And I think that we -- what we don't know yet is how they got through that second ring when they had to present identification.

Also, when you come to a state dinner, you get an assignment, a table assignment. You have your name announced, as we just saw. Those things are all pre-packaged. And so I don't know -- we need to find out was the social office writing them in after they got into the first ring.

So I think it probably could happen. What will be a concern for, I think, the social office going forward is they have their busiest season coming up. It's the holiday season. They'll have a lot of people coming through.

This White House, this new White House, during the transition asked us how we could relax security for public tours, and I think they've realized now that we have to have the security we have because of the times that we're living in.

WALLACE: Nina, the media, I think it's fair to say, has been playing this as part caper, part serious security breach. How do you see it?

EASTON: Well, I think -- I think the most fascinating thing about it is that they're frauds, they're scam artists, and scam artistry sells these days. They -- she was not a Redskins cheerleader, we know now. She's not a Victoria's Secret model or a supermodel.

WALLACE: And don't lie about being a Redskins cheerleader. Come on. I mean, the heck with the state dinner.

EASTON: It was one of those cases where they went to the dinner so that they could post it on their Facebook rather than to enjoy the experience. They're one step ahead of the creditors. Even their charitable activities are questionable. So I think this is -- and how did they get rewarded? They got rewarded with a Larry King interview, which has now been canceled because they're going to now peddle their story for six figures. Our media loves it.

Katie Couric's producer was supposedly slipping notes into the door of their home to see if she could get the interview. It sells.

WALLACE: Before we get to that question of our celebrity society or crazed focus on that, what should happen to this couple? Should -- if there is some federal law that's broken, should the government pursue criminal charges against these people?

KRISTOL: Sure. They can be tried in federal court right next to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.


Maybe they should have a military tribunal, actually, because I guess I'm for military tribunals for all these crimes. They should be tried.

And the main effect of this, of course, will be these Christmas parties over the next two, three weeks which are -- we've all been to the mob scenes. And you know, you have to wait outside anyway to some degree, and people grumble because it may be drizzling or something. And now there'll be really, I suspect -- I mean, there should be -- presumably tighter security, and people -- you know, the big shots in the media will be standing out there in the rain, and so...

EASTON: But you won't be invited anyway.

KRISTOL: ... and since I'm not going to be invited this year, I suspect, that's fine with me. I'm for extremely tight security for the White House -- for the White House Christmas party. That's my position.

WALLACE: For all those other people.

KRISTOL: Exactly.

WALLACE: Kirsten, there is a bigger issue here, and that is what seems to be this insatiable desire on the part of some people to become celebrities and to do almost anything to become it.

I mean, you've got this story, but just a few weeks ago to get their 15 minutes of fame we had the Heene family in Colorado -- here they are -- pulling off the "balloon boy" stunt to try to get a reality TV show. What is going on here?

POWERS: Well, I just think there's a lot of opportunities now that didn't used to exist. There's cable, and so there's all these new shows that you can be on, and people have suddenly realized that they can get their, you know, 15 minutes of fame doing that.

But you know, I -- the advice that I would actually give to the White House, though, in terms of security is I live in New York. All I have to do is get a bouncer from one of these, like, hot clubs. Nobody will get through. It doesn't matter what they say. It doesn't matter what kind of tantrum they throw.

I mean, the idea that someone's being intimidated at the White House into letting somebody in to me is kind of troubling. You know, you really -- no matter what kind of temper tantrum they throw, if you're not on the list, you shouldn't be able to go in. It's the president of the United States.

WALLACE: Well, as somebody who doesn't know what the hot clubs are, let alone ever tried to get in them, I will -- I want to press my question with Miss Perino.

What's going on here? Why do people do this? I mean, how could anybody think that you could come into the White House -- first, think you're going to be able to get in, and then once you get in, that you're going to get away with it?

PERINO: You know, I remember situations where you would clear somebody in -- maybe it was the high-level person or someone of some importance -- and that their -- the computer -- there was a computer glitch, and they didn't get through, and they're held at the gate, and it's really embarrassing.

And you have to go out there. You have to call away -- you've got to get the Secret Service to let them in. You've got to re-clear them. And at the minimum -- I have never heard of this before where they could get through.

So I -- well, obviously, those procedures have to change, and President Obama said there will be an investigation and they'll figure it out.

But the broader question as to why people want to do this is just beyond me. Who has -- I don't know anybody who has the time to figure out how to pull off such capers.

EASTON: Well, why she -- why they want to do it is because it pays. I mean, again, you know, there's -- they want to sell their story. She spent seven hours getting ready for this. Her picture is everywhere. They're famous.

They will have -- and they need the money. It's clear from -- that they've had cars repossessed and so forth, so they need the money. And this isn't the first time we've seen this. It's not going to be the last.

WALLACE: Nina, this may be the most naive question I've ever asked. Do you think somebody's going to actually pay them a lot of money for their story?

EASTON: Somebody will. A tabloid will, absolutely. Absolutely.

PERINO: Well, and plus, you look at those people that audition for "American Idol" when they know that they're not ever going to go anywhere but they just enjoy that 15 minutes of fame that gets them on television. I mean, it's sad.

WALLACE: Bill, you get 15 seconds to wrap up the vagaries of American culture.

KRISTOL: It's been going on a long time -- you know, a lot of scam artists, a lot of confidence men in American history. And I guess these are the latest.

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

And you've got to tell me the names of those hot clubs.


WALLACE: And don't forget to check out the latest edition of "Panel Plus" where our group here continues the discussion on our Web site,, shortly after the show ends.

Up next, our Power Player of the Week.


WALLACE: On this Thanksgiving weekend, we want to take you back to a place we first visited in April. No spot in Washington makes you feel more humble or, yes, thankful than the operation run by our Power Player of the Week.


HAWLEY-BOWLAND: We take care of the wounded of all the services, the soldiers, the sailors, airmen, Marines, and so we call them warriors.


HAWLEY-BOWLAND: It's hard, but you're doing great.


WALLACE: Major General Carla Hawley-Bowland is the commander of Walter Reed Army Medical Center which just celebrated its 100th anniversary.


HAWLEY-BOWLAND: It'll all work. It just takes lots of practice.


WALLACE: The general showed us the care they are giving now to warriors who lost limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

HAWLEY-BOWLAND: Instead of just, you know, the old wooden leg that people used to get in the old days, we have power knees that assist them in going up stairs.

WALLACE: Wounded warriors walk around a track in a harness to get used to their prosthetic or learn to climb a moving wall.

HAWLEY-BOWLAND: The record on this wall is an hour and a half, which would tire me out.

WALLACE: What, somebody was able...

HAWLEY-BOWLAND: Able with a prosthetic...

WALLACE: ... to climb it for an hour and a half?

HAWLEY-BOWLAND: ... and climbed it for an hour and a half.

WALLACE: And remarkably, 25 percent of the amputees return to active duty, some to the battlefield.

HAWLEY-BOWLAND: We send them with extra prosthetics so that if the prosthetic gets injured again, they've got a spare in the trunk.

WALLACE: That has been the tradition at Walter Reed since it opened in 1909.

HAWLEY-BOWLAND: It started out as a state-of-the-art hospital. It had an electric elevator, indoor plumbing, electricity and an x-ray room. That was state-of-the-art back then.

WALLACE: It was named after an Army doctor who discovered during the Spanish-American war that yellow fever, which was killing more soldiers than battle injuries, was transmitted by mosquitoes.

HAWLEY-BOWLAND: War is one of those catalysts to come up with new treatments to save the wounded. Vascular surgery -- the beginnings of that was in the Korean War as well as Vietnam.

WALLACE: During World War I, the hospital expanded from 80 beds to 2,500 by building long wooden barracks.

What is it like for a commander in chief when they come here and see the soldiers they've sent into battle back home?

HAWLEY-BOWLAND: They'll come back teary-eyed out of the room. You know, we let them go in the room privately with the soldier and their families, but it's always an uplifting experience for them, and they love to come visit the soldiers.

WALLACE: Two years ago there was a scandal at Walter Reed when it was revealed that outpatients were in housing infested with mice and mold and were getting lost in the bureaucracy.

HAWLEY-BOWLAND: It was very painful morale-wise.

WALLACE: Hawley-Bowland took command later and says the problems have been fixed.

As Walter Reed celebrates its first 100 years, one thing above all drives the staff -- the courage of the warriors recovering from their wounds. HAWLEY-BOWLAND: I speed walk for my P.T. test and these guys pass me. And then they'll turn around and go, "Oh, hi, ma'am," and I'll go, "Yeah, carry on. Carry on."

They are what we come to work for every day, and they're the ones that create the memories that we will treasure forever.


WALLACE: Walter Reed shuts its doors in September of 2011 as part of the Pentagon's base closing program. But when it combines operations with Bethesda Naval Hospital, it will keep the name Walter Reed.

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


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