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Herman Cain Talks Surge in GOP Polls; Business Leaders on State of U.S. Economy
Written by Chris Wallace / Published October 02, 2011 / Fox News Sunday
Special Guests: Herman Cain, Robert Johnson, Fred Smith
The following is a rush transcript of the October 2, 2011, edition of "Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace." This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.
The presidential campaign's new "it" candidate surges toward the top of the Republican field.
An early straw poll test yields a shocking upset. Now, many are beginning to wonder: is he for real?
We'll ask the man of the moment, presidential contender Herman Cain.
Then, American business begins to sour on President Obama's economic policies. We'll discuss the state of the economy with two leaders of the private sector. The chairman of Federal Express, Fred Smith, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, Robert Johnson.
Plus, a key terrorist leader is killed. We'll ask our Sunday panel what Anwar al-Awlaki's death means for the war on terror. And our power player of the week, now what you'd expect of a football coach on or off the field.
All right now on "Fox News Sunday."
And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
It was big news this week in the Republican presidential race and no, it wasn't whether Chris Christie is joining the field. A political long shot parlayed a strong performance in the Fox debate and Florida straw poll to jump in the top tier.
We continue our series of 2012 one-on-one interviews now with businessman Herman Cain.
HERMAN CAIN, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks, Chris. My pleasure.
WALLACE: Let's start with the latest polls which show your remarkable surge. Let's put them up on the screen. In the Fox poll in late August, Perry and Romney were in the top 20s. You were all the way back at 6 percent. Now, you are top tier, along with the two of them, inside the margin error, and look to Florida where you're now running a strong second to Mitt Romney well ahead of Rick Perry.
Mr. Cain, what's going on?
Well, two things, first of all, it shows that the voice of the people is much more powerful than the voice in the media. As you know, some of the media outlets have been trying to make the Republican contest, a contest between two people, two governors. The people said something differently.
But the second main thing that came out of that -- message is more powerful than money. They spent a lot of money trying to influence that straw poll vote. We rented a bus, went around the state of Florida, had some rallies, met with people and it's resonating. The other thing I did, I started speaking in Florida, at Lincoln Day dinner and other events, last fall, I didn't just show up the week of the debate.
WALLACE: All right. You say message is more important than money and money is still important. I don't have to tell you as a businessman. It's vital in campaign and organization and ads, things like that.
Your campaign says that in the last couple of weeks, as you begun to surge, you are taking in several hundred thousand a day. And in the second quarter, the previous quarter, you took in $2.1 million.
WALLACE: The third quarter ended on Friday, what's your number going to be?
CAIN: The number is going to be more than the number that we turned in before. We don't know how much yet because they're still doing the calculation. But you are right, our fundraising has picked up substantially as a result of what happened in Florida because I think it sent a message that I am a viable candidate.
And the other thing that made this more significant is that the people who were voting in the straw poll were delegates. Which means that they are much more informed, much more critical about who they are going to vote for. This is why I believe a lot of people interpreted as we did, and that is there's really some substance here in this particular candidacy.
WALLACE: But you say more than $2.1. Three million, $4 million?
CAIN: I don't have a number for you. But it will be north of $2 million.
WALLACE: OK. Besides you, the other big story in the GOP race right now, as I mentioned at the top, is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. He supports -- because people are looking at his record over the years -- he has supported a ban on assault weapons and supported civil unions for same-sex couples. He says being in this country without documentation is not a crime and that global warming is real and it's manmade.
Question: Is he too liberal to be Republican nominee for president?
CAIN: Yes, I believe that a lot of conservatives, once they know his positions on those things that you delineated, they're not going to be able to support him. So, I think that is absolutely a liability for him if he gets in the race.
WALLACE: Why do you think that they won't be able to support him?
CAIN: Because, you know, most of the conservatives believe that we should enforce our borders. They do not believe people should be here with documentation. They do not believe global warming is a crisis or a threat. Yes, it might be a little bit out there, but don't they see it as a crisis or a threat.
And as you go down the line, he's going to turn off a lot of conservatives with those positions.
WALLACE: I want to ask you, there is a troubling story on the front page of "The Washington Post" today about Rick Perry, governor of Texas, and it indicates that for years, his family had a hunting camp in west Texas and the name of it written on a stone was N-head. But, obviously, it wasn't just N-head.
WALLACE: And he was part of that camp even as governor.
Your reaction, sir?
CAIN: My reaction is, that's just very insensitive. That is on a much -- that is in a more vile negative word than the N-word and for him to leave it there as long as he did, before I hear that they finally painted it over is just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this country.
WALLACE: You know what? Let's talk about 999.
CAIN: Yes, I light up then.
WALLACE: Yes, I know you do 990 which is your idea. And let's face it, your rise in the polls at the same time that you come out with the specific plan, 999 -- 9 percent flat corporate tax, 9 percent flat income tax, and a 9 percent national sales tax.
WALLACE: As more is becoming known about it, there are more questions.
WALLACE: Let's dig in.
The Christian Science Monitor did an analysis of what various income groups would pay. Someone making $20,000 a year, who now pays 13 percent tax rate would pay 17 percent. Someone making $55,000 go from 17 to 18 percent. Someone making $300,000 would go from 28 percent to 16 percent.
This is the analysis of the Christian Science Monitor, Mr. Cain, that the poor and middle class pay more. The rich pay a lot less.
CAIN: OK. I don't know the assumption of that they used. Let me walk you through my analysis with my assumptions. Let's take the $50,000, which is a median income. At $50,000, you have to into account the payroll tax. The total taxes paid by somebody at $50,000, if you assume standard deductions and you can take the number of exemptions for a family of four. They're going to pay approximately $10,000.
Now, 9 percent of $50,000 is $4,500. You already have a $5,500 gap right there. Now, if they then pay 9 percent on the sales tax of everything they have left, they would still have $2,000 left over.
So, I don't know the assumptions that they used for those numbers.
WALLACE: Look, almost everybody would say the income tax is the most progressive tax at this point because it taxes people who make less at a lower rate than people who make more. The sales tax is the most regressive tax because the richest person in the world buys $1 donut. He's going to pay the same amount as the poorest person in the world.
Necessarily, if you flatten the most progressive tax and introduce the most regressive, isn't that going to work to the benefit of the rich and detriment to the poor?
CAIN: No. No, because you're still basing it all on some assumptions.
Look, bottom line at $50,000 a year, that family is going to be $2,000 ahead. So, they come out way ahead. That's assuming that they spend every dime that they have left over.
The objective was grow the base and make the tax code fairer for everybody. It levels the playing field. It gets rid of all the loopholes. But the most interesting is, it gets the government out of the business of trying to pick winners and losers and trying to decide what's regressive and what's not regressive.
WALLACE: The other big criticism is that, as opposed to some other people who would repeal the income tax, you are keeping the income tax at a lower rate, but you're introducing a new federal tax, a national sales tax.
WALLACE: What? How do you guarantee -- I asked you this in the debate and I'm not sure I got a full answer, how do you guarantee that 9-9-9 down the line doesn't become 12-12-12?
CAIN: In the legislation that I'm going to ask Congress to send me, I want a two-thirds vote required by the Senate in order for them to change it. That will impede cavalierly raising it.
Secondly, the fact that the tax rate 9-9-9 is so visible, the American public is going to hold their feet to the fire and two-thirds majority in the Senate will be one of the ways to try to make sure that they don't raise it. And here's the other fact. As president, I am going to be working to bring down the debt. So, we're not going to have that tendency to continue to raise it because spending is out of control the way it is now. We will get spending under control at the same time that we grow this economy.
WALLACE: You said the other day that you believe that if you run against Barack Obama, you could get one-third of the African-American vote, but most of the other two-thirds is -- your words -- "brainwashed."
Everyone from Jesse Jackson, Jr. on the left, to Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican Party, says that is insulting and demeaning to African-Americans.
CAIN: First of all, I believe I'm going to get a third because a third of the black people in this country at least are thinking for themselves.
Now, the fact that they say that that word is insensitive, that's not as insensitive as the president of the United States standing in front of a major black audience, the Congressional Black Caucus, and scolding them because his policies have failed the country, his policies have failed black people. That's more insensitive -- that's more insulting to me than me using a term brainwashed. It's their only weapon, Chris, to try to silence me because I'm a conservative. It's simply not going to work.
WALLACE: But couldn't it be that African-Americans haven't been brainwashed, they have made up their mind clear-headed as you made up your mind about what is best for the country and what's best for them?
CAIN: Anecdotally, I run into people all the time and I share my 9-9-9 plan with them. Some black people that I run into -- not all, we keep our own little informal poll -- they won't even take my little 9-9-9 brochure because I'm that conservative, I'm that Republican.
I call that being brainwashed. How can they make up their mind against something when they don't know what it is?
So, this is why I'm saying -- some of them have been brainwashed not to even consider an alternative point of view if the person is running as a Republican or if they're supposed to be a conservative. Not all, but some.
WALLACE: The Republican Party did not have a single black member in Congress from 2002 to 2010. Now, there are two black members in Congress, Republicans, and 42 Democrats.
How do you respond to those who question -- question -- whether the Republican Party would ever nominate an Africa-American for president?
CAIN: My response would be, history is not a predictor of the future. Secondly, the mood of the country, and the citizens movement, they are rewriting the laws to the political landscape. If it were not for the citizen's Tea Party movement, if it were not for the power of the Internet, I wouldn't be in the race making the moves I am making right now. That's the difference.
It goes back to something I said earlier, the force of the people, they are not looking at history and what the Republican Party's reputation might have been. They are now looking at this guy, Herman Cain, is putting real solutions on the table and this is what the people are starved for.
WALLACE: Finally, you were on Jay Leno Friday night and you were asked to your quick impression of some of your rivals in the Republican field. And I just want to ask you also quickly but explain a couple of them. So, let's go through it.
Ron Paul --
CAIN: Now, I will say it --
WALLACE: Wait, wait, wait. Let me -- I say it, then you can explain it. Ron Paul -- grumpy old man?
CAIN: I told Jay, as I'm telling you, I knew it was going to get me in trouble. This is how he comes across to a lot of people. This is what I've heard. So, I was basically playing back the comments that I have, grumpy old man because everything is in this, in that, in this, in that. You have to fix stuff. Not in everything.
WALLACE: Rick Santorum. Stressed.
CAIN: Stressed. If you look at his face during the debates, most of the time, he has a stressful look on his face. That was my word. I like Rick Santorum. He and I get along great, but his personality is one that looks and appears to be more stressed than, say, my personality which is more relaxed.
WALLACE: Mitt Romney?
CAIN: Good hair.
WALLACE: Really? That's the first thing you can say about him?
CAIN: Well, the serious thing is -- the differences between Mitt Romney claiming to try to be the businessman in the race, is that his business appearance has been Wall Street. My business experience has been Main Street.
I knew what a pizza looked like before it was kicked and served. I've got my hands dirty working on Main Street and work in business rather than just on Wall Street.
WALLACE: Now, finally, as you were walking in here today, I was kidding around with you and I started, "Hail to the chief" and you said to me, if I become president, I think you said, when I become president, we're going to have a much hipper song.
What's the problem with "Hail to the Chief"?
CAIN: Well, it's traditional and that's well and good. But I happen to believe that there comes a time when you need to change the mood just a little bit. Not drastically, but change it just a little bit.
It's kind of like in marketing. Periodically, companies that have been successful at branding, they might modify their logo just a little bit to give it a fresher look. I think "Hail to the Chief' needs a little bit fresher sound.
WALLACE: So, hip-hop?
CAIN: It won't be hip hop. I might put gospel beat to the "Hail to the Chief."
WALLACE: OK. Mr. Cain, I want to thank you. And I want to say I -- it wasn't planned, but I love the fact you come on our show. I ask you tough questions, and you answer them with grace and good humor. I wish that all of the other candidates acted the way you did, sir.
CAIN: Well, thank you. I take that as a compliment.
And, you know, the American people, I believe, appreciate my attitude toward -- answer the tough questions and be honest about how you feel. That resonates with the people.
WALLACE: All right. And we also want to note that you have a new book out.
WALLACE: Let's put it out on the screen.
CAIN: This Tuesday.
WALLACE: "This is Herman Cain: My Journey to the White House. Mr. Cain, good luck for that and we'll see you on the campaign trail, sir.
CAIN: A pleasure. Thank you.
WALLACE: It's a pleasure to see you. Thank you.
Up next, big business and the president. We'll ask two men who had met a payroll whether Mr. Obama's policies are helping or hurting the economy.
WALLACE: With a jobless recovery and the threat of another recession and the stock market ending the worst quarter since 2009, many in the private sector are now speaking out against President Obama's policies.
For more from the business world. We welcome: Fred Smith, chairman and CEO of FedEx, who joins us from Memphis, and Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television, and now, the chairman of the RLG Companies who's in Florida.
Gentlemen, let's start with the state of the economy. Mr. Smith, how deep of a hole are we in right now and is Washington making it better or worse?
FRED SMITH, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, FEDEX: Well, I think the economy is slow. Our economist and our information would not show that we are not entering a recession, but the policies that we are pursuing at the federal level are certainly not creating a situation which would create growth in the economy, either.
WALLACE: When you say -- what is hurting growth that's coming out of Washington?
SMITH: Well, the economy is divided in two parts, investment and consumption. And investment is virtually 100 percent correlated with job creation and our investment levels are significantly below where they have been in the past. So, our corporate tax code, our energy policy, our trade policy and the tremendous increase in regulations are all impeding the economy's ability to grow at reasonable levels.
WALLACE: Let me bring in Mr. Johnson.
You said this week that you don't think that the leadership either in the White House or Congress will end what you call zero sum game mentality and that is idea, obviously that if one side wins, the other side necessarily has to lose.
The presidency however this week said he sees a different problem. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This is, you know, a great, great country that had gotten a little soft and we didn't have the same competitive edge we needed over the last couple of decades.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Mr. Johnson, has American business gotten soft or is Washington putting up too many road blocks to business?
ROBERT JOHNSON, FOUNDER OF BLACK ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION: Chris, American business has not gotten soft. American business is filled with innovators and investors and entrepreneurs who want to grow the economy and put people to work. The problem is, I think between both the House and the White House, we have a political cold war. It is sort of the old Russian way of negotiating what is mine is mine and what is yours, we'll talk about.
So we've got the Republicans saying taxes are mine, but we'll talk about your entitlements. And the Democrats are saying entitlements are ours and we'll talk about your taxes.
End result is a political freeze setting over the economy can impacting our ability to compete globally.
WALLACE: John, one of the things that got us to thinking about this subject this week were the comments from Muhtar Kent, the CEO of Coca-Cola Company. He said it is easier doing business in China, which he compared to a well managed company and he said that in the U.S. high taxes and the political divide are hurting business and hurting investment.
Mr. Smith, you do business all over the world, is Mr. Kent, right?
SMITH: Well, we have been in China for 25 years and in our sector of transportation there are plenty of challenges in China, I can say that for sure. But, we have had a tremendous growth spurt there.
What I wish I could say is that the United States does not have challenges and we have significant challenges as well.
WALLACE: Mr. Johnson, another business leader spoke out. Ted Leonsis who was one of the people who helped build AOL and as you well know is now the owner of two big sports teams here in Washington. He wrote a blog about the president and his statements under the headline, Class Warfare Yuck. And he wrote this, "some in the Democrat Party are now casting about for enemies. And business leaders and anyone who has achieved success in terms of rank or fiscal success is being cast as a bad guy in a black hat."
Mr. Johnson, Ted Leonsis is a big Democratic donor as are you, but is the president playing class warfare?
JOHNSON: Well, I think the president has to recalibrate his message. You don't get people to like you by attacking them or demeaning their success. You know, I grew up in a family of 10 kids, first one to go to college, and I've earned my success. I've earned my right to fly private if I choose to do so.
And by attacking me it is not going to convince me that I should take a bigger hit because I happen to be wealthy. You know, it is the old -- I think Ted and Fred and I we both sort of take the old Ethel Merman approach to life. I've tried poor and I tried rich and I like rich better. It doesn't mean that I am a bad guy.
I didn't go in to business to create a public policy success for either party, Republican or Democrat. I went in business to create jobs and opportunity, create opportunity, create value for myself and my investors. And that's what the president should be praising, not demagoguing us simply because Warren Buffet says he pays more than his secretary. He should pay the secretary more and she will pay more.
WALLACE: Mr. Smith, I want to follow up on that. We had the president's chief strategist, senior strategist David Plouffe on "Fox News Sunday" last week and he made the argument that you've heard a lot from the president and the White House, the wealthy aren't paying their fair share. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID PLOUFFE: The American people are screaming out saying it is unfair that the wealthiest, the largest corporations who can afford the best attorneys and accountants, take advantage of the special tax treatments that lobbyist along with lawmakers have cooked in the books here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Mr. Smith, is the White House right? Are business men like you and Mr. Johnson getting off too easy on taxes?
SMITH: Well, I think you have to divide the tax argument into a little bit more discreet argument. First of all, the top 10 percent of the taxpayers in the United States pay 70 percent, or near 70 percent of all federal personal taxes. Corporate taxes are only about 9 percent.
The problem is, when you talk about personal taxes, it takes everyone's eye off of the corporate tax situation. And from 1986 forward, the United States has had in essence similar tax code for corporations as they do for individuals. And that is a big part of our slow investment and why we are not getting the jobs.
Let me give you an example that goes back to the interview with Mr. Cain. 9 percent sales tax that he advocates is similar to a value-added tax in Europe and elsewhere. Under the world trading rules, the value-added tax is deductible from exports where our corporate income tax is not.
So we are playing with one hand tied behind our back when it come to exports, which is one of the biggest potential growth areas that the United States has. That's why the corporate tax has to be lowered, it has to be configured for a world wide economy and it has to incent business investment.
WALLACE: All right. We've got two prescriptions here in Washington for what to do. The president as you all know has proposed a new jobs plan, it would have more short-term spending stimulus they call it, more short-term tax cuts. But down the road starting in 2013, $2 trillion in additional taxes over the next decade, and then going on beyond that.
Republicans say cut spending, cut regulations, get government out of the way.
Mr. Smith you are a Republican, as we said Mr. Johnson you are a Democrat. Let me ask you both starting with you Fred Smith, which side has got the better argument?
SMITH: Well, entitlements have to be reformed. And you can either reform them by some sort of rationing, or regulations, or you can do it by market forces and means testing. That's what Congressman Ryan has proposed and which based on my experience is far the better answer.
But regardless was which side you choose, neither can be successful unless we can get the economy growing at a rate that is able to pay for the entitlements. And absent a more modern, you know, advanced tax structure and we are not competitive with the rest of the world that incents businesses to invest, a better energy policy which creates a much bigger pool of energy that comes from North America rather than shipping hundreds of billions to the Mideast and elsewhere, we can't be successful.
WALLACE: Mr. Johnson, briefly who has the better side of the argument?
JOHNSON: Well, there are no profiles in courage on either part. I think the real answer was available to us in the Simpson-Bowles commission and had both Republicans and Democrats embraced that philosophy of cutting both entitlements and reforming the tax at the same time to give business confidence that we have a total commitment to our debt and our deficit and to creating jobs in this country, I think we would be much better off. And unfortunately, that's not the case.
So I think looking forward for the next year we are at stagnation. And I think the economy is going to reflect that same political stagnation as I said before.
We are in a political cold war. And I don't see anything changing until the public makes a decision about which ideology they like best in the 2012 elections.
WALLACE: Gentleman, I've got about 30 seconds left. I want to ask you each to give me a quick answer to a final question.
In the Fox News poll, the latest Fox News poll, we asked voters, if President Obama had been the CEO of a major company instead, what would you do? And 52 percent said he would have been fired by now, 38 percent said he would still be in charge.
So let me ask you each. I'll start with you Bob Johnson, what would you do if Barack Obama were running one of your companies and it had the record he's had over the last two-and-a-half years.
JOHNSON: Well, I think I would give him advice that a lot of people give to a CEO is sort of keep the people who don't like you away from the people who are undecided. So, I think he has got to figure out a way to bring everybody together so they decide that he is the best the CEO to keep the job.
WALLACE: And Fred Smith, if he were one of your division heads would you keep him on or would you let him go?
SMITH: Well, the president is for corporate tax reform. And I would simply say, Mr. President, to keep your job here, you need to reform these taxes and getting America back to work in the industrial sector rather than all of this financial speculation and we can do that. And I think he actually supports that.
WALLACE: So he would have a little more time.
Mr. Smith, Mr. Johnson, we want to thank you both for sharing your insights. And gentleman, please come back.
Up next, we'll ask our Sunday group what the U.S. strike against Anwar al-Awlaki means to the war on terror.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
OBAMA: This is further proof that Al Qaeda and its affiliates will find no safe haven anywhere in the world.
ADM. MIKE MULLEN, FMR. CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Bin Laden is dead. Awlaki is dead. Al Qaeda is a much diminished network.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
WALLACE: President Obama and just-retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen talking about the significance of killing one of the world's most wanted terrorists. And it's time now for our Sunday group: Brit Hume, Fox News senior political analyst; Mara Liasson of National Public Radio; Bill Kristol from The Weekly Standard; and Fox News political analyst Juan Williams.
Well, after two years of searching, U.S. intelligence and Special Forces finally got their man. Drone strikes Friday taking down this guy, Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born cleric who was so effective in recruiting jihadists over the Internet.
Brit, how big a victory on the war on terror?
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it's big because, you know, if you're looking around the world now for an Al Qaeda leader who sort of steps into Bin Laden's role, though perhaps in a somewhat smaller capacity, this is your guy. And so I think credit is owed to everyone involved in this from the president on down.
And I think part of what's interesting about it is, you know, one of the problems of this whole struggle against terrorists has been this asymmetrical nature of it. You know, we've got these big, powerful weapons, and large numbers of men and so on, and they are able to do it with smaller caliber weaponry, crude methods, but deadly effectiveness because of the fact that people are willing to give their lives.
Well, we now have got a response to that with these drone attacks. You don't hear them coming, and all of a sudden you're dead . I think it's powerful and effective, and the president deserves credit for continuing the use of it
MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Yes, I agree. The president said in his remarks that we've been relentless and deliberate. I think that's absolutely true. It takes a long time to find these guys and to track them down, but they have done it. They have done it now over and over again.
I think it's good for the country, I think it's good for President Obama. You know, the inevitable question about whether it's going to help him or not, you know, the economy is overriding and these bumps tend to go away. But he's had remarkable success in the war on terror, and this is how it's waged. It's difficult and it's one step at a time.
WALLACE: Bill, the takedown of Awlaki is not without some controversy. Some people both on the right and the left are questioning the idea that the president approved the killing of a U.S. citizen -- because Awlaki was born in New Mexico, he's a U.S. citizen, although I guess he was also a Yemeni citizen -- based on secret intelligence without any judicial proceeding, and they say it violates the Constitution's due process. BILL KRISTOL, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Well, I think if he had wished to come to the U.S. and stand trial, we would have welcomed him and put him on trial. But he was hiding out in Yemen, and it's hard to serve him with a warrant in the wilds of Yemen. And he had gone over to the other side, and he was proud of his role in killing Americans, proud of his role in inciting Nidal Hasan, for example. He killed 13 people at Fort Hood.
And so I think the president and mainstream America, which I think defends and thinks what happened was just, has the better of this idea.
WALLACE: Juan, you do hear from the ACLU that the idea -- maybe in this case it's OK, but the idea that a president can sit there and target an American for assassination -- and, in fact, you know, assassination, that's not what I would call it, but that is exactly what Ron Paul called it. He said we assassinated this guy.
So do you think that argument has some merit?
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. And Chris, I think you're right. It's not just people who you would think traditionally would be critical of this, like Dennis Kucinich, who has come out and said this is an assassination, but Ron Paul, a Libertarian.
It's interesting. I mean, obviously, it is a violation of our Fifth Amendment rights against having the government take away life, liberty, property. There's no question. But I think that it's to the contrary.
I think it was, to my mind, the right decision by this president in this circumstance. The issue then becomes, well, Mr. President, what is the standard by which you would say that this man deserves to be targeted? We don't have a standard. So what if it's a president that you feel less confident about making this call? What about if the situation is different?
There should be a set standard, and that's what the president needs to do.
HUME: Wait a minute. This man is an enemy compartment who has no rights under the laws of war.
Not only that, he's a part of the command and control structure of an organization against which we have, in effect, declared war. So, this whole question judicial and legal rights is irrelevant.
This man wasn't executed for his crimes. He was killed because he was a commander of enemy forces. And he deploys them in an unusual way, but this is not about --
WILLIAMS: But you have to make the case, Brit. You have to say here's exactly what America knows.
HUME: What case?
WILLIAMS: Here's what our intelligence sector has discovered --
HUME: Well, we know --
WILLIAMS: -- and why we choose to do it.
HUME: We know this about this man.
WILLIAMS: We know that he was tied to Nidal Hasan, the guy at Fort Hood. We know that he was tied -- or we suspect he was tied to the Christmas bomber. But we do not know about commanding forces, as you suggest.
All I'm saying is, if it's not going to be transparent, then you are simply trusting the commander-in-chief here. And if that's the case --
HUME: That's what you do in war.
WILLIAMS: If that's the case, then, his standard for this is inexplicable. And what about Guantanamo Bay? What about others -- use of drones?
WALLACE: Wait. Let Mara go.
LIASSON: The only thing I want to say about this debate is what an overwhelming consensus there seems to be in favor of the president's action. I'm not trying to diminish the ACLU or Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich. But beyond those voices, you are not hearing a big outcry in Congress that this was the wrong thing to do from either Party.
KRISTOL: I am happy to diminish the ACLU and Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul. You know, they don't believe in the whole effort, basically. Ron Paul has been hanging out with 9/11 truthers. And so the idea that these are respectable voices with serious analysis of constitutional law, I don't believe that.
WALLACE: I want to put up some interesting numbers.
"The Washington Post" reports -- let's put these up on the screen -- the Obama administration has carried out 227 drone attacks in the last two-and-a-half years, almost five times as many as President Bush approved during his eight years in office, and they have killed almost 1,100 economy combatants. Again, almost five times what the Bush administration did.
As someone who doubted whether this president was going to be aggressive in pursuing the war on terror, in keeping America safe, would you have to say he surprised you?
KRISTOL: Yes, and I give him credit for it. I think we may be paying a price for using drones so overwhelmingly, as opposed to capturing some of these people, where we couldn't get good intelligence for them, and we shouldn't kid ourselves that the drones -- or most of these drones have been in Afghanistan, or a few of them next door to Afghanistan, and so they're part of a broader war effort and they require the support of other elements of the military.
We shouldn't kid ourselves again that we don't need a broad-based military to make this work. But, no, I think he deserves credit for this.
WILLIAMS: You know, I just wanted to say, we have reached the point where I think we are at war in Libya, we're at war at Pakistan. Congress doesn't seem to get involved. We trust this president.
I think we all on this panel, Chris Wallace included, say yes, he should have killed this man, the man was a threat to our national security. But where's the case? Where's the standard? Where is Congress and Obama saying, yes, we are at war in Libya, we are at war --
KRISTOL: This is not the president making a unilateral decision. I mean, there are lawyers who have to vet this. They, in fact, did get this vetted by a whole bunch of lawyers, including a lot of liberal lawyers.
WILLIAMS: Turned to the Department of Justice after a long discussion.
KRISTOL: Yes. The idea that this is just the president of the United States snapping his finger and saying bump him off is ridiculous. There's a whole process in place. It's reviewed -- a lot of it's classified, but it's reviewed by the Intelligence Committees in Congress. This is not a unilateral decision.
WALLACE: All right.
WILLIAMS: But you know the argument about torturing people is also one where it was though that the Bush administration just got the Justice Department to justify torture because it was a political end. That's --
WILLIAMS: You've got the final word here.
KRISTOL: I would be shocked at the idea that President Obama would so misuse the Justice Department in such a way.
WALLACE: All right. Shocked. You're winning, sir.
All right. We have to take a break here. But when we come back, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, will he or won't he join the Republican presidential race? And what happens next?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: Insisting that we must tax and take and demonize those who have already achieved the American dream, that may turn out to be good reelection strategy, Mr. President, but it is a demoralizing message for America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie hammering the president's economic policies with tough talk that has so many Republicans pleading for him to get into the presidential race.
And we're back now with the panel.
Bill Kristol, you have been following this as closely as anyone in the world of politics, maybe on this planet. Is he going to run? And when are we going to know?
KRISTOL: I don't know whether he's going to run. I'm not sure he knows he knows whether he's going to run. I think it's about 50- 50. I think we'll know within a week, basically, this week or maybe the very beginning of next week.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a little item saying -- giving him a little schedule for announcing, and I suggested October 10th, which I guess is a week from tomorrow, or a week from Monday, and then he can suddenly emerge and appear in that October 11th debate in New Hampshire.
It will be exciting. If he jumps in the pool, he'll make a big splash.
WALLACE: But what does your gut tell you?
KRISTOL: I think he could do it. I think he could do it.
WALLACE: No, that's not what I'm -- do you think he will get in?
WALLACE: You do?
WALLACE: Why? Because he said, "I'm not ready." That's tough to come back from, "I'm not ready."
KRISTOL: He can say, I was being honest, but I've been approached by an awful lot of people I respect who told me they think not only I can win -- I think too much of the focus has been on who can beat Obama. Romney is doing OK against Obama.
Who can govern? Who is up to this moment which is a genuine crisis? Who has shown the governing ability, both the boldness and the ability to actually work, in his case, with the Democratic legislature and get real budget reforms and (INAUDIBLE) reforms through? So I think he can make a case that he didn't want to run, he didn't expect to run, but a lot of people he respects have said he should -- have told him he should run, and he's going to do it.
WILLIAMS: Well, I think Bill is a political seer. He's been pretty good.
But I've got to tell you, Bill, I think that this could be a repeat of the Rick Perry situation. He gets in and it's a big flop.
I mean, you look at, can he win in places like Iowa, South Carolina, where you've got real conservatives who are going to say, wait a second, this is a guy who says a la Rick Perry, if you are in this country without documentation, it's no crime. That's Chris Christie.
Chris Christie says, yes, let's have gun control in this country. Chris Christie says no drilling off of the shore of New Jersey. That is Chris Christie.
That is not Tea Party orthodoxy. So, I just think that he gets in, and a lot of the conservatives who like his blunt, bullying style -- and I do, too. I find him a go-getter who's tried to take control, balance the budget in New Jersey. But I am not sure that's going to play with the Republican base that is out there booing gay soldiers and the like.
WALLACE: Let me go on from that bashing of the Tea Party. But it brings up a good point, which is that just as Rick Perry seemed great on paper, and then we find out about the HPV vaccine and about the in-state tuition, you do have this guy's position on gay civil unions. He supports it -- guns.
HUME: The ones Juan cited are all valid.
WALLACE: Immigration. He also says global warming is real, and at least partly manmade.
HUME: Right. With all due respect to my esteemed colleague Bill, the people who are chasing after Governor Christie remind me of a pack of dogs chasing a car, and it's not clear what they will do if they catch it.
All these issues that you've cited, that's a larger set of departures from Republican and conservative orthodoxy than Rick Perry has been accused of, and look how much trouble he's gotten in. And I'm just not sure that he would wear well.
I mean, there would be a big excitement at first. The style certainly works and so on. But I am not sure how will well he would hold up a debate.
The other thing is, you've got to get from almost a standing start up to speed on national and international issues in a big hurry, because there's a debate coming about every week. There are going to be six more before anybody votes, and you've got to stand up there on that stage and shine, because you'll certainly be expected to. Expectations for this poor guy right now are over the moon.
You're going to have to stand up there and shine against all these people who have been doing this for a while and have gotten better at it. So, I think it would be -- if he gets in, he'd better do it fast. And my other thought about it is, if he gets in, he's going to find it's going to be a very tough slog.
WALLACE: And your gut? I know you don't make predictions, but what's your gut?
HUME: My gut is no, but that's just my gut, which is not worth much.
LIASSON: Yes, my gut is no, too. But look, a couple things.
It's really hard to start from a standing stop. And Mitt Romney has been at this for five or seven years, and Rick Perry is a kind of case in point. You have to be prepared. It's different to run on a national level in terms of the issues, in terms of the scrutiny.
But I do think that the reason why Bill is pining for Chris Christie, the same reason he pined for Paul Ryan, is because there is a hole in the field. There's no conservative fiscal reformer.
Even though you'd think that Mitt Romney would have rushed to fill that void, and Rick Perry, it's mystifying to me why nobody has stepped up to that kind of Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan approach to government. But nobody has, and I think that's one of the things fueling this desire for a new candidate.
WALLACE: Bill, meanwhile, the two candidates who are in the race and at the front of the pack continue sniping at each other, and they did so this week. Let's look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mitt needs to get a position and stick with it. I mean, he's flipping more than that great movie star Flipper.
MITT ROMNEY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He has a hard time with getting the story straight.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
WALLACE: So, how has Rick Perry done this week in trying to right the ship from the poor debate performance, the poor showing in the Florida straw poll, and getting his campaign on track?
KRISTOL: I think he's done OK, but he was damaged. And they are damaging each other, and this may go on for a while.
I mean, in the Fox poll a month ago, it was 29-22, Perry over Romney. That's 51 percent for the two front-runners. In the new Fox poll that you put up earlier, it's 23, Romney; 19, Perry. That's 42 percent for the two front-runners. So, together, they've lost 10 percent of the vote.
So far it's gone to Herman Cain. And incidentally, why is Herman Cain attractive? Because he has a big reform agenda.
People -- you know, sophisticates say that 999 plan isn't fully worked out and it won't produce enough revenue, but it's a bold, big reform agenda that addresses the problem that we face. And I do think that's why there's interest in Governor Christie. One has the sense that he will do the same.
He may not check every box on the list of Republican orthodoxy, but I actually think a lot of Republican voters, a lot of Tea Party members, are beyond expecting a candidate to sort of dutifully check every box. Mitt Romney has dutifully checked every box. If there's any serious person who thinks Mitt Romney would govern in a more conservative way than Chris Christie, I doubt that.
WILLIAMS: You know, I was in Iowa and Florida this week and I got a chance to talk to people who are sort of at the Republican edge of politics, and they really like Herman Cain. I mean, you were on target when you said, people like us, we don't understand, how is Herman Cain up in the ranks of these people? It just doesn't make sense.
But they like him and they think that the 999 plan is coherent, they understand it, it's not gobbledygook. They think he's a warm personality, they like his surviving cancer story.
They see in him a populist edge. And at the moment, you know, we haven't talked about the Democrats on this side, but remember, President Obama and the Democrats are having great success right now with their class warfare argument. In the Fox poll that came out this week, 56 percent of Americans says they don't see it as dividing American people. In fact, they see it as a legitimate argument that the rich should pay more taxes.
HUME: Two points here, Chris.
One is that polling public sentiment at this stage is notoriously soft. A lot of the polls we look at are registered voter polls or all adult polls, which tell you very little about who is actually going to turn out and vote. Sentiment has shown -- the swings we are seeing is a result of softness in sentiment.
And the other thing is debates are keeping this field enlarged, because that's about all there is at the campaign right now. The debates cost the candidates nothing. It costs the sponsors and the broadcasters a lot.
WALLACE: We're going to have to leave it there. Thank you, panel. See you next week .
Don't forget to check out "Panel Plus," where our group picks right up with the discussion on our Web site, FoxNewsSunday.com. And we'll post the video before noon Eastern Time.
Up next, our "Power Player of the Week."
WALLACE: It's not written on any job description, but there are just some jobs you associate with one gender or the other. Still, there is always an exception. And this one is our "Power Player of the Week."
NATALIE RANDOLPH, COOLIDGE HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL COACH: I didn't have enough coaching experience. The obvious, I don't have a Y chromosome at all.
WALLACE (voice-over): Natalie Randolph is one of the few women ever to coach a high school football team. She's in her second season at Coolidge High in Washington's inner city, and she admits she had some doubts.
RANDOLPH: I was like, you know, this doesn't happen normally. Don't you see who I am and what I look like?
WALLACE: But Natalie is special. First of all, she spent six years playing in a women's tackle football league.
RANDOLPH: Who doesn't like football? If you've got 11 people working together for one goal on side, and then you've got 11 people on the other side working against that, it's just like kind of how those movies like "Braveheart" and "Gladiator" and "300" make you feel.
The definition of evaporation is what from your article?
WALLACE: Natalie also teaches science. And she made it clear to the search committee she would emphasize football and schoolwork to her players.
RANDOLPH: If you want to life your life, football is not what's going to make it happen. You need to make sure you take what's going on in the building seriously so that you are not left sitting on the curb.
WALLACE: When Natalie was named coach in March of 2010, folks were excited.
RANDOLPH: Being female has nothing to do with it. I love football. I love football. I love teaching. I love these kids.
WALLACE: But that faded when the Coolidge Colts lost their first five games last season after two of her players transferred out. RANDOLPH: That's because it's a new coach.
WALLACE (on camera): You really don't think it had anything to do with the fact that you are Natalie Randolph and not Nat Randolph?
RANDOLPH: If it did, so what. And it's not like -- it was only two kids.
WALLACE (voice-over): Natalie stuck with her program. She started mandatory study halls before practice, and she made her kids take care of the locker room and their equipment. And the team started winning four of their last five games.
CALVIN BROWN, COOLIDGE HIGH SENIOR: There's no playing around. It's all about football and school. Anything else, keep it away from the field.
WALLACE: This season is going better. The team won its first two games, although when we followed them to Baltimore, they got trounced 41-7. And the kids seem to have bought in to her ideas.
RANDOLPH: If a teacher comes to me and says so and so is messing up in class, that kid pays for it at practice. They run at the end, or whatever the punishment is that day. There is no separation between class and field.
WALLACE: All of her seniors were accepted to college last spring. This season she's giving out helmet stickers not just for good plays, but for good grades.
(on camera): Honestly, what gives you more satisfaction, one of your kids scoring a touchdown or one of your kids getting an A in a course?
RANDOLPH: Getting an A in a course, hands down. The touchdown is over when the touchdown is over. You can get tackled and fumble the ball and lose the game in the next play. Nobody one can take that A away. Nobody can take that away ever.
WALLACE: But touchdowns are still nice. On Friday, Coach Randolph and the Coolidge Colts recovered from last week's defeat, beating Anacostia 52-0.
And that's it for today. Have a great week, and we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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