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Rep. Chaffetz, Rep. Lynch on Benghazi whistleblowers; Sen. McCain talks US action in Syria
Written by Chris Wallace / Published May 05, 2013 / Fox News Sunday
Special Guests: Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
The following is a rush transcript of the May 5, 2013, edition of "Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace." This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.
Today, is the truth about Benghazi being covered up?
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not familiar with this notion that anybody's been blocked from testifying.
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, R - UTAH: If he's going to get to the bottom of it, better hurry up and do it because we got, whistleblowers are coming to us.
WALLACE: Eight months after the terror attack that killed four Americans, lawmakers are still asking what really happened. We'll talk with two members of the House committee that will hold a crucial hearing this week, Republican Jason Chaffetz and Democrat Stephen Lynch. And then, pressure builds for decisive action in Syria.
REPORTER: The administration is rethinking its opposition to arming the rebels?
CHUCK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Yes.
WALLACE: As the civil war wages, we'll talk options with the leading member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John McCain.
You're off drugs.
MICHAEL TYSON, FORMER BOXING CHAMP: Thank God.
WALLACE: You're off alcohol?
TYSON: No, I will thank God.
WALLACE: Our power player of the week, the former heavyweight champ goes from the heights to rock bottom and lives to tell about it.
All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
Well, this week, the long, slow investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi may take a dramatic turn when government workers with new information testify before Congress.
Joining us now are two members of the House Oversight Committee that will conduct the hearing, Republican Jason Chaffetz, and from Massachusetts, Democrat Stephen Lynch.
And, Congressmen, welcome to "Fox News Sunday."
CHAFFETZ: Thanks for having us.
WALLACE: Congressman Chaffetz, we know at least two whistleblowers with direct knowledge of Benghazi are going to testify before your committee on Wednesday. Gregory Hicks, who was the deputy chief of mission in Libya, and Mark Thompson, an officer in the state's counterterrorism bureau.
What will they add to our understanding of the attack, and is anyone else going to come forward either Wednesday or later?
CHAFFETZ: Well, we've had other people come forward. And I think you'll see other hearings as well, but these two gentlemen are in a unique position. Mr. Hicks became the chief of mission when Ambassador Stevens went missing. He has a unique insight.
When I went to Libya, about three weeks, 3 1/2 weeks after, I was able to talk to him. I think he's patriotic, he's not partisan. I think he's being suppressed a little bit, and we need to hear about him exactly what happened and didn't happen that night. He was the chief of mission in Libya when this went down.
WALLACE: Suppressed by whom?
CHAFFETZ: Well, that's what we want to have a hearing about, because, you know, we heard things, for instance, that there was no military option. There was no ability to get any military personnel there. I think you're actually going to hear some testimony that says we did have some military options. We could have gotten some people there, and they were told to stand down.
That's the kind of thing we need to be exploring in this hearing.
WALLACE: And Mark Thompson, the officer in the state's counterterrorism bureau, what's he going to tell us?
CHAFFETZ: Well, he oversees what's called the FEST, the Foreign Emergency Support Team. This is the unique group that is supposed to be the quick, rapid response interagency team when a terrorist type of activity, a hostage situation goes down. They were never called into action.
Why was that? Why were they never engaged in this? That's exactly what they stood out for.
WALLACE: Now, you said, then I'm going to bring in Congressman Lynch in a moment, but you said earlier that these are the only people who are going to testify, along with Eric Nordstrom, who testified earlier, but you said there are a lot of other potential witnesses out there watching.
Watching for what?
CHAFFETZ: Well, I think these people are afraid of retribution. They're afraid of what the State Department may do to them. They've had trouble getting an attorney. The State Department hasn't given us the documents they want. I mean, every single turn, the State Department and White House has impeded this investigation. It's why it's continued to go on so long. There are other people on the ground with firsthand knowledge that want to testify, and I think will testify at some point.
WALLACE: Congressman Lynch, how do you explain the fact that eight months after Benghazi, we have still not heard from a single witness on the ground that night in Benghazi?
REP. STEPHEN LYNCH, D - MA: We had an accountability review board that went through this led by Ambassador Pickering and Admiral Mullen. They've actually interviewed over 100 witnesses on the ground, some on the ground obviously, and many who were involved peripherally, and they made a review that there was no breach of duty here.
They made a determination that the critical element here was that host country forces committed to protecting the consulate in Benghazi walked off the job basically, and that created, you know, a security profile that was totally insufficient on September 11th.
WALLACE: But if I may, Congressman, why is it we have not heard in public from a single person who was on the ground in a congressional hearing?
LYNCH: Well, the Republicans control the House. We've had -- we've had investigations. Nordstrom came forward. We've had other witnesses.
You had hearings prior to the recent elections. The House -- you could ask Mr. Chaffetz have they haven't brought up people, if you want to know that.
We don't have the ability to hold a hearing. The Democrats have been completely kept out of this whole process. This has been a one- sided investigation, if you want to call it that. There's been no sharing of information in a significant way with the Democrats staff members who usually conduct this type of investigation. And I think it's disgraceful, to be honest with you.
WALLACE: OK. Let's get to this question because this has been one of the charges, that there'd been threats, intimidation, and threats of retaliation. So, let's discuss that.
This week, a lawyer for one of the witnesses said that the State Department has threatened officials who wanted to testify. State responded and said they don't know of anybody who has requested to testify. Let's watch that exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICTORIA TOENSING, ATTY FOR STATE DEPT EMPLOYEE: I'm not talking generally. I'm talking specifically about Benghazi, that people have been threatened, and not just the State Department. People have been threatened at the CIA. PATRICK VENTRELL, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: We repeatedly have this person saying that they had a whistleblower who's been held back from telling their story, and we're not aware of this individual, anyone who's asking to tell their story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Congressman Chaffetz, has the Obama administration blocked potential witnesses from testifying or not.
CHAFFETZ: Absolutely and more than one. We've asked for the non-classified version of how do these people get an attorney that has a degree in classified information and they still haven't given us that. No. There are people out there that want to testify that have been suppressed.
WALLACE: But you hear the State Department just say nobody, neither a lawyer nor a witness, has requested to testify?
CHAFFETZ: Because they're scared to death of what the State Department is doing to them. And that's what -- look, we're the other branch of government. They're supposed to be able to come to Congress and be able to share this type of information. That has not happened, because the administration has suppressed them (ph).
We have a person who was injured eight months ago, who's still in the hospital. They changed his name on the medical records.
This is a story of the State Department doing things that haven't been in any other case.
WALLACE: Are you saying -- and, again, I want to bring in Congressman Lynch. Tell me, a direct threat -- a direct act of intimidation against a potential witness?
CHAFFETZ: Yes, and I think we'll probably --
WALLACE: Tell me why.
LYNCH: Completely false, completely false.
WALLACE: Let me -- before he -- go ahead. Tell me what's been said.
CHAFFETZ: Yes, there are people -- more than one -- that have felt intimidation from the State Department. They can't even go through the process of getting an attorney to be able to represent them with a degree of classified information that they have.
WALLACE: Congressman Lynch, your turn.
LYNCH: The only reason that the attorneys -- and there have been two attorneys involved here -- the only reason they haven't received information is they haven't asked for it yet. They haven't asked for it. There has not been a request for these documents from these attorneys to the State Department. The State Department is more than willing to cooperate, but they haven't asked for this.
The only retaliation I've heard of here is that one of these witnesses wants a reassignment and promotion. He hasn't gotten the promotion that he wanted, and he's saying that that's somehow retaliation. So, you know, hasn't got it yet. It's actually in the process.
That's the -- that's the level of threats of intimidation? He hasn't got the promotion he wants yet?
CHAFFETZ: Let me give you another example. The State Department will not release to the committee, to the United States Congress, unclassified documents. Here we are eight months after, we should be able to look at the same information the Accountability Review Board wants to see. We wanted the Accountability Review board to come before Congress. That hasn't happened.
When we went to actually go see documents, they've given us eight types (ph) of documents over a multi-month process. They sent a State Department person in there to look over my shoulder to see what I'm looking at. We've had Democratic staff in there. There is not a single Democrat on that panel that has ever come down to look at those documents.
I've been down there, but I've never seen a Democrat down there, and it's totally open to them, the entire process.
WALLACE: Congressman Lynch?
LYNCH: Sure. Every time I've given those type of documents, I have somebody from the State Department over my shoulder as well.
CHAFFETZ: That's not right. That's not right. An unclassified document --
WALLACE: Go ahead, Congressman Lynch.
LYNCH: Look, I find it incredible -- look at this whole situation. We're talking about -- including my colleague, Mr. Chaffetz, when Secretary Clinton and the State Department asked for additional funding for embassy security, they all voted no. They all voted no.
WALLACE: Wait a minute. We're getting a little bit of --
LYNCH: Come on now. We've already admitted (ph) to this on CNN.
WALLACE: This I understand that there's an issue about security. It's a little bit off the track. I want to try to stay on course here.
LYNCH: No. This is the point. They're complaining about a lack of security at the embassies after they voted against for funding for security at the embassies. That's what they're complaining about, is a lack of security at the embassies when they all voted to cut a half a billion dollars on security. Is that not -- is that not related?
CHAFFETZ: The CFO has said in an email --
WALLACE: Let's use real words.
CHAFFETZ: The chief financial officer for the State Department said in an email that finances had nothing to do with the decisions about funding at the facility. The security personnel were paid from the Pentagon budget. They weren't paid from the State Department budget.
This is a facade. It's a distraction. There are four people dead here, Chris. Come on.
WALLACE: And I want to talk about let's talk beforehand, because there are sort of three stages to this, before, during and after, the attack.
Two weeks ago the Republican chairs of five House committees -- I grapefruit league agree with congressman lynch here -- just the Republicans, not the Democrats, issued an interim report on Benghazi in which they charged that then-Secretary of State Clinton misled Congress when she said that she had never seen any request for more security in Libya.
Let's take a look at what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The specific security requests pertaining to Benghazi, you know, were handled by the security professionals in the department. I didn't see those requests. They didn't come to me. I didn't approve them. I didn't deny them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Now, the House report by the five Republicans made a big deal of the fact that in April, after she'd gotten the request, last April, that a cable went out from the State Department under the name of Hillary Clinton, in fact not only not granting more security, but saying the security draw-down would continue.
Congressman Chaffetz, it turns out that every cable that goes from the State Department has Hillary Clinton's name -- hundreds of thousands of cables, millions of cables. The Washington Post looked into this and called the allegation by the House Republican chairman a whopper.
CHAFFETZ: Well, I would hope that Steve Lynch would join me in calling for the release of this document. It's an unclassified document. My understanding is that Hillary Clinton's name is on that line.
CHAFFETZ: Now, hold on here.
Hillary Clinton claims to take full responsibility for this, and yet at the same time pleads ignorance. Four months --
WALLACE: No, no, but there were utterly documents to go after the --
LYNCH: Chris, can I get here at some point?
WALLACE: nbsp; Yes, sure. Can I get in here at some point? Look, could I, please? Look, these are the same allegations. These are Jason Chaffetz, and the Republican chairs' allegations that she signed off on a reduction in force at Benghazi. It got four Pinocchios from The Washington Post. That's hard to do even in Washington.
I mean, you know, people say that Washington is the place where shame goes to die. This is -- this is an exact instance of that. It's shameful. We lost good people in Benghazi.
WALLACE: Congressman, may I get a word in here, please?
WALLACE: I want to talk to you about a controversy -- a continuing controversy about the talking points that came out afterwards that led some people say to a lot of disinformation. These are the talking points the administration put out after the attack. Steve Hayes of The Weekly Standard reports that the first draft by the CIA on September 14th said this, "The crowd almost certainly was a mix of individuals from across many sectors of Libyan society. That being said, we do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al Qaeda participated in the attack."
This was the first draft of talking points for the CIA on September 14th. But after objections from State and after the White House had a meeting, you can see the talking points -- a little hard to see on the screen -- there are lots of lines drawn through them. They were heavily edited, and all mentioned Islamic extremists were taken out.
Congressman Lynch, weren't the talking points the administration put out in advance of Susan Rice's appearances on those five Sunday shows, weren't those talking points scrubbed?
LYNCH: They certainly weren't accurate. I don't know what the process was there, but absolutely they were false, they were wrong. There were no protests outside of Benghazi compound there.
This was a deliberate and strategic attack on the consulate there. So any statements that this was sort of like the -- you know, the -- the other protests that we saw in Cairo and other embassies, that was not this type of case.
WALLACE: So briefly, and we're running out of time, Congressman lynch, how do you explain the fact that that Sunday, U.N. Ambassador Rice came on this show and four other Sunday shows, never mentioned the Al Qaeda extremists, which had been scrubbed from the -- from the talking points, but did mention a reaction to the anti-Islam video which had never been in any of the talking points?
LYNCH: Well, it was scrubbed. It was totally inaccurate. You're absolutely right. There's no excuse for that. It was false information. And what they try to do is harmonize what happened in Benghazi with what happened everywhere else across the Middle East.
WALLACE: And do you think part of that because -- do you think it was scrubbed because of the fact that that didn't fit into the president's narrative that al Qaeda was on the run?
LYNCH: Well, yes, I think it was a victory of hope over reality, to be honest with you. They were hoping that this wasn't the case.
WALLACE: Hope over reality?
CHAFFETZ: I wouldn't call it a victory of hope over reality. I mean, that's -- look, at the end of the day, we've got four dead Americans. We've got a kid who's still in the hospital. We've got hundreds of embassies and consulates, we've got thousands of people serving overseas.
We haven't had the truth 4 1/2 months after the incident.
LYNCH: How about we work together on that, then?
CHAFFETZ: That would be great.
LYNCH: How about we work together?
WALLACE: All right. Gentlemen, we're going to give you --
LYNCH: -- twenty-four hours to go to Benghazi, you know?
WALLACE: And we're going to give you an opportunity to work together off camera before Wednesday's hearing.
Congressman Chaffetz and Congressman Lynch, we want to thank you both for giving us a very spirited preview of Wednesday's hearing. We'll stay on top of this story, gentlemen. Thank you very much.
CHAFFETZ: Thank you.
WALLACE: Up next, President Obama is rethinking whether to arm the Syrian rebels. Senator John McCain weighs in on that and much more.
WALLACE: Amateur video out of Syria said to show Israeli airstrikes on military targets near Damascus. If so, it is the second Israeli strike inside Syria in three days.
This comes one week after President Obama walked back threats of a red line if the Assad regime used chemical weapons. We wanted to discuss all this with Senator John McCain, one of the GOP's leaders on national security.
And, Senator, welcome back.
MCCAIN: Thank you, Chris.
WALLACE: What can you tell us about the Israeli airstrikes first Thursday night/Friday morning, and a much more extensive airstrike overnight?
MCCAIN: Well, apparently, the Syrians and Iranians have crossed a red line for the Israelis. That means that weapons of an advanced nature, probably missiles, have moved from Iran into Syria with intentions of moving them to Hezbollah. The whole thing is escalating. The leader of Hezbollah committed to helping Bashar Assad, the conflict is spilling over into Lebanon and Jordan.
MCCAIN: The whole situation is becoming more and more expansive, and fortunately the red line that the president of the United States had written was apparently written in disappearing ink.
WALLACE: Well, I was going to ask you -- when you look at this escalation, and the increased involvement, two strikes in three days by Israel, what does that say about what the Obama administration should do?
MCCAIN: Well, the Obama administration should be cognizant of what George Shultz, former secretary of state, once told me when he was in the Marines Corps, his drill instructor said, never point a weapon at someone unless you're ready to pull a trigger.
So, the President of the United States said there was clear red lines. Those red lines in the view of those have been crossed and he has failed to act.
First of all, he shouldn't have drawn the red line. Second of all, the red lines were a green light to Bashar Assad to do anything short of that. Chemical weapons are terrible, but isn't it pretty terrible when you launch Scud missiles against your own people, where you massacre over 70,000 peep, drive a million into refugee camps? Those seemed to have been acceptable to this administration, and it's deplorable.
WALLACE: What do you think the message is when Israel is acting and the U.S. is not?
MCCAIN: I think that it will probably put more pressure on this administration. But one of the things I worry about is an incremental -- I saw this in the Vietnam War -- incremental escalation. We need to have a game-changing action. And that is no American boots on the ground, establish a safe zone, and to protect it and to supply weapons to the right people in Syria who are fighting for obviously the things we believe in.
Every day that goes by, Hezbollah increases their influence and -- excuse me -- the radical jihadist flow into Syria and the situation becomes more and more tenuous.
WALLACE: Now, in the wake of the red line and the alleged use of chemical weapons, the administration says it is now rethinking arming the rebels.
MCCAIN: Well, I hope they are. I also hope the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who has testified repeatedly, these air defenses that the Syrians are so tough, we would have such -- the Israelis seem to be able to penetrate it fairly easily.
One thing I've learned about some of our military -- some of our military leaders, they don't want to do something, they can invent lots of ways not to do it. The fact is we are capable of taking out their air on the ground with cruise missiles, cratering their runways, where all of these supplies, by the way, from Iran and Russia are coming in by air, and we could obviously also, with the use of Patriot missiles, defend a certain circumscribed area.
And to -- and to allege somehow that the United States of America can't do that, means we've wasted a hell of a lot of taxpayer dollars.
WALLACE: Senator, you've just heard our very spirited discussion about Benghazi in the last segments, two months you called this, a, quote -- your words -- "massive cover-up by the Obama administration."
My question is, a cover-up of what? Clearly, there were serious misjudgments made particularly about the security situation in Benghazi before the attack, but do you believe that either President Obama or Secretary Clinton, or any of the other top officials, did something wrong?
MCCAIN: I think they are guilty of crimes of omission rather than commission. Don't forget, this is in the height of a presidential campaign, and the whole narrative by the Obama campaign was that al Qaeda is done, the war is over, everything is fine, the tide of war is receding.
So we start with the talking points that you discussed previously. Obviously, those were not only wrong, now we know recently in the last few days, that recently, in some of those were active members of al Qaeda. Then, of course, you move to the fact that the survivors were moved to Germany and were never interviewed? That could have resolved of these issues as to who was behind it, whether it was a spontaneous demonstration or not, and Secretary Rice may have told you a very different story if they had just gotten the facts from those people who are survivors.
We still don't know the names of those people. We still don't know exactly what happened there. There are so many unanswered questions. I say there are errors and sins of omission because the families of those four brave Americans deserve to know.
WALLACE: I want to ask you one other aspect of this. This week, eight months after Benghazi, the FBI puts out a notice that shows the pictures -- you can see them right here -- of three people, three men, it says were allegedly in the compound, on the ground in Benghazi during the attack.
How do you explain the fact -- and the FBI is asking for information. How do you explain the fact it took eight months?
MCCAIN: I don't, I don't. This is another reason why we need, in my view, a select committee to review all of this, Republican and Democrat along the lines of Iran-Contra or others. We need a select committee to get to the bottom of all of this. Whether that will happen or not, I don't know.
But isn't this incredible, all this time later, there's so many unanswered questions?
WALLACE: I want to ask you about that. You were quoted recently as saying that you called for a select committee both -- I don't know if it's the same or separate ones -- both in Benghazi, and also in the Boston bombings, and --
MCCAIN: I don't -- you know, the Boston bombing, I think we need a full and thorough investigation. I haven't yet called for it, for a select committee on that. Although that certainly might be helpful, because these things are not disconnected, some of these things that are happening.
WALLACE: Well, I want to ask you about that, because when you called for that, at least the quote was you had called for Benghazi and Boston, you said, because people do not trust the president.
Is that a little harsh?
MCCAIN: I think they do not trust the information that they are getting. I think a majority of American people, according to polling, don't believe that. They need to have these answers.
How did this young man who supposedly was under humanitarian visa go back to the country that he was supposed to be not able to live in? Why is it that only the Department of Homeland Security knew when he left and nobody seemed to know when he came back because of the, quote, "misspelling".
And this whole issue of visas, over staying visas, 40 percent of people in this country illegally, not because they crossed our borders illegally, but because they overstayed their visas. Shouldn't we have procedures, to track down, as we enforce our borders, that we track down those people as well and enforce the laws of when visas expire, people should leave? That whole thing -- by the way, on the immigration reform bill, we should be looking at some of these issues as well, on how we practice our immigration laws as well as pass them.
WALLACE: I want to pick up on this question of Boston, and another issue, because as soon as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger brother was arrested in the Boston bombings, you and Lindsey Graham were very clear. You said he needs to be treated as an enemy combatant. He needs not to get his Miranda rights, because we need intelligence on him.
But President Obama, and some of these top officials, including secretary of homeland security, have persisted about talking about this as just two brothers acting alone. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: One of the dangers that we now we face are self-radicalized individuals who are already here in the United States, in some cases may not be part of any kind of network, but because of whatever warped, twisted ideas they may have, may decide to carry out an attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senator, why do you think the president and his people are pushing that narrative in advance of the investigation?
MCCAIN: I don't know, except that it's unfair to the American people. There are many questions. What did this young man do when he came back -- went back to Russia and was there for an extended period of time? What was the Internet activity? Why didn't we know of his Internet activities?
Why did we ignore apparently the warnings of the Russians, even though they didn't repeat the warnings or give us additional information? The fact that they warned us I think that have demanded additional scrutiny.
And whether they are -- we should assume nothing. We should assume that we need a thorough and complete investigation. And to say, all of a sudden, just as they did about Benghazi, that this was spontaneous, that to assume that this was all homegrown, is an assumption that I don't think we have the facts to make.
WALLACE: Finally, I've got a minute left. The president says he wants to go back to Congress to try to find a way to close Guantanamo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe. It is expensive. It is inefficient. It is a recruitment tool for extremists. It needs to be closed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Back in 2009, when the president in his first full day signed the bill to close Guantanamo, you supported him in that notion.
MCCAIN: I still do. But --
WALLACE: What would it take to get you to --
MCCAIN: There's no plan that they have presented. And, by the way, about a quarter of those who have been released from Guantanamo have gone back into the fight, and in leadership positions. So we really have to be very careful about that.
The fact is there's been no coherent plan presented to the congress of the United States as to how we do dispose of these individuals. And one of them is not to send them back into the fight where they can kill more Americans. WALLACE: Senator McCain, we're going to leave it there. Thank you so much for coming in today, sir. Always a pleasure to talk with you.
MCCAIN: Thank you.
WALLACE: Up next, a reporter asked the president about the first 100 days of his second term.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you still have the juice to get the rest of your agenda through this Congress?
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Well, if you put it that way, Jonathan, maybe I should just pack up and go home. Golly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel, does the president still have his mojo?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I think it's a little -- as Mark Twain said, "The rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated at this point."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Obama at a White House news conference this week declaring he still has clout despite big setbacks recently to his agenda in Congress. And it's time now for our Sunday group. Nina Easton of Fortune magazine. Julie Pace who covers the White House for the Associated Press. Jennifer Rubin of "The Washington Post" and former Democratic Senator Evan Bayh.
Well, for those of us who have been around Washington for a while, you haven't been around, Nina, as long as I have, but you've been around a while ...
WALLACE: Mr. Obama's comment, I have to say, reminded me of Bill Clinton's back in 1995, after the Gingrich revolution when he had to declare at a news conference, the president is relevant. How much trouble is this president in right now?
NINA EASTON, FORTUNE MAGAZINE: Well, I think back to the White House correspondents dinner where he put - only last Saturday, where he had that self-mocking thing where he put up the Bush library is - H.W. - is W. Bush's legacy, and his legacy would be "The Blame Bush" library. And so he went on in his press conference and I kept thinking, well, his legacy could be the blame congressional Republicans legacy library. I think he is - you know, look, the chattering class will say that he's -- you know, they will paint a death knell for this president. I think it's somewhat exaggerated, but I do think that there's - it's problematic when on the gun control, for example, that you couldn't even deliver the Democrats in the Senate. That strikes me as troublesome. And then the other thing that strikes me, is that - it's so small bore where we are right now with this president, and going into a second term. I mean, you look at this fight over sequestration with Republicans, where's entitlement reform to save Medicare and Medicaid, and Social Security? Where is corporate tax reform, which would bring - we are reminded this week that Apple has $145 billion sitting overseas largely because we have high corporate tax rates. Why aren't we doing something to bring that money home and spur the economy? That's what people are looking for.
WALLACE: Julie, how did - you were sitting there on the front row, along with Jonathan Karl of ABC, how did the White House officials feel about Karl's question, the president's golly answer, and how do they explain his inability to work his will on Congress, whether it's on gun control, or the sequester, or even having to swallow and sign this FAA waiver, so flight controllers could go back to work?
JULIE PACE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: Well, I'm sure it wasn't the question that they were hoping to answer. I mean what was interesting about that news conference, is oftentimes when we get this news conferences, there's some reason why the president is holding them, there's an opening statement that's related to something he's pushing on the hill, something he wants to talk to the American people about. We didn't have any of that. So he sort of came out to the briefing room, and was ready to take questions on pretty much anything, which led to, you know, him getting questions about Syria, about healthcare, about whether he's got any juice left. And I think that the concern for the White House is that they do in a second term have a finite period of time where they can actually get something through Congress, and now we're in early May and they haven't had a big victory yet. The calendar is going to start to compress even further. I will say, though, that, you know, the one piece of legislation that they're really going to pin their hopes on is immigration reform. And if he does get a victory on immigration reform, that would be a big success for this White House, really for any White House.
WALLACE: I was going to pick up on that, because that certainly is one big reform , if it happens. But Jennifer, what's so interesting, is in terms of its progress through Congress, you know, the Gang of Eight, Republicans, Democrats, everyone is saying the only prospect is for Obama to stay out of it.
JENNIFER RUBIN, THE WASHINGTON POST: That's the irony, is that Washington seems to work best without the president, because he's a very divisive figure. You know, in a second term presidents can either make their big stamp on foreign policy or domestic policy or do a little bit of both. Your earlier guests showed that on foreign policy he's in a lot of trouble, too. One of these outstanding takeaways from that press conference was his really miserable handling of the Syria situation. So, he doesn't have a lot of mojo from foreign policy. On domestic policy, you're right. The only thing that could be done is something that he's really attempting not to wade into because he'll ruin it. So, what's he going to do? What's his legacy? Reminds me a little bit of Bush 43 in that right after the election, when he had the most mojo, he went after Social Security and lost. And it kind of dulled his momentum. This president, I wonder if he had not gone after gun control, which probably wasn't gettable in the first place, if he had gone right into entitlement reform, right into corporate tax reform, right into immigration reform, whether he would have been building some more momentum. And now I think he's stuck in a lot of these areas.
WALLACE: Senator Bayh, you know, to continue on the comparison to Bill Clinton in '95, and after the terrible defeat in 1994, and he had to declare he was still relevant, the fact is by '96 he wins a landslide re-election and ends up having a very successful second term. What does this president need to do to turn things around?
EVAN BAYH, D - IN, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: It's difficult, Chris, because the nation's capital, and our country's politics are more deeply divided today than they were in Bill Clinton's time. And there are deep ideological differences that make compromise that much harder. I think Jennifer is correct. You got to pick your issues carefully. You need to look for the concentric circles overlap. The chances of immigration reform, a lot higher than gun control. Gun control was very hard for Bill Clinton, even when he had large majorities in both houses of Congress. And barely got them across the lines. So, the reality, if you look at most second term presidencies, is that most of the action is in the regulatory area, in this case it will be flushing out ObamaCare, flushing out the financial regulatory bill, dealing with, CO2 emissions through the EPA and that kind of thing, foreign policy as was mentioned. And I think the big things to look for, Chris, are there Supreme Court vacancies he can fill. And one big thing, who is the next chairman of the Federal Reserve going to be, because the Fed is going to have to make some very important decisions.
BAYH: Ben Bernanke, in likelihood will be stepping down. That's something the president can take the initiative on his own.
WALLACE: So, what happens to the budget? I mean you've got continuing problems on that. You're going to have the debt ceiling come sometime, we're now hearing it might be later in the summer, or early fall. Where is that going to be a grand bargain or not?
BAYH: There's good news there that's also bad news. We're sort of taking the European approach to the budget, which is to do just enough to keep the wolf from the door, but not enough to actually solve the problem permanently. The deficit as a percentage of GDP this year is about 4.5 percent, next year it's expected 3.7, in '15, 3.0. So it is gradually coming down. That means the markets aren't likely to pressure Congress and the president to do the things they don't want to do, raise taxes or reform entitlements. The exception, Chris, I think, is the -- let's look at the midterm elections. There will be a window of opportunity there, immediately following the midterm elections if the president is willing to step forward and do more on entitlements, which he's reluctant to do, the Republicans might meet him halfway. I think it's unlikely, but the rest of this two-year period very unlikely.
WALLACE: All right. We have to take a break here. But when we come back, the battle over how young is too young to get the Plan B contraceptive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE TYSON: I don't have a glamorous lifestyle or anything.
WALLACE: Tyson is touring the country now in a one-man show, in which he tells his story -- the good, the bad, and the very ugly.
TYSON: I'm living life on my terms.
WALLACE: Stay tuned. We'll be right back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I'm very comfortable with the decision they've made right now based on solid scientific evidence for girls 15 and older.
PENNY NANCE, PRESIDENT, CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA: She needs the adult supervision of her parents, she needs a doctor. She makes absolutely no sense. It's purely political.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Obama and a spokesperson for Concerned Women for America disagreeing over what age girls should be able to buy the Plan B contraceptive. And we're back now with our panel. Nina, the Obama administration, had as a policy making the Plan B morning-after pill available for,-you know, they say women, girls, women, 17 and over. They have now changed that to 15 and older. And a federal judge has ruled it should be made available to people of all ages. It's kind of a tough spot for the administration.
EASTON: It's a tough spot. I just think there's a case to be made for conservatives or anybody who cares about the rate of abortions in this country, to deregulate birth control more, there's a case we made all the way -- I although understand a need for parents to be involved. One of the things that -- of all of these news, and including the president's speech to Planned Parenthood in his Gosnell case with murdering babies, is we're looking at a culture that produces 1.2 million abortions a year. We're losing sight of that fact. And I would say that in addition to deregulating birth control, another thing we need to do is celebrate young women who bring a baby to term and find an adoptive parent. There's such a stigma today to being an adoptive birth mom, that you're more willing to admit that you've had an abortion than that you're delivering a healthy newborn to a loving family. What's wrong with that? What's wrong with our culture that that's where we are today? So, I would encourage viewers, there's a new campaign out by the National Council for Adoption, it's called ichooseadoption.org. And I would say, on the eve of Mother's Day next week, that we should all check that out and start celebrating these young women who choose life for their babies.
WALLACE: Well, it is a brave decision. Julie, to get back to Plan B, the administration -- Obama administration, it has to respond by tomorrow to this judge's ruling. And the judge, again, has said that it should be available to people of all ages. I mean, not just 15, 17 -- not just 15, not 13, of all ages. Any idea what they're going to do about that?
PACE: Well, if you remember, comments the president made last year when this issue came up, he made a pretty impassioned statement, where he spoke about this issue, not necessarily as a president, but as the father of two young daughters, and talked about how he wouldn't be comfortable, with, for example, an 11-year-old girl being able to walk into a drugstore and be able to buy Plan b on her own.
WALLACE: And let me just point out, this is not behind the counter, this is ...
WALLACE: You have to go to the pharmacist. This is on the shelf.
PACE: ... out on the shelf.
WALLACE: ... with the aspirin.
PACE: Absolutely. So that gives us some insight into at least the president's thinking on this. When he talks about, now, 15-year old, he's trying to strike a compromise here, that actually though, it doesn't make anyone happy, because you have women's group that say, that is still restricting access to contraceptives, and then you have other groups who are saying that that is just too young, that how can you say that 15 is any different than 13, for example?
WALLACE: So do you expect them to appeal and oppose the federal judges ruling?
PACE: Well, there was appeal last week, by DOJ, to basically ask the federal judge to issue a stay on this.
WALLACE: Right. But I mean to actually oppose it?
PACE: I don't want to speculate on that.
WALLACE: This week as was pointed out, Mr. Obama became the first sitting president to address a conference of Planned Parenthood in person, and he repeated his attack from the last campaign, last year, about the GOP's war on women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: There's still those who want to turn back the clock to policies more suited to the 1950's than 21st century. And they've been involved in an orchestrated and historic effort to roll back basic rights when it comes to women's health.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But Jennifer, prolife groups not only were unhappy that the president addressed Planned Parenthood, they were specifically upset with the fact that he didn't even mention the case of the abortion doctor, Kermit Gosnell, you see him there, a Philadelphia abortion doctor, who's currently on trial, jury considering a number of counts, four counts of first degree murder for allegedly killing babies after they'd been born alive.
RUBIN: I find his language so telling. He won't even use the word abortion. He says "women's health." Can he not bring himself to say that we're talking about terminating pregnancies? It's the same president who refused to comment not only on the specifics of Gosnell, but late-term abortions altogether. Talk about creating a culture of life or a culture of adoption -- this president has done more than any one to do the opposite -- to go to Planned Parenthood in the wake of Gosnell -- now, Planned Parenthood takes a very extreme view. They opposed the partial-birth abortion bill, they opposed this infants born alive ....
WALLACE: You think that he should have also condemned Gosnell?
RUBIN: Yes. To do that, to weigh in in that way sends I think a horrible message. And yes, he could very well have made a comment about Gosnell. He used this ridiculous excuse, I don't comment upon the things that have a legal action. He commented on Aurora, he commented on Newtown, he comments all the time, except on a subject, in which the entire country is revolted by the extremes of the abortion movement. And I think he's responsible in some spot -- in some parts.
WALLACE: Senator Bayh, Planned Parenthood is controversial. And there are two sides to this argument, because supporters point out, let's put it up on the screen, the hundreds of thousands of health screenings that they provide, pregnancy tests, HIV tests, breast cancer tests. Opponents point out, as you can see the number there at the bottom, that it is also the nation's largest abortion provider. So, I mean there are two sides to the argument about Planned Parenthood.
BAYH: Well, these issues involving reproductive rights and unwanted pregnancies are inherently, intractable, Chris, are very controversial. But Planned Parenthood, the people who believe in women's reproductive rights, part of the Democratic Party base, of course, he's going to speak to that group. And I would encourage you, though, to focus on what he does, not just on what he says. And with regard to Plan B, he's getting fired at from both sides. And the truth of the matter is that that will help to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and reduce the number of abortions, which are tragic no matter what your perspective on that issue ...
BAYH: And with regard to Gosnell, that's a murder case. And I think if you took a poll of the American public, the president included, if the facts of that case are true, and the man should be condemned, absolutely.
RUBIN: But the murder case also raises the issue that if it's murder a minute after that child comes out of the womb, don't we have to look at late-term abortions? Is there really a biological, is there really a moral difference between a child who is murdered, who has his neck snipped after he comes out and backing it up a few weeks? We have 12 states that have prohibitions on late-term abortions. There's a case from Nebraska that has went its way -- that is at the Supreme Court where we're going to see that. And I think that's something that actually most Americans would agree upon, that these very late-term abortions are gruesome, they're immoral. Can't we not at least agree on that?
EASTON: And the fact that he was able to operate as long as he did without being turned in, I mean what does that say about our culture and abortions in this country?
BAYH: That I don't know. I'm an example. I voted to support Roe v. Wade, but I also voted to ban late-term abortions. And that raises the issue of when does life begin, which is a very ...
RUBIN: Which is ...
RUBIN: ... why Evan Bayh is not in the Senate anymore.
BAYH: It's got to be the same, that's a minority opinion, Jennifer, but ...
WALLACE: Julie, let me ask you, though, there's a political aspect to this, because Republicans lost badly among single women voters in the last election. As we saw the president scores when he talks about the Republicans' war on women, is the issue of women's health. And raised a lot of very troubling issues, but the general issue of women's health, is that a winner or a loser for the Republicans?
PACE: Republicans know right now that they have to be very careful in talking about this issue. The RNC review that they did earlier this year singled out single women as one of the groups where the president won overwhelmingly. So, you're going to see some Republican lawmakers who I think are going to try to pull back a little bit in talking about women's health issues, because, you know, they know this is a growing group for political purposes.
WALLACE: Thank you, panel. See you next week. And don't forget to check out Panel Plus where our group picks right up with the discussion on our Website, foxnewssunday.com and make sure to follow us on Twitter, @Foxnewsunday.
Up next, our Power Player of the week.
WALLACE: This is going to be a little bit of a stretch. Mike Tyson was in town the other day and for some reason I can't quite explain I've always wanted to sit down with him. So try to suspend judgment and watch what I admit is an unusual "Power Player" of the week.
TYSON: I can be dead. I'm talking about financially, but I'm spiritually and emotionally, I just couldn't be better. If I was to die today, I was overpaid in life.
WALLACE (voice-over): This is a story about survival. Mike Tyson, who came from nothing, was heavyweight champion at 20, was knocked out at 23, spent three years in prison for rape, and has lived to talk about it.
(on camera): You're a vegan?
WALLACE: You're off drugs.
TYSON: Thank God.
WALLACE: You're off alcohol.
TYSON: Oh, double thank God.
WALLACE: So, have you cleaned up your act?
TYSON: I'm just -- I'm living life on life's terms.
I was a champion of the nation at 14 years old. I was well on my way.
WALLACE (voice-over): Tyson is touring the country now in a one- man show, in which he tells his story, the good, the bad, and the very ugly.
TYSON: So after I left prison, I have to admit I was scared.
WALLACE (on camera): What's the difference between being on stage and being in the ring?
TYSON: You don't have to go to the hospital after each show.
WALLACE: How much money do you think you made in your career?
TYSON: Everyone tells everybody I made $300 million to $400 million. I made a lot of money.
WALLACE: All right. How much of it is left?
TYSON: None, none.
WALLACE: How is that possible?
TYSON: I don't care how much money you have, if you don't -- there's an art in how you take care of money. If you don't do that, it just -- it just means nothing.
WALLACE (voice-over): Tyson says he's not getting rich off his show, just enough to support his third wife and seven children and pay the IRS a little of the millions he owes the government.
TYSON: I don't have a glamorous lifestyle or anything.
WALLACE (on camera): Do you miss that?
TYSON: No. I'm old, man.
WALLACE: Old? What are you, 40--
TYSON: 46, yes.
WALLACE: What am I?
TYSON: A dinosaur.
WALLACE (voice-over): He has some causes now. He started Mike Tyson Cares, which helps disadvantaged kids with food and shelter and support in school. And he's joined the campaign to get a presidential pardon for Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion who was convicted of taking his white girlfriend across state lines.
TYSON: In 1910, black people were not even considered human beings. They were really almost still property. So he really deserves a second chance, posthumously.
WALLACE: A second chance, or perhaps in Tyson's case a fourth or fifth chance. Looking back, he says the person he hurt worst was himself.
TYSON: To me, no, there's no doubt about that. No doubt about that at all.
WALLACE (on camera): Evander Holyfield would say you hurt him, too.
TYSON: Well, now, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I did hurt him.
WALLACE: Why did you do that? Why did you hurt yourself?
TYSON: I didn't understand (inaudible), I was a wild, crazy kid at the time. Not doing it now. I think about my mortality a lot now. I'm 46 and I got a 2-year-old. What am I thinking? I'm a former junkie. You know what I mean? I had a bunch of fights where I got hit in the head a lot. What the hell am I thinking about? Hell of a life, huh, Christopher?
WALLACE: By the way, after our discussion, Tyson decided to pretend he was going to punch me out. It looks a lot scarier when he's up close. Trust me, it's a unique experience, like the interview, one I will never forget.
And that's it for today. Have a great week. And we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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