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Dr. Ben Carson, Rep. Donna Edwards discuss fallout from Zimmerman verdict; Kevyn Orr on Detroit's historic bankruptcy
Written by Chris Wallace / Published July 21, 2013 / Fox News Sunday
Special Guests: Dr. Ben Carson, Rep. Donna Edwards, Kevyn Orr, Mark Leibovich
The following is a rush transcript of the July 21, 2013, 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.
President Obama tries to heal the divide of the George Zimmerman case while protesters demand justice for Trayvon.
PROTESTERS: No justice! No peace! No justice! No peace!
WALLACE: Demonstrations in the wake of George Zimmerman's acquittal. Now, civil rights leaders are calling on the Justice Department to end the country's "Stand Your Ground" laws.
REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: We are going to keep raising the temperature to turn around "Stand Your Ground."
WALLACE: While President Obama asks Americans to do some soul searching.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.
WALLACE: We'll discuss the fallout from the verdict with a rising conservative leader, Dr. Ben Carson and Democratic Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland.
Then America's Motor City runs out of gas. Detroit was once riding high as the car capital of the motion, the birthplace of Motown. Now --
GOV. RICK SNYDER, R-MICH.: From a financial point of view, let me blunt, Detroit's broke.
WALLACE: We'll discuss the historic bankruptcy filing with the city manager, Kevyn Orr -- only on "Fox News Sunday."
And our Power Player of the Week -- Mark Leibovich, author of "This Town", the book that's keeping D.C. up at night.
All right now on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
One week after the acquittal in the George Zimmerman case, thousands of protesters took to the streets in more than a hundred cities Saturday to demand justice for Trayvon. There were no reports of violence or arrests. Trayvon's father appeared a rally in Miami, his mother in New York.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN'S MOTHER: Of course, we're hurting.
FULTON: Of course, we're shocked and disappointed. But that just means we have to roll back and continue to fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: All this after President Obama tried to explain Friday why the case has been painful to blacks, in his most extended discussion of race since entering the White House.
Joining us now to continue that conversation, a rising conservative voice, noted pediatric surgeon, Dr. Ben Carson, who is in Sun Valley, Idaho, and Democratic Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland.
So, let's start with the president's remarks in which he talks about being profiled as a young black man. Then he said this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: If a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that -- from top to bottom -- both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Dr. Carson, some conservatives are criticizing the president for making this about race again. Do you agree?
DR. BEN CARSON: Well, you know, what one has to recognize is all of our opinions are based upon our lifetime experiences. And, you know, for instance, if you think somebody loves you, everything they say will be interpreted as loving. If you think somebody hates you, everything they say will be interpreted as hateful.
And in a situation like this, I can certainly understand why there is such divergent views and I understand why there's a lot of outrage. You have a situation where you have a young black male, walking home, not doing anything incorrect, and he ends up killed and nobody suffers any consequences.
On the surface, that would appear to be a gross miscarriage of justice. However, one also has to integrate into that the fact that we have a legal system in which we appoint jurors, in which they have access to all of the facts. We don't have access to all of the facts -- and in which they then make a judgment.
It's not a perfect system. But it's the best system that we have. We have to decide whether we are willing to live with that or not.
WALLACE: Let me bring Congresswoman Edwards into the discussion.
There was no evidence in the FBI discussion beforehand or in the trial, no evidence that George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin because he was black.
So, was it constructive for the president to talk so much about race?
REP. DONNA EDWARDS, D-MD.: I think it was. I mean, when I talk to my son who's 24 and to his peers, what they say is that the president gave them their voice for their experiences.
And, you know, as the president described being followed around in a store, or clutching bags in an elevator, those are experiences that my son, our sons have had. And it gave them a voice. I thought it was important for the president to validate and articulate that.
WALLACE: All right. Let's go beyond rhetoric, because some civil rights leaders are now demanding that the Department of Justice either file hate crime suits or civil rights violations against George Zimmerman. But it seemed to me the president in his remarks made it clear, he said that people should have a clear expectation that's not likely to happen.
Does that disappoint you, Congresswoman Edwards?
EDWARDS: Well, I think that both Attorney General Holder and the president have indicated the limitations of federal law. And although there is an open investigation, the attorney general said this, I have an expectation that it will be a thorough investigation, but there are limitations of federal law. It doesn't mean that there aren't things, as the president has said, that we shouldn't do -- whether that it is about law enforcement training, it's about people organizing to change state laws and the things that we can do on a federal level, to make sure that all of our young Trayvons have justice.
WALLACE: But if after an investigation, Eric Holder, the attorney general, says we can't bring federal action on hate crimes or civil rights violations -- you'll accept that?
EDWARDS: I think in the same way people said that we wanted to make sure that there was justice in the justice system and that those charges be pursued in Florida, that that happened. A jury verdict happened. We might be disappointed with it, but it did.
And the same thing would be true of a Justice Department investigation.
And I think as you saw in the peaceful demonstrations, hundreds of them, yesterday, it's really clear that people want -- not only want justice, but they want change.
WALLACE: Congresswoman Edwards, one more question, I'm going to bring Dr. Carson back into the conversation. Some of your colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus say that they are supporting the Reverend Jesse Jackson's call or threat of an economic boycott against Florida, which he calls an, quote, "apartheid" state for its passage of "Stand Your Ground" laws.
Do you support Jackson's rhetoric and his call -- or possible call -- for an economic boycott of Florida?
EDWARDS: I actually haven't examined that, to be quite honest with you. And I think that, you know, many of us understand that sometimes when we call for those kind of economic boycotts, the impact on some of our communities could be really tremendous.
So I want to examine that first. And I don't think there's been a unanimous call within the Congressional Black Caucus. In fact, we didn't even discuss that in the Congressional Black Caucus, to my knowledge.
WALLACE: Dr. Carson, it turns out that, in fact, in Florida, blacks have made one-third of the claims under "Stand Your Ground" in homicide cases they were involved in -- double their representation of the population of Florida. On both that question of "Stand Your Ground" and also all the other demands that the civil rights leaders are making hate crimes or civil rights violations, what do you think of those calls?
CARSON: Well, you know, I think we have a tendency to overemphasize superficial aspects of people. You know, I was asked once by an NPR reporter why I don't talk about race that often. And I said, "It's because I'm a neurosurgeon." And she looked at me quite quizzically.
And I said, "You see, when I take someone to the operating room, and I peeled out a scalp and take off the bone flap and open the dura, I am operating on the thing that makes the person who they are. It is not the covering that makes them who they are. It's the brain who makes them who they are.
And that's what Martin Luther King was talking about when he said let's talk about the content of one's character rather than the superficial characteristics.
We need to tone down this rhetoric. Those of us in leadership positions need to be looking for things that we can take out of the situation that will be helpful. Not things that inflame the situation. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't look carefully at all of our laws, we shouldn't look carefully at this verdict and its outcome. Make sure that everything has been done correctly -- the I's have been dotted, the T's crossed.
But let's tone down the rhetoric and recognize that we, the people, are not each other's enemies.
EDWARDS: Dr. Carson, really to be clear, there are deep systemic problems that really impact African-Americans in the system that have to be addressed. And I think the president spoke to some of those. So, we can't ignore that.
I mean, I'm going to acknowledge, just like anyone else, that everything is not about race, but there are some things that are. And we have to acknowledge those and make the systemic changes that are important to advance all of our communities so that people can enjoy things and the benefits, frankly, that Dr. Carson has enjoyed. WALLACE: All right. But let's talk about another aspect of this, a systemic aspect of that.
The president talked briefly in his extended remarks about black- on-black crime. And as I looked into this, the numbers are staggering. Let's put them on the screen.
African-Americans make up 15 percent -- 13 percent rather of the population. Between 1976 and 2005, they committed more than half of all the murders in the U.S., and 93 percent of black murder victims are killed by blacks.
Congresswoman Edwards, should the African-American community be focusing on that -- the black-on-black crime, the carnage in our inner cities, and not on George Zimmerman?
EDWARDS: Well, let me tell you -- to be clear -- when we're focused on addressing issues of poverty, when we are focused on improving our education system, when we are focused on changing gun laws because there is such a rampant availability of guns in our inner cities, and we have no inner city agenda in this country that's focusing on statistics that you talked about.
WALLACE: When you have people demanding, let's go after George Zimmerman, let's -- hate crimes economic boycotts of Florida, that isn't talking about the real problems in the inner city.
EDWARDS: Well, let me just going to say to you, because there have been calls for those actions, it doesn't mean -- we're not, you know, sort of one-trick ponies. We're able to focus on a range of different things and if you just look, even in these last two weeks in Congress, the debate in Congress has been about things like -- do we provide for food and nutrition? Do we address issues of poverty? Are we going to have an education system that works for all of our young people so they can succeed?
And to the president's call, are we going to address the laws that actually contribute to the problems in our city?
WALLACE: Let me bring Dr. Carson into this. I understand the concern with racial profiling. But is that the real threat to young black men?
CARSON: I don't think it is. You know, obviously, you know, I grew up in the inner city. And I had an opportunity to experience a lot of the problems that were there. And many of those problems are a result of the environment in which people grow up and the philosophies people develop.
For instance, in the inner city community, if it's late at night and you are walking along and somebody starts following you, you know, that's a serious issue. You know that immediately. You go into a fight or flight mentality. That may not happen walking in a gated community in Palm Springs --
EDWARDS: Dr. Carson -- young men --
CARSON: It depends on -- excuse me.
CARSON: Excuse me. If I could finish I would appreciate that. May I finish?
EDWARDS: Well, I just want to say, Dr. Carson, you cannot ignore the fact that our young black men, in fact, are profiled. I have a young man who works for me. You know, he's a college graduate. Three times in the last month, he's been stopped by law enforcement going to work. This is a reality, Chris.
WALLACE: Let give me -- we're about out of time. Let's give Dr. Carson the final word.
CARSON: Thank you. I appreciate that.
WALLACE: And the key point is -- I guess, is George Zimmerman a diversion from the real issue facing -- real threat facing young African-American men?
Now, what I was trying to get across is that when you grow up in that environment, you develop a different type of philosophy. And in fact, Trayvon Martin may have had that philosophy and went into this fight or flight mode. So, we can't necessarily say that he's evil or horrible more so than anybody else when you grow up with that particular mentality.
But, again, I want to come back to what I was saying before. So often we take any kind of situation that occurs today in America and we get on the different sides of it and we hurl hand grenades to each other rather than engaging in intelligent discussion. This is what we need to do.
Do we have a perfect system? Absolutely not. Does everybody think about things the right way? Absolutely not. But we are never going to get there if we continue to make ourselves into enemies.
WALLACE: All right. We're going to have to leave it there. Dr. Carson, Congresswoman Edwards, we hope we contributed to the conversation -- thank you both. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us.
EDWARDS: Thank you.
CARSON: My pleasure. Thank you.
WALLACE: Up next, the city of Detroit makes history reaching a new low -- declaring bankruptcy. We'll talk with the city's emergency manager, next.
WALLACE: This week, Detroit became the largest city in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy, facing an estimated debt of $19 billion.
Kevyn Orr is Detroit's emergency manager who now has to figure out how to run the city.
Mr. Orr, welcome to "Fox News Sunday."
KEVYN ORR, DETROIT'S EMERGENCY MANAGER: Thank you, Chris. Thanks for having me.
WALLACE: On Friday, a county judge ordered the bankruptcy filing be withdrawn because she said it violates the rights of the city pensioners.
And let's put it up on the screen, because Article 9, Section 24 of the Michigan Constitution says the, quote, "financial benefits of each pension plan and retirement system of the state in its political subdivision shall not be diminished."
Now, the state is appealing that court order. But is the county judge wrong?
ORR: Well, Chris, as you just noted, that's currently in litigation, on appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals. And because of that, I'm somewhat limited in what I can or should say. Suffice it to say, there are important questions of federalism involved. I think the automatic stay had already attached prior to that. And that's going to be litigated in court.
WALLACE: But just to follow up briefly, obviously, when you file bankruptcy, you knew what the Michigan State Constitution said. So why didn't that stop you?
ORR: Well, no, we have some pretty grievous problems as you mentioned earlier -- I mean, significant debt. And this is the only way that we think of that we can resolve this. So, we were compelled to file bankruptcy.
WALLACE: Let's talk about the pensioners, because roughly $10 billion of the $19 billion debt of Detroit is unfunded health and pension benefits to people who have worked for the city for decades.
WALLACE: That raises the question. You promised that you're going to pay these pensioners full payments for the next six months. But after that, isn't there a real possibility the pensioners who worked for the city for decades who thought they had a contract with the city, that they are going to be in real trouble?
ORR: Well, there is a real issue there, Chris. As we said in the proposal that we put out in June 14th, you know, about $5.7 billion of that $9 billion is unfunded health care, OPEB liability, and about another $3.5 billion of that is unfunded pensions. We're going to have a dialogue with the pension funds about what we can do. There are two different funds -- police and fire and general services. And they may have different levels of funding.
And all we're talking about in this restructuring is the unfunded component of those pension funds.
I want to be clear --
WALLACE: Billions of dollars.
ORR: It's significant some of money. Make no mistake about it, and there have to be concessions. may be different for each fund, and they're going to be focused on the unfunded portion. But they will have some component of the --
WALLACE: But you are saying that pensioners who worked for the city for decades are not going to get the benefits they thought they were going to get?
ORR: There are going to be some adjustments. There are probably going to be need to be some adjustments.
WALLACE: What do you say to the thousands of people who thought they had a deal with the city?
ORR: What I first am going to say to them is, you know, I'm highly sensitive. My mother is a pensioner in that sense, and I'm very -- so, this is very personal to me. And I've talked to many others, I've seen them. And as I drive around the city, they come up to me and they say -- first of all, I'm empathetic about the problem.
What I also say is, we don't have a choice. We've crossed the Rubicon on the level -- we have $18 plus billion -- $18 billion to $19 billion dollars in debt and no funding mechanism for it. So, this is a question of necessity.
WALLACE: nbsp; The Obama administration has made it clear that there will be no federal bailout for the city of Detroit.
Here's what Vice President Biden said this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN: Can we help Detroit? We are now going through exactly in detail what -- we had a meeting yesterday, just getting a brief on the status. The question is we don't know at this point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We don't know.
What would you like to see the state of Michigan do to help Detroit? Or would you like to see Washington do?
ORR: Well, right now, I'm an appointed official. Not elected official. I'm going to stay in my lane. I'm not going to stray into political morass.
But one thing I would say is we operate on the assumption that we have to clear this process, this problem, on our own. We are not expecting the cavalry to come charging in. We are out here on outpost and we have to fix it because we dug the hole. And that's the assumption that we are operating on, on how we're going forward.
WALLACE: Who is we? City of Detroit? The state of Michigan?
ORR: The city of Detroit. The city of Detroit.
I mean, a lot of this debt, a lot of the practices that I put forward in my June 14th report, that talked about deferrals, unfunded obligations, borrowing, addiction, the debt -- even a level of corruption from 2002 to 2008, which was significant -- have created this problem.
WALLACE: Let's talk about that. Steven Rattner, who is the former car czar for Detroit, wrote a story this week and he says that he believes -- an essay -- that he believes Washington should help. Let's put on screen what he said.
He writes, "The 700,000 remaining residents of the Motor City are no more responsible for Detroit's problems than were the victims of Hurricane Sandy for theirs, and eventually, Congress decided to help them."
Question, do you agree? Is what happened to Detroit like a natural disaster?
ORR: Well, no -- I mean, natural disaster and acts of God, you can't plan for. I mean, some of the situations we are in have been coming for 60 years. Certainly more acutely in the past 10 years, and everybody has known it.
I mean, I'm sympathetic to the sentiment something needs to be done but this is little different. That being said, you know, hope is not a strategy from my perspective. I can't plan on the basis of what may or may not happen or what help may or may not come. I have to deal with realities and externalities on the ground right now.
If that comes and there is help, great. But if it doesn't, I can't stand around waiting for it to happen. So, I'm dealing with reality.
WALLACE: Do you think the country, Washington, has a responsibility to help Detroit?
ORR: You know, I'm going to -- do I think the country has a responsibility? I think Detroit has a responsibility to help itself. If it gets other assistance, that'd be great.
WALLACE: But Washington doesn't have to help?
ORR: I'm not going to stay it does. I'm not going to say it doesn't. I am dealing with the reality on the ground today.
WALLACE: OK. You talk about Detroit and its own responsibilities here. Detroit has special problems. You have the car industry.
WALLACE: That cratered. The city has only 40 percent of the population it had in its heyday in the 1950s, living over -- I didn't realize. It was Detroit is huge, 140 square miles which makes servicing the city that much harder.
How much, despite the special problems, how much of this is the responsibility of Detroit City officials over the years who made commitments either to the residents or to the city workers that they couldn't keep?
ORR: Well, I think that certainly has a significant component. I mean, Detroit with a footprint of 139 miles you can fit Boston, Manhattan, and San Francisco into our footprint. It's a colossal piece of real estate. And I think there has been dissonance coming back quite a ways in city leadership.
The current leadership, Mayor Bing, tried to do a yeoman's job of getting (INAUDIBLE) around this. I mean, he reduced government by 20 percent.
But, Chris, there's certainly has been -- it's been well- documented -- a myopia, a lack of focus on the problem for a long time.
WALLACE: You have talked about possibly having to sell city assets including the international airport in Detroit, including Belle Isle Park, including the valuable treasures at the Detroit Institute of Art.
Is that all on the table, Mr. Orr? ORR: Well, you know, I said at the beginning, everything is on the table. There are certainly questions regarding some of the grandmothers' fine china and heirloom silver that we have to address or not address. But we're going to rationalize assets as best we can.
WALLACE: Some bankruptcy experts since you made your filing this week have said you made a mistake. In fact, Standard & Poor's since your filing has dropped Detroit's bond rating to its lowest level. And it says that you're going to have great difficulty -- even if you restructure, if you go through all this pain -- in getting investors to ever trust the city if they try to borrow money again.
ORR: Chris, I've heard that in many other contexts. And certainly, I've been doing this now for the better part of three decades. And in every one, I've heard for instance that no one ever buy a car from a bankrupt auto company again. And now, some of those companies, Chrysler has truck of the year.
WALLACE: We should point out you were involved in the Chrysler bankruptcy.
ORR: I was involved.
Every restructuring I've been and I've heard doomsayers say this is going to ruin -- insert enterprise here -- is going to ruin it. And, certainly, the credit markets have responded.
But the reality is, they are going to look at the credit rating of a rehabilitated city. And if that city is capable, they're going to make rational decisions because they are financial institutions. If they can make money lending money to Detroit, I would have a guess (ph), that after sometime, after this little kerfuffle, we'll be back in business.
WALLACE: How long will it take?
ORR: Well, I'm trying to get this done by the fall of 2014. That's the term for me. I'm certainly the --
WALLACE: So, that's a little more than a year.
ORR: That's a little more than a year, but we now have a judge. The judge is going to have his own ideas. Judge Rhodes has his own ideas about how this should go. But we're going to be very proactive. We're asking for a scheduling order. We're going out and asking for the appointment of a retiree committee.
We're going to really try to do this with respect (ph) but also in good faith.
WALLACE: Finally, we've talked about Detroit's special problems, but is there a cautionary tale here? Could the same thing happen in other cities where other political leaders have made promises that can't be kept?
ORR: You know, Chris, I'm really focused on Detroit. I think our problems are so unique or sui generis, that I would not extrapolate what happened in other cities. What I would say, though, is, you know, delay doesn't produce positive outcomes. So, whatever the problems are, deal with them, have the political will, the wherewithal, to deal with them now, which is exactly what we're doing.
WALLACE: Mr. Orr, I want to thank you.
ORR: Thank you.
WALLACE: You've got a tough job. Thank you for coming in and sharing your Sunday with us. We'll be following what happens in Detroit, sir.
ORR: Thank you so much.
WALLACE: ObamaCare comes under fire as Big Labor demands Democrats fix it and Republicans vote again to sharply curtail it. We'll chew it over with our Sunday panel, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: There are still a lot of folks, in this town at least, who are rooting for this law to fail. Some of them seem to think this law is about me. It's not.
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN, R-TENN.: The president can't just go in and pick and choose what he wants to implement or delay or defend. So what we are saying is, Mr. President, you are finally realizing this is not workable. And people don't want it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Obama needs 2.7 million healthy young people to sign up for ObamaCare in the first year to keep premiums down. But Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn and other Republicans sense new worries about the program as it gets closer to the implementation. Time now for our Sunday group. Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard, Kirsten Powers of The Daily Beast Web site, former Republican Senator Scott Brown and former Democratic Senator Evan Bayh. I think it's fair to say that the most interesting development in the debate over ObamaCare in the last week or so has been the letter that three big union chiefs including James Hoffa of the Teamsters sent to Democratic leaders and directly the president.
And let's put it up on the screen -- "Congress wrote this law. We voted for you. We have a problem. You need to fix it. The unintended consequences of the ACA -- or Affordable Care Act -- are severe." Bill, that's pretty blunt for one of the Democrats biggest voting blocks.
BILL KRISTOL, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I love it -- when they speak out to their own elected -- the elected representatives of the U.S. people. "We have a problem. You have to fix it." This is why unions have been doing so well in public view -- from the public opinion for the last 30-40 years.
Look, ObamaCare is failing. It's not that some of us are rooting for it to fail. I mean, just look around at the evidence. He's had to suspend large chunks of it, probably acting illegally to do so. It's not clear he has the authority to do so, the employer mandate. He didn't suspend the individual mandate. So, that's much even more problematic now that the employer mandate. They are not going to be able to enforce the eligibility rules. People are just going to show up and say what their income is and get involved in that. And the exchanges, which is the big core of ObamaCare--
WALLACE: Those are the marketplaces where people are going to go and be able to shop among various insurances.
KRISTOL: And there is lots of evidence that they have huge problems coming on with errors, with fraud, and with privacy concerns. I think that's going to be the next focus. Those have to be -- supposed to be set up by October 1st. They go into effect January 1st. I think between the mandates and exchanges, I really won't be surprised if Congress moves to not only delay the parts they've already tried to, but to delay the exchanges. And I wonder if the president won't have to end up accepting that.
WALLACE: Do you believe that, Kirsten?
KIRSTEN POWERS, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, of course, Congress is going to do that. How many times have they tried to repeal it? 40 times, I think.
Yeah, I mean it's not -- they are going to do everything they can to stop ObamaCare. This is what they've been trying to do ...
WALLACE: But do you think that's in the trouble that bill was passed.
POWERS: No, I don't. And I think that you can't say it's failing when the exchanges haven't even started yet. So, we haven't even had a chance to really -- to see what's going to happen. And the unions are upset because this is kind of an existential crisis for them. Because this is basically going to give union members an opportunity to get good health care outside of the unions. So, I understand where the unions are coming from. But actually, it proves the opposite about ObamaCare. It proves that ObamaCare is going to offer good health care at good costs to people.
WALLACE: Meanwhile the GOP majority in the House voted for the 39th -- 39th and 39TH times to either repeal or to sharply curtail ObamaCare this week. Senator Brown, is that still the right move for Republicans?
FORMER SEN. SCOTT BROWN, R-MASS.: I just want to -- just to comment on what Kirsten said. They have the best health care, the unions do. They have the so-called Cadillac plans. And as a result of what's happening those plans are going to cost about $10,000 more. That's why they sent the letter to the president. It's hypocritical. Is it a move now to continue to try to repeal it? Listen, as Max Baucus said, it's a train wreck. Employers are reducing their hours so they don't have to comply with it, from 40 to 30. It's -- the costs are out of control. The 18 new taxes are about to click in and they're affecting individuals and businesses in a dramatic fashion. It is a jobs killer. I mean that's a fact. You can try to, you know, put the, you know, the flowers on it, but it's a big mess.
WALLACE: I mean it is interesting. And you do wonder, given the fact that a lot of this was predicted by Republicans a long time ago, that the unions are suddenly realizing that under ObamaCare, that companies only with 50 employees or more are going to be subject to it. So there is an incentive to have 49 employees or 48. And also, it only involves workweek of 30 hours or more. So, if you work 29 hours or 28 then you're not covered. Why did it take the unions so long, Senator Bayh, to realize that this could be a problem for them in terms of jobs and length of work week?
FORMER SEN. EVAN BAYH, D-IND.: It is a huge complex piece of legislation, Chris. And there were always going to be some problems and it was always going to take some time to work through these. Some of these things can be solved. And that's one of the reasons why delay makes some sense. The 30 hour work week, for example. Susan Collins, Republican from Maine, a friend of Scott and mine's, and Joe Donnelly, our new senator from Indiana, a Democrat, have introduced legislation to make it a 40 hour work week. It makes sense, that can be solved.
The subsidy for people in larger companies and union-run plants, that's a tougher nut to crack. What they are going to do about that, I don't know. The real problem is, the far right doesn't want to solve some of these problems. Because they want the bill to fail. The far left may not want to solve some of the problems because they really would prefer to have a more expansive government-centered program. So, the administration is trying to find some sensible middle ground here and delay may make some sense because it is better to wait than have a train wreck, as Sen. Baucus described.
BROWN: There's been no initiative at all. When I was in the Senate and when Evan was there, too, Harry Reid made no effort, whatsoever, to go in and try to fix it. We had many opportunities to take up reasonable common sense amendments that would have dramatically affected the way that the ACA stands right now. And we wouldn't be talking about this. Because there has been no effort to try to make any changes whatsoever, and now we are dealing with what we have now which is a big mess.
WALLACE: Kirsten, do you think that the White House decision to delay the employer mandate, which was announced just before -- during the week of Fourth of July holiday. Do you think that has shaken supporters who now realized this thing is in a little bit more trouble than we thought it was going to be? And as we get really close, I mean, the key point here in this discussion, it seems to me as we are not in the politics stage now. We are not in the rhetoric stage now. We are in the implementation stage. I mean this is where the rubber hits the road. And do you think the fact that as we get close to that, the White House says well, we're going to have to delay the employer mandate for a year, has shaken some of the supporters?
POWERS: I don't think as many people not support it, but certainly people would have preferred that the administration has been a little more on top of things than -- and been able to get people informed. Because that's the sense that businesses just aren't informed enough about the law. But I think that ultimately there was a letter written by 30 economists who said they support the delay. They think that it makes sense. And at the same time it doesn't make sense to delay the individual mandate, which is something that Congress has been pushing. Because that's really critical to expanding the pool. So, look, if you go back to Medicare there was a lot of problems with implementation. And conservatives were also claiming that was going to be a huge failure. So, I think it's going to take time. And when you have a group of people who want it to fail, you know, it makes it very difficult to implement it.
KRISTOL: There's no intellectual argument for delaying the employer mandate, and not the individual mandate. The individual mandate is more complicated to implement. The only argument is the one you mentioned. Which is, hey, ObamaCare needs these healthy young people in the pools or else the rest of the structure falls apart.
KRISTOL: That's not a good -- that's not a good, because in fact, having a bunch of individuals show up in state or federal run exchanges, which they are setting up on the fly with huge privacy and fraud concerns is much more complicated than having employers ...
POWERS: But that's not why it was delayed ...
KRISTOL: ... administer a mandate. I think the end of the case for delaying the individual mandate, this is strong intellectual ...
POWERS: I totally disagree with that.
WALLACE: Kirsten, let me ask you of one aspect: this was announced, I think, on the 5th of July, really in a dead day.
WALLACE: Which is the government was going to have no way -- I as a young person, just suppose, (inaudible) experiment, if I apply -- it's not that funny.
WALLACE: If I apply for a job -- for a subsidy and I say, here is what my income level is and here is what my employment status is, the government is going to have no way to verify that. Isn't that just rife with the possibility of fraud?
POWERS: Yes. I mean fraud cannot be the argument against everything for conservatives. I mean this is always argument against every government program.
WALLACE: Guess what? I mean ...
POWERS: No, but they have to pick -- they have to think ...
KRISTOL: We do verify Social Security and we do verify Medicare.
POWERS: No, but they have to figure -- they have to figure how to do that, though. That's not ....
BAYH: The bottom line here, Chris, is yes, that creates a real problem. And you're going to see headlines about fraud and abuse and that sort of thing. So, you've got to wait long enough, so that there is a critical mass of competency here that it can be implemented in a reasonable fashion. But if you wait for perfection you're never going to go forward.
WALLACE: All right. We have to take a break here. But when we come back, President Obama gets personal talking about Trayvon Martin and we'll mark the passing of a legendary reporter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman, who had followed him in a car, because he felt threatened?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Obama on Friday talking about the very different ways whites and blacks are reacting to the shooting of Trayvon Martin. We are back now with the panel.
I think it's fair to say it's been a remarkable week for the country as we all sort through our feelings about race, and justice in the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case. Bill, do you think the president's comments were helpful or not?
KRISTOL: Not particularly helpful, but I think probably didn't make much different. I think most of the country decided this was an unfortunate incident, a tragic incident. There was a serious -- judge and a jury convened, were convened at a trial, as should happen. The trial seems to have been a fair trial. In fact, they bent over backwards I'd say to prosecute Mr. Zimmerman. And that's the point of trials, is to resolve these things fairly and move on, and not make them symbols for broader social causes and not use them demagogically to advance other interests. And so I think the country has moved on, and I wish the president would, too.
WALLACE: Kirsten, as president, Barack Obama has generally stayed away from race. I think it's fair to say these were his most expansive and personal thoughts about race since back when he was a candidate and made his famous race speech when the whole Jeremiah Wright story broke. Was this the right time to get in it, and did he strike the right note, in your opinion?
POWERS: Yes and yes. I think it was very personal. He was really seemed to be speaking sort of off the cuff, in a very heartfelt way about something that I don't think people have moved on from. At least maybe some Americans have, but certainly in the media there is an ongoing debate. And I think in the African-American community, they are very upset about it, and the family doesn't feel that justice was served. The family doesn't feel there was a fair investigation. So I think there are a lot of different perspectives.
So what the president was doing, and even the reaction from some conservatives calling this divisive -- it was the least divisive thing I have seen him do, frankly. And he was basically sort of trying to say, look, I am going to give you a perspective here. Sort of what you're hearing from Ben Carson a little bit earlier. There is a different perspective here if you are an African-Americans, and that's just what I want to talk to you about.
WALLACE: I understand the focus on the Zimmerman trial, and we in the media certainly contributed to it. But when you look at the crime numbers that I discussed with Donna Edwards and Ben Carson, let's put them up back on the screen. African-Americans -- this is astonishing. African-Americans make up 13 percent of the population, but commit more than half the murders in this country. And 93 percent of black murder victims are killed by blacks.
Senator Brown, should civil rights leaders be focusing on that and not what one neighborhood watchman did in Sanford, Florida, 17 months ago?
BROWN: First of all, it's tragic. As a father of two girls, any time there is a loss of life for somebody, it's a tragic situation. And in this instance, the black on black violence is something that is an epidemic portion -- it's an epidemic right now. And I would encourage our civil rights leaders to get involved in that very real fact, because if we don't start addressing that right away, it's only going to get worse.
WALLACE: So what do you think of all of this focus on George Zimmerman, on hate crimes, on civil rights violation, on stand your ground, when you have got 93 percent of blacks -- first of all, they are half of all the murder victims, and they are being killed overwhelmingly by their own race.
BROWN: I felt what the Justice Department has been doing most recently, setting up a website, asking for tips about this case, when the jury has already made their decision known. We are a nation of laws. What Attorney General Holder has been doing by getting involved and making it about politics, I think is wrong. I thought what the president did yesterday, there was good and bad, because he did in his comments address black-on-black violence, the fact that we need to look inward and find a solution for this very real problem.
WALLACE: Senator Bayh, your thoughts about all this?
BAYH: Well, it's a tragedy, Chris. There are no winners here. And we need to reach a point in our country, I think we would all agree, where we get beyond race, but we are not quite there yet. And so I think the president was appropriate to speak to this. Naturally, he brought his own personal experiences to bear, much as Robert Kennedy did in Indianapolis, Indiana, following the killing of Martin Luther King. He talked about his own brother having been assassinated, in that case by a white man. And he said we have to move beyond it and deal with the substantive problems.
Lack of positive role models in some of our communities for young men, educational failures, kids having kids, which doesn't help anybody. Hopefully we can take this tragedy and move in a positive direction to address some of those things so the statistics you just put on the screen eventually will go down.
WALLACE: But in that sense, when all of the civil rights leaders, when all of this energy is expended talking about George Zimmerman, is that getting us on the right track or the wrong track?
BAYH: I think we need to pivot from that, Chris, and focus on the underlying, substantive problems. So it's a tragedy right now without closure. We ultimately -- if Trayvon Martin is going to have a memorial, it's going to be a living one. And hopefully we can take this controversy and get away from all the current brouhaha and focus on the underlying substantive problems that lead too many young men, regardless of race in our country, not having the kind of opportunity we would all like to see them have. I think that's where the energy should be expended.
BROWN: Chris, I think they have a moral obligation to get involved and try to find solutions instead of creating more and more rhetoric and divisiveness. Pursuant to the president's speech when he was in Massachusetts, you know, we're not a black, white, Latino or Asian United States, we're the United States of America.
WALLACE: You're talking back in the 2004 convention.
BROWN: Exactly, that's correct, when he was a young state senator, but we need to find that -- be more united on these issues. It's great to have the conversation, but let's have it in a positive manner.
WALLACE: I don't want this panel to end without marking the death of Helen Thomas, the legendary White House reporter, at the age of 92.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN: Now I will take your questions. Helen?
HELEN THOMAS: McCain said that he resented being called Clinton or Clinton-like, and a few other things. What do you say?
My question is why did you really want to go to war?
Do you know of any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: She covered 10 presidents over half a century, broke a lot of barriers for women reporters in this town, and some say at the end of her career, crossed a line openly expressing her pro-Arab views on the Middle East, even from the front row of the White House briefing room. Kirsten, your thoughts about Helen Thomas?
POWERS: Yes, she was absolutely a trailblazer. She was the first woman to cover a president. She was -- led the campaign to get women into the National Press Club. She led the campaign to get women into the White House correspondents dinner. In fact, asked President Kennedy to not go to the dinner unless women could go. And he agreed to that, and women were allowed. So I think she was a trailblazer, and I think she was somebody who wasn't cowed by presidential power. She asked tough questions. And sometimes that made people angry.
WALLACE: Bill, your thoughts about that. I think we should point out, it's part of the story, that in 2010, Helen's career ended somewhat ignominiously when she was asked by a rabbi outside the White House what she would say about the situation in Israel. And she said they should get the hell out of Palestine. That was her quote. And go back to Germany, or Poland or wherever they came from.
On the other hand, she was a fierce advocate for openness and transparency for over 50 years in the White House. And she really did ask tough questions. Your thoughts?
KRISTOL: Yes, I have a little difficult time getting past that final comment about Jews getting out of Palestine and going back to Germany. But I did not know her well. She certainly showed you up all the time in the White House press room by asking tough questions, not just being one of these White House correspondent who rolls over for President Reagan and all that. Wasn't she on these trips, wasn't it famous that she was the first up and the last to sleep, and would file stories all day and night while Chris and Brit Hume and everyone were out at some very fancy restaurant in Rome or Paris, you know.
WALLACE: I'm curious, how did this tribute to Helen Thomas turn into a personal assault on me?
KRISTOL: You knew her the best, Chris.
WALLACE: Well, she was -- and I, look, I was shocked by her comments and the way she openly expressed them about her personal views about the Middle East. On the other hand, she was one tough reporter. And I certainly admired that. And you're right. She did come in earlier than any of us and stayed later.
Anyway, see you, panel. Thank you. Remember, our discussion continues every Sunday on panel plus. You can find it here on our website, FoxnewsSunday.com. And make sure to follow us on twitter @FoxNewsSunday.
Up next, a live Power Player of the Week gives us an inside look at how Washington really works. We'll talk with Mark Leibovich, author of the hottest book in town next.
WALLACE: The hot book in Washington right now is not the new crime thriller from J.K. Rowling. No, it's a book called "This Town" by Mark Leibovich of the New York Times, which explores D.C.'s obsession with itself, which is why of course we are talking about it. Mark, welcome to Fox News Sunday.
MARK LEIBOVICH, AUTHOR: Thanks, Chris. Thanks for having me.
WALLACE: First of all, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, because my name doesn't appear a single time in this book.
LEIBOVICH: Is that true? There is not an index, so you had to look for this.
WALLACE: I read the book.
LEIBOVICH: You read the book?
WALLACE: I was reading the book because I liked it, and enjoyed it, and maybe I liked it because my name didn't appear.
You're pretty tough on what you call this town, Washington, D.C. Let's put up some of the quotes. You talk about people who had come to Washington to do good and stay here to do well. Their membership in what you call the club becomes paramount and self-defining. They become part of the system that rewards more than anything self- perpetuation. And then there is this. You still hear the term public service thrown around, but often with irony and full knowledge that self-service is now the real insider play.
Is it really that rotten here in Washington?
LEIBOVICH: I would say that it has gotten to be quite a carnival here in Washington, to a degree to which the people outside of Washington don't understand. You mentioned obviously it's a hot book in Washington, because people love to talk and read about themselves. But I do think that there is a level of outrage and frankly a level of sort of surprise that I have gotten from outside of town that's been very, very frankly gratifying.
WALLACE: And what is it that they don't understand about this place?
LEIBOVICH: I think what they don't understand is the fullness of the carnival. First of all, the self-service/public service distinction is really important. There is so much money in government now, there's so much money around government, that it is very, very easy to do well instead of doing good. And supposedly, this city was built on public service.
WALLACE: Your book begins at the memorial service for our beloved colleague, Tim Russert, in 2008. And you describe how at a moment when they are supposed to be mourning, that the politicians and the lobbyists and the reporters are jockeying for position in, as you say, a gold rush that is finance by us, by taxpayers.
LEIBOVICH: That was a striking scene for us. Tim Russert, obviously a giant. I was sitting there, I was a guest. I was struck by how everyone was just throwing business cards around, everyone was working it. It was about them. And I think that that made the larger point, both sort of placing us in history, but also in the kind of character we are talking about.
WALLACE: Back in 2008, Barack Obama famously ran promising to change the culture of Washington. To what degree have he and the team around him fallen subject to the rules of this town?
LEIBOVICH: Well, I think, look, I think it's pretty self- evident. There is an anecdote in the book in which Robert Gibbs, sort of in a soul searching meeting, says -- former White House press secretary -- says did we change Washington or did Washington change us? And I think if you look at how many people around President Obama, the president who was supposedly going to close the revolving door, have gone out and sort of dove into this permanent feudal class, as Tom Coburn calls it, it's been pretty self-evident.
WALLACE: You also talk about Valerie Jarrett, one of the president's top advisers, and when David Axelrod gets Secret Service protection because in fact somebody who shot up the Holocaust Museum actually had information about him, so he gets Secret Service protection, and Valerie Jarrett wanted her Secret Service detail?
LEIBOVICH: Apparently. I mean, a lot of people inside the White House suspected that after David Axelrod got a Secret Service detail, Valerie Jarrett insisted on it. I think she would say that the president himself makes the call. But it's something that a lot of people inside the White House or people who had worked in the White House are still talking about.
WALLACE: You puncture some of the blown-up egos in this town, and I'll just take one, for example, Steve Schmidt, the former Republican consultant who ran the McCain 2008 campaign, advised him to pick Sarah Palin, and then made a career out of bashing Sarah Palin. You say, quote, "it was another instance of the media swooning over Republicans with self-flagellating tendencies, especially when they defy conservative orthodoxy and move left."
LEIBOVICH: I think that that's true. I think if you look at the case of John McCain in 2000, I mean, he was such a media darling. The mainstream media loved him. He was an example of a maverick Republican. If you look at the example of, say, Joe Lieberman, who was a Democrat who bucks his party and, you know, does -- assumes a more conservative posture, he becomes the turncoat. So I think that there are examples of that in every direction.
WALLACE: Finally, what is the reaction to your book then? Are people more upset about what you say about them? You say some pretty mean and quite frankly some pretty funny things, or are they more flattered just at the fact that they are in the book, and that however bad it is to be in the book, it would be worse not to be in it?
LEIBOVICH: It's been a combination. I mean, so much of this has reinforced the whole premise of the book, but ultimately, I mean, the criticism from inside Washington has been in the vein of how dare he, how dare someone who lives here, someone in the club, talk ill and talk critically about the rest of the club. And to which I say if that makes people uncomfortable, then I think Washington journalism needs more discomfort, and I welcome it.
WALLACE: And you're part of it. Mark, thank you so much, thanks for coming in today. And good luck with the book, sir.
LEIBOVICH: Thanks, Chris.
WALLACE: And that's it for today. Have a great week. We'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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