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Gov. Chris Christie on reelection, political future, advice for GOP; reaction to ObamaCare rollout from outside the Beltway
Written by Chris Wallace / Published November 10, 2013 / Fox News Sunday
Special Guests: Gov. Chris Christie, Steven Curry, Cade Joiner, Ron Pollock, Brian Kilmeade
This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," November 10, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.
Election 2013 is in the books, leaving Republicans convinced running against ObamaCare is the key to victory.
KEN CUCCINELLI, R-VA., ATTORNEY GENERAL: This race came down to the wire because of ObamaCare. That message will go out across America tonight.
WALLACE: In New Jersey, a landside victory for Republican Chris Christie.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: I did not seek a second term to do small things. I sought a second term to finish the job. Now, watch me do it.
WALLACE: We'll talk to Governor Christie about his reelection and whether he's now running for president.
Then, damage control over ObamaCare continues, as the president finally apologizes.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am sorry that they, you know, are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me.
WALLACE: But is that enough -- after all the promises, if you like your plan, you can keep it?
We'll go outside the Beltway to hear from real people losing their coverage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have increased the deductibles and sometimes increase the premiums as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn't going to well over $400 month. It just wasn't going to work at that high price.
WALLACE: And we'll get to question one of ObamaCare's big supporters, Ron Pollack of Families USA.
Plus, our power player of the week, "Fox & Friends" co-host Brian Kilmeade on George Washington's secret spy ring.
Could we have won the war without them?
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX & FRIENDS: I don't believe we would have.
WALLACE: All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
Well, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie won re-election by a landslide this week. We'll talk with the governor in a moment.
But first, chief political correspondent Carl Cameron with a look at Christie's record and the challenges he will face if he decides to run for president.
CHRISTIE: I want to say thank you for making me the luckiest guy in the world.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): It was an easy reelection. The real work was during and after Superstorm Sandy, and Chris Christie earned some of the highest favorable ratings in the country, positioning himself for a 2016 presidential bid.
Christie's chumminess with President Obama during last year's presidential campaign raised GOP eyebrows. Some questioned his loyalty.
His reelection campaign was designed as a deliberate to right versus left gridlock in Washington.
CHRISTIE: Everything we've done has been a bipartisan accomplishment. See, as long as you stick to your principles, compromise isn't a dirty word.
CAMERON: Christie cut New Jersey taxes but the state's 8.5 percent unemployment rate is still a point higher than the national average. He's cultivated relationships with Jersey celebrities not known for close ties or shared values with the right. The cover of "Time" calls him the GOP's elephant in the room. The interior headline uses a Springsteen hit for a company pun.
CHRISTIE: The next president of the United States, Governor Mitt Romney.
CAMERON: Christie was passed over for vice president last year in part because of potential fallout from his days as a lobbyist and as U.S. attorney, with the reputation for lavished travel spending.
Gruff and unapologetic, he snapped at reporters, politicians and the public repeatedly.
CHRISTIE: When you conduct yourself like that in the courtroom, your rear end is going to get thrown in jail, idiot.
CAMERON: Pro-life and opposed to same sex marriage, Christie did not veto a gay marriage law in New Jersey this year, and has few ties to the Tea Party. That could put him in a disadvantage in 2016, in the early voting states dominated by ardent social and fiscal conservatives against Tea Party darlings like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Michael Rubio and others.
CAMERON: Christie is credited with quite literally uniting Jersey in a storm. But united Republicans across the country is much different and a lot tougher, especially considering the divisions between the Tea Party and the GOP establishment right now -- Chris.
WALLACE: Carl, thank you.
And we are joined now by the newly reelected governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie.
Governor, congratulations and welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
CHRISTIE: Thanks for having me, Chris, I am happy to be here.
WALLACE: Governor, how interested are you in running for president in 2016?
CHRISTIE: Well, Chris, what I am interested in doing is being the governor of New Jersey. And the fact is we've got a lot of things to do, a lot of things to focus on. And I know everybody is going to be speculating about what may come in my future and lots of other people's future in our party, but the fact is, I'm focused on being the governor of New Jersey and being the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, and I think those two jobs will keep me pretty busy over the next year.
WALLACE: All the same, you did some things on Election Day that national Republicans could only dream of, and let's take a look at those.
You won 57 percent of women, 51 percent of Hispanics, and 42 percent of Democrats, and you said the reason is because in New Jersey, you worked with the other side to get things done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: I know that if we can do this in Trenton, New Jersey, maybe the folks in Washington D.C. should tune in their TVs right now to see how it's done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Governor, what do folks in Washington, especially Republicans, need to do differently if they want to start winning more elections?
CHRISTIE: Well, I think it applies to everybody, Chris, because as I've said before, I think there is plenty of blame to go around in Washington to both parties. The fact is that they need to get the job done. That's what people want.
And what our election was about was a record that showed that we can get the job done -- 143,000 new private sector jobs, reformed pension and benefits, slowed the growth of property taxes, cut business taxes $2.3 billion, you know, reformed teacher tenure.
These were all things that we got done in New Jersey, with a Democratic legislature, got them done in a bipartisan way. So, what I was saying on Tuesday night, what I've been saying all along is that you can govern with the principles that I have -- reforming tenure, cutting budgets. We spent less, Chris, in fiscal '14 than we spent in New Jersey in fiscal year '08, in actual dollars.
I mean, we did all this in a bipartisan way, working across the aisle, getting things done.
That's what people in New Jersey want. I said -- which the election results show from last Tuesday. And that's what people across the country I think want as well.
WALLACE: Governor, if -- and I know it's an if -- you do run for president, you are first going to have to win the Republican nomination, and the knock against you, which you know, is that from some parts of the party is that you are not conservative enough.
So, let's do a lightning round, quick questions/quick answers on some of your positions.
First of all, do you still favor comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship?
CHRISTIE: Chris, what I favor is fixing a broken system, and the fact is that everybody knows the system is broken. And what Congress needs to do is get to work, working with each other and the president to fix a broken system that's not serving our economy well, not serving our country well.
WALLACE: You also support some gun controls. Why?
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, Chris, I think that when you look at what we've done in New Jersey, we want to control violence. And some of that may involve firearms, but a lot of it doesn't.
In fact, my focus has been on making sure that mental health is done in a much more aggressive way in New Jersey. Every time we see one of these incidents happen across our country, it is almost exclusively with a deeply disturbed person at the helm, and what we need to do is be much more aggressive about how we deal with mental health issues in this country. So I am for violence control.
WALLACE: But gun control is part of it.
CHRISTIE: Well, it can be. And in New Jersey, I've signed some of those measures, but I've also vetoed measures that I thought were overreaching and not consistent with Second Amendment rights.
So what it is is looking at things, these things case by case, to see does it make common sense, does it control violence?
We need to not pander on these issues. We need to have adults in the room who make decisions based upon controlling violence in our society.
WALLACE: You called Ted Cruz's effort to try to stop ObamaCare by shutting down the government a, quote, "monumental failure." You called Rand Paul's opposition to government surveillance, quote, "dangerous."
Meanwhile, Senator Paul this week took a shot at you for ads that you're running on New Jersey television or ran, post-Hurricane Sandy. Take a look at his comment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: People running for office put their mug all over these ads while they are in the middle of a political campaign. In New Jersey, $25 million was spent on ads that included somebody running for political office. You think there might be a conflict of interest there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Governor, what do you think of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul?
CHRISTIE: Listen, you know what, Chris -- what I am not going to get into is the Washington, D.C. game that you're trying to get me into. I'm the governor of New Jersey, and I'm focused on getting things done, and I think that's why we got 61 percent of the vote on Tuesday night, because I'll work with anyone and everyone who is willing to work with me, consistent with my principles, and the principles that were just affirmed by 61 percent of the voters. Less government spending, business tax cuts, 143,000 new private sector jobs, reformed pension and benefit system, reformed teacher tenure.
You know, the rest of this stuff is just the game that gets played in Washington, which is why people hate Washington, D.C. That kind of garbage is why people don't like it, so I'm not going to get into that.
WALLACE: Governor, as you know, there is a new "Politico" book out about the 2012 campaign called "Double Down," in which it reports that Governor Romney decided not to choose you as his running mate because of too many, quote, "red flags," and what they talk about are spending too much as U.S. attorney, your work as a lobbyist for the securities industry, steering government contracts to donors and allies.
Your response, sir?
CHRISTIE: Well, you know, the only person who hasn't said that is Governor Romney, who has completely refuted what they said in the book. He did it immediately after the book came out.
So, again, this is part of the parlor game of Washington, D.C., which has nothing to do with my record in New Jersey or what I've done in New Jersey. And we're proud of that record, and I'm going to continue to work really hard over the next four years as governor of New Jersey to make sure I continue to bring people together and accomplish things like lowering taxes, increasing private-sector employment, shrinking the size of government -- all the things that are so consistent with the principles of my party.
WALLACE: "Time" magazine has your silhouette on the cover of the magazine this week, along with the headline, "The elephant in the room" -- and I got to tell you, Governor, more than any other question people wanted me to ask you how you feel about that.
CHRISTIE: Oh, who cares? I mean, seriously. I'm on the cover of "Time" magazine, you know? It is certainly not the first weight joke that has been thrown my way over the course of the last four years, Chris.
CHRISTIE: So you know, it doesn't matter to me. I haven't seen the issue yet, I've just seen the cover. I haven't read the issue yet. It does not matter to me, it really doesn't, and if you're going to be bothered by that kind of stuff, then you don't belong in public leadership. They can say whatever they like, it's fine by me.
WALLACE: Now, maybe it's the election victory, because you seem very even-tempered this morning, but I think it's fair to say that over the course of your career, sometimes you have a little bit of a short temper.
And we have to ask you, again, and this is a presidential question, do you have the patience for you call it the garbage, the parlor game of being picked apart by other politicians, being picked apart by us in the media for two years if you decide to run for president?
CHRISTIE: Listen, I'm the governor of New Jersey, and if you don't think that being governor of New Jersey tries your patience, then you haven't spent enough time in my state, Chris.
I am absolutely confident in my own ability to lead, and obviously so are 61 percent of the people in the state of New Jersey, who reelected me on Tuesday night. And they reelected me because of a record that we're really proud of, and because we've brought people together.
You know, at the end of the day, Chris, here's what the people in Washington, D.C. don't understand -- if you want to win a vote by that kind of margin, if you want to attract the majority of the Hispanic vote, if you want to nearly triple your African-American vote, you need to show up, you need to go into those neighborhoods, you need to campaign in places.
I'll give you a perfect example, Chris. I did a town hall meeting while I was governor about a year and a half ago in the city of Irvington, New Jersey, in Essex County. I got 4.7 percent of the vote there in 2009. There were more people in the church I did the town hall than voted for me in 2009.
That's the way the Republican Party will make themselves more relevant to a much broader group of folks. And the fact is that that's exactly what Ronald Reagan would have done, and did do, when he was campaigning for president. I did that campaigning for governor because I believed it is what's right to do as governor when you represent all the people, not just the people who vote for you. WALLACE: Governor Christie, thank you, thanks for coming in today. Always good to talk with you, sir, and please come back.
CHRISTIE: Chris, thanks for having me on. It's great to be on "Fox News Sunday." It's a great program.
WALLACE: Thank you, sir.
Up next, the impact of ObamaCare on real people who are losing their health insurance. What do they think? We will give them a chance to confront a key advocate.
And be sure to follow us on Facebook and share your favorite moments with your friends.
WALLACE: More than 3.5 million Americans have now received cancellation notices for their health insurance because of ObamaCare. The president apologized to them this week, but what are folks outside of the Beltway saying?
We're going to hear from two of them.
Steven Curry joins us from Chicago. Cade Joiner is in Atlanta. They're both businessmen who have lost their healthcare plans.
With us here in the studio is Ron Pollock, executive director of Families USA, who is working closely with the White House on the rollout of ObamaCare.
Steve, let's start with you and we want to put the letter that you received from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois canceling your current policy. You were paying $877 a month for your family of four with the $3,500 deductible. The new plan is $512 a month but with a $12,000 deductible.
Steve, as a small businessman who doesn't qualify for subsidy, what's your reaction to what's happened to you?
STEVE CURRY, LOSING HEALTH PLAN: Well, let me mention -- good morning, Chris -- I want to say a little bit about that. The $500 policy that you're looking at is a shortened network than I had before. So, actually, it's not the same network I can use.
So, if I was to pair up the networks and have a policy that is comparable to mine, there is none. My out-of-pocket for my family is $3,500 and everything else is paid at 100 percent. The closest thing I could find that's comparable as they say was $12,000 out of pocket for my family. So, there is a huge difference in there and I looked through all of the different plans.
And either you pay a lot more in premium like 60 percent more in premiums and have more out of pocket, there's absolutely nothing that's even close to my plan as I'm going to have now. WALLACE: OK. Let's bring in Cade. You were canceled by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia and you say that to get a new policy, after you were called, would cost you 60 percent to 70 percent more in premiums.
CADE JOINER, LOSING HEALTH PLAN: Yes, Chris. I've had my policy in effect for over three and a half years and received a letter in the mail stating that it was going to be canceled. I called around and found out the same policy would cost me almost $500 a month, and I just found that non-acceptable.
I'm a small business owner. I have eight employees. I have to make payroll every week and that sort of increase is just hard to manage.
WALLACE: Well, as you both know, President Obama apologized this week directly to people like you who lost your policies, who lost your, your insurance policy. Let's look at what the president had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Even though it is a small percentage of folks who maybe disadvantaged, you know, it means a lot to them and it's scary to them. And I am sorry that they, you know, are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Cade, your reaction? What do you think of the president's apology?
JOINER: Well, he is right about one thing. It is scary. But it's only scary because he has made it that way by changing the rules in the middle of the game.
Now, we were told countless times if we want to keep our current insurance, we could. And that was just not true, as I found out.
This president forced the piece of legislation out that wasn't ready for primetime. He pushed it through Congress and now, he's pushed on the American people. And the real victims are people like Steven and myself.
WALLACE: All right. Mr. Pollock, let's bring you in.
Now, the president in his, quote, "apology" said that these policies that folks like Steve and Cade and a lot of other people in the individual market have are sub-par. You have called them Swiss cheese because you say there are so many holes in them.
So, explain to these two guys after you've heard what they had to say, I know you don't know the details of their plans -- but why this is a good deal for them.
RON POLLOCK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FAMILIES USA: So, I don't know --
POLLOCK: -- either Steven or Cade's specific situation. But there are several thing that is are going to be significant improvements.
So, first, as you said, a lot of these policies are like Swiss cheese policies. They are insurance that doesn't insure. Give you two examples that are very significant, so many of these insurance policies have annual caps or they may have life time caps on how much they will spend out if somebody has a major illness.
Now, obviously, that's something people want really protection for. If they have a major accident or major illness, they don't, all of sudden, want to be in a no insurance zone. So, that's an area where these are sub-far policies.
But another thing that's really important here is that the vast majority of people who have private individual insurance, they will be eligible for substantial subsidies.
POLLOCK: For a family four like I think Steve --
WALLACE: Well, wait a minute, you heard these guys say that it's going to cost them more, not less.
POLLOCK: Not --
WALLACE: We've heard stories like that across the country, Ron.
POLLOCK: Yes, clearly for those people who aren't eligible, say, for subsidies, it could be --
POLLOCK: -- that they would pay more. But these subsidies reach very deeply into the middle class. Not just the poor.
So, for a family of four, Stephen was saying for example that he has a family of four. For those families, these subsidies reach all the way up to $94,200 in annual income and these were thousands of dollars. Now, not everybody has income below $94,000.
WALLACE: Let me bring Steve in.
Steve, your reaction to that.
CURRY: Ron, we've actually done an extensive research on these subsidies, and if you really dig down to it, they aren't that substantial. Anything over 250 percent of a family poverty level, the subsidies go way down on the premium and there is no cost sharing subsidies under or over 250 percent. So, when you say that there's going to be subsidies, it's not there.
And to also say that's Swiss cheese, my policy had a $3,500 deductible and had paid 100 percent of everything. There's only four things they did not cover apart of the minimal essential benefits -- that was maternity, pediatric dental, extra chiropractic benefits and mental health care extra benefit. Other than that, it paid for everything. Everything.
WALLACE: Well, let me just interrupt here for a second because this gets to one of the key points and I think one of the reasons that people are so upset, Ron, and that is Steve happens to be a benefits specialist and financial planner. He's pretty sophisticated in all this stuff. But whether it's him or whether it's Cade or whether it's anybody else, they have researched it. They've figured out their family finances and with their family needs. Why do they need you or why do they need President Obama telling them what is good for them?
POLLOCK: Well, they don't need me. That's for sure. But what they need is to make sure they have insurance that truly insures.
Now, I don't know Stephen's policy, I take him at his word that he's got what he thinks is good coverage. The overwhelming majority of people in the individual market have really lousy coverage.
CURRY: Ron, that's no true.
POLLOCK: This is the Wild, Wild West of coverage.
CURRY: Ron, that's not true.
POLLOCK: It is true.
CURRY: Twenty-five years and we don't sell a substandard policy. I'm telling you. It is not true.
POLLOCK: Unfortunately, most people with private individual coverage have substandard policies and moreover, these policies deny coverage to people with preexisting health conditions, they charge discriminatory premiums when people are sick. They terminate coverage when people get sick --
WALLACE: But again, and I want to bring Cade into this. I mean, how do you feel -- because this is the argument, here is Washington, and Ron Pollock works with the administration, he doesn't work for the administration, telling you what's good for you?
JOINER: Well, Ron, I had a good policy that I was happy with. I did a lot of research in 2010, and it was affordable for me. To get this letter in the mail especially after the assurances that the president is giving us is just completely unacceptable.
I'm a small business owner, as I said previously, and I've got other expenses that have to be met. I'm trying to help grow the economy by adding new job, and having to pay more for my insurance, that's going to limit me in that factor.
POLLOCK: So, one of the things -- one of the things that we have seen with the individual insurance market is that premiums have risen very significantly with each passing year, on average, in the individual market, they have increased 15 percent. There are a lot of insurers all before the Affordable Care Act that dropped out of coverage --
WALLACE: But you're not hearing -- with all due respect, sir, you are not hearing these two guys saying they are quite happy with what they have. They are both small businessmen. One owns his own business, Cade, the other works in a small business -- they like what they had and now, Washington is telling them what to do.
POLLOCK: So, Chris, I'm not going to say and I don't think the president is going to say now that there aren't some people who may find that what they had before that they like, that they don't have that anymore. That obviously, the president has made that clear.
For the vast majority of people, they do not have -- they either don't have coverage. We've got 48 million people in the country without any health insurance whatsoever, they can't afford it. They have been denied coverage by an insurance company. That needs a big fix.
WALLACE: And that's a worthy goal.
The question is, do people like Steve and Cade who pay their bills, who -- creating jobs, that they need to get nest over to solve the problem of the uninsured.
Let me ask you specifically -- when the president apologized and he was apologizing to people like Cade and Steve, who are going to lose their policies. He said he would try to find an administrative fix to help them. But he can't un-cancel their policies, can he?
POLLOCK: No, he can't -- he can't change that. And, in fact, there are lot of insurance companies that go in and out of the market all the time. And there is nothing either prior to the Affordable Care Act --
WALLACE: So, how can help them?
POLLOCK: Well, I'm not sure what is going to be offered.
Right now, the most important thing for the president to do is to make sure that the Web site works so that people can actually go online and find other plans that are going to be helpful and they now will have a choice of plans that will not be substandard --
WALLACE: OK. Let me -- which brings us to the last thing I want to get into, Cade, how you gone on -- have you tried to get onto the ObamaCare Web site to see if maybe there's something better there for you? Or, are you thinking --
JOINER: Well, first of all, let me say -- I'm not eligible for any type of subsidy, as he talked about earlier.
JOINER: And I have looked a little at the page. But I'm sort of caught between a rock and a hard place because it's little more money than I can afford to pay every month and I don't have the subsidy. So, I've got to make a tough decision. And that decision may end up being potentially paying the fine and not taking coverage at all. I'm a 34-year-old, very healthy, never had any health care problems. So, I may just gamble.
WALLACE: So, you are saying you may just ignore the individual mandate, pay the penalty, which is $95 in the first year, and a guy who had health insurance is going to go without?
JOINER: Yes, that's a very good possibility, Chris.
WALLACE: Steve, what about you? Have you gone on the Web site? What are your thoughts?
CURRY: No, my situation is that I'm going to have $9,000 more out-of-pocket this next coming year just because of this change. So, that's $9,000 I don't have to spend in the economy anymore. So, that's a problem.
Secondly, I'm going to carry coverage because I have two kids and a wife. And I believe in my coverage prior. But, yes, now I've got to make choices because it's $9,000 more. And we've -- to go on Healthcare.gov it doesn't make sense for people who aren't going to get subsidies.
The policies in Illinois are the same on the exchange and off the exchange. So, if I'm not going to get a subsidy, I don't have to go to that Web site. I only go to that Web site if I have to get a subsidy.
WALLACE: Gentlemen, we are going to have to leave it there.
Ron, Steve, Cade -- thank you all for joining us today.
JOINER: Thank you.
WALLACE: President Obama said he is sorry, but is that enough? Our Sunday panel weighs in on White House damage control.
And the conversation continues each week on Twitter. Share your thoughts with fellow "Fox News Sunday" fans at #fns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRAD PAISLEY AND CARRIE UNDERWOOD: ObamaCare by morning why is it taking so long ...
BRAD PAISLEY (singing): I'm going to wind up with hemorrhoids ...
BRAD PAISLEY AND CARRIE UNDERWOOD (singing): If I sit here till dawn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Oh boy. Singers Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood at the country music awards this week bringing down the house while poking fun at all the problems with the ObamaCare website. And it is time now for our Sunday group. Brit Hume, Fox News senior political analyst. National Public Radio's Mara Liasson, syndicated columnist George Will and the Fox News political analyst Juan Williams. Well, they say it is the kiss of death when the late night comics start mocking you. But that's nothing compared to Carrie Underwood going after you. Brit, what do you make of President Obama's apology this week? How much did that help?
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it is about as much of an apology as we could ever get from the president. He's not given to that sort of thing, so we should take it and accept it as far as it goes. I don't think it solves the problem. The problem is that the chickens that were in this bill from the get go are now coming home to roost. And this is a process that is (inaudible) to continue. And for many Democratic incumbents up for reelection this year, especially those in the Senate, it has created what amounts, I think, to a kind of political emergency. I thought your question about what the president can do about it was well phrased and the answer is nobody thinks he can do very much. So, this for this Democrats is a regular mess.
WALLACE: Yeah, Mara, I want to pick up on that. Because in the interview where he gave, the quote, "apology." Not explaining why he was culpable or why he said what he said, but just that he sort of felt the pain of people like Kate and Steve, the president says he's looking for some administrative way, definitely not going back to Congress to try to help folks like that who've lost their policies, but as you just heard from Ron Pollock, he can't just go and un-cancel the cancellations because if he did that, it would have to go back to the states, which regulate this and it would take months. What do they do?
MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: I really don't think there is much that they can do. They can get that website up and running by the end of November, which they promised to do. That's really important. Because the problem is, that for a lot of people who are getting the cancellation notices, they can't go on and shop for a new policy, which might or might not be better for them. They can't even go onto the website. The problem ...
WALLACE: But let me say this. If -- and Steve pointed that out, which (inaudible) I haven't realized that, if you don't get a subsidy ...
LIASSON: Right. There is no point going on at all.
WALLACE: The website doesn't ...
LIASSON: Yeah, but the thing is, the thing is mindboggling about that promise, is that the Affordable Care Act was meant to be a disrupter. It was meant to completely change and the White House felt improve the individual health care market. Sometimes that means people are going to end up paying more, the White House says, net - net, more people will end up paying less and get better coverage. But that's going to take a very long time to play out, to see what the ultimate bottom line is. I think it's going to be beyond the 2014 elections.
WALLACE: George? Your thoughts about the president's apology?
GEORGE WILL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it is one thing for Bill Clinton to say, I feel your pain. It is another thing for Barack Obama to say I feel your pain that I have caused. And for him to say it was caused by a situation, that's the word he used in the operative sentence, we, this week, marked the one year anniversary of his re- election. Has there ever, with the exception of Richard Nixon in 1973 been a worst first year of a second term? A Pew survey this week is, approval of his performance on health care -- health care is his signature issue, disapproval 59 percent. That is a little bit less of the 60 percent disapproval on immigration and 65 percent on the economy. And now the Democrats are going to get to vote on some things, maybe. Or at least Mr. Reid will have to stop them in the Senate. Here is, for example, the if you like your health plan you can keep it act from Senator Ron Johnson. It is four pages long, which makes it 902 pages shorter than the patient protection on Affordable Care Act. And these are opportunities for discomfort for the supporters of the Affordable Care Act.
WALLACE: You know, I want to pick up on that. Because the most interesting political development this week, I think, was that Red State Democrats running for re-election in the Senate, are beginning to panic. They went to the White House and held a two hour meeting with the president and they are now talking about a bunch of legislation and some of the Republican super PACs are starting to target them. Take a look at this ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If you like your health care plan you can keep your health care plan.
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU, (D), LOUISIANA: Those individuals who like the coverage they already have will be able to keep their current plan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Which now becomes a problem having said that. And apparently, there is a lot of that to come on. Some of those Democratic Senators, Mary Landrieu are now talking about introducing legislation to -- if you want your plan you can keep it. And to delay some of the penalties, to mention -- to delay the entire individual mandate a year.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I don't think that that's going to happen, I think that, you know, they have to ...
WALLACE: They have to introduce them or they are not going to get passed.
WILLIAMS: They won't be introduced or passed, I mean the Republicans might introduce it, but not something that the Democrats, something (inaudible) Democrats support in any substantial numbers. I think what you are going to see is potentially some kind of extension of the enrollment period. So that it would compensate for the month it's lost so far given the problems with the website. But, you know, you keep in mind, we are about a month into this thing. There is four months left. Normally, in terms of the Medicare situation, you have a six month enrollment period. Here you have a six month enrollment period. But in Massachusetts, where things were rolled out, they had computer problems and they had a year for people to enroll. So, if that is the model, potentially you could have an extension of the enrollment period.
WALLACE: But, of course, if you extend that, then we begin to get into the problem that the young healthies happen and gotten involved in the marketplace and the exchanges, they are not paying premiums and therefore other, the sick, vulnerable people with all this extra benefits are going to pay higher premiums.
HUME: Well, yes, George, I mean, Chris -- think of this. The idea is to get them signed up. Think of all of the things that are working against that right now. Staying on your parent's plan until you are 26. It takes a big chunk of young healthy people out of the potential buyer population for individual plans. Worries about the security of the website, when it finally gets up and running. There are all kinds of concerns about that expressed by responsible people. On top of that is that the penalty if you decide not to go out and buy a plan is light the first year. So, you add these things together and the possibility that if you go -- if you'd lost your plan and you are relatively young and healthy and you go and look on the website, then what is available to you, is not like it couldn't be better. You have seen that repeatedly. Your two -- (inaudible) your guests are example of that. They found out what it will be like when they go and try to buy something. And it didn't work out for them. There are going to be many more like them. This is -- this post -- delaying the mandate means that sometimes next year, in the election year, all these problems returns.
WILLIAMS: I didn't say delay -- I said -- I said ...
HUME: Extend. OK.
WILLIAMS: Yeah, extend the enrollment period.
WALLACE: Delay the deadline
WILLIAMS: But what you are saying is contrary to the fact that a lot of those young people, Brit, don't have insurance.
HUME: Yes, a lot of them ...
WILLIAMS: So, this is much better than not having insurance.
HUME: Juan, Juan, excuse me. It is much better than not having insurance according to who? According to Big Brother. Now, for many of these people, young and healthy and very unlikely to need medical care of almost any kind, not having insurance is a perfectly rational choice.
WILLIAMS: It's not rational.
HUME: You know ...
WILLIAMS: These people are free riders on our insurances. As every time you go to the hospital, I go to the hospital, we pay higher prices, we pay higher insurance ...
HUME: Who's not paying higher prices?
WILLIAMS: ... because of these free riders. And those people with no insurance want some confidence that if they get -- that if anything happens they go see a doctor.
HUME: Then if they want it, they ought to be willing to pay for it. They are not willing to pay for it, it may well be that being free people, they feel free to make that choice. I think ...
WALLACE: As I said to you before you have to have sharp elbows here.
WILL: Brit says, the penalty is too small to be effectively coercive for the young people. They aren't allowed (ph) to call it a penalty. Remember, it is a tax.
HUME: Right. WILL: The Chief Justice says it's a tax, not a penalty, because it must be too low, in order to count as a tax, and not a penalty, and if you raise it enough to be effective it is no longer a tax, it's a penalty, and the whole thing is unconstitutional.
LIASSON: And it's can't be collected anyway, because the only way you can collect it is if you apply for a refund and it can be docked against that. Otherwise uncollectable and too small to make a difference.
WALLACE: Well, I'm glad we cleared that up. We have to take a break here, but when we come back, the lessons from election 2013, has it changed the strategy of both parties for 2014 and '16?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: We don't just show up in the places that vote for us a lot, we show up in the places that vote for us a little. We don't just show up in the places where we are comfortable. We show up in the places where we are uncomfortable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Tuesday night touting his appeal across brought segments of the electorate as the path forward for the GOP. We are back now with the panel.
I have to say, I was struck by how mellow Chris Christie was today. And, well, I didn't see the others -- he appeared on four, count them, four Sunday shows this morning, to say that folks in DC should watch how it is done in New Jersey and follow his path as the way forward to 2014 and '16.
Brit, are you surprised that he has come out of his re-election so aggressively to say he has got the answers for the GOP?
HUME: No, this is a man brimming with self-confidence. And despite the fact that he was quite mellow and subdued in the interview you did with him, you played plenty of examples around of him not being that way at all, practicing what might almost be called the politics of belligerence, where he says, you know, I go where I'm uncomfortable. It's almost as if he's going to say, and if the audience isn't uncomfortable, I'll make them uncomfortable.
It remains to be seen whether that style of his, which is appealing in New Jersey and which reflects a certain kind of pugnacious, can-do spirit, will play well nationally in places where his more moderate record than that possessed by some other candidates are popular. So--
WALLACE: Mara, do you think that it is fair and I kind of anointed him that today, do you think it's fair to say that Christie is at this ridiculously early stage, the front-runner for the Republican nomination? LIASSON: Well, it is not completely unfair, just because there is a new front-runner every couple of months. Remember when Marco Rubio was the savior of the Republican Party before he got burned by immigration reform? Yes, at this moment, he is the leader of what you might call the establishment kind of alternative to the Tea Party wing, even though he has a Tea Party type personality, for the moment. But the question is, as far as whether it will play nationally, I wonder whether it's going to play in specific Southern Republican primaries. It does not have to play nationally, it has to just -- he has to get through a Republican primary, and we don't know yet if the conservative, Tea Party oriented Republican primary electorate is willing to accept him.
WALLACE: Well, to pick up on that, because winning a big landslide victory in New Jersey is a very different matter from negotiating your way through the primaries and caucuses, not just South. Iowa, a lot of Christian fundamentalists, New Hampshire, South Carolina, other Southern primaries. George, your assessment at this point of Christie's strengths and obstacles, weaknesses going forward.
WILL: His great strength is that he can say I can flip a blue state. He will turn to the Republicans now and say, your problem is the 18 states and the District of Columbia that have voted Democratic in six consecutive presidential elections. Those 18 states, which include New Jersey by the way, and DC, have between them 242 electoral votes. If the Democratic presidential nominee can assume those states, he or she will spend the autumn of 2016 looking for 28 electoral votes, and he or she will find them. So Christie can turn and say--
WALLACE: But they are never going to be able to assume those votes against Hillary Clinton, to name somebody.
WILL: But that is what I'm saying, is they can -- the Democrats probably think they can assume 242 electoral votes. Christie says, I can flip some blue states. Who else in this room, people say when they have a gathering of the candidates, can flip a state as I have just done in New Jersey?
WALLACE: And his weakness?
WILL: His weakness is his success in doing this. Because there are some people who are going to say, well, if you carry a blue state, you must be suspect. So he has to -- his strength becomes a weakness, in the perversity of modern Republican arguments.
WALLACE: Let's look at a little bit of that. Immigration reform, comprehensive immigration reform for a local Dream Act, in- state tuition for the children of illegals, gun control. He is against ObamaCare but he has expanded Medicaid. How big problems are they for the Tea Party wing of the party?
WILL: I think they are negotiable problems. I think he can get over this because he's also taken on, and this is the biggest problem confronting Americans at the state level where they live, are the power of the public sector unions. He took them on and he won. WALLACE: Juan.
WILLIAMS: I think that is exactly right. I think that the problem for someone like Chris Christie is when he appeals to moderates and independent voters -- and even drives up, as he noted in his interview with you, Chris -- the vote among Hispanics. He did very well among Hispanics in New Jersey.
WALLACE: 51, 52 percent.
WILLIAMS: And then he got 21 percent of the black vote in New Jersey, I mean, you know, and so he is doing that in defying the union machine in that state. And I think that is a tremendous accomplishment. But then again, people are going to question his bona fides in terms of the right.
And one more thing. I think this is a very important lesson that came out of both the Virginia and New Jersey race, is that while Chris Christie is pro-life, he doesn't make a big deal out of it. But you saw in Virginia, where Cuccinelli, Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate, ran heavily on social values issue, then it turned against him. He lost among single women by an outrageous margin, I think it was 59-34. That is the difference in the Virginia race. That is what Terry McAuliffe, the Democrat, hammered him on, in ads early on to portray him as a right-wing social activist. And as they said in his ads, he is about his agenda, he's not about us. That worked, and you are seeing now Karl Rove and some, I think Bill Whalen in the Wall Street Journal this week, saying, Republicans, you got to downplay these social issues like abortion. Is that going to play with the Tea Party?
WILL: Cuccinelli carried voters 18 to 24. Cuccinelli carried independents by nine points, and if unmarried women had broken exactly as married women did, he would have won the Virginia governorship by seven points.
WALLACE: I am going to pick up on Virginia, because for those of you who didn't follow it closely, Cuccinelli was behind by at one point double digits, then six to eight points, it looked like he was going to really get blown out, and particularly as Juan says, Terry McAuliffe and the Democrats were really going after him on social issues like abortion and even birth control, as well as gun control. And then, in the final weeks, he'd said, as we began to see the problems with ObamaCare, he was really going to go after that, make it a referendum on ObamaCare, and he almost won. Here is Cuccinelli from election night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUCCINELLI: This race came down to the wire because of ObamaCare. That message will go out across America tonight.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WALLACE: Brit, what do you see as the lessons both from Christie's victory in New Jersey and Cuccinelli's in the end narrow loss in Virginia?
HUME: Listen, for the Republican Party and for the Tea Party in particular, if you are trying to elect somebody in the state of Virginia, which is populated heavily in its Northern Virginia suburbs by government workers, and heavily populated in normally Republican areas down in Tidewater area where you have got the ship yards and the major military installations, don't shut the government down within two months of the election. OK? I mean, that I think is what put Cuccinelli in the hole from which not even ObamaCare could save him. And all the rest of it--
HUME: Perhaps, no doubt, but my guess is, no government shutdown, Cuccinelli's governor-elect.
LIASSON: You know, the problem with the closeness of the Virginia race is that it doesn't settle this brewing civil war inside the Republican Party. It just wasn't definitive enough. Tea Party can still say, if only Republican donors hadn't abandoned him, he would have won.
I think what it means for 2014 is that ObamaCare continues to be the weapon of choice for Republicans in these Senate races and House races, and going forward, I think you are still going to see this huge battle about whether it was the social issues, do you need someone with a more moderate profile like Chris Christie. And it's not going to be over anytime soon.
WILL: It is his profile that is moderate, however, because Chris Christie is on the salient social issues--
LIASSON: Yes, exactly the same as Cuccinelli.
WILL: He's exactly where he is. It's the presentational skills--
LIASSON: His tactics and tone is not (inaudible).
WALLACE: How do you do that? How do you do it so that you keep faith with the social activists in your party, but you don't turn off young, unmarried women?
WILLIAMS: Don't emphasize it. Don't talk about it. Don't make it the big ticket item in the way that Cuccinelli did.
WALLACE: There you go, Juan Williams, advice for Republicans. Thank you, panel, see you next week.
Up next, our Power Player of the Week. Fox's Brian Kilmeade on the spy ring that helped win the Revolutionary War.
WALLACE: You may think you know how George Washington led the patriots to victory in the Revolutionary War, but it turns out it was more about outsmarting the British than overpowering them. Here is our power player of the week.
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS: These guys got none of the acclaim, but their exploits arguably were just as great.
WALLACE: Brian Kilmeade is talking about the Culper spy ring, five men and one woman who helped beat the British in the Revolutionary War. Now he tells their story in a fascinating new book, "George Washington's Secret Six."
KILMEADE: The role that they played I think could be reflected in George Washington's letters. That the information that we're getting from the spy ring is something that we can't essentially put a price tag on.
WALLACE: Could we have won the war without them?
KILMEADE: Not in the way in which we won and the time in which we won. I don't believe we would have.
WALLACE: They were ordinary people. A dry goods merchant, a tavern keeper, a publisher. They would pick up information in Manhattan, get it to a hotbed of resistance on Long Island, then across to George Washington in Connecticut. Sometimes taking two weeks.
At one point they learned the British had stolen the special paper the Americans used to print their money and planned a counterfeiting operation to tank the rebels' economy.
KILMEADE: He gets that word to Washington. This paper is out and loose. Washington quickly acts and decides to change the look of our currency from that day forward.
WALLACE: The central figure in the ring was Robert Townsend, a dry goods merchant who did business with British officers.
KILMEADE: Looking at Robert Townsend's house, Culper Jr in the Culper spy ring, George Washington's secret six, if George Washington had a most vital spy, one he could not do without, he lived right here, and they never met.
WALLACE: Then there was agent 355, a woman whose name we still don't know.
KILMEADE: Her goal was to get inside the social circles. And it is believed that she was the one who overheard conversations between Major Andre (ph) and others about a certain Benedict Arnold, a general at West Point, that was looking to turn sides and give up that valuable base.
WALLACE: The spy ring had their own tradecraft. They wrote in invisible ink, sending messages by code.
KILMEADE: Washington would be 711. Robert Townsend would be 722. Areas of New York might be 86. So you might be reading this and every third word is a number.
WALLACE: Of course, Brian has a day job.
KILMEADE: The next big deadline is the end of this month. They put it on themselves.
WALLACE: But he was driving on Long Island when he saw a man painting a line on the road and asked what he was doing.
KILMEADE: This is to commemorate where Washington came in 1790 to thank his spies. And I said, excuse me? What spies? That was 1989. And I really had been studying this on and off since then, and the more I read, the more I understand that these people, their story had to be told.
Amazing. This is Rose Tavern.
WALLACE: Brian says he would love to see the story of these unsung American heroes made into a movie. Anything to give them the credit they deserve.
KILMEADE: Today, to see Robert Townsend's gave in the back of a barn, unkept and untouched, bothers me. And if I could help in that way, by shedding some light and maybe putting him in classrooms around the country, I think I have done my job. And the rest of the ring as well.
WALLACE: As part of his research, Brian went to CIA headquarters in Virginia, where he learned they teach new recruits how the Culper spy ring carried out its operations.
Before we go, some program notes. Be sure to watch next Sunday, when Liz Cheney joins us here live for her first Sunday show interview since she announced her controversial run for the U.S. Senate in Wyoming. Plus, 50 years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, I'll speak with Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and former Congressman Patrick Kennedy about their uncle's legacy. You will not want to miss it.
That's it for today. Have a great week. And we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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