THIS SUNDAY: Chris will sit down for an exclusive interview with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
Sens. Corker, Cardin react to nuclear deal with Iran; Sarah Palin talks D.C. dysfunction, Bashir comments
Written by Chris Wallace / Published November 24, 2013 / Fox News Sunday
Special Guests: Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., Sarah Palin
This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," November 24, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.
Breaking news -- the U.S. and its allies reached a nuclear deal with Iran.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program.
PRESIDENT HASSAN ROUHANI, IRAN (through translator): The world powers have recognized Iran's nuclear rights.
WALLACE: But what do Israel and skeptics in Congress think of the agreement?
We'll get first reaction from two key members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker and Ben Cardin.
Then, Washington gridlock intensifies, with a power grab in the U.S. Senate as Republicans accused Democrats of trying to divert attention from ObamaCare.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY., MINORITY LEADER: Millions of Americans are hurting because of a law Washington Democrats forced upon them. And what do they do? They cook up some fake fight over judges.
WALLACE: We'll ask former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin whether the ObamaCare debacle is a tipping point for big government solutions.
Plus, what about those hateful comments by MSNBC's Martin Bashir?
SARAH PALIN, R-FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Everybody in life takes shots. You have a decision to make when you take a shot.
WALLACE: Sarah Palin, only on "Fox News Sunday."
Plus, our Power Player of the Week. With the start of the holidays, Ann Romney offers us a seat at the Romney family table.
ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY'S WIFE: Through life, we all celebrate thanks through the kitchen, and through eating.
WALLACE: All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
While many of you were sleeping, the U.S. and its allies have worked out an interim deal to curb Iran's nuclear program. Iran agrees to cap its uranium enrichment well below weapons grade levels. In return the West is easing some economic sanctions. The agreement is for just six months, but our friends in the Middle East and some on Capitol Hill are not happy.
We'll get reaction from two leading senators in a moment. But, first, Fox News senior foreign affairs correspondent Amy Kellogg lays out the deal, and the reaction -- Amy.
AMY KELLOGG, FOX NEWS SENIOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Chris.
Well, I just spoke to a top nonproliferation expert that says that he thinks this is just about as good of a package that the U.S. and its allies could have got because Iran was simply not going to give up uranium enrichment all together. The Israeli and Saudi dream deal simply doesn't exist. This one at least puts caps on every aspect of Iran's program. President Obama was pleased with the agreement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program and key parts of the program will be rolled back. Iran is committed to halting certain levels of enrichment and neutralizing part of its stockpiles. Iran cannot use its next generation centrifuges which are used for enriching uranium.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLOGG: And it goes on. Construction of the plutonium producing reactor will stop. Critically, some say is the fact that Iran will allow inspectors into its centrifuge production fatalities, which is the first, and should in theory alleviates fears that Iran is building or stocking hidden enrichment facilities and there will now be inspections every single day at the two main enrichment facilities. Iran can no longer enrich to 20 percent and it cannot add new centrifuges, nor increase its stockpile of lower grade uranium without converting it to safer material.
The issue of an explicit spelling out of Iran's right to enrich uranium apparently was a big sticking point. The two sides see what the agreement says about that quite differently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: The right no nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, including enrichment, within the context of the NPT, is an inalienable right. What is required for other countries, to recognize and respect the implementation of this right.
SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY: This first step does not say that Iran has a right to enrichment. No matter what interpretive comments are made, it is not in this community. There is no right to enrich within the four corners of the NPT, and this document does not do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLOGG: It has been suggested by an expert that what the document does, if, in fact, Iran sticks to it, is double what is called the breakout time -- in other words, the time it would take Iran to build a bomb before being detected.
Iran had continued with its progress unchecked, that time would have been cut in half. Still, Israel opposes the deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: What was concluded in Geneva last night is not a historic agreement. It's a historic mistake. This agreement has made the world a much more dangerous place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLOGG: Meanwhile, Iranians of most stripes are positive about the agreement, with the local press touting it as an achievement for Iran.
Here is what President Hassan Rouhani had to say today about the interim that will apply for six months.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROUHANI (through translator): There is along way ahead in order to attain that full thrust, but the initial steps have been taken.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLOGG: Now, Chris, what Iran gets in return for these concessions is the unfreezing of some of its assets, some of its funds that are in foreign banks, and it will be allowed to some trade in petrochemicals and gold. That is was about $7 billion in real relief. But the main sanctions architecture does remain in place.
Senator Kerry left Geneva first thing this morning and is here in London now for meetings. He'll be talking about Syria, Libya, and, again -- Chris.
WALLACE: Amy Kellogg, reporting from London. Amy, thanks for that.
Now, the president must convince skeptics on Capitol Hill this is a good deal.
We bring in two key members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Top Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee and Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland.
Senator Corker, in recent weeks, I think it's fair to say you have been very skeptical of these negotiations. Now that you have seen the outlines of this deal, what do you think?
SEN. BOB CORKER, R-TENN.: Well, Chris, we just got the details this morning about 20 minutes ago. But look, I mean, Iran has consolidated their gains and have sanctions relief.
So, look, I think all of us want to see a diplomatic solution here. I think it's now time for Congress to weigh in because I think people are very concerned that the interim deal becomes the norm and that's why I crafted legislation to hold the administration and the international community's feet to fire over the next sixth months, to ensure that this interim deal is not the norm.
But, look, I think we all agree it was skepticism. For instance this morning in the preamble, we see where they stay in that preamble. There will be a mutually defined enrichment program.
So, you know, the U.N. Security Council at a base level stated that Iran would not have the right to enrich and yet it appears that we've already given a tilt. It looked like passively agreed that they will be enriching for commercial purposes down the road.
So, I think you're going to see on Capitol Hill again a bipartisan effort to try to make sure that this is not the final agreement because people know this administration is strong on announcements, very -- long on announcements but very short on follow through. And I think there is a lot of concern. I think you will see Senator Cardin joining in, in those efforts.
WALLACE: Well, Senator Corker, one question for you before we bring in Senator Cardin. I understand that what you're talking about is a set of guidelines that this deal only last for sixth months, that if the Iranians renege, that the U.S. must react in a short time, that the two sides only have six months to come up with the final deal.
So, the question I have, though, is you've also talked about imposing -- and some of those senators -- about imposing new sanctions. Now, the foreign minister Zarif said today, if there are new sanctions, this whole deal is off.
Are you going to --
WALLACE: -- still for tougher sanctions, or are you going to give this deal time to see how it works out?
CORKER: Chris, my greatest concern throughout this whole situation is the North Korean issue. And that is that you begin relieving sanctions, you end up basically with no deal. And so, my biggest concern is seeing follow through here. Again, this administration is big on announcements, very short on substance. We see that time and time again. The American people are seeing that right now all across our country.
So, my effort, the effort we put forth in our office, is to hold their feet to the fire, to make sure that they actually do the things that are part of the U.N. Security Council agreements.
We're very concerned that that is not going to be the case. If you see the reaction of Iran right now -- I mean, they're spiking the football in the end zone saying that, look, we consolidate our gains, we've relieve sanctions. We're going to have the right to enrich. So, I want to make sure we go to the end zone here. I think there are going to be some people that want to impose additional sanctions. That's another effort that we may well take place -- take part in. But again, I just want to see this all of the way through. We've seen what's happened in North Korea. They now have nuclear weapons, and I don't want to see that happened in Iran.
WALLACE: Senator Cardin, what's your reaction to the deal and to the reservations you just heard from Senator Corker.
SEN. BEN CARDIN, D-MD.: Well, Chris, first, it's clear to I think everyone but for the U.S. leadership and tough series of sanctions that were imposed by Congress, we would never have gotten serious negotiations in Iran.
We are very concerned as to whether Iran will live up to even these commitments and this is the first step. During the next six months, we expect that there would be negotiations to eliminate the infrastructure in Iran that would be able to produce a nuclear weapon.
Congress needs to be prepared, as the administration has said, to make sure this interim step is enforced, that there is no deviation whatsoever. And during this period of time, there is a broader agreement that's reached with Iran that permanently eliminates their ability to produce a nuclear weapon. These sanctions that have been released are just part of overall sanctions and can be re-imposed at any time. Congress I think will want to make it clear that if Iran does not live up to these commitments, we will not only insist that the sanctions be reapplied, but we will have stronger sanctions against Iran.
WALLACE: But let me ask you, Senator Cardin, about the concern that is expressed by skeptics, and that that this deal -- the concern is that this interim deal becomes the final deal and it leaves Iran just short, a few months short, of it's breakout ability to dash and create a nuclear weapon.
CARDIN: That would not be acceptable to the Congress, nor the American people, and I hope the international community. The agreement by its terms indicates that progress must be during the next six months to have a more permanent elimination of Iran's capacity produce a nuclear weapon. If not, the sanctions are re-imposed and I think Congress will be watching this very (AUDIO GAP), so that we will not stand by and let this be the final deal.
WALLACE: Senator Corker, what about the argument that there is a window of opportunity right now that the moderates are at least leading the conversation and that if you don't reach out and you don't make this deal, that you only empower the hard-liners?
CORKER: Well, the deal has been made. So I understand the argument. But let's face it -- this is a deal that the president discussed with us this week at the White House. There are a few changes.
But this is in essence it, and the deal has been made. And I think the thing that is interesting -- I think from their perspective -- they do view this administration as weak. And I think from their standpoint, they see this as their window of opportunity to negotiate with an administration that has shown that it really doesn't have a lot of the intestinal fortitude that other admirations have had. They've seen that in Syria and that's been a learning experience for them.
So, I think that there are different perceptions depending on where you sit. And, look, we've now reached this interim agreement. We signed it.
I think it's Congress's role because Congress is what brought us here. The administration was kicking and screaming all the way with these sanctions being put in place. I think we know that we brought us to this place. We thank them for entering into negotiations. I wish they have been stronger.
But now, it's up to Congress to make sure that we follow through because, again, we're the ones that brought it to this point and we need to make sure that we see this through and they don't end up in a situation where they are a threat to the world, as they will be if this interim deal continues to be or ends up being the norm.
WALLACE: Senator Cardin in Amy Kellogg's piece, you heard the very strong comments, critical comments by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. How did you justify this administration making a deal with one of our biggest enemies in the world over the very strenuous objections of two of our strongest allies in the Middle East, Israel and Saudi Arabia?
CARDIN: Well, our objectives are the same. We made it very clear -- we will not tolerate Iran having a nuclear weapon. That's Israel's objective. That's the Saudi's objective.
WALLACE: But they think this is the wrong way to go about it, sir.
CARDIN: Well, it's too early to make that judgment. We'll see what happens during the next six months.
So, look, I disagree with what Senator Corker said about this administration. We got chemical weapons coming out of Syria. We're able to achieve that. We are in talk with North Korea and have gotten an international coalition.
The bottom line is that we have to work with the international community.
Are we concerned that Iran may try to circumvent this agreement? You bet we are concerned about it and we'll watch to make sure we do everything we can to make sure that doesn't happen.
WALLACE: Finally, and let me ask you both briefly. There is a remarkable news story today from Associated Press that turns out the top U.S. diplomats had been meeting face to face in secret talks in Oman with top Iranian diplomats for the last year, even before the so- called moderate President Rouhani came into office, under President Ahmadinejad.
Senator Cardin, you first, what do you make of that?
CARDIN: Well, I don't think we're surprised. We knew there was communications taking place. I think the United States made it very clear that the only way to reach an agreement with the United States on sanctions was to dismantle their nuclear weapon program.
WALLACE: And, Senator Corker, briefly, your reaction to the idea that there were these secret negotiations going on for the last year?
CORKER: I -- you know, I don't know how to react to that. This news has just come out. I think -- you know, there have been statements of overtures that have been made for some time. So, I don't have much reaction to it.
Again, I want to see what we accomplish over this section six months. I know the administration has been trying to set the framework for these discussions for sometime and I guess I'm not really particularly shocked that this has occurred.
WALLACE: So, it sounds like a change in the old Reagan proverb, "distrust but verify".
Gentlemen, thank you both very much. Senator Corker, Senator Cardin, thanks for coming in today. And we'll have more on all of this with our panel.
And tell us what you think about the deal with Iran. Share your thoughts with fellow "Fox News Sunday" viewers at #FNS.
Up next, Governor Sarah Palin responds to those hateful comments from MSNBC's Martin Bashir, in our exclusive interview.
WALLACE: More dysfunction in the nation's capital this week, as the problems and finger-pointing over ObamaCare continue.
With partisanship at new levels, can anything get done in Washington?
Earlier, I talked with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin who has written a new book, "Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas."
WALLACE: Governor Palin, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
PALIN: I'm honored to be with you, Chris, thanks.
WALLACE: When you look at all the troubles with ObamaCare, the -- all the problems with the Web site, the millions of cancellations, a lot of other things, what's your takeaway? In a macro sense, what's the problem?
PALIN: Well, certainly the rollout itself and a malfunctioning Web site isn't the problem. ObamaCare itself is the problem, you know, a road towards socialized medicine is unaffordable and unasked for, unpopular. It's not workable. That's the problem.
People want ObamaCare scrapped. I think at this point, Chris, we don't even care if the Web site gets up and running. It's just going to prove to be an invitation to find out to more problems as to ObamaCare as a whole.
WALLACE: You know, the president came into office -- and I want to talk about this big picture, vowing to transform America with big government solutions like ObamaCare, like cap-and-trade.
Do you think all the debacle -- and Kathleen Sebelius called it that -- the debacle with ObamaCare is a tipping point for that approach to government?
PALIN: I do. Thank goodness people are awakened from their slumber, thinking that it's OK for government to deceive us in thinking that they can -- they can give us free stuff.
PALIN: There ain't no such thing as a free lunch and people have opened their eyes now, understanding, oh, Tea Party Patriots, they were right when they said that this big government policy crammed down our throat called ObamaCare, it's not good for America.
And people have awakened and realize that Tea Party was right then; hmm, they may be right on a couple of other issues, too.
WALLACE: But --
PALIN: So, yes, it's a tipping point. People are awake now.
WALLACE: But, Governor, on the other hand, ObamaCare does and there's no really questioning this -- he is going to extend coverage to 30 million Americans who are now uninsured, according to the non- partisan Congressional Budget Office, the last comprehensive Republican approach would only cover 3 million.
I mean, isn't that a problem? Don't you guys have to come up with a better answer?
PALIN: Oh, I am one to question it. I am one to question those numbers. That 30 million more people will receive health care coverage under ObamaCare? I question it.
One, I don't believe a doggone thing coming out of Washington, D.C., anymore, and isn't that a sad state of affairs, where a normal American has to be so cynical of what government and government reports are telling us, even if it is a non-partisan report?
Chris, no, once that employer mandate kicks in after the New Year begins, next year, employer mandate, that's going to kick more and more people off -- private sector, health care coverage that they had at least up until now been able to enjoy and been able to afford. There will be fewer people being covered under a sensible doctor- patient relationship-centered health care program under ObamaCare than what we see today, I guarantee you that.
WALLACE: Let me switch subjects on you. You talk about dysfunction in Washington.
Senate Democrats this week changed the rules so that -- to confirm a presidential nominee, except for the Supreme Court, it will now take a simple majority of 51 votes instead of a supermajority of 60 votes. It turns out that 79 Obama nominees have faced at least one vote to end debate, have faced the possibility of a filibuster, 79, more than double the 38 Bush nominees during his eight full years in office.
Question -- doesn't any president, Republican or Democrat, have the right to be able to name his team unless a nominee is just wildly outside the mainstream?
PALIN: Well, there are a lot of wildly outside the mainstream nominees and pals of Barack Obama that he wants to see help him usher in an agenda to transform America. So, that's one thing that Congress has done right and that is oppose some of these nominees.
As for this rule change that some people are calling the nuclear option, I understand it rules. You know, I guarantee this week, Thanksgiving dinner, people sitting around their tables, we're not going to be talking about the president's blessing, the thwarting of a balance of power in Congress with new Senate rules called the nuclear option.
People are going to be talking about our failed big government policies that will bankrupt this country. So this distraction, this new talking point in the media and with Congress, with senators and with the president blessing this action, it's a distraction and it's a lot of, you know, double standard and Democrat hypocrisy because just a few years ago, they were so anti, anti-nuclear option. They were against any thought of Republicans ever considering changing these rules. And yet now, you know, it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.
So American people, they don't care about distractions like that. They're not in that inside baseball Senate rule stuff. They want government to be back on our side. They want it to get out of our lives and in order to do that we need those who will not fundamentally transform America but will fundamentally restore what's right about America. We do that by having good judicial nominees and nominees in these regulatory agencies and elsewhere.
So, this new rule change, it stinks.
WALLACE: All right. Let me ask you about something that when we told people that you were going to be on the show, a lot of us wanted to ask you about it. It isn't pleasant, but you know where I'm headed.
Martin Bashir, the MSNBC anchor, has had some ugly things to say about you. A couple of weeks ago, you made, frankly, I think fairly unobjectionable remarks, saying that -- comparing our debt to slavery and saying that eventually we're going to beholden to our foreign masters.
Mr. Bashir took great exception to that. He called you a, quote, "world-class idiot," his words. And then he talked about a slave owner named Thistlewood, who used to punish his slaves by having someone defecate -- it's unbelievable -- defecate in their mouths.
And then he said this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC ANCHOR: When Ms. Palin invokes slavery, she doesn't just prove her rank ignorance, she confirms that if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, then she would be the outstanding candidate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Governor, your reaction?
PALIN: That's funny, because Bashir has invoked the analogy of slavery also. The definition of slavery is to be beholden to a master. And we will be beholden when that note is due, when we have taken from our children and our grandchildren and borrowed from China and other foreign countries in order to pay for our wants today. So we will be beholden to another master at some point here when that note's due.
As for the -- you know ,the networks condoning those types of statements, because there's been no punishment of the fella who said these words, that's hypocrisy. That's a given, though, when a conservative woman says something that they're -- they take offense, they usually just kind of pooh-pooh it, laugh it off; it's no big deal.
But as for personally taking shots like that, Chris, everybody in life takes shots. You have a decision to make when you take a shot. Are you going to become bitter or better?
In a case like this, you know, I don't have to accept his words, his vile, evil comments, so they don't have to affect me. I move on. And I charge forth.
However, if Mr. Bashir or anybody else in this media elite bubble that they put themselves in were to attack someone who is defenseless, like a vulnerable child, who does not have that podium, that microphone that God has blessed me to be able to express my opinion, if they don't have that type of platform to defend themselves -- well, if you want to see a mama grizzly get riled up and slap that person down, then you come after a vulnerable child.
In this case, he didn't come after a vulnerable child. I can defend myself and, you know, I can take it.
WALLACE: A few days later, Bashir offered his apology. Here that is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASHIR: I made some comments which were deeply offensive and directed at Governor Sarah Palin. I wanted to take this opportunity to say sorry to Mrs. Palin. My words were wholly unacceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: First, do you accept his apology?
And secondly, I want to go back to something you brought up. NBC, for instance, put Alec Baldwin off the air for a homophobic slur. They have taken no public action to what Bashir said about you.
PALIN: Well, that's the executive hypocrisy that is so prevalent in that media elite bubble, where it depends on the target of the vile rants that it doesn't depend on what their rant itself actually is. And conservative women are a target of them.
As for the apologies, well, obviously, you know, who am I to not accept an apology? Everyone must humble themselves and accept that offer to, you know, of apology.
But as for the apologies, too, next time that they want to say such a thing and then get the attention that they were seeking after they've said it, and then they want to call and apologize to me in private, I'd like them to go through, say, Todd first or one of my children first. Leave the message with them. Hear what they have to say about it and then they can come to me.
WALLACE: Finally, on a happier note, you have a new book out. It's called, "Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas."
Governor, you say there is a link between faith and freedom. Explain what you mean.
PALIN: It's an inherent link, and our Founders knew that. They said that our government is -- our Constitution for our government is written for a religious and world people, meaning you have to have a strong foundation of faith, believing in something greater than self and not be so selfish.
Otherwise, our Constitution isn't going to do any good. There's no need to follow a Constitution or a rule of law if you don't have that foundation.
So, it's very, very important that we protect the heart of Christmas, which then will protect the heart of America.
And it's been a wonderful book tour; 21 cities thus far. And it is all about good tidings and great joy and amazing, amazing, inspiring, energetic people we've met along the trail, love them. And it's a good book.
WALLACE: And, finally, what's wrong with the idea of a business or a government at some level in an effort to be inclusive to people of all faiths, saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas"?
PALIN: Well, there's not a doggone thing that's wrong with saying "Happy Holidays." It's like I say before Christmas, "Happy Hanukkah." After Christmas, you can say "Happy Kwanzaa." But as for Christmas itself, Jesus is the reason for the season. And Christ is the foundation of Christmas. So, to have a double standard, try to be applied to say, well, you just can't say "Merry Christmas" or invoke God or Bethlehem or an angel when anything spiritual when it comes to actually that day, December 25th, Christmas, otherwise somebody may take offense, it's a double standard, more hypocrisy, more nonsense, and I'm just saying no, we're going to protect the heart of Christmas because Christ is what it's all about.
WALLACE: Governor Palin. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to you and to all of the Palin family this year.
PALIN: Thank you so much. To you also.
WALLACE: And you can go to our Facebook page for more on today's interview and Governor Palin's new book.
Up next, it turns out the U.S. and Iran were secretly talking for the last year in the lead up to this weekend's nuclear deal. The AP's Julie Pace joins our panel with that exclusive report. Next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: In these negotiations, nothing will be agreed to unless everything is agreed to. The burden is on Iran to prove to the world that its nuclear program will be exclusively for peaceful purposes.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: What was concluded in Geneva last night is not a historic agreement, it's a historic mistake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticizing the deal the U.S. and other world powers sealed with Iran overnight. And it's time now for our Sunday group. Syndicated columnist George Will, Julie Pace who covers the White House for the Associated Press, Nina Easton of "Fortune" magazine and Fox News political analyst Juan Williams.
Well, Julie, good to have you here today.
JULIE PACE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: Good to be here
WALLACE: ... because you have a fascinating story on the wires today. You report that the U.S. and Iran have been involved for the last year in secret high level talks. One, what was going on and two, how big a role do those talks play in leading up to this weekend's agreement?
PACE: Well, this is a story that I've been working on with two great colleagues of mine, Matt Lee and Brad Klapper since March. March is when we were first tipped off that the U.S. and Iran have been having a high level meeting in Oman. And that meeting happened critically before Rouhani, the more moderate cleric was elected. We subsequently learned that there were four other meetings that happened after Rouhani was elected over the course of this fall. And those are the meetings that really laid the ground work for this agreement that we saw last night. It was in these meetings that some of the details were actually discussed between the U.S. and Iran, and that -- the deal that actually was then brought to the P5 talks. And a lot of the allies were surprised in some way that this deal seem to come together a little more quickly than maybe they expected, and that's in large part because these meetings had already happened.
WALLACE: All right. Let's get to the deal. George, President Obama says it's an interim step to test Iran's attentions. They agreed not to stop, but to cap their enrichment well below weapons grade level. We agree to open this figure and ease some of their sanctions. They ended up with about $7 billion in extra money. What do you think?
GEORGE WILL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, in his statement last night, there is the sentence that's absolutely surreal.
WILL: He said for the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program. That implies that it has been halted for a decade, we as we know it has been racing forward. Now, the question is will this small easing of the sanctions remain small. The "New York Times" who deepened its story this morning, quotes Robert Einhorn who recently left the State Department and until he left, he was in charge of the enforcement of the sanctions. He says the following in defense of this deal. He says, "I think the sanctions won't erode as fast as some fear." He seems to be conceding the fact that they will, indeed, erode. I think four things are now clear, Chris. First, there will be no U.S. attack on our negotiating partner, the Iranians. That's off of the table. Probably, a good thing, but now formally off the table. Second, the president said he is not going to contain a nuclear Iran. I think that will be our policies, containing them, because I think they are going to get the bomb. The third, the big question is what would Israel, abetted by Saudi Arabia, which is terrified of Iran do at this point, and fourth, will the final reaction be the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East if the Saudis sit their own arsenal.
WALLACE: Juan, are you as supportive of this deal ...
WALLACE: As George Will is?
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: I have a totally different view. Which is gosh, you know, we have been estranged from the Iranians now since, I mean, now (inaudible) decades. In which we haven't spoken with them. To me, just the fact that we're able to sit, to talk, to at least get going is a tremendous breakthrough for the United States and for our allies in the region. So, you have an opportunity here, I think, to quiet the drums of war. Nobody wants this war, and that's where we are headed if we did not enter into some sort of opportunity to sit down and talk. So what you have here, it seems to me, is an opportunity to avert a war. I mean and you have to put it in those stark terms, because Israel and the United States literally were going back and forth recently. Remember, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister in front on the U.N. with his charged bad bomb -- you know, this is how fast it's growing. Well for the moment, George, they have not stopped enrichment of uranium totally. But what they have done in the short term is to say we're not going to enrich it fully, and that means what they call dash time. It has been slowed by a month or a few more, in terms of the Iranians being able to actually produce a nuclear weapon.
WALLACE: Nina, I mean there are clearly risks on both sides. I mean the risk for this deal is that Iran is able to continue enriching, and remains just shy of, but on the path towards creation of a nuclear weapon. On the other side, there was the risk that this was going to end up in a war and they are certainly downsides to that. The huge economic dislocation, a new wave of terrorism. How do you balance that?
NINA EASTON, FORTUNE MAGAZINE: Well, look, I'm just (inaudible) a week in Saudi Arabia. And the level of suspicion and mistrust of this -- cannot be underestimated, especially from your disclosures, (inaudible). That said, I have to say, if your end game is to limit Iran's ability to actually get a nuclear weapon, and to do so without a military strike, and we know what that -- we don't know. The problem is, we don't know what that could do, then at least this is an amount of progress. It is taking a very painful sanctions regime. And by the way, they came to the table because of this sanctions regime. It takes some of those sanctions off. Leaves most of them on. And, you know, we all often say the devil is in the details of an agreement. I think the devil is in what comes next, and watching it and making sure that they're followed through and that no more come sanctions come off until there is more progress.
WALLACE: Let me ask you one question. You say you were in Saudi Arabia. One of the concerns that George raises is that Saudi Arabia will now feel, well, it can't allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. It's going to have to start a nuclear program. Any talk about that?
EASTON: No, but that's obviously always the prospect out there. No, the concern, the immediate concern of the Saudis was these overtures that the White House has made towards Iran. And again, we now know they go back to even before this so-called more moderate regime.
But again, you have to look at the options. There aren't all good -- there aren't any good options in this. What you have to do is see what you can do short of a military strike to keep Iran from getting its hands on a nuclear weapon. By the way, France was a skeptic of an earlier iteration of this, and they're on board now.
WALLACE: OK. George, we have less than a minute left. What about the argument that to whatever degree the moderates are if not in charge, they are the ones that are at the table at this point, and that if you don't deal with them, all you do is empower the hard- liners and things get even worse?
WILL: This is a dance we went through during the Cold War. We were constantly negotiating with ourselves in order to supposedly encourage the doves against the hawks in the Kremlin.
A moderate in Iran is a very relative term at this point. And I see no reason to believe that after 30 years and intense sacrifices seeking nuclear weapons, Iran has suddenly decided that sanctions are too much -- too high a price to pay for this. Let me be clear to Juan, I'm very opposed to an attack on Iran, but I think it's time we face the fact they are going to be a nuclear weapon.
WALLACE: All right. On that happy note, we have to take a break here. Up next, a new delay in the implementation of ObamaCare, pushing it past the next election. But the White House says it has nothing to do with politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO, R-WY.: It is a cynical political ploy by the administration to hide the additional sticker shock, the increased costs of insurance that are going to come next year.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We're doing it because it makes sense for insurers to have as clear a sense of the pool of consumers they gain in the market this year before setting rates for next year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Republican Senator John Barrasso and White House spokesman Jay Carney clashing over the latest delay in ObamaCare and whether it has anything or everything to do with politics. And we're back now with the panel.
George, let's start with this delay. This is about signing up for the second year of ObamaCare. The enrollment was originally set to start next October 15, a couple of weeks before the election. The White House announced on Friday it is going to be delayed until November 15, a couple of weeks after the election.
Do you believe -- that is I guess a rhetorical question. The White House argues -- look at that skeptical look. The White House argument this is just to give the insurance companies more time to go over the rates and figure out what their premiums should be.
WILL: To give them that crucial 30 days that would make all the difference. It's transparent and it's silly on their part. It's bad politics. If the aim of this is to keep from voters information that they might have on October 15 as opposed to November 15, the information is going to be given by the insurance companies to state insurance regulators by that summer. Journalists are going to come around and say share with us this. Now, there are some people who say, well, governors in Democratic states are going to suppress this. I don't think so. There is going to be a big row either way. So if this is intended to tamp down the fire, it is actually kerosene.
WALLACE: Julie, a couple of questions for you. First of all, I'm sure you were all over this story on Friday. When you go to White House officials behind the scenes and go, really? Just before the election to until after the election? What do they say? And secondly, we got a new deadline, and the new deadline is next Saturday, November 30, the Obama healthcare.gov website will be up and running. How confident are they that it will be?
PAGE: On the first point, on the 2015 delays, what they say is this is something that insurers have actually been asking for, because they feel like given the problems that we've already had with the website, they are not going to have the full picture of the pool for this year in order to calculate their new figure.
WALLACE: So therefore it is completely coincidental?
PAGE: Completely coincidental depending on who you ask. On the website issue, they actually feel fairly confident that by November 30, that this website will be up and running for the vast majority of users. This isn't going to be some new grand unveiling of the website on November 30. This is something that they say has kind of been gradually improving. They have a lot of statistics that show that wait times have gone down, that more people are getting through the website.
Their big fear though, is that you are going to have on November 30 and through the enrollment period in December, a huge influx of people, a lot of traffic on the website. And we all remember that in early October it was traffic that initially crashed the site and revealed all these other problems.
WALLACE: Or at least that's what they said it was.
PAGE: It certainly was the initial problem, and then it revealed the later problems--
WALLACE: Although it turns out if you had more than 500 people on it, it would have crashed the site.
Nina, let's assume -- because at some point the web site will start working -- but we still have millions of people with canceled policies. It turns out this week we're finding out that doctors are not being included in a lot of these plans, so the promise if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor is not true. From your reporting, as the next few months go on, will the experience with ObamaCare be better or worse for people?
EASTON: I think George put his finger on it with that word, kerosene. This is supposed to be a safety net program, this is supposed to make people feel more secure. What it's doing is making people feel less secure. So beyond the website problems, you have got now stories of cancellations, the stage-four cancer victim who suddenly doesn't have coverage to go to her own doctors, you've got the child, this chronically sick child who can't go to the Seattle Children's Hospital because the cost of that hospital is so high, and they're not included. You've got stories after stories coming out now, and then you've got AEI coming out this week --
WALLACE: American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.
EASTON: -- saying well -- American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank -- that -- it is predicting millions, tens of millions more cancellations by small businesses coming around next fall, deciding that they got in under the line, it's complicated, but they got in under the wire this time with their policies, but now they'll have to have Obama standard policies, and there's going to be cancellations coming out there.
So there's this sense, this deep sense of insecurity that I think has infused the body politic, and it's going to affect the 2014 elections.
WILLIAMS: Well, you know, I got to go talk with the president and senior officials at the White House this week, and this topic came up. Their position is, look, ObamaCare inherits all the problems of health care generally, but no one was promising that everyone was going to be executive suite at the Mayo Clinic. The idea is that you had people who were uninsured, people who were underinsured, and what the Affordable Care Act does is it sets minimum standards for networks, to make sure people have someplace to go, and there were so many people who had no place to go, and that's what they were addressing in trying to put in place this program.
And yet I mean, the attacks, I think this is just, again, more attacks coming from Republicans who don't like the plan. Guess what? I've gotten that message. I think the president and the White House has gotten it, they don't like it. It's what the White House now calls the original sin. They cannot work or expect Republicans to work with them to fix the plan.
WALLACE: Twenty seconds, George.
WILL: Tip O'Neill famously said, all politics is local. In 2014 no politics will be local. This has thoroughly nationalized the 2014 elections, which will be about the chaos that Nina describes.
WALLACE: Thank you, panel. See you next week. Up next our power player of the week. Pulling up a chair at the Romney family table.
WALLACE: This week marks the start of serious holiday cooking, and it turns out Ann Romney has written a beautiful new cookbook called "The Romney Family Table," with lots of helpful tips about how to bring your family together. Here's our Power Player of the Week.
WALLACE: Mrs. Romney, does your family have any traditions when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner?
ANN ROMNEY: Like most Americans, we look forward to Thanksgiving pie, pecan, apple, pumpkin, those pies. I will say, Chris, that you know, with the traditions it takes a lot of planning and a lot of preparation, but the one thing I like to do in my book is remind people that no matter how well you plan, there's always a disaster, and, you know, there's always someone crying and there's always frustration, and so you just roll with it and you just have as much fun as you can as you're going along with it.
WALLACE: The book is called "The Romney Family Table." You say home is where good things happen. And the heart of the home is the kitchen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANN ROMNEY: I don't think there's anything more fun in the world than having them all under one roof.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANN ROMNEY: It's the heart. It is where the love comes from, and it's where good things and good conversation happens, with warm feelings. All those associations we make with home and hearth. And you know, it's interesting, through life we all celebrate things through the kitchen and through eating.
WALLACE: You collect family recipes and you say that when each of your boys married, you would give each of your new daughters-in-law a copy of the family recipes in an informal cookbook, if you will. Is that where the idea for this book came from?
ANN ROMNEY: Yes. And I thought, you know, how easy, because I've already sort of got the recipes put together, and how easy would it be. But obviously as you know, because your wife has done it, how much work it is to actually put a publishable cookbook together.
But it developed into something much more than just recipes. It was storytelling and it was how you raise children, and some successes, some failures with raising kids, and -- but the most important ingredient for all of it is love.
WALLACE: You talk about how you used to cook with your grandmother, and your grandmother with her hands on top of yours helping to roll out the dough and how loved you felt. Is that what cooking brings to you?
ANN ROMNEY: That really is. Is those associations, those good feelings of being loved, of being cherished, of being safe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANN ROMNEY: Go ahead, dump it in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANN ROMNEY: And all of those things we can have by having a wonderful home life and a wonderful place where we share that love. And it's just important to remember to establish those traditions.
WALLACE: You and your husband suffered a crushing political defeat just about a year ago. Was writing this book in a sense therapy, getting as far away from that as you could?
ANN ROMNEY: Well, it is about as far away from politics, cooking, a cookbook, is from politics as it can be. So for me, you know, it was therapeutic in that way.
WALLACE: When we talked last March, you said that you were mostly over it, but not completely. Give us the state of Ann Romney now.
ANN ROMNEY: I'm mostly over it, but not completely. I will say that.
ANN ROMNEY: It's frustrating for me, right now, to see all this going on in Washington. It's frustrating for me to see ObamaCare being so poorly implemented. I know that my husband is such an extraordinary executive. I think he along with a lot of other people warned that this would be -- this would happen, and this is not something that would go well. And here we are.
WALLACE: And finally, do you have a Thanksgiving message for all of our viewers?
ANN ROMNEY: I think it's, again, one of gratitude. And even though it is frustrating, what's going on, in this country right now, I think we should all be reminded that what politics should be all about is making people's lives better and having a harmonious place in a platform from where we can do that, and I think we have to remember that we're one nation under God and that we need to, especially at times that's Thanksgiving like, at Thanksgiving time to remember and rejoice in the great blessings that this country has afforded us and to remember to be civil to one another and to come together and solve -- and solve problems together.
WALLACE: Ms. Romney, I know I speak for all of our viewers when I wish you and your husband and the entire Romney family a very happy Thanksgiving.
ANN ROMNEY: Thank you, all to you too, Chris.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: All proceeds from Ann Romney's cookbook will go to fund research into multiple sclerosis. She was diagnosed with MS 15 years ago. And that's it for today. Have a great week and a happy Thanksgiving. And we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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