This week on Fox News Sunday: Haider al-Abadi, Prime Minister of Iraq, in an exclusive interview.
Rep. Paul Ryan on bipartisan budget deal; Where does the nation stand one year after Newtown?
Written by Chris Wallace / Published December 15, 2013 / Fox News Sunday
Special Guests: Rep. Paul Ryan, Larry Pratt, Carlee Soto, Captain Mark Kelly
This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," December 15, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.
Another school shooting as Sandy Hook elementary marks one year since a gunman killed 26.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The student that entered the high school was armed with a shotgun. He made no effort to hide it or conceal it.
WALLACE: Authorities look for a motive, after a student open fires in a high school, and on the other side of the country, Newtown marks a sad anniversary.
CARLEE SOTO: To me, it's just another day without my older sister by my side.
WALLACE: We'll talk with Carlee Soto, whose sister Vicki gave her life while shielding her first graders from the shooter.
Plus, when so little action after the national outrage, we'll sit down with key figures on both sides of the gun debate.
Mark Kelly, husband of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and Larry Pratt, who heads gun owners of America.
Then, the Houses a bipartisan budget deal, as lawmakers on Capitol Hill try to avoid another government shut down.
REP. PAUL RYAN, R - WI: In a divided government you don't get everything you want.
But while passage is likely, the plan deepens the divide inside the GOP, with Speaker Boehner slamming outside conservative grouping.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-OH, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: They're pushing members in places they don't want to be and I think they have lost all credibility.
WALLACE: We'll talk with one of the architects of the deal, House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan.
And our power player of the week, Molly Ringwald life after being the "it" girl of the '80s.
MOLLY RINGWALD, ACTRESS: I don't think being a star, just being famous, is very fulfilling.
WALLACE: All right now on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from FOX News in Washington.
Well, no matter how many times we see the images, it's still agonizing. Kids screaming out of school, hands raised, this time in Colorado, student opened fire on his high school, critically injuring a 17-year-old girl, before turning the gun himself. And it came as Newton, Connecticut, marks one year since the horrific shooting that took 26 lives at Sandy Hook Elementary.
One of the victims that day, Vicki Soto, a first grade teacher who was killed trying to protect her students from the shooter. The photo of her sister learning what happened has become our image of that day.
We'll discuss where the gun debate stands with two people on opposite sides of the issue. First, my interview earlier with Vicki's kid sister, Carlee.
WALLACE: Carlee, how are you and your family doing one year later?
SOTO: Taking it day by day. We have our bad days. We have our good days. It's been a roller coaster (ph) every year, but most importantly, we're just trying to take it day by day and deal with our feelings as they come.
WALLACE: And you say you have good days. What's a good day?
SOTO: We just had a new little baby born in our family, so that was a good day. But it's also sad because Vicki never got to meet Ms. Madeline Victoria.
WALLACE: Oh, named after her?
SOTO: Named after Vicki.
WALLACE: The picture you got on your cell phone has become our image of our heartbreak of that day. As we mark the first anniversary, how do you feel about that, that fact that you have to sort of dredge this up? Guys like me are asking you questions about it.
SOTO: I can remember everything that day, everything that somebody said to me. Every smell, every person, it's so vivid to me.
WALLACE: The fact that it's all being brought up again, is that hard for you?
SOTO: It's very hard. I'm just trying to keep myself busy and think of our one year anniversary as just another day, because every day without Vicky is extremely hard. One year later, it's just another day. To me, it's just another day without my older sister by my side.
WALLACE: I want to ask you about that, because Vicky has been honored for her extraordinary courage that day, I mean, the fact that she literally put herself in front of the rifle to protect her first grade students. A school nearby has been renamed for her. She's received one of this country's highest awards.
But I've got to think, as her kid sister, that in a way, all of that doesn't matter, you just miss her.
SOTO: I would give back everything just to have my older sister back. It's amazing that our country has recognized my sister and the other give educators as heroes, because I know that my sister would have done anything to save more of her kids.
But because of my sister, 11 of her kids are able to have a future. They're able to grow up and live their lives.
WALLACE: There was, of course, national outrage after Newtown, calls for more gun controls, especially a universal background check. I know you were in the Senate gallery the day the Senate voted that down.
How do you explain that and just generally, how do you explain the fact that a year later, nothing has happened?
SOTO: It was extremely hard to watch these members of Congress come in and vote no on something so sensible. It's a background check and it only takes 90 seconds. It's not preventing anyone that should not have a gun.
It was hard for that to happen and to see it happen. But like President Barack Obama told me, and Vice President Biden, that no one ever thought slavery would be abolished, no one ever thought women would have rights.
And I believe that we will have sensible gun laws in the future.
WALLACE: You recently joined the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. And I know you've gone out around the country to -- to argue for more gun controls. I've got to think that's a tough thing for you, because I've got to think at least part of you would like to get as far away from all of this as possible.
SOTO: It is hard. There is definitely days where I don't want to do this. I don't want to speak on camera. I don't want to talk in front of a group of people. But my sister can't do that.
And there are so many people that can't be advocates for this. And I know I can.
WALLACE: As we mark this first anniversary and think back to that -- the horrible events of that day, what would you like us to remember about Vicky, about how she lived and how she died?
SOTO: My sister was an amazing person all around. She loved teaching and that's all she wanted to do since the age of three. She wanted to be a teacher, just like her god mom.
And she did everything in her power to save those kids and I know that she wouldn't have done anything differently.
It's sad that I will never be able to have a conversation with my sister. But at the same time, I'm so thankful that she was able to save so many of her kids that were in that -- in her classroom that day.
It's hard, but I am so, so proud to say I am Victoria Soto's little sister.
WALLACE: Well, Carlee, if I may, I just want you to know that we are all -- all our thoughts and prayers go out to you and to your family, especially in this holiday season. And we're just as proud of her as -- as you are.
SOTO: Thank you very much.
WALLACE: We want to bring in Mark Kelly, husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was critically injured in a mass shooting in Tucson, almost three years ago.
Since then, they started a group Americans for responsible solutions, to push for more gun controls.
Captain Kelly, I think I have to say you have not had much success this past year. Congress passed no major new gun legislation.
And let's take a look at what the record is in the states. They passed 109 new gun laws, but two thirds of them loosen restrictions, not tighten them.
How do you explain it?
KELLY: Well, I mean, I think you chalk it up to politics and influence that certain organizations have on members of Congress in Washington. So, we haven't had much success there in D.C. We have to have success around the country.
Now, you point out that it's two thirds where it loosens some gun laws, but in places like Colorado and Delaware, they passed expanded background check bills. And overtime, this is going to have a very positive effect, and we've had the recent races in Virginia, where this issue was discussed, not only around the state, but during the debates, and we saw success that as well.
WALLACE: Captain, is it true you're focusing more now on the mental health side of this, from the gun control side, both better treatment and also more effectively reporting on people who have mental health problems for the federal background check?
KELLY: Well, Chris, this is a complicated issue. I mean, there isn't one reason why we have such a horrendous rate of death from gun violence. So, it needs to be approached in a bunch of different ways. But I still strongly believe that the first thing we should do is require a background check before somebody can buy a gun to prevent people who are dangerously, mentally ill, or criminals. But you know the mental health aspect of this is significant as well.
WALLACE: You're also focusing more now on politics, trying to change the map, as you put it. You and your wife, the former congresswoman, had set up a PAC, to lobby on the issue, to push the issue -- a super PAC, rather, and also a PAC, to contribute money to candidates.
I guess the question is, do you really think that you can beat the gun lobby which in the first six months of the year outspent you 10 to one?
KELLY: Well, I don't know if they outspent us 10 to one. I know in the race in Virginia you know, we spent about the same amount of money as the NRA did and you saw the results there.
But, you know, we don't have to compete I think, you know, one to one with any organization. I think all we need to bring some balance to the equation, because for so long, there was really just the gun lobby who was communicating with the constituents of members of Congress. And now, that's not the case anymore.
So, with a balance, we're going to get people, we're going to get members of Congress to think differently about their next election and then I think we're going to see some real change.
WALLACE: You know, you talked -- well, you have some success in passing laws in Colorado, but that's only part of the story, because what happened is after the tougher gun legislation was passed, there was recall election.
WALLACE: And two top state Senate Democrats were recalled and forced out of office.
KELLY: Well, John Morse, before he took this issue on, he said this could cost his seat in the state Senate. And Angelo Giron had a tough district as well.
So, you know, they knew going in that this could affect their outcome and I truly believe that a recall should be not used for somebody who was doing their job. I think that's a mistake. But it did happen.
But the reality, though, is the law is still the law of the land, and overtime, that background check law is going to have a positive effect in the state of Colorado.
WALLACE: Captain Kelly, you're running a TV ad right now that shows scenes of the grieving after Newtown over the melody of "Silent Night." Let's play a clip of that now.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS, AMERICANS FOR RESPONSIBLE SOLUTIONS AD)
WALLACE: Captain, when you look back over the last year, the national outrage, initially over Newtown and then the lack of action, especially at the congressional level, do you honestly, do ever get discouraged?
KELLY: Yes, we get a little discouraged. Gabby and I do. I mean, what happened in April when the Manchin-Toomey bill was not passed, a bill that was supported by 92 percent of Americans, even 74 percent of NRA members support expanded background checks. And to see that fail, that was not a good day.
But we know that this is a tough fight. Politics is a difficult business. We're in this for the long haul. And I am confident that over time, we're going to be successful.
WALLACE: Captain Kelly, thank you for coming in today. Thank you for joining us, sir.
KELLY: You're welcome.
WALLACE: Now for the other side of the gun debate. Larry Pratt is executive director of Gun Owners of America.
Mr. Pratt, do you see the failure to pass any new major gun legislation on the congressional level and not much on the state level, do you see that as a victory for gun rights?
LARRY PRATT, GUN OWNERS OF AMERICA: Well, Chris, we're not really able to talk about a victory until we get rid of the laws that prohibit people from being able to protect themselves in schools and in other places.
Every one of our mass murders in our country has occurred in places where guns were prohibited.
WALLACE: So, what you're saying is, it's not a victory that you stopped more gun legislation, you want to see the legislation that's out there rolled back?
PRATT: That is correct, Chris. The legislation is on the books is lethal. It is killing people. All of these gun free zones are murder magnets and we simply got to get rid of them.
It's an illusion to think that somehow we're going to be safer because we can't have a gun in a particular area because the bad guy is going to have a gun.
WALLACE: How do you explain the fact that we had a huge national outrage after Newtown, and according to the polls, at least, 90 percent of Americans, including a lot of gun owners supported the idea of expanded background checks, and yet, almost nothing happened?
PRATT: Chris, I would dispute those polls. I don't think 90 percent of Americans agree on anything. And from what we were finding, the notion that somehow gun owners were part of that 90 percent didn't jive with what we found with our members, what the NRA found with their members. Gun Owners of America doesn't put any credence in those polls. And the fact is, I don't think the Congress did either, because they weren't hearing that from their constituents.
WALLACE: Let's talk about the problem, though, because when you see, and we have over the last year since Newtown, these continued acts of violence whether it was that shooting just on Friday in a Colorado high school, whether shootings in workplaces, or in other public places, shopping malls, how do we stop it?
I want to put what President Obama -- he addressed the issue in his weekend media address, here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily. We have to do more to heal troubled minds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Mr. Pratt, how do you answer the president?
PRATT: The president is looking at it through the wrong end of the telescope. The problem is not how are we going to keep bad guys from getting guns, they're going to get guns. The problem is, when are we going to stop good guys from having guns to be able to protect themselves so that when one of this dirt bag goes into a mall or a school, somebody is able to protect themselves and others by having with their own gun?
WALLACE: But let's the case of the background check. You certainly would agree, wouldn't you, that people that have a criminal record, people with history of mental illness shouldn't have guns, correct?
PRATT: The idea is not to be able to keep bad guys from getting guns, because they're going to get guns. The background check is futile. Something like 42 maybe last year of record were prosecuted for trying to buy a gun with a criminal record out of 11 million. It is not a crime fighting tool.
WALLACE: But --
PRATT: And to rely on the background check is not going to be effective. We've got to be able to protect ourselves, not rely on something like a background check.
WALLACE: But since it first came in, hundreds and thousands of people have been denied guns because they failed to check. I mean, I understand your points. Some of those are still going to be able to get guns. But a lot, particularly, you know, a fella who's not a hardened criminal, and is just got a real mental problem, wouldn't that maybe the different between his getting his hands on a gun and not getting his hands on one?
PRATT: If we're really serious about people who got some kind of problem, mental or criminal, they ought to be in jail. We ought to put them in jail, not just to think that somehow saying you can't get a gun, but going down the street, we're not going to bother with you. That's silly. That's just really not a very good idea.
WALLACE: Finally, we have about a minute left. You just heard Mark Kelly. We've also heard Michael Bloomberg say that they're going to spend $25 million in the next election cycle trying to elect people who are supporters of more gun controls.
Do you think this will be a big issue in the 2014 election?
PRATT: Well, I'm not sure that the amount of money that billionaire Bloomberg has is going to be effective. He outspent the candidates that won in Colorado enormously, and he lost.
So, I think the message is, we don't like the arrogance of power, we don't like the message that we ought to be disarmed as a way of fighting crime.
Mayor Bloomberg's message is wrong, and he's going to continue to lose.
WALLACE: Mr. Pratt, thank you. Thanks for coming in today, and giving us your side of this debate.
PRATT: Thank you. Thank you very much.
WALLACE: Now -- now to the other side of the globe, South Africans said goodbye today to former President Nelson Mandela, laid to rest in his rural home village of Qunu. Several thousand guests attended the funeral of the man who helped reconcile his country after the end of apartheid.
Up next, a compromise in Congress over the budget. One of the authors of the plan, House Budget Chair Paul Ryan, answers conservative critics, next.
WALLACE: It's been a long time, but there was actually a spirit of compromise on Capitol Hill this week. The House passed a bipartisan budget agreement which the Senate is also expected to approve next week.
But for all of the good cheer, there was plenty of criticism, especially from the right.
Earlier, I spoke with House Budget Chair Paul Ryan. His Senate counterpart, Patty Murray, declined our invitation.
WALLACE: Congressman, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
RYAN: Thanks for having me back. Good to be with you.
WALLACE: Your budget deal has opened an even bigger split inside the Republican Party between the House Republican leaders, who supported the compromise, and outside Tea Party groups, who opposed it, some before it was even announced.
Here was House Speaker Boehner this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: The day before the government reopened, one of the people that -- one of these groups stood up and said, well, we never really thought it would work.
Are you kidding me?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Are you getting fed up with these outside groups who talk tough from the sidelines?
RYAN: Look, I think John just got his Irish up there. I think these groups are valuable. The way I look at it is this -- they're part of our conservative family. I'd prefer to keep these conversations within our family. John was frustrated because they came out against our agreement before we even reached an agreement. I was frustrated about that, as well. But I see the Tea Party as indispensable, invaluable in helping keep the taxpayer in the game, keep Washington accountable. And when I look at, when we lost our majority in '06, we deserved to lose it then. They helped us get out ship righted again by being fiscally conservative.
And I think what we're doing here today, we've got two thirds of the House conservatives voting for this. I think this is a step in the right direction. It's not as far as I want to go, but it's a step in the right direction.
WALLACE: But you're also taking heat not just from outside groups, you're also taking heat from some fellow Republicans in Congress, including -- and one might say especially -- some potential rivals for the 2016 presidential nomination.
Here was Senator Marco Rubio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: It raises it by $60 billion, the spending, but it pays it over 10 years. Well, you know how that works. I mean, over the next couple of years, they'll forget it. And they'll keep borrowing more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: What do you say back to Marco Rubio?
RYAN: Well, I would -- I would love to talk to him about it. He -- Marco is a good friend of mine. I disagree with him respectfully. We are making permanent law changes, permanent spending cuts, and those savings accrue and accumulate and compound over time.
So not only are we doing $85 billion of savings from auto-pilot spending that's permanent, we're paying for $63 billion of sequester relief, half of it going to defense. We're maintaining 92 percent of the sequester in this deal. And we're preventing two government shutdowns from possibly occurring next year.
WALLACE: OK, let's look at the deal. And I want to put up some numbers on the screen, some of which you just mentioned.
You bust the sequester caps and increase spending by $62 billion over the next two years.
RYAN: Can I get you right there for a second?
WALLACE: Let me finish --
RYAN: OK, all right.
WALLACE: -- and then you can --
RYAN: All right. You got it.
WALLACE: -- you can do redo all the math. I'll probably make several mistakes.
While you reduce -- reduce deficits by $85 billion over the next 10 years, for a net deficit reduction of $23 billion.
The biggest complaint is that you're trading definite spending increases right now --
WALLACE: -- in return for the promise of deficit reduction, as one critic put it, during Hillary Clinton's second term.
RYAN: Well, let's hope that that never happens.
OK, here's my issue. We're not busting sequester caps. In just the next two years, 70 percent of the sequester is intact --
WALLACE: But $60 billion more is going to be spent.
RYAN: That's right. Ninety-two percent of the sequester over the life of the sequester is intact. The Democrats came to this saying get rid of the entire sequester. And we've now got them to agree to 70 percent of it now and 92 percent of it exists over the term of the deal, 0.1 and 0.2.
As I mentioned before, changing entitlements, changing what we call mandatory spending, that's the auto-pilot part of government, those are permanent law changes. We are permanently asking federal workers to contribute more to their pensions so that the hard-working taxpayers who pay for those pensions don't have to pay as much.
That's a permanent law change. That's not -- that's not something that's a promise that might happen later. That's happening now. Those savings accumulate.
And in order to stop those savings, if, God forbid, we have a Hillary Clinton second term, a new Congress would have to change a new law to prevent that from happening, because we're doing permanent law.
But that's the point I'm trying to make is --
WALLACE: But -- but the --
RYAN: -- look at the details, I say to those who are criticizing it. This is keeping our principle intact. No tax increases, net deficit reduction, permanent spending cuts in place of the across the board approach.
WALLACE: But the criticism is -- and you've heard it. I said you bust the sequester cuts. You say, well, we don't bust them, but you let it leak.
WALLACE: I mean, there's a break in the sequester caps --
RYAN: And we put relief to the sequester --
WALLACE: You spend $60 billion more than you would have under the sequester.
RYAN: That's right. That's right.
WALLACE: And the sequester, a lot of people feel, has imposed real budget discipline. And the critics say you're going back to the days of spending more and taxing more, because there is new revenue --
RYAN: There's no taxes in this.
RYAN: There's no taxes in this. There are some user fees, which say, let's have the user pay for the government services they use, instead of the taxpayer who doesn't use those services.
A person gets on a plane, why don't they pay for their security instead of the person who never gets on a plane paying for that?
Those are the kinds of things we're saying here.
Look, this is divided government, Chris. The budget that we passed in the House in March is what we want and what we're going for. That balance of the budget that pays off the debt entirely, it -- it's our vision, it's our goal.
That's where we ultimately want to go. This doesn't substitute for that. This is a small step in direction for that. I'm not going to oversell this as an enormous budget accomplishment. It's not.
But it's important that it prevents government shutdowns. It's important that it rejects tax increases.
WALLACE: OK --
RYAN: It's important that we set a precedent. The Budget Control Act said one for one, one dollar of mandatory for one dollar of discretionary. This goes beyond that.
So we go beyond the law that --
WALLACE: OK. I want to talk to you about the shutdowns --
WALLACE: You say, and quite rightly so, and I think it's a big accomplish, you removed the threat of government shutdowns for almost the next two years.
On the other hand, we've got a debt limit crisis --
RYAN: That's right.
WALLACE: -- which is going to come up in the next couple of months, February and March, people are saying.
Should Republicans risk a default crisis?
As you know, the president will say, well, you're going to send the country into a default by demanding more progress on spending and the deficit or do you just cave there and say, hey, look, we're going to just kick this can down the road and focus on ObamaCare?
RYAN: Look, one -- one step at a time, Chris. We -- Patty and I knew that we weren't going to solve --
WALLACE: Patty Murray, your --
RYAN: Yes, Patty Murray. I'm sorry.
RYAN: Patty Murray and I knew we weren't going to solve every problem like the debt limit problem. So we sought to find common ground to solve this problem, this problem being a shutdown possibly in January and then another shutdown possibly in October.
And we got our principles established here.
RYAN: We've got cut the deficit --
WALLACE: Sir, I understand, but the question is, are you going to demand more in return for raising the deficit?
RYAN: We as a caucus, along with our Senate counterparts, are going to meet and discuss what it is we want to get out of the debt limit. We don't want nothing out of this debt limit. We're going to decide what it is we can accomplish out of this debt limit fight.
One of the problems or concerns I have with the debt limit is we don't know when it's going to hit.
Jack Lew, the treasury secretary, has ultimately discretion on when this could occur. So, the timing of this is very much in doubt.
So we're going to meet in our retreats after the -- after the holidays and discuss exactly what it is we're going to try and get for this.
WALLACE: In the bill that the House passed, the Republicans extend the so-called doc-fix. You avoid a major cut in reimbursement to doctors --
WALLACE: -- who treat Medicare patients. You extend that for three months.
On the other hand, you do absolutely nothing to extend unemployment benefits for the 1.3 million Americans who will lose it right after Christmas. And Democrats say that shows just exactly what's wrong with Republican priorities.
RYAN: Well --
WALLACE: You care more about doctors than you do about the unemployed.
RYAN: Look, this was brought to this package with pay-fors, meaning spending cuts to pay for that doc-fix. When they, at the 11th hour, asked for this unemployment extension, they offered nothing in -- to pay for it, which would have blown a hole in our deficits. That's point one.
Point two, a 13th extension of this emergency unemployment extension from the 2008 crisis, we have a lot of evidence showing that it will prolong unemployment.
Our focus is getting people back to work, Chris. We want jobs. And we want pro-growth policies that help create jobs so we don't have people going on unemployment in the first place.
One of the things we think this accomplishments by providing some certainty, by preventing the government shutdowns, is it can get the economy growing again.
So, our focus is on job creation, not a 13th extension of an emergency benefit that was started in 2008.
WALLACE: All right. Thirty seconds left. You and Patty Murray sat down. You arrived at this deal. You say it -- I mean, it's a first step, but it's obviously no grand bargain.
RYAN: That's right.
WALLACE: Do you come away, in 30 seconds, thinking a grand bargain is possible or that the differences on basic principles, entitlement cuts, tax revenue increases, just too big?
RYAN: Chris, I don't think with this president or this Senate we're going to have something like that. That's why I think we need to win a couple of elections.
This, I believe, helps us better do that. It's good for the country. It allows us to focus on our ObamaCare oversight. It allows us to focus on laying out our conservative vision in 2014.
We're going to have to win the Senate and we're going to have to win the White House to truly fix this country's fiscal problems, because I don't believe that this White House and this Senate -- I don't think they're willing and able to do it.
WALLACE: Congressman Ryan, thank you so much for coming in today.
RYAN: Thank you.
WALLACE: And Merry Christmas to you.
RYAN: Merry Christmas.
WALLACE: Our Sunday panel comes around next to discuss the pros and cons of this not so grand bargain on the budget.
And later, the continuing problems with ObamaCare.
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel? Just go to Twitter @FoxNewsSunday, and we may ask your question on the air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I'm as conservative as anybody around this place. And all the things that we have done over the three years that I've been speaker have not violated any conservative principles, not once.
SEN. MIKE LEE, R - UT: If anything, it just makes government more expensive, and it puts off more spending cuts that need to be made now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: House Speaker Boehner and Utah Senator Mike Lee showing the divide inside the GOP over that budget deal that passed the House this week. And it's time now for our Sunday group. Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume, Julie Pace, who covers the White House for the Associated Press, Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard and Bob Woodward from the Washington Post.
Well, Brit, we talked about it with Paul Ryan. Speaker Boehner seemed to go out of his way this week to hammer some of these conservative groups that from the outside opposed the budget deal. And he says that those groups are using his Republican members to build the organizations and raise money. What's going on here?
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: There is a war within the Republican Party and there is a certain set of outside groups, which have opposed so many things that the Republicans have tried to do, and actually pass, and who are satisfied with nothing that you could ever get through the Senate or past the president. And there is enough people in the country with money in their pockets who went to spend on politics who will keep these groups flush as long as they keep up their opposition and it's worked very well for them. And they've had a real effect.
WALLACE: Don't you think it's helpful for Boehner to take them on?
HUME: Well, I think it may embolden his caucus to some extent. He was not strong enough to do that during the round of negotiations that led to the shutdown. And so, he let them have their way and they tried this defund strategy that led to the shutdown. He feared that it would be unpopular, as indeed it turned out to be and they'd get nothing out of it, which is exactly what happened. And I think a lot of his members learned that lesson now. He's going to take them on. But look at what's happened over the Senate. Mitch McConnell, the leader there, who I don't know if he's any more sympathetic, in fact, maybe he's even less sympathetic to these groups than Boehner is, is not going to vote for this budget deal because he has got a primary challenger. And that's what they all worry about, and that's where these groups have an effect.
WALLACE: A Tea Party primary (inaudible) -- let's talk about the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, because the White House is pushing the narrative this weekend at between the bipartisan budget deal, and something of a staff shakeup, I'm not sure, really a shakeup, it's kind of moving around the deck chairs. That they can jump-start the president's second term agenda including on immigration reform. Julie is our woman at the White House, do they really believe that?
JULIE PACE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: I think that the narrative that they are pushing publicly is a little bit stronger than what they believe privately. When they look at these budget deal, they are certainly pleased with it, but for the -- for one real purpose, and that's because it takes the threat of a shutdown off of the table. And they look at the next year and say, well, we can all either can sit around and stare at each other or we can actually try to go out for briefing again.
WALLACE: ... this immigration reform?
PACE: They're certainly going to try it again, I don't know if this budget deal changes the dynamic that exists in Washington around immigration or something like minimum wage, early childhood education. But again, what is our other option? They either can try it or then can't.
WALLACE: We're asking all of you to send us questions on Twitter or Facebook. And we got this one on Twitter from Dave J.J. about the budget deal. Why are GOP for this? It does nothing to stop the bleeding now. Bill, let me ask you, how do you answer today, because I can remember Paul Ryan talking over and over about we've got to deal with the main drivers of the debt, entitlements. This bill doesn't do that.
BILL KRISTOL, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: President Obama won't do it, and Harry Reid won't do it. And it's a good short-term deal, it has limited objectives, it gets some money for defense, which is much needed, I think. It doesn't give away everything basically (inaudible) trade offers and domestic discretionary spending for some (inaudible) entitlement reforms. It is not the big deal. There's not going to be a big deal, actually.
I think Paul Ryan accomplished something important. You mentioned the war, Speaker Boehner and the outside groups. I think he's starting to look back or we will look back in two months and say that was the last shot of the war of 2013, John Boehner getting his Irish up, annoyed at taking all these hits over the last few months, hitting out at the groups. So what Ryan has done is cleared the decks. I mean, there won't be a big internal fight, there won't be a circular firing squad in January over a government shutdown. As long as they can handle the debt ceiling, which is the question, but that's manageable. They can focus, Republican Party can be united in governing forward for the next year in focusing on ObamaCare. So, what Paul Ryan has accomplished, it's a political matter for the Republican Party, and as a substantive matter, I think if you care about defense spending, it's pretty aggressive.
WALLACE: All right. We're going to talk about the debt ceiling in a moment. But I want to pick up on your point. Barack Obama won't do anything about entitlements because having read your book "The Price of Politics," Bob, in the book the President Obama said that Democrats have to get serious about entitlements, and in fact I think he used the word "untenable" to continue not to, but it seems in this deal as if congressional Democrats who face election, decided they want to keep holding that mantle as the protector of entitlements going into 2014.
BOB WOODWARD, THE WASHINGTON POST: And I think this budget deal worked, quite frankly. Let's go right to the center of this because Obama was not part of the negotiations. He's not a good negotiator. And I agree with Bill. I think Paul Ryan comes off as somebody who know him, even Bill is not going to say Ryan is a conservative, he is a conservative, but the philosophy that he employed here is very significant. Sitting down with the Democrats and saying what is our common ground? What can we agree on? And it is indeed small, but it is a step forward. And what it does is it strengthens Ryan, but it also strengthens Boehner in a very, very significant way. He got way over 300 votes for this. And he said, you know, he can (inaudible) in the ultra-right wing, and the outsiders, and so I think he is in a position maybe they can deal on some of these things.
WALLACE: Let's pick us with this question of the debt ceiling, because before we say it's all Kumbaya here, the fact is there won't be a government shutdown, but sometime in February or March, they're going to have to deal with the debt ceiling. Will it break -- will it breach that limit again? And you just heard Paul Ryan say, we are not -- not going to ask for something. He's basically saying, we're going to demand something for now. The president's position in October was no deal, no negotiating, is going to hold to that?
PACE: I think he is going to hold to that. You can see the sides lining up very much as they did earlier this year, where the Republicans say we have to get something in order to lift the debt ceiling and the president is saying we won't give you anything. I think there are always ways on the Hill where you can work things out so that both sides can actually claim that they got that position, and the real question about this budget deal will be whether it's -- if it does change some of the approaches from the real conservatives when it comes to the debt ceiling. Do they say OK, we can just let this go forward? Bill would probably know better than I do?
KRISTOL: Maybe it can change some of the attitudes of the (inaudible) official? What is it that President Obama held out for that he would not give in in early October? No delaying of ObamaCare. How is that looking out? Maybe they should just delay ObamaCare for a year and do a great favor to millions, tens of millions of Americans as far as the debt ceiling deal?
WALLACE: But with all of the conservative criticism, Brit, of this mini deal on the budget, can they really raise the debt ceiling without getting something in return?
HUME: I don't think so. And I think one of the reasons for that is that they stand a big firmer political ground in resisting a debt limit increase without getting something for it. Shutting down the government over the budget is unpopular, was unpopular and will be unpopular, if it happens again. Making a big fight on the debt limit, which -- the increase of which is very unpopular, it polls terribly, has the Republicans on stronger political ground and in better position, perhaps, to demand something. But I still say, if the government shuts down it's still not going to work for Republicans.
WALLACE: All right. We have to take a break here. But when we come back, more deadline changes for ObamaCare. Where does that leave the health care overall? Our panel has some answers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: I think that the statement about keeping your plan was one that -- is applicable to the vast majority of Americans in the health insurance market.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius continuing to argue the president didn't mislead the country. Even though an independent fact checking group polls his claim, if you like your plan, you can keep you plan, "the lie of the year." And we're back now with the panel. Well, as the healthcare.gov website improves, the White House is putting more focus on when people are actually going to start getting their new plans on January 1. But they've made some changes. Let's put this up on the screen. They're now requiring insurers to cover people who don't pay their premiums until December 31st, the day before the New Year. And they're "encouraging companies to cover people retroactively" who pay after the deadline, and also to let them see their old doctors even if those doctors are no longer in the network.
Julie, this January 2nd when people actually have to go to doctors and don't know which doctor, don't know which -- whether they've actually got insurance. This could be the next mess for ObamaCare.
PACE: January makes a lot of people in the White House very nervous. Because we all know what the problems have been with the website. But people who have actually -- have gotten through and think that they have coverage will then start going and trying to use that coverage. And if they can't use that coverage, then there is going to be a whole host of problems, both on the political spectrum, but also on the policy side. I think what is interesting about these changes that the White House announced on Thursday, is that they are intended to make this easier for people. But when you talk to some of these insurance companies, they say it's actually quite confusing. Some are optional, some are mandatory. You also have the states that are running their own system. So, I think we are going to have to see whether the intention of this is actually going to be carried out.
WALLACE: Bret, we're also learning, and not surprisingly, that some insurers are finding a way around the requirement that they must accept all customers regardless of their physical condition, whether they have a pre-existing condition. For instance, some people with serious diseases, they're saying, well, the pill that you must take to stay alive, or to alleviate you condition, that won't be covered. So they found a loop whole.
HUME: That's what insurance companies do, they try to make their risk pools as narrowly drawn as possible so that they can avoid having to pay out the benefits. That's what they do. And the law was written in such a way that apparently there are opportunities for them to do that. It's what -- how insurance works. If you have too much risk in your pool, you don't make money, you don't do business, you go down. I question how terribly widespread this is, but I have no doubt it happens. I think the problem, though, is the insurance companies could be blamed for this and the administration will no doubt, and its defenders will no doubt try to do that.
The problem is that the ObamaCare rollout and much of the policy itself to the extent people are feeling, there's been such a disaster that I think the law, and the policy, gets the blame when anything goes wrong, whether it is the insurance company's fault or whether it is the law's fault.
WALLACE: I want to pick up, because I think the general feeling is that the website is finally getting better, but you see all of these problems propping up, and I can just imagine people on January 2ND, I assume they're going to be watching bowl games on the first, but on January 2ND going to a doctor, not having an insurance card. Not knowing if they're covered or not, not knowing if they can see their old doctor instead of their new doctor because they don't know what the insurance company has been doing -- I mean this could be a real mess.
WOODWARD: Well, it already is a real mess. I don't know how you untangle it, and if you think strategically in the White House, is they have tried to do, they've got to get a new subject here. And you know, whether the details of this are always going to be visited upon them to a certain extent, they can't get out from under this. And you know, in my newspaper this morning, there is an opinion piece about the person who had the worst year in Washington is Obama. And there is a certain truth to that, but the White House needs to find a way to start talking about things in a lot of these are negatives, but we have not had a big terrorist attack, we don't have a new war as lots of people would like to have, and it's good we don't have that. The economy, though struggling, is advancing, and so the White House has got to find some way to get out from under this, and it may literally be impossible because the president and his team in the White House have appointed their mission, themselves mission managers for ObamaCare.
WALLACE: You know, Bill, and I want to pick up on this kind of macro look at all of this. Because you have spent -- you and others have spent your career making the conservative argument, and saying that big government isn't the way to go, the solutions. Is it possible that Barack Obama could be a more effective spokesman and could do more to help the conservative cause than any of you on the right ever have?
KRISTOL: Sure, I mean real existing socialism in (inaudible) and Eastern Europe did more to make the case against socialism than all of the conservatives writing about it in the West. And I think the same could be true of Obama's administration and especially ObamaCare.
What Republicans have to do over the next year is not let people forget who is responsible for this. But also, I think, do try to propose ways to let people escape from the nightmare of ObamaCare. And there are ways to do that, so that Republicans tried to do this in November with their bill that would have allowed the insurance companies to keep -- the same insurance they offered last year, regardless of the ObamaCare provisions. There is, for example, people can buy temporary health insurance. Right now, it's not covered by ObamaCare, there is a fat penalty if you buy it. They should wave the penalty and let the states extend that temporary health insurance that people now buy as kind of a bridge for three, four, five months to a year, to let people escape this problem that President Obama and Democrats have kicked upon millions of Americans.
WOODWARD: But there is no way you can get a new bill now.
KRISTOL: Why not?
WOODWARD: I mean the idea that somebody is going to come in and say, oh, this is the way to fix ObamaCare.
KRISTOL: For one year -- for one year.
WOODWARD: For one year to let people ...
HUME: And the Republicans liked it, it would sail, good luck.
PACE: I would say, though, that this ...
WALLACE: Go ahead.
PACE: To get to the sort of larger point, you know, inside the White House there is the immediate short-term conversation about how to fix ObamaCare, but there is a broader conversation happening about the hits that they're taking on the general philosophy of government that Barack Obama and Democrats have been proposing for years. And when you have people who are running for reelection in 2014, and then Democrats who are running for the presidency in 2016, how much of this debate about the role of government is infusing that election? That's ...
WALLACE: I mean are they really talking about that this is really hurting the whole philosophy about government can help solve that?
PACE: Absolutely. This is a conversation that they are having. Like I said, there's the two fold conversation -- the short term problem.
WALLACE: How do they change that?
PACE: They make the law -- they make the law work. That's really the only way to convince people that yes, in fact, government can run a large operation like this.
WALLACE: But I get out -- you talked about a bill sailing through, Brit, I can't imagine Republicans want to let Barack Obama off the hook.
HUME: Well, I would disagree with that. I would think if they kind of fix it to build, describe or propose, Republicans would support it in droves.
WALLACE: All right. Thank you, panel. See you next week. Undoubtedly, to be continued. Up next, our power player of the week, Hollywood's every girl of the '80S. Molly Ringwald.
WALLACE: She supposedly turned down the lead roles in the movie "Ghost," and "Pretty Woman," but she says she's not sure and she doesn't look back. Here is our "Power Player" of the week.
MOLLY RINGWALD, ACTRESS AND SINGER : I was sort of the every girl. You know, I was the girl that everyone felt some sort of affinity for. And I guess every boy kind of wanted to date.
WALLACE: Back in the '80s, Molly Ringwald was called the "patron saint of adolescence." The star of John Hue's film, "Sixteen Candles," the "Breakfast Club." and "Pretty in Pink." She was such an icon for Generation X she made the cover of Time magazine.
MOLLY RINGWALD, ACTRESS AND SINGER: Came true ...
WALLACE (on camera): Why do you think you, Molly Ringwald, struck such a cord with Fox?
RINGWALD: There is actually something about my face, I think that people have always kind of responded to. I can make people cry. My husband says that's my super power, I make people cry.
WALLACE (voice over): Ringwald is now 45 and touring as a jazz singer. And it turns out the rest of her life has been just as interesting as those heady days a quarter century ago.
(on camera): You were never really comfortable being just a star?
RINGWALD: Well, I don't really think that just being a star, just being famous, is very fulfilling.
WALLACE (voice over): By the late 1980s, she was turning down pop rolls for serious movies. And in 1992, she moved to Paris. She says it was all about trying new things.
RINGWALD: I really am more interested in looking forward. If I look back, it really, I guess it's the same way that people look back on their baby pictures.
WALLACE: In addition to singing and acting, Ringwald has written two books, and yes, America's teen sweetheart is now the mother of three with a ten-year-old daughter and four-year-old twins. She recently watched "Pretty in Pink" with her oldest child.
RINGWALD: It was the first time that I really had the feeling that I was seeing them like everyone else, through my daughter's eyes.
WALLACE (on camera): And?
RINGWALD: And it was great. It was great.
WALLACE (voice over): Why didn't Ringwald become a train wreck like so many teen stars?
RINGWALD: I think, you know, Lindsey Lohan is obviously a troubled individual. I was really fortunate that I had a really great family and I feel sad for the people that are in the business that don't have that.
WALLACE: And so, Molly Ringwald is going to keep doing it all and not looking back much.
RINGWALD: I'm just really looking forward to this, you know, to the next act. I think that it will involve music and writing, and directing, and acting.
WALLACE: Ringwald released her first album called "Accept Sometimes." She is donating a portion of the sales before the end of the year to a charity called "L.A. Kitchen." And that's it for today, have a great week and we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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