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Mitt Romney on road ahead for ObamaCare, Olympic security
Written by Chris Wallace / Published January 05, 2014 / Fox News Sunday
Special Guests: Mitt Romney, Mark Rienzi, Ilsye Hogue
This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," January 5, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.
ObamaCare coverage began this week for millions of Americans, setting the stage for its biggest test yet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm thrilled that we're going to have millions of people for the first time that have health security. It should be a great few year for lots of families across America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are going to be a lot of glitches. I don't know that the good news for this is going to outweigh the bad news.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Former Governor Mitt Romney joins us to discuss the road ahead for ObamaCare.
Plus, terror attacks in Russia intensify security concerns for next month's Olympic games in Sochi.
Romney, who headed the Olympics in Salt Lake City weighs in on that threat. It's a Fox News Sunday exclusive.
Then a new face off over the health care law. The Obama administration fights to preserve the birth control mandate after Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor blocks enforcement.
We'll talk with leaders on both sides of the debate. Ilyse Hogue of NARAL Pro-Choice America and Mark Rienzi with a Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
And our power player of the week, Pulitzer prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin on her guys.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, PRESIENTIAL HISTORIAN: I have always chosen presidents that I think have been there at the most dramatic moments in our history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: All right now on "Fox News Sunday."
And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
The new year has begun, but we face some of the same old issues -- problems with ObamaCare, a terror threat to disrupt the Winter Olympics in Russia now just a month away and a disgraceful political attack on a baby.
Here to talk about it all for the first time is former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. And Governor Romney, happy few year and welcome back to Fox News Sunday.
ROMNEY: Thanks, Chris. Happy new year to you as well.
WALLACE: As you watch the rollout of ObamaCare from the botched website to the broken promise of "if you like your plans you can keep your plans" to all the questions of cost and coverage.
Governor, what bothers you the most?
ROMNEY: Well, it's not just that the president tells people that they have to buy health insurance, it's that he tells them what health insurance they have to buy. The idea that the government knows better than the American people what kind of insurance they have to have makes no sense, that it's something which I think the American people are rejecting in large numbers. And I think it's going to hurt the president and hurt the country and a lot of families.
People don't want to be told what type of insurance they have to have.
WALLACE: But didn't you and RomneyCare have coverage mandates? Didn't you, in effect, tell uninsured here's what you have to buy?
ROMNEY: Well, actually, one of the things I vetoed in the health legislation at our state was that very provision. I don't like the idea that the government tells people they have to have a gold plated health insurance policy, if they want something that's more specific to their needs.
The idea that a 70-year-old has to have birth control provisions or that they have to have maternity coverage, I mean these are kind of things that people ought to be able to select on their own and this is at the heart of the president's deception and dishonesty with regards to ObamaCare. And that is he told people, you can keep the insurance you have if you like it and that was not honest, that was deceptive and the American people recognize that and they're rejecting ObamaCare.
WALLACE: If President Obama had been honest during the 2012 campaign, if he admitted that millions of people will not be able to keep their policies, do you still think he would have beaten you?
ROMNEY: Well, I don't know. I wish I could go back and turn back the clock and take another try. But history is in the past and I'm not going to worry about what could have happened.
What I am worried about is that you have a lot of people who are going to find their premiums
going through the roof. They're going to find that the doctor they've had they can't keep. They're going to find that the policies they were promised they could have they're not going to be able to keep. And the American people are going to be very, very upset about that and should be upset about it. And not only is the ObamaCare hurting families one by one with regards to their own coverage, it's also continuing to delay the recovery of the economy.
The big story of 2013, a very distressing year, is that Americans continue not to be able to find the full-time jobs they need and that's something which the president has to recognize as the first priority of his administration. Get more Americans to work with higher wages and prospects for a
brighter future for their family.
WALLACE: We're going to talk at depth and depth in the next segment about the birth control mandate, contraception mandate as part of ObamaCare and the question of whether that should apply or not to religious affiliated non-profit groups. Under RomneyCare, those kind of organizations, if they offered goods or services, they also had to provide birth control. There, in fact, was no exemption at all for those organizations.
ROMNEY: Well, we did have specific legislation that tried to deal with these kind of religious exceptions and this was not an issue in our state. We didn't have the Catholic Church come to us and say, look, we got a problem here with the type of legislation you put in place. But, frankly, Chris, whatever mistakes may have been made in Massachusetts, those are things that can be dealt with at the state level. That's why it was at the heart of my plan for health care in America. And I think the heart of the Republican plan for health care in replacing ObamaCare is to say, look, let's let states put in place their own plans that make sense for their people. We can have federal guidelines say you need to keep people covered, you need to deal with pre-existing conditions.
But don't have the federal government take over health care, tell the American people precisely what type of coverage they have to have, have the federal government telling doctors what kind of procedures are authorized or not. That is not just the way to go. Let states and individuals have the powers that the constitution intended them to have.
WALLACE: Before you were governor, of course, you ran the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. In the last week, there have been two terror attacks in Russia and we're putting them up on the screen, the first one at a train station, then one in a bus that killed more than 30 people and Muslim extremists have promised to disrupt the Sochi games next month.
Russian President Putin says he'll fight back. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): We will confidently, fiercely and consistently continue to fight against terrorists until their complete annihilation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Governor, how concerned are you about violence during these winter games in Sochi?
ROMNEY: Well, I think with regards to any Olympics, there is always concern about violence, there was concern during our Olympics in 2002, of course, because we had just witnessed the tragedy
of 9/11 and we were very concerned and people wondered whether our games will be safe. Fortunately, they were safe.
But I don't think any major global event that brings people from all over the world together like
an Olympics can possibly escape the threat of violence. I do believe that the Russians will do everything in their power to protect the athletes and the spectators. I believe they'll be safe.
I am confident the games will be successful, because the athletes are the heart of the games. But Russia has a special problem given the threat that have been leveled at their direction. It's a problem that other games have also faced and be able to overcome successfully.
WALLACE: But I was going to talk to you about that the special threat. I mean, yes, there was a general threat against Salt Lake City just months after 9/11, on the other hand, we got here a Muslim terrorist group that has sworn to disrupt the Olympics. And as we have seen in Volgograd, they can kill dozens of people.
ROMNEY: There is for the question about it, it is very frightening to have any kind of Olympic event on your national soil and to recognize that there may be groups that target that event for some kind of an attack. And I'm convinced in the case of a nation like Russia, they have the resources to do their very best to protect the people from that kind of an attack.
And you should know, Chris, in my own view the heart of a successful Olympic security program is not just the hardened events and the magnetometers and the fences and so fort, but it's really the intelligence work that goes into the Olympics in the months and years before the games to make sure that you've identified people who might represent a threat.
And my guess is the Russians have done a pretty good job on the intelligence side of things to
keep the most dangerous people away.
WALLACE: Governor, I want to ask you a bigger question, the Olympic committee awarded these games to Russia back 2007 in part to try to reward and build up a, quote, new democracy. But today, Russia has turned more autocratic, Putin has signed a law against gays and Russia is spending $51 billion, which is more than all previous Winter Olympic games combined.
Governor, at some point does the country hosting the Olympics, does that country's values, can it undercut what the Olympics are supposed to be all about?
ROMNEY: Well, there's no question about that with regard to the Munich Olympics, for instance, and Hitler's presence there. That certainly undercut the Olympic message. And surely that could happen in our time, theoretically or specifically.
In my view, Russia has not been a particularly collaborative player on the world stage. Russia, after all, has been pushing for the continuance of Assad in Syria. It has been standing with Iran too often, in my view, against the tough sanctions that I think were necessary, although, they've come along to a certain degree. The harboring of Eric Snowden, I think, is designed to be a stick of the eye toward us.
Were it my choice, I would not vote for Russia to hold the Winter Olympics or the Summer Olympics. But it's not my choice.
They are a player on the global stage. They have a right to make their bid. But they do strain the view of people like myself as to their leadership and their characterization of the Olympic spirit.
WALLACE: Finally, sir, you send out a wonderful Christmas card each year -- and we've just put it up on the screen -- with your beautiful family. I'm fortunate enough to get the Christmas card, to be on your list. This year, you had a new member on your lap, your grandson Kieran, an African-American baby adopted by your son Ben.
For some reason, MSNBC decided to make him a target for ridicule. I know it's distasteful, sir, but here's a clip of what went on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of these things is not like the other.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really sums up the diversity of the Republican Party.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Governor, this must be hurtful, and I know you are a classy guy and you don't want to get into it, but I've got to ask you, honestly, from the heart, how did you -- and, quite frankly, how did Mrs. Romney feel when you heard that your little baby grandson, Kieran, was the target for political ridicule?
ROMNEY: Well, first, let me just note, Chris, that we love this little guy a great deal. He was an answer to a prayer and we love that he's part of our family. He is a part of our family.
That being said, I recognize that people make mistakes. And the folks at MSNBC made a big mistake. And they've apologized for it. And that's all can you ask for.
I'm going to move on from that. I'm sure they want to move on from it. Look, I've made plenty of mistakes myself. And they've apologized for this. And, you know, I think we can go on from there.
WALLACE: Well, let me just ask -- and if I can press just a little bit on this, sir, you tend to speak from the head. I know Mrs. Romney tends to speak from the heart. I suspect she took this somewhat more personally. And, you know, the idea that political discourse would include going after a little baby.
ROMNEY: Well, you know, I think people recognize, and the folks at MSNBC who have apologized recognize that people like me are fair targets. If you get in the political game, you can expect incoming.
But children, that's a -- you know, that's beyond the line. And I think they understand that and feel that, as well. I think it's a heartfelt apology. And I think for that reason, we hold no ill will whatsoever.
WALLACE: And, finally, I just want to play it, because the anchor of the segment, as you mentioned, Melissa Harris-Perry, yesterday on her show did apologize for her comments.
Here's a bit of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC: I broke the ground rule that families are off limits. And for that, I am sorry. Also, allow me to apologize to other families formed through trans-regional adoption, because I am deeply sorry that we suggested that interracial families are in any way funny or deserving of ridicule.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: On the other hand, I have to point out, during the segment, she had a good laugh and said maybe Kieran would marry Kim Kardashian's daughter and then you and Kanye West would be in-laws.
Your reactions to her comments then and her apology yesterday, sir?
ROMNEY: You know, I think her apology was clearly heartfelt. And we accept that. And with regards to the rest of the comments, I hadn't heard those and don't really have any comment on those.
WALLACE: Governor Romney, we're going to leave it there. We want to thank you so much for joining us in the new year. It's always a pleasure to talk with you, sir.
ROMNEY: Thanks, Chris.
It's good to be with you.
WALLACE: Up next, Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor will decide the next step in a case pitting the U.S. government against the Little Sisters of the Poor. The nuns' lead attorney and the head of NARAL will have a fair and balanced debate.
Plus, what would you like to ask our guests?
Just go to Twitter @foxnewsunday and we may use your question on the air.
WALLACE: While major pieces of ObamaCare took effect with the new year, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor blocked one provision that mandates church-affiliated non-profits provide their employees with access to birth control.
The Little Sisters of the Poor say that violates their religious beliefs.
But the Justice Department wants to court to lift the injunction.
Joining us now Mark Rienzi of Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, who is lead counsel for the nuns. And Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Welcome to both of you.
In seeking to end the injunction, the Justice Department argues that the Little Sisters can opt out of any obligation to provide birth control by simply signing a certification.
In the argument, in the brief that the government filed, here's what it says: "With the stroke of their own pen, applicants can secure for themselves the relief they seek from this court."
Mr. Rienzi, why isn't that good enough?
MARK RIENZI, BECKET FUND FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: Because it's not true, Chris. The form that the government wants the Sisters to sign is an authorization form that authorizes and directs others to provide the drugs. And what the government said in court is that we haven't quite figured out a way to make that form work today, but we're still working on a way to make that form work.
And the way the riles are set up, that form will authorize and direct others to pay for those drugs. And the sisters simply can't be a part of it.
If the form shouldn't matter, the government be fighting to make the Sisters sign it.
WALLACE: Ms. Hogue, I mean that is the point, that Mr. Rienzi is making in court. If you look at the certification, it's a contract that informs the insurer of its obligation to go ahead, after the Sisters opt out, to provide contraception. And they say that makes them complicit in a sin.
ILYSE HOGUE, PRESIDENT, NARAL PRO-CHOICE AMERICA: Look, I think there are a few things we can all agree about on this case, starting with the fact that the Little Sisters do incredible work in the world. And if this case has one thing about it, it's brought their work to light, which is wonderful.
The other thing is religious liberty in this country is so incredibly important. And that includes both freedom for me not to have to do anything that violates my beliefs and also for you not to be violated by my beliefs when I impose them on you.
Fortunately, this law has actually accommodated both. And that's the great news.
In this case, no matter what the Little Sisters sign, their employees are actually not going to get contraception.
In other cases, like...
WALLACE: Yes, let me -- let me just quickly explain that, because the fact is that the insurance company for the Little Sisters is the Christian Brothers...
WALLACE: -- which is a religious-affiliated group. It's a kind of an unusual case. The fact is for most of them, they would sign the certification, it would tell the insurer with the Christian brothers, provide contraception.
HOGUE: Absolutely. Let's take a step back and think about what this law was intended to do. It was intended to uphold religious liberty and yet make sure no one else was making my health care decisions based on their belief.
So for example, if I work for not a church, but a religiously affiliated non-profit run by someone whose personal beliefs deem they should not give their children vaccines, they should not have to pay for me to give my children a vaccine.
But my children need vaccines because that keeps them healthy and everyone else's kids healthy. So in this case, it's beyond actually why Mr. Rienzi doesn't instruct his clients to sign the form, because no one is getting contraception. They can get back to doing the great work that they do (INAUDIBLE).
RIENZI: At least is of course entitled to her religious views as to what is OK to sign or not. Here the sisters' religious view is they are not permitted to sign the form.
If ultimately the answer is that the form doesn't matter, which is the administration's view at the Supreme Court, it makes no sense at all that the president is sending his lawyers to the Supreme Court to say, make the nuns sign the form or let me crush them with fines. That's exactly where the Little Sisters of the Poor are.
WALLACE: It's a good question, why not the government say, don't sign the form.
HOGUE: The government is charged with enforcing a law. We all hate signing forms, believe me. I hate signing forms; we just bought a new house. But the government is enforced with enforcing the law the way it was written and the way this law was written requires --
WALLACE: Let me just say, it's not as if ObamaCare has been written in stone since they have been changing it all time, why not change this?
HOGUE: This accommodation that religious affiliated non-profits don't, in fact, have to pay for things they don't believe in is, in fact, a change in that law that again strikes that balance with religious liberty. However, in this case this form self certifies they actually don't condone contraception, am I right?
RIENZI: Actually no, the form directs other people to provide it.
What the government has said in court -- what the government has said in court -- what the government said if court if you submit that form, it allows others to take the form and come back to the government and get reimbursed for making those payments.
It's perfectly fine for people not to like signing forms. Signing this form is not akin to you signing a contract for your house. It's something the Little Sisters of the Poor works are obviously deeply religious people says their God tells them not to do.
For the government to say, you must sign that form or we will crush the nursing homes you use to care for the elderly Poor, makes no sense at all. In a free society, they should be allowed to say, I can't have anything to do with that choice. If you want to make it, go make it. don't involve me.
WALLACE: Let me bring this back, because it seems to me that there were two legitimate competing interests here. One is religious freedom and the other is women's access to health care.
Ms. Hogue, we got this question on Facebook from Ilona Hilgert.
"How can this administration enforce mandates that violate established religious convictions and moral principles with majority opposition to ObamaCare?"
How do you answer Ilona?
HOGUE: There are so many different pieces to that question. First of all, the polls actually show that half of the opposition to ObamaCare is because it doesn't go far enough.
WALLACE: That's the (INAUDIBLE) part of it, the violation of religious freedom.
HOGUE: This law was designed and intended to actually provide basic health care for all citizens equally. In fact, I will say one of the great --
WALLACE: But answer the question.
HOGUE: But one of the great advances with this law is that women now actually have the health care that we need to govern our own lives and, in fact, the law has now been built to make sure that people's religious beliefs are not violated, churches are exempt, religiously-affiliated organizations actually have an option to not pay for --
WALLACE: But you're saying the religious -- you're telling the Little Sisters, their religious beliefs aren't violated. They say they are. Do you know better than they do?
HOGUE: Well, no, but this is a non-profit affiliated and the form actually says they do not condone this. It affirms their religious beliefs and in this case, their employees will not get contraception at all.
WALLACE: All right. I want to get -- but that's not the point. The point is to get the employees contraception not to not get it is just because of the Christian brothers.
HOGUE: Absolutely. And there are reasons for that.
WALLACE: I want to bring that up with Mr. Rienzi, because according to the Centers for Disease Control 84 percent of Catholic women between the ages of 15 and 44 who have ever had sex, they say they have used artificial birth control. Is it fair for the Little Sisters, of any non-profit religious affiliated group -- Notre Dame University, a Catholic hospital, to impose their values on their employees and their access to birth control in this particular case?
RIENZI: Two responses to that, Chris. One, no one is imposing their religious beliefs on anybody. Your statistics show contraceptives is widely and cheaply available. People can get it lots of ways without dragging the nuns into the process.
If the government thinks more people need access to contraception, the government can do it on their exchanges and through Title X. Ilyse said this law is all about increasing access to health care.
If that's the point, forcing the Little Sisters to pay massive fines or shut down their ministries hurts that goal, right?
Fewer elderly Poor people will get the health care they need in those beautiful nursing homes those sisters run. The employees they used to have jobs at the Little Sisters of the Poor might not have a place to work if the government succeeds in crushing these nursing homes.
WALLACE: (INAUDIBLE) and we've got less than two minutes left and let me start with you, Ms. Hogue.
How do you expect the Supreme Court to rule in this case? I know it's a temporary injunction by Sonia Sotomayor, but one assumes that this is going to end up going to the court.
How do you expect them to act in the case and how important is this case?
HOGUE: I think it's an important case. It's not the only one we will see. Obviously, Mr. Rienzi also represents Hobby Lobby in the case of the corporate application (INAUDIBLE). It's very important.
This case will actually tell whether we are balancing the religious liberty and that's my ability not to have my rights infringed and my ability not to impose my religion on anyone else, including Mr. Rienzi, and assure basic access to health care for all women and all people in America.
WALLACE: Mr. Rienzi, how do you expect the Supreme Court, whether it's Justice Sotomayor or other justices to act in the case regarding the Little Sisters and how important is this case?
RIENZI: It's exceptionally important. Because if the court does not give the Little Sisters the protection they need, they face massive fines starting the minute the injunction disappears. Most of the lower courts, 18 out of 19 in the other cases said the government got this balance wrong and it is doing something illegal and impermissible to the religious objectors.
The bottom line is the answer is the sisters get to continue having their nursing homes and if there really is an access problem with contraceptives, the government ought to fix that some other way, not on the backs of the nuns.
WALLACE: Mr. Rienzi, Ms. Hogue, thank you both. Thanks for coming in. We will stay on top of this court battle.
HOGUE: Thank you so much.
WALLACE: Al Qaeda makes games in western Iraq, taking back territory U.S. troops fought and died for. Our Sunday panel is here to discuss what role President Obama's exit from Iraq played in all this and be sure to tell us what you think of today's segments on Facebook and share your favorite moments with other FNS fans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was the administration not interesting (inaudible) with the Iraqi government?
MARIE HARF, STATE DEPT. DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON: I’m just not going to go back down that road. I don’t.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the answer is yes, OK, and I don’t see why …
HARF: You want my job then, you want to answer?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, but I would prefer that you don’t try to side step. I mean it’s a pretty …
HARF: I’m not trying to side step. We're focused on 2014 and where we go from here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Well, State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf facing tough questions this week about the al Qaeda advance in Iraq and whether President Obama's failure to negotiate a deal to keep U.S. troops there is part of the problem. And it's time now for our Sunday group, Brit Hume, Fox News senior political analyst, Amy Walter from the Cook Political Report, syndicated columnist George Will and Charles Lane of "The Washington Post."
The bloodiest battle of the Iraq war was fought in the city of Fallujah in 2004 when close to 100 American soldiers were killed trying to expel al Qaeda. Well, this week, an al Qaeda affiliate has taken back Fallujah and much of Ramadi and is flying the black al Qaeda flag in both those cities. George, how serious is this al Qaeda resurgence and what role do you think to ask the question that was being asked of Marie Harf? What role do you think President Obama's exit from Iraq in 2011 without signing that status of forces agreement has played in all this?
GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, this is serious in Iraq. And it's very serious here also. Because wars that end well, and we move on. Wars that don't end well live on in recrimination. And this is going to bring the recrimination pot to a rolling boil in this country. Because as you say after eight years of fighting. Twice as long as the Second World War, of the 4,486 Americans who died, the third died in Anbar Province. Now, the question is …
WALLACE: Let’s explain. That's the part of western Iraq where the Sunnis were, where al Qaeda was and that's where Ramadi and Fallujah.
WILL: There are those who say that had the president successfully negotiated a residual force to remain in Iraq, this ongoing civil war with regional overlays would not be nearly as serious. I am skeptical of that and very skeptical that the American people would have put up with it.
WALLACE: There are other factors in all this and part of it is the fact that you've got this terrible civil war in Syria and al Qaeda fighters are streaming in just across the border from Anbar Province into Syria and are establishing this foothold really across the borders both in Syria and in Iraq and, in fact, the group that has taken over Fallujah and has declared a new emirate there is called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. On the other hand, though, Chuck, you did have the status of forces agreement, which in theory had been negotiated between President Bush and the Iraqis. President Obama was never able to complete it. And we left without leaving any trainers there, without leaving any Special Forces there.
CHARLES LANE, THE WASHINGTON POST: You know, the post-American Middle East is upon us. And I think "The New York Times" today described it very well as a place, in which no broker has the power or the will to contain the region sectarian hatreds. You know, we can say that Obama's policy of withdrawal has failed. But I’m not sure Bush's policy of intervention had succeeded either because what it seemed to have called for was a permanent American presence as the only antidote to this sectarian hatreds. We may be learning like the Middle East just is intractable. This competition between the Saudis and Iranians, which is now playing out across the entire region is slipping out of the bonds that Western powers have been trying to put on ever since the French and the British (inaudible) after World War I. It will hurt us in various ways. It will spill over into terrorism and et cetera. But it seems like we've tried at the interventionist way. And we've tried at the withdrawing way. And neither one has permanently worked.
WALLACE: The argument seems to be from this side of the table, Brit, that it didn't matter what the U.S. did and what president …
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It didn't matter what the U.S. did. And the tide of that war in Iraq was turned, in part, by what was called the awakening in Anbar province and al Qaeda suffered during the surge of American troops and heightened by the Anbar awakening among the Iraqis a terrible defeat. Now they're back. They're back in no small measure because we left. Now, George is absolutely right. The American people would not be happy with a continued American presence in Iraq. The American people are never happy with foreign interventions. It is the job of a president as leader to bring people along about such things. We have stationed troops in places all over the world for decades, and the net effect in most cases has been that they have helped to keep peace. It is a role, from which this president has shrunk and the consequences of that are now becoming clear and what's happening in Iraq and what is also unfolding in Syria are but two manifestations of it.
WALLACE: Amy, I’m going to bring you in in a second. But George, I want you to respond to brother Hume.
WILL: Well, the argument is that we had significant success in Iraq that would have been preserved if we had a residual force there. The question then is, what - how can you call a big success something that is so fragile that a few years after we leave it seems to be crumbled.
HUME: George, this happens in the aftermath of conflicts regularly. It's why we leave forces in places, it’s because success is fragile. There is nothing unusual about that. This was not the complete destruction of all the nefarious forces that exist in the Middle East which are numerous and to some extent connected. It wasn't a fragile situation which is why a continued force is needed.
WILL: But the American people tolerate the American forces on the 38th parallel in Korea …
WILL: … because Korea, itself, is not engulfed in the civil war. The war is over. The war isn't over in Iraq.
WALLACE: Let me bring in Amy. And talk about this politically, because I’ve got to think that people who remember Fallujah and remember the blood and treasure that we spilled there and across Iraq over eight years, it must be disheartened to see all of it washed away and al Qaeda and their black flags triumphant. On the other hand, I can't imagine that this must taste here at home, for the idea of, gosh the one thing that we could do is to send American troops back there.
AMY WALTER, THE COOK POLITICAL REPORT: Right. And that’s going to be the constant back and forth, right, which is we spent American lives and money and blood to secure this. Now we look back and say, was it worth it? Right? There is nothing more frustrating than that. And at the same time, there is a sense to George's point that if we put troops back, it's not going to make things measurably better. They're back in the line of danger. This is not simply standing on the 38th parallel.
WALLACE: Secretary Kerry preemptively, said today, we aren't sending any American troops back.
WALTER: That’s right. I mean look - the numbers now, this is really - it's not simply that Americans don't want to get involved here, that they are so disheartened by this. The last pull out of "Washington Post" ABC noted 66 percent of Americans think that the war in Afghanistan was not worth it. Was not even worth fighting in the first place. So, the idea of saying we're going to go back to these places in the Middle East, put troops on the ground who are in harm's way, who could be killed at any moment, knowing that if we pull them back at any moment, this could all collapse again.
WALLACE: And finally, and briefly, Chuck, there is another factor in all of this, which is the Iraqi government, if Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who I think it’s fair to say, has been a failure both politically and militarily.
LANE: Well, he was - his mission was to balance all these various sectarian interests, the Sunnis, the Shias and the rest. And his perceived tilt in favor of his own Shia confession seems to have provoked enough of the Sunnis into rejoining al Qaeda to render that province unstable. We don't know, actually, how long this occupation of Fallujah will last. There does seem to be some of these tribal militias that had sided with the United States taking on the fight now. And Maliki is trying to recapture it. So, let's not at least rule out the possibility that Iraq could contain itself in the short term. We'll have to see.
WALLACE: All right. We have to take a break here. But when we come back, New York City's first liberal mayor in two decades is drawing attention for his promise to address income inequality. Could this be a sign of a liberal resurgence nationwide? Our panel tackles that, next.
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BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: When I said I would take dead aim at the tale of two cities, I meant it and we will do it. I will honor the faith and the trusts you have placed in me.
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WALLACE: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at his inauguration this week saying he will keep his campaign promise to address income inequality in the Big Apple and we are back now with the panel. Well, New York's new mayor is an unabashed liberal following his two immediate predecessors, Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg who emphasized fiscal restraint and crime control. Brit, how do you explain what rather dramatic change of direction in New York?
HUME: I think the wonder is, Chris, that it took this long. It has been worked now some 20 years since the New York’s last experiment with liberal governance and that ended up rather badly and we now have a New York, a significant portion of whose electorate is composed of people who don't remember what it was like beyond 20 years ago when the city was crime-ridden and businesses were leaving and so on. So now it appears after 20 years of governance, which was tough on crime, hospitable to business and New York City has made a tremendous comeback, they are going to try it again. And maybe it will work out better this time than it did the last time. Maybe he won't be able to do all these things he is talking about doing. But for the sake of New York, I hope he doesn't.
WALLACE: One noticeable aspect of this inauguration was the Clintons. Bill Clinton swore in new mayor de Blasio and Hillary Clinton was front and center, front row. You can just see here there. Here she is. Amy.
WALLACE: Is liberalism making a comeback in the Democratic Party?
WALTER: Well, this is what’s interesting. We have not seen the divide among the Democratic Party between liberal wing and more moderate wing as we have seen in the Republican Party between sort of the Tea Party and the more establishment conservatives. If there is a resurgence of this liberal wing. We hear about the de Blasio wing, the Elizabeth Warren wing, then we would see it in primaries what we saw in 2010, 2012 and now with Republicans. There is nobody running to the left of these red state Democrats in these big Senate races. There is nobody talking about primarying anyone who sort of moves to the center in these House races, so what we've seen is that there has been a lot of talk about this. But I think the party right now, the Democratic Party is much more unified today than they were even when Bill Clinton was president. Will that go away once the race for 2016 begins? Maybe. But I just don't see that that level of frustration, that sort of pent up liberalism is waiting to pounce and, quite – and the other good news if you are a Democrat is, who is concerned about this, is that the liberal part of the Democratic Party much smaller than the conservative portion of the Republican Party.
WALLACE: De Blasio's big campaign promise is that he wants to raise taxes on high earners, and there are certainly some in New York to pay for added benefits, especially universal preschool. George, do you see this as an aberration, as a one off because it's New York City or as a sign that there is something going on in terms of resurgence of liberalism?
WILL: Well, I hope there has been resurgence you talk about.
WALLACE: You'd like to see that?
WILL: Oh, there is nothing better for American conservatism than periodic examples of untrammeled liberalism. Lyndon Johnson after 1964 had huge majorities in Congress, had his way. Republicans won five of the next six and seven of the next nine presidential elections. Let him have his way in New York City. And let people see what happens. There are more than 130 contracts with public employees’ unions who’ve been held in abeyance until Mayor Bloomberg got out of there, because they assumed that de Blasio and his compliant, not to say suppliant city council will go along with anything they ask for. I give him three years. And people will be begging for return to something else.
WALLACE: It is interesting, too, that while he talked about going after the high earners to help pay for added benefits for school children, there was no talk about taking on the teachers union.
WILL: No, and the universal pre-school, since there is very little social science that suggested it does much for the children involved, the real reason for it is it does a great deal for the teachers’ unions, because you have to hire teachers who are unionized, who pay dues to the unions who pass them on in campaign contributions to people like the new mayor.
WALLACE: All this comes, there is a Washington aspect as the president and congressional Democrats are going to make their own new push or renewed push on income inequality, in fact, there may be a vote tomorrow in the U.S. Senate to extend those unemployment benefits, which last right after Christmas for three months. There is also talk about raising the minimum wage. Chuck, do you see this as good policy, good politics, or both?
LANE: Well, I’m pretty sure, excuse me, at least as far as we’re talking about the minimum wage, it's good politics for the Democrats. There is abundant poll evidence that shows even a significant majority of Republicans wants to raise the minimum wage. On the question of policy, inequality is a problem that's been growing in this country for over 30 years and I don't think anybody's got a magic potion to dissolve it in the short term and with respect to New York, it's a good example, Bill de Blasio cannot fix inequality, one city at a time. It doesn't work that way. One reason New York has such inequality, by the way, is that it's such a success. Rich people are gravitating to New York City, movie stars are buying houses in parks (inaudible) Brooklyn, which wouldn't have happened 25 years ago and on the other extreme, poor immigrants come to New York for their first shot at American opportunity. New York's population is 36 plus percent foreign born. So this very crisis that he's talking about, you know, is a backhanded tribute to the success of the Bloomberg administration and the previous Giuliani administration in improving conditions and the business climate in the city.
WALLACE: We’ve got a couple of minutes left, I want to talk about one other subject, somewhat related. Friday night, there was a very interesting vote in Seattle where the machinists, Boeing workers, agreed to give back some benefits that have been won in previous contract negotiations to give them back in order to keep production of the new 777X airplane, airliner in their factories, so that they can continue doing the work. George, how significant do you think that is?
WILL: I think it’s very significant. It's an example of what is called entrepreneurial federalism. 22 states lined up. Most of them, if not all of them, right to work states, lined up to lure Boeing's production facilities down there. I just spent holidays in Charleston, South Carolina. You fly in and out of the airport. You fly with this enormous Boeing plant, where they are building some of these new planes. The fact is capital is mobile. It goes where it is welcome and stays where it is well treated. And the unions had to flinch because the, indeed, entrepreneurial federalism was working. Now, liberals say this is a race to the bottom. Others of us say it's a race to rationality in economics.
WALLACE: What happened, it's interesting is that they made their first offer, Boeing did, which had even more givebacks, and it was turned down by the union. And that's when Boeing started going out and actively dating a lot of other cities and saying, well, you know, we could move this here, I mean you machinists, you may be able to keep your benefits. But guess what, you won't have jobs. So, Amy, your thoughts about this?
WALTER: Well, I think it is the power of pragmatism. And this is what both parties tend to miss. Which is what voters are looking for, they're not looking for more government. But they're also not looking for trickledown. What they're looking for is something that makes sense to them. They want to know that people are looking out for the average person and there aren't new ideas to checkpoints, nobody seems to have a good new idea. We are hearing the same old things over and over again. Republicans talking about tax cuts. That's not working. Democrats talk about expanding government, that's not working. There needs to be a new way. And when somebody finds it, that's the person who’s going to win.
WALLACE: I was going to say, we’ve got 15 seconds, you’ve got an idea?
WALTER: No. That's why I’m not running.
HUME: My only thought would be that what the union did, is it made peace with reality. And the reality was that if they’d insisted on all of that, the jobs would have gone away.
WALLACE: Thank you, panel. See you next week. We have to make our deal with reality, which time is running out. Up next, our power player of the week, Doris Kearns Goodwin on what she calls her guys, some of the country's greatest presidents.
WALLACE: She's one of our leading presidential historians, having written about Kennedy and FDR and the team of rivals that advised Lincoln. Now she has a new book about the progressive era in the early 20th century, here is our power player of the week.
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DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN: It was just one of those times when the country, itself, was changing, moving from the gilded age of the late 1890s to a time when government began, at least, to deal with some of the problems of the industrial era. And I like the fact that there was a lot of energy and turbulence and excitement during that era.
WALLACE: You could have just written a book about Teddy Roosevelt. But you expanded it to include a successor William Howard Taft, why?
GOODWIN: I realized that so many good books have been written about Teddy Roosevelt that I didn't feel I could add a lot if I just focused on him. I had the same problem when I decided to deal with Abraham Lincoln. I needed team of rivals when I dealt with Franklin Roosevelt. It was Franklin and Eleanor and the home front. So it did, indeed, expand to become William Howard Taft. I learned when I started doing the research, that they had a much stronger friendship over many, many years than I had known, had written over 400 letters to one another. So that when Taft became Roosevelt's successor, and then later, the two of them ran against each other in 1912, it was much more emotional than I thought it would be. And I love to have that set of relationships.
WALLACE: You write how extremely close they were and the fact that Roosevelt basically was the campaign manager for Taft in 1908, but four years later, Roosevelt comes back, decides to run against Taft in a sense sabotaging both of their chances and opening the door for Democrat Woodrow Wilson. Why did Roosevelt do that? Was it his ego?
GOODWIN: I think there are two things that made Roosevelt do it. One was he truly did believe that Taft was not carrying the progressive legacy out as far as he had hoped it would be. But I think it also was that he missed being president. He loved it. He said he would have cut off his hand at the wrist not to have made the promise, not to have had a third term.
WALLACE: Now you have written over the years about Kennedy and LBJ, about both Roosevelts and now about Taft and Lincoln. What is it about these presidents who you call your guys? What is it about them that fascinates you?
GOODWIN: You know, I guess it all began with Lyndon Johnson when I was a 24-year-old White House intern. And I got to know him in the last years of his life. And he opened up to me in ways that he never would have had I known him at the height of his power. So I became interested in the inner person behind the public figure. If you kind of spend eight or ten years as I do, I'd rather learn about something new each time. So what a treat to learn about the civil war or World War II or to learn about the progressive era or the 1960s? I wouldn't change this for anything in the world. My only fear is that in the afterlife there will be a panel of all these presidents that I’ve ever studied, and each one will be telling me every single thing I got wrong about them. But other than that, it's been a great career.
WALLACE: One of my favorite, Doris Kearns Goodwin books is the one you write about growing up as a kid in Brooklyn, a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and how your dad would come home at the end of the day, and you would recount for him what had happened during the game inning by inning. Is that how you learned how to tell a story?
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jackie Robinson, slide with (inaudible) the home plate.
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GOODWIN: There is no question. It makes you feel there is something magic about history to keep your father's attention. And at first I would blurt out the Dodgers won or the Dodgers lost! Which I realize took much of the drama of this two hour telling away, so I finally learned you have to tell a story from beginning to middle to end.
WALLACE: There are some parallels between the early progressive era and today. There is a concern about income inequality. There is a split once again within the Republican Party. What lessons are there that people today could draw from what happened 100 years ago?
GOODWIN: You had a huge economic transformation at the turn of the 20th century with the industrial era coming into focus just as the technological innovations have produced the big economic transformation. And during those times, there are fallouts. Gaps between rich and the poor, ordinary people being squeezed and the need to somehow figure out how to keep the prosperity going without letting these people get too hurt by what’s going on. So, that was part of the parallel. But it's also true that what happened with 1912 should be a cautionary tale for the Republican Party. They were dominant in the Congress until the split occurred. And then you had the progressives on one side and the mainstream or old lined guard on the other side. So when you think about what's going on with the Tea Party and the mainstream Republicans. I think they can look back at 1912 and see it's far better to settle your disputes within the party than to certainly form a third party. And then both parties lose. One of the senators said as soon as Teddy Roosevelt decided to form the third party, knowing that he and Taft would run against each other, and the Republicans would be split. Now it's simply a question of which corps gets the most flowers. It was clear the Democrats would win.
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WALLACE: For her next project, Doris Kearns Goodwin says, she wants to focus on leadership, the professional traits and human qualities it takes to be a successful president. And that's it for today, have a great week. And we will see you next on "Fox News Sunday."
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The countdown is on. We'll be joined by Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook about their plans for the final week.
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