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Reps. King, Schiff on if President Obama's ISIS strategy will succeed
Written by Chris Wallace / Published September 21, 2014 / Fox News Sunday
Special Guests: Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., Rep. Adam Schiff, D-N.Y., Jim Gray, Joe Trippi, Karl Rove
This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," September 21, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.
The White House intruder had a knife.
And Congress approves part of the Obama plan to fight ISIS amid growing dissent between the president and his top generals.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: As your commander- in-chief, I will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq.
GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: If there are threats to the United States, then I of course would go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of U.S. military ground forces.
WALLACE: Will the president's strategy work?
We'll talk with two members of the House Intelligence Committee, Peter King and Adam Schiff.
Then, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he got it wrong in the Ray Rice case, but promises to crack down on domestic violence.
ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: I made a mistake. I'm not satisfied with the process that we went through. I'm not satisfied with the conclusions.
WALLACE: With a number of major sponsors turning up the heat, where does the NFL go from here?
We'll talk with sports commentator Jim Gray, and our Sunday panel weighs in.
Plus, it's just 44 days to the midterm elections, with control of the Senate up for grabs.
We'll handicap the key races and get some predictions from our political gurus, Karl Rove and Joe Trippi.
And our power player of the week, best-selling author Daniel Silva on creating one of fiction's top spies.
DANIEL SILVA, AUTHOR: I think that secretly, we hope that there are people like Gabriel Allon out there.
WALLACE: All right now on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
The Secret Service has stepped up security around the White House after a man with a knife made it inside the president's home Friday night.
Fox News correspondent Elizabeth Prann joins us from the North Lawn where it all happened -- Elizabeth.
ELIZABETH PRANN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Chris.
Well, security has been enhanced all weekend after a Texas man carrying a 3 1/2 serrated blade jumped over the fence and charged the White House. One Secret Service director said the location of his arrest is unacceptable.
PRANN (voice-over): It was all caught on video -- 42-year-old Omar Gonzalez sprinting toward the pillars of the north portico. He wasn't stopped until he had passed through the threshold of the White House doors. A source says at least one officer was outside the front door with his weapon out but decided not to shoot, using his own discretion. Gonzalez was not taken down on the lawn, or met by dogs.
DON BONGINO, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: I can't understand why the dog wasn't released. Why no one intercepted or tackled him, none of the personnel. It's baffling to me and I think to a lot of folks.
PRANN: The president was not home at the time, having left just minutes beforehand with his daughters for Camp David. The first lady was also away.
It's only been about a week and a half since a man wearing a Pokemon costume jumped the fence in a similar fashion and charged the White House property. However, he was met immediately by officers with guns, and a dog unit.
On Saturday, law enforcement officials conducted a shoulder-to- shoulder sweep of the White House's north lawn, the front plaza and adjacent park. Just hours before, New Jersey man Kevin Carr was arrested and charged for trying to enter a barricaded White House entry with his car.
PRANN: Gonzalez was charged with unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon. The Secret Service said just last night they're conducting a comprehensive review.
Chris, back to you.
WALLACE: Elizabeth Prann reporting from the White House -- Elizabeth, thanks for that.
Congress is now on record giving bipartisan approval to President Obama's plan to train Syrian rebels. But it was a "hold your nose and say yes" vote, as members of Congress and some of the president's top military advisers expressed strong doubts about the Obama plan to fight ISIS.
We want to explore that with two members of the House Intelligence Committee who both voted to approve the president's request.
In New York, Republican Congressman Peter King, and here in Washington, Democrat Adam Schiff.
Before we get to ISIS, Congressman King, you're also a member of the House Homeland Security Committee. I want to ask your reaction to this terrible security breach at the White House, and what does the Secret Service need to do better?
REP. PETER KING, R-N.Y.: Chris, I have great respect for the Secret Service but this is absolutely inexcusable that he went over the fence, and I believe it takes 35 to 40 seconds to run across the lawn. A dog can be released in four seconds. Their senses were working there and then he made it all the way to the White House, and actually entered the front door and the fact that they said he wasn't brought down because they didn't think he had a weapon. He could have had a body bun (ph); he could have a vest on. As we know, he did have a knife.
So, this demands a full investigation, and investigation into what happened, why it happened, and what's being done to make sure it never happens again. And I'm on the Homeland Security Committee, and I'm sure that Chairman McCaul will be holding a hearing as to what happened. And also, as to how the recommendations are being implemented.
There can be a lot of conspiracies against a president. A lot of very complex assassination plots. This is the most basic, the most simple type of procedure and how anyone, especially in these days of ISIS, and we're concerned about terrorist attacks, someone could actually get into the White House without being stopped is inexcusable.
WALLACE: Let's turn to ISIS. The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. wants other nations to agree to take on Syria before we launch airstrikes in Syria, perhaps as early as this coming week.
Congressman Schiff, how dependent should the U.S. be on this international coalition -- especially for military support so that we don't appear to be going it alone?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-N.Y.: I think it's going to be very important that we get the support of our regional allies. And I think we will get that support. But it will be tempered. And it's not as if we could say, OK, we have their support, we can count on it.
We're going to have to go back to them time and time again pressuring them to do more. Pressuring the Turks to shut down their borders to foreign jihadists coming in and oil revenues going out. Pressuring the Qataris and Saudis to cut down on the financing, pressuring them to put an overt Arab and Sunni face on the opposition.
I do think it's significant, Chris, that Saudi Arabia is now willing to overtly, openly host the training for this rebel force. That's a very significant step that will put a big target on Saudi backs. So, we are getting some meaningful cooperation, but they're not doing it because they love us. They're doing it because they recognize ISIS is a real threat to them.
WALLACE: Secretary of State Kerry was at the U.N. this week trying to round up international support, and he made this surprising statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: There is a role for nearly every country in the world to play, including Iran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Congressman King, a couple of questions. First of all, are you as surprised as I am that Secretary Kerry would be inviting Iran into the international coalition?
And, generally speaking, how do you feel? Are we getting enough support, especially military support, active military action by our international allies?
KING: No, Chris, so far we're not. And where I disagree with the president on this -- to me, attacking ISIS, attacking ISIS in Syria is in our national interest. Now if we can get allies, if we can get a coalition together, that's fine, and we should work on it.
But we can't be beholden to a coalition because we're not doing this out of humanitarian purposes and quite frankly we're not doing it for the people of Syria or Iraq. Ultimately we're doing it because it's in our national interest to do so.
And if that's the case, we can't be holding back. We should attack and strike and do all we can to the command and control centers that ISIS has in Syria. That is a key component of ISIS located in Syria so we shouldn't be waiting for other countries.
WALLACE: And what about Iran?
KING: I think it's a terrible mistake. First of all the fact that there's Shiites, and there's so much involved, Sunnis.
Also, Iran is powerful enough. I mean, they are ultimately they are the main threat in that part of the world, and to be doing anything at all to build them up, to give them sanctuary, to in effect have them on our side, what does that do to Israel? What does that do to their nuclear development in plan? I think it weakens our position.
I cannot understand why we want to get Iran involved.
WALLACE: We're continuing to see this remarkable split between the president, who has doubled down this week, and said absolutely no U.S. boots on the ground in a combat role and his top military advisers, current and former civilian and military, all saying that we can't rule that out. That's a real possibility.
Congressman King, your best judgment, will U.S. forces at some point have to get involved in some kind of a combat role if only to call in air strikes, and to help Iraqi and Peshmerga forces on the front line?
KING: Well, Chris, we already have American troops on the ground. We have Special Forces there. They are obviously, you know, they're in harm's way. And I don't see how ultimately we can avoid putting combat troops on the ground in some capacity.
But more than that, I don't know why the president says up front that we're not going to put boots on the ground. Don't take anything off the table. Never let the enemy know what you're going to do or not going to do.
We had General Madison (ph) before the intelligence committee on Friday and he was saying there's two parts to this. One, you should never let the enemy know what you're going to do. But secondly if we are going to expect coalition troops on our side from the region, if the president takes one step forward and one step sideways saying he's not going to use combat troops that to them shows a lack of seriousness of purpose, and that's why it's going to be hard to get the Saudis or Jordanians or UAE involved because they're afraid that the president is not going to stick this out. Why should they be?
WALLACE: Let me bring Congressman Schiff into this.
You oppose the use of ground forces in a combat role in Iraq. But the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Dempsey, the Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno say that they may be need. And so, in fact, does Robert Gates the first Obama secretary of defense. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GATES, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: There will be boots on the ground if there's to be any hope of success in the strategy. I think by continuing to repeat that the president in effect traps himself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Congressman, are Gates and Odierno and Dempsey, are they all wrong?
SCHIFF: No, I don't think they're all wrong. But I don't think they're at odds with the president. What Dempsey has said is if circumstances down the road pose a threat to the United States, he'll make a different recommendation. That is what he should do. His role is different than the president's.
But I think the president --
WALLACE: But the president isn't saying, well, if circumstances change, he's saying no. No U.S. combat forces. SCHIFF: Yes, that's what he's saying. But Dempsey is also saying that he subscribes to the strategy of utilizing Iraqi and Peshmerga forces on the ground, not Americans in the combat mission. I think that's the right call.
What the general is saying I'm in agreement with that strategy. If that strategy doesn't work or at some point there's a threat to the United States, I'm going to make a different recommendation to the president. And that's exactly what we should want --
WALLACE: And you think the president will be open then to a different strategy?
SCHIFF: I think the president will be open.
But, Chris, I want a president who is not going to accept everything that the military says uncritically.
Look, we have tried massive occupations in Iraq earlier, and in Afghanistan. We're in Afghanistan now 13 years later, we still haven't solved the problem in Afghanistan. Do we really want to be in a position where 13 years from now, we are massively occupying Syria and Iraq? I don't think that's what we want.
And one other point, Chris, that is, the president's role is obviously different than the military command's role. If the military command's job to tell the president what they want, it's the president's job to decide what they need, and the president has to bring our country along. That's a tough job.
WALLACE: We have a couple of minutes left. I want to ask you each one more question.
Congressman Schiff, I'm going to ask you about Congress because this week as we pointed out, you did approve $500 million to arm and train the Syrian rebels. On the other hand, you're going to go home, without a larger vote to authorize what in effect is a new war.
And the question I have is, is Congress forfeiting its constitutional responsibility?
SCHIFF: Absolutely. Absolutely. The president has said this is a war. This is going to last years. That is quintessentially something that is the power of Congress only to declare, and I think we are really advocating our responsibility.
Congress should take up an authorization to use force -- as you know, Chris, I've introduced one that would be very narrow but would I think bring this fight within a constitutional framework. I don't accept the administration's argument we can rely on the 2001 AUMF which applied to a different conflict against a different enemy at a different time.
So, I think it's an abdication of constitutional dimension.
WALLACE: Finally, Congressman King, and as we mentioned you're a member of the house homeland security committee, there was this extraordinary event in Australia this week where 15 people were arrested in Australia for allegedly planning public beheadings that they'd been urged to carry out on the Internet.
How concerned are you about the threat here to the U.S. homeland, either from ISIS or from other al Qaeda affiliated groups in Syria like a new group we're hearing about, Khorasan? How concerned are you about the threat to the U.S. homeland either from self-radicalized people who hear about these things on the Internet or foreign fighters who are in Syria or Iraq and then come back?
KING: Chris, I am very concerned. We still have al Qaeda. We still have al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. We have this new group you mention the Khorasan group and ISIS and other al Qaeda affiliates, plus homegrown.
And I don't subscribe to this belief at all that ISIS is not a threat to the homeland. Not just from fighters coming back, but they have thousands of Europeans with passports who can come into the U.S. They have more money, more fighters, and more sophistication than al Qaeda had on 9/11. They are a real threat to the U.S. In fact back in 2011, they --
WALLACE: Real briefly.
SCHIFF: We can't take our eye off the ball, because al Qaeda, the al Nusra franchise in Syria, poses a more immediate threat to our homeland than ISIS does at the present. They're trying to work with AQAP bomb makers to smuggle on bombs on our planes. We cannot lose sight of that threat. That's really the more immediate threat to Americans --
KING: Adam, I would disagree. I would say they're all a threat. They're equal threats. They're coming at us and we have to be on our guard at all times.
If ISIS went into Australia, they could certainly come into the U.S. In 2011, they attempt to attack Fort Knox. So, all of them, I say, are threats we cannot let our guard down at all.
WALLACE: Gentlemen, you have thoroughly scared me. Congressman King, Congressman Schiff, thank you both. Thanks for coming in today.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
WALLACE: Coming up, the latest on the scandal involving the National Football League and Commissioner Roger Goodell.
But, first, how much of a coalition has President Obama put together to fight ISIS? Our Sunday panel joins us next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We'll lead a broad coalition of nations who have a stake in this fight. This isn't America versus ISIL. This is the people of that region versus ISIL. It's the world versus ISIL.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Obama talking about the broad coalition he says he's put together to fight ISIS.
And it's time now for our Sunday group.
Brit Hume, Fox News senior political analyst, Julie Pace who covers the White House for the "Associated Press", syndicated columnist George Will, and Fox News political analyst Juan Williams.
Julie, from the White House officials you talked with, are they satisfied with the military support they're getting from other countries? Do they really intend to wait to get other countries to join in before they launch air strikes against Syria? And why on earth -- a lot of questions for you -- would Secretary Kerry invite Iran into the coalition?
JULIE PACE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: Well, in terms of the coalition that they have right now, they're certainly not satisfied really with just France publicly on board with airstrikes. We have Saudi Arabia that's committed to training Syrian rebels in their countries. They're looking specifically, though, for commitment from Arab nations to get involved militarily.
That's key to this mostly symbolically. If not that the U.S. can't carry this out on their own, but symbolically, they want to have this broad coalition. You're going to see the president and Secretary Kerry at the U.N. this week trying to build that coalition and get public commitment.
When it comes to Iran, though, this is really tricky, because, we know what the U.S. has largely ruled out doing with Iran, coordinating militarily, coordinating through intelligence channels, and yet you continue to have Secretary Kerry and others publicly talk about a need to work with them to some degree. What's that involved if you're not coordinating militarily or through intelligence channels I think is a big question.
WALLACE: And, of course, it's also a problem because they're a Shiite nation and it only increases the tension (ph) of the Shiites against the Sunnis, which is a huge divide.
Brit, let me ask you, so far, this is not exactly the "coalition of the willing" that George W. Bush was so widely mocked for when he went in to Iraq in 2003?
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the numbers are not bad in terms of number of countries. But what's missing here is the elements of a commitment to support what is going to end up having to be a military ground operation. ISIS holds territory. Territory needs to be retaken if you're to conquer ISIS. You can't do that, you can do a lot more from the air than you used to be able to. but you can't do that without some ground forces.
And so far, it's not at all clear, particularly when it comes to Syria where these ground forces are going to come from. And I don't think any serious military analyst thinks that the Syrian rebels can be trained up in sufficient number to do away with ISIS. So, what's lacking there is a commitment to help with this ground operation.
And one further word about Iran -- it isn't just that Iran is Shiite, it's also that we're involved in this nuclear negotiation with Iran and the Iranians are now talking about, yes, we'll help, but, we want more flexibility in terms of the nuclear talks. Well, there you have one foreign policy objective undermining another.
And it is -- I think that is a very unfortunate overture. Particularly after Iran initially said it didn't want to play. And here's Kerry back saying, in effect, begging. Not good.
WALLACE: I talked with the congressman in the previous segment about this remarkable and continuing split between the president and his top military advisers about how we should conduct the fight against ISIS.
This week on "60 Minutes", former defense secretary for Obama, Leon Panetta, said he was not confident when the president pulled all U.S. troops out of Iraq in 2011.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEON PANETTA, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: No, I wasn't. I really -- I really thought that it was important for us to maintain a presence in Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: George, as our resident historian how unusual is it for a president to go against his top military advisers even now as he's laying out the strategy for a new war against ISIS to go against them repeatedly?
GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Repeatedly is the key here. Truman against MacArthur, we've had disagreements off and on.
What Dempsey said was if the mission requires this. Now, maybe this is the sort of thing you shouldn't say out loud, but he was invited to by Congress and he said that. The fact is that there's a general agreement, I think that the goal and the means allocated to pursue the goal just don't fit in this case.
Brit, you referred to the Syrian rebels -- another name for them are the "vetted moderates". I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in the room when we vetted the moderates in the Syrian opposition. I mean, there's an unreality in the language here. But I think all that Dempsey was doing was is, if necessary to achieve the mission we will do this.
What we're not doing here is the Powell doctrine. Powell said, if you're going to get involved, do it with overwhelming, which is to say indisputably sufficient force.
WALLACE: But the White House is doubling down on the president's pledge not to get U.S. troops involved in a combat role on the ground.
Take a look at this from Josh Earnest, the presidential spokesman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Ruled out the option of deploying American boots on the ground in Iraq and in Syria in a combat role. The president -- the commander-in-chief has ruled that out. But --
REPORTER: Never happen?
EARNEST: -- what we will need -- that's correct.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Never happen.
Now, you can say, well, Dempsey was just talking hypothetical. Odierno, the Army chief of staff, said 1,600, which is the amount of troops we have there, is a good start. Gates you hear saying he's trapping himself talking about no boots on the ground.
Are you concerned about this split?
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I'm a little surprised that there's so much being made of this. As George was suggesting earlier, we often see splits between the president and their military advisers but the Founding Fathers, beginning with George Washington, said we have civilian control of the military.
And if you ask the American people, there's no debate here. The American people support the president's position. I'm talking about 64 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of Democrats, according to Pew.
WALLACE: And what percentage of them say they don't think this is going to work?
WILLIAMS: No, there's a large percentage, they're skeptical.
WALLACE: About 68 percent.
WILLIAMS: They're skeptical.
But let me just say, that's not true. Let me just say what's true is that there's a large percentage who say they have confidence, and then they have some confidence, and there's a large percentage who say they don't have confidence. So, you have to get in to the numbers.
But the key point here, the key point -- it's not as overwhelming as you suggest.
WALLACE: No, I think it's more people say that we -- that they have lack of confidence. I mean, in any case, it's not a resounding belief that this is going to work.
WALLACE: Correct. There never is. We're going in to uncertain waters. But what is clear, it's not in the United States national security interest, not in the U.S. military's interest to get dragged into another long-term battle with combat troops on the ground in the Middle East.
And the president has 1,600 troops -- to repeat -- already on the ground in advisory and training roles, and we have engaged in 170 air strikes that have succeeded thus far in restraining the growth of ISIS. That's the fact,
WALLACE: Brit, quick, final word.
BRIT HUME, Fox NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, consider the difference between the president's response to ISIS and his response to the Ebola outbreak. He's sending a large force, much larger than ISIS is getting, to deal with this Ebola outbreak.
Why is he doing? He's doing that I think because he believes that the United States is uniquely capable of mounting this effort against this disease.
The United States is undisputably uniquely capable of conquering ISIS, but he's not putting the full effort into that at all, which is why I think that the majority who doubt the efficacy of the strategy do so. They can see that this isn't a full-hearted effort, and so, as has been suggested earlier to the coalition partners or would-be coalition partners.
WALLACE: All right, panel, we have to take a break here.
But when we come back, Roger Goodell tries to get ahead of the growing NFL scandal over domestic violence. Will it work?
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel? Just go to Facebook or Twitter @FoxNewsSunday and yes, we may use your question for those guys on the air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOODELL: There will be changes to our personal conduct policy. I know this because we will make it happen. Nothing is off the table.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he was sorry, and promised big changes in how pro football handles cases of domestic violence.
Our panel will be back in a moment but, first, we want to get the latest from sportscaster and Fox News contributor, Jim Gray.
Jim, what's the reaction inside the NFL community, the fans, the players, the owners, to Goodell's statement?
JIM GRAY, SPORTSCASTER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the owners are going to give him some time. They're firmly in his corner. I spoke to two this morning. A couple of their quotes were, we have to try and get him past this. I'm not sure how we will.
The other one said that no one, including God, could have handled this onslaught.
The owners are firmly behind him. They're going to be patient. They're going to give him some time.
The media, there has been just one condemnation after another since this press conference, and since really the Ray Rice incident occurred. The fans are upset. And the players, particularly former players and players who won't come out and necessarily attach their names to it, they're very upset that there's a double standard here. That he can admit a mistake and he can just say I'm going to go forward when they admit a mistake to him they get punished, severely fined and suspended.
WALLACE: Let me pick up on that. Because one of the biggest issues has been the commission airs total control over discipline. He has been judge, jury and executioner. He talked about how everything is on the table. Do you think he's going to have to give up some of that control over disciplinary issues, either to the players association, their union, or to some independent body?
GRAY: Commissioners are always very reluctant, Chris, to give up, concede, any power. However, baseball does have a neutral third party, an arbitration which determines discipline. It makes it much more consistent. Sometimes you don't get the discipline that the fans necessarily think is coming for the players, because the arbitrators don't rule necessarily with the heavy hand that the commissioners would. But Roger Goodell has always been known as the enforcer. A law and order type of commissioner who has handed out steep fines. Who has handed out major penalties, and in this instance that's why this has all been so surprising. It's all self-inflicted and to give two games for that, no matter what the circumstance were, most people believe, in fact all of the owners believe, he didn't see the tape. But, to have not been able to imagine what went on in there based on his track record and his history of being so firm and tough, it's been inexplicable.
WALLACE: Jim Gray, thank you so much for joining us today.
Now let's bring back our Sunday group. We asked you for questions for the panel and we got this on Facebook from Joe Ping. "Get off the NFL's back. It's not the NFL headquarters' problem, it's a player problem. Brit, I have to say, we got a lot of Facebook tweets like that. People saying in effect that Goodell and the NFL are being made a scapegoat here for bad behavior by the players.
HUME: I think there's something to that. I mean, since when is it the job of a sports league to police the private conduct, and in these cases misconduct, of the players off the field, outside the realm of football. This is something relatively new. Now, obviously the league and its individual teams have a reputation to protect and brands to protect. So, my sense about this is, what will come -- this will come down to the sponsors. When the sponsors start to bail in large numbers and you're seeing a trickle of it already, things change. Look what happened with the Vikings this week. They reinstated Adrian Peterson saying, you know, that they needed to await due process. Then the sponsors, including the Radisson Hotels, which was spoke of its commitment to the safety of children, weighed in and withdrew sponsorship, and virtually overnight the Vikings reversed themselves and took Peterson off the roster. So that's where I think you need to look to see the outcome of this. For Goodell and the league.
WALLACE: The National Organization for Women, which had called for Goodell's response, was rather resignation, was not the least bit persuaded by his news conference Friday. They continue to call for it, say that he failed to show that he's deeply committed to dealing with these issues of domestic violence, and Julie, I was curious to see that the White House also weighed on this, an official saying how deeply troubling the situation is.
PACE: Yeah, absolutely. This is actually one of those situations where I would like to hear from the president on this. He is a sports fan. He is someone who has brought athletes in to the White House for events. Used them to promote policies. He's also the father of two daughters. He sees women politically as a group that's very viable for him. So, I would be interested to hear what he has to say. But I think the fact that this gets to the level of the White House shows just how broad the concern is, how widespread this story has become and I think the NFL is going to have to do something a bit more than a Friday afternoon press conference to get ahead of this.
WALLACE: One thing Goodell did in his Friday afternoon press conference was to express remorse repeatedly. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOODELL: At our best the NFL sets an example that makes a positive difference. Unfortunately, over the past several weeks we have seen all too much of the NFL doing wrong. That starts with me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: George, you're close to the baseball commissioner, to the -- to MLB. How do you think Goodell has handled this? And your sense of this, does he survive?
WILL: He will survive. He's handled it terribly and it doesn't matter. Because we're in the kind of highly stylized indignation sweepstakes at this point where everyone commits sociology in all directions saying the players are made violent by this, and colleague experience and all of this stuff goes on and on. The fact is, Anheuser-Busch tells us it's disappointed. Anheuser-Busch spends $200 million a year on the NFL. Last week's three most viewed television programs were Sunday Night Football, Thursday Night Football and Monday Night Football and money talks and it will continue to talk, and this will pass over and football will go on its merry way. I happen to believe the problem with football is football, which is to say it is merchandising consciously violence. And some of it spills over.
WALLACE: But you know, we were talking about what's the role of the commissioner. Part of the role of the commissioner, and they talk about it is to protect the shield, and that's the NFL shield. And Lord knows in baseball the commissioner has to protect the integrity of the game and the shield, if you're going to punish somebody and I know you could say well, that has an effect on the game for taking drugs, don't you have to punish them for this kind of behavior?
WILL: Certainly. And they'll do it and baseball will do it, the hockey, NHL will do it, they all will to protect their brand. Because the players come and go. The average NFL career is about four years. The league continues and it's the job of the commissioner to provide continuity.
WALLACE: Juan, weigh in here.
WILLIAMS: Well, I think the commissioner's credibility, especially with the players, I think your line of questioning was really penetrating, Chris, when you asked Jim Gray about, is he going to have to give up some of his power and authority? And I think that's exactly what he's going to have to do. He's going to have to get in to a deal with DeMaurice Smith who is the head of the players union at some point to try to reconstitute his relationship with the NFL players association. This is not a one-sided game. Yes, the owners have the money, but guess what? The players have a lot of voice and boy, if you get on Twitter, the players have just been eating Roger Goodell alive. They don't like him. They don't like this judge and jury scenario. And they think that there's a double standard for him, and for them, and they think that this is his time for a comeuppance. So there's a problem there, and I suspect that as part of this ongoing resolution, one of the changes is going to be that Roger Goodell is going to have an independent group that will help with discipline. Already he's established, he announced on Friday an independent panel. To look at how they deal with these problems. I think that panel is going to get more power in the NFL, PA is going to have a loud voice there.
WALLACE: Julie, I've got to ask you do you want to respond to George's comments ...
WALLACE: Of this indignation pageant going on here?
PACE: Well I mean there's a couple of things I would say. I mean I'm a football fan. I've been a football fan my whole life. I'm going to go home and I'm going to watch football today, and I think a lot of us will. Until you see some kind of change in our own behavior as fans I don't think that we should expect to see widespread changes to the NFL. The other thing that I've heard a lot of my friends, younger women say, over the last week or so is that they want to hear Roger Goodell and others talk about the people who have been victims. And there seems to be a lack of attention and focus to what some of these women and now children have gone through. And I think that if there could be some focus on that that that could maybe make the easier for women in particular to deal with.
WALLACE: George, quick final word.
WILL: Well, again, football's problem is football. It is the concussions, the sub-concussive injuries that you don't detect at the time. We live in the area of bubble wrapped childhood. Parents put helmets on their children when they ride out tricycles. They're not going to let them play football.
WALLACE: All right. Thank you. That's an interesting take on it. See you all next week, panel. So, what do you think? Should Roger Goodell step down? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter @FoxNewsSunday and use #fns.
Up next, with just six weeks to the midterm elections and with control of the Senate at stake we bring in two of Washington's top political minds to handicap the key races.
WALLACE: Now you can connect with "Fox News Sunday" on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out exclusive material online at Facebook and share it with other Fox fans. And tweet us at "Fox News Sunday" using #fns. Be part of the discussion, and weigh in on the action every "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: Two years ago I had the best seat in the House as the 2012 election results were coming in. Sitting with two master strategists to look inside the numbers. Well, we'll all be back together in just 44 days, and so between now and then we're going to talk about November's key races and which party will control the Senate with our election night's phase cowboys. Karl Rove was the architect of George W. Bush's two presidential victories. Joe Trippi has run a number of Democratic campaigns. Guys, welcome back.
JOE TRIPPI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Good to be with us.
WALLACE: Before we look at individual states, let's get an overview, the general question, who's going to control the Senate? Let me put up some numbers. "The New York Times." The upshot says Republicans have a 56 percent chance of winning the Senate. That's not exact enough for Nate Silver's 538. He says the GOP has a 54.8 percent chance of gaining a majority. Karl what are the Republicans' chances? And what are the key factors?
KARL ROVE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yeah, look I think it's slightly better than that. But not a lot better than that. The Republicans are fighting on good turf. They have three open seats, for example, in red states that I think everybody pretty well concedes are in their camp, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia. But it is a dark fight in the rest of the country. Four states with an incumbent Democrat senator in red states. Three or four or five seats in purple states where the Democrat incumbents and one open seat or excuse me two open seats. And so, it's going to be a very close contest that is the dynamics are good for Republicans, enthusiasm is high, Obama low, desire to send a message to Obama very high. The one advantage the Democrats have is a big cash advantage. They've already booked between Labor Day and Election Day $107 million in television advertising. The Republicans, $25 million less.
WALLACE: Joe, let me turn to you. Democratic chances to hold the Senate, and to pick up on specifically one of Karl's points, when the president has an approval rating of about 40 percent why isn't this a wave election for the GOP?
TRIPPI: Well, it should be. And it should be -- look it should be in this environment a miracle for Democrats to hold onto the Senate. But, right now, I would gauge that Republicans are likely to pick up between five and eight seats. If Democrats hold it to five seats it will be because of what Karl's talked about, a money advantage, and also being able to use the Obama get out the vote methods that were perfected in 2012. If they can actually generate that there's a chance they -- they do have a miracle and stop the Republicans from taking the Senate.
WALLACE: Republicans need a net pickup, a net pickup of six seats to win control of the Senate. And everybody seems to agree, and you heard Karl just referred to it that they're going to win these three. Let's put them up on the screen. Montana, where in the latest real clear politics average of polls congressman, Republican Congressman Steve Daines leads by 19 points. West Virginia where Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito leads by 19 points. And South Dakota where former Republican Governor Mike Rounds leads by 13 points free. Joe, do you agree that if all three of those states are gone, lost to the Democrats?
TRIPPI: Absolutely. I don't think there are anybody within any of those three races who believes they are not going to be in the GOP hands in November.
WALLACE: OK. So we'll proceed from there. There are two states now held by Democrats that look pretty good, pretty strong for Republican takeovers. Let's put them up on the screen. First, Louisiana. Where Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy leads Democratic Senator incumbent Mary Landrieu by more than five points, and Arkansas, where Republican Congressman Tom Cotton leads Democratic incumbent Mark Pryor by 2.5. Karl, how solid are those for the GOP, and particularly Arkansas? When you're talking 2.5 points that doesn't sound very solid.
ROVE: Well, except in I think the last poll, out of the last ten polls going back to the beginning of May, Mark Pryor has led in one. And Tom Cotton has led in nine. I believe the number is. Look, we have a candidate in Arkansas who is running against an institution. Mark Pryor and his father, David Pryor, both long time politicos there. Cotton is smart enough to know that he's got to run through the tape and he'll run through the tape and I feel very good about that one. Louisiana is likely to be settled in December because they have an odd law in Louisiana that requires all the candidates to run in a multiparty primary in November, if no one gets 50 percent which is highly unlikely, because there's at least three or four candidates who could get a significant slice of the vote, we'll have a runoff in December.
WALLACE: And that means that the control of the Senate, we might all have to wait until December to find out. Election night may not settle it. Let me look at a couple of potential GOP pickups from Democratic states potentially going to the Republicans that are pretty close. And let me start with Iowa. This is an open seat in Iowa. And Democratic congressman Bruce Braley is up against Republican State Senator Joni Ernst. Joe, look at that. This one is flat tied.
TRIPPI: No, it's a dead heat. It is -- this is going to be a donnybrook. Both parties are going to put everything into this. And again, the interesting play here will be does the money advantage and does the get out the vote effort that the Democrats have perfected, does it turn out more votes for Braley? The interesting thing is the Republicans, the RNC have been trying to play catch-up in the ground game with data and we haven't seen that yet. Does that appear in this race, as well?
WALLACE: And interestingly enough, I don't think that Iowa has ever elected a woman to the U.S. Senate, either Republican or Democrat.
TRIPPI: Or in the governor -- I mean it just hasn't happened in any of the top races in Iowa. So it will be interesting.
WALLACE: All right. There's another race, potential GOP pickup, but very close. And we'll put that up on the screen. That's Alaska. You've got the incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Begich trailing, as you can see there, former attorney general Dan Sullivan by less than two points. Karl, that's a pretty close one.
ROVE: Yeah, 1.3 percent. Remember this, though, real clear politics average and the rest of these averages are lagging indicators. This race took a dramatic shift three weeks ago this coming Thursday. Just before Labor Day, Begich ran an ad accusing Sullivan of being responsible for the early release of prisoners, including a prisoner who went on to do a brutal murder. It turned out, however, that the prisoners were released by a clerical error by somebody months before Sullivan even became attorney general, and this sort of blew up in Begich's face, and my suspicion is we're likely to see some polling data indicating this race has taken an even more pro- Sullivan tilt here in the weeks ahead. WALLACE: And now I want to put up a surprising state and that is North Carolina. This was generally considered to be a very likely pickup for the Republicans in red North Carolina. But the Democratic incumbent senator Kay Hagan is up against the state's house speaker Thom Tillis, and Joe, Hagan who was thought to be in trouble is hanging in there.
TRIPPI: This one I think we can put -- I'm ready to start saying if this trend continues she's going to be re-elected. The interesting thing about these races, with all these incumbents, is when you look -- we know they're in trouble if you're under 50 and you're an incumbent. You look at Alaska, you look at Louisiana, you look at these other incumbents, they're all in the low 40s, or just slightly above that. That's a very bad sign for those incumbents. That means that you've got to start giving a push to the Republicans there. But in this race, in North Carolina, it seems to be moving the other way.
WALLACE: Now, as we said, the Republicans need a net pickup of six seats. And part of the problem is they have a few of their own seats that are potentially in jeopardy and if they lose one of those then they've got to pick up another seat to get to their six. Georgia is in some jeopardy the open seat there, Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader in Kentucky is in some trouble. We want to focus on the most surprising state of all, possible Republican loss and that is Kansas. Take a look at this. With the Democrats now according to the courts off the ballot, the incumbent Republican senator Pat Roberts faces independent, independent businessman Greg Orman, and in the latest Fox News poll, Roberts trails Orman by six points. Karl, how much trouble is Pat Roberts in in that state?
ROVE: Well I think he's going to prevail at the end. Look, sometimes when you're running as an independent and say I don't know who I'm going to caucus with when I go to Washington, but last time I ran for office I was a Democrat, and I wouldn't have voted for ObamaCare, but I'm not going to vote to repeal ObamaCare, you get a little too cute. And at the end of the day, I think Roberts will win, though not by the margin he should have if he had taken this seriously right from the beginning. It also shows an example of how races are affected by other races. The governor's race in Kansas is close. However late last week, it was revealed that the Democratic candidate for governor had been arrested -- or not arrested, he'd been detained briefly a number of years ago when he was an attorney for a strip joint and the police found him getting a lap dance. And you know, in straight-laced Kansas that's not exactly a great credential to run for governor.
WALLACE: I don't know. I suppose there's a constituency for that. Your thoughts about Kansas and how much trouble Pat Roberts is in?
TRIPPI: I think Roberts is in deep trouble and probably gone. I've been out there this year, and once an incumbent starts to unravel, it's really hard to put that genie back in the bottle. I think that's what's happening. WALLACE: But you can hear what Karl's saying and you're hearing that from other Republicans they're really going to go after Greg Orman. He's gotten a pass up to now. They are going to talk about things in his record.
TRIPPI: I think and Greg Orman is going to go after them. He is going to go after them in Washington and that's not a great place to be if you're in Kansas and you're an incumbent.
WALLACE: So, we've got less than a minute left, Karl. What should we be looking at for those last 44 days?
ROVE: Well, I think we've got a pretty good sense of it. The Democrats are going to try and hold this -- to hold the Senate by trying to hold North Carolina, Alaska, trying to make an inroad into Kansas, and also worry deeply about Iowa and Colorado. We haven't talked about Colorado. But Colorado, again, is a very narrow race that's separated by 0.7 percent in real clear politics average, but the latest polls are indicating movement toward Republican Cory Gardner, a Quinnipiac this week was 48 Gardner, 40 for the longtime Democratic incumbent Mark Udall. So we're likely to see the Democrats being forced to fight in a number of places to try to hold onto the Senate.
WALLACE: Well, we can't cover them all. I thought we did pretty well here. And gentlemen, we want to thank you both. And we're going to bring you back several times in these final weeks to focus on where the battle for the Senate stands. Thank you both.
ROVE: Good to be with you.
WALLACE: And, of course, see you again on election night. Space cowboys. Up next our power player of the week. This is master of espionage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SILVA: I think that plot for me has always been secondary to establishing good characters.
WALLACE: Daniel Silva is talking about the secret to the success of his bestselling spy novels. A series of 14 books featuring Gabriel Allon.
SILVA: He's a legendary Israeli intelligence officer and assassin who happens to have a very interesting cover job. He's one of the world's finest art restorers.
WALLACE (on camera): You talk about him as if he's almost a real person.
SILVA: To me he is a real person. Think of my typical day, I'm at my desk at 7:00. I write until 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon. I spend more time in his world than I spend in the real world. WALLACE (voice over): Silva says Allon fixes people and the situations. Whether it's al Qaeda terrorists, or Russian arms dealers, or in his latest book "The Heist" art theft by the Assad regime in Syria.
(on camera): How do you explain his appeal to millions of readers?
SILVA: I think that secretly, we hope that there are people like Gabriel Allon out there.
WALLACE (voice over): As an avid reader of Silva's books I can tell you part of the appeal is the details. About the places Allon goes in his spy craft.
SILVA: I like to walk in Gabriel's footsteps.
WALLACE: That journey has taken Silva from the cliffs of Cornwall to the art restoration labs at the Vatican. The KGB headquarters. But there's more to Silva's process of writing.
SILVA: This is the heist in its original form. Written in longhand on legal pads. I write in pencil. And not just any pencil. It has to be a specific pencil. I like the Mirado black warrior number 2.
WALLACE: A former journalist, Silva is married to TV newswoman Jamie Gangel and he has strong opinions about the world he writes about.
(on camera): How do you feel about the state of the Middle East these days?
SILVA: It is a complete and utter disaster. There's really no more Syria, there's no more Iraq. We are going to face serious challenges there for decades to come.
WALLACE (voice over): He says even Gabriel Allon couldn't fix these problems. Which leaves a couple of final questions.
(on camera): Your books are so popular. Why have they never been made into movies?
SILVA: Because of me.
WALLACE (voice over): Silva says he's had plenty of offers but --
SILVA: I'm just very picky about it. I just want to make sure that we get to get it right.
WALLACE: And then the big question about any spy thriller. Do you know how Gabriel's story ends? SILVA: I do not. I've never really had in my mind a, you know, that vanishing point out there where I want this story to end, and then go (ph) black. I've never come to that yet. I hope I never do, actually.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: There's no need to worry about that any time soon. Daniel Silva is hard at work on those legal pads, busy writing his 15th Gabriel Allon book. One final note today, the Washington Nationals clinched the national league east division this week, and we're appointing ourselves the official Sunday talk show of the team throughout the playoffs. We even have our lucky Jayson Werth garden gnome. So from now until they win the World Series, go Nats. And that's it for today. Have a great week and we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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On the Show
Sunday: in the wake of the deadly Egypt Air crash, Egyptian officials now say they believe terror is likely to blame. As the crash highlights the security challenges we’re facing at home, we’ll speak to the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep Michael McCaul (R-TX), about keeping America safe even as frustrated travels already face long lines at the country’s airports.
We’ll talk to the Chairman of Donald Trump’s National Security Advisory Committee, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Trump’s plans to fight terror, his suggestion he’d be willing to speak with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, and his Supreme Court picks. It’s a Fox News Sunday exclusive.