Same-sex marriage becoming the law of the land? Plus, Rove and Trippi's midterm predictions

Written by Chris Wallace / Published October 12, 2014 / Fox News Sunday

Special Guests: Ted Olson, Tony Perkins, Karl Rove , Joe Trippi

This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," October 12, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.

Another person in Dallas tests positive for Ebola.

And with the Supreme Court deciding not to weigh in, is same-sex marriage becoming the law of the land?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the outcome that we have hoped for. It is the outcome that the Constitution requires.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd hoped we had a Supreme Court that decided this. I think it deserved a hearing at that level.

WALLACE: We'll have a debate between two leading advocates. Ted Olson, the man who won Bush versus Gore and the case to overturn the ban on same sex marriage in California, and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

Then, there are now just 23 days until the midterm elections, with Washington's balance of power at stake. We'll break down the key races with our election night team, Karl Rove and Joe Trippi.
Plus, is President Obama's ISIS battle plan working?

JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: Let me just tick through these and then we can go to your next question. Some of the successes we've seen on the ground by the Iraqi security forces.

WALLACE: Our Sunday panel weighs in.

And our power player of the week, taking you inside the White House like never before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can drag around to see the entire state dining room. Up on the ceiling, look at the chandelier.

WALLACE: All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.

A health care worker at the Dallas hospital that treated the Ebola patient who died has now tested positive for the virus. But that preliminary test will now be checked by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

Let's get the latest on this and ramped-up screening at U.S. airports from FOX News correspondent Leland Vittert -- Leland.

LELAND VITTERT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, there's still a lot of questions to be answered about this new case in Dallas, including how this health care worker came into contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, known as patient zero, and for that matter, how this worker contracted Ebola despite all the precautions, although officials in Dallas say they were ready for this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. DAN VARGA, TEXAS HEALTH RESOURCES: This health care worker had been until the self-monitoring regimen prescribed by the CDC. The entire process from the patient's self monitoring to the admission into isolation took less than 90 minutes. The patient's condition is stable.

VITTERT: The new patient reported a low-grade fever Friday night and was isolated and tested. This will be the first case of Ebola treated from start to finish in the United States, which could give doctors new insight into the virus at the same hospital where records show they apparently badly bungled the first case.

Thomas Eric Duncan who died Wednesday had arrived in the United States without a fever, but with Ebola. The "Associated Press" reports that he went to the emergency room in Dallas with a high fever of 103. Despite that, doctors sent him home a few hours later. On the 28th, he returned in far worse shape. Soon official put family and friends of the Liberian man in isolation for fear they contracted the virus as well.

Now, 15 days into the 21 days of possible incubation, other than the health care worker, no one has reported a fever or other symptoms. But the fear remains that the 150 or so travelers arriving daily to the United States from the hot zone in West Africa could also be infected with Ebola. Pictures provided by Customs and Border Protection show their officers wearing protective gear while checking the temperature of and interviewing those arriving from the hot zone in West Africa.

By later this week, about 140 passengers a day will get checked at the five gateway airports equipped with screeners and quarantine rooms.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VITTERT: In Dallas right now, they are not only trying to treat this health care worker, but also isolate those the person had contact with and try to stop any more infections -- Chris.

WALLACE: Leland, thank you.

When this week began, same-sex marriage was legal in 19 states. Now, because of the Supreme Court's decision not to review the ruling of several appeals court, same-sex marriage may soon be legal in 25 states.

We want to drill down into the legal status and merits of same sex marriage with two top advocates: leading conservative Ted Olson represented the plaintiffs in the Virginia case, and is co-author of "Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality." Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council.

Gentlemen, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday." Mr. Olson, let me start with you. Why do you think the Supreme Court decided not to intervene in these cases, and can we take from that there's now a majority in the court who feels there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage?

TED OLSON, FORMER SOLICITOR GENERAL: No one knows what goes on in the United States Supreme Court when they're deciding to take a case or how they decide the case. But what the Supreme Court was looking at on Monday when it rendered its decision not to review these pending cases is a record of something like 25 federal judges at the district court and at the appeal level which had consistently ruled that same sex marriage bans were unconstitutional.

I think the justices saw was a trend -- overwhelming trend in the same direction and felt that the federal courts were handling this issue in an appropriate and proper way, and decided not to weigh in.

WALLACE: Mr. Perkins, let me go a little further than Ted Olson, because he has to argue before the court. If the majority felt there was no constitutional right -- actually it takes a minority, only four of the nine justices to decide to review a case -- why would they make a non-ruling in this case which would allow thousands more to have same-sex marriages?

TONY PERKINS, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Well, I mean, Ted is more of an expert on the Supreme Court. You still have two circuits that have decisions coming up that look favorable toward natural marriage. But I think the effect here is what we need to look. I think the effect of this is the court did a back alley type Roe v. Wade decision by letting the lower courts do their evil bidding. And the result of that is such -- you go back to 1973 when the court imposed abortion on the nation, it was to resolve the issue 41 years later.

That issue is now a political issue in every election from the president on down. This issue is not going away despite what the court may say.

WALLACE: I have to allow you to responds -- back alley Roe versus Wade?

OLSON: Yes, I think the analogy would be to the 1967 decision of the United States Supreme Court that struck down bans on interracial marriage. We now understand and the American public believe that that was a right decision and right for America. Over 59 percent of Americans now believe that marriage equality should be the law of the land. Individuals should be allowed to get married to the person that they love.

The individuals involved in these cases have been together for decades. They now want to be a part of the community, and be part of our society by marrying and living with the people that they love.

WALLACE: Let me pick up on one of the central concerns that people have about all of this. In all 16 of the states that because of the Supreme Court's non-decision, may not have say legal same-sex marriage, there was a ban on those same sex marriage, either approved by the state legislature or popular referendum.

Mr. Olson, you have a long record of opposing what you call or people call judicial activism. Here is what Senator Ted Cruz said this week. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We shouldn't have unelected judges striking down our marriage laws, trying to impose their public policy notion on the state of Texas and on states where the elected legislatures have made the decision to preserve and protect traditional marriage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Question -- why should judges overrule the demonstrated will of the people either through referenda or through state legislature action?

OLSON: We have a Constitution and Bill of Rights precisely because we want protections from majority rule. When the majority in a legislature or a popular vote take away rights of individuals that are protected by the Bill of Rights, then we have an independent judiciary to rectify that situation. It's happened again and again and again throughout this country's history.

We have an independent judiciary to protect the rights of individuals like gay and lesbian citizens who only want respect, decency and equality along with the rest of us.

WALLACE: Mr. Perkins, let me go back to the case where there were bans on interracial marriages. In the number of states, the Supreme Court simply ruled those bans were unconstitutional, as Mr. Olson --

PERKINS: Apples and oranges.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: Mr. Olson says -- and it's an argument, we don't get to vote on the Bill of Rights. Why is it apples and oranges?

PERKINS: Apples and oranges, because we're talking about an arbitrary boundary created by man between the races. That doesn't exist in nature. There is a boundary between people of the same sex getting married. They can't procreate. They can't -- there's nothing in nature to say that's normal.

But to go back, this is unprecedented decision. Voters in two thirds of the states have affirmatively gone out to protect the definition of marriage. This is the only time in a period of two decades in which voters and their elected representatives have affirmatively embraced the definition of marriage in their state policy, and now, you have the courts overturning that, robbing the people of their vote and their voice. What we see here, I believe, is that the court has lit a fuse to a powder keg culturally that is going to have ramifications for years to come in this nation.

WALLACE: All right. Let's talk about the merits of this, and, obviously different people have different views.

What is your single, strongest argument against allowing same-sex marriage?

PERKINS: Well, I'd like to ask Ted, what's the purpose of marriage?

OLSON: The purpose of marriage is what the Supreme Court has said 14 times. It's a fundamental right that involves privacy, association, liberty, and being with the person you love and forming a part of the community and being treated equally with the rest of society.

Now, over, if you look at people under the age of 30, you're talking about a powder keg? People under the age of 30, it's like 80 percent of people agree --

PERKINS: That's not true.

OLSON: Well, that is true.

WALLACE: Wait a minute. You answered his question. Now what's your answer to him?

PERKINS: First off, marriage is not to affirm adults. It's for the protection of children. And if love is the only factor, where you do you draw the boundary?

OLSON: Well, what the Supreme Court said in the cases that it decided last year involving the defense of marriage case, striking that down, is that children do matter. There are thousands and tens of thousands of children in same-sex households. They deserve the right to equality and the same respect and decency that other people have that are living right next door --

WALLACE: Mr. Perkins?

PERKINS: Well, we know from the social science that children do best with a mom and a dad. That's why our policies in this country have preferred marriage and given benefits to it.

But let me -- if love is the factor, what boundaries are there?

OLSON: You want the sky to fall because two people living next door to you --

PERKINS: No, I --

OLSON: What court after court after court has said, that allowing people of the same sex to marry the person that they love, to be part of the community and to be treated equally, does no damage to heterosexual marriage.

(CROSSTALK)

OLSON: And court after court after court has said children living in a same-sex relationship do as well or better than people in other communities.

PERKINS: The court doesn't study this social --

OLSON: The court heard evidence.

PERKINS: Let me ask you, what are the boundaries, though? If it's just love, what are the boundaries? Where can we go with marriage?

WALLACE: What are you suggesting? That they're going to be polygamy. That people will be marrying their pets?

(CROSSTALK)

PERKINS: No, I didn't say that. If we remove the natural established boundaries for marriage, the union of a man and woman, we have removed those boundaries, those guardrails.

There's no arbitrary boundary --

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: What about the argument that Ted Olson makes, which is, all right, you and your wife live happily in this house, there's a same-sex couple living here. What's the damage to you?

PERKINS: Let's talk about that. Let's talk about the wedding vendors that have been put out of business. Let's talk --

WALLACE: I'm not talking about that. That's a different issue.

PERKINS: No, it's --

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: It's a different issue. I'm asking you, what's the impact on you and your family to have these people living next door?

PERKINS: Let's talk about it. Let's talk about my children all of a sudden, in school are taught values and morals that contradict what I teach as a parent at home. That's happening already across the country in those states that have recognized and forced same-sex marriage on the states.

Let's talk about the business place, let's about Aaron and Melissa Klein, a bakery in Oregon, forced out of business, forced to pay $150,000 in fines, simply because they didn't want to participate in a same-sex marriage.

WALLACE: We're gong to get to that in a second. But your argument as to whether somehow this damages the Perkins to have another couple next door?

OLSON: Well, everyone who has ever talked about this says there's no heterosexual couple that is going to decide to get divorced or not to get married or not to raise children just because another couple next to them is treated equally and with respect and decency under our Constitution. That is why we have courts.

The same argument Mr. Perkins was making was made with respect to interracial marriages in 1967 -- 30 some states at one point prohibited interracial marriages.

And talk about the color of the skin? People were making the same arguments. Marriage is wrong between people of different races. We have to stop that.

When the Supreme Court finally acted, 16 states were still prohibiting interracial marriages.

As far as the marriage vendors, the people in the flower business or in the -- in the cake business or whatever it happens to be, we have a civil rights law that say if you're going to engage in commerce, you're not going to discriminate against people on the basis of their religion, sex or race. That's a simple solution to the problem. Massachusetts --

PERKINS: Driving them out of business?

OLSON: Massachusetts allowed same-sex marriage 10 years ago. Nobody has been put out of marriage --

(CROSSTALK)

OLSON: It's a canard.

PERKINS: It's not.

WALLACE: Mr. Perkins, I'm going to give you the final word. In your answer, I'd like you to talk about what role you think this will play in the 2016 Republican presidential battle.

PERKINS: Well, look, adoption agencies have been put out of the business in Massachusetts. Parents have been denied the right to determine the values their children are taught. It affects families. It affects all of Americans, and it's wrong for the court to take away the voice of the people.

I think it's an issue not only in 2016. Like Roe v. Wade, the court wanted it to go away 41 years ago. It's still here. This issue will be here for decades to come if the court does not allow the states and the people to deal with it.

WALLACE: Mr. Perkins, Mr. Olson, I want to thank you both so much for coming in today. I thought it was going to be interesting. It was indeed. And we will stay on top of this issue both in and outside of the courts. Thank you, gentlemen.

OLSON: Thank you, Chris.

WALLACE: Up next, the president's new war plan to defeat ISIS faces early setbacks. A Sunday group will assist where we stand.

Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about the Obama strategy? Just go to Facebook or Twitter @FoxNewsSunday, and we may use your question on the air.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: There have been certainly gains made by the Iraqi security forces in Iraq. I can go through some of those for you if that will be helpful. One moment. Sorry. Um --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Well, State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki this week struggling for more than 40 seconds to come up with successes of the Iraqi army in the fight against ISIS.

And it's time now for our Sunday group: Brit Hume, FOX News political analyst, Amy Walter from the Cook Political Report. Republican advisor Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and Bob Woodward of "The Washington Post."

While Psaki may have trouble, because the Iraqi army hasn't had many successes so far. Let's put up this map. ISIS is continuing its march through Anbar province all the way to the infamous town of Abu Ghraib, which is in Baghdad's western suburbs.

Meanwhile, Brit, so far, the Obama administration has failed so far at least to train up and equip the Iraqi army or the Kurdish Peshmerga.

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, when this strategy was first outlined, it seemed dubious to many people that it could ever accomplish its goal of defeating, destroying ISIS. It looked like it was designed more to contain ISIS, especially in Iraq.

Now, it looks like it may not succeed in doing that. At least the airpower alone is failing to do that. You can see the advances continue.

Obviously, it's hindered to some extent by the airstrikes which are not massive. They're, in fact, minimal -- one would have to say that. It may be because they don't have the knowledge to be able to target effectively for a larger, more robust air campaign. But so far, this is going badly, even if the goal were meanly to contain ISIS in Iraq.

WALLACE: By Friday, the State Department was doing a better job of describing the successes by the Iraqi, but not much better.

Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIE HARF, STATE DEPT DEPUTY SPOKESWOMAN: Iraqi security forces in and around Baghdad are strong, they're under constant assessment. The embassy remains open. We continue to conduct business.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Bob, is that what it's come to, that the fact that the U.S. embassy in Iraq and open and it is a success?

BOB WOODWARD, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, this is a mess, and it is the country's mess, not just President Obama's mess.

WALLACE: Which country? Ours?

WOODWARD: Everywhere. The whole world.

And, you know, this -- this -- Obama is clearly going through a wakeup call. He's got to come up with something to do here that's going to work. He said it's going to take years. He said he's going to destroy these people. A mighty ambitious goal and we're going to see.

I think the big question is, can -- you know, the war power is a shared power between the executive and the Congress, and can the president and the Congress get together and say, OK, this is how we're going to do it? This is going to be the strategy? If that could be done, we're in for a calamity.

WALLACE: Then there is the battle in Syria, which is centered around the town of Kobani, on the border from Syria and Turkey. There have been a number of air strikes by the U.S., but the Turkish army refuses to intervene. And even our allies among the Syrian rebels are turning against our refusal to go after the Assad regime.

Carly, we're seeing in Syria what happens when you don't have any ground forces as a partner. When we're doing our bombs but the Syrian rebels are not able to fight, and the Turks refuse to intervene.

CARLY FIORINA, FORMER CEO, HEWLETT PACKARD: We're also seeing in Syria the fact that we've never had a strategy. So, for several years, President Obama would say Bashar al Assad has to go, but he clearly doesn't believe that. I think our inconsistency there is inexplicable there now.

I mean, why not set up a buffer zone? Why not arm the Kurds? Why not establish a no-fly zone? Why not reach an agreement with the Turks about what needs to be done in Syria?

It's simply there's no explanation for it. And meanwhile, meanwhile, things continue to go from bad to worse in Syria.

WALLACE: So, are you saying that we should at this late date intervene? Because if we set up a new fly zone, we set up a buffer zone, we're taking sides against the Assad regime.

FIORINA: Well, gee, I thought that was the strategy. That's why I started with President Obama saying Bashar al Assad must go. Did he not mean that? Do we not think he's a tyrant who has to go? That's where I think this is all falling apart, because there clearly has been a pattern of inconsistency here.

Yes, we need to defeat ISIS. Yes, if Bashar al Assad is under pressure as a result of our strategy to do so, isn't that good? Isn't that what President Obama told you need to happened, that he should go?

WALLACE: We ask you for questions for the panel, and we got several like these on Facebook. David Mansfield writes, "Is every decision the president makes on how to best deal with ISIS based on political considerations than what is best for the security of our country?"

And Ellen Klage asks, "After the elections, will Obama's strategy change?"

Amy, how do you answer them? Is this -- this fight ISIS, this war against ISIS, is it all politics?

AMY WALTER, THE COOK POLITICAL REPORT: Well, there's politics going on in both countries. When we talk about Turkey, that's internal Turkish politics going on. What the prime minister wants is not necessarily what's best for the Americans. It's what's best for him and his hold on power.

And the American public, too, is really ambivalent about this. They can't quite figure out what they want to see. On the one hand, they don't want to see troops going onto the ground by Syria, but it's not by a big percentage, it's about 44 percent who favor troops going in.

Even Republicans are a little bit divided on this issue, 36 percent of Republicans say they don't want troops going in.

And yet, you ask the next question which is, do you think troops will go in? And Americans say, of course, we do. We know it's going to happen. We don't like it, but we know it's what's going to have to happen.

And they want Congress to take action, and right now, what Congress has done is punted. They don't want to talk about any of these issues before an election. They don't even want to talk about it when the election is over.

And that -- I agree with Bob there -- that's what needs to happen next. If we're going to get more involved in this, if we're going to be talking about troops, if we're going to be talking about any of these other issues, besides targeted airstrikes, Congress needs to weigh in. And there's not even a consistency in that issue.

HUME: It's unmistakable in a situation this, if the president wants the support of Congress and it's always useful to have it, it's unifying to have it, he needs to seek it. And if there's a goal here and the goal really is the destruction of ISIS, he needs to make the case before Congress and the public that the destruction of ISIS is an indispensable national security objective that must be achieved for our safety as a nation.

He needs to make that case, he needs to make it with some force, and he needs energetically to per sue a resolution of support from Congress.

My guess is, if he did that, he'd get it. But, you know, to speak of Congress, divided as it is between the two parties, as a place from which the idea, the support for this is going to emanate I think is unrealistic. It just doesn't happen --

WALTER: I think they don't want to vote on it --

(CROSSTALK)

HUME: I can't remember when it never has.

WALLACE: Wait, guys, let's not talk about Congress. The key is the president. And you've written at great length about this president and his feelings towards war.

Is he committed to defeating ISIS, destroying ISIS as he says he is? Or was this simply a case of you had those beheading videos, it was political pressure on him, he had to do something, you had the midterms, suddenly, security was becoming an issue, and once the midterms end, so will his commitment?

WOODWARD: Well, that's a great question. And as Carly points out, you know, what is the strategy here? Go back to 2009, I mean, it's really interesting. This was the moment when the Obama administration in its early months said we're going to reach out to Assad. We're going to reach out to the Syrians.

And this has not been reported, but the people in the intelligence community were so worried that they kept putting items in the top secret daily brief to the president, showing how bad Assad was, what a barbarian he was, so you can't try to work some deal with them . And so, then, there's finally reality descended here, but you know, we've had a series of realities, and you need a strategy that will go and -- you know, you do need Congress, you do need the public and say, the president --

WALLACE: The president is fully on board.

WOODWARD: Yes, so he's got to figure out and making a decision. He's made it very clear, very public he's going to destroy ISIS. We'll see.

WALLACE: We'll see. All right, panel. We have to take a break here. We'll see you all a little later.

So, what do you think? Is the president's plan working, or is it already in trouble? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter, @FoxNewsSunday and use the #fns.

Up next, with three weeks to the midterm election, we'll take a look at the races that will make or break Republican efforts to take over the Senate. Our election swamis, Karl Rove and Joe Trippi, go inside the numbers, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: The midterm elections are now just 23 days away with a number of tight Senate races to determine the balance of power in Washington. We've brought back our campaign gurus (INAUDIBLE). Our election night space cowboys or swamis to take us inside the hottest races, Karl Rove was the architect of George Bush's two presidential victories, and Joe Trippi has run a number of Democratic campaign. Gentlemen, welcome back. Karl, I asked you to give us -- your -- all right, show it. Oh, my gosh -- it looks like a snow globe. It's supposed to be ...

KARL ROVE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It says we're swamis, so these are our crystal balls.

WALLACE: Crystal balls. OK.

JOE TRIPPI: It has all the Republicans winning. I mean it's just like ...

WALLACE: Here we go. I ask -- oh, my gosh, I asked Karl to give us, gentlemen, your path to how the Republicans will gain control of the Senate on election day and here is your list of the top nine by the Democrats who can see flipping from Democrat to a Republican for most likely in the upper left, and least likely in the lower right. Most folks agree, Montana and West Virginia on the top of the list are going to go Republicans. But let's stop at South Dakota, former GOP governor Mike Rounds is suddenly in a much closer race against Democrat Rick Weiland and former Republican Senator Larry Pressler who's running as an independent. Karl, is South Dakota suddenly up for grabs?

ROVE: Well, I think at the end of the day for the Republican column, it's a sign of the desperation the Democrats that they are plunging $2.5 million into South Dakota here in the next 3 1/2 weeks in order to try and navigate their way through -- for candidate primary. There are three major candidates and a lesser candidate. I think at the end of the day Rounds survives, but this is going to be a -- barn burner and the Republicans have retaliated with at least a million dollar for the advertising on Rounds behalf.

WALLACE: Let's keep going, let's go to the next three races and all of this, and yes, I'm bringing out the peepers, to help me with all these numbers. Alaska where former Attorney General Dan Sullivan is pulling away from Democratic incumbent senator Mark Begich. Louisiana where Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy now has a lead over Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, and Arkansas where Democratic Senator Mark Pryor now trails Republican Congressman Tom Cotton. Joe, do you see all three of those flipping to Republicans? And what's the best chance for Democrats to hold on? JOE TRIPPI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: All three of those are moving in the wrong direction for Democrats, and all three of them, the Democrat incumbents are sitting in the very low 40S, or even 40 in Mark Pryor's case. So, look, they are tough. I think probably the best shot is Begich in Alaska, and maybe Mary Landrieu, but year, right now, you've got to start -- if you are Democrats, those three start to look (ph) the wrong way.

WALLACE: Just to follow up quickly. If you have a Democratic incumbent senator who's at 42, 43 percent ...

TRIPPI: No. It's -- Look, if you're under 50, it's a problem. If you're incumbent. This is -- this is -- this is one of the problems that may hurt Republicans in other states, but in these three states to be this low, to be this far under 45 is a huge problem. Undecideds are either going to stay home or break away from the incumbents in these races. There isn't a race I know of where the Undecideds break to the incumbent. They've already made their decision.

WALLACE: All right. Then there are what I would call the three tossups, Iowa where Republican state senator Joni Ernst has a narrow lead over Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley, this is an open seat. Karl, it's awfully close there. Why do you think this is going to go GOP?

ROVE: Well, first of all, the fact that she came through a bitter primary and has united the party in it so close is one thing. The second thing is, look at the ground -- the Democrats in Iowa have historically hit terrific ground game. And they beat the Republicans badly in early voting. In 2010, at this point they had 27,759 early ballots -- an advantage in early ballots requested. Today it is 21,924. At this point in 2010, they had a 22,352 advantage in returned ballots. This year they have under 12,000. Cut it almost in half. And remember, 2010 is a year where they lose the governor's race 54/43 and lose the Senate race to the Republicans, 64/33, so they are doing worse than they were doing in 2010 when the Republicans took the state.

WALLACE: All right. Let's turn to another one of the very close races, and that's where Colorado where Republican Congressman Cory Gardner is barely ahead, as you can see, just a point, 1.3 points, barely ahead of the Democratic incumbent senator Mark Udall. Joe, Udall only has made this one so much about women's issues that some people in Colorado are calling Mark Udall senator uterus. Is that going to work?

TRIPPI: That may work for him because like more women are likely to vote in this election down there, but, look, this is another race -- where incumbent below 45. The thing with Gardner is you have got a member of Congress running against the senator. It's probably a tough decision who hates Washington most of the -- I mean you know, you've got Republicans putting up a congressman there. And I think it's like -- it's like tying him -- Udall to Obama and trying Gardner to the crazy Republicans in Washington. And it's this one is going to go down to the wire there, I think I would look out for a huge turnout here. I think this is going to be a bigger turnout than even possibly in a presidential -- because the mail ballot and the fact that the Obama test bed for getting out its vote in 2012 happened in this state in 2010. They're going to put that to work for Udall.

WALLACE: Then there's North Carolina, which early on was seen as an almost sure pickup for the Republicans, but Democratic Senator Kay Hagan, as you can see, is hanging in there against Republican State House Speaker Thom Tillis. Here's a clip from their debate this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAY HAGAN (D) NORTH CAROLINA SENATOR: Speaker Tillis wants to make this race about the president. This race is about who is going to represent North Carolina in the U.S. Senate.

THOM TILLIS (R), NORTH CAROLINA SENATE CANDIDATE: When you vote with the president 96 percent of the time, you represent the president's policies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Karl, they don't like the president in North Carolina, but they also don't like their own state legislature.

ROVE: Yeah, but at the end of the day, the question is, do you want to send a message to Obama or not? And in this election, I thought it was interesting, the president is in the same shape he was in 2010, in a Gallup. 22 percent of the people in 2010 said they want to send a message of support for the president. 20 percent this year -- 30 percent in 2010 said they wanted to send a message of opposition to the president. 32 percent this year.

WALLACE: So, why is Kay Hagan hanging in there?

ROVE: She's been spending -- outspending Tillis by two to one, as we come down the final stages, you notice the most recent polls, three recent polls now have it at two point race. Since in the modern era, only one incumbent Senator of the president's party in the midterm election, has one reelection, if they are -- if they are at 45 percent or below. She is barely above 45 percent in the real clear politics. She's going to be -- there is going to be a barn burner right down the edge. Here's how close it is. In the early voting, Democrats lead by 548 early voters. In 2010 at this point, the Republicans led by 275, and they won the Senate race by 300,000 votes.

WALLACE: Karl also gave us a list of Republicans, because there are some Republican seats which are in jeopardy. Let's put those up on the screen. These are from most likely to least likely that Republicans could lose -- Kansas, Georgia and Kentucky. Let's focus on Kansas, where Independent Greg Orman has a small lead over incumbent Pat Roberts. They also had a debate this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREG ORMAN (I), KANSAS SENATE CANDIDATE: I've tried both parties and like a lot of Kansans I've been disappointed. PAT ROBERTS (R), KANSAS SENATOR: He doesn't want to answer the tough questions. If he can't answer them here, how is he going to answer them in Washington?

WALLACE: Joe, if we take your rule of thumb about incumbents in the low 40s being in trouble, Pat Roberts, I saw this 42.3 percent, how much trouble is he in in Kansas?

TRIPPI: I think he's gone. I just think he is. What part of the problem here ...

WALLACE: So, you see that as a Republican loss, Democratic pickup?

TRIPPI: Well, I don't know -- we don't know if it will be a Democratic pickup with Orman yet. But I just think ...

WALLACE: Yes, we do.

TRIPPI: But I think -- but I think the thing is, once -- the more you run against the Independent, the more the party establishment rallies around you, the more it actually helps the -- helps Orman in this race. So, all the Republicans (INAUDIBLE) rushing in to save Roberts I think hurts him. I think Orman wins this one.

WALLACE: Karl, you've said that Republicans -- You've kept saying Republicans have to come up with an alternative positive agenda for where they want to take the country over the next few years, but frankly they seem to be running on everything is falling apart under Obama and the Democrats. Is that enough to get them through the next few weeks?

ROVE: I disagree with you that that's what they're doing. If you look at like Cassidy's laid out a pretty robust healthcare plan, a lot of these people aren't emphasizing the things it will do. Dan Sullivan, energy development, and we're seeing this across the board, but it gets subordinated by the fact that in the television advertising each side has an easy, simple and significantly negative message. If you are a Republican, you point out how often your Democrat opponent is with Obama, and if you're a Democrat, you find out every personal foible or, you know, you accuse them of wanting to push granny over the cliff, or whatever, you know, or anti-woman, whatever the theme of the week is for Democrats.

WALLACE: Joe, about a minute left. There are a lot of trends favoring Republicans, unpopular president, six-year of a two-term president. Despite that, if you look at these races, particularly as we get to the so-called toss-up races, Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, Democrats are hanging in there, how do you explain it?

TRIPPI: Look, hanging in, again, I think part of this is, you know, Republicans in Congress have the lower ratings than the president, so you've got those two things fighting, but in the end here, look, this is an anti-incumbent year. That's why I think someone like Mitch McConnell, do not count that race in the Republican column. I think he could go out the window, too. You know, if you are seeing it, in the race after race here, there's an anti-Democratic thing going on, because of the Obama presidency, but there is an anti- incumbent fervor, that's what you think Pat Roberts -- I wouldn't count out Mitch McConnell, not even Kay Hagan seat in North Carolina.

WALLACE: The bottom line, three weeks out, things can change. I'll ask you again -- Who takes the Senate?

TRIPPI: I think -- I still think it's a jump ball right now, I really do.

WALLACE: Thanks for that. That was very helpful.

TRIPPI: Today, you have to give the edge to the Republicans. Absolutely. I've been saying five to eight seats, and it's still -- that much is still in play.

WALLACE: Karl.

ROVE: It's going to be close, but I think, look, second midterm elections are about the president's party. The president's job approval in Gallup is 39 percent in virtually all of these states, with exception of Michigan, which we didn't touch on. But with all of these states the president's job approval is below the national average in many of these states. For example, in West Virginia it's in the 20s. I think if the Republicans take the Senate, it will be a close, it will be a long night, it will take us until November, it may take us until January, but it's going to be, I think 51, 52, 53.

WALLACE: That's because there could be runoffs? If people don't get their will -- 50 percent.

ROVE: There will be a runoff in Louisiana, and because it's a ...

WALLACE: And where is it, Georgia?

ROVE: And Georgia -- Georgia requires statewide election officials to win with a majority, not a plurality.

WALLACE: So, that may be in January.

ROVE: All right. Karl Rove and Joe, thank you both. Thanks for coming in. I expect better crystal balls, maybe even swami hats by ...

(CROSSTALK)

ROVE: Only if you wear one.

TRIPPI: He brought in two faulty crystal ball.

ROVE: Only if you wear one.

WALLACE: We'll all be together election night to see just how right both of you are.

When we come back, our Sunday group joins the conversation about how the world will turn on election night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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 @foxnewssunday using #fns. Be part of the discussion and weigh in on the action every ""Fox News Sunday"."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you vote for President Obama in 2008, 2012?

ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES (D) KENTUCKY SENATE CANDIDATE: You know, this election isn't about the president. It's about ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know.

LUNDERGAN GRIMES: The making sure we put Kentuckians back to work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you ...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is trying to unseat Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, refusing three times to answer whether she voted for President Obama, either in 2008 or '12. And we're back now with the panel. While Grimes could certainly have handled it better, you can understand why she wants to distance herself from President Obama and why a bunch of Democrats want to. Take a look at this. These are the approval ratings for President Obama in a new Fox News poll in five states, including as you can see Kentucky. Even in the purple state of Colorado, his approval rating is only 36 percent. Brit, how big a drag is the president on these Democratic candidates?

HUME: He's a huge drag in an election which historically, that is the second midterm of a presidency turns on a president's popularity, which means that the key elements are in place for a big Republican year. There are some things that point in the other direction. One is that -- that Republican brand is in bad order with the public. In the House, where you know, you might expect to have major pickups, all the low-hanging fruit in the House was already picked in 2010, and in the Senate races, the wild card in the deck is the turnout situation. If I were viewing this election before 2012, from a pre-2012 lens, I would say it's going to be a Republican washout across the board, and even those candidates who are behind (INAUDIBLE) win. But the Democrats did something in 2012 to elect the president, which is to say the greatest voter mobilization effort in history. That is not at all clear that they can replicate this year. But if they can, it changes the equation, and I think it's the main reason why so many of us are not prepared to say that there's going to be a Republican wave.

WALLACE: Amy is the one of us who is (INAUDIBLE), those time looking at politics one, it's one thing to turn out Obama voters for Obama than it is to turn them out for some Democratic senator or congressman they may not care about. What do you think are the chances that they can recalibrate that repeat, that turnout? And why isn't this given all the factors, why isn't this more of a wave election for Republicans, at least as it looks so far?

WALTER: Well, if you look at the averages, the average seat in a bad year in the six-year election, would be a six-seat loss in the Senate. And that would be the Senate majority. So I think, look, we knew from the very beginning there were seven seats in trouble for Democrats. There were seven states that Mitt Romney had won. They just needed to win six of those. That hasn't changed at all. What's changed, is the fact that the map actually got bigger. And so I think if we're looking for a wave, it would be that Republicans don't just win those states that Mitt Romney carried, but they win a Colorado or an Iowa. So I think the day after the election, that's what we're going to be looking at. Because that's a bigger take not just on 2014, but going to Brit's point about turnout and mobilizing voters, can Republicans crack that code, turn out the voters in purple states like Iowa, like New Hampshire, like Colorado, in a year where everything is going right for them. If they can't, if they lose those states, that suggests they do have bigger problems. Because ...

WALLACE: Advisedly it's 23 days out. How does it look to you? Does it look at this point like there's ...

WALTER: I do think that Republicans have the advantage now. When they've got -- you put up those numbers. You've already got five seats that are leaning towards Republicans right now, they have got to find one more without losing any of their own. And, you know, when you have to get one out of four states, those odds certainly with Republicans right now. And the Democrats don't like the idea that what we have just talked about on this show, it's -- and we're not talking about how bad Republicans are, we're talking about Ebola and ISIS, not things Democrats wanted to talk about 23 days out.

WALLACE: Carly, I had a little bit of a disagreement with Karl about the question of whether there is a Republican agenda, about individual candidates Cory Gardner, Colorado has an agenda. But there certainly is not a national Republican agenda. Is that a problem?

FIORINA: Well, I do think that Republicans if -- and I think when -- we take control of the Senate, are going to have to demonstrate that they can govern. And I think that's why you see Reince Priebus coming out with an 11-point plan, think it's why you see people like Senator Ron Johnson working with others on both the Senate side and the House side to put together an agenda. Yes. I do ...

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: If you asked the average voter what's the Republican plan for 2015? I don't think they can say it. FIORINA: But they couldn't answer it for Democrats, either, with all due respect. What's the Democratic plan to get the economy back growing and growing again? There's no answer to that. So I think no one is talking about a national plan right now, but I think Karl is absolutely right. In these individual races I think we're going to win Colorado, for example, I think we're going to win Iowa. I think both Cory Gardner and Joni Ernst have very clear platforms about what they think the priorities of this nation should be.

WALLACE: Three weeks out, what strikes you about this election?

WOODWARD: I think the question is what's on voters' minds? And I think it is the economy still, shaky, the stock market drop causes a lot of anxiety, foreign policy, ISIS, to say the least, Ebola, and so that brings you to the leadership question in the White House, and people are going to make an assessment on that. And those polls show that, whether people are -- if as Karl Rove says and hopes, people are going to send a message to Obama for -- by voting for Republicans, we don't know. It still is three weeks away, and, you know, Obama knows it's a leadership test, and I think in that three weeks, he might try to do something in some of these areas that shows he's in charge.

WALLACE: At this point, would you agree that rather than the economy, where there doesn't seem to be a clear different path between the two parties, it's more just a sense of things seem out of control? As you say, whether it's Ebola, whether it's ISIS, whether it's the secret service failing, I mean some of this you can't blame on the president, but just a feeling things aren't working in Washington?

WOODWARD: Yeah, and the deep anxiety, and the polls show that. And the question is how do you mobilize the voters? But also in the next three weeks, you know, every potential voter is going to be watching candidates to a certain extent, but what is Obama doing? And how does he further define or fail to define himself? We will see.

WALLACE: So, not only an October surprise, a late October surprise.

WOODWARD: Possibly.

WALLACE: Thank you panel. See you next Sunday. Up next our power player of the week, taking us behind the scenes of the White House.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: If you're thinking about coming to Washington anytime soon, you may want to plan for another stop on your tour of the nation's capital. It features historical treasures on display for the first time, as well as cutting-edge technology. Here is our "Power Player of the Week."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART MCLAURIN, WHITE HOUSE HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION: The White House is special not only to Americans, but the White House is special to the world.

WALLACE: Stewart McLaurin is president of the White House Historical Association. And he's talking about the new visitors' center for the president's home.

MCLAURIN: You can spend time here and really get behind the scenes, and understand what it was like to live there as a family or work there as the president.

WALLACE: There's the Chief Usher's desk where Woodrow Wilson signed the Declaration starting World War One, and the Gold Eagle that sat atop the White House flagpole for almost a century.

There was an interactive program that allows you to four dimension, past and present.

MCLAURIN: You can drag around to see the entire state dining room. You can look on the ceiling, look at the chandelier, and you can see where this -- how this room looked differently under different presidencies, in 1870s, in 1903 when Theodore Roosevelt redid this ...

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAURIN: In 1948, the Truman renovation, much different.

WALLACE: There's also a movie where former residents like Barbara Bush talk about what it was like to live over the store.

BARBARA BUSH: I remember looking out the window in the upstairs end room and looking over at George's office. And it was very cozy.

WALLACE: Since 9/11 it's harder to get a White House tour. Now you have to go through your member of Congress, or for foreign visitors through your embassy.

WALLACE (on camera): Is this center for people who are going to the White House or for people who aren't going to the White House?

MCLAURIN: It's for both. It enhances the experience for people who go to the White House and it creates an experience for those who don't have that opportunity.

WALLACE (voice over): A couple of blocks from the White House, the visitors' center used to look like this. But after a two-year renovation, it now looks like this. There's a display where you can learn what presidents liked to eat.

MCLAURIN: Do you know whose favorite food was squirrel soup?

WALLACE (on camera): Abraham Lincoln. James Garfield.

(voice over): Well, I was off by 21 years.

There's even an unintentional reference to recent security breaches.

MCLAURIN: This is the replica of the door knob of the front door to the White House on the north portico.

WALLACE (on camera): Wait. Wait. Wait. This one is locked.

(LAUGHTER)

WALLACE (voice over): The Historical Association has committed more than $12 million to the center in partnership with the National Parks Service. Association funding is all private, mostly from selling White House Christmas ornaments. It also uses the money to preserve the state rooms and buy more treasures for the White House collection. The point, to get people more engaged in the people's house.

MCLAURIN: This visitors' center puts all of that in context and brings it to life for the visitor, so you can go behind those iron gates and experience and understand what the White House is like for the president and the first family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: McLaurin estimates more than 1 million people a year will tour the new visitors' center and most won't be able to get into the White House itself. He hopes to make the center the next best thing.

Now, this program note. Next Sunday, just two weeks before the midterm election and the battle for control of the Senate, we'll have an exclusive debate between the Republican and Democratic national party chairs, Reince Priebus and Debby Wasserman-Schultz. That's next week only on "Fox News Sunday."

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Sunday September 25, 2016

Sunday, on the day before the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, we’ll speak to Trump’s running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, about how the campaign is preparing for the biggest political event of the year so far.

Sunday—as Hillary Clinton gets ready to debate Donald Trump—we speak with Chief Strategist Joel Benenson to discuss how the campaign is preparing for the big event. It’s a Fox News Sunday exclusive.