Just 2 days after Donald Trump’s Inauguration, we’ll discuss Trump’s first weekend in office in an exclusive sit down with Reince Priebus. His first Sunday interview as White House Chief of Staff.
Sen. Cruz leads charge against Obama's executive action; Rep. Becerra on if plan can fix broken immigration system; Greg Abbott on president's unilateral reform
Written by Chris Wallace / Published November 23, 2014 / Fox News Sunday
Special Guests: Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Gov.-elect Greg Abbott
This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," November 23, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.
President Obama sits off a furor, sidestepping Congress to shield millions of illegals from deportation.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The actions I'm taking are not only lawful, they're the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican president and every single Democratic president for the past half century.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The president has taken actions that he himself said are those of the king or an emperor, not an American president.
WALLACE: How will the new GOP responds? We'll ask Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who's leading the charge against the president's actions.
Will the executive order fix a broken system? We'll talk with one of the plan's top advocates, House Democratic caucus chair, Xavier Becerra.
Then, did President Obama break the law?
ATTORNEY GENERAL GREG ABBOTT, TEXAS GOVERNOR-ELECT: The president has no legal authority to grant legal status to people who are here in the United States illegally.
WALLACE: We'll ask Texas attorney general and governor-elect, Greg Abbott, who says he will sue the president on behalf of his state.
Plus, nuclear talks with Iran stall ahead of tomorrow's deadline. We'll ask our Sunday panel about chances for a deal.
And, our power player of the week, telling intimate stories of people on the street through photographs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do they open up to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I think because I'm genuinely interested and I'm a stranger.
WALLACE: All, right now, on “Fox News Sunday.”
WALLACE: And hello again from FOX News Washington.
We begin with breaking news: Marion Barry, called "Washington, D.C.'s mayor for life", died this morning.
Barry was elected to four terms, but is also known for his conviction after being taped smoking crack cocaine in a Washington hotel room. After serving prison time, he made a remarkable comeback winning election to a final term as mayor in 1994. Marion Barry was 78 years old.
The town of Ferguson, Missouri, is bracing for the grand jury's decision on whether to charge Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. But sources close to the investigation tell FOX News that announcement won't come until tomorrow at the earliest.
Let's get an update now from FOX News correspondent Mike Tobin in Ferguson -- Mike.
MIKE TOBIN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Chris.
The command center here has not kicked into action. Police are operating in 12-hour shifts already, but despite the likelihood that announcement will not come today. In, Clayton, Missouri, barricades have gone up where the grand jury has been meeting, that's also where the county police are headquartered. Downtown Ferguson, in West Florissant Avenue, stores are boarded up, many of the store owners have never rebuilt since their places before ransacked in the mayhem this summer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DELLENA JONES, BUSINESS OWNER: I think that it's important that the people, out-of-towners, whomever that comes in, or people that are here that are not wanting to protest peacefully or want to cause confusion, need to know there's an aftermath to their confusion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TOBIN: Area gun stores, however, are cashing in, sales up 300 percent due to the insecurity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN KING, GUN SHOP OWNER: Every single person has come into the story, including the ones we just sold this morning, have said they're buying these firearms simply because they're afraid of what's going to happen after the grand jury makes their decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TOBIN: And the demonstrators are still out just about every night. Last night, 75 of them blocked terrific and confronted police in riot gear. No major clashes. One was led away bound in zip strips.
Now, that grand jury has the opportunity to charge Darren Wilson with a range of four different charges, starting with first degree murder down to involuntary manslaughter. However, if four of the grand jurors agree the shooting was justified, he won't be charged at all -- Chris.
WALLACE: Mike Tobin reporting from Ferguson -- Mike, thanks for that. With the stroke of a pen, President Obama moved this week to shield some 4 million illegal immigrants from being deported. But Republicans say he's exceeded his constitutional powers, and they are planning their response.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz is one of the sharpest critics of the president's action.
Senator Cruz, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday.”
SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Good morning, Chris. Always good to be with you.
WALLACE: Senator, I want to separate policy from process, what the president did, from how he did it. The president says that he's using his prosecutorial discretion to go after the bad guys and not to go after parents of people who are in this country legally. Here's how he explained it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who's working hard to provide for her kids. We'll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senator, what's wrong with that policy?
CRUZ: Well, the notion that this is just prosecutorial discretion is simply nonsense. The Constitution gives Congress the authority to establish our immigration laws. What the president announced this week is a wholesale refusal to follow our immigration laws, to enforce our immigration laws. Number one, for 4 million to 5 million people here illegally, he's promising to print up and give work authorization. Essentially, he's gotten in the job of counterfeiting immigration papers, because there's no legal authority to do what he's doing. He's simply giving worth authorization and claiming unilateral authority.
But, secondly, the memo that he put out -- not the speech, but the memo he put out to the Department of Homeland Security says they are not to enforce immigration laws other than for violent criminals and a few discreet categories, but for most of the 12 million people here illegally, the president is instructing the executive branch to no longer enforce the immigration laws. It is a stunning and sad display of a president declining to honor his constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
WALLACE: Well, I want to pick up on that because we talk about policy. But I also want to talk about the process and the fact that the president is doing this by executive action. He says there is a long precedent for chief executives to do exactly that. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The actions I'm taking are not only lawful, they're the kinds of actions taking by every single Republican president and every single Democratic president for the past half century.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senator, Presidents Reagan and Bush 41 took executive action to grant legal status to about a million and a half people who are in this country illegally. What's the difference?
CRUZ: You know, as a matter of constitutional law, the claim the president just made there is frivolous, which I would note, he acknowledged 22 times over the last five years, over and over again, that he had no constitutional authority to do this, until suddenly he decided it would be politically beneficial to do so.
The difference between Reagan and Bush is both of them were working with Congress and implementing congressional statutes. Absolutely, Congress can change the immigration law and the president in the course of executing the immigration laws, can put congressional well into effect.
The difference here is this is not a president who wants to work with Congress. Rather, this is a president who is openly defying Congress.
And, you know, Chris, I actually can't put it any better than "Saturday Night Live" put it last night, where they reprised the old "Schoolhouse Rock", you remember how a bill becomes a law? And "Saturday Night Live" literally had the president pushing the bills down the steps of the Capitol, because we no longer need the steps in the Constitution for how we pass laws, because the president now is claiming unilateral authority the Constitution doesn't give him.
I'll tell you, the danger of that, Chris, is it's not just on the substance here. The substance is very damaging to working men and women across the country, but it's a far broader danger for anyone concerned about liberty, because if this president can impose his own immigration laws unilaterally, then the next president can impose his own laws, whether it's immigration, whether it's tax, whether it's labor, whether it's environmental --
CRUZ: -- we stop having a constitutional system of checks and balances that's protected our liberty, and we move just to unilateral executive authority. Essentially using the president's own word, it's the power of a monarch or an emperor.
WALLACE: Senator, the question then, of course, is how to respond, and there's quite a split within your party.
As I understand it, what you're saying is that the Republican should vote to fund the governments for all departments except one, and that is that you would attach a rider, an amendment, to funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which handles immigration, taking back or rescinding his executive action, and that the thought is if he vetoes that, he's responsible for shutting down the department.
The problem is that's almost exactly what you did with the government shutdown across the entire government in 2013 with Obamacare, and it backfired badly on your party.
CRUZ: Well, Chris, look, I'm going to suggest a very simple proposition. All across this country, Republicans campaigned, saying: if you elect a Republican Senate, we will stop President Obama's illegal amnesty.
My very simple suggestion to my colleagues and friends in the Republican Party is we need to honor what we said. We need to actually do what we said two weeks ago on the campaign trail.
Now, I've laid out a detailed, systematic plan --
WALLACE: Sir, because we have limited time, is that what you're saying you would do? You would attach a rider to funding for just the one Department of Homeland Security?
CRUZ: Chris, I've laid out a detailed, systematic plan for what Congress should do? We should use the constitutional checks and balances that we have to rein in the abuse of power of the executive.
Step number one that I have called for is the incoming majority leader should announce if the president implements this lawless amnesty, that the Senate will not confirm any executive or judicial nominees, other than vital national security positions, for the next two years, unless and until the president ends this lawless amnesty.
WALLACE: Sir, let me pick -- if I may, let me pick up on that.
CRUZ: That is an explicit authority given to the Senate.
WALLACE: If I may, let me pick up right on that, because -- are you saying the Senate should refuse to confirm Loretta Lynch, the president's new nominee for attorney general and thereby leave Eric Holder, who you don't like very much, in that position even longer?
CRUZ: Chris, what I'm saying is we should use the constitutional checks and balances we have to rein in the executive. You know, if the read the Federalist Papers, in the Federalist Papers, our Framers talked about a president who would behave like a monarch, that would rule by diktat and decree rather than following the Constitution --
WALLACE: Sir, I understand that. I'm asking a direct question, though. Would you -- would you block Loretta Lynch's confirmation as attorney general and leave Eric Holder in the job? CRUZ: In my view, the majority leader should decline to bring to the floor of the Senate any nomination other than vital national security positions. Now, that is a serious and major step. It is a power the majority leader has, and nobody else has any ability to alter -- if the majority leader announced that, it would impose real consequences on the president and the administration.
WALLACE: All right. I --
CRUZ: And the second big check we've got, the second constitutional power we've got is the power of the purse, and we should fund one at a time the critical priorities of the federal government, but also use the power of the purse to attach riders. We've got to demonstrate that the campaign words Republicans used on the trail were more than just talk, that we're willing to honor our commitment.
WALLACE: But you're willing to shut down departments and you're willing to take the backlash? I mean, it didn't work very well with Obamacare, sir.
CRUZ: Well, let met point on you, you notice, at the time, you and a lot of folks in the press said what a disaster it was to stand up and fight on Obamacare. That it was going to cost Republicans the majority. It was going to cost seats.
Let me point out, we just had an historic election where we won. It's going to end up being nine seats in the Senate. We retired Harry Reid. We've got the biggest majority in the House since the 1920s. And the number one issue that candidates campaigned on was Obamacare.
Now, listen, it was a mistake for President Obama and Harry Reid to force a government shutdown, but it was not a mistake for Republicans to stand up and fight on Obamacare. And not only did the disaster that a lot of folks predicted not happen, it was the biggest victory we've had in a long time. Republicans need to actually do what we say we will do, and not just have a lot of empty smoke.
WALLACE: Senator Cruz, we're going to have to leave there. Thank you so much. Always a pleasure to talk with you, sir.
CRUZ: Always good to be with you, Chris.
WALLACE: Now for the other side, let's bring in the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, Xavier Becerra.
Congressman, welcome back.
REP. XAVIER BECERRA, D-CALIF., DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS CHAIRMAN: Always good to be with you, Chris.
WALLACE: Well, you and Senator Cruz agree with that.
As with Senator Cruz --
BECERRA: That's about all.
WALLACE: -- I want to separate policy from process, what he did and how he did it.
The president said he wants to focus on felons, not families, but take a look at the record. In 2011 and 2012, the last years for which there are numbers available, the government processed 100,000 parents of U.S. citizens for deportation, the people that they're going to be shielded (ph). That's 15 percent of total deportations.
Are you saying, is the president saying, the government, yes, we could have caught criminals, we could have caught more gang members, but we decided instead to go after parents?
BECERRA: No. What the president is saying, is because the law is broken, the system is broken, we don't have a priority in what we should do with these broken laws. We should try to focus on going after the criminals, because we know there are still criminals out there who are here without documents. So, rather than go after the families, go after the felons.
I think it's clear what he's trying to say there, and it's breathtaking to listen to Senator Cruz to talk about these things that not only are inaccurate, I think are absolutely wrong. It's not only legal for the president to take executive action, it's common. As the president said, every president since Eisenhower, every single president has taken executive action but on immigration as well.
WALLACE: I'm going to pick on that in a moment.
In his speech, though -- I mean, part of the question is, the president is saying, well, I'm going to after the bad guys. I'm not going to go after the families. The president talks a lot about tougher enforcement on the border, but he offered absolutely no details in his speech, nor did he on the memo that accompanied that speech.
BECERRA: Actually, he did.
WALLACE: Let me ask a couple questions.
BECERRA: But he did.
WALLACE: A couple more questions.
Is he sending more agents to border? Is he building more fences? Is he creating more virtual technology to patrol the border? Is he doing any -- what specifically is she doing to crack down on illegal border crossings?
BECERRA: And the president specifically said --
BECERRA: -- that he will take resources -- if he can't get more resources from Congress, he will rather that use them in the interior to go after families, he will use them to go after felons, and put them on the border. So, he's going to put a concentration --
WALLACE: So, he said he would put people there when there was the influx this summer of unaccompanied children. He didn't talk about putting anymore --
BECERRA: Different resources. For the children, it wasn't a matter of trying to apprehend them. They were coming to us. Now, he's talking about using resources.
WALLACE: So, how many more agents is he going to put on the border?
BECERRA: That's what he has to give specificity on. But he has said he will take --
WALLACE: Is he going to build any more fences?
BECERRA: Again, the resources, if the Congress gives him resources, he can do a whole lot more.
WALLACE: In other words, he's going to take executive, ignoring Congress, but then he's going to ask Congress for the money to ignore what they --
BECERRA: No, he said if Congress is unwilling to act -- and remember it's been 17 months since Congress was willing to take action on immigration reform to fix the system. So, he said, in fact, he said it in January in the State of the Union -- if Congress won't act, I will.
And so, for the longest time, we have known he's going to act.
WALLACE: All right.
BECERRA: But what he's doing is no different from what any other president has done and as you said, what Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr. did was very similar to what the president is doing. Absolutely.
WALLACE: No, here's the difference. No, here's the difference. And this is what Senator Cruz said and I have to say I think he's right about this. Reagan and Bush 41 acted after a major immigration reform bill was passed, Simpson/Mazzoli in 1986. Please, sir? A major bill was passed in 1986, and he was cleaning up after what they did.
This president is going around Congress and ignoring that. There is a difference there, sir.
BECERRA: There's a difference in time. Show me where in the Constitution that says, you can have executive action if you do it within three days or three years of a law, but you can't do it if it's three years and one day? C'mon, Chris, the Constitution is very clear.
WALLACE: But how long it's been there was comprehensive immigration? What's he cleaning up about?
BECERRA: See what happens?
WALLACE: A light just went out.
BECERRA: That's what happens. You have a situation where Congress has been unwilling to act. The Senate passed a bipartisan bill. The House has been sitting --
WALLACE: I understand, but --
BECERRA: -- on it for 514 days.
BECERRA: And so, the president is saying, if you won't act, I'll do what I can under the law.
WALLACE: You know what? You don't have to argue with me. You can argue with the president, because here's the point. More than 20 times, Cruz says 22 times, the president said he didn't have the authority to do exactly --
BECERRA: That's not true.
WALLACE: Would you let me --
BECERRA: That's not true.
WALLACE: It's better if I get to ask the question.
BECERRA: -- what the president say.
WALLACE: You know what? I will. The president has said he didn't have the authority to do exactly what he did do this week. Take a look.
BECERRA: No. Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm the president of the United States. I'm not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECERRA: Right. He cannot change a law. He can only security them. The Supreme Court as recently as of two years ago said the president has broad discretion to execute the laws.
WALLACE: He was specifically asked in that. That was a Google Hangout in 2013. He was specifically asked, can't you do something to not split up these families? When you got a child, he was specifically asked about this case, when you've got a child who is here legally, don't deport the parent.
And he said, I'm not a monarch, I'm not a king. I can only do what Congress allows me to do.
He was saying he couldn't do this. He said it 22 times.
BECERRA: He said he couldn't change the law, and he was hoping Congress would act, that he went ahead and took action -- by the way, you mischaracterized what he did. He didn't grant legal status to a single soul. He simply is deferring the deportation. All these folks are still deportable. What he's doing is --
WALLACE: Then, why didn't he do it back in 2013?
BECERRA: Because he was hoping Congress would pass the Senate bipartisan immigration bill, which would --
WALLAE: So, those 22 times when he said, I can't do this --
BECERRA: He said he can't change the law, which is absolutely true. But he had the discretion to try to make a law work better and smarter. Chris, the solution is very simple here. It's not to impeach the president that's abusive. It's not to --
WALLACE: (INAUDIBLE) talking about impeaching the president except the Democrats, sir.
BECERRA: It's not to have one branch of government sue another branch of government. And it's certainly not as Senator Cruz is implying, to shut down the government again. It's to pass a law. Passing a law, congressional action trumps any executive action.
But here we are, 17 months since the Senate passed a bipartisan bill and House Republicans won't do a thing.
WALLACE: Let me say in this case, executive action is trumping congressional inaction.
Congressman Becerra, thank you.
BECERRA: This is a game-changer. We're going to get this done, and this is a game changer that will help us get this done.
WALLACE: Thanks for coming in today. Always good to talk with you too, sir.
BECERRA: Thank you.
WALLACE: So, what do you think, does the president have the power to take this executive action? And how should Republicans respond?
Let me know on Facebook or Twitter @FoxNewsSunday, and use the #FNS.
Up next, legal experts say it's the states that have a chance of beating the president in court. We'll talk with a newly elected governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, who already says he's going to sue Mr. Obama.
WALLACE: The battle over President Obama's decision to ignore Congress and take executive action on immigration extends far beyond Washington.
In Texas, attorney general and newly elected Republican governor, Greg Abbott, has announced what he's going to do.
Governor-elect Abbott joins us now.
And welcome for the first time to “Fox News Sunday.”
GREG ABBOTT, R-TEXAS, GOVERNOR-ELECT: Thank you, Chris.
WALLACE: You've said you are going to sue President Obama for taking this executive action. On what grounds?
ABBOTT: Several grounds. One is what the president has done violates the Take Care Clause under Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution, requiring that the president take care to faithfully execute the laws.
Now, understand this is no little trinket in the Constitution. At the constitutional convention itself, they considered whether or not the president should have the authority to dispense with enforcing certain laws, and they decided, no, they didn't want to give the president that authority. They wanted to ensure the president would be limited in his authority and ensure that the president would take care to execute the laws passed by Congress.
In this case, the president is violating that Take Care Clause.
WALLACE: Let me pick up on that, and you can give other reasons in a moment, because a number of legal scholars say that the president can make the argument that he's faithfully executing the law. They point out that in the last fiscal year, the Border Patrol arrested half a million for crossing the border, and so therefore, he's faithfully executing the law, they would argue, and that this is simply a matter of prosecutorial discretion.
ABBOTT: Two points about that. One is what the president is doing by this doesn't have anything to do with the arrests he's making on the border. It has to do with the fact that he is dispensing with the immigration law as it currently exists and is rewriting that law. That was the purpose behind the "take care to faithfully execute the law" in the Constitution.
Second, this is not prosecutorial discretion. Prosecutorial discretion is when a president or the attorney general, or whoever, decides they are not going to prosecute someone because of lack of resources or something like that. What the president is doing here is giving affirmative benefits to people who are here illegally. That is not prosecutorial discretion. That is rewriting the immigration laws to help those the president wants to help.
WALLACE: OK. Experts say that states may have a better chance than Congress in being granted standing, that they are an interested party and that the case is legitimate, being granted standing in the courts, because they can demonstrate actual harm, that they have suffered damages from the action taken by the president, harder for Congress to do that.
As the attorney general of Texas, about to be the new governor of Texas, what harm, what harm will Texas suffer as a result of the president's actions?
ABBOTT: Texas suffered direct consequences from the 2012 DACA. And that is what led --
WALLACE: That was the deferred action that allowed a lot of the DREAMers to stay in the country.
ABBOTT: Exactly. And in the aftermath of the 2012 DACA is when we begin to see 1,000 people a day coming across the border, often telling border patrol agents the reason why they were coming across the border, and not hiding when they got here, but actually turning them in into border patrol agent, was because they believed the 2012 DACA allowed them to come here.
We believe also that in the aftermath of this presidential order, we're going to face the same challenges in Texas that we did after the 2012 DACA.
WALLACE: Even though the president says that if you just come over the border now, you're not covered?
ABBOTT: The president also said the same thing after the 2012 DACA.
Understand this -- the people coming from Central America are typically not legal scholars who look into the depths of what the president is saying. Remember this also, Chris, and that it was the cartels in Mexico who are selling this to the people in Central America, using them and extorting from them the passageway toward Texas.
So, we are going to continue -- the state of Texas will continue to come out of pocket. Right now, we are spending more than $15 million a month just for law enforcement alone. We have thousands of children who have come here as unaccompanied minors in our schools that Texans are having to foot the bill for.
I sent a letter to Jeh Johnson asking --
WALLACE: He's the secretary of Homeland Security.
ABBOTT: Asking the federal government to reimburse the state of Texas for the millions of dollars we are incurring in cost because of the DACA. We will be amending that to ask for reimbursement for what we are facing in the aftermath of this presidential order.
WALLACE: You're saying that these presidential actions encourage more immigration, illegal immigration, and that that is costing the state money in terms of government services?
ABBOTT: It's an absolute fact in the aftermath of DACA. We believe that that proves the same thing will happen in the aftermath of this presidential order.
As a result, one other thing, just real quick, Chris. And that is -- this goes always to what we saw, what the Supreme Court said for jurisdictional purposes in Massachusetts versus EPA, and it's Parens Patria Doctrine, when Massachusetts wasn't harmed nearly as much in Massachusetts versus EPA, as Texas has been in this case.
So, we think we have standing better than any other state to be able to assert this claim against the president.
WALLACE: I was surprised to learn as I studied up on in taking this action, that when you take the president to court on this executive action that he has announced this week, this will be 391st lawsuit that you have filed against this president. How come?
ABBOTT: Because this president, more than any other president, has abdicated his responsibility to uphold and enforce this Constitution.
Remember this also, of those cases that have been finally decided, I have won a majority of those cases. Look what happened recently this past summer when the United States Supreme Court said the president violated the Constitution with the appointment to the National Labor Relations Board.
Look at what's going on now that the United States Supreme Court has taken another case involving Obamacare because of executive action. We have a president who feels completely unconstrained by the Constitution. Attorneys General across the United States of America are the leaders in stepping up holding this president accountable to the United States Constitution. If we don't have the Constitution enforced, it will lead to dire consequences in our future.
WALLACE: You have called this president a lawless president, a lawless chief executive. Really?
ABBOTT: Whenever the president of the United States not only doesn't follow the law, but adamantly refuses to follow the law, the way that he's done with regard to this particular executive order, the way that the president has unilaterally altered the terms of Obamacare, that is the epitome of lawlessness. And once the chief executive of the United States of America refuses to abide by the law and the Constitution of the this country, that leads to dire consequences for our future if we don't have attorneys general making sure the president abides by the law.
WALLACE: Governor-elect Abbott, thank you, thanks for flying in from Texas. We will follow your lawsuit in the courts, sir.
ABBOTT: Thank you.
WALLACE: Congratulations as well.
ABBOTT: My pleasure. Thanks.
WALLACE: Good to have you here, first, I hope of many times.
ABBOTT: I look forward to it.
WALLACE: Coming up, what does the president's executive action mean for our immigration system and for getting anything done in Washington the next two years? Our Sunday group joins the conversation.
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel? Just go to Facebook or Twitter @FoxNewsSunday and we may use your question on the air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And don't let a disagreement over a single issue be a deal breaker on every issue. That's not how our democracy works.
JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO, HOUSE SPEAKER: As I warned the president, you can't ask the elected representatives of the people to trust you to enforce the law if you're constantly demonstrating that you can't be trusted to enforce the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner after battle lines are drawn following the president's executive order to shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation. And it's time now for our Sunday group. Syndicated columnist George Will. Julie Pace, who covers the White House for the Associated Press. Kimberley Strassel from "The Wall Street Journal," and Ron Fournier from "The National Journal." Julie, as our person inside the White House, how are White House officials reacting to the response of far from Republicans? Are they surprised that the Republicans have been fairly measured so far, and are they a little disappointed by that?
JULIA PACE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: They may be a little bit disappointed. I think one thing that they would point out to folks who asks about this, is that the Republicans haven't been able to come up with a cohesive strategy. And there's still a lot of discussion on whether they try to do something legislatively, whether there's a focus on lawsuits? If there are other options that are under discussion as well, but I think that the White House certainly wouldn't be too sad if the Republicans tried to overreach and do something incredibly bold right now. They feel like the president does have legal standing on this, they feel like he's taking action that while, the public may not agree with how he did it, they may agree with what he actually did, and with the practical results of it.
WALLACE: We asked you for questions from the panel. We got this on Facebook from Bill Bushaw. He writes, "We have repeatedly heard GOP leadership, in quotes, talk big, but then cut a back-room deal or cave altogether. If they won't take a stand against this, when will they ever? And is there even any purpose in having a Congress anymore? This is not what I voted for."
George, we keep hearing about the danger of overreaction from Republicans. Is there also a danger of under-reaction? How do you answer, Bill?
GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I tell Bill that worrying about a Republican under-reaction on the subject of immigration is a refreshing novelty.
WILL: In fact, there are several Republican factions here. The Republican base, including talk radio and all the rest, is inflamed about immigration. The Republican Party as a whole, however, judging by exit polls, is approximately where the president is on policy, not on the process, but on policy. A majority of Republicans favor a clear path not just to legalization, but to citizenship. So the party itself is not a cohesive whole in this regard, and their refusing to be provoked I think indicates that the Republican politicians know that there are both of these factions to be dealt with. They can do many things, they can have funding fights, and confirmation fights and all the rest, but the big fight is 2016, and the question is will a Republican run for president reversing the U.S. Army's motto? The U.S. Army's -- says, be all that you can be, and the next president has to run saying, actually, I'm going to restore constitutional equilibrium and we'll try to be less than I can be as a force in this town.
WALLACE: Ron, big question -- you've been around here a while -- as some of us except for these kids here on the panel.
RON FOURNIER, NATIONAL JOURNAL: I'm old, thank you very much.
WALLACE: Me too. What do you think of what you saw? What do you think of the president's policy? What do you think of the way he went about it? What do you think about the promise, but not much specificity about tougher enforcement? FOURNIER: And two facts and two conclusions, all four quick. The facts are, as George mentioned, the majority of Americans, not just Republicans, all Americans, support immigration reform for good reasons. Only 38 percent of Americans, though, support unilateral action. And even Hispanics are ambiguous on the action. Only 43 percent think that he should take an executive action. That tells me two things. One, I think bad process -- this could be forgiven much quicker than bad policy. And if Republicans follow Senator Cruz over the Cliff to irrelevancy, it will be their own fault. They need to realize that this an issue that needs to be tackled. And they can't just be against the president.
Secondly, I think, if you look at these numbers, it's very possible that we are going to have the same kind of lower than expected turnout among Hispanic, next election like we had this election, because they may see this as pandering and short term and ineffective. And they are not going to vote for Republicans, but they might not come up in numbers that Democrats need them. So, both sides have incentive to deal. I think Republicans have a bigger incentive, but I don't see the Republicans rising above their hatred for this issue and for the president. And I think that could be very bad for the party long term.
WALLACE: Well, that bring me to Kim. As a columnist for the "Wall Street Journal," you have been known to offer advice to congressional Republicans. How do you think they should handle this? What do you think they should do? And what do you think they should not do?
KIMBERLEY STRASSEL, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, there's a couple of things. First, they have to talk about the lawlessness, which does really resonate out there when you see the polls, and this gets to what was Ron -- Ron was saying, people wanted action on this. They didn't -- the plurality of Americans do not think the president should have taken unilateral action on this. So, they have to talk about that. But the other thing that they have to do, is remind everyone, in particular the Hispanic community that this was not to their benefit. This is not progress. This is not reform. This executive order, it is not durable. The people who it applies to are going to be back in the same situation with no real knowledge of their status in just a few years. It was arbitrary in terms of the people that it affected. And it also doesn't address some of the biggest issues that you need for real immigration reform. Like guest worker program, the question of visas. He was using them as a political pawn to have an issue out there. And the Republicans need to point that out day after day and then they need to outflank him by sending him what is, in fact, real immigration reform. They may need to do that in a piecemeal fashion, send him a border security bill and link it. And say look, you sign this, and we'll get to the next piece, but don't -- you know, don't, if you veto this, then you're the one standing in the way.
WALLACE: But you wouldn't defund government departments. You wouldn't? I mean Homeland Security, my gosh, is the department that protects the homeland. STRASSEL: So, one of the reasons you haven't seen Republicans come out with a strategy is because the lesson they have learned over the last two years is you cannot over-promise on these things. And as you know, this is a very complicated question. Can you make the president do anything? Especially, this is a very technical funding question as well, the piece of the immigration service it does, this is self-funded. They don't necessarily rely on the ...
WALLACE: Defund, not deporting people.
STRASSEL: Right. How do you actually make that happen? Right. So they're going to be careful in what they promise. Because you don't want a repeat of the shutdown last year, where you say you can make this happen, and you can't.
WALLACE: All right. We have to take a break here. When we come back, nuclear talks with Iran come down to a Monday deadline. Will there be an agreement or still another extension?
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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We are working hard. We hope we are making careful progress, but we have big gaps.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Secretary of State John Kerry with the latest on where talks stands to curtail Iran's nuclear program ahead of tomorrow's deadline. And we are back now with the panel. Julie, I want to ask you the first question, but I do have to note that you are a newlywed. What, a month?
PACE: About a month. Yes.
WALLACE: Going OK so far?
PACE: So far so good.
WALLACE: You want to show us the rock?
PACE: Oh, god.
WALLACE: Oh, man you're blinding us.
PACE: Let's talk about Iran.
WALLACE: As the reporter who broke the story that the U.S. and Iran were engaged in secret talks for months before anybody else know it, where does this stand right now? What are the chances for a deal by the deadline for tomorrow, and if they don't get a deal, do they just kick it down the can into next spring?
PACE: Oh, there's a flurry of activity happening -- by last -- multilateral meetings going on. Saturday looked pretty dismal. Today Sunday it looks like there's a little bit more optimism. Not necessarily there's going to be a deal on Monday, but you're starting to hear talk about an extension. And if they extend it, the question is not just the timeline for an extension, but what comes along with it. Does there have to be some sort of agreement of political principles? Does there have to be a framework of a deal? But when you hear from Kerry, when you hear from other officials, they continue to talk about the gap. And the question is, at the end it's going to be will time allow them to get these big gaps to be overcome or ...
WALLACE: Is there any chance that the talks just fall apart?
PACE: I think there's a chance. I think there's a chance. I think that neither side wants that to happen, so if they feel like six more weeks -- you know, three more months could allow them to overcome the gap, they will do everything they can to extend them rather than have a collapse.
WALLACE: Kim, your paper reports this weekend that the West is willing to offer more concessions to try to get a deal. I mean I think it's important for people to remember, when this negotiation began about a year ago, the West was demanding that Iran basically dismantled its nuclear program. Some of it. But basically dismantled. Now the threshold seems to be that they have to be kept at least a year away from a nuclear breakout, but they can continue to enrich uranium. There's been a lot of concessions already.
STRASSEL: I think the terrifying question is, is there anything that would actually cause the Obama administration to walk away from this deal? They are so vested in saying that they have got an accomplishment that they are giving away the entire store. Like you said, it wasn't just that they had to dismantle their enrichment program. That's what we are having (INAUDIBLE). They were supposed to curtail their ballistic missile program, they were supposed to shut down a heavy water reactor in Iraq. All of that is now off the table. And the only discussion we seem to be having is just how much sanctions relief we give them and how quickly that happens. And that is, actually, very problematic -- there is nobody out there who seems to be happy with this other than Iran and John Kerry.
WALLACE: Strange bedfellows. George, correct me if I'm wrong, but you have been saying for months, I believe, that we are not going to be able to stop Iran's nuclear program, that the best we can hope to do is to contain it. Do you still feel that way?
WILL: I do. And this real negotiation. We're saying we're trying to limit your nuclear program and they're saying what nuclear program? They're not even acknowledging that one exists. We have a choice of nightmares. And nuclear Iran is a nightmare, because it's going to set off a nuclear weapon scramble from Saudi Arabia, maybe the Egyptians who know, in the Middle East. On the other hand, another war, this time with a really serious country, three times as populous as Iraq, is its own nightmare. The Senate has voted 90-1 to reject the idea of containment, even though we contained a nuclear Soviet Union under Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev for 45 years. They say it's impossible, partly because they say it's a religious fanatical regime and therefore, it can't be deterred, because it's beyond the realm of deterrence and calculation. I don't think so. The fact is, as long as they have a capacity to enrich and the right to enrich we've already conceded, and the supply of low enriched uranium, they are going to have a breakout capacity, which is to say the capacity to acquire a nuclear weapon quickly.
WALLACE: And we can live with that.
WILL: What? You can live with that, or go to war. There is your choice. I say I prefer to live with the idea of containing them as we contained the Soviet Union.
WALLACE: Ron, I want to switch topics on you, because there was also some big news this week about Afghanistan. The president had said that we're going to have all of our combat troops out by the end of this year, so just a few weeks, and in 2015, we would keep about 10,000 troops there, but they would be there just for training and just to go after al Qaeda, but not to be involved in combat against the Taliban. And it was announced this week that the president has decided no, he's going to expand the mission of those 10,000 troops to include combat against the Taliban. Ron, how big of a deal is that? And do you think it's in some way a reaction to the fact that after we pulled out of Iraq, the Iraqi military just fell apart?
FOURNIER: I think that's a big part of it, and also we have a president who -- our president thinks we can work with. So, it kind of changes the dynamic a little bit. But big picture, look, this is the president who -- is president, because he promised he could change the culture of Washington. He promised that he could break gridlock and he promised to get us out of two wars. He's 0 for 3 in the fundamental reasons that he's promised -- that -- he became president. And I think that hurts him his legacy. If I can go back to Iran real quickly?
FOURNIER: Does it kind of fits? I have a problem, I agree with everything everybody on the panel said, I have a problem squaring a circle between a president who says I can't deal with Republicans, and a president who says I can deal in good faith with the Iranians. I don't know how you square that circle.
WALLACE: Julie, from your vantage point in the White House, how do you explain the fact that the president who was really resolute about they are going to have a very limited mission and combat roll is over, it seems to be a pretty big reversal this weekend. Quiet, but big.
STRASSEL: Well, it's something that the Pentagon has been asking for it, though, the Pentagon has been looking at what the mission is supposed to be over the next two years. It's counterterrorism, as you said, it's training Afghan security forces, and when it comes to counterterrorism, they're saying that there simply is more Taliban in Afghanistan than there is al Qaeda at this point. So, if you're talking about counterterrorism missions, you have got to be able to go after some of the guys who might come after you. Some of this is simply force protection. They wanted to give troops the authority to go after Taliban, if they pose a threat to American forces who are going to be there over the next two years. So, yes, it is a broadening of the mission, but it is very much in line with what the Pentagon has been asking for.
WALLACE: And how much of it, do you think is a reaction to Iraq and the fact that it now looks like pulling all of our troops out of Iraq -- we weren't going to pull them all out, but we are pulling them out of a major combat role, really has hurt our interests in Iraq?
STRASSEL: I think you can't discount the impact that what's happened in Iraq has had on the president and how he is going to have to view Afghanistan over the next two years. I mean we left Iraq and it was a popular decision in a lot of circle, but it left that country in a really difficult security state. And I think that they are looking at, you know, a timeline for the presidency right now, and saying what kind of country are we going to leave Afghanistan? What is the security state going to be there when we leave?
WALLACE: And in 20 seconds, how eager is this president for a deal with Iran as a legacy? As an accomplishment?
STRASSEL: Very eager.
WALLACE: Why do you say that?
STRASSEL: Any president would look at this situation, and say if I can be the guy that can get a nuclear deal with Iran, I'm going to take a run at it.
WALLACE: The question is, on what terms. Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.
Up next, our power player of the week. How a blogger introduces strangers to millions of people?
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WALLACE: Whether you live in a big city or a small town, we all try to find ways to connect to the people around us. Well, one man has come up with an inventive method to meet strangers. And he's attracted millions of followers. Here's our "Power Player of the Week."
BRANDON STANTON, HUMANS OF NEW YORK: It's very hard to convince that taking pictures of people on the street and putting them on Facebook is going to be a winning formula. Because there's nothing but pictures of people on Facebook.
WALLACE: But Brandon Stanton has turned that formula into a big winner. He started this blog called "Humans of New York" in 2010.
STANTON: I said, you know, in three years this thing is going to have 10,000 Facebook fans, and to me that was success. 10,000 people were going to be looking at my work.
WALLACE (on camera): And now you have?
STANTON: Almost 11 million.
WALLACE (voice over): What those millions of people find are not just photos, but remarkably intimate stories, like this fellow.
STANTON: The vast majority of people just marry because they are ready -- I never really felt like I met the one, I don't think my wife is the one.
WALLACE: Or this woman.
STANTON: She said I'll tell you what my husband told me when he was dying, I said, mo, how am I going to live without you? And he said, take the love you have for me and spread it around.
WALLACE: Stanton had just been taking photographs of his fellow New Yorkers until he met this woman.
STANTON: She said I used to be a different color every single day, but then one day I wore green, and that was a really good day. And so I've been green for 15 years. And I put that little quote next to her photo on the Website, and suddenly it was the most popular picture that I've ever posted.
WALLACE (on camera): Why is it that you think that the photograph, plus a little story, made the difference?
STANTON: So many of us are carrying around these things that we don't talk about. And to see another person talking about it in such an open way I think kind of helps people feel left alone, I guess.
WALLACE (voice over): Stanton let us tag along as he walked through a neighborhood, taking people's pictures and asking about their lives. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On their way anybody- ...
STANTON: Anybody saw -- they would wave and they would stop.
WALLACE: He's photographed more than 10,000 people and heard some fascinating stories.
(on camera): And why do they open up to you?
STANTON: I think because I'm genuinely interested and I'm a stranger.
WALLACE: And they are more willing to tell a stranger.
STANTON: Because I know nothing more about them. The questions that I tend to ask, happiest moment, saddest moment, what do you feel most guilty about? When did you feel angriest? When did you feel most afraid? The things that really kind of changed the course of where we're going. Tend to revolve around very strong emotion like that.
WALLACE (voice over): This summer, the U.N. commissioned Stanton to travel to war zones in the Middle East. People there opened his eyes to a whole different kind of struggle.
STANTON: Just being in a refugee camp in Jordan, and the stories that were coming out of there, where I saw my father get killed in front of my face, or I was tortured in a prison, or, you know, my brother was kidnapped.
WALLACE: But whether it's a refugee camp or the streets of New York, it's all about sharing our common humanity.
STANTON: The kick that I still get is when I walk away and I just think I can't believe that person just felt comfortable enough to tell me that.
And it's been a series of that over four years. Happening multiple times every single day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: To learn more about Stanton and Humans of New York, please go to our home page FoxNewsSunday.com. That's it for today. Have a great week. And we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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