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Jeh Johnson talks plan to defeat ISIS, immigration standoff; potential 2016 dark-horse candidate: Mike Pence
Written by John Roberts / Published February 22, 2015 / Fox News Sunday
Special Guests: Secretary Jeh Johnson, General Jack Keane, Governor Mike Pence
This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," February 22, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS: I'm John Roberts, in for Chris Wallace.
President Obama hosts a summit on violent extremism, but refuses to use terms like "radical Islam" to define the enemy.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The notion that the West is at war with Islam is an ugly lie.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: You cannot defeat an enemy if you refuse to acknowledge what it is.
ROBERTS: We'll discuss a plan to combat ISIS and the ongoing standoff over the president's executive actions on immigration, with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
Plus, the U.S. outlines a major military offensive in Iraq. But are we tipping our hand?
JACK KEANE, RETIRED FOUR-STAR GENERAL: It is mystifying that the U.S. military command would release the who, what and when of a pending operation.
ROBERTS: We'll talk strategy with retired four-star General Jack Keane.
Then, the nation's governors, including some top White House hopefuls gather in Washington. We'll talk with Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who has been mentioned as a potential 2016 dark horse candidate. It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.
And, are attacks on President Obama's patriotism going too far?
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NYC MAYOR: I do hear him criticize America much more often than other American presidents.
ROBERTS: Our Sunday group weighs.
All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."
ROBERTS: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
President Obama's terror strategy under fire this week, as ISIS militants grow more bold in their attacks in the Middle East.
And with new threats on the rise across the globe, here at home, the feud over the president's executive action on immigration is holding up a bill in Congress that would keep the Department of Homeland Security funded past next Friday, the 27th.
Joining us now to discuss all of this is the secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson.
Mr. Secretary, welcome back. Good to see you.
JEH JOHNSON, DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Thanks for having me, John.
ROBERTS: Let's talk about terrorism, ISIS, ISIL, your acronym for it and the president's approach to this. He has been criticized from a number of different fronts, for not calling this a battle against Islamic extremism.
Why won't he acknowledge that we are fighting Islamic extremists?
JOHNSON: Well, first of all, from my perspective, whether it's referred to as Islamic extremism or violent extremism, what it comes down to is ISIL is a terrorist organization that represents a serious potential threat to our homeland which have to be addressed militarily and through a whole of government approach, which is why homeland security these days is so important, law enforcement here in this country, our countering violent extremism efforts in this country. We had a summit about that this week.
So, it is a dangerous terrorist organization that has to be dealt with --
ROBERTS: But is this --
JOHNSON: -- from my perspective.
ROBERTS: -- not a religious ideology --
JOHNSON: Well, let me say this. In our engagements around the country, I do a lot of these myself -- in Muslim communities, Islamic cultural centers, in places like Minneapolis, Boston, L.A., Chicago, Columbus, Ohio, the thing I hear from leaders in the Muslim community in this country is, "ISIL is attempting to hijack my religion. Our religion is about peace and brotherhood and ISIL is attempting to hijack that from us." And they resent that.
Most victims of ISIL are, in fact, Muslims.
So it seems to me that to refer to ISIL as occupying any part of the Islamic theology is playing on a -- a battlefield that they would like us to be on. I think that to call them -- to call them some form of Islam gives the group more dignity than it deserves, frankly.
ROBERTS: So -- so this, then --
JOHNSON: It is a terrorist organization.
ROBERTS: So this, then, is not an exercise in being politically correct here at home. This is an exercise in not giving them the legitimacy that they seek?
JOHNSON: Well, it -- that's what I'm hearing from the Muslim community in this country. But more importantly, ISIL is a dangerous terrorist organization and has to be dealt with. They've got some 30,000 fighters on the ground in Iraq and Syria. They have very effective use of the Internet and social media. They have the capability to reach into our homeland to recruit and inspire independent actors here, potentially.
And so, we've got to deal with this in a whole of government approach --
ROBERTS: There -- there are members --
JOHNSON: -- and I'm more concerned about that, frankly, than I am what two words we use to refer to them.
ROBERTS: But there are members of your own party who believe that the president is missing a big part of the picture here by not identifying ISIL as -- or ISIS as Islamic extremists. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Democrat from Hawaii, she is a veteran of the Iraq War, said this to us the other day about strategy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TULSI GABBARD (D), HAWAII: Unless you accurately identify who your enemy is, then you can't come up with an effective strategy, a winning strategy, to defeat that enemy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: So, you might not call them Islamic extremists because you don't want to give them, as you said, the dignity of being part of the Islamic faith. But if you don't identify them as a radical terrorist religious ideology, can you adequately address the threat and develop a winning strategy?
JOHNSON: Look, ISIL is what it is. It is a terrorist organization that kills Americans --
ROBERTS: But they to become a -- but they want to become a state.
JOHNSON: They want to become a state and they want to become an Islamic state. And to call them Islamic, to call them any form of Islamic gives them too much dignity, in my view, and in the view of a lot of Muslims around the world.
ROBERTS: The president has, on occasion, Mr. Secretary, seemed to have drawn -- seemed to draw a moral equivalence between what ISIS is doing in the 21st century and what Christians did 1,000 years ago when they were fighting Muslim armies.
What's the relevance of making that comparison?
JOHNSON: Well, look, again, from my homeland security perspective, we've got to deal with this terrorist organization, which is the most prominent on the world stage right now, which is one of the reasons, frankly, why the Department of Homeland Security needs a budget by the end of this week. I hope you're going to ask me about that.
ROBERTS: We will talk about that.
JOHNSON: But it is a terrorist organization that is very dangerous. It's on the march. It's on the move. And it is very effective in its use of the Internet for recruitment purposes.
Again, to -- to say that they are, in any form, Islamic, I believe, cedes them a playing field that they would like us to be drawn onto.
ROBERTS: At the summit that you had at the White House, which -- which you attended, there was a lot of talk about social media, talk about -- a lot of talk about community, sensitivity. Marie Harf, State Department spokeswoman, was roundly criticized for saying at the beginning of the week, quote, "We can't kill our way out of this war. We need to go after the root causes that lead people to join these groups -- lack of opportunity and jobs among them."
Here's what the Navy SEAL who shot Usama bin Laden had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROB O'NEILL, FORMER U.S. NAVY SEAL: They get paid to cut off heads, to crucify children, to sell slaves and to cut off heads. And I don't think that, you know, a change in career path is what's going to stop them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: So, again, this is a -- this is a terrorist organization that wants to become a state.
How would jobs, how would community outreach possibly deter them from doing what they want to do?
JOHNSON: I --
ROBERTS: -- maybe you might stop a few people from the United States going over and joining them. But how does that address the real problems?
JOHNSON: Well, I would put it this way, John -- we need to respond to this terrorist organization militarily in an international coalition and we're doing that.
But because of the foreign fighter phenomenon, the number of foreign fighters they have in their force and because of their use of the Internet, their use of social media to recruit and to recruit for specific terrorist attacks, we need to be involved in the relevant communities in this country to thwart their recruitment efforts and to help build the counter-narrative to the one that is being put out by ISIL right now.
I view that as critically important given the phase to which we have evolved in our -- in our counterterrorism efforts. It does involve a whole of government approach, which does involve engagement in the country, building trust so that the communities through which there is the capacity to deter those who want to go to these groups, have a level of trust with state, local and federal law enforcement.
And we support their efforts to build a counter-narrative. I think that's critical.
ROBERTS: Let's move on to talk about your budget and immigration.
The Justice Department said that it's going to appeal a U.S. district judge in Texas', Andrew Hanen's ruling on immigration executive action. Texas Governor Greg Abbott says the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals should uphold Judge Hanen's ruling because in this -- in cases like this, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, or any court of appeals, tends to preserve the status quo and the status quo was not having this immigration executive action in place.
What do you say?
JOHNSON: We will appeal. This is what appellate courts are for. We will seek a stay of Judge Hanen's injunction.
Looking at it from my commonsense perspective, the judge, in his opinion -- and I read all 123 pages of it -- said he has no quarrel with the notion that we are allowed to prioritize how we use our resources to deport people in this country.
And we are prioritizing. We're prioritizing on convicted criminals. We are prioritizing on building border security, deporting those who are recent arrivals who are apprehended at the border.
But there's a large segment of the undocumented population in this country who've been here for years, who are not going to be deported in any administration, Democrat or Republican. That's the reality.
ROBERTS: Well, why not let Congress handle all of this?
JOHNSON: Hold on. Hold on.
So, from my homeland security/law enforcement perspective, it is better to find ways to encourage that group of people to come forward, come out of the shadows, get on the books, be accountable, receive a work authorization and pay taxes.
And what the judge's opinion does is it says you can prioritize and I don't quarrel with your leaving these people alone, because they're not priorities, they're not criminals and they've been here for years, but effectively, I can't bring them out of the shadows. They have to stay in the shadows.
And from the law enforcement perspective, from the perspective of the sheriff, the chief, the commissioner and -- and cities and counties around the country, that's not a good thing.
And so we are going to appeal. And we're going to seek a stay of this and we welcome the debate in Congress about immigration reform. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to have it.
ROBERTS: All of this is tied to your border, which runs out on February the 27th.
Why are Democrats blocking debate in the Senate on the Senate bill?
JOHNSON: Well, Democrats are not blocking debate.
ROBERTS: They are.
JOHNSON: What is happening is that some in Congress --
ROBERTS: They -- they're filibustering --
JOHNSON: -- want to --
ROBERTS: -- to block debate.
JOHNSON: Hold on. What is -- what is happening is that some in Congress want to tie defunding our executive actions to my entire Homeland Security budget.
JOHNSON: We are the --
JOHNSON: Hold on --
ROBERTS: But why can't Democrats just introduce an amendment to strip that part from the bill and undertake at least a debate in the Senate as opposed to stone-walling?
JOHNSON: We should have the debate about immigration reform. But you should not tie that to the funding for the third largest department of our government, 240,000 people, which includes, by the way, efforts to do all the things we've been talking about on the counterterrorism front, the Coast Guard, FEMA, in the midst of a very harsh winter.
That funding for FEMA, the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, our Border Patrol agents, our customs agents, our cybersecurity efforts, all runs out at the end of this week.
And so, what I've been continually saying to Congress, to the public and to the press is that we need a fully funded Department of Homeland Security. We need a clean appropriations bill for our department.
ROBERTS: I think a lot of people understand the importance --
JOHNSON: Particularly given these challenging times.
ROBERTS: -- of that. But the -- is the president partly at fault here, because it was his executive action, rather than going -- letting Congress handle this, he went ahead and he passed his -- this executive action.
Why not pull that off the table and let Congress handle the immigration --
JOHNSON: And the president has said repeatedly, including on the day we announced our executive actions, that he would like to have the immigration debate with Congress.
Unfortunately, that has not happened. We have waited for years, literally, for Congress to get to the business of immigration reform. The Senate passed a good bill. The House has not.
Now, what is going on in Congress is there are some who want to defund our executive actions and do it in a way that holds up the entire budget of homeland security for this nation.
That is unacceptable from a public safety/homeland security view and I'm talking to my friends on the Hill, Democrat and Republican, about the importance of let's get on with funding the Department of Homeland Security.
ROBERTS: Clearly, this is going to be a very important story. We'll continue to watch in the days to come.
Mr. Secretary, good to see you again.
JOHNSON: Thank you, John.
ROBERTS: Thank you so much.
JOHNSON: Thanks for having me.
ROBERTS: Appreciate it.
JOHNSON: Thank you.
ROBERTS: As ISIS expands reach in Middle East we want to drill down into the situation on the ground and strategy.
Joining us now is retired four-star Army general and Fox News military analyst Jack Keane. We had also planned to speak with former CIA and NSA director, General Michael Hayden, but he was unable to join us because he could not fly into Washington due to the snow yesterday.
So, General, thanks for doing double duty this morning. I appreciate it.
GENERAL JACK KEANE (RET), FOX NEWS MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, good to be here.
ROBERTS: You heard what the secretary had to say about the reason the administration is not labeling ISIS as "Islamic extremism" or "radical Islam." What do you make of that explanation?
KEANE: Well, I fundamentally disagree. I think we should call it for what it is.
Listen, I appreciate Secretary Johnson's service, got tremendous reputation for what he's doing now and what he's done in the past.
But here is the trap I think they have fallen into. First of all, ISIS itself, it draws its central belief system from the Koran and from the writings of the Prophet Muhammad. That is undeniable. And it's a medieval interpretation of it. It is a literal interpretation of it.
Therefore, slavery, crucifixion and beheadings are part of their portfolio. Killing apostates who are nonbelievers who are Muslims are part of their portfolio.
So, what has happened here is that inside Islam, you have these revisionists or radicals, and you have modern interpretation and traditional interpretation. They are at war with each other. We should not permit the moderate and traditional Muslim leaders.
Clerics come to us and say, this is not Islamic when it is. We should not fall into the trap of not defining it and explaining this theology. And we should push them -- push them to challenge this theology that ISIS has adopted. They must challenge it.
ROBERTS: What military advantage is derived from labeling them as Islamic extremism?
KEANE: Well, ere is the issue. Once you label it -- if they didn't label it but defined it properly and defined the ideology and had a comprehensive strategy to deal with it, that really is the issue. You have to define it. You have to explain the ideology and then develop a strategy to defeat it.
And we do not have a comprehensive strategy to defeat it.
ROBERTS: We learned part of the strategy at the end of this week when the Pentagon came out and revealed plans for an assault on Mosul, as early as April, 20,000 to 25,000 Iraqi forces coming in from the south. Maybe surrounding on the flanks west and east, and then the Peshmerga is blocking from the north.
Was it a good idea to telegraph those plans? Whatever happened to the idea of loose lips sink ships?
KEANE: That's a great statement, but (INAUDIBLE).
But anyway, I don't know what that's about to be quite frank. I mean, certainly, ISIS knows that Mosul is the center piece of any counteroffensive. They know that. We've been knocking off lines of communications and isolating Mosul now for weeks, with air power, too. They know we would like to do that probably before Ramadan or do it after. So, timing is something that they can figure out themselves.
What mystifies me is what you just mentioned. You know, we gave disposition and composition of the force which is pretty unusual. In other words, we told them the size of the assault force, the size of the blocking force, how many folks we got on reserve. That's far too much information for the enemy to have. And I think that's common sense. We don't give them that information.
ROBERTS: They gave them tactical information, as well as procedure. Do you think this is all tied into the coming debate over the president's request for the authorization for use of military force, saying, hey, we've got a plan here, we really want to have congressional backing for this?
KEANE: I think it may have something to do with the fact that, look, we really have a plan to do something about ISIS. And we are going to do something about it and we are committed to it.
ROBERTS: Because they certainly have been criticized for not having a plan.
KEANE: And that criticism has been something unrelenting. So, that's possible what this is. But we're speculating. I don't know for sure.
ROBERTS: The president certainly has been criticized for focusing on tangential issues, which are probably legitimately all part of the fight, social media, winning hearts and minds, that sort of thing. But he did run into particular criticism for saying that we need to address the legitimate grievances for people who join organizations like ISIS.
Let's listen to what the president said at the White House summit on countering violent extremism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When people are oppressed and human rights are denied, particularly along sectarian lines or ethnic lines, when dissent is silenced, it feeds violent extremism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: General, this is a band of murderous thugs who are operating under, as you said, a medieval interpretation of Islam. Do they have legitimate grievances here that need to be addressed?
KEANE: Well, listen, dealing with the larger issue of radical Islam, I actually agree with some of what the president is saying there, because there is political reform in the region is necessary, social justice and economic repression -- those are all major issues out there. And the long term strategy they should be addressed.
But the near term strategy is ISIS and they're marauding over Iraq and Syria and the desire to do the same over other countries, that requires an overwhelming military response to deal with them. That means we must kill them, capture them, stop them and defeat them.
ROBERTS: The way that we see ISIS beginning to spread, start in Syria, then Iraq, now in Libya, Boko Haram apparently is beginning to align with ISIS. Dick Cheney warned 11 years ago about the coming caliphate that stretches from West Africa all the way to the Indian subcontinent.
Are we one step closer to actually seeing the beginning of that now?
KEANE: Oh, absolutely. Radical Islam is morphing into a global jihad from Western Africa throughout the Middle East, Northeast Africa, South Asia, stretching all the way to Southeast Asia. That is the facts of it. That's why we need a global response to this, John. We need to get the other nations of the world in.
I would actually formalize and enter to an alliance, a political and military alliance, kind of what we dealt with communism with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, and get the people in the region to put their minds on how to deal with it and then share intelligence, share technology and share training.
They do most of the heavy lifting, certainly not the United States, but very much a part of that. Near term with ISIS, we have to get after it militarily.
ROBERTS: General Keane, it's always great to have you in and thanks for sharing your expertise with us this Sunday morning. Really appreciate it.
KEANE: Good talking to you, John.
ROBERTS: Up next, does President Obama deserve the criticism he is getting for not naming radical Islam as the enemy. Our Sunday group joins the conversation.
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about how the president is treating the threat? 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: We do have to address the grievances that terrorists exploit including economic grievances. Poverty alone does not cause a person to become a terrorist, anymore than poverty alone causes somebody to become a criminal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: President Obama making the case that poverty and a lack of education are some of the root causes of terrorism during this week summit on violent extremism.
It is time now for part one of our Sunday group. Syndicated columnist George Will is with us this morning, "USA Today" Kirsten Powers, Kimberley Strassel from "The Wall Street Journal," and Peter Baker of "The New York Times."
Let's get to what the president said there about jobs and lack of opportunity fuelling terrorism in just a second. But first all, big topic of conversation this coming on the Hill is going to be the president's request for authorization of military force against ISIS.
Kimberley, do you believe that the president is unduly tying his hands here with some of the provisions he has laid down?
KIMBERLEY STRASSEL, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yes. I mean, the way this is rolled just says so much about this presidency. You look back at other previous authorizations of force, the two that President Bush sent to Congress, the one George H.W. Bush sent when he was going into Iraq. The way that happened is president had a strategy. He knew exactly what he wanted Congress to authorize. He sent it to them and he said, here is what I need from you to get it done, up or down vote, yes or not?
This president has sent a document to Congress that's like, well, here's my first thoughts, why don't you guys take a look at it, let me know, get back to me.
And the problem is that what he's trying to do -- this is political cover. He wants the Congress to basically agree to codify his ambivalence about fighting ISIS. And that's why the authorization of force has so many problems.
ROBERTS: So, do you agree, Kirsten, that he is looking for -- to codify his ambivalence here?
KIRSTEN POWERS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: No, I think that it's not clear exactly what needs to be done actually in fighting ISIS. I don't think it is an open and shut case, as much as Republicans have been so critical of Obama, haven't heard them giving a lot of great ideas other than to just constantly attack him for not calling it by the right name.
So, I think you go back to Bush and great -- he did a great authorization. Well, the war didn't go very well. So, I think Obama is having a more, it's true -- he hasn't laid out a clear strategy and he needs to do that. But I think we have to acknowledge that this is a very, very difficult fight and he's asking to have the authorization. I think it is pretty wide and it will give latitude to do what he needs to do.
ROBERTS: But, Peter and George, if the president says, well, I want this authorization for the use of force but it's only for three years and not using ground forces in engagement -- Jack Keane thought he needs to allow himself a little more latitude here.
GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, what is actually banned when you ban enduring offensive ground operations is unclear. There is a lot of wiggle room in that. Those who say it's too restrictive say that's too restrictive and three-year limit, you can extend it for Pete's sake. We do this all the time with laws that are sunsetted.
ROBERTS: So, you're not worried?
WILL: Those who say it is too permissive, that's what worries me, it's permissive, it authorizes the use of force against associated forces, which can be anything from Boko Haram to half a dozen entities we've never heard of.
Remember, this is a president who unlike any previous presidents since Nixon first vetoed the War Powers Resolution, all the presidents have said we think it's unconstitutional but we will abide by its reporting requirements. This president gemmed up a legal opinion that said, what we did within eight months of bombing in Libya did not constitute hostilities. So, he did not have to comply.
So, there is deep and earned skepticism about his intention to abide by any legal restraint.
ROBERTS: You mentioned Boko Haram.
There is some indication, Peter, that Boko Haram may be adopting ISIS tactics if not actually beginning to align with them. So having this contingent provision in here to be able to go after associated groups, wise or unwise?
PETER BAKER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, the other thing to keep in mind is that he's not going to repeal 2001 authorization that George Bush you mentioned set up. So, in effect, there's -- he is saying that we're going to have three-year war, we're going to have no ground forces.
But the truth is, he still has the authorization to all of those things, even without action by Congress or action on this particular solution, because the 2001 resolution. It is more of a political statement, but it does underscore that this is a moving target. What is the target? And that's the question I think Congress is trying to answer.
ROBERTS: Let's get to the idea of the president in the White House summit addressing root causes of terrorism. Marie Harf, as you remember from the State Department, was roundly last week for saying something. We'll play that and then we'll follow up with a response from Donald Rumsfeld.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIE HARF, STATE DEPT DEPUTY SPOKESWOMAN: We cannot win this war by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war. We need in the longer term -- medium and longer term -- to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it's lack of opportunity for jobs.
DONALD RUMSFELD, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: It's a little insulting to people who are jobless or poor to suggest that that is the cause of terrorism. The overwhelming majority of the people who are poor or jobless are not terrorists. They don't strap bombs on their children or their women and send them into a shopping center to kill innocent men, women and children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: So, is the White House missing the big picture here? Is this about economic opportunity or is it about fighting a terrorist religious ideology?
STRASSEL: It is hard to have economic message in a war zone, OK? Most of the Syrians and Iraqis who are getting up everyday, they just want to get through the being beheaded or burnt alive. And this is the problem is that, yes, both of those things have to matter. You want functioning society and we do know that having successful economies does reduce violence.
But it's a priority question here. And you are going to have to go in and get rid of the terror threat first.
POWERS: Yes. Well, Jack Keane also acknowledged what Kimberley just said, that what Marie Harf is saying inartfully as she said isn't untrue, that there -- you know, if somebody has --
ROBERTS: The big picture.
POWERS: Right. And the big picture.
The problem is that there is probably something else playing a much bigger role here and that's a radical ideology. And so, because -- obviously, every single person who is poor in the Middle East isn't signing up for this. So, I do think there is an issue of them being more clear about identifying that. And I understand why they are staying away from the Islamic -- calling it Islamic because they need to bring in partners into this fight who are Muslims.
WILL: We are going to cope with the radical ideology by bombarding them with tweets using 350 State Department Twitter accounts. But the problem with that is, there is an old axiom you cannot reason someone out of position they have not been reasoned into. And the idea that people who say we'd rather behead people and crucify them and burn them alive, and you're going to use at most 140 characters to say, that's really not very nice.
WILL: The whole thing is surreal.
ROBERTS: And, Peter, this is not just a terrorist group. This is a terrorist group that wants to become a state. And if I recall correctly, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, we didn't initiate a jobs program in Iraq to try to beat them back.
BAKER: No, that's right. And that's -- there's a difference between the Islamic State and al Qaeda because, in fact, they want to hold territory, they want, in fact, to be a state, as you say. But, you know, look, what Marie Harf said frankly isn't any different to what Bob Gates had said in the past. I think it comes at a moment when our debate is very polarized, as to, is this president being tough enough militarily and it feeds into that conversation.
ROBERTS: We're going to take a break here, panel. But we'll bring you back later on in the show. Looking forward to that.
The nation's governors are in Washington, but the chatter is more about 2016 than their winter meeting. We'll ask Indiana Governor Mike Pence if he plans on becoming a contender when we sit down with him, coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CHRISTIE (R) NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: This president had the audacity to tell us that terrorism is on the run. Does terrorism look like it's on the run?
TED CRUZ (R) TEXAS GOVERNOR: You cannot defeat an enemy if you refuse to acknowledge what it is.
JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: We have no reason to apologize for our leadership or our interest in serving the cause of global security, global peace and human freedom.
ROBERTS: Just a few prominent GOP leaders and likely 2016 candidates taking shots at President Obama's foreign policy this week. This latest sign that the race for the White House is already in full swing. Our next guest is considered a possible dark horse Republican presidential candidate, but will he run? Joining us now, is Indiana Governor Mike Fence. Governor, welcome back to Fox News Sunday.
MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA GOVERNOR: Thank you, John.
ROBERTS: How can I ask you that question at least not off the top?
ROBERTS: But the National Governors' Association meeting is taking place just down the street here in Washington.
ROBERTS: And I know that the immigration bill that will be debated this week because there is only a few days to get it done before the Department of Homeland Security runs out of money is a big topic of conversation. Some of the governors calling for a clean bill. Dig the immigration streaking provisions out of it. What do you say?
PENCE: Well, look, the executive action the president took late last year was clearly an unconstitutional end run around the law making authority of the Congress of the United States. The president has the authority under the Constitution to determine how he will implement the law. He does not have the authority to determine whether he will implement the law. And now a district, a federal district judge has ruled to put an injunction in place.
And, you know, my bottom line is that we need to protect the homeland. We also need to protect the Constitution. And I think that the Congress using the power of the purse is altogether appropriate. And what ought to be happening today is not calls for a clean bill or otherwise. The house has acted. Now, the Senate should -- the Democrats in the Senate should lift the filibuster, should allow the bill to come to the floor and let the Congress work its will and put a bill that funds the Department of Homeland Security on the president's desk before Friday.
ROBERTS: You were telling me earlier off camera why should taxpayers fund something that a Texas judge says is not within the bounds of the president to do?
PENCE: Well, it is something I mentioned to some of my Democratic governor colleagues yesterday. I said, I said why does the administration need money for what the federal courts say they can't do? I mean this is -- this is really the injunction that is in place. The White House is going to appeal it. But this is going to be a while. And Indiana was very proud to join the suit that Texas initiated. We were vindicated when the court found that the states do have the kind of harm that justifies states having standing in this case. So, this is a matter that is going to go to the Supreme Court of the United States. Obviously, this is an important issue in the life of the nation. And it ought to be decided, debated and resolved in the Congress and not by the stroke of a president's pen.
ROBERTS: Let's move on. A lot to get to in the remaining eight minutes that we have. What is your take on how the president is handling this whole situation with ISIS, from top to bottom?
PENCE: Well, I'm very concerned, you know. Before I became governor of Indiana I've served on the foreign affairs committee for a decade. I actually travelled to Iraq a number of times. I have been to Mosul and the word this morning about plans for an offensive operation to retake Mosul are encouraging. But I still think ...
ROBERTS: Is it encouraging that these plans are out there, though?
PENCE: Well, it's encouraging that the goal is out there, John. But I don't think we hear a robust strategy to really drive this terrorist army not only out of Iraq, but also out of existence. And there ought to be calls for -- there ought to be calls for military investments in spending. The debate over the authorization, the little bit of which you had on the show just a few moments ago is going to be very, very important. But I think this administration has yet to articulate the kind of vision and the kind of strategy that will not only give confidence to the American people, but give confidence to our allies around the world that we are serious about driving this ISIL army out of existence.
ROBERTS: You probably heard Secretary Jeh Johnson give the rationale for the White House not labelling ISIS as Islamic extremism. What are your thoughts on that?
PENCE: Well, it's I think look, the American people are understandably frustrated with a president who lectures us on the crusades, but is unwilling to call Islamic extremism by name. Part of leadership, John, I truly believe is not only identifying the objective, but in matters of war and state craft it is about identifying the enemy. And not just with regard to what is happening in Syria and Iraq today with ISIL, but around the globe with the Islamic terrorist attacks in Europe. It is clear that we are confronting a growing threat around the world in the rise of Islamic extremism. And I think it is extremely important for the president of the United States to articulate that clearly, to marshal the resources, the energy of the United States of America and our allies to confront that.
ROBERTS: Your neighbor to the east, Governor John Kasich, told one of our colleagues, "mark my words, at some point it will require boots on the ground from the world to be able to deal with this problem." He was talking about NATO forces, talking about U.S. Forces. Do you agree? Will U.S. ground troops at some point have to be a part of this fight?
PENCE: They might have to be. The reality is that what we ought to be doing, this commander in chief ought to be articulating a robust strategy for not only retaking the territory of Iraq, but also driving this ISIL army out of existence. But, you know, I'm a little old school on this. I think the civilian command of our military ought to articulate the objective. But then you ought to listen to your commanders on the ground and at the Pentagon to say how do we do that? How do we accomplish that and take their recommendations.
ROBERTS: I want to ask you about 2016. And I get on this, stipulating the legislative session runs until April 29.
PENCE: It does.
ROBERTS: You are focused on the business of the state of Indiana. That said, do you want the job?
PENCE: You know, John, I'm blessed every day to be governor of a state that works.
ROBERTS: I should have included that.
PENCE: We have -- we have a balanced budget. We are going to pass another balanced budget this year, as well as the balanced budget amendment. In my first year in office we passed the largest state tax cut in Indiana history. We have invested in education and infrastructure and as a result our economy is growing. We have seen 100,000 private sector jobs in Indiana the last two years. Unemployment has dropped from over eight percent to 5.8 percent. Test scores are up, graduation rates are up. And I just couldn't be prouder of the progress that people of Indiana have made, and so I'm going to stay focused on the future of the people of Indiana. We'll let my future take care of itself.
ROBERTS: Those are all pretty good things to lay out there. I knew my preamble wasn't long enough.
ROBERTS: Those are all good things to lay out there, if you want to become a candidate, but here is the problem. With Jeb Bush pushing the schedule as he is and now Governor Walker following suit, everybody else running to wrap up donors, waiting until May, is that too long before you would potentially make an announcement? Could you catch up if you waited until May?
PENCE: Well, you know, I am just a small town guy from southern Indiana with the privilege of serving in the Congress for a dozen years and now a privilege of serving as governor for two years. But I was raised on some old fashioned values. And one of those ideas is what comes out of the old book that essentially says whoever is trustworthy in lesser things may be trusted with greater things. It really tells me in my heart that as we work on passing another budget, a balanced budget amendment, increasing investment in education innovation, expanding charter schools in what is the largest educational voucher program in America that my job, my focus needs to be on the state of Indiana, the people of Indiana and any decisions about my future.
ROBERTS: I was ..
PENCE: Business at home.
ROBERTS: Is there any consideration here of, you know, if we wait until May it's going to be difficult to catch up?
PENCE: Well, you know, I like to say I'm an A to B, B to C, C to D guy. So, I was raised to say do what is in front of you, do it well and then we'll consider whatever opportunities.
ROBERTS: People say you could, Governor Pence, be a good bridge between establishment Republicans, Tea Party wing, social conservatives. Can you bridge all of those groups?
PENCE: Well, that would be for others to say. I've been ...
ROBERTS: Do you feel comfortable?
PENCE: Well, I have been very fortunate to enjoy strong support. I was there at the first major Tea Party rally out on the National Mall just several years ago. I looked at those hundreds of thousands of people who had come to battle against runaway spending in Washington, D.C. And I said Nancy Pelosi said you all are astro-turf. I said I think you look like the cavalry to me. And I love what the Tea Party has done. I am proud to be a member of the party of Ronald Reagan, and I'm proud of the business support that we have enjoyed. But ...
ROBERTS: Well, that should serve you in good state -- should you and may decide to do that. I want to ask you one more ....
PENCE: All of those things, but we'll make decisions about our future based on where we feel called to serve.
ROBERTS: I want to ask you one more question. You know what Rudy Giuliani said that the other day that he believes the president doesn't love America, at least not in the way that Ronald Reagan did and the way that Bill Clinton did. Do you believe this president loves America?
PENCE: You know, I don't think it helps to question the president's patriotism or motives. Look, Rudy Giuliani is a great American. He saw nearly 3,000 of his own citizens die on 9/11. And he is understandably frustrated with a president who as I said before is fully willing to lecture the people of this country about the crusades, but is unwilling to call Islamic extremism for what it is. And I just truly believe that the focus of our country today needs to be on the task at hand, getting this economy moving again, restoring America's strong place in the world and I look forward to being a voice and to play some role in helping to advance that.
ROBERTS: So, you can say it is not helpful to question his patriotism. Do you question his patriotism at all?
PENCE: I just -- I just don't think it is helpful in the public debate to question motives or to question patriotism. And I truly do believe that where we ought to be focused -- and the thing about being a governor, John, is you have to focus on the task at hand every day. You know, you have asked me a lot of questions about the future. And I like to say out here in Washington, D.C. They are always asking who is next. But as a governor, I have to ask what is next and working on jobs and education reform and improving the quality of the lives of the people of our states? Washington, D.C. needs to get back to focusing on the priorities of the American people.
ROBERTS: Governor Pence, it's always great to sit down with you. Good to see you again. Enjoying our time together in Boca Raton and good to see you here in Washington.
PENCE: Thank you, John.
ROBERTS: When we come back, is questioning the president's patriotism going too far? Our Sunday panel returns with that, plus our 2016 wrap: how did Jeb Bush do in his foreign policy debut? And could foreign money create a headache for Hillary Clinton should she decide to run? We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI: From all that I can say of this president, all that I've heard of him, he apologizes for America, he criticizes America.
DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CMTE CHAIR: If the Republican Party really wants to be taken seriously, really wants to avoid its problems of the past, now is the time for its leaders to stop this kind of nonsense.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Enough!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani refusing to back down after questioning the president's patriotism while DNC Chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz fires back calling such comments "nonsense." And we are back now with the panel. So, Kirsten, the mayor has become increasingly outspoken the further away from office he becomes. His critics would say increasingly unhinged. What do you say?
KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY COLUMNIST: Well, I think this is something that our Republicans don't want to have to defend. Because it is one thing to be critical of the president and his handling of ISIS and another thing to go after him personally and to suggest that he doesn't love America, isn't patriotic and go after his motivations. I think that this is something that probably a lot of Republicans just wish that Rudy Giuliani would stop saying.
ROBERTS: Kimberly, do Republicans need to come forward and either agree with him or denounce him? They know what -- I just asked -- about it.
KIMBERLY STRASSEL, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: I think they just need to talk about the problems with Barack Obama's policies and there is plenty enough to say.
ROBERTS: Peter, what's your take?
BAKER: Actually, White House doesn't mind this conversation because it allows them to sort of paint the opposition as being so extreme that they look more reasonable in their view. On the other hand, it can't be good to have the president's patriotism in question for three, four, five days as we've been doing. You know, they would rather get back to, I think, policy.
ROBERTS: You heard George, Governor Pence say it is not helpful to question president's patriotism regardless of which president it is. Do you agree?
WILL: I do. Certain questions that if you are going to answer them, all you answer them, yes. Do you believe in evolution? Yep!
WILL: The president (INAUDIBLE) and then go on to something else.
ROBERTS: Well, let's go on to some of the potential candidates for 2016, because I think Rudy Giuliani is not in that club. Jeb Bush, big moment on the invisible primary trail gives us big foreign policy speech in Chicago and kind of stumbled right out of the blocks. Let's just know what happened here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH (R) FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: We definitely no longer inspire fear in our enemies. The problem is perhaps best demonstrated by this administration's approach to Iraq. We have had 35 years of experience with Iran -- excuse me, Iran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: A little bit of a problem there with naming the countries. John Yoo, who was the architect of President Bush's enhanced interrogation policy loved the speech. Others thought it was puzzling. Kimberly, what did you think?
STRASSEL: Look, everyone feels that you have to do the big foreign policy speech if you are running for president. And he did that, and he largely hit all the right marks for the moment about what conservatives believe is a problem with the president's foreign policy. He didn't necessarily get into what his own ideas would be. Maybe that is a bit early, still so maybe that's understandable. But he is going to have to think about this very hard, because given his association with the former president, this is going to be one of the biggest topics that greets Jeb Bush if he goes out there. And so, this is going to have to be a lot more thought put into this for future going forward.
ROBERTS: George, did he help himself? Hurt himself?
WILL: I don't think he hurt himself very much. He is -- the cosmetic, delivering the speech could have been better. But Ted Williams won (INAUDIBLE).
WILL: So, the question really is, particularly now, that he has associated himself with some of his brothers foreign policy advisers, sooner or later he has to answer the following question. If in 2003, we had known what we know now about the absence of the weapons of mass destruction and the problems of occupation and the difficulty of transplanting democracy, would you have invaded Iraq? You didn't answer that question.
BAKER: I think, too, by the way, his speech touches on this fundamental debate the Republicans are having about where they stand on issues of foreign policy and national security these days. More and more you are seeing it returning to a more hawkish set of conversation than it had been more, you know, more withdrawn. Less -- some people said isolationist over the last few years, and it's interesting how it's with the rise of ISIS, it is sort of changing that conversation.
ROBERTS: His big theme of the speech was I'm not my brother, I'm not my dad. I'm my own man. Can he so easily separate himself from the two?
STRASSEL: Well, the problem with that is that his father and his brother really are not that much alike when it came to foreign policy.
ROBERTS: I think he might be closer to dad.
STRASSEL: That is sort of a strange thing to say. Because I think, you know, I personally prefer that he was more like his father than like his brother. I also -- I think almost more important than the speech is the people he is hired to work on foreign policy. I mean to have somebody like Paul Wolfowitz, whatever people think of him, he really is the face of the Iraq war in a lot of ways. And so, I think for him to choose people like that, I think it's going to be something that's going to come back.
BAKER: And a lot of other more, you know, on the other side of Republican specter as well.
STRASSEL: There is an opportunity, though, here, too, in that the conflict that George W. Bush was in in terms of Iraq and Afghanistan, it's entirely different, very different from the security situation and the problems that we face now. He can embrace that and actually really craft his own strategy.
ROBERTS: Let's move on to the Democratic side because Hillary Clinton was in the news this past week when it was revealed that Clinton foundation has since 2001 collected some $2 billion in donations and that a large portion of that, even in the last couple of years, has come from foreign governments and foreign entities. Juan Williams is a little concerned about all of this. Let's listen what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Politically this is potentially catastrophic move for Hillary Clinton. And, you know, evidence of a big blind spot if she thinks that she can continue to get away with it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: So, George, do you think this is going to be a big problem for her in the fact that these stories about what do these people buy? What kind of -- with the -- do these people buy, with their tens of millions of dollars?
WILL: It should be. The question is will it be. The richer the Clinton's get the more they resemble the Snopes (ph), the rather low rent people from a Faulkner novel. But one of the great strengths of the Clinton's all along, particularly exemplified by Bill in the unpleasantness with Ms. Lewinsky was a complete inability to be embarrassed. And the operation of the Clinton Foundation with all of this as we say the appearance of perhaps quid pro quo corruption, all of this demonstrates that strength. I don't think they care.
ROBERTS: But Peter, what about this idea that the ten year that Juan Williams is talking about in that interview to donations that look as Ron Fournier said, sleazy and stupid? This happened with the coffees, the Lincoln bedroom, the LIPO group, Charlie Tree (ph) and the Chinese, and it's going to like ...
BAKER: Do you think he will learn, right? And a lot of the contributions they are accepting now have been banned by voluntary agreement during her tenure as Secretary of State because they recognized that it would be a conflict with President Obama. So we can't have that, while you are serving at the State Department. As soon as she left they began taking some of these foreign contributions again. I think it feeds into a larger concern, even within the Democratic Party's Elizabeth Warren wing, that they are -- that this is a moneyed Democratic operation rather than a populist Democratic operation.
ROBERTS: Just before you start, Kimberly, the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation gave me the statement yesterday, "Should Secretary Clinton decide to run for office, we will continue to ensure the foundation's policies and practices regarding support from international partners are appropriate, just as we did when she served as secretary of state. Does that fix it?
STRASSEL: No, I mean I think if they go down this road, in fact, that's why they are not going down this road. If they talk about stopping accepting the money, they got to talk about what they give back. And the foundation just doesn't want to do that. You don't solve this problem unless you give all the money back.
ROBERTS: 30 seconds left, Christie. Do they have to give this money back?
POWERS: I think that it is going to be a problem with them actually with the left as much as anybody else. And precisely because what Peter said. I think that there is so much concern that she is so cozy with wealthy donors and with businesses and corporations, this is really going to feed into that story line.
ROBERTS: A lot to chew over in the next, what's this -- 22 months, I guess. Thanks so much, panel. Really appreciate it. Good to see you.
Coming up next, the final word.
ROBERTS: Niagara Falls flowing again, after most of it was frozen up. Chris Wallace will be back next week and he will have an exclusive interview with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Fresh off his address at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Committee -- a must-stop for any Republican with presidential aspirations.
And that is it for today. Have a great week. And we will see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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