Darrell Issa Talks Fast and Furious Fallout; Rick Santorum on Challenging GOP Presidential Frontrunners

Written by Chris Wallace / Published October 09, 2011 / Fox News Sunday

Special Guests: Rep. Darrell Issa,Rick Santorum

The following is a rush transcript of the October 9, 2011, edition of "Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace." This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.

Congressional Republicans are demanding answers from Attorney General Eric Holder about a federal gun running sting gone wrong.

With "Operation Fast and Furious" in the crosshairs of investigators, what's the fall for the Obama administration? We'll ask the head of the House Government Oversight Committee, Darrell Issa -- only on "Fox News Sunday."

And then Chris Christie and Sarah Palin take a pass on the presidential run. Is the time right for another candidate to make a move? We'll speak with a contender looking to fill the void, former Senator Rick Santorum.

Plus, the "Occupy Wall Street" protests gain momentum, spreading across the country. We'll ask our Sunday panel if the new movement is the left's answer to the Tea Party.

And our power player of the week -- a pro-football veteran tackles an issue of life and death.

All right now on "Fox News Sunday".

And hello again from Fox News in Washington.

The Obama administration is now being rocked by two scandals -- "Operation Fast and Furious" and the awarding of a half billion dollar loan guarantee to Solyndra, a solar panel company that went bankrupt.

Our first guest is at the center of both investigation, Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Congressman, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

REP. DARRELL ISSA, R-CALIF.: Well, thanks for having me on and covering two of the issues that are causing Americans to lose confidence in their government.

WALLACE: OK. Let's start with "Fast and Furious" in which ATF agents allowed more than 2,000 weapons to be sold illegally to cross the border. They were going to try to track them to catch drug traffickers. They lost track of a number of them. Hundreds ended up with the Mexican drug cartel and two of them ended up at the murder scene of a U.S. border patrol agent.

I want to take you back to May when you had this now famous exchange with Attorney General Eric Holder. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISSA: When did you first know about the program officially, I believe, called "Fast and Furious"? To the best of your knowledge, what date?

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I am not sure about the exact date. But I probably heard about "Fast and Furious" for the first time over the last few weeks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Congressman, I understand that you are going to issue a new set of subpoenas to the attorney general this week. About what?

ISSA: About "Fast and Furious" and basically, at this point, about why are they denying knowing about something that they were briefed on? Exactly when the American people want to know how did it happen? Understand, we didn't start off going after the attorney general or Lanny Breuer or anyone else in justice. We started off knowing that Brian Terry was dead, that a lot of --

WALLACE: The U.S. border patrol agent.

ISSA: The U.S. border patrol agent. And that a lot of weapons have been let to walk.

After that, we started being told things like by the Justice Department designated official that we never let weapons walk.

Now, we have literally e-mails in which they are concerned about so many walking and you said something and I don't mean to correct you -- but to expand. We didn't just have a few not be tracked. The whole program was about not tracking them until they were found in the scene of crimes. And they didn't just allow. They facilitated just one guy buy, one straw buy, over 700 weapons.

WALLACE: So, specifically, what are your subpoenas about?

ISSA: We want to know what and when they knew it. But more importantly, we have to understand -- at what level of the authorization really come? It wasn't an ATF operation. They were part of that. It was a joint operation in which DEA knew more than ATF.

WALLACE: Drug Enforcement Administration. ATF, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

ISSA: And, of course, these are all parts of the Department of Justice. And as we are beginning to see, and we're not talking about Eric Holder at this moment, but the people in the top of justice were well-briefed, knew about it, and seemed to be the command and control and funding for this program. And any law enforcement person who's ever been asked under oath or not under oath comes back and says this wasn't the right way to do it.

Well, when did they know it wasn't the right way to do it and why do they keep doing it?

WALLACE: Are you going to subpoena the attorney general to testify again?

ISSA: The Judiciary Committee in which I also served, that's where that actual question got asked, is -- has invited him to come and clear the record, because, clearly, he knew when he said he didn't. Now, the question is, what did he know and how is he explaining why he gave that answer?

WALLACE: OK. The attorney general sent you a letter Friday afternoon, along with other top officials in both the House and the Senate.

I want to go through some of this push back. He acknowledges that several memos, and here you can see them heavily redacted --

ISSA: This is the way we usually get this, Chris.

WALLACE: -- on these dates were sent to his office as much as 10 months earlier, not the few weeks before he testified in May of 2011. But he says -- and I want to put up his comments from his letter, "I do not and cannot read them cover to cover. Here, no issues concerning 'Fast and Furious' were brought to my attention because the information presented in the report did not suggest a problem.

He's saying I didn't know about this program and I certainly didn't know that we were letting guns walk.

ISSA: Well, I'll take him at his word, but let's go back. He answered before Judiciary Committee, myself, Jason Chaffetz, and others, that he didn't know about it until two weeks earlier. That's just disingenuous on its face.

Very clearly, he had to know when Brian Terry was killed and everyone realized these were "Fast and Furious" weapons, he had to know something serious had happened and that's months before he says he knew. Now, if we assume for a moment he didn't know, the question is, is he competent? If, in fact, a border patrol agent has been murdered, 2,000 weapons have gone, this program has completely gone off of the rails, why didn't he know? And that's probably a more important question for the chief law enforcement. If Lanny Breuer knew, why didn't Eric Holder?

WALLACE: And Larry Breuer, one of his top --

ISSA: One of this top aides who is very involved much earlier on and works in the same office.

WALLACE: OK, Holder points out that top officials briefed you in April of 2010, just around the time that he was first hearing of all of this. He writes and let's put it up, "I'm aware that Chairman Issa has said that he was not briefed on the unacceptable details of 'Fast and Furious.'" In other words, the fact they were letting the guns walked.

Two questions, one: is that true? Were you brief and not told? And second, if it is true, how do you know that he was also not told?

ISSA: The interesting thing is he's quoting a story that he planted, that justice shopped around to the newspaper. But having said that, I'll answer it.

We were looking into the drug problems, we asked for a briefing. We got a briefing, including Kenneth Melson. We --

WALLACE: Of ATF?

ISSA: Of ATF, one of the people that knew about the program but didn't all the other things that he ultimately read in a still sealed wiretap. That when he read the wiretap and understood how much they knew that this was deliberately letting bad guns go to the drug cartel, he became sick to his stomach. So yes.

WALLACE: But my question is -- all right. So, you are saying you were not told about "Fast and Furious" and the gun walking. So, how do you know that he wasn't told?

ISSA: Well, first of all, it was concealed from us by the Justice Department. That briefing, they were not allowed to know what Kenneth Melson later knew and made him sick to his stomach. Let's understand, ATF is running an operation. They're being told guns aren't getting to the bad guys. Ultimately, the whistleblower came forward, when he realized, of course, guns are getting to the bad guys.

This investigation is not about an operation that was supposed to trace guns. This is about Justice Department knowing and this is where the American people have a right to know more, knowing that these guns were deliberately intended to end up in the hands of the drug cartels without any kind of traceability except if you find a gun in the scene of the crime. That is the reason that it is felony and stupid -- and I use the word "felony" deliberately -- program.

This should be criminal to let criminals have thousands of deadly weapons.

WALLACE: I have to point out, because Holder does in his letter, the Bush administration had a similar operation called "Operation Wide Receiver" that also, he says, let guns walk?

ISSA: Well, first of all, Eric Holder came in wanting to indict people from that administration. So, I think his standard of the -- well, other administration did it, too, is not so good.

But understand, from what we discover from "Wide Receiver" and those, by the way, we have subpoenas for those and those documents have not been delivered. Very few weapons, very, very well-traced -- overhead, observation and so on.

What you would think would happen if you let a weapon start to move, you trace it at every step. This was one where they let the weapons go and never looked until they showed up in the scene of Brian Terry's murder.

WALLACE: Some of your Republican colleagues have called for a special prosecutor to look into Holder's involvement. Some have called on Holder to resign.

Do you join either of those?

ISSA: Well, I've always taken the tack that the president picks the people he has full confidence, and the president still seems to have full confidence in Eric Holder -- something I don't share. When it comes to a special prosecutor, Eric Holder cannot investigate himself. Congress is well along the way of investigating this operation to find out what went wrong, who knew it and what we have to do in the future to make sure it can't happen again.

If there's a special prosecutor to look at the narrow issue of top officials who -- and they beat political appointees, that's a separate issue. Our investigation, along with Senator Grassley has to get to the bottom of this sooner, not later, because the American people and people in Mexico don't trust their government right now.

WALLACE: Let's turn to the other scandal, Solyndra. The Obama administration had a document dump late Friday, hundreds of pages of e-mails late in Friday afternoon.

ISSA: I don't know what is about Fridays.

WALLACE: I mean, it's -- all administrations do it, to be fair.

ISSA: Fair.

WALLACE: Overview, before we get into a couple of specifics. What's your take away from the document dump?

ISSA: Well, they are trying to bury it into the weekend. But just as the document dump a week earlier gave us the Eric Holder situation, what we are finding it is not just Solyndra. It's a pattern of these sorts of investments. You know, understand, in the last day that the law was there, $4.75 billion was thrown into loans. And one of the questions we have for Secretary Chu is, tell us why that last day, somehow, you had everything you needed and you didn't have it over a period of time before?

The American people have a right to know on the rare occasions in which their money is used to invest in private operations, if you will, take bets on capitalism, that is very well vetted, very well thought out and without political interference.

Solyndra is a story of political interference, picking winners and losers. It's salacious because, quite frankly, there were a lot of people giving to President Obama's campaign.

But it's also a question of why are we doing this and if a loan goes bad, why is the government somehow coming in? Are they coming in because a little more money will save the company, or are they coming in for political purposes to cover up because they want to delay the inevitable, which is in the case of Solyndra, they inevitably going bankrupt the last time they got money.

WALLACE: But here's the question. There's no -- I mean, Barack Obama made no bones about it. He wanted to support clean energy.

There was an eagerness as part of the stimulus. It was part -- an open part of the stimulus to support green clean energy programs. So, some would say a rush to judgment to put the money out there without doing due diligence. Question, do you have evidence of corruption that Solyndra got a half billion dollar federal loan guarantee because of political connections?

ISSA: Well, if I can explain where the problem gets bad. It's not the original loan. What there is, Chris, is when they got in trouble and we went in -- we, the government -- went in, in violation of congressional mandate and subordinated a loan, meaning, put other creditors in a better position.

WALLACE: Private creditors would get -- paid back in this bankruptcy before the federal tax.

ISSA: Exactly. There's where the question happens. Why did we breach the protocol that was required? Why did we do something that was strictly prohibited? That's where you started asking the questions.

Look, I have disagreements with the president on policies and particularly what he calls green energy. Understand that a transit bus driver is trained to drive a diesel bus, they call it a green job. So, I have problems with what they call green.

But at the same time, once the decision was made. My committee -- unlike the energy and commerce committee that looks at a lot of broader issue -- I am looking was process followed. The American people have a right to except that the rule of law will guarantee that even if we don't like the policy, that it's done properly. This is where I have a problem with how the money was spent. This is where the I.G. is going to have additional problems, and this is where -- yes, we're going to look for political interference because you have to ask -- why would we put the government at a disadvantage when we're putting in more money?

WALLACE: You are saying you're not investigating the investigation of Solyndra getting the loan. There's been talk there was a big fundraiser for Obama, George Kaiser, and he was a big investor in Solyndra. You're not looking at that. You're looking at the question of what was done at the tail end to try to shore up the company and to shore investors at the expense of the taxpayers.

ISSA: The American people will judge the overall policy and how they pick winners and losers. Remember, this was a $500 million earmark effectively by political appointees. Something that you hear about with Congress, you don't always hear about the president.

My view is, my committee's jurisdiction and energy and commerce is doing great of this -- my jurisdiction is to try to figure how it doesn't happen again. So, we're each taking a piece of it. But I'm looking at a lot of others --

WALLACE: Let me -- I want to pick up on this, we only got about a minute left. You say government shouldn't play venture capitalist. It shouldn't be picking winners and losers.

But it turns out that you sent several letters over the last couple of years to the federal Energy Department asking for federal loan guarantees for clean energy companies in your state. Didn't you do the same thing that you are accusing them of doing?

ISSA: Chris, it's a very valid question. Here's the difference -- every member of Congress, they almost wave them, send in and say, I've got somebody in my district you should look at. There's a big difference between sending a letter in for an exiting pot of money for a program I voted against and having the ability to actually pick winners or loser, which we don't have. Perhaps --

WALLACE: You are saying -- you were re saying in the case of Aptera, which is one of the companies, you're saying that the federal Energy Department give them a federal loan guarantee?

ISSA: Not give them a loan guarantee. Our letter actually recognized, and by the way, their loan has never processed. It expired without them getting it. What we were --

WALLACE: I'm not saying you were successful. I'm just saying you tried?

ISSA: But the request was, they have a loan application and would you please give them a yes or no -- and that's a big difference. A lot of loans went in and these people spent money processing and they never heard.

In the case of Solyndra, they contributed heavily to Barack Obama and they got a loan and they got it quickly. They got it expedited. The emails show that there was hurry all the way up to the vice president. We got to do it, we are getting a lot of pressure. There's a big difference there.

WALLACE: Congressman Issa, we're going to have to leave there. We want to thank you so much for coming in today and we will stay on top of both stories, sir.

ISSA: Thank you, sir.

WALLACE: Up next, with the GOP presidential field apparently set, we'll talk to Rick Santorum, a candidate looking to make a move.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: The Republican presidential field firmed up this week with Chris Christie and Sarah Palin deciding to sit out the race. So, which candidate is in the best spot to challenge the front runners?

We continue our series of 2012 one-on-one interviews with someone looking to be that candidate, former Senator Rick Santorum, who comes to us from Dallas.

Senator, you've spent more than 60 days this year in Iowa, which is almost double what any of the other candidate has spent and the conventional wisdom in that state is, if anyone is going to pull a Huckabee, come from long shot to win the Iowa caucuses, it's you. What's your strategy?

RICK SANTORUM, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, the strategy is to go down and talk to the people of Iowa and do town hall meetings. And I have been to 70 counties of the 99 counties. As you mention, we spend a lot of time there. I think we've done almost 180 town hall-type meetings.

And, you know, we are talking, basically, to activist. So, we understand that. We are not hitting huge crowds but we are hitting the people who are the engine of the Iowa caucuses. And they are talking and have influence in their community.

And, you know, the fact that I have been in the community, being in the small counties that pays a lot of dividends and, obviously, our plan is not to peak in June or July but now in January, we were February, but now January, when the votes are counted.

WALLACE: All right. You raised in the second quarter, the one that ended in June, $582,000. By way of comparison, Herman Cain raised over $2 million.

You have got a report, your third quarter, the number -- the quarter that ended in the end of September. You got to report your fundraising numbers this week. What's your number going to be?

SANTORUM: It's going to be a little bit more than that. Here's our fundraising number, we are cash positive. We're running a grassroots campaign.

We're spending a lot of money. I don't have a lot of overheads. I have no consultants. I don't have anybody telling me what to think or how to think it.

And we are just running a grassroots campaign for president. We, like I said, we are cash positive. We can make our payrolls. In fact, we're doing very, very well in that regard. And we're starting to build our last staff.

The last two and a half weeks of the quarter, we raised more money than the previous two and half months. So, we are on an uptick as a result of -- well, the FOX News debate and CNN debate where I was given a little bit more of an opportunity to share my ideas and get into some discussions with the other candidates, and people are responding very, very well.

So, we feel like we are beginning to gain traction just at the right time.

WALLACE: OK. Another problem you've got besides money and it sounds like it's going to be somewhat tight for the rest of the year, is that as --

SANTORUM: We have enough money to do -- we have enough money to do what we need to do, Chris. I mean, again, if you have a huge campaign and lots of consultants, you need a lot of money. I don't. I try to just be the candidate that is real, is out there, not scripted and messaged by a group of folks who think that, you know, reading polls you get votes in this country.

WALLACE: OK. But if I can get to one of your other issues, it's the 2012 primary calendar and the fact that it has been moved up at least a month. Let's look at that calendar. Instead of starting in early February, which is what the Republican Party's plan was, Iowa and New Hampshire are now moving to just after new years and possibly the last week of December. Christmas in Des Moines.

You accuse Mitt Romney of trying to bully the early states in order to rig the calendar. Explain. Why is this Mitt Romney's fault?

SANTORUM: Well, there were reports out of Nevada that the Romney people were, in fact, trying to bully Nevada to move their primary up to force Iowa and New Hampshire into the early part of the year.

Look, Governor Romney is not doing well in Iowa. He's not spending much time there. He's put all of his eggs in the New Hampshire basket and I think trying to force Iowa into early -- excuse me -- late this year is trying to marginalize Iowa as a primary. He's trying to marginalize them and their impact on the system in order to put more weight on New Hampshire.

It's a strategy that I think he's pursuing. Obviously, if you're not doing going to do well in the first primary state, you want to minimalize it as much as possible and I think that's what he's doing.

Obviously, we believe we can do very well in Iowa and, by the way, New Hampshire and South Carolina, which we've also spent a lot of time in.

WALLACE: It looks and may be silly to even talk this way. But it looks like there are basically two tickets in this Republican primary race. One is for Mitt Romney who seems to be the legitimate front runner and the other is for the more conservative or alternative to Mitt Romney, and that's obviously s the ticket that you are looking to punch.

Let me go through some of your rivals for that alternative spot and have you talked about them and why you think you deserve consideration and votes instead of them. Governor Rick Perry, he's got a decade of executive experience and a strong record as a job creator.

Why should a conservative pick you over Rick Perry?

SANTORUM: Well, I think Rick Perry has a lot of questions to answer about his record in Texas, whether he's been consistently conservative and we've started to see that in the debates, that the more people find out his record on immigration, his record to benefits to illegals in this country, which he continues to support, his record on using executive authority to trump parental rights, these are not conservative things.

And, again, you look at my record -- yes, I don't have experience as a governor. But I have national security experience and, of course, if you are looking at the president, the one thing the president really needs to have where he has the real authority under the Constitution is in national security.

And, again, my record is strong. There's no one who knows more and understands the problems particularly in the Middle East and who's been a stronger friend of Israel than I have been. And again, the track record on the national security side with my experience on the armed services committee for eight years, I've got the record that really compares very favorably with Rick Perry.

WALLACE: All right. Let me try to run through this a little bit more quickly with you. Herman Cain --

SANTORUM: OK.

WALLACE: -- nonpolitician which is an asset these days, businessman, and he is opposed to anyone else has a clear income plan 999?

SANTORUM: Yes. Well, obviously, he's a nonpolitician because he's lost the race. I mean, he lost the race. I mean, to go out and say I'm a nonpolitician because I failed is not necessarily the moist compelling case to make when you want to run your first major -- try to win your first race as president of the United States against an incumbent president.

So, I would say political experience, coming from Pennsylvania, winning two statewide elections, one of those years where President Bush lost it by five, I won by six. It's a pretty compelling narrative for somebody.

And as far as the economic plan, I jab at Herman saying I've got a zero, zero, zero plan. In other words, you know, zero is better than nine when it comes to taxes and it's focused on the area of the economy that voters are concerned about and that's the manufacturing sector of the economy. We eliminate corporate tax for manufacturers and processors. We eliminate all the regulations, we repeal them when it comes to the businesses that the Obama administration has put in place that cost over $100 million. And we zero out the tax for those $1.2 trillion of funds that are sitting overseas that manufacturers made profits. We allow them to bring the money back to invest in American and that plant and equipment so we can grow that sector of the economy.

WALLACE: Senator, do you think Mormonism is a cult?

SANTORUM: No, I on don't.

WALLACE: Do you think that Mitt Romney, contrary to what this Dallas pastor, Robert Jeffress, said at the Values Voter, do you think Mitt Romney is a true Christian?

SANTORUM: Mitt Romney is a true -- he says he's a Christian. I believe he said Christian.

I'm not an expert on Mormonism. All I know is that every Mormon I know is a good and decent person, has great moral values and, by and large, with the exception of Harry Reid, by and large, pretty consistent in the values that I share and that things I want to see happen to this country. And that's what he should be judged on.

WALLACE: OK. In the couple of minutes we have left, I want to get into one last issue with you, and that is -- I want to discuss the last FOX debate in which a gay soldier got up in the debate on video and asked, whether or not as president, you would reinstate "don't ask, don't tell."

Here's what you said to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: Any type of sexual activity has no place in the military and the fact that they are making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege to -- in removing "don't ask, don't tell," I think, tries to inject social policy into the military.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Senator, you say sexual activity has no place in the military. Heterosexuals have been open heterosexual for centuries in the military without any problems. And you talk about gays not being given, that they shouldn't be given special privilege. All of the "don't ask, don't tell" and the repeal of it does is say that they are given the same rights as everybody else has had forever.

SANTORUM: Well, the problem is, is that the sexual activity with people who are in close quarters with, who happen to be the same sex, is different than having the discussion and open about your sexual activity where there is -- you are not in that same situation. So, you are talking about injecting as I said before --

WALLACE: No, wait a minute. Are you saying, you think that homosexual gay soldiers are going to sit there and go after the male counterparts in the barracks?

SANTORUM: I didn't suggest that.

WALLACE: You said they were in close activity, a close --

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: Well, they are in close -- they are in close quarters. They live with people. They shower with people, the whole kinds -- all the things that they are involved in living in a barracks, or living out in the field, those are issues that again, some people, you are talking about that individual person, but you're talking about the ability for people to be able to have that unit cohesion, to be able to work together in a efficient fighting way. And, obviously, and also, by the way, the affect on retention and recruitment of people to live in that environment.

And yes, there are people who feel uncomfortable in that environment

WALLACE: I want to -- I want --

SANTORUM: And as a result, it could hurt -- it could hurt our ability to retain and recruit and to put the best fighting force in place.

WALLACE: Senator --

SANTORUM: As I said before, Chris, there has no --

WALLACE: Senator, if I may follow up and we are running out of the time and continuing on this conversation. You say don't inject social policy into the military. Their job is to fight and defend. They're not a social experiment.

I want to put up a quote for you. "The Army is not a sociological laboratory. Experimenting with Army policy, especially in time of war would pose a danger to efficiency, disciple and moral and would result in ultimate defeat." Does that sound about right, sir?

SANTORUM: Roughly yes.

WALLACE: That's a quote from Colonel Eugene Householder who is in the Army Adjutant General's Office in 1941, arguing against racial integration in the military.

SANTORUM: I figured. I've heard similar quotes. It's very, very different. I mean, we are talking about people who are, you know, simply different because of the color of their skin, not because of activities that would cause problems for people living in those close quarters.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: Senator, Colonel Householders and I read -- Senator, I read Colonel Householders' comments yesterday. Everything that you said, living in close proximity, sharing bunks and showers, being in close proximity, what -- he used exactly the same arguments you use to argue against racial integration in the military in the 1940s.

SANTORUM: Yes, I understand that, and I know the whole gay community is trying to make this the new Civil Rights Act. It's not. It's not the same.

You are black by the color of your skin. You are not homosexual necessarily by -- obviously by the color of your skin or anything -- it's by a variety of things.

WALLACE: I mean, it is a fact that your biology -- obviously, it's one thing if somebody is coming on to somebody in a room, but the sheer fact that somebody is a homosexual, are you saying -- I mean, these are all volunteers. They are all defending to protect our country, sir.

SANTORUM: That's exactly the point, Chris. They are all volunteers, and they don't have to join in a place where they don't feel comfort serving with people because of that issue. And that is the problem, Chris.

And look, the idea that somehow or another, that this is the equivalent, that being black and being gay is simply not true. There are all sorts of studies out there that suggest just the contrary, and there are people who were gay and lived a gay lifestyle and aren't anymore. I don't know if that's a similar situation -- I don't think that's the case with anybody that is black.

So it's not the same. And I know people try to make it the same, but it is not. It is a behavioral issue, as opposed to a color of the skin issue, and that makes all the difference when it comes to serving in the military

WALLACE: We're going to have to leave it there, Senator Santorum.

SANTORUM: OK.

WALLACE: I want to thank you so much for talking with us today. Safe travels on the campaign trail, sir.

SANTORUM: Thank you.

WALLACE: Up next, the Occupy Wall Street protests spread across the country. We'll ask our Sunday panel if this is the left's answer to the Tea Party movement.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are people who feel that their future has been foreclosed. Right? It's been stolen from them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our country is being taken over by a small minority of people who rig the system.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Wall Street got bailed out, we got sold out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Some of the Occupy Wall Street protesters explaining why they have spent weeks camped out in lower Manhattan and now cities across the country.

And it's time for our Sunday group -- Brit Hume, Fox News senior political analyst; A.B. Stoddard of The Hill newspaper; Bill Kristol from The Weekly Standard; and Fox News Political analyst Juan Williams.

Brit, the number of protesters, quite frankly, is still very small, but it is growing in lower Manhattan and it is spreading. The number is still small in cities around the country. And it does seem to be growing as labor unions join in.

What do you make of Occupy Wall Street?

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: It's hard to know what to make of it yet. But I would say this: I think it's risky for Democratic politicians to align themselves closely with this movement, because I think although it has something in common with the Tea Party movement, which proved to be a political force in the sense that both groups objected these big bailouts, but I think that it's a different type of demonstration that we are seeing.

This group, for example -- one of the offshoots of the Occupy Wall Street was here in Washington yesterday and got into a scuffle outside the Air and Space Museum with the authorities and they had to shut the place down. That is the kind of thing that most Americans will take a dim view of. And if that becomes -- if there's more of that -- there has been some disruption, some sanitation issues in New York. This is the kind of thing that will turn ordinary voters off, and therefore is why I say it's perilous for the Democrats in Congress and elsewhere to align themselves with this movement.

WALLACE: A.B., we're going to get into more of the politics in a moment, but just as you see this -- and it's getting, I have to say, a lot of coverage, maybe more than it deserves from the mainstream media, but it is an interesting development around the country and I think we're talking about it -- what do you make of it? What's going on here?

A.B. STODDARD, EDITOR, THE HILL: Well, I think the sort of protest era has returned. And as we continue in a very troubled economy that doesn't look like it's going to improve very quickly, and our government hopefully is going to attack this debt crisis head on, we're going to see cuts to spending and cuts to services, and I think we're really going to see more protests. I think this -- I anticipate that this will grow.

I do agree, though, I don't see it going anywhere. They don't have a list of demands, they don't have a leader. The Tea Party movement --

WALLACE: Well, did the Tea Party have a leader?

STODDARD: The Tea Party movement though ended up in its goal to cut government moving the Republican Party way to the right and the Democrat Party to the right. I don't see the Occupy Wall Street movement actually changing minds now in corporate boardrooms or in congressional committees and moving the parties to the left.

WALLACE: Bill, let's talk about the reaction here in Washington, which has been interesting.

In his news conference on Thursday, the president seemed to walk kind of a tightrope. He sympathized with the movement and said yes, I understand there's frustration, but he very carefully refrained from supporting it. On the other hand, Eric Cantor, the House Republican leader, called them mobs.

Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER ERIC CANTOR,R-VA.: Believe it or not, some in this town have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: What do you think of how the two parties are playing this?

BILL KRISTOL, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I think Republicans should be quiet. I mean, these are demonstrations against the party in power, which last I looked, was the Obama administration. They hate the current regulation of Wall Street which is being governed by a law called Dodd-Frank. Last I looked, Dodd was a Democratic senator and Frank was a Democratic congressman.

Wall Street is represented by a Democratic congressman, Jerrold Nadler. So I'd say Republicans and conservatives should step aside and let the left fight this out. I mean, who knew the left was suffering from such Tea Party envy? That's what strikes me.

They want their own Tea Party. You read these leftist columnists, they need the energy.

Weren't we being told a year ago or even a few months ago that the Tea Party was the worst thing that could have happened to the Republican Party, it's a bunch of extremists, it's going to destroy the Republican Party? And now they realize that, because the Tea Party strengthened conservatism, and they wish they had their own version of it.

But, what did the Tea Party do? This is A.B. -- what did the Tea Party actually do in 2009 and 2010? They defeated a whole bunch of Republicans in primaries, right? They elected people, or, in some cases, defeated people that didn't win in the general.

They had real electoral clout. And if I were running Occupy Wall Street, they need to defeat. They need to defeat Senator Gillibrand in the Democratic primary in New York, or Congressman Nadler in the Democratic primary in lower Manhattan, or someone.

WALLACE: And move the party to the left?

KRISTOL: Yes, they can't -- otherwise, it's just talk. I mean, they need to have an electoral strategy.

WALLACE: Juan, I have a feeling that Bill Kristol is not going to be on the board of advisers of Occupy Wall Street. How do you compare this movement to the Tea Party? And could it be -- as I think we all agree now, the Tea Party became a big, energizing, mobilizing, citizens' grassroots movement that helped the Republican Party. Could this be a benefit to the Democrats?

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: That's the heart and soul of the issue, is there's been an enthusiasm gap. And clearly, what you get with Occupy Wall Street is the far left for the first time since the Obama campaign of '08.

Now, organizing and putting themselves out in an aggressive way that's getting the media coverage that stimulates the idea, you know what, something is wrong and thee are people on the left who are finally coming together, I think they are far more organic than those kind of direct mail groups that were the initial creators of the Tea Party. And I think this is going to continue now, and it's a tremendous benefit of President Obama and the Democrats that this comes at the start of that 2012 election year.

These are young people who previously were treating Obama like a rock star. Now they're out there on their own, and it's a dynamic that's changing the conversation. Instead of it being about Republicans pushing Obama to the right, now you have groups that are discontent with President Obama and pushing him to the left to do more on the environment --

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: But, Brit, a lot of these protesters don't like President Obama very much. He over saw the bailout, which they hate. His Justice Department has not put a single one of these big financial people in jail. They are not real happy, as Bill suggests, with Barack Obama and the Democrats.

HUME: It's really hard for me to see how this movement helps the Democrats, because as Juan points out, it represents the far left. The far left commands only a tiny fraction of public support in this country.

What was important about the Tea Party was that on the issues that Tea Party people were complaining about, the spending and the bailouts and so on, those were issues that middle Americans and centrist voters identified with, and that the Tea Party commanded, therefore, significant public support. I don't think the inchoate message from the left and the characters we see associated with this movement so far are likely to stimulate much support from Independents.

WALLACE: OK.

We have to take a break here, but when we come back, the economy stalls and President Obama pushes his jobs plan. But is anyone in Congress listening?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I don't think they are better off than they were four years ago. They're not better off than they were before Lehman collapsed, before the financial crisis, before this extraordinary recession that we are going through.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: President Obama with a startling admission this week. If he had to answer the famous Ronald Reagan question whether things have improved on his watch, his answer would be no.

And we're back now with the panel.

Well, let's start with numbers for last month -- a net of the 103,000 jobs created, but the unemployment rate stays unchanged at 9.1 percent.

A.B.,. most economists say at least we're not sliding back into a recession. Do you agree?

STODDARD: Well, it's good news and bad. It's not in free fall and cause for complete panic, but it is still not enough to keep up with population growth, terrible long-term unemployed and terrible underemployment. So, it's not exactly good news for President Obama, who has now pivoted to a "the situation is grim and I'm the underdog" campaign message.

He's going to run on the fact that the economy is on the cliff. And if Republicans don't help him, it will go over the cliff.

And the problem for him in addressing the jobs, the unemployment, unchanged at 9.1, which his going to dog him, we all expect, into next fall, is that his own Democrats are not willing to push this. All you need to know at this point is that the Democrats are really not rallying around his jobs plan. As much as he says every day in different cities, Congress, pass this plan now, there are Senate Democrats up for reelection who really do not want this to come up for a vote, and that's why their Leader won't schedule one.

WALLACE: Let's talk about that, because the president held a news conference the day before the unemployment numbers came out. He continued to push for his jobs plan, and House Speaker Boehner fired back.

Let's watch the exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If Congress does something, then I can't run against a do-nothing Congress. If Congress does nothing, then it's not a matter of me running against them. I think the American people will run them out of town.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO: Nothing has disappointed me more than what's happened over the last five weeks -- to watch the president of the United States give up on governing, give up on leading, and spend full time campaigning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Bill, where does the Obama hobs plan stand now? And isn't A.B. right that the president's effort to try to make this an issue against Republicans is hurt by the fact that so many Senate Democrats aren't on board with the plan themselves?

KRISTOL: And they're not on board with the plan because it's not a jobs plan. I mean, it's a tax hike plan, it's a spending plan, and some temporary tax cuts. That's the part that the president is touting, but they are temporary. And we've seen in the last year these temporary tax cuts don't make a difference.

So I think the Republicans run very little risk in saying, do you want to increase the deficit next year from $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion? Is that your idea of responsible fiscal management at this point, temporary tax cuts which haven't worked and a big tax increase on small business and on those who have the money to invest?

I think it's easy to oppose it. I think Republicans probably should be a little more proactive in proposing their own set of remedies, longer-term remedies. They proposed them a few times, but Rob Portman, I think, may introduce a bill that lays them -- puts them in one place.

The Republicans need to be aggressive critics of the Obama administration's management of the economy, obviously, and then this will all be over taken when the debt commission -- when the super committee reports in November. This is all sparring. The one moment where there could be serious legislative action on spending and taxes is November/December.

WALLACE: Juan, the president, as we've kind of been alluding to, is pushing a more populist line, but a lot of Democrats say he doesn't fit because he comes off more as the cool professor than the fiery populist. And Republicans are saying look at other Democrats who have run as populists like, as they put it, "President Dukakis" and "President Kerry."

Is this more aggressive line -- he would say populist, Republicans would say class warfare -- is this a good strategy for him?

WILLIAMS: It's a excellent strategy. In fact, if you look at the numbers -- you know, take away all the partisanship, just look at the absolute numbers.

I think the ABC/"Washington Post" poll has 52 percent of Americans say they want the president's job bill passed, 52 percent. And when you ask people about class warfare, which is what you hear from Republicans, people say no. You know what? This actually is important, it's a healing thing, it's bringing the country together. I think that was a Fox poll, 56 percent.

So, in terms of numbers, if you're just looking at it strategically, yes, there is populist argument to be made. There is real discontent with levels of inequality, the sense that Wall Street got the bailout, that they're going to have big Christmas bonuses, all that, that's real. And the president is now capitalizing on it.

You look at what's going on with the job's bill, people say there's no chance it will be passed, but what you see is Democrats are saying they should tax the millionaires. There should be -- I think it's a 5.6 percent tax on people that make more than $1 million. Overwhelming support for this among the American people.

HUME: I think you need to step back from this immediate skirmish over this jobs bill, which I think is going nowhere, not least because of Democratic resistance to it. And look at what the president is trying to get people to do.

He's trying to get them to say, yes, Mr. President, we know your job was to fix the economy, and you really didn't do it. And yes, we know you tried with the stimulus bill that, as far as we can tell, didn't work, and we didn't like the composition of it anyway. And yes, Mr. President, we know you turned your attention then away from the economy to pass a health care reform plan that we didn't like either.

But we're going to forgive you for all of that because you now have proposed a stimulus bill that's about half the size of the one that we don't think worked, and you are pounding on Congress to pass it. But they also are going to say, and if it doesn't pass, we're not going to hold you responsible for it not passing, we're going to blame the Congress, one-half of which your party controls.

My view of that is if that's a winning message, then everything I ever thought I knew about politics is wrong.

STODDARD: I think I'm going to agree with Bill that the Republicans would be well served to back away from the Wall Street protests and to associate themselves --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans?

STODDARD: Republicans. Back away from criticizing the protest and associate themselves with the frustration out there over unemployment.

And on the jobs bill, they should come up with their own plan and say pass this jobs bill now. It's too much answering back to the president.

I think they should be more proactive on jobs. They came home from the summer recess after the debt ceiling debate, which was injurious to them in the polls. And they came back committed to start talking about an aggressive employment agenda, and they haven't.

They have gotten caught up in the sparring again, and they are not looking like they are focused on jobs. And I think that they should be.

WALLACE: Juan, we've got a little bit more than 30 seconds left, but I want to go back to the president's admission that showed at the top that we are not better off than we were three years ago.

How does he run for reelection when he's admitted that, particularly if his opponent is somebody as mainstream as Mitt Romney?

WILLIAMS: He says to them, look, you know what? We came in. The American people are not stupid. You realize that we have been trying aggressively. Money has been spent. I know people say the stimulus is not popular, but look at what the CBO has said. It's lowered unemployment. And I'm putting more measures in place.

All that Congress says to me is no. I am saying to you yes.

WALLACE: Very well stated, and you did not -- the gong did not go off. Very well done.

Thanks, panel. See you next week.

And don't forget to check out "Panel Plus," where our group picks right up with the discussion on our Web site, FoxNewsSunday.com. We'll post the video before noon Eastern Time.

Up next, our "Power Player of the Week."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: Too often we hold up professional athletes as role models. But we want to tell you about one who really is -- just not for the reasons you would think.

Here's our "Power Player of the Week."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REED DOUGHTY, WASHINGTON REDSKINS: It's an exciting time. We're having a new baby boy that we are going to be so proud of, and trying to make a football team in the National Football League.

WALLACE (voice-over): Reed Doughty is talking about 2006, when he was drafted by the Washington Redskins and his wife Katie was about to have their first child.

But when Micah was born prematurely, something was wrong. The excitement turned to fear.

DOUGHTY: We find out that Micah had ESRD, End Stage Renal Disease.

WALLACE (on camera): "End Stage" doesn't sound good for a newborn.

DOUGHTY: No, it doesn't. There was just a lot of questions at that point.

WALLACE (voice-over): Micah had almost total kidney failure. He was put on powerful drugs, then dialysis, while Reed became an important part of the Redskins.

(on camera): How tough is it for 18 months to balance these really serious issues with your little boy with the fact that you're in the most competitive environment in the world?

DOUGHTY: Our faith in God kept us together. And I think my wife is just -- she's a nurse, and I think that gave me some confidence when she's at home that she knew what was going on.

WALLACE (voice-over): Finally, Micah was big enough to have a kidney transplant. His mom Katie was a match.

DOUGHTY: It is was very difficult to be in that pre-operating room and knowing that both my wife and my child were going to go under.

WALLACE: We'll get back to Micah in a moment. But even though his kidney disease was not preventable, his dad decided to take on the cause.

DOUGHTY: Hi. I'm Reed Doughty. I'm a professional athlete, but I never knew how important kidneys are to your health until my son was born with kidney failure.

WALLACE: The numbers are staggering. Twenty-six million Americans suffer from chronic kidney disease. More than 80,000, are waiting for a transplant. And much of it is preventable.

DOUGHTY: If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of kidney disease, you are at risk.

WALLACE: Reed's message is to use his standing as a pro-football player to spread awareness to get people to go for early screening.

DOUGHTY: I'm hoping that it just maybe will catch their eye, they'll say, oh, I know that name, and it will help them just -- maybe, oh, my dad had diabetes, maybe I need to get tested.

WALLACE: Which us back to little Micah. The kidney transplant was a complete success. He is now healthy and happy.

DOUGHTY: He rides his little scooter around, he takes spills. I mean, he does all the things that 5-year-olds do, and I think that is the most exciting thing.

WALLACE: You can see from this home movie he also likes to go down snowy hills with very big bumps.

DOUGHTY: Good job, Micah.

WALLACE: The Doughtys are doing well. Micah now has two little brothers, and Reed is settled in as a valued team leader on the Redskins.

(on camera): As you look back on this whole extraordinary five years, do you think to yourself how many hurdles you have had to overcome, or do you think how lucky you are?

DOUGHTY: I think both. I think I'm blessed to honestly have gone through so many situations, to be able to still do what I love to do and go through all that adversity. I definitely feel blessed.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE: Little Micah isn't out of the woods yet. Kidney transplants can last anywhere from months up to 20 years. But his dad is confident between medical advances and lots of loving care, Micah will live a long life.

And that's it for today. Have a great week. And we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."

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Sunday December 21, 2014

The FBI has confirmed that North Korea was behind the recent cyber-attack on Sony Pictures, and now the entertainment company has announced that it will no longer release the controversial comedy “The Interview” on Christmas Day, amid threats of violence and pressure from theater owners. Have we underestimated North Korea’s cyber capabilities? We’ll discuss exclusively with Rep Mike Rogers (R-MI), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.