Rick Santorum looks ahead to Super Tuesday; Sens. Graham, Blumenthal talk Iran, Afghanistan

Written by Chris Wallace / Published March 04, 2012 / Fox News Sunday

Special Guests: Rick Santorum, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Richard Blumenthal

The following is a rush transcript of the March 4, 2012 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.

There are 10 states and more than 400 delegates in play. It's the countdown to Super Tuesday.

With primaries and caucuses across the country, we'll ask presidential candidate Rick Santorum where he needs to win to regain momentum in the race. Rick Santorum -- a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.

Then, President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu get ready to discus what to do about Iran. We'll explore how to keep that rogue nation from going nuclear with two key senators, Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Richard Blumenthal.

Also, U.S. soldiers are targeted in Afghanistan and the Syrian government attacks its own citizens. We'll ask our Sunday panel how the president should handle both hot spots.

And our power player of the week gets ready for March Madness.

All right now on "Fox News Sunday."

(MUSIC)

And hello again from Fox News in Washington. While all eyes are on Super Tuesday, Washington state held its caucuses Saturday and here are the results: Mitt Romney won with 38 percent, Ron Paul finished second with 25 percent, Rick Santorum was chose behind at 24, Newt Gingrich was last.

On Tuesday, 10 states are up with more delegates at take than all contests combined up until now.

Joining us from Tennessee, one of the states that votes on Super Tuesday, is former Senator Rick Santorum.

And, Senator, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

RICK SANTORUM, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks. Thank you, Chris. Good to be with you.

WALLACE: Good to be with you, sir.

Ohio is I think it's generally agreed the biggest prize on Super Tuesday, and it would seem to be tailor-made for you -- blue collar, manufacturing, lots of rural areas, big evangelical vote. Don't you have to win there, sir?

SANTORUM: Well, we are going to do very, very well there, I believe that. I mean, it's a tough state for us only because of the fact that -- with the money disadvantage, but we've got a great grassroots campaign. We are hanging in there and we feel very confident that we're going to do well.

As you know, it's always harder when you got two conservative candidates running in the race as we have seen in Washington and we've seen in some of the other states. We have the anti-Romney vote, if you will. Both Gingrich and I are slugging away.

We just need to show that we are the best candidate to go head-to-head. And if you look at all of the races, it's Governor Romney and me, one or two, or in this case in Washington, Congressman Paul spent a lot of time out there. But we are the ones that are the alternative, the real clear alternative. And, you know, eventually hopefully the race will settle out and we'll go one on one. And once that happens, we feel very comfortable we're going to win this thing.

WALLACE: Well, you raise the question -- should Newt Gingrich drop out?

SANTORUM: Well, that's up for him to decide. But, clearly, if you continue to combine the votes that Congressman Gingrich and I get, you know, we are pretty doing well. In Michigan, we would have won easily had those two votes been combined.

You know, that's a process. I think Newt has got to figure out, you know, where he goes after Georgia and we're going to see that I think we're going to do well here in Tennessee. We're going to do well in Oklahoma. I think we can do very well also in Ohio and North Dakota, I think we will come in second place in a lot of places, too.

So, again, if you look at, you know, where you can finish first and good second places, again, this race narrows to two candidates over time and that's where we have our opportunity.

WALLACE: On the other hand, because of filing problems, you may be ineligible for 18 of the Ohio's 66 delegates and you're not even on the ballot in Virginia, which means you have to chance for those 49 delegates. The Romney campaign says this is a question of basic competence and they say you flunked.

SANTORUM: Well, as you know, Chris, those delegates had to be filed in Virginia and all the way back in early part of December. And, you know, look, I'll be honest, I mean, I was running across the state of Iowa and, you know, sitting in 2 percent of the national polls, with very, very limited resources, you know, we didn't have the ability to go out.

I think it is remarkable that if you look at all of the states other than the handful in Ohio and in Virginia, where we weren't the only that didn't get on the ballot. Rick Perry didn't get on, with a lot of resources, and Newt Gingrich who had a lot of resources didn't get back on.

You know, we've done amazingly well for a campaign early on that didn't have a lot of resources to go out and do things. We got on a lot of ballots that people just thought we wouldn't.

And I feel very good that we got on enough, clearly enough to be able to win this nomination.

WALLACE: Rush Limbaugh has now apologized to the Georgetown law student who said that her student health plan should cover birth control. But your party is still pushing this issue. In the Senate, they offered a Blunt amendment this week which said that any business, any insurance company could decide on moral grounds not to offer birth control coverage as part of the health insurance plan.

Do you really want to be campaigning on contraception in the year 2012?

SANTORUM: Well, the Blunt amendment was broader than that as you know. I mean, it was a conscience clause exception. I mean, it's a conscience clause exception that existed prior to when President Obama decided that he could impose his values on people of faith when the people of faith believed that this is a grievous moral wrong.

WALLACE: But, respectfully, sire -- let me just say. But the Blunt amendment wasn't just talking about Catholic institutions, Catholic colleges, charities.

SANTORUM: Right.

WALLACE: It was saying any, you know, U.S. deal, any company, any insurance company could decide not to offer birth control.

SANTORUM: If there -- no, no, it wasn't about birth control. It was about a moral exception to any type of mandate. It didn't specify birth control.

WALLACE: No, but including birth control. Right, any treatment.

SANTORUM: Well, yes, this is a conscience clause exception, which used to be something that was unanimously agreed to. Daniel Patrick Moynihan back in the Hillarycare bill offered a similar bill and it was widely -- it was accepted widely.

The idea that the government can force people to do things that they believe are morally wrong is something that heretofore was seen as an outrage that the government, there would be a separation of church and state. You hear so much about the left say, oh, we need to separate church and state. Well, how about the separation of church and state when the state wants to force the church and people who are believers into doing something that they don't want to do?

And as you know, in that amendment, it said that if people want to object to certain treatments, that the secretary of health could require them to adopt other treatments. So, it's actually the same. So, it's not something where people can say, well, we're just going to get out of paying for these things because we don't want to for them. It's -- well, there's real, clear conscious protection for the people of faith, the government should not be forcing people to do things that are against their conscience. That is a hallmark of America and absolutely anchored in the First Amendment.

WALLACE: But, Senator, it is more than a issue of faith and conscience and religious freedom. You say that you believe that birth control is wrong. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: Many in the Christian faith have said, well, that's OK, contraception is OK. It's not OK. It's a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to what -- how things are supposed to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Senator, the Centers for Disease Control say that 99 percent of the women in this country, between the ages of 15 and 44 who had sexual activity -- and this includes Catholic women, they say that 99 percent of them at some point in their lives have used artificial birth control.

Are you saying that all of those women have done something wrong?

SANTORUM: I'm reflecting the views of the church that I believe in. And we used to be tolerant of those beliefs. I guess, now, when you have beliefs that are consistent with the church, somehow or another, you are out of the mainstream. And that to me is a pretty sad situation when you can't have personal health belief.

But that's not what the issue is about. The issue is about whether the government can force you to do things that are against your conscience. And that's what we've been talking about on the road. We haven't been talking about my own moral beliefs. We've been talking about what the government can do in forcing people to change or violate those beliefs.

WALLACE: One last question on social issues. You say that churches and faith-based organizations have a big role to play in helping the poor, helping people who are disadvantaged.

I want to ask you about the 2010 tax returns because in them, they show that President Obama gave 14 percent of his income to charity. Mitt Romney almost 14 percent. You gave 1.76 percent.

Why so little, sir?

SANTORUM: Well, I mean, we always need to do better. I was in the situation where we have seven children and one disabled child who we take care of and she's very, very expensive. We love her and we cherish the opportunity to take care of her. But she's -- it's an additional expense and we have round the clock care for it and our insurance company doesn't cover it, so I pay for it. And you know, that's one of the things that, you know, you have to balance the needs of your immediate family.

And if you look back in the previous years, we did donate more. And it's an area that I need to do better and will do better.

WALLACE: Actually, we looked at your charitable returns, I think since 2007. And in every case, it was around 2 percent. You talked about --

SANTORUM: Well, it was 3 percent or 4 percent in some cases, but that's OK. Again, we were dealing -- we are dealing with a situation in our own family. I have seven children. During those four years, we had our little girl, and it was -- it's very costly. She is very costly.

Again, I'm not making excuse except for the fact that, you know, every families go through periods of times where they have to donate -- dedicate resources to the problems they have in their own family and taking care of people. And that's what we did.

WALLACE: Absolutely. You talk about the cost of education. You caused quite a stir recently when you criticized President Obama's education policy. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: But, Senator, we look back. The president has never said that. This is what he did say in his first address to Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. It can be a community college or four year school, vocational training or an apprenticeship.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: The reason I asked that, Senator, we look back at your 2006 Web site when you were running for reelection back in 2006. And here's what your campaign put up in your Web site: "Rick Santorum has supported legislative solutions that provide loans, grants and tax incentives to make higher education more accessible and affordable."

Question: Weren't you then right where Barack Obama is now?

SANTORUM: Well, all I can tell you is that I support people being able to go to and have the opportunity to go wherever they want to go. But I wanted to make sure that we focus not just on four-year college degrees and we understand there are a lot of different training opportunities for people both in technical schools and in going to the military, or going to a lot of other places that we need to make sure that we affirm all of those choices.

WALLACE: But that's what the president as well, sir.

SANTORUM: Well, again, maybe I was reading some things that -- you know, I've read some columns where at least it was characterized that the president said, we should go to four-year colleges. If I was in error, I certainly -- you say you haven't found that. I've certainly read that. If it was in error, then I agree with the president that we should have options for people to go to variety of different training options for them.

WALLACE: You also say that you were never -- although you voted for No Child Left Behind, you were never for it. And, in fact, you took one for the team. But again, we want to look --

SANTORUM: No, that's not true. I didn't say that. I said -- I supported it and I said subsequently that I made a mistake. I mean --

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: You said you took one for the team? What was that about?

SANTORUM: Well, there were thing in that bill that I didn't like. And, you know, there is huge amount of education spending that I absolutely didn't like, a lot of people didn't like.

But, as you know, about 90 percent of the Senate voted for it because there were in things in there I did like which was the education testing part of it and trying to get some determination as to how our schools were performing. I think that was important to do to get some sort of measurement. It's ultimately what happened with the implantation of this bill and that spending which gave me heart burn then and I didn't like then seem to then become the dominant part of what No Child Left Behind was about.

And that's why I said, you know, that was a mistake in voting for the spending and government control and overstate and local schools.

WALLACE: That brings me to my point, sir, because I want to go back to what you said in your 2006 Web site when you were running for reelection. "Rick Santorum supported the No Child Left Behind Act, which has been the most historic legislative initiative enhancing education opportunities to pass in Congress in decades."

Now, this was five years after you voted for it. And in 2006, you are campaigning based on your support for No Child Left Behind, when you found out what it was about and all of the spending.

SANTORUM: Well, as I've said before that having the testing was very, very important. And in fact, the first part of that when it was implemented, what we did see is a lot of testing, a lot of evidence that came out that our schools were failing. And I think that was an important thing to have accomplished, you know, subsequently, particularly under this president, we've seen -- and later in President Bush's term, we saw an explosion of education spending which I objected to.

WALLACE: Couple of final questions: I want to talk about your economic plan. You would set two tax rates, 28 percent and 10 percent. You would cut the corporate tax rate in half, to 17.5 percent. You would start reforming entitlements now, not in 10 years. And you would cut spending $5 trillion in five years.

The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says even if you could get all those things through Congress, you would end up adding to the deficit, largely because of your tax cuts by $4.5 trillion over the next 10 years.

Your response?

SANTORUM: Well, this is -- these are these organizations that don't believe that when you reduce taxes, that you get more economic growth. And I just don't accept the economic models that they use. We've seen in the past when Reagan and Bush, particularly Reagan, made the cuts, the kind of dramatic cuts that we're suggesting here, you see a huge spike in growth and more revenues coming into federal government.

They don't -- they don't use dynamic scoring. They basically say, if you cut things, you're going to get less money, period. And they don't accept the facts that the economy is going to grow faster.

So, I just don't accept the premise of their argument. I think that we've seen in the past that cutting taxes does create growth, cutting regulations as we do in this, our plan, we repeal every single one of Obama's regulation that cost $100 million to the economy, which is -- you know, last year alone was $150, which is two and half times the average under Clinton and Bush. We're going to go out and change the entire environment in this country so we can see real economic growth and you'll see more revenue as a result.

WALLACE: We're going to have to leave it there. Senator Santorum, we want to thank you so much for coming in and talking with us. Safe travels on the campaign trail, sir. I know you've got a bit of a cold. I hope you feel better and we'll see how things go on Tuesday night.

SANTORUM: Thank you. Appreciate it, Chris.

WALLACE: Up next: the president and Prime Minister Netanyahu meet to discuss how to stop Iran's nuclear program. We'll ask two key senators if that means more sanctions or a military strike?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu were set to meet Monday and the top issue is how to stop Iran's nuclear program.

Joining us now are two key members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, just back from the Middle East, Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Richard Blumenthal.

And, Senators, welcome to both of you.

The president and prime minister will be wrestling with two key questions tomorrow. First, what are their red lines, and how far will each leader allow Iran to go before giving up on diplomacy. And how, second -- and, second, how committed is each to a military strike in Iran if crosses that red line.

Senator Graham, what does President Obama say to Prime Minister Netanyahu to reassure him?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: That I am committed to stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons, not only in words but in deeds. That if necessary, we'll use military force. And they need a common definition of what change -- what kind of change were to be acceptable in Iran's part.

WALLACE: Meaning the red line -- how far they're willing to allow Iran to go?

GRAHAM: There needs to be a common definition conveyed privately to Iran so they'll know what they need to do.

WALLACE: Senator Blumenthal, does President Obama need to go farther than he has so far in reassuring the Israelis?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D-CONN.: I think he needs to give a more specific and muscular content to the formulaic expression that's been used again and again and again, all options were on the table, to say that containment is not an option. Not a nuclear armed Iran -- all the reasons he stated so powerfully in the recently the interview that he gave recently with Jeff Goldberg -- is simply unacceptable because it would destabilize the Middle East, it would create access for terrorist to nuclear arms and it would make the Middle East a nuclear tinderbox. And that's the kind of passion and specificity that he needs to bring to this conversation now.

WALLACE: All right. On the other hand, Senator Blumenthal, does Prime Minister Netanyahu need to give tougher sanctions that have been imposed? An oil embargo by Europe against Iran, tougher measures against Iran's central bank -- does he need to give those more time to work before he launches a unilateral military strike?

BLUMENTHAL: You know, Israel's interests are its own, just as our interests have to be our own. Our national interest has to be the guiding principle.

And the cooperation, we come from the trip recently in the Middle East, my impression is that cooperation, strategic and intelligence have been never stronger between these two allies, and the prime minister of Israel has to recognize that the United States has its own interest. But in this case, they are aligned with Israel.

WALLACE: But there is a disagreement here. I mean, there is, Senator Graham, a disagreement at this point about when -- how far they should allow Iran to go and at what point a military strike should be --

(CROSSTALK)

GRAHAM: There is a difference in capability.

WALLACE: But also a difference in their assessment of the situation.

GRAHAM: Sure. There's the intelligence picture difference. But here's what we agree on -- we've been talking to Iran for three years. They keep enriching. We've been sanctioning Iran seriously, I think in an effective way for about the last six months, they keep enriching. They have 3,000 kilograms of low enriched uranium, one and half times more than they need to make the bomb.

So, here's the situation in Israel. Their military ability is less than ours. There'll come a point where these sites get hard, and they are being hard.

If they wanted to build a power plant for peaceful purposes, the Iranians are going at it at a very odd way. When you put their rhetoric and their behavior together with their nuclear program, if you are Israel, you can't let -- you can't lose control of your own destiny.

So, that's what the prime minister of Israel told us. We will not lose control of our own destiny. We want sanctions to work. We will give it time.

But when Iranians get to the point where our military capability is not sufficient to stop their program, that's the red line for us. And we have a different point militarily than they do, and there is the conflict.

WALLACE: And how should that be resolved? Should it be resolved in what the Israeli capabilities are? And what -- at the point in which they have to strike?

GRAHAM: We should be talking about --

WALLACE: Or should they be willing to rely on the United States?

GRAHAM: Quickly, we should be talking about our differences. We should be talking about our commonalities.

The president's statement on not containing nuclear Iran was great. We should be talking about Iran's behavior, not our differences. And you've got to understand this: the Israeli government and people will not lose control of their own destiny, period. That's the end of the discussion from their point of view.

Sanctions could work, have not worked yet. But there'll come a point in time where they will lose control of their destiny militarily and they're not going to let that happen, and we should acknowledge it, and say that's OK with us.

WALLACE: So that, in other words, when they say we will no longer have the capability to take out the nuclear problem, we'll not rely on the U.S. We're going to do it ourselves.

GRAHAM: We should understand that's a reasonable position for the Israelis to take and we should support that position and hope we never get there.

BLUMENTHAL: And hope that our assurances will enable them to understand how we will be their ally, how we will stop a nuclear-armed Iran and how we will not tolerate it, as a matter of our national interest. Not Israeli interest.

The focus is so much restraining the Israelis. But it ought to be on making sure that our commonality interest is served by a strong United States policy that convinces the Iranians that they are crippling their economy, they are brutalizing their people, and the United States at the end of the day is not going to accept a nuclear-armed Iran.

WALLACE: Let's turn back to the Afghanistan and the blowback of the burning of several Korans in that country in the last couple of weeks. In recent days, six U.S. servicemen have been killed by our Afghan partners. And the reaction from some leading Republicans and conservatives has been striking.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's some problems where what you have to do is say, you know, you're going to figure out how to live your own miserable life.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: It's gotten to point where, why are we there? If this is the end result of us being there, let's get these people out and bring them home and to hell with the place over there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Senator Graham, are Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh?

GRAHAM: They are expressing frustration. But I know why we're there. General Allen will be here in two weeks to tell the Congress why we're there.

WALLACE: And he's the commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

GRAHAM: He's the commander. I spent an hour on the phone with him.

There are 30 million Afghans. It breaks your heart when six soldiers are killed for inadvertent burning of a religious document. They left their homes and their families to help the Afghans.

But this is not the total picture of what's going on in Afghanistan. We have made progress and we do have strong allies within Afghanistan.

So, don't let this snap shot ruin the strategic importance. General Allen will tell us why it is important we get it right. If we leave and it falls back into Taliban hands and Al Qaeda reemerges, we'll pay a heavy price. History will not judge by the day we left, about what we left behind. And General Allen has a plan for us to withdraw our troops and the key is a partnership agreement telling the Taliban, the Iranians, the Pakistanis, we'll have a follow-on military force, and the Taliban will never come back. What we do after 2014 and the way we do it determines our long-term security interests.

WALLACE: Senator Blumenthal, same basic question to you. When Afghan troops, Afghan police are turning their weapons not on the Taliban but on U.S. soldiers, when you see leading conservatives saying it's time to go to the exit -- is it time to get out of Afghanistan?

BLUMENTHAL: We will be getting out of Afghanistan, hopefully with that strategic partnership.

WALLACE: In two and half years.

BLUMENTHAL: On the timetable and strategy that General Allen and the commanders and the troops there are following.

WALLACE: So, you would speed it up.

BLUMENTHAL: I think if we can speed up, and accelerate that withdrawal with the kind of strategic partnership that we are building, and with special operators continuing to make the progress in taking out targets and turning over that function to the Afghans, that certainly is a goal to be pursued.

But let's -- let's remember, Chris, very importantly, three tremendous problems in Afghanistan -- economic weakness, safe havens, corruption in government. Beyond this incident, which is tragic, absolutely tragic for both sides really, there is an important point that we need to stick to the strategy and overcome this incident.

WALLACE: Finally, I just -- because we are running out of time and I want to talk about one last trouble spot and that is Syria, and the slaughter of the opposition of civilians in Syria continues unabated.

Senator Graham, what should the U.S. do? Should we start arming the opposition? And what do we do about Assad?

GRAHAM: I think the opposition needs military support. You can probably do it from the Arab League. Working with Senator Blumenthal, we're going to do a Senate resolution calling on the United Nations to declare Assad a war criminal because he is.

We need more international pressure. We need to help the rebels militarily, economically, and let Assad know that he is an international outlaw and be held accountable.

WALLACE: When you say -- I missed what you said when you said arm him in a --

GRAHAM: I think the Arab League would be a good vehicle to provide military assistance to the opposition forces and we should consider that. We should consider no drive, no fly zone, too, pretty quickly.

WALLACE: So, you're saying basically what we did in Libya?

GRAHAM: I think the Libyan could served us well.

WALLACE: Senator Blumenthal?

BLUMENTHAL: You know, Secretary Clinton is doing a very good job of bringing together rural academy, as well as the Arab League in support of some kind of aid to the opposition. And that aid can be technical assistance, communications equipments, humanitarian aid, financial support, and, if possible, arms that would go indirectly. There are means to do it. But it should be under the auspices of the international community -- that Secretary Clinton is endeavoring to do.

And this resolution I think will send a very important message. First of all, on Iran, on Israel, on Syria, we are bipartisan. And bipartisanship is breaking out as I saw on this great trip that we took with Senator McCain. There is very strong support for the kinds of initiatives that we saw in Libya. And Libya is a model for how we can aid rebels.

But let me emphasize, Chris: no American troops. None. No American troops on the ground, in direct aid, that will bolster that opposition.

WALLACE: Senator Blumenthal, Senator Graham, we're going to have to leave it there. I want to thank you both so much for coming in today. And we will see what comes out of that key Obama-Netanyahu meeting tomorrow. Thank you, gentlemen, both.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

WALLACE: Coming up, the Sunday panel weighs on what the U.S. and Israel should do about Iran.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: ... that they can continue to advance their nuclear program and get to the nuclear finish line by running the clock -- running up the clock, so to speak. And I think the international community should not fall into this trap.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on his way to Monday's summit with President Obama, warning the West not to get bogged down in meaningless talks with the Iranians.

And it's time now for our Sunday group, Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard; Jeff Zeleny, the New York Times national political correspondent; Kimberley Strassel from The Wall Street Journal; and Fox news political analyst Juan Williams.

Well, this is a delicate meeting that we're going to have tomorrow in the Oval Office between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Bill, how far does each man have to go; what does each man have to do to try to reassure the other that they're on the same page on Iran?

KRISTOL: I think they're not quite on the same page on Iran. And I'm not sure that's because of the personalities of President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

I think Israel feels Iran -- this regime having nuclear weapons or having even the capacity to break out to nuclear weapons is an existential threat that Israel cannot live with. The U.S. point of view is, well, as long as they don't actually weaponize, we can take care of it later. That's not the Israeli point of view, and I don't know that there's much one can say to the other that would change that fundamental difference.

WALLACE: And -- and to just, sort of, make the point about the capacity that Senator Graham was talking about, the Israelis do not have the bunker-busters, all the weapons that we've got, so they would have to hit Iran at an earlier stage to take out their program than the U.S. would have to.

KRISTOL: Right, the U.S. position is we can wait longer -- and of course, the U.S. has more capability, and also we'll know when the breakout is about to happen, which we didn't know in the case of Pakistan or North Korea. The Israeli position is, well, look, it would be great if you could know and it would be great if you could wait longer, but we're Israel; we're sitting here; this regime is committed to destroying us and we can't live with that.

WALLACE: Kim, it seems to me the biggest risk here is that Obama and Netanyahu come out of this meeting with some daylight between them, some distance, and that only emboldens Iran to go further.

STRASSEL: Well, I mean, the real problem here is that the president and his administration have spent the last couple of months undermining Israel.

And that's put them in an even greater position now, because, if the president is going to come out, and he seemed to have taken a more forward position this week and sounded more hawkish on this, but if the belief out there is that he is saying that solely so that he can rein in Israel, that it's because he actually means it, the first people who are going to understand that are the Iranians themselves, and the Israelis as well, and they'll -- and the Iranians will simply be emboldened to continue acting with more impunity.

So he's somehow going to have to not just come to some sort of an agreement with Mr. Netanyahu; he's going to have to sounds like he means this, whatever he says.

WALLACE: Juan?

WILLIAMS: Well, I just -- I'm a little puzzled by this conversation. It seems to me that President Obama has never distanced himself from Israel. He's had trouble in terms of...

WALLACE: What about the settlements?

WILLIAMS: No -- on the settlements, that's -- that's been American policy that we go back to the old lines. But, I mean, the problem here is his relationship with Netanyahu and the kind of very strong militaristic talk that's come from Netanyahu in the past.

The president said this week he doesn't bluff, and he said it's unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons. And he also reiterated that he has taken risks with military action when necessary.

So as he goes before AIPAC; as he goes today and as he speaks to Netanyahu tomorrow, I think the message is I'm working with Israel; you should not act unilaterally in a way that would endanger not only world peace but the world economy and that the world in fact looks to stand with Israel.

WALLACE: And, Kim, the problem with that is?

STRASSEL: Well, the administration has actually undermined Israel, and it has leaked over the last couple of weeks that its goal is to stop Israel from engaging on Iran. And that has diminished Israel's leverage in that region.

WILLIAMS: I don't think it's to stop Israel. I think it's to say to Israel that the United States is Israel's prime ally, a -- the superpower in the world, and is willing to help.

I think Bill Kristol makes the point, well, the U.S. can take more time because it has greater military capacity than Israel, but it's got to quiet Israel's fears that I think could, in the absence of real steps by Iran to develop nuclear weapons, lead us into a situation where the United States or Israel acts and in fact we find that Iran has no weapons of mass destruction.

WALLACE: Jeff, there is also a big political component in all of this. Juan referred to AIPAC, which is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, big group, thousands of folks who are here in town. And the president is going to speak to them today. All the Republican candidates speak to them on Tuesday. And they're all, the president and the Republicans, going to say we're the best friend of Israel?

ZELENY: No question. And this president has had a hard time, sort of, with this group of Republicans and Democrat voters who are Jewish as well, because he -- for several reasons, they've been skeptical of him and his administration.

But I look for him today, when he goes to AIPAC to speak, to do more of a hard line. And I think that he has, as Juan said, that he was signaling his willingness to be tough on military issues.

You know, of course, he has several things to point to that he's done over the last three years. So I think he'll give a tougher speech today.

But he's (inaudible) to win over some of the voters at the end of the day. The rebuttal, for example, is going to come from these three Republican candidates, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich on Tuesday morning when they speak to the group at AIPAC.

So I think the politics here is not as important as the policy in the Mideast.

WALLACE: All right. I want to turn to Afghanistan and the continuing fallout from the burning of the Korean and the tragic killing of six U.S. soldiers by Afghans in uniform, by our supposed partners.

And as I discussed with the senators, there is a growing movement -- not a groundswell, but you see people like Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh talking about rushing to the exits.

Bill, how sensitive a moment is this now for the question of how committed the U.S. is going to be in Afghanistan?

KRISTOL: Well, I think it's an awfully sensitive moment. And we'll see if General Allen, two weeks from now when he testifies, can convince people that, in the big picture, we're on a reasonable path, that President Obama hasn't weakened so much with the announced drawdown, that we have a chance of success, a reasonable chance of success, and that these little incidents are just incidents and don't reflect the broader pattern.

WALLACE: Little incidents?

KRISTOL: Even for someone like me who has been a hawk and supporter of both President Bush and President Obama on this who doesn't think -- and I do think it would disastrous if we pulled out precipitously. I think it would damage us throughout the Middle East, throughout the region, and lead to bad things in Pakistan and all that. You know this last killing of these two soldiers that was in Zari Province near Kandahar, that's -- we were there actually I think at the actual navy foreign operating base, or outpost where these two soldiers were killed by the Afghans, it's right near Mullah Omar's hometown. And at the time, they had taken casualties clearing this area, the third brigade, 10th mountain division, extremely impressive. And the idea that we took all these casualties, we cleared the area and it was a good new story really when we were, very impressive, to think the idea that couple of Afghans turned on the American soldiers to kill them, it is you know, hard to keep up support for the war.

WALLACE: All right. We're going to have to take a break here, but when we come back, we'll discuss the campaign. What is at stake on Super Tuesday and the politic was birth control.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: Still to come the power player of the week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN THOMPSON III, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY BASKETBALL COACH: I did not grow up aspiring to follow my dad's footsteps.

WALLACE: John Thompson III is head basketball coach at Georgetown.

THOMPSON: I never grew up thinking I'm going to be a coach.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Stay tuned, out panel will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

ROMNEY: It's just that right now with our economy in distress, with jobs so badly needed, with incomes having gone down, we need a president who knows the economy to fix the economy.

SANTORUM: The other candidate running here, competing against me in Ohio is uniquely unqualified to make the case against Barack Obama and to the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

WALLACE: Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum on Saturday making their case in Ohio, a crucial state for both on Super Tuesday. And we are back now with the panel. And we should point out there just while we have been on the air a new poll, another poll came out in the state of Ohio and shows that Rick Santorum is holding on to a slim lead. This is the Marist poll. 34 percent to 32. But Romney continues to eat away at a Santorum lead which was in double digits just before the Michigan primary.

Jeff, how is Super Tuesday shaping up? And what do you think as a possibly that it will really sort out who's going to win this nomination?

ZELENY: I don't think mathematically it is going to sort this out, because it's still not going to be enough delegates. But I think politically it will begin to sort things out. We are already sort of seeing this. And it is sort of about Ohio. Apologies to all the other states that are voting like Oklahoma, which actually has more delegates than Massachusetts and Virginia, but Ohio sort of has the sort bellwether here.

Which is a little bit of a challenge for the Romney campaign. If they don't win Ohio, he is going to have to continue to make his argument that he can win over some of the social conservatives and others.

But this has become a delegate fight. And the Romney campaign has huge advantages, because they have a fuel slate of delegates in Ohio. They have a full slate of delegates in Virginia. He is on the ballot in Virginia. But I am still not sure that Romney has absolutely, you know, inspired enthusiasm. He looked like he was firing them up in that speech we just saw, but if you talk to voters who see him, they are still not thrilled of the idea of this.

But on Tuesday, it is a huge step toward solving this, but it will not be resolved, at least mathematically for weeks to come.

WALLACE: Well Kim, let's talk about Ohio. And you know, as you can see from that poll, this is really up for grabs, very much so. What does it mean if Romney wins and as we see, even a 3-point win, even a, quote, ugly win is a win. What does it mean if Romney wins? What does it mean if Santorum wins?

STRASSEL: Well, I think it is more important is what does it mean if Santorum loses. You know, this is a -- one of the reasons Ohio matters is it's a rematch of Michigan, but without necessarily some of the strength that Mr. Romney had in Michigan. So this is -- Ohio is not his home state. It also has more evangelical voters. These have been the base that have propelled Mr. Santorum.

If Mr. Santorum cannot win a victory in this big, blue collar industrial heartland coming off a loss in Michigan, I think there is a worry for his campaign that he looks as though he is not really the contender he was and then whether or not Mr. Romney runs away with it from there.

WALLACE: Juan, pick up on that. And let me add one other thing to the equation which is Newt Gingrich. What does he have to do to remain a credible candidate? First of all, does he have to win Georgia? And would that be enough?

WILLIAMS: He has to win Georgia. I don't think there's any question. I don't see any future for him without winning Georgia. And even if it wins Georgia, the question is exactly what does the future hold beyond there? I mean, I don't think he's favored in any state right now. You're looking at places that have some of that social conservative element, but Rick Santorum is looking at places like Oklahoma and Tennessee and then beyond when you come to Alabama, you know, and some of the other southern states. And it's Santorum who has the momentum at this moment. I am not sure what the future holds for Gingrich in that regard.

You know, overall, though, I would say the difference for me coming and watching out of Michigan with Ohio, Chris, is that Mitt Romney looks to me to be the inevitable nominee, but he looks to be after the month of February a weaker nominee who is spending money. He's really using up some of his donors. And secondly driving up his negatives with the independents and women voters.

WALLACE: Bill, wrap this part of the panel up. Your thoughts about Super Tuesday.

KRISTOL: Ohio is key. I mean, think of it this way. If Santorum wins Ohio, he will win I think Oklahoma and Tennessee. He will have won three of the six big states, Romney which will win two. And Newt Gingrich will win Georgia. That is a big difference. If Romney only wins two of the six big ones that is a big difference between winning three of six with Ohio and winning Michigan and Ohio back to back would put Romney in an awfully strong position.

WALLACE: OK, let's turn to the discussion I had with Rick Santorum about birth control. Jeff, when President Obama stumbled over this question of a mandate that religious institutions, not churches, but Catholic hospitals, Catholic Charities had to provide health care coverage that included birth control. And then had to take it back, Republicans seemed to have the upper hand and seemed to be casting this as the issue of religious freedom and intrusive government.

But now with Rush Limbaugh's remarks, with the Blunt amendment, it seems to me the Democrats had begun, at least in some circles, to turn this around and make it more of an issue about women's health and women's rights.

So who has the upper hand on this issue?

ZELENY: I think right now I think the Democrats probably do have the upper hand on this issue, because of women voters who are absolutely the top demographic in this presidential campaign in the general election. Democrats believe -- they were worried, because they thought the White House completely mishandled this whole thing from the beginning. For anyone who thinks that this was a strategy that was written out to unfold like this I don't think some people who work in the West Wing agree with that. But it has turned out that way because of all of these voices from the outside, particularly Rush Limbaugh.

I'm not sure how lasting this is? I mean, I think that women voters, the ones who I talked to out in Ohio, Pennsylvania, other places, are still motivated by the economy and other concerns. But this has definitely sort of taken the issue away from the economy and put it on social issues and it's not helpful for the Republican Party. I am not sure if it is frozen in time, but right now Democrats, I think, have the upper hand.

WALLACE: Kim?

STRASSEL: I do think it one of the things that Republicans are going to have to embrace, though, and take on, because I think it goes beyond just women's health issues.

One of the things that's so fascinating is that it's also getting to the heart of ObamaCare, this particular discussion, in that what the Democrats are now arguing very cleverly, is that if a government -- and if a company refuses to pay for this particular product for you that you somehow being denied access in toto to that particular product.

Now this is a big standard because there are all kinds of health performances and drugs that we have never expected to be included in our insurance. And you want dental implants instead of crowns and you want brand name instead of generics. If the Democrats establish this precept that somehow companies are obliged to pay for this, and that you are denying Americans these things unless they are paid for, that is a problem for the Republicans in going forward in the health care debate.

WALLACE: But, for instance, before coming on today, I checked with the women here at FOX News and it turns out FOX News health coverage does cover -- there is a co-pay, it does cover contraception.

And you know, I don't know that there is a teeming political debate about dental implants. But I mean, when it comes to contraception, you know, the idea that -- and we're not talking about religious institutions.

According to the Blunt Amendment, any, you know, U.S. Steel, as I said, FOX News, any company could simply decide we are not going to offer that. An insurance company could decide, one that has no tie to any religious organization .

STRASSEL: Well, the alternative is that you have government mandate what you deem to be basic health care or more than basic health care for everyone and everyone pays for that.

And that is actually behind one of the rising costs in health care, is that we say everyone has to have a package and it has to have these 100 things in it, even though everyone may not need that. You take away consumer choice and you raise the prices for everyone. That is one of the aspects of this fight.

WALLACE: We have less than a minute left, and I want each of you to weigh in. Juan, 30 seconds, your thought about how this plays politically.

WILLIAMS: Politically, I just think it's exploded in the face of the Republicans. This is why I was coming back to you when I said earlier, I think the last few weeks has just been terrible for the Republican brand and for the man who looks like he may be the nominee.

Mitt Romney, because women, I mean, they have just antagonized women. Limbaugh's statement, just terrible, Santorum, women have emotional problems in combat. Come on.

KRISTOL: I had a dental implant earlier this week. I had forgotten -- I had forgotten about it until you two had to go on and on about dental implants.

WALLACE: Does it feel like that --

KRISTOL: It was great -- until a minute ago it was fine. I think Republicans can win an argument on religious liberty, despite the mistakes they made in the last week.

WALLACE: All right We're going to leave it there. Thank you, panel and we'll talk about, in panel plus, about your -- about your dental implant. See y'all next week. Don't forget to check out panel plus -- I promise we will not talk about Bill's dental implant. We'll (inaudible) right up with a discussion on our website, foxnewssunday.com. We'll post a video before noon Eastern time. And make sure to follow us on Twitter @foxnewssunday. Up next, our "Power Player" of the week.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALSH: We are still talking about dental implants. Well, it's that time of year again. March Madness, when folks who don't know or care about college basketball fill out their brackets and waste millions of man hours at work following the NCAA tournament. And right in the middle of all of the madness is our Power Player of the Week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN THOMPSON, GEORGETOWN BASKETBALL COACH: This time of year, where you understand and have a grasp on what it's going to take for you to win. And then you go out and execute it.

WALLACE (voice-over): John Thompson III is head basketball coach at Georgetown, which is about to begin its run for the national championship. What does he think about March Madness?

THOMPSON: It's one for the kids, it's one for us and so hopefully we're going to have some success.

This season didn't start as fun. Last August, Thompson took his team to China as part of a cultural exchange. It ended in a brawl with his players fearing for their safety.

THOMPSON: The brawl quite literally made this group understand we have to be ready to fight for each other and to protect each other.

Cut (inaudible). Remember how you're being played.

WALLACE (voice-over): Despite the fact it's a young team Georgetown is 22-6 and ranked 11th in the nation.

THOMPSON: Well, first of all, polls mean nothing, because you have to go play the games.

WALLACE: Realistically, how far do you think you can go?

THOMPSON: If we don't have a bad day, we can play for three weekends. We can win six games in the NCAA tournament.

WALLACE (voice-over): In other words win the national championship, which brings to Coach's father, John Thompson Jr., who was the first black coach to win the tournament with Georgetown in 1984.

WALLACE: When did you know that you wanted to be a basketball coach? THOMPSON: I did not grow up, you know, aspiring to follow my dad's footsteps. I never grew up thinking I'm going to be a coach.

WALLACE (voice-over): After playing at Princeton, JT3, as he's known, went into business.

WALLACE: So what happened?

THOMPSON: I missed the notion of team. I missed the competitive highs and lows that are associated with athletics.

WALLACE (voice-over): Thompson coached four years at Princeton and in 2004, with his father looking on, he made the move.

THOMPSON: That's what I am doing, coming home to the great institution that Georgetown is.

WALLACE: You have to know you are going to be compared to your dad.

THOMPSON: Yes, but I am used to that. I've been John Thompson's son my whole life. Yes, there are going to be comparisons but so what. That is part of life. That's part of my life.

WALLACE (voice-over): He's less confrontational than his father, not as much of a shouter.

WALLACE: One of the things people talk about is your extreme attention to detail. Control freak?

THOMPSON: See, that has negative -- that phrase, "control freak," sounds negative. Now where did you get all this from? See, the control freak in me now wants to find out who is talking.

WALLACE (voice-over): But as March Madness gets going, Coach Thompson has other things on his mind.

THOMPSON: My hopes are at least for one more big banner up in the (inaudible), and that's what we want to do. That's the goal. And while you are striving for that and working towards getting another banner out there, you have to remember you're helping them in growing (ph).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Yesterday Georgetown played its final game of the regular season and lost to Marquette. This week Coach Thompson takes his team to the Big East tournament and then on to March Madness. And that's it for today. Have a great week. And we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."

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On the Show

Sunday October 26, 2014

NYC officials have confirmed that an emergency room doctor has tested positive for Ebola, after recently returning from West Africa. This as Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse who contracted the disease while treating dying patient Thomas Duncan, was deemed free of the virus and released from the NIH hospital outside Washington, DC. We’ll discuss the latest developments with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

With less than two weeks to go until this year’s midterm elections, and speculation over the 2016 race for the White House already heating up, we’ll talk exclusively with one of the Republican party’s leading voices. In his first interview of 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie joins Fox News Sunday, to discuss 2014 and whether he’ll run for President.