The United States finds itself on both sides of the Sunni-Shiite conflict in the Middle East. In Yemen, helping the Saudi-led effort against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. And in Iraq, fighting on the same side as Iran in the effort to take Tikrit from the terror group ISIS. The chaos threatens ongoing nuclear talks with Iran, as well as the White House’s terror strategy as a whole. We’ll discuss the possibility of regional war in the Middle East, and the Obama administration’s handling of it all, exclusively with retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
John Brennan talks War on Terror; Joel and Victoria Osteen's message of hope
Written by Chris Wallace / Published April 29, 2012 / Fox News Sunday
Special Guests: John Brennan, Joel and Victoria Osteen
The following is a rush transcript of the April 29, 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.
Is America safer one year after the raid that took down bin Laden?
We'll get the latest about the war on terror -- current threat assessments and potential security gaps when we sit down with the member of the inner circle that planned the bin Laden mission, John Brennan, the president's chief counterterrorism adviser.
Then, what is the spiritual state our Union? We'll talk about religion and get into some key policy issues with two of the country's most popular preachers, Joel and Victoria Osteen. It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.
Also the Obama administration gets another going over in the Supreme Court. We'll ask our Sunday panel what happens if the former constitutional law professor has two of his top domestic priorities ruled unconstitutional.
And our power player of the week -- it's all happening in the zoo.
All right now on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
Next week marks the first anniversary of that daring night time raid in Pakistan when Navy SEALs stormed Usama bin Laden's compound and killed the world's most wanted terrorist. Where do we stand now in the war on terror?
To find out, we invited the president's chief counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to join us.
And, Mr. Brennan, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
JOHN BRENNAN, PRESIDENT OBAMA'S CHIEF COUNTERTERRORISM ADVISER: Thank you, Chris. Good morning.
WALLACE: Before we get on the war on terror, I want to ask you about the Chinese dissent Chen Guangcheng who has reportedly house arrest. Is he under U.S. protection? And is he still in China?
BRENNAN: I'm not going to address the issue of Mr. Chen right now. We are working very closely with the individuals involved in this. And so, I am going to leave it to others who have responsibility for it.
WALLACE: Can you tell me this, as a broad matter -- how does the president balance on the one hand his support for and desire to protect human rights dissidents like Chen, but on the one other hand, not wanting to damage U.S. relations with China?
BRENNAN: Well, I think in all instances, the president tries to balance our commitment to human rights, making sure that the people throughout the world have the ability to express themselves freely and openly. But also, that we continue to carry out our relationships with key countries overseas.
And China-U.S. relations are important. So, we're going to make sure that we do this in the appropriate way and that appropriate balance is struck.
WALLACE: But would it be fair to say that he's not give up Chen, sacrifice Chen, to satisfy the Chinese?
BRENNAN: I think it would be fair to say that the president has faced similar situations in past in terms of this balancing requirements. And so, I'm confident that president and others within the U.S. government are going to be able to find the right way forward.
WALLACE: But forgive me, is he going to protect the security of this dissident Chen?
BRENNAN: The president will do whatever he thinks is in the best interest of the United States, as well as the individuals involved.
WALLACE: All right. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued alerts this week that terrorist may try to strike around the first anniversary next week of the take down of Usama bin Laden. How seriously do you take this idea of the anniversary plot? And is there new information about terrorist activity or chatter?
BRENNAN: Well, I think, as we've said publicly, there is no credible reporting right now that there is an active plot under way to coincide with the anniversary of the Bin Laden take down. But the counterterrorism community is used to making sure that we are as vigilant as possible to guard against any efforts on the part of Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups to mark such a day. Clearly, it was a momentous day in U.S. history. And so, this is something that we're going to make sure that we are not going to let down our guard and we're going to stay extra vigilant in fact during this period of time.
WALLACE: But you make it sound like it's primarily a precaution, not that you have specific evidence out there that you're trying to stop.
BRENNAN: Well, being in the counterterrorism business, on a regular basis, we have reports of threats to U.S. interest and plots to carry out attacks. And it is up to the professionals and intelligence and law enforcement and security environments to track down all of the leads. And that's what we're doing right now.
WALLACE: We heard a lot this week about Secret Service agents acting recklessly in Colombia. Plus, reports that they may have been doing this for years.
As the president's chief counterterrorism adviser, how seriously do you take the Secret Service activity, this reckless behavior as isolated this may have been, as a possible lapse in security?
BRENNAN: Well, first of all, the Secret Service has done a tremendous job over the years protecting the president and the first family and other protectees. Clearly, the reports of misbehavior in Cartagena is something that Mark Sullivan, the head of Secret Service takes very seriously. He's taking a very aggressive and speedy action. Actions have been taken against the individuals involved.
By all accounts the security of the president was not compromised, as a result of this. But Mark has put down the laws as far as Secret Service behavior as well as what they need to be doing when they are on these trips with the president.
WALLACE: I guess what I'm asking you as a counterterrorism adviser, the prospect of Secret Service agents taking women they don't know into their rooms, possibility and it apparently didn't happen in this case, but the possibility of classified information or security information being in their rooms, it would strike me that your hair would have been on fire at what might have happened on it.
BRENNAN: Well, it certainly raises a number of questions about what actually happened and was there any time that these activities put at risk either classified information or security. There is an investigation that is still ongoing. I think we have satisfied ourselves that there was not a threat at that time to the president. But Mark Sullivan, as I said, is focused on this and has been continued to say focused on it and make sure we got to the bottom of what happened in Cartagena, as well as maybe other areas. But also to take the actions going forward that safeguards the president and insures that everything is done to prevent recurrences.
WALLACE: Meanwhile, four current and former TSA screeners have been arrested out in the Los Angeles area for allegedly taking bribes to allow drugs to be moved through security check points at airports. Do you worry that screeners might also take money to allow explosives or terrorists?
BRENNAN: Well, clearly, we want the people in these positions to fulfill their responsibilities, which is to protect the American public and the traveling public. And so, any allegations along these lines are going to be investigated thoroughly, but also John Pistole, the head of TSA, also is very interested in making sure that he has a workforce that understands what their performance requirements are.
And so, he's looking into any allegations of wrongdoing, bribery certainly is something that raises a number of concerns whether it'd be from the standpoint of allowing people in with drugs or terrorists could take advantage of.
Again, these allegations are being pursued, investigated. But John Pistole is a first class manager and leader at TSA, and we have every confidence that he'll get to the bottom of this.
WALLACE: You know, there have been a lot of reports recently and Kip Hawley, who is the former person in this area, have raised questions about whether TSA is doing the right job and screening for the right things or whether we got caught up in these bureaucratic morass where old ladies and little children are being screened. I mean, do we need to take another look at TSA in our screening procedures?
BRENNAN: I think TSA is looking at its procedures on the regular basis. It's continued to refine, to strengthen. But also make adjustments if necessary. And this is something that TSA has done I think very successfully over the years, our ability to prevent terrorist from coming into this country and getting aboard of an aircraft is significantly enhanced compared to a decade ago.
And so, therefore, John Pistole is looking at these procedures and he will continue to refine them. And if we have to make adjustments to make sure that we're not, you know, preventing people from getting on planes in a speedy fashion, but also optimizing our ability to stop terrorists, this is what he is dedicated to do.
WALLACE: The Obama administration has refused to allow any pictures, any videos from the bin Laden raid a year ago to be made public. In fact, you just won a case in federal court to continue to keep those kinds of pictures and videos under seal. Why?
BRENNAN: Well, first of all, there is no doubt whatsoever that bin Laden is dead. I think by all accounts, it was a very successful raid on that compound in Abbottabad. What we don't want to do is it put out anything that is going to unnecessarily incite emotions on this issue. These photos were confirmation for the government that it was bin Laden. And so, therefore, we believe that it's unnecessary to put something like that out.
WALLACE: I want to follow on that because I'd like to show you a video that the Obama campaign has just started running. Take a look at this, if you will.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: He took the harder and more honorable path and the one that produced in my opinion the best result.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: If the president is so concerned about not inciting violence against Americans, putting for instance our soldiers in theater under threat, why make it such a big deal in his reelection campaign?
BRENNAN: I don't do politics. I'm not involved in the campaign. All I know is that president made the decision to carry out the raid in bin Laden when he was presented with the circumstantial evidence that bin Laden was there.
I think, by all accounts, it was a gutsy call. And so, what I'm just going to continue to do is to provide the president the advice and counsel that I can to ensure that we're able to destroy Al Qaeda as an organization. WALLACE: But, forgive me, as the chief counterterrorism adviser, if you felt that kind of video was dangerous and could by your own words incite violence against Americans, I'm sure you can say to the president, maybe we need to cool it.
BRENNAN: I provide my advice and counsel to the president on a regular basis about the terrorist threat as well as anything that can incite and I'll continue to do that.
WALLACE: And does that video concern you?
BRENNAN: And I will continue to provide that advice to the president directly.
WALLACE: Can you tell me whether you think that video is --
BRENNAN: The advice I provide to the president is private advice that I give to him.
WALLACE: Do you think it's fair to suggest, as that video does, that Mitt Romney wouldn't have approved the raid to take down bin Laden?
BRENNAN: I think it's fair to say that the president made the appropriate decision to the American people when he, in fact, authorized that raid in Abbottabad.
WALLACE: I understand. And he deserves all credit for it. But do it goes further than that.
BRENNAN: Chris, I don't do politics. I've told you before. I'm not a Democrat or a Republican. I just try to do whatever I can to help the president keep the American people safe.
WALLACE: All right. One year after the raid, where are we in the war on terror? And how big of a threat are at this point Al Qaeda central in the AfPak region, Al Qaeda in Yemen, and lone wolf terrorist in this country?
BRENNAN: We have degraded the organization significantly over the past decade and over the past several years in particular as we have taken off of the battlefield of the founding leader. We are determined to destroy that organization. We're going to destroy it, but that's going to continue to require us to maintain this pressure, Al Qaeda, whether it'd be in Pakistan, or Pakistan, as well as in Yemen.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula presents a serious threat to us. We are working very closely with the Yemeni partners in a daily basis, because the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has demonstrated an intent, as well as an ability to try to at least carry out attacks against our nation, our homeland, with the underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, as well as the printer cartridge efforts. We're going to continue to focus on degrading that organization inside of Yemen until it is destroyed as well.
The lone wolf and the lone actor phenomenon is something that we continue to be very mindful of and also very vigilant about. Working daily basis, the FBI is coordinating the efforts with local law enforcements here. We're working with our partners overseas.
So, the Internet provides a ready opportunity for terrorist organizations to be able to try to recruit and incite individuals to carry out those individual attacks.
WALLACE: The president has given the CIA and the military greater leeway to launch strikes, military drone strikes against suspected Al Qaeda terrorists or operatives in Yemen where you say is the greatest source of concern now. But in this case, when I say greater leeway, even if we don't know exactly who they are -- signature strikes, because they may the signature but not specific identity that they are involved in nefarious deeds.
There are reports that you were concerned about giving greater leeway because you were concerned that we might not know who some of these people were, we might hit people who weren't involved, and this might become a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda.
BRENNAN: Well, the drones, the remotely piloted vehicles, is a tremendously capable tool to use against the terrorist abroad. It has capability to monitor their activities. It provides a good insight to our intelligence analysts and operators in terms of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. It has the capability of carrying out strikes as well.
When we're doing this, we are doing it in full consent and cooperation with our partners internationally. This is something that the president has told us we need to work closely with these partners. And so, in Yemen in particular, these groups, and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in particular, are determined to kill Americans. And the president has said we're going to do whatever we can to stop them from taking more American blood.
WALLACE: I want to finally take you back to the bin Laden raid, which was almost exactly a year ago, and I want to put up two pictures, because you were at the center of all the actions. Let's put both pictures are up.
First of all, this is the morning of April 29th, exactly a year ago today in the diplomatic reception room at the White House, where the president told just four of you and we've highlighted you there on the right it's a go, that he was going to go ahead and order the raid.
And then there is a picture that we can put up and this is the small room, off of the Situation Room where you and the president and the war cabinet watched as the raid went down.
What is your most vivid memory of this a year ago?
BRENNAN: That day I think will live in all of our memories for the rest of our lives, and that was a completely solemn day I think for all of us who gathered in the Sit Room.
My thoughts that day went back and forth between being focused on the mission, concerned about the security of our Special Forces, as well as trying to do everything possible to make sure the mission was a success.
At the same time, it was a day of reflection on all of those victims whose lives were taken by bin Laden and the Al Qaeda organization. Many of us have lost friends. I lost teammates of my high school baseball team, an FBI colleague, others.
Those images, those memories kept flashing through my mind that day. And it is something that I think was over due and I am glad we seized the opportunity when we had it so that bin Laden could kill no more.
WALLACE: And, finally, on picking up on that, I understand that when you went up to New York last September for the 10th anniversary of 9/11, that you were given a bracelet.
BRENNAN: Yes, I wear it to this day. I look at it on the regular basis so that it reminds me of what we need to do to prevent another tragedy like that from happening, to make sure that American families and the families of others about the world are not going to experience the pain and sorrow that bin Laden brought upon them.
So, it's a way to keep me going, as well as to make sure that when times get tough, I am going to continue to stay focused on the job that the president has asked me to do and I'm determined to that.
WALLACE: Mr. Brennan, I want to thank you so much for coming in. Thank you for talking with us. Thank you for the 15 or 20 years of work to hunt down bin Laden. The world is certainly a better place without him. Thank you, sir.
BRENNAN: Thank you, Chris.
WALLACE: Up next, America's most popular preachers Joel and Victoria Osteen on their positive and controversial message of hope.
WALLACE (voice-over): On Sunday, tens of thousands of people will pack Nationals Park here in Washington but not for a baseball game. They will come for America's Night of Hope, an inspirational event put on by Joel Osteen.
J. OSTEEN: You're going to become everything God has created you to be, and you're going to have everything God intended for you to have.
WALLACE: He is pastor of the America's largest congregation, Lakewood Church in Houston, with more than 40,000 members and has weekly service on television reaches more than 10 million households.
J. OSTEEN: I know I am looking at mighty men, the mighty women right now of faith. You are history makers.
WALLACE: Joining us now are the pastors of Lakewood Church and two of the most influential spiritual figures in this country, Joel and Victoria Osteen.
And welcome back to "Fox News Sunday"
J. OSTEEN: Great to be with you, Chris.
WALLACE: Joel, you've been holding these nights of hope around the country, tens of thousands of people coming out to hear your message. What are you trying to tell them?
J. OSTEEN: You know, I'm trying to let people know that even though there's difficult times in the country, that God is good, that he's on our side and, you know, nothing is a surprise to him. And when you keep your faith in him, you can have peace even amidst of the difficult times.
WALLACE: And, Victoria, looking at it from the point of view of so many people coming out on this particular cases on a Saturday night -- why?
V. OSTEEN: Well, I think they -- everybody wants to be encouraged.
V. OSTEEN: You want to know that there is a future, there is a hope.
And, you know, we hear a lot of negative things in life. It just doesn't -- it is not just isolated. And just people resonate, it resonates with them to be encouraged and to be able to look at their future and know that there is manage to look forward to.
WALLACE: All right. But let's talk to that, because this gets to a little bit controversy about your ministry. Joel, your critics say that what you offer is a prosperity gospel. You can be a better parent, you can have a career, and those critics say that you are more of a motivational speaker than you are a pastor.
J. OSTEEN: Well, the fact is, Chris, I do want to motivate people. I want to be a better parent, a better -- you know, to overcome an addiction, to leave their past behind. So, I don't take that as a criticism that I want to motivate people, but everything that I teach is based on the scripture.
I mean, I grew up a preacher's kid and I just -- my gift is to talk about every day life. Sometimes, I say it's a prosperity gospel. But, you know, I just believe that we're supposed to excel. It's not about getting rich. It's about living the seeds of greatness that God has put on the inside to come out.
And, you know, for a while growing up, you know, we were taught that to be a Christian, you've got to be poor and defeated and show that your humble by suffering. But that's just not the view I have of God. I believe he's on our side and he wants us to be the best in life in whatever we do -- a great parent, a great business person, a great college student.
WALLACE: Well, explain to that, though. How do you do that?
J. OSTEEN: I think you do that -- one, by living by the principles of the Bible. One thing you got to see yourself the right way. If you feel guilty because of past mistakes and you live with a wrong self image, you're never going to rise up and be who God created to you to be.
So I think much of it has to do with our attitude, with the words we speak, with how we treat others, not just trying to get blessed, to be a blessing everyday. I think these are principles in the scripture that helps your seeds of greatness to come out. WALLACE: But, Victoria, Joel does not talk, and again, this goes back to the critics, you'd say -- you know, you can the negative people, doesn't talk a lot about the devil, doesn't talk about hell, doesn't talk a lot about sin. Aren't those all -- you could say they're downers -- but aren't those all important parts of religion?
V. OSTEEN: Well, I think he does talk about that. He just talks about it from a different angle. Instead of saying, you know, you did bad today. You know, you sinned, you did this -- he just says, you know what? You can do better. You know, you can work hard, you can be focused, you can be disciplined.
So, it's almost saying it in reverse, you know? I think about when I talk to my kids and I want to encourage them, inspire them, and cause them to do better. I don't beat them down from doing wrong, but I show them how to do right.
And I believe that's what Jesus did. He always pointed people in another direction. He never beat them down. He never could them.
WALLACE: Wait, wait, Jesus, I don't mean to teach you guys.
V. OSTEEN: No, go ahead.
WALLACE: No, but he could be tough.
V. OSTEEN: He could be tough. One specific time he was tough is he got really angry when the merchants were in the temple, and he got really tough then. But I think the principle was, they were using the gospel, you know, to gain.
And so, what were they going to do with that, I don't know. But that did upset him, but very rarely did he lash out. He was always among the people. He wasn't held up in the synagogue or in the temple.
He was always walking among the people. He was always reaching out to people. He was always touching them and making them better than when they were before.
So, that's kind of what I feel like our message does is we're not denying that we can do wrong, but we're focusing on what we can do right, it's the goodness of God the Bible says that leads people.
WALLACE: Joel, you generally stay away from politics certainly more than a lot of preachers do. And I remember the last time you were here, you said I want to grow the people who listen to me. I don't want to divide them and subtract.
But you are here -- here in Washington this week preaching and also meeting with politicians. I'm going to ask you about some of the issues that confront the country.
There are a lot of Hispanics in your congregation in Houston. What do you think? How should we deal with the illegal immigrants in this country?
J. OSTEEN: I wish I knew the answer, Chris. It's so complicated. I'm on the side of mercy, but I do think we have to secure borders, I don't know that you can -- I know both sides of the argument. I don't know the answer.
But I'm always going to fall on the side of mercy, especially the ones I know that grew up here, that were born, you think -- I don't know what the right thing is to do. But, you know, my heart is out to them and I'm open and on the side of mercy.
WALLACE: So, amnesty is not a dirty word to you?
J. OSTEEN: Well, I don't know that -- you know, I don't know if that's the answer. But I haven't heard of a great solution yet. So, I don't know. It's so complicated.
It's like somebody said, we can't pack up $12 million and tell them to leave, and, you know, I don't know if it is right to say here's 12 million who came here illegally. I wish I knew a good answer. But I don't.
WALLACE: Is being gay a sin?
J. OSTEEN: I believe the Scripture says that being gay is a sin. But, you know, every time I say that, Chris, I get people say, well, you are a gay hater and you're a gay basher. I'm not. I don't -- I don't dislike anybody. Gays are some of the nicest, kindest, most loving people in the world.
But my faith is based on what I believe the Scripture says and that's the way I read the Scripture.
WALLACE: So, do you think gays should have any of the rights of heterosexual couples, civil unions, marriage?
J. OSTEEN: I think we should discriminate against anybody. So, I think -- yes, I don't think there is an issue where somebody couldn't go visit a gay loved one in the hospital. I don't think that's right. They love each other.
So, I think there should be some. I'm not for gay marriage, but I'm not for discriminating against people.
WALLACE: Are Mormons like Mitt Romney true Christians?
J. OSTEEN: Well, I believe they are followers of Christ. And, you know, I think where the debate gets into, that I don't believe that Mormonism is traditional orthodox Christianity. I mean, I realize there's differences there.
But I go back to when I hear Mitt Romney and some of my Mormon friends say, "I love Jesus. He's my Savior. I believe he was raised from the dead." And they follow the teachings of the Bible, I believe that they are followers are Christ and that they are my brothers, and I'm not looking to exclude and, you know, push them out.
WALLACE: Victoria, what do you think of the president, President Obama, saying that religious institutions, not churches, but hospitals and charities should -- as a mandate -- have to provide insurance, coverage that includes contraception, even if that's against their teachings?
V. OSTEEN: Well, you know, I just -- I hate to get to the point where people mandate. You know, this is always been a democracy. People vote, you know? So it's difficult, you know, for me to say, yes, that's good.
I just think that we as a people should be able to vote on things like that and I'm just not, you know, I'm not -- I don't really want to be told what to do in any area. So I just think, it's just like everything else, just vote on those things. And let's just, you know, see.
WALLACE: It's true of every profession. But occasionally, and I have to tell you, and I'm sure I'm not the first to bring this up -- some televangelist gets in a scandal, corrupted by money and by fame. The fact is that you guys are world famous, and you make enormous amount of money because people buy your books.
How do you avoid temptation, Victoria?
V. OSTEEN: Well, you know, we stay close to us each other as a couple and as a family. And, you know, we just do our best. I just think that staying close together, being connected, communicating. We love each other. We have been married 25 years, two great children.
I think that you can just do your best. And that's -- and you know what? We really search our heart every day, we pray, we ask God to help us.
You know, it may look big and grand. But we are just two people. We are ordinary people.
It's kind of -- we pinch ourselves. It's hard to believe, you know? We are grateful for the influence that God gave us. But --
WALLACE: Let me bring Joel in it. I mean, lead us not to temptation but deliverance from evil. How do you keep from losing your way?
J. OSTEEN: Well, I think, Chris, just what she said. We're trying to start off every morning, individually, and together at times just to search your own heart. And I learn from the mistakes of the past from ministers. Many of these people, ministers that have fallen, they were friends of ours growing up.
And I realize, I tell myself every day. You know, you can come down a lot faster than you went up. So, I don't feel like I have changed in the last 12 years since I've started doing this. You know, our focus is not around money or fame or success. It's around helping people.
And so, we continue to go around the world doing that today.
WALLACE: Finally, as you end your week here in Washington, what is the spiritual state of our Union, if you will, and what can we do better?
J. OSTEEN: Well, I think we can always do better in coming together in unity. It seems like, and this is just a personal opinion. When I grew up, talking more about the government and lawmakers now, there was a little more compromise -- or maybe that's not a good word, but a spirit to work together. Whereas today, I don't feel like I see that as much.
There's not -- you know, if somebody can't get 100 percent, that they're not going to be happy. And I just don't think that's life. I don't get 100 percent of what I want.
And so, I would love to see -- you know, the Scripture talks when you dwell in unity, you know, God's blessing is there. I think the country would be better, it's a fantastic country, but we'd be better if we could come together a little bit more in unity.
WALLACE: Victoria and Joel Osteen, we want to thank you so much for bringing your message of hope to this program and to this city, because we sure could use it. Thank you both.
V. OSTEEN: Thank you.
J. OSTEEN: Thanks, Chris.
WALLACE: And we want to think the Osteens for talking with us earlier.
Coming up, the Obama administration appears to get another Supreme Court smack down. We'll ask the Sunday panel what happens if the constitutional law professor in the Oval Office suffers two big defeats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARIZONA GOV. JAN BREWER: -- to the Latino community and trying to use that scare card, if you will, to generate support for election.
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILL.: It is wrong and counterproductive to criminalize people because of their status, their immigration status.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Republican Governor Jan Brewer and Democratic Senator Dick Durbin with very different reactions to the Supreme Court case this week, challenging the Arizona crackdown on illegal immigrants.
And it's time now for our Sunday group. Brit Hume, Fox News senior political analyst; Liz Marlantes of "The Christian Science Monitor"; Kimberly Strassel from "The Wall Street Journal"; and Charles Lane of the "Washington Post."
Well, the court watchers say it is always dangerous to read too much into the questions the justices act and therefore to predict how they're going to rule.
But there was a widespread perception, Brit, that they did not think that much of the administration's arguments and its lawsuit to strike down the Arizona crackdown just as they seemed skeptical of the president's ObamaCare, at least in the individual mandate.
Let's present a hypothetical. How damaging to the president, if, in June, the court were to rule that this former constitutional law professor, the president, was on the wrong side of the Constitution, both on the Arizona law and on ObamaCare?
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it's damaging because particularly with regard to health care. This is the centerpiece of his domestic agenda, his proudest achievement and to get it struck down by the Supreme Court, it then bears the stamp of illegitimacy.
It is it already unpopular. It would, I think, in the aftermath of that, be even more so, and I think it would be -- I don't think that there's any -- there's some three Christian (ph) bank shot where people argue that, well, it would take the issue off the table and that would be good for him and so forth. I don't buy that. I think the Arizona law may be in even more trouble with the court than the health care law. I don't think it's as important or essential as the health care law . But I don't think it would help him either to have his position on enforcement of the immigration laws resisted by the Supreme Court.
I think that is embarrassing and it also gives that -- it would give that Arizona law a kind of a boost in the public's imagination.
WALLACE: I mean, Liz, these are two big issues in American domestic politics and policy, health care and immigration. If the Supreme Court upholds or basically goes against him on both, isn't that tough?
LIZ MARLANTES, " THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR": Well, on health care, I think -- I think it is going to be different for the Arizona law. I do think that, yes, you will have conservatives making the argument, making the incompetence argument, saying, you know, the former constitutional law professor is on the wrong side of the Constitution on all of these issues, but particularly in the case of the Arizona law, I think there is a good chance if the court rules against the Obama administration's position that that could actually really fire up Hispanic voters.
And that's something that the president wants and needs going into the fall election. I mean, we already know that he is not win white voters, that he's in trouble with white voters this time around, and so he's going to need to win a bigger share if possible of the minority vote, and particularly the Hispanic vote.
Hispanics are going to be really key in a number of swing states this year. And so I do think there's the chance that even if it goes against the Obama administration there could be some political fallout that could be beneficial to them.
WALLACE: Well, let's talk about the Hispanics and how they would react to that, Kim, because the argument is that the president can rally this key block of voters, the Hispanic voters, if the court upholds the Arizona law. But that may not be quite the slam dunk that people think. And let's put up the poll about Hispanics on the screen.
A recent poll found that Hispanics are split on the crackdown, 45 percent want the Arizona law upheld while 43 percent want it overturned. Now there -- that doesn't take into account the intensity question. But it's not a slam dunk that the -- all the Hispanics want to see the Arizona law overturned.
KIMBERLY STRASSEL, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Well, I don't think there is any question that this president has hoped that this would be a political help for him and he has demagogued this issue against the Republicans. He's given a lot of speeches on this.
There was certainly a belief that this court case was brought by the government, in part, to mobilize Hispanics. But I think he's got a couple of problems. One is the poll that you mentioned, which it's not uniform that all Hispanics think that simple enforcement of existing federal immigration law is the problem.
Two is that the cornerstone of the Obama argument has been you need to support us because we're going to do comprehensive immigration reform. The problem with the president is he has been all talk and no action on that, ever since he got into office. It's been at the bottom of his priority list.
And I think there becomes a point at which Hispanic voters begin to wonder how seriously he actually takes this.
WALLACE: Now the other side of that would be Mitt Romney. Let's assume the justices strike down the law -- or rather uphold the law, what does Mitt Romney do? It's kind of a ticklish question. He's trying to get back in their good graces.
Does he want to campaign against Obama and say, see, you were wrong, the Arizona law is good? And that necessarily wouldn't be so good for him in terms of attracting some Hispanic voters.
CHARLES LANE, "WASHINGTON POST": I suppose that's true and he might have to -- he's already begun to kind of dial back a little bit of the rhetoric that he was involved in in the primary campaign.
But, honestly, I don't think it's going to go that way. I do think this law is going to be struck down and there is very powerful symbolism apropos this whole issue of Latino voters. The justice who asked the toughest, most quotable question against the Obama position on this was Sonya Sotomayor, the first Hispanic justice.
And she's the one who said your argument's not selling very well up here. If her vote goes against the administration, I think that would help go a long way toward defusing the whole question of whether this is a one-sided --
WALLACE: Are you are saying you think it's going to be struck down or upheld?
LANE: Struck down is what I'm saying. And if it is struck down --
WALLACE: I know, she was arguing on behalf of the law.
LANE: No, she was telling Obama's lawyer.
WALLACE: (Inaudible) upheld.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Obama people want it upheld.
LANE: I understand that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, they want it struck down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think what I said is the Obama position would be struck down --
WALLACE: Are you saying that you think that the court is going to rule in favor or against the Arizona law?
LANE: Against the Arizona law. Right?
LANE: (Inaudible) in favor of the Arizona law.
LANE: Against the Obama position.
WALLACE: All right. Anyway --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Move on, Chris.
WALLACE: You know, all right. Anyway. You know I -- I wish we could take two here. But anyway. Let me ask a question because it has been suggested Brit that if the court goes against Obama on both of these issues -- I'm glad we're putting a picture of the court while we get the egg off our face. If the justices rule against the president, both on ObamaCare and on Arizona, that he could then turn the court itself into an issue and campaign against the conservative court. And you've got to elect me because there could be openings and I can put more moderate or more liberal people on the court.
But let's look at -- again public opinion is very interesting. Let's look at the polls on this. By a margin of 49 percent to 38 percent, voters say the court should overturn ObamaCare. They're in favor of overturning ObamaCare. And, by an even wider margin, 62 percent to 27 percent, they say the court should uphold the Arizona law. So Brit, how effective would it be to run against a court which if it does go against the president in both of these cases, would be on the side of public opinion?
HUME: Well I think it would be an (sic) exceedingly ineffective because of the reasons you cite. The polls suggest a couple of reasons why. The third reason is that the Supreme Court now enjoys in the public's imagination, higher ratings than any other branch of government. Now the Supreme Court is more controversial than perhaps it once was, but it is nowhere near as -- I mean it is -- it has positive approval ratings. Which in Washington is remarkable.
So I don't -- you know I don't -- I don't think this president comes out well if he's in a -- in a -- in a pitch battle of some kind or picks one with the one institution in town that people mostly respect. That's particularly after it struck down a couple of -- of positions that he's taken that are -- that are rather central to his outlook. WALLACE: All right. We're going to take a break here. We're going to hit the reset button. But when we come back, the campaign pivots to foreign policy. And Vice President Biden leads the attack against Mitt Romney.
WALLACE: Still to come, our Power Player of the Week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(UNKNOWN): My very first day (inaudible) -- a cheetah and I remember thinking, I've done it.
WALLACE: Murray (ph) says she knew by the time she was five what she wanted to do.
(UNKNOWN): I'm a student -- a veterinary student and I've touched a cheetah and -- and I can go home now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Our panel will be right back.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Thanks to President Obama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive. You have to ask yourself, could Governor Romney been president? Could you use -- have used the same slogan in reverse?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Vice President Biden this week road testing a possible bumper sticker to use against Mitt Romney and we're back now with the panel. You saw it in the line from Joe Biden. You also saw it in the -- the Obama web video, campaign web video that I discussed with John Brennan, the president's counterterrorism adviser. The Obama campaign not only bragging and quite rightly so, about the very gutsy decision to take down bin Laden. But also suggesting that Mitt Romney wouldn't have done the same thing. Brit, fair game or over the line?
HUME: Well I don't think you have to have any real basis for saying that Mitt Romney wouldn't have done that if you look at the full context of the Romney remarks that he cited. They were -- he was -- Romney was basically saying that an obsession with bin Laden shouldn't be all there is to the war on terror. That it's a broader struggle against many organizations and you need to -- you need to keep that in mind. I would also say this about the successful raid that took out bin Laden, I think that this president will get about as much credit for that in the fall as President George H.W. Bush did for the successful execution of the first Gulf War.
Which as you'll recall a huge success. Parades at home. First time we've had that in a long time.
WALLACE: Ninety percent approval rating.
HUME: Huge approval rating and -- and a huge bump out of that. And he was overwhelmed by the perceived economic conditions of the times that fall and he lost on the economy. So, I think like that election, this one will be fought out of -- over issues related to the pocketbook, the economy and to a lesser extent the budget. And that this is -- this fades into the background as voters think about which way to vote.
WALLACE: Liz I want -- I want to pick up on what Brit said about the Romney line that the Obama campaign is hanging its hat on and whether or not they're playing fair with that line. And we're going to -- we're going to put it up. The Obama campaign points to this sentence and in fact they quoted it in their web video. This is from Romney back in 2007. "It's not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person."
But here's the full quote, "It's a very diverse group. Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood and of course different names throughout the world. It's not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person. It is worth fashioning and executing an effective strategy to defeat global violent Jihad." The full quote does make a difference.
MARLANTES: It does, but Romney himself did roll back those comments in the aftermath of that. Because he got quite a bit of criticism, even within his own party when he gave that interview. Because he did not seem to fully appreciate the importance of killing bin Laden but -- the importance of the symbolism of it. The importance of the justice aspect of it to many Americans. He didn't seem to fully get that and in -- in the weeks that followed that particular interview, he did try to kind of roll it back. And so, you know it was -- it was a small mistake and I think it's fair for the Obama campaign to -- to bring that quote back.
And they didn't say in the ad -- they were careful, they didn't say Romney wouldn't have made this call. They just said you need to ask yourself, would he have? And that is a question voters should be thinking about. They want to -- you know they want a president who is going to make that call. Not every president necessarily would have. I mean Bill Clinton who narrates the ad famously missed an opportunity to get bin Laden. And so I actually think it is fair game.
STRASSEL: OK I think the problem if you think about that quote in full, the Romney quote in full is it's most likely the argument that the Obama administration would be making today had they not actually killed bin Laden. Which is look, this is a big entire organization...
WALLACE: Wait. They did kill him.
STRASSEL: They -- they -- they did, but -- but I think the point is, is that this is -- this is -- the argument has been there for a long time on both sides of the aisle. That this is beyond just one man. And -- and obviously it is important to get this one guy. But what are you -- what are you actually saying that you just stop looking for everyone else because you're focusing all your attention on Usama bin Laden. I think the real problem for the president here -- and I see the temptation of him wanting to talk about this because, think about this, this is a Democrat who actually has pretty good approval ratings on foreign policy, which is unusual.
I think one of the questions for him though is, does he actually want to get into a big fight with Mr. Romney about his foreign policy credentials when they go beyond this question of Usama bin Laden? And beyond some of these other things. Does he want to talk about Israel? Does he want to talk about Iran and the bomb? Does he want to talk about all of his -- Syria and his handling of the Arab Spring? I don't know if that's a place he wants to go.
LANE: I think it is a place he wants to go. He does have strong foreign policy, national security ratings. And the usual Republican advantage in that area is not there this year. You know he's not only, you know quote, unquote "gotten bin Laden." He's been using these drones very aggressively across the greater Middle East. Almost ruthlessly. I mean there were a lot of people who -- who probably supported President Obama last time around who thought George Bush was out of control with torture and so forth and so on, but this guy has been even taking the position that he can use a drone strike to kill an American citizen abroad. So you can't say he hasn't been aggressive on the war on terrorism.
You know, I think that's going to be a hard one for Romney, actually, to get any kind of advantage on.
WALLACE: Brit, let's go back to the Biden opening statement that we played because it -- it's an effective statement. Bin Laden is dead and GM is alive. And the argument is basically, this president -- forget the question of what Romney would have done, although obviously he had a different position on General Motors, but the argument would be that this president made gutsy decisions and it killed our big terrorist and it kept the U.S. auto industry alive.
It -- it seems to be a fairly effective point.
HUME: I think it's a very clever formulation. I don't think there is any doubt about it. But -- and I'm sure that it will delight the hearts of Democrats and many of them will be able to put that on a bumper sticker and put it on thier cars or their refrigerators, or wherever they want to put it, their foreheads, perhaps.
But I have to -- am bound to say, however, that, when it gets down to it, the fact that GM is alive is not a real proxy for the overall condition of the economy as voters perceive it. People have a sense about the economy that's rooted in how they're doing, whether they have a good job, or a job at all, and whether the people they know and people who are in their family are similarly situated.
And that is the dominant factor, in my estimation, when people cast their votes on that issue.
And General Motors being alive is something to celebrate, perhaps, but it is not, I think, the thing that will cause people to make a -- a rating in favor of Obama on that broader issue of the economy.
MARLANTES: Well, I mean, I just would say, in addition to that, we have seen so many times so far in this campaign Republicans have been criticizing the president for not running on his record, for trying to run against Romney instead of really putting forth what he has done.
And now they come forward with with this ad where he is running on his record; he's trying to show what he's done, and then they don't like that, either. So I do think the president would be perfectly happy to fight this out on foreign policy. I agree with Brit that it's probably going to be about the economy in the end and that that is much trickier territory for him.
WALLACE: No, but, obviously, Kim -- and we've got just a few seconds -- this is a perfectly appropriate week to discuss it, I mean, on the first anniversary?
STRASSEL: Well, this is the argument they've been making from the start. This is what they want the campaign to be about. The problem is, if he were doing it, he'd be above the approval ratings he is now.
WALLACE: All right. We're going to have to leave it there. Thank you all, panel. See you next week.
Don't forget to check out "Panel Plus," where our group picks right up with a discussion on our website, FoxNewsSunday.com. We'll post the video before noon Eastern Time. And make sure to follow us on Twitter @FoxNewsSunday.
Up next, a special power player of the week.
WALLACE: We have met a lot of fascinating power players over the years, but I can't think of when I had a better time with one than the other day. Here's our power player of the week.
MURRAY: A flamingo, a snake, an elephant, a salamander. You name it, we treat it.
WALLACE (voice over): Dr. Suzan Murray is chief veterinarian of the National Zoo.
MURRAY: I'll be there in just a second.
WALLACE: She and her staff of 12 care for 2,000 animals from 400 different species. On the day we followed her, she vaccinated a red panda and drew blood from a salamander.
(on camera): How do you know when an animal is sick?
MURRAY: Our keepers are the ones who see the animals day in, day out. They know everything about them.
So they're the first ones that say, hey, something's different and then they call us right away.
WALLACE (voice over): When two of the male gorillas died in 2006, Murray's team discovered the problem was heart disease. Now they have joined the Great Ape Heart Project.
MURRAY: They even planted these little devices called ILRs, implantable loop records, that continuously monitor the heart and the EKG rhythm.
Keepers are -- train the gorillas to hold still. The ILRs are implanted just under their back where it won't bother them. The keepers have trained the gorillas to lean back against the edge of the enclosure and then they can put the sensor over the ILR, download the information, and then we read it up here. It's -- it's marvelous.
WALLACE: And if you've ever gotten frustrated running around to different doctors, here's how the zoo does it.
MURRAY: When we have a giant panda down under anesthesia, we've got a dentist, a cardiologist, a GI specialist, an anesthesiologist. Every specialist has their own 15-minute slot. We joke about it afterwards it's like one-stop shopping.
WALLACE: But sometimes Dr. Murray reaches out to regular doctors, such as when one of the tree kangaroos had a problem.
MURRAY: For young primates, the best people in the field are often physicians and surgeons at Children's Hospital.
WALLACE: It isn't just clinical care. Murray advises zoos and wildlife organizations around the world, especially on endangered species.
MURRAY: They were amongst the groups that produced the first A.I. tigers or A.I. cheetahs -- A.I. meaning artificial insemination -- or an A.I. giant panda.
WALLACE: As we walked around the zoo, we came across a cheetah which reminded Murray of when she started here as a student 25 years ago.
MURRAY: My very first day we anesthetized a cheetah. And I remember thinking, I've done it, you know. I'm a student, a veterinary student, and I've touched a cheetah, and I can -- I can go home now.
WALLACE: But she didn't go home and been chief vet here since 2001.
Murray says she knew by the time she was five what she wanted to do. Her grandparents owned a farm with lots of animals. And then there was the clincher.
MURRAY: I remember clearly watching a TV show with my dad. It was a National Geographic show and Jane Goodall was on it. And when I saw it, I told my father that's what I want to do.
WALLACE: And she still bring that same sense of wonder to the National Zoo.
MURRAY (voice over): Gorgeous beyond belief. I know, you're a baby.
(on camera): Pretty much every day, we feel, if we've done something great, something great to help endangered species here and something great to help endangered species worldwide, that's the impact for me.
WALLACE: Dr. Murray says they used to put animals to sleep to treat them. But now, as with the gorillas, they have trained pandas to get their blood drawn and sea lions to sit still for eye drops. She says the vets are now a lot more popular around the zoo.
And that's it for today. Have a great week. And we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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As the race for the White House heats up, candidates on both sides of the political aisle are crisscrossing the country in the hopes of gaining momentum for a potential presidential bid. One of these possible contenders vying for support is former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who is making a name for herself as one of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton’s biggest critics. We’ll ask Carly Fiorina how she plans to stand-out in a crowded GOP field— exclusively this Fox News Sunday.