John McCain, Debbie Wasserman Schultz react to Paul Ryan joining GOP ticket

Written by John Roberts / Published August 12, 2012 / Fox News Sunday

Special Guests: Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," August 12, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JOHN ROBERTS, GUEST HOST: I'm John Roberts, in for Chris Wallace.

Mitt Romney selects Congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate and shakes up the race for the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MITT ROMNEY, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can tell you this -- he's going to be the next vice-president of the United States.

ROBERTS (voice-over): How will the Mitt Romney/Ryan ticket be received by Republicans now and voters in November?

We'll ask senator and former presidential candidate John McCain. That's only "Fox News Sunday."

(on camera): Also, with the Republican ticket set, how will Democrats campaign against it?

(voice-over): We'll talk strategy with Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee. It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.

(on camera): Plus, we are 86 days away from the election. But both sides are filling the air waves with negative campaign ads.

(voice-over): We'll ask our Sunday panel, are they going too far?

All right now on "Fox News Sunday."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.

Governor Romney and newly minted running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, are campaigning in North Carolina and Wisconsin today.

We'll talk about the GOP ticket with our guests in just a moment. But, first, the latest from Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen. He's in Mooresville, North Carolina, for us today -- James.

JAMES ROSEN, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: John, good to be with you.

By one measure, Governor Romney's selection of Paul Ryan has already included an unmitigated success. The Romney campaign estimates that it took in $4 million in campaign contributions in just the first seven hours after that big rollout in Norfolk.

Now, aides to Governor Romney was clearly hoping that the addition of Ryan, a young, Catholic, pro-life budget whiz would prove a game changer of sorts. That's because the polling trend for the presumptive GOP nominee had not been encouraging. Latest FOX News polls released Thursday night had shown President Obama opening up a nine-point lead amongst registered voters and an 11-point lead among independents. One marked change that was evident already in Manassas yesterday, there, Governor Romney was no longer framing this election solely as a referendum on the Obama presidency, but rather, Romney began to use the very language about the contest that the Obama-Biden campaign had been employing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: America is going to have a choice. They have seen the product of the Obama plan. It's been executed over the last three and half years. It hasn't worked. Middle income families are getting squeeze, people can't find work. We have a different plan.

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS., VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hope and change has now become attack and blame. You know what? We're not going to fall for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROSEN: Now our setting today is the NASCAR Technical Institute. It's a vocational training school for automotive skills. Republicans have high hopes for the state of North Carolina precisely because George W. Bush captured it in 2004 and Barack Obama's margin of victory here four years was just 0.4 percent.

However, as you know, the Romney-Ryan ticket is going to close out its day today, in a state that has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan in 1984. That would be Wisconsin, Paul Ryan's home state -- John.

ROBERTS: James Rosen, hanging with the NASCAR crowd -- James, thanks so much.

Now reaction to the Romney-Ryan ticket from former presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, who comes to us today from Phoenix.

And, Senator, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday." Good to have you with us.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: Thank you, John.

ROBERTS: Let me ask you, first of all, Senator, your thoughts on the Paul Ryan pick?

MCCAIN: Excellent choice. A new generation of leadership in our party, in our nation -- a man who understands the most compelling challenges that this nation faces, obviously a jobs and the economy. I am convinced that he will bring the kinds of ideas and thoughts that he's been pursuing in the House and the important position that he's held.

And just a small example. In 12 years, Medicare is going to go broke. That's -- the Medicare trustees say that. Paul Ryan is 42. He represents a generation that 12 years from now, he'll be 54 and they'll be in their 50s. So, it will be a long way of eligibility. Meanwhile, the system collapses. And what does the Obama administration brought forward? ObamaCare, which has obviously skyrocketed health care cost rather than reduce it. There has been no effort whatsoever on the part of the administration to address the looming crises of Social Security and Medicare.

Now, you're going to hear from Democrats to push grandma over the cliff, all that, they have not had a plan yet to save Social Security and Medicare, and they've had nearly four years to do it. Paul Ryan has taken the courageous steps to bring this issue to the forefront. And we're going to have to address it.

And under a Romney-Ryan administration, you will see it addressed. Not like this last administration -- which has done nothing. They haven't even passed a budget through the Senate of the United States of America in three years.

ROBERTS: Yes, 1,200 days now and counting.

Do you, Senator, fully embrace the Ryan budget? Even the Romney campaign has been putting out talking points to its surrogates to suggest, well, we like elements of the Ryan plan. We're going to come up with our own budget proposal.

MCCAIN: Well, I think so. I think that's appropriate for the top of the ticket. But I'd also like to point out that when the Democrats talk about pushing grandma over the cliff on Medicare, you know that Ron Wyden, a very centrist and bipartisan Democrat senator has joined with Paul Ryan on a voluntary program for seniors they can be responsible for their own health care. Now, that kind of proposal is something that we need to carefully examine and pursue.

Right now, I guess we have to ask, what is the plan the Democrats have besides negative attack ads?

And, by the way, the Obama budget was voted on. We forced a vote on it, didn't get a single Democrat vote.

ROBERTS: Yes.

Senator, while many Republicans are very enthusiastic, some ecstatic, there are some Democrats who are saying, not sure that this is the best pick because the danger that the running mate may overshadow the actual candidate on some of the important issues of the day? What do you say?

MCCAIN: I had that problem.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN: No, I didn't. I don't -- I don't think that's -- I don't think that's the case. I think this is a team that understands the challenges that we face, and obviously there is very good chemistry between the two of them, and Americans recognize that running mates are very important, but it's the top of the ticket obviously that makes what the voters decide on as they enter the ballot booth.

ROBERTS: Now, Congressman Ryan has got very little private sector experience, compared to Governor Romney. Most of his adult life has been spent inside the Beltway. Do you think that that contrast is going to create a problem for the ticket? Romney has been running as an outsider who wants to come in and shake up Washington, yet the person he chose to run with is kind of an ultimate insider?

MCCAIN: Well, first of all, I -- someone has to tell me what experience President Obama has in the private sector, which he has amply shown he is abysmally ignorant of. But Paul Ryan brings the balance of understanding how the Congress works, how the budget process works, understanding the entire process and established relationships that I think will make him most effective in getting the Mitt Romney agenda through the Congress. It's going to be the first 60 to 90 days that will determine that.

ROBERTS: What about foreign policy, Senator? I mean, this is your bailiwick; this is one of your strongest points. Ad this ticket, when you look at both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan, has got the least foreign policy experience of any ticket that I can remember.

Do you have concerns about that?

ROBERTS: I think that Romney has the least probably since Ronald Reagan. I think that Mitt Romney understands the nation's challenges. He's proven that by the proposals he put forward, his understanding of the importance of our relationship with Israel, which is hardly ever been worse, his understanding of American exceptionalism which President Obama has abandoned.

And I think that when you look at Congressman Ryan's experience -- he's been in the House since 1998, where he's been involved in these issues, his proposals do not prevent a sequestration from taking place.

And, finally, the vice-president of the United States has been wrong nine times out of 10 on every major foreign policy issue and challenges that we faced.

ROBERTS: Now, you mentioned the idea of American exceptionalism. And talking to the Council of Foreign Relations back in 2009, Congressman Ryan said, quote, "Obama" -- talk about the president -- "doesn't America is an exceptional nation. It's a shame he doesn't believe in American exceptionalism."

Do you see this idea as American exceptionalism as an issue of national security?

MCCAIN: It's vital. This president has not led, right today, there are people being massacred in the streets of Syria, of Damascus, Aleppo and they are dying by the thousands, about 20,000 so far. Has the president spoken up once -- once -- in their behalf?

Do you think Ronald Reagan would be sitting back saying nothing? Don't you think we should be helping these people where they are being massacred in an unfair fight, where the arms and the equipment and training is coming in from Russia and Iran and people are being butchered?

This president went -- when a million and half people were demonstrating in Tehran in 2009, chanting, "Obama, Obama, Obama, are you with us and are you with them?", he refused to speak up on their behalf. That is all comes back to this president does not believe in American exceptionalism and doesn't believe that America should lead.

MCCAIN: And it's been in my view a disastrous foreign policy.

ROBERTS: Senator, I certainly got a lot of questions to ask you on Syria if I could hold this for a moment and just get back to the Ryan nomination for a second.

MCCAIN: Sure.

ROBERTS: There are some comparisons that are being made between Mitt Romney's pick yesterday and your pick back in 2008, that you went with a bold choice, one that was very good in a short for you, but one in long term might not have been the best choice. The same thing is being said about Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan.

What do you say to those observations and those observations come from Republicans?

CAIN: Well, I said that, first of all, the selection is made as to who will best help you get nominated and who you believe is best suited for the role of the vice-president of the United States. At that time, I'm still proud of my running mate, I'm proud of Sarah and her family and I'm proud of the work we did.

I think in this case, it is also a bold choice. Many people thought that other people who are being considered might bring home those states into the Romney column. I think this is a pretty bold choice as well.

And I think it's a good match up because of Paul Ryan's ability to carry a Romney agenda through the Congress of the United States. So I -- and his intimate knowledge of the budget. We all know that economy and jobs are the issues. There's nobody that knows these issues better than Paul Ryan.

ROBERTS: All right.

Senator, of course, there are going to be a lot of attack ads to be aired over the coming weeks of campaign, the next 85 or so days. There was an ad came out in recent days that really seem to take the idea of negative advertising to a new level. It came from Priorities USA, the super PAC that is supporting President Obama.

Let me just play that and get your reaction to it if I could.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE SOPTIC: And then one day, she became ill and I took her up to the Jackson County hospital and admitted her for pneumonia and they found cancer, and by then it was stage four. There was nothing they could do for her and she passed away in 22 days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Senator, the implication is there that there's a connection between him losing his job as a result of what Bain Capital did and his wife dying. Subsequent investigations show there was a lag period of about six years. That his wife did not have coverage under his insurance and that she lost that.

What do you think of that ad?

MCCAIN: Disgraceful obviously. You run out of adjectives and adverbs and is even more so, because the closest advisors to President Obama are the people responsible for that ad. We all know that these connections are there.

But, you know, I'm also a little sad, John, because in 2008, this president and the people around him promised hope and change and new environment in Washington and now, it is probably deteriorated into the most negative, most unpleasant, most disgraceful campaign that I ever observed and I have been intimately involved in them since 1984. It's really a remarkable, remarkable -- this president cannot run on his record and now, their strategy and I've got to give them credit, they have succeeded to a certain degree of painting with nothing but attack ads Mitt Romney into something that's not an unacceptable alternative, because he can't run on his record.

ROBERTS: You campaign aired plenty of negative ads back in the 2008 campaign, where do you draw the line? And do you think the president should denounce this ad?

MCCAIN: Well, clearly, the president should denounce an ad that paints a good and decent man, Governor Mitt Romney, who he may disagree with into a person who was responsible for a man's wife's death. I mean, I don't know how you get worse than that. All of us grieve for anyone that loses a loved one. But then to portray Mitt Romney as somehow responsible for that?

It's just -- again, it makes me sad more than angry.

ROBERTS: All right. Senator, you mentioned Syria just a couple of minutes ago. I'd like to spend if I could the remaining time that we have together on that.

MCCAIN: Sure.

ROBERTS: Of course, big conference between the secretary of state and Turkish officials yesterday in Turkey, talk of some sort of plan if Assad falls, if he were to use chemical weapons, or if there were to be a massive influx of refugees across the border with Turkey.

Are you concerned that the Assad regime, if it feels like it's cornered, could reach out and use chemical weapons?

MCCAIN: I'm very concerned about it and I'm concerned about the increasing influx of jihadist and al Qaeda and other extremist. I'm concerned about the mounting refugees. I am concerned about the murder and torture and rape that is a policy of Bashar Assad, while we stand by and our secretary of state and our U.N. representatives say all these words.

The president says nothing, by the way. But they say, oh, this is unacceptable and yet we literally do nothing.

A young person and I've heard this from others in the Syrian resistance who keep saying, we'll remember, we'll remember who helped us and who didn't. The president of the United States has abrogated our responsibilities to help these people in an unfair fight. That doesn't mean boots on the ground, but it does mean establishing a sanctuary where they can organize and they can fight.

And every day that this goes on, the more difficult it's going to be to repair this country once Bashar al Assad goes. And he will go.

But it's just shameful, it's shameful that we will not help these people out as they are struggling for the things we stand for and believe in.

ROBERTS: You and your colleagues, Senators Graham and Lieberman, penned an op-ed in The Washington Post last Monday, which you said, quote, "The U.S. reluctance to intervene in Syria is first of all allowing this conflict to be longer and bloodier, a radicalizing dynamic."

You went on to say that the "Syrian people are likely to feel a little goodwill toward the United States."

You've said before that you believe that we should arm the rebels, are you stronger on that point now?

MCCAIN: Well, I've always felt the same way about it, John. It's an unfair fight. Russian equipment is coming in.

This administration incredibly has based their strategy on the belief that somehow the Russians will have a beneficial affect on Bashar Assad. Iranians on the ground, there are recent reports of Hezbollah coming back out of Lebanon to help the Syrians slaughter their own people. This is -- you know, this is -- really one of the more disgraceful chapters in American history and the president is absolutely AWOL. It's incredible.

ROBERTS: One other quick point, Senator, talk during the meeting between the secretary of state and Turkish officials about establishing a no fly zone over certain areas of Syria. Would you support that and who should enforce it?

MCCAIN: Well, we have sought that for a long time. It cries out for American leadership. I know the leaders of these countries. And they seek American leadership. And again, that does not mean American boots on the ground.

But obviously, we need to do. They will follow us. They will agree as we did in operations in Libya, although it will be a different scenario if America will lead.

And it's -- well, I think that it is time and it is not too late for America to step forward and establish a sanctuary, help arm, train and equip these people, along with the other countries, the resistance, and bring these massacres now bordering on genocide to a halt.

ROBERTS: Senator McCain, it's always good to talk to you. Thanks so much for taking the time from the weekend today. Appreciate it.

MCCAIN: Thank you, John.

ROBERTS: Up next, we're going to get Democrats reaction to Romney's vice presidential pick with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She is the chair of the Democrat National Committee.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: For reaction now from Democrats on the Romney/Ryan ticket, we are joined by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She's chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Welcome.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, D-FLA., DNC CHAIR: Thank you, John.

ROBERTS: You came down from New Hampshire this morning.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Yes.

ROBERTS: We appreciate the effort.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: (INAUDIBLE)

ROBERTS: You were working yesterday as well, in response to tall of this. You came out with strong criticism of Congressman Ryan, saying he has been called a serious person. But he, like Romney, has seriously flawed ideas for our economy that have only failed us in the past.

What are you talking about?

WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: Well, as a member of the Budget Committee myself, I've really had front row seat to witness the architect of the Romney-Ryan budget, Paul Ryan's embrace extremism, suggest that we should end Medicare as we know it, shred the safety net for seniors in health care that we had in place for more than 50 years, turn Medicare into a block grants and send it to the states, which would really jeopardize seniors in nursing homes, potentially take 10 million students off of Pell Grants, cut health care, cut education. Paul Ryan has embraced an extremist proposal and goes not only too far, but according to every independent economist asked, cut so much that it would risk stalling -- or slowing or even stalling our recovery, which we know is already fragile.

ROBERTS: Let's focus in on Medicare for a second, because you said end Medicare as we know it.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Right.

ROBERTS: We know that if Medicare goes along the path that it's on now, it's going to end itself. You heard John McCain said, the trustees report says that will be in 12 years, earlier reports of nine years, now, it's been extended up to 12.

But there need to be changes made and the changes that Congressman Ryan in conjunction with Paul Wyden -- Ron Wyden, I'm sorry, have been making, mirror very much the provisions in the Affordable Care Act for lower income people.

So, how can you embrace one thing for lower income and say we can't do the same for seniors?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, first of all, let's make sure everyone knows that Ron Wyden, Senator Wyden voted against the Ryan budget when it came up for a vote in the Senate. So, even Ron Wyden agrees that Paul Ryan's approach is too extreme, that turning the Medicare in a voucher program would not be the right way to go.

The Affordable Care Act, actually, the reason that we have 12 years now, rather than nine, is because the Affordable Care Act that added eight years of solvency to the Medicare program, and we know that we need some (INAUDIBLE) that we can continue to shore up Medicare so that my generation and Paul Ryan's generation actually have an opportunity that safety net in place.

What we need to do and that Mitt Romney has fully embraced by choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate is to shred that safety net, tell seniors that, well, you no longer have a guarantee for health care. We're going to give you a voucher and then we're going to make you pay about $6,300 more in premiums in order to be able to pay for that health care and essentially leave you with a gap between what the voucher provides and what the insurance company that you ultimately get coverage from charges you. That's the wrong way to go.

ROBERTS: A couple of important points on what you just said. It was a voucher program in its first incarnation in 2011. But the new incarnation of the Ryan budget plan would allow the senior systems to stay in the Medicare system. And it's true that the Congressional Budget Office scored his 2011 budget as potentially costing senior citizens $6,300.

But there's been no such scoring of the new budget. So, you're actually giving us an old figure here.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No, that's still a proposal the Paul Ryan put on the table, that we actually -- that we actually voted on, that he has championed. And Mitt Romney has now chosen Paul Ryan who was the architect of that plan as his running mate, someone who -- Mitt Romney already embraced the Ryan budget, which we know is extreme. And, you know, as someone who represents thousands of seniors in south Florida, I can tell you that what would happen in either proposal in Ryan two or Ryan one, is that insurance companies would cherry pick the healthy people, cherry pick the best people to insure and as a result the folks who remained in Medicare would see their costs go up.

So, either way, whether it's Ryan one or son of Ryan, you're still going to leave seniors in a very dire situation as opposed to traditional Medicare, which is a safety net through which we have said, for more than 50 years, we're not going to let seniors fall through. Barack Obama says unacceptable. Mitt Romney has fully embraced it.

ROBERTS: You have said in the past that people could be excluded for preexisting conditions under the Ryan budget, do you still hold to that?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: The people under the Ryan budget --

ROBERTS: People who have preexisting condition.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: He repeals the Affordable Care Act, which means that, yes, we would return to the days when insurance companies could deny people or drop in coverage.

ROBERTS: But not senior citizens, because you said that about senior citizens, because the Ryan plan specifically says that senior citizens with preexisting conditions could not be excluded from Medicare.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: But Paul Ryan's plan, whether it's the first one, or the second does, if it shreds the safety net with seniors, it turns Medicare into a voucher program. It increases cost --

(CROSSTALK)

ROBERTS: But only for those who want to choose to go with privatized system.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, we made a decision more than 50 years ago, John, that we were going to make sure that families were no longer going to be medically bankrupt trying to care for seniors as they were aging and their health was declining, because that's what was happening back before Medicare passed.

Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney would allow the seniors to fall right through that floor because they would fall the rag out from under seniors, give them a voucher, tell them they are essentially on their own, drive up their health care costs and then cost their families even more monies because someone is going to have to make sure that those seniors don get sick and have no one to care for them and no way to pay for it. ROBERTS: When it come tots president's health care plan, the Affordable Care Act, there have been potential problems that have been pointed out with that. The Congressional Budget Office says it would increase taxes by $500 billion over the course of 10 years and that it would by slowing the growth of Medicare --

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Increase taxes of $500 billion?

ROBERTS: Five hundred billions dollars, there will be a $500 billion tax increase. This is from the CBO because of the Affordable Care Act. It would also slow the growth of Medicare, I want to be very clear about that. Not cut Medicare, slow the growth, by $500 billion over the same period.

CMS actuaries --

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Not cut benefits, which the Republicans --

ROBERTS: That's right. Very clear, slow the growth of Medicare.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That's also, by the way, Paul Ryan's plan that Mitt Romney has embraced repeals the Affordable Care Act, they do not repeal their budget, the same $500 billion in cuts.

ROBERTS: Let me just give --

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: They were not cuts in benefits.

ROBERTS: Let me if I could come after the point I was making. An actuary's report from CMS, which administers Medicare, found that the slowing of the growth of Medicare under the Affordable Care Act would have an impact such that by 2019 -- put up her on the screen -- 15 percent of the hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, would have to with draw from providing services to Medicare beneficiaries, merge with other provider groups or shifts substantial portions of Medicare cost to their non-Medicare, non-Medicaid payers.

So, there are problems with this one as well in terms of delivering service?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: The difference between the Romney and Ryan approach and Republican extremist in the Tea Party who have proposed 31 different times in the House of Representative to just repeal the Affordable Care Act is that they want to make sure to go back to the days when insurance companies can deny coverage or drop you for a preexisting condition. They want seniors to go back to the time when the donut hole was thousands of dollars gap in coverage for their prescription drugs.

John, I -- thanks to Barack Obama -- had stood behind the last senior online in my district in a drug store who when five or six prescriptions come to the counter, they have leave two or three of them behind because they can't afford to pick them all home because of the donut hole.

The Affordable Care Act closes that donut hole, makes sure seniors can afford their prescription drugs, and make sure that seniors have access to preventative, wellness visits, so they can stay healthy instead of waiting before they are sick before they go to the doctor. Those are the seniors that I represent. We're going to keep them healthy.

Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney would lead them to have massive gaps in coverage and drive their health care costs up, shred the safety net and let them fall through that floor. It's unacceptable.

ROBERTS: Let me switch gears if I could. You probably saw me talking to John McCain a couple of minutes ago. We air a little bit of that Priorities USA ad. Should the Democrats be releasing an ad that accuses a presidential candidate of being responsible -- through inference -- of being responsible for a woman's death?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: First of all, that's a Priorities USA.

ROBERTS: I understand.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That's not a Democratic ad. You can say Priorities USA super PAC ad which we have nothing to do with it.

ROBERTS: Correct. You deny that they are Democrats?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I have no idea of the political affiliation of folks who are associated with that super PAC.

ROBERTS: Bill Burton, who used to work in the White House, worked in Obama campaign in 2008?

(CROSSTALK)

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That is a super PAC that is not affiliated with our campaign or with the party. However --

ROBERTS: What do you think of the ad?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: What I think of the ad is that there's no question that the ad raises facts such as that Mitt Romney when he was CEO of Bain Capital bankrupted companies, laid off workers, cut their benefits and made millions of dollars in profits. That ad points out that there are consequences to making decisions like that that impacted people's live in a significant way.

ROBERTS: But this idea that the time line of the ad is such that the direct inference is that because this man lost his health insurance, his wife died of cancer does not appear to be the case. She had her own insurance with her own employment, lost that insurance. It was six years later.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: It's really interesting that there's no indignation, and the hypocrisy that -- that exists, where -- where is the indignation on the other side that super PACs affiliated with -- with Mitt Romney's campaign or in support of Mitt Romney's campaign have actually run ads...

(CROSSTALK)

ROBERTS: I don't think they've ever referred to somebody who's died.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: They've -- they've inferred that Barack Obama isn't even American. They've questioned whether his birth certificate is legitimate. There are so many questions that question Barack Obama's patriotism and whether he's even an American. Where is the same indignation?

Is Fox condemning the super PAC ads in support of Mitt Romney in the same way that there has been such, you know, indignation over this ad?

The bottom line is Mitt Romney, as CEO of Bain Capital, profited from bankrupting companies like GST Steel, cutting their benefits, firing workers, and made money anyway. And there are consequences. That has an impact on people's lives. And the person in that ad wanted to talk about what he thought the impact on his family's life was.

ROBERTS: You mentioned indignation. I wanted to get your sense of something here. My colleague George Stephanopoulos, last week, talked to you about Harry Reid's accusations that Mitt Romney did not pay taxes for 10 years came from an anonymous source. He went so far as to talk about it on the floor of the Senate.

Back in April, you were accused of favoritism by an anonymous source, to which you said -- let me put it up here on the screen -- quote, "I don't know what they're talking about ... those famous anonymous sources that never have the nerve to actually say what they're saying ... make accusations on the record."

There was indignation there. Where's the indignation now about Senator Reid quoting anonymous sources?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I'm actually really glad you brought this topic up. Because it's another opportunity to talk about the secrecy, the penchant for secrecy that Mitt Romney has...

ROBERTS: But could you speak to that?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: This issue that Harry Reid has raised has -- was not raised by Harry Reid. There are countless journalists; there are countless voters and leaders who have insisted that Mitt Romney should release more than one year of tax returns. He has not done that.

ROBERTS: I understand, but where -- where is the indignation about anonymous sources that you had back in April regarding this personal concern?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I don't know who Harry Reid's sources are. And -- and that -- you should ask him...

ROBERTS: But should he be quoting anonymous sources...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That is...

ROBERTS: ... particularly on the floor of the Senate?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Harry Reid has his own sources. The bottom line is I'd like to know how many years of tax returns did Mitt Romney review and ask Paul Ryan to give him when he was vetting him for vice president? And is he going to require the release of those tax returns?

Barack Obama and Joe Biden have released 12 years of tax returns? Mitt Romney has released one and a partial view of a second one. His own father...

ROBERTS: John McCain released two.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: His own father -- no, John McCain released more than -- released about 12 years of tax returns.

ROBERTS: John Kerry didn't release his wife's tax returns. I mean, you can make a lot of arguments what is appropriate in terms of...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Spouses are not running for president.

The major -- Mitt Romney is the first major party candidate for president of the United States in modern times not to release at least 12 years of tax returns. It's unacceptable. And there's a reason. We've seen a glimpse of why he hasn't released them. It's because he's got investments in a Swiss bank account, in the Cayman Islands, in a Bermuda Corporation.

Why does an American businessman need a Swiss bank account or investments in known tax havens if not to be hiding something? Mitt Romney needs to come clean and, for that matter, now so does Paul Ryan. Mitt Romney needs to show American voters at least the same number of tax returns that he asked Paul Ryan to show him when he was vetting him for vice president.

ROBERTS: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, it's always good to sit down and talk about the issues with you.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you.

ROBERTS: Thanks for dropping by.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Me, too. Thanks so much. You're welcome.

ROBERTS: Coming up, our Sunday group on Mitt Romney's choice of Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate. We'll be right back on Fox News Sunday. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: We took a step forward in restoring the promise of America because I have selected a person who is a leader.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: We need someone of principle, someone of achievement, someone of integrity. That man is standing next to me. His name is Mitt Romney and he's going to be the next president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: That was Congressman Paul Ryan following Governor Romney at a campaign stop on Saturday.

And it's time now for our Sunday group, Fox news contributors Bill Kristol from The Weekly Standard; Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist; former State Department official Liz Cheney; and former Democratic Senator Evan Bayh.

Good Sunday morning to all of you.

Liz, let's start with you because we haven't heard from you all weekend. Joe and Bill were waxing on eloquently all day yesterday.

(LAUGHTER)

You got a chance, I'm sure, to hear Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz, and we get an indication that the Democrats are going to have very hard criticism of Paul Ryan and his budget. What -- what effect do you think that will have?

LIZ CHENEY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: You know, I was struck by the fact that she refused to say what their solution is. You know what we've got in both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan is people who have got an incredible amount of respect for the voter, two candidates who understand that we are about to go off a fiscal cliff if we don't deal with a whole range of issues, including spending and entitlement programs.

And as hard as you pushed Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz, you know, all she could do was continue to repeat talking points and not say, all right, what's going to happen here if we don't in fact address these issues?

And so I think that, in Congressman Ryan, we've got a terrific pick. I think we've got somebody with real courage, somebody who's shown leadership, and somebody who's shown that they will in fact deal with these very tough critical issues and not just kick the can down the road.

ROBERTS: Senator Bayh, do you think the choice of Congressman Ryan is a big relief to the Obama campaign?

Let me tear something out of the New York Times this morning, which said, quote, "Instead of a referendum on his own performance, the president has an opening to turn the election into a referendum on the vision that Mr. Ryan has advanced and that Mitt Romney has adopted."

Is there a sigh of relief in the Obama campaign over this pick?

EVAN BAYH, FORMER SENATOR: John, I think there probably is. He's a good, a smart guy. He's shown courage in some of the proposals he's made. But what this does is to shift the debate from the economy and jobs to reforming entitlements, which people tend to embrace in the abstract, but when you get down to the details, some of which were included in Mr. Ryan's budget, people are a lot less supportive.

And, you know, ultimately, I think, given the choices, this was probably a good pick for Mitt Romney, but it doesn't change Mitt Romney. And that's what this ultimately comes down to. So my -- I think it's still uphill for him unless he has an outstanding debate performance or there's some bad economic data.

ROBERTS: Does the Obama campaign want to talk about anything besides the economy?

BAYH: I think he'd like to talk about anything other than, you know, what people have experienced in the last four years and who do you trust to defend the middle class; who do you trust most to reform the entitlement programs? I think that's the debate they'd like to have, and in some ways, that's the debate Paul Ryan gives them.

ROBERTS: Joe and Bill, of course, you know, in politics, particularly in an election campaign, you want to stay away from the third rail, entitlements. Mitt Romney has grabbed onto it and embraced it full force. Is that going to be a problem for him going into the campaign, that this doesn't become about the economy now; it becomes about entitlements?

JOE TRIPPI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yeah, well, that's exactly what the Obama camp has wanted.

I mean, when you look at this, they've been trying to figure a way to get from the Bain problems that Romney has and connect them to the Ryan budget. And, you know, if this guy fired people and cost you your pensions, what's he going to do -- is that the guy you want to trust to reform and change Medicare and end it as we know it?

If you can tie those two things together -- they've had trouble doing it. And now Mitt Romney has picked the one -- picked Paul Ryan, the architect of that. That make it very easy to make this exactly what the New York Times talked about, a -- a choice between two philosophies, two futures, not a referendum on the past four years. And that's what the Obama campaign wants. That's -- as a Democrat, that's what you'd want.

ROBERTS: Bill, if you were advising the -- if you were advising Governor Romney, would you say let's fight this game on entitlements?

BILL KRISTOL, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I would fight it on entitlements and their relationship to the economy. We're going broke, and if we're going broke, guess what; we're not going to have a healthy economy. I would begin every speech, if I were Governor Romney, with the following two sentences, "We are a great country, but we are unfortunately going broke. And President Obama doesn't understand the sources of our greatness as a country and he's doing nothing about the fact that we're going broke." And that's the truth, and we're going to tell the truth, period.

That's the big-picture debate they need to have. And the key, I think, for Romney is -- and the Romney campaign is to understand that this pick is the beginning now of a strategy. It's -- it's just -- if he makes the pick and it's -- people like me like it and it's a happy two or three days and then it's back to the same old Romney campaign, that won't work. This needs to be the first card that's being played in a series of cards where he make this a big campaign about the future.

And you've got to embrace the choice. It was always a myth that you could just win a, quote, referendum on the last four years. Voters aren't stupid. They know they're voting about the next four years. And he's got to clarify what the choice is for the next four years.

TRIPPI: Right. You know...

(CROSSTALK)

ROBERTS: Go ahead.

TRIPPI: I was going to say, look, the real danger here -- I agree with what Bill's saying, that the real danger here is if Romney starts equivocating. If he starts looking like he's trying to back away from the Ryan plan -- and he's already -- there's some signs that he may be trying to do that, that starts, now, playing into the whole flip-flopper and other things that we -- that people are -- other attacks that -- or people have wondered about Romney. It could be -- this pick could end up being devastating if that -- if he pulls back, doesn't embrace this and and really push forward, it could be a big, big problem.

ROBERTS: Liz, you're shaking your head. And, Senator Bayh, you're nodding your head.

(LAUGHTER)

CHENEY: Well, look, I mean, I think that what you've got in the Obama administration is policies that have failed, policies that have made the economy worse and, on the issue of entitlements, a complete dereliction of duty, on the issue of the debt, a complete dereliction of duty, a president who has repeatedly walked away from possible solutions.

And what this pick has done not only is demonstrate that in fact the Republicans are the party that are going to be responsible about these things, that are going to tell the American people the truth, but that Governor Romney understands. Governor Romney gets that you can't simply ignore this for political reasons, which is what this president has done.

As long as the Republicans continue to point out it's been three record -- three years of failed politics and dereliction of duty, I think that we've got a very good shot in November.

BAYH: Clearly, Mitt Romney was losing this tactical mud-slinging contest he'd been drawn into.

ROBERTS: He had a bad July.

BAYH: Yeah, things were not looking good for him. He had to try and change the subject. That's why I think, ultimately, this may have been a good choice among very difficult choices for him. So get out of the tactical mud-slinging, try and elevate the debate about where we're going as a country. I'd agree with Bill and Liz on that point.

The problem is that, historically, both here and for conservative governments in Europe and elsewhere, talking about the particulars -- not in general -- generalities, but the particulars of entitlement reform is very difficult politically.

ROBERTS: It is.

BAYH: So we have a difference here between the politics of the moment in the next 100 days and the substance.

ROBERTS: Well, let me ask you this...

(CROSSTALK)

BAYH: Can I say one last thing, John?

ROBERTS: Yes.

BAYH: It creates a very difficult environment for governing then. Because, if you win ugly, you've got no consensus and no mandate at a time when the country really needs progress.

ROBERTS: Let me ask you this...

(CROSSTALK)

ROBERTS: Sure, go ahead.

KRISTOL: It's difficult politically. There area lot of people who have been doing it the last two or three years. They're called governors. And they are doing -- making tough choices and the voters in their states are seeing these choices in real time, in New Jersey with Chris Christie and in Wisconsin itself, Paul Ryan's home state, with Scott Walker, and with other -- Mitch Daniels in Indiana. And it's working -- it's towards a policy, but more important, it's working politically.

So I don't agree that you can't win this political fight. I agree it's a little different from running the traditional old- fashioned Republican campaign where you somehow, you know -- I don't know -- just disqualify the Democrats. That's not quite going to work.

But you can win this policy fight. The Democratic assault is going to be huge and brutal, though. I got an e-mail from -- and shouldn't be minimized -- I got an e-mail from a good friend, Tom Cotton, who served as an infantry officer in Iraq and then in Afghanistan, is the Republican nominee for Congress in the Fourth District of Arkansas, is going to win that race, I believe.

(LAUGHTER)

And he said one thing he learned as an Army infantry officer was, in a near-ambush, turn into the fire and assault through the ambush.

That was his advice to the Romney campaign at 2 a.m. yesterday morning, having watched all the coverage of this -- of this -- of the Ryan pick. And I'm passing it on here on national television. Listen to Tom Cotton. He's going to win his race. He served with great honor in Iraq and Afghanistan. You've got to turn into the fight, not back off from it.

ROBERTS: Good wisdom, to face your enemy.

I was going to ask Senator Bayh this question, but I can ask it of you, too, Joe. You may not like the Ryan plan, but he's got a plan. Where have Senate Democrats been for the last 1,200 days on the economy and on the budget?

TRIPPI: Well, I mean, the fact is they're not running -- you know, the -- Romney-Ryan is not running against Reid and the U.S. Senate. He's running against Obama and Biden. And I think that's the problem...

ROBERTS: But he's being criticized for having a plan. But Senate Democrats have not passed a budget proposal -- a budget resolution in 1,200 days. So where have they been...

TRIPPI: And it's not going to change between now and November.

(LAUGHTER)

And I'm sure the Republicans will be making that case. But one of the -- but what I was going to say, John, is there's one thing -- the problem with this truth-telling, running into the fire and telling the truth, and that is the carrier of the message is a guy who won't show people his tax returns; in other words, like, I'm going to tell you the truth; we're going to be straight and blunt and put it all out there for the American people and tell them the truth about what's going on, but I don't want to disclose anything else.

I mean, there's a problem with the Romney message here, and it's Romney; it's not Paul Ryan.

ROBERTS: Let me -- let me take a break there because we've got to do that, but we're going to be back in just a couple of minutes. We're talk about those tough negative political ads. Are the campaigns going too far in their inferences and accusations?

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SOPTIC: And that's when they found the cancer. And by then, it was stage four. It was -- there was nothing they could do for her. And she passed away in 22 days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: What does it say about a president's character when his campaign tries to use the tragedy of a woman's death for political gain?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Well, that was the back-and-forth of that controversial ad from a super PAC supporting President Obama that said a cancer victim died because of what Mitt Romney did while at Bain Capital. And we're back now with our panel. Liz, you were listening to Debbie Wasserman Schultz talk about that. She said that that ad illuminates the results of Romney's time in private enterprise. There are other people who have said that that ad just goes beyond any sense of decency and reason. What do you say.

CHENEY: I didn't catch a lot of what she said, because I was laughing when she said that she couldn't say whether the Priorities USA were Democrats. I mean, there's a real a credibility issue here.

And I think that obviously we've now learned over the course of the last couple of weeks you had administration officials raising money for Priorities USA. David Plouffe runs Priorities USA. I mean there's no question here about the connection between -- or not David Plouffe, Bill Burton -- but Plouffe has been involved in Priorities USA.

There is no question about the connection between that super PAC and the White House.

Having said that, though, it seems to me the American people are not going to be casting a vote based on these kinds of ugly ads. I think it hurts the president's credibility not to disavow the ad. But at the end of the day people want to know what is Mitt Romney going to do about jobs and the economy, what is Barack Obama going to do. They have been able to see what he's done over the last four years and it hasn't worked.

I think that the voters out there would really like to see us get off of these debates about these ads. And they do a disservice to people.

ROBERTS: Senator Bayh, you said in your last segment that winning ugly isn't a win. If Barack Obama wins a second term with these ads out there is that an ugly win?

BAYH: Well, with ads like this it would be. But again, you know, my own view is if we're going to retain our credibility as Democrats to condemn the other side when they go too far, which they have with regard to the president from time to time, we need to also disavow ads like this. And this ad should not run. I think we should say that..

ROBERTS: And do you think the president say that?

BAYH: I think it would be helpful if he said that, because then he takes the high ground. And he can be in a stronger position to defend himself when he, too, is subjected to attacks that go too far.

With that said, I agree with what Liz mentioned, this is ultimately going to be about substance, how do we create more opportunity for the American people, better jobs, a growing economy, how do we deal with entitlement reforms. And the real problem with winning ugly is that you have no consensus, because you have completely alienated your opponents so they won't cooperate with you, and you have no mandate for ideas of your own at a time when this country desperately needs progress and people coming together after an election, winning ugly doesn't enable you do that.

ROBERTS: Joe Trippi is this ad -- is this the new normal? Where you take things out of context and bridge them together so that it sounds like you killed somebody?

TRIPPI: Here's the -- what's sort of abnormally normal about this which is scary. This ads never once run as a paid ad.

ROBERTS: There's been no ad buy.

TRIPPI: Yeah, there's been no ad buy.

ROBERTS: But that is the new normal, too. You put something on the internet it goes viral. So everybody sees it and you don't have to pay a dime.

TRIPPI: Right. And you make it a little outlandish. I mean, you make it as -- you cross line on purpose. Why? Because then everybody talks about it.

ROBERTS: It's a heck of a line to cross, isn't it?

TRIPPI: They crossed it.

I've been saying this for weeks, the Romney campaign continues -- somebody on the Democratic side said smoke and the Romney side comes out, screams fire . And all of a sudden they pour more gasoline on the problem whether it is Reid talking about tax returns, or something else, and they go put more on it.

Now the president comes out and he would say that this ad should come down bringing more attention, another few million people go watch it on YouTube. That's where we are at, because the way this gets covered. But we are talking about today. It's worked -- the strategy actually works, because we are all talking about it.

ROBERTS: And negative ads if they are true or not they work as well.

Let me -- Bill, reflect something that Liz just said and bring this back around to the ticket and the campaign. She said that the American people probably want more of a debate and they want more illumination on the issues than they do want to see negatives ads. But the addition of Paul Ryan to the ticket, do you think that will add a level of detail in the discussion that might not have been there?

KRISTOL: Sure that and a level of detail and a level of substance if the Romney campaign follows up on the Ryan pick by running a Romney/Ryan type campaign and not kind of going back to avoiding some details and just wishing -- only if he could get people to know that the economy is not in good shape, if only he could get people to know that President Obama isn't living up to hope and change, then we are going to win. They did that for two or three months, it wasn't working very well. The numbers I've been told by private pollsters were collapsing in Ohio and the Midwest a couple of weeks ago. I do think the Bain Capital attacks were working and the tax returns, the not releasing the tax returns attacks were working.

And if it stays as a tactics -- if it stays at the level of tactics, if it stays at the level of, you know, of the knife fight so to speak, I think the Democrats win. I think they are better at it, honestly. And therefore I think it's very important that the Romney campaign, they can use the Ryan pick to make the whole campaign a much bigger campaign.

ROBERT: Liz, wrap it up here, how far into details should they get? We were joking about this when we were chatting back stage yesterday. I love to hear details. I am not a policy wonk, but I'm a details guy. That is not politics.

CHENEY; No, look, this that is part of the Paul Ryan appeal. He's one of the best spokespeople we have on the Republican side who takes really complicated issues, who put a plan in place and who has been able to deliver a message that the American people can hear without getting caught in the weeds. He's able to lay out why it is we've got to address these issues, and frankly why it is private enterprise is the answer, why it is that the Obama plan hasn't worked.

And so I think that, you know, you will in fact see a detail oriented campaign, but one that is -- got a very good couple of messengers to it.

ROBERT: It was a great discussion this morning. Thanks all for coming in and thanks, Joe and Bill for doing yeoman duty all weekend long. We really appreciate it.

Ad don't forget to check out our the Panel Plus where our group picks right up with the discussion on our website Foxnewssunday.com. We will post that video before noon eastern time.

And make sure to follow us on Twitter at Fox News Sunday. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERT: Well, finally today many Republican insiders were pushing hard in recent weeks for Paul Ryan to be on the ticket with Mitt Romney. Back in March right here on Fox News Sunday Chris Wallace asked the congressman about being a candidate for vice president.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN: I can't answer that question, because I haven't given enough thought to that.

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: But you are leaving the door open. You are saying if I were asked I would have to consider it?

RYAN: I would have to consider it, but it's not something I am even thinking about right now, because right -- I think our job in Congress is pretty important. And what we believe we owe the country is if we don't like the direction the president is taking us, which we don't, we owe them a specific, sharp contrast in a different path that they can select in November.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: Congressman Ryan will be part of offering that different path.

And that's it for us today. Chris Wallace returns to the anchor chair on the next "Fox News Sunday." I am John Roberts in Washington. Thanks so much for joining us today and have a great week.

Content and Programming Copyright 2012 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2012 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

ADVERTISEMENT

Show Transcript

How will US respond to the hacking attack on Sony Pictures?

View All Transcripts

On the Show

Sunday December 21, 2014

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

U.S. contractor Alan Gross, who was a prisoner of the Cuban government since 2009, was freed this week in a deal many hope signals a new era in diplomatic relations between the two countries. President Obama announced plans to “normalize” ties with the Cuba, beginning with re-opening the U.S. embassy in Havana, easing travel restrictions and reviewing the country’s label as a state sponsor of terror. We’ll debate whether or not this is good policy with two members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Sen Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Sen Ben Cardin (D-MD).