Leaders of the House and Senate Budget Committees unveiled a budget deal on Tuesday. If passed by both houses of Congress, the short-term agreement spearheaded by Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen Patty Murray (D-WA), would end fiscal brinkmanship and the possibility of another government shutdown for at least two years. However, the plan is already facing criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Congressman Ryan takes on the critics, this week on Fox News Sunday.
Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin on 'Fox News Sunday'
Written by Chris Wallace / Published October 24, 2010 / Fox News Sunday
Special Guests: Pat Toomey, Gov. Joe Manchin
The following is a rush transcript of the October 24, 2010, edition of "Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace." This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace and this is "Fox News Sunday." Nine days and counting till the midterm elections and control of the Senate is up for grabs. We'll sit down with two candidates in key battlegrounds, Pat Toomey, the Republican nominee in Pennsylvania, who's seen his big lead disappear, and Democratic governor Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who's playing up his anti-Obama credentials.
Then, Juan Williams speaks out...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: When I get on a plane, if I see people who are in Muslim garb, I get worried. I get nervous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: ... and is fired by National Public Radio. When does political correctness become censorship? Juan and our Sunday regulars discuss the controversy.
And our Power Player of the Week, a different kind of sports owner, all right now on "Fox News Sunday."
And hello again from Fox News in Washington. In the fight for control of the Senate, 37 seats are in play, and Republicans need a net gain of 10 seats to take control. It will come down to a handful of tight contests like West Virginia, where popular Democratic governor Joe Manchin is in a close race against Republican John Raese. We'll have more on that battle shortly.
And in Pennsylvania, Democrat Joe Sestak is trying to hold onto a seat for his party against Republican Pat Toomey. Mr. Toomey joins us now from Philadelphia. We invited Congressman Sestak, but he declined.
Mr. Toomey, the news in your race is that your big lead has basically disappeared. You've been ahead for months. Back on Labor Day the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls showed you up 8.5 points, 45 percent to 36.5. But now the latest RealClearPolitics average shows you with a lead of just two points. Question: What happened?
PAT TOOMEY, REPUBLICAN CANIDATE FOR PENNSYLVANIA SENATE: Chris, I don't think we ever had a big lead, but we do have a lead now. Look, I never expected this to be anything but a close and competitive race. Pennsylvania is a big swing state, and we expected this would be close. It's close now but I feel great about where we are. We're going to finish strong and we're going to win the race.
WALLACE: Has the enthusiasm gap that we've seen for months between Republicans and Democrats -- has that begun to disappear as we've gotten closer to election day? Are Democrats in your state and in other states coming home?
TOOMEY: I'm not sure about that. I think there's tremendous enthusiasm and energy on our side. I'm not so sure about on the other side. You know, the other side has spent a great deal of money. The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee has spent more money attacking me than any other candidate in the country. That may very well explain part of this tightening.
But as I said, we expected this to be a tight race. It is a tight race. But I think the energy and the momentum's on our side.
WALLACE: One of your opponent Joe Sestak's arguments against you is that you're too extreme. He has gone to some lengths to try to link you to Sarah Palin and the tea party and especially to Christine O'Donnell, the Republican Senate candidate in the neighboring state of Delaware. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOE SESTAK, D-PA.: There are those that are running with Congressman Toomey -- Ms. O'Donnell next door, for example -- that want to do away with the Fourteenth Amendment, that actually thinks there can be a state-established religion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Honestly, Mr. Sestak (sic), has Christine O'Donnell, who advertises on some Pennsylvania TV stations because that covers northern Delaware -- do you think she's hurt you?
TOOMEY: Oh, I don't think people fall for that. I mean, you know, this is pretty silly. Joe Sestak is so worried about his own record, he's trying to -- trying to run against somebody that I've never met, that I don't agree with.
You know, who's really extreme here? The fact is Joe Sestak is to left of Nancy Pelosi. That's no exaggeration. He's voted for every single item on this big government agenda that we've been living through for these last two years and his only criticism has been that it doesn't go far enough.
Joe Sestak's a guy who's outside of the mainstream of Pennsylvania.
WALLACE: I'm just curious. I want to get into your record first and then -- and then to Joe Sestak's. But you say you disagree with Christine O'Donnell. On what?
TOOMEY: I think that, you know, some of the accusations that Joe Sestak was attributing to her, which -- you know, that I don't share those views.
WALLACE: Any in particular?
TOOMEY: I think there was some reference to repealing one of the amendments, and a question about the First Amendment. You know, this is -- this is nothing that I've ever spoken about or agreed with.
WALLACE: OK. Let's talk about your record now. You ran the...
WALLACE: ... Club for Growth here in Washington for several years, which is very tough on taxes. And that has become an issue in this campaign. Joe Sestak has been running a clip of you from a few years ago. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOOMEY: I would disagree with the idea that we want to have a corporate tax burden at all. It just doesn't make sense. I think the solution is to eliminate corporate taxes altogether.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Seriously, no corporate income tax?
WALLACE: That brings in about $300 billion a year to the federal government.
TOOMEY: Yeah. Chris, this was a -- perhaps inartful on my part but nevertheless an attempt to simply illustrate a point. It was never a serious policy proposal.
My point that I was trying to illustrate was that at the end of the day corporations collect taxes from their customers. And those like Joe Sestak who want much, much higher taxes on American businesses end up putting that burden on the consumers of those businesses.
What I have said, Chris, is that we do have the second highest tax rate in the industrial world, 35 percent. Only Japan's is higher and they're in the process of lowering theirs.
I've said we should lower our tax rate, our top business tax rate, from 35 percent to 25 percent. And if we did that, we'd be better able to compete. That would put us in line with most of our competitors. It'd make our workers and our businesses more competitive and encourage business to headquarters in the United States. That's what I've said consistently. Joe Sestak knows that.
WALLACE: Let's take a bigger look at your position on taxes, Mr. Toomey. I understand the desire to cut taxes, and there's really no question that it would spur economic growth. But I know that in addition to being concerned about taxes, you're also concerned about the national debt.
If you extend all...
WALLACE: ... all the Bush tax cuts, if you were to cut, not eliminate but cut, the corporate tax rate -- although that would produce some economic growth and therefore some increased revenues -- there's no question that it would add trillions of dollars to the deficit.
So the question becomes what are you going to cut. What are you going to cut in spending? What are you going to cut in entitlements? And I'd ask you to be specific, sir.
TOOMEY: Well, sure. Well, first of all, it's not clear that that would add trillions to the deficit, because I really believe that if we expand the base of the economy, which we could do by selectively lowering some taxes, you have a broader base on which to apply the tax.
You know, after 2003, we lowered taxes across the board. And by 2004 revenue to the federal government grew. In the 1980s Ronald Reagan cut taxes dramatically. And by the end of the decade revenue coming in the federal government had doubled.
So I think it's incredibly important that we focus on maximizing economic growth. That's where we get the job creation that we need. That's where we get revenue for the government.
You're right, the real problem is the spending side. I mean, look at what we've done. After almost 50 years in which federal spending averaged about 20 percent of GDP, Joe Sestak and Nancy Pelosi took federal spending to 25 percent. You know, that's a 25 percent increase in the size of the government overnight. That's what we -- that's what we've got to rein in.
I would -- I would end the bailouts. I disagreed with bailouts as a policy. I think we should rescind the unspent portion of the stimulus bill. I'd like to abolish earmarks. And I'll tell you what, Chris, that's -- that could be a big item. It's not just the cost of the individual earmarks but it's also the fact that they've become a currency to buy votes for bloated appropriation bills.
I think we should look at consolidating all kinds of programs in the government. You know, we found 75 different programs between the Department of Education and the Department of State that all subsidize one form or another of overseas student travel and student education. I mean, that's the kind of waste and duplication that we can rein in.
That -- all together, those items that I just listed add up to many billions of dollars. And that would start us back on the right path.
WALLACE: I want to also ask you, Mr. Toomey, about entitlements, because you have talked -- and I want to be clear here -- about letting younger Americans, not those who are currently in Social Security, not those who are close to Social Security, but younger Americans use some of their payroll taxes to invest in private accounts.
What happens if we encounter another one of these financial meltdowns and millions of people lose their nest eggs? What would happen to them then?
TOOMEY: Well, first of all, let's be clear. You know, 60 percent of the entire budget is entitlement spending. It's the automatic big programs. And if we're ever going to get back on a viable fiscal path we've got to figure out what we're going to do with those programs.
I've said that we should never, under any circumstances, cut benefits for people who are already retired or close to retirement. That would be outrageous and unreasonable, and I would never go there.
But if we're going to be honest, we've got to acknowledge that these programs cannot exist in their current form precisely indefinitely. The demographics won't sustain it. So I've argued that younger workers should have this choice. If they want to participate in the current system, that's fine. But if they want to participate in a reformed Social Security program where they can accumulate some savings, I would allow for that, too. And I think there could be tremendous upside both because it allows the government's financings to get squared away, but also giving workers ownership.
To -- specifically to your point, the simple solution is that any such investment plan would be regulated. And in the early years when a worker is quite young, in teens, 20s, 30s, the investments could be heavily weighted for stocks.
But as a person approached their retirement age, the portfolio would transition to much less volatile capital preservation instruments like bank deposits, C.D.s and Treasuries.
WALLACE: Mr. Toomey...
TOOMEY: ... so that someone approaching retirement would not be subject to the -- to the volatility that you can see in the stock market.
WALLACE: I want to give you a little time to talk about your opponent in the -- in the couple of minutes we have left. Joe Sestak, as you point out, supported the Obama stimulus plan. And as you say, he said it should be even bigger than the $800 billion. Your comment?
TOOMEY: Right. Well, this is consistent with Joe Sestak's extreme views. As I said, he's to the left of Nancy Pelosi on just about every item. He said the stimulus bill wasn't big enough, should have been a trillion dollars.
The health care bill he voted for -- and in committee he voted for a version of the bill that would have allowed states to ban all private health insurance altogether.
He supported cap and trade, which would be devastating to Pennsylvania's economy, and he said it didn't go far enough.
He's even advocated that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the admitted mastermind of 9/11, be given a civilian trial in Pennsylvania, which is a terrible idea.
Joe's really a liberal's liberal. He's an ideologue who's off the charts, to the left of the Democratic Party consensus, and the policies that these guys have been pursuing -- they've been preventing us from having the economic recovery that we could be having.
That's why I think my campaign is doing very well, and I'm going to continue to advocate for job growth in the private sector, getting spending under control and just bringing some balance to Washington.
WALLACE: Couple of minutes left. Can the GOP take back the Senate if you lose in Pennsylvania?
TOOMEY: Well, I'm not going to lose in Pennsylvania. We're going to win this race. And I think the GOP has an excellent chance of taking back the Senate.
WALLACE: But I mean, this is pretty key. This is one of the real cornerstones, is it not -- I would say keystones -- of their effort to take back the Senate?
TOOMEY: That's true, Chris. You know how it is. We've got a certain number of races in play. The Republicans have to run the table on virtually all of the competitive races in order to take control. I'm not as close to the other races as obviously I am to my own. I think we've got a great shot here.
This is close. This is tough. But I think we're going to pull it out. And I think we're going to be in the majority.
WALLACE: And in the final -- you do believe that the Republicans will take back the Senate?
TOOMEY: I do, yeah. I acknowledge that it's tough. It's not obvious. But I think -- I think we're likely to do that.
WALLACE: And in 30 seconds, we got nine days to go. What's the -- what's the key to this final week, sir?
TOOMEY: The key is for me to continue to get my message out to the swing voters, to the independent voters, who understand that Washington's on the wrong track. We can't borrow and spend our way to prosperity. The government is not the source of wealth and opportunity.
I'm the guy who's started businesses, I've been a small business owner. I've employed hundreds of Pennsylvanians. I know how to get jobs moving in the private sector, rein in the excesses in Washington, and bring some balance to a town that's lost all balance. And that's why I think people in the end are going to be with me.
WALLACE: Mr. Toomey, we're going to have to leave it there. We want to thank you so much for joining us today and we'll see how things turn out in nine short days.
TOOMEY: Thanks for having me, Chris.
WALLACE: Up next, we turn to West Virginia and their popular Democratic governor who's in the race of his life to become that state's next senator.
WALLACE: Democrat Robert Byrd held his West Virginia Senate seat for 51 years, longer than anyone who's served in Congress. Now it's up to Governor Joe Manchin to keep the office against a tough opponent, Republican businessman John Raese.
Joining us from Charleston, West Virginia is Mr. Manchin. We invited Mr. Raese but he declined.
Governor, welcome to "Fox News Sunday."
GOV. JOE MANCHIN, D-W.VA.: Thank you for having me, Chris.
WALLACE: I got to tell you, Governor, this is one of the strangest races, I think, in the country this year. You have...
WALLACE: ... a 68 percent approval rating from West Virginians. As a Democrat, you have been endorsed for the Senate by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Rifle Association.
But let's take a look at the numbers. According to the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls, you are leading your opponent, businessman John Raese, by just 1.5 points, basically a dead heat. And in fact, in some polls you're trailing him. Question: How come?
MANCHIN: It's a very competitive race. It's a different time. I can't explain it no more can you, Chris. But one thing about, I think, now this last week, people are starting to look at who's performed in West Virginia. Who's been here and who's fought the fights that we needed to change West Virginia?
And you know, we brought all sides together. Six years ago I said, when I became governor, I thought we could do better. I didn't want politics as usual, Democrats and Republicans fighting, or business and labor fighting.
I brought them all together and said, "Leave your politics at the door. Let's put West Virginia first and let's fix things." And we did it, and our state's in much better shape than most any state in the nation because of it.
WALLACE: Well, Governor, let me suggest one reason you may be in a tight race, and that is that while West Virginians apparently like you, they really don't like President Obama and his policies. He's got a 33 percent approval rating in West Virginia.
Your opponent says if elected to the Senate you're going to turn into, as he puts it, "Washington Joe" and turn into a rubber stamp for Obama. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN RAESE, REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR WEST VIRGINIA SENATE: You have to wonder -- wonder -- about Obama and Manchin and which direction that they're going. When you have people like Obama and certainly Manchin, you have to be concerned about the future of this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Governor, you can show your independence right now. Where do you disagree with President Obama's policies these last two years?
MANCHIN: Well, Chris, let me tell you this. I had to inform my opponent that President Obama's name will not be on the ballot for the U.S. Senate in West Virginia. It will be Joe Manchin.
People are looking at what I have been able to do by bringing people together -- Democrats, independents and Republicans. And we've been successful. They don't want to talk about the records whatsoever. They want to talk about guilt through association.
The bottom line is West Virginia -- West Virginia is a different -- when I say different, we are for family values. We are hard- working people. We have the best in the world. And with that being said, we're in much better shape.
President Obama -- cap and trade -- we just differ. We respectfully differ on that. He is -- I believe, in my estimation, he's wrong on that issue. West Virginians basically have always been patriotic, helping this nation, supplying the energy that the nation needs. We can do it better. We've always done it better. We've cleaned up the environment...
WALLACE: Other than cap and trade...
MANCHIN: ... in two decades more...
WALLACE: Excuse me, Governor, but other than cap and trade, any other areas where you disagree with the Obama policies?
MANCHIN: Well, his -- the health care reform is far overreaching in areas that I don't agree with -- the 1099 part of that, the mandates. Also, the firewall's not strong enough for abortions. I'm pro-life. And we're just a different type of Democrat here in West Virginia.
WALLACE: Let me get specific, and let's begin with health care. You now say, as you just did, that President Obama overreached on health care reform, especially the individual health care mandate.
But back just in March, when the bill was up in the House, you said if you were a congressman, quote, "I'd be for it. You have to move this ball forward." You said you would have been in the House as a Congressman, Governor, you would have voted for the health care reform bill.
MANCHIN: Yeah. Chris, health reform -- I am for health reform. I think every American should be for health reform, because you can't sustain it. In West Virginia, the most vulnerable people we have are people who get up every morning and go to work. They have usually nothing to rely to...
WALLACE: But individual...
MANCHIN: ... and they're...
MANCHIN: ... away from bankruptcy.
WALLACE: ... mandate was a big part of that bill, sir.
MANCHIN: Well, the bottom line is that the incentives should be created, the incentives for health care reform, basically so people can afford health care. You're not going to mandate and dictate to them.
And with the bill you're talking about, we were talking about the preexisting conditions. We have six or seven items that both Democrats and Republicans agree on. That's a pretty good start in West Virginia when you have a piece of legislation everyone agrees on.
Reaching as far as they did in the -- in the weeds of the bill that we didn't know about, no one else knew about until it came out -- knowing that, I would not have supported that or voted for that at that time.
The concept of preexisting conditions, children not being denied from being on insurances, or elderly people in West Virginia, if you have cancer or black lung, couldn't buy insurance -- I'm not going to say no to those people until I know we can fix what's wrong with them.
WALLACE: I just want to -- I just want to pin you down on this, though. You're saying now that if you'd known what was really in the bill, although last March you said you'd have voted for it, you now say you would have voted against it?
MANCHIN: Correct. Now, knowing the existence as far as how reaching it had been, as far as an onerous, I would have. And I think many people didn't know about the bill. It ends up, what, 2,000 pages or more.
Now, the concept was great as far as preexisting conditions. How do we make sure more people have affordable insurance? How do we take care of children, people with preexisting conditions, keeping children on insurances longer because of the market conditions?
There's a lot of good parts to it. Why won't we fix what's wrong with it and make it better?
WALLACE: OK. Let's talk about, as you did -- your first answer about differing with the president was about cap and trade, which, of course, is controversial in West Virginia, which is a big coal producer. You now say that you're flat-out against cap and trade.
MANCHIN: I've always...
WALLACE: Well, let's take a look at that. This is what you now say...
WALLACE: ... about President Obama, "He is dead wrong on cap and trade. It would be the ruin not only of our state of West Virginia but this entire economy for this country."
But, Governor, here's what you said just two years ago during the presidential campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANCHIN: Barack brings that leadership to us. He brings the partnership, coming from a coal state himself. Now, they're going to have to pay for the carbons, whether cap and trade or whether it's in the carbon tax.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Governor, it sure sounds like you favored cap and trade.
MANCHIN: Sure. No, never did favor cap and trade from the standpoint -- what we were talking about -- that's during the campaign. I had a lot of high hopes for President Obama, basically understood the balance of the environment and the economy and energy that was needed to be competitive in the global economy, Chris.
Twenty years ago we had what we called acid rain, if you recall. We were able to fix acid rain. We didn't tax coal. We didn't legislate or regulate coal out of existence. Coal basically transformed using scrubbers and technology, low Knox (ph) blowers. We can do the same thing with CO2.
They have to make sure that they're committed to getting the technology that fixes the problem. Cap and trade as they're proposing it right now -- why in the world would you allow nuclear or hydro or wind or solar to trade in credits when they don't produce any CO2? It doesn't...
WALLACE: But, Governor...
MANCHIN: ... make any sense.
WALLACE: ... why did you in that interview in 2008 say now they're going to have to pay for the carbons, whether a cap and trade or whether it's in a carbon tax?
MANCHIN: Basically, the users of the -- the users of the energy -- and that was the emitters -- let's say that the utilities for the CO2 -- whoever is emitting CO2, you have basically a parameter to fix it through technology.
We had -- and SO2 as far as acid rain. We had technology. We don't have proven technology. We have carbon sequestration, which we're doing in West Virginia. We can do with technology. We have the ability to use our coal and use it in a fashion that's more attractive from the standpoint -- we can help the rest of the world.
MANCHIN: China's using more coal than ever...
WALLACE: Governor, I want...
MANCHIN: ... than America, Chris.
WALLACE: I don't want to interrupt, but I do want to give you an opportunity to talk about your opponent, John Raese. You question whether he's even a legal resident of West Virginia, but his campaign says that he pays income and property taxes in your state.
MANCHIN: Chris, what we're talking about is setting your priorities. Where do you want to be? Where have you set your -- where have you, you know, really laid your claim? And where do you spend your time? And where do you try to fix the problems that we have?
My opponent and his family have a home and enjoy the homestead exemption in Palm Beach, Florida. I mean, that's pretty much known by everybody. And we're saying is all the income that's produced and all the income that's by the family being paid taxes in West Virginia supporting our state? Those are legitimate questions to be asked.
I can assure you that my wife and I -- every penny of income we've ever had, our taxes were paid in West Virginia. So people are going to look at the priorities. Who has the ability to bring people together, Democrats and Republicans, independents, sit down, working out the problems of West Virginia?
WALLACE: Governor, let me ask you...
MANCHIN: Who's been able to be successful at that?
WALLACE: Let me just ask you about one other issue, because you say that John Raese wants to do away with the minimum wage. His campaign says that he believes that government controls have made it harder for employers to hire young workers who have a high unemployment rate.
MANCHIN: Well, the minimum wage -- if he's talking about minimum wage, there's no cap on it, John. You can pay whatever you want to. But when you say you want to do away with it because it's not enough, no one's going to be fooled into believing that.
If you want to do away with it, that's because you want it to go lower. We have basically a basement or a floor, if we can, to protect people who depend on it, and a lot of them for their second jobs.
When you talk about the lasers in space, and in the Education Department, doing away with the Department of Education, but we're talking about 1,000 lasers, and 20 billion or more dollars, where are the priorities? And that's what we're talking.
There's a big difference between he and I -- me being involved in the front line of West Virginia, solving problems by bringing people together. We have a proven record. We've only seen John during the campaign and every time he's run. That's the difference.
WALLACE: Governor Manchin, we're going to have to leave it there. We want to thank you so much for coming in today. And safe travels on the campaign trail, sir.
MANCHIN: Thank you, Chris. Appreciate it very much.
WALLACE: Coming up, the media controversy that's got everyone talking -- National Public Radio fires Juan Williams. We'll hear his thoughts as well as from our Sunday regulars after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I've got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb, and I think they're identifying themselves, first and foremost, as Muslims, I get worried, I get nervous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIVIAN SCHILLER, PRESIDENT & CEO, NPR: His feelings that he expressed on Fox News are really between him and his, you know, psychiatrist, or his publicist, or take your pick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Well, that was the comment from Juan Williams that stirred up so much controversy this week, and the unceremonious way that NPR executive Vivian Schiller announced his dismissal.
And it's time now for our Sunday group: Brit Hume, Fox News senior political analyst; and contributors Nina Easton of "Fortune" magazine; Bill Kristol of "The Weekly Standard"; and Juan Williams, formerly of National Public Radio and always of Fox News.
We should point out that Mara Liasson, also from NPR, had long-planned to take this Sunday off, so don't read anything into that.
Juan, you have had a couple of days to reflect on this now. What do you make of your dismissal and this extraordinary reaction to it?
WILLIAMS: Well, it was a rough week, Chris. To get fired, obviously, is no pleasure, but then to be called a bigot and the innuendo that I'm somehow unstable was, I thought, despicable.
What I make of this is it's open to debate about the importance of having free-flowing and honest discussion in this country. I don't think I started it. I think there was action taken that then set this afloat in the country.
I think Americans feel, you know what? There is nothing wrong in telling someone how you feel, and then to be punished for that is unfair, and it amounts to censorship. And the idea that then they would engage in character assassination against me and about my professional behavior given the work I've done, I just think it was regrettable.
But I think it's important that people be able to cross to each other across political lines. I think it's important that I irritate Brit Hume and Bill Kristol every Sunday.
WALLACE: And you succeed at that.
WILLIAMS: And that they fire back at me. And they may raise their eyebrows and make faces, but you know what? These people are honest with me, and I don't question their integrity. And why my integrity has to be questioned -- I mean, to me, I'm still in the storm of it, but I just thought it was unfair.
WALLACE: I have to say, this is the first time we have seen each other, because you've been up in New York this whole week. You're really hurt by this, aren't you?
WILLIAMS: Well, yes. I don't want that to be the focus. I want to move on from this. This is not going to define me and my career.
I think that the importance of the debate is true, that we, as Americans, have to have this debate. But if you're asking me about being hurt, being fired and the kind of personal attacks, the ad hominem suggestion that I am an unstable person and I'm not a good journalist, to me -- well, I just have to ask others to speak up.
And you know what has been gratifying? Is the tremendous amount of public support that I have received from people both right and left.
It would have been easy for the right to say, well, you know, we've been subject to this kind of treatment from the left for a long time, but if you say something that they don't like, they call you a racist or a bigot. But what has been tremendously surprising to me is that people on the left have resisted the temptation to simply say, well, you know, we're not going to say anything against NPR.
People said, you know what? This isn't right. And I think that's just an important moment in American public life.
WALLACE: I want to ask you one more question and then we'll bring everybody else in. Your former bosses at NPR, the specific grounds for your dismal, said the problem was that you're a news analyst. You're supposed to provide analysis based on fact and, in fact, they say you provided an opinion.
I want to show though before I get your answer what some of your colleagues at NPR have said over the years.
In March, Cokie Roberts wrote a column about Glenn Beck in which she said this: "Beck is worse than a clown. He's more like a terrorist who believes he has discovered the one true faith and condemns everyone else as a heretic. And that makes him something else as well -- a traitor to the American values he professes so loudly to defend."
That's Cokie Roberts in a column. And then there's Cokie reaction on "This Week," the ABC show, to a Supreme Court ruling on partial-birth abortion. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COKIE ROBERTS, NPR: I'm just saying that, you know, women would be protected from regret later in life. There are a lots of moral decisions people make all through their lives where they regret them. And the idea that the court is going to stop that for women is something that I think is just offensive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Somehow NPR didn't seem to think those opinions were objectionable.
WILLIAMS: Well, you know what I think? Just to be blunt, I think that they were using a lot of this as a pretext to get rid of me.
I think they don't like the idea that I appear on Fox News. I think they think that somehow, in their own state of mind, I am somehow legitimizing Fox News by simply appearing on shows, rather than being willing to engage in debate and discussion. I think that is in the great American tradition.
The second point that I want to make very quickly, Chris, before you bring other people in here is this -- they suggest that I somehow violated NPR's standards, journalistic standards, by telling people about a feeling I had. I think in terms of my values, and I think -- I hope in terms of everybody's values for journalists, that people should be open and able to say this is how I feel in this situation, let's talk about it. I didn't advocate discriminating against Muslims.
WALLACE: Brit, we also have the case of Nina Totenberg, who's not an analyst, but NPR's legal affairs correspondent. Besides a few years ago wishing that the late Senator Jesse Helms would get AIDS for --
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Or his grandchildren.
WALLACE: Or his grandchild for opposing AIDS government research. We also have just in the last month her reaction -- remember, she covers the court -- to the court's ruling on Citizens United, a decision that said that corporations could get more involved in political campaigns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NINA TOTENBERG, NPR COMMENTATOR: Well, you know, really, this is the next scandal. It's the scandal in the making. They don't have to disclose anything. And eventually, this is the kind of thing that led to Watergate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: And again, this is a reporter who covers the court.
So what is going on here?
HUME: This is a reporter. That was an opinion.
Now, this is what has been so howlingly clear about this case right from the get-go. That was the statement by Vivian Schiller, the CEO of NPR, the day after this happened, when she sought to explain it and said that they had a very clear editorial standard at NPR, that its analysts, and presumably even more so its correspondents, were not permitted to express opinions. Fact-basis analysis, fine. Not opinions.
Juan has expressed opinions over the years here on Fox. It's always sat badly.
There's no evidence that Nina Totenberg has ever been in any way criticized, warned, or has suffered any loss of standing for her free- wheeling opinion dispensing that she has done on that show inside Washington for the better part of two decades. And as you pointed out, Cokie Roberts, another esteemed colleague, someone who, like you, we all know very well, has never been reprimanded for that kind of thing either.
WALLACE: So what's the --
HUME: It's a howling double standard. The standard that was applied to Juan Williams is manifesting not being applied to other NPR people.
And I think it's simply this -- that in the culture of NPR, appearing on Fox is a sin. And in the culture of NPR for an African- American man like Juan, regardless of his extraordinary stature, to be there and be kind of a Bill Cosby liberal, not a down-the-line liberal, is a sin as well.
They've been gunning for him for years. This remark about Muslim -- people in Muslim garb at airports was merely a pretext. And they've been wanting to get him, and they got him. And in so doing, exposed themselves for what they are.
WALLACE: Nina, some congressional conservatives are talking now about cutting government funding for NPR. They don't get a lot of money, one or two percent of their budget. But also from public television, which would be a much more serious deal.
Is that the right response? And how likely do you think it is to happen?
NINA EASTON, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: It's a response that has been going back to the 1990s. In the mid-'90s, there was a very serious effort to defund NPR, and a lot of their member stations get taxpayer funding, too. So it's not just that two percent that goes to NPR.
I think it's in a time of budget crunch, looking for cuts. I think it's a real threat right now.
As Juan mentioned, there was outrage over his firing from the left and the right and, you know, media editorials. You can't get past this double standard issue.
And I'll raise another name. The late great Daniel Schorr did a biting, acerbic liberal commentary regularly on NPR. And, in fact, he called the 2000 Supreme Court decision that gave George Bush the right to take office as president, he described that as an junta, as a coup, and described the Supreme Court as a gang of five.
And he has always been lauded. And it was a liberal opinion column. Fine. But they called him a news analyst, the same way they called Juan. So, this distinction between news analyst and opinion is not being applied in any kind of fair manner.
BILL KRISTOL, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": So much to dislike about NPR, it's hard to know where to begin.
For me, the CEO's comment, I mean, the arrogance of it. Juan has worked at NPR for -- how long?
WILLIAMS: More than 10 years.
KRISTOL: And she, in a public forum, having had someone call you to fire you, not having had a meeting with you to discuss anything, says he should see a psychiatrist. I mean, that really is unbelievable.
HUME: You should have discussed this with a psychiatrist.
KRISTOL: Discussed this with a psychiatrist, or his publicist.
Who is your publicist, incidentally?
WILLIAMS: I don't have a psychiatrist or a publicist.
WALLACE: Whoever he is, he's done a heck of a job.
KRISTOL: Juan's giving me his name after the show.
And that just tells you everything though about -- I mean, the total lack of even enough self-awareness to know that you are the CEO of a major news organization, one that happens to get quite a lot of government funding, and you're allowed to slander people that way. Unbelievable.
EASTON: And my great fear is that Juan is going to become a conservative out of this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
EASTON: And it would take all the zing out of the panel. Please don't.
WALLACE: Let me just say, buddy, that we are delighted that you are going to be here, as you have been for so many years. We value you. That doesn't mean we're not going to yell at you. That doesn't mean that you're not going to get in trouble when you go past the time cues. But we're delighted.
You're among friends.
WILLIAMS: Well, I appreciate that. And I expect Brit to punch me the minute I'm leaving.
WALLACE: Well, that goes without saying. Leaving? We have got another segment. Hold on here.
We'll take a break right now. But when we come back, with nine days and counting until the midterms, our group here will tell us where the campaign stands right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We believe in a country where we look after one another, where I am my brother's keeper, where I am my sister's keeper.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Our message is, we don't work for you anymore, Mr. Reid. Enjoy your retirement.
We don't work for you anymore, Nancy Pelosi. You're fired.
And Mr. Obama and your czars, you're next, because now we can see 2012 from our house.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Two very different closing arguments on the campaign trail in these final days.
And we're back now with our panel.
So, with nine days to go, Brit, who has got the momentum? Are Democrats coming home and closing the gap, or are Republicans still poised to win this wave election?
HUME: We are seeing the natural, inevitable tightening that occurs in races as Election Day approaches. But I still think the overall state of the race is about where it has been, with a very high likelihood that Republicans will capture the House of Representatives.
The estimates from various people who are modeling this kind of thing and estimating it down to the last race range from the mid 40s to the low 60s. And the numbers need -- they need 39.
The Senate looks like a much tougher achievement for the Republicans, and the number of the tightening races only underscores that point. So it looks like -- it looks like it will happen in the House for the Republicans. It could happen in the Senate. But at the moment, it looks like a tough, tough road.
WALLACE: Nina, "The Wall Street Journal" had -- I was going to say a fascinating report. It may have been the single most interesting article in the papers this week.
For all the talk from Democrats about conservative groups with undisclosed donors bankrolling this campaign, they did some actual reporting about campaign spending. Let's put it up on the screen.
According to The Journal, AFSCME, the public employees union, is the biggest outside donor in this cycle, $87.5 million. Then the Chamber of Commerce, $75 million. American Crossroads, the conservative group, $65 million. And then two unions: the service employees, $44 million, and the National Education Association, $40 million.
Nina, that's a very different picture than the president has been painting.
EASTON: No kidding. As we all know, the Chamber of Commerce has been in the crosshairs of this White House.
Unions are spending -- one of the reasons for the tightening of races, unions are spending $200 million nationwide, which undermines the theory, the narrative that the White House and other Democrats are trying to put out, which is that these nefarious business groups with anonymous donors which were allowed by the Supreme Court Citizens United decision -- which the president called out in January as a strike at the heart of democracy, by the way -- that because of that, Republicans are basically taking the election, stealing the election with all this funding.
In fact, you had anonymous donors before the Citizens United decision. You had the unions spending this amount of money. And it just doesn't -- and I also want to -- the media is buying into this narrative, by the way. And I'm wondering where all the media hand- wringing was in 2006 and 2008 when the outside funding was on the Democrats' side, clearly.
I mean, they were applauded. This is where the energy is, this is where the money is going. And now we are seeing all these kind of dark stories in the media about business groups and awful things.
WALLACE: Let me follow up on that with you, Bill, because the Democrats would fire back and they'd say, well, OK, AFSCME is spending a lot of money. We know it's AFSCME members, or SEIU, or the NEA. But with some of these Republican groups, the Chamber of Commerce, American Crossroads, it can be huge contributions from undisclosed -- of millions of dollars from undisclosed donors, not union dues.
KRISTOL: Yes, it's a free country. You know? And I think it's a healthy thing that there has been incredible participation by big donors and also by small donors.
And Nina makes the point about the media loving it when President Obama -- when the Democrats, in '06, that Rahm Emanuel got praised widely in Washington, he's so clever, he's got a lot of business contribution to the Democrats. "The New York Times" this morning begins a story on the race, front page, "A costly and polarizing congressional campaign heads into its final week."
You know, for me, it's not costly and polarizing congressional -- couldn't one say an inspiring congressional campaign which has featured record numbers of small dollar contributions and volunteer activity? This is the most active the citizenry of the United States has been in an off-year election probably ever, but certainly in the last 50, 60, 70 years.
If you look at the numbers, you look at the numbers of people volunteering, people contributing on the Internet and the like, shouldn't this be something to be heralded? The president and mainstream media want to portray it as a dark taking over of power by big groups. It's not working out, obviously.
The numbers haven't changed much. And if anything, I would say in the last few days, it looks like the primary wave is reasserting itself. And I think Republicans are going to do better than 60 seats now in the House, and I think they have a pretty good chance to win the Senate, actually.
WILLIAMS: Well, I don't think they have a chance to win the Senate. I think that if you look at it, actually, there's tightening. And I think you can almost track where President Obama has gone, where he is going next week, in seeing what the White House and Democrat strategy is.
President Obama is going to go to Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio. In all those seats, all of a sudden, those races now are so tight that it's hard to call them.
Who thought, for example, that in Pennsylvania, Joe Sestak would be making a comeback? I thought that race was gone. Apparently, it's not.
Look at Colorado. I thought Bennet was gone again. Apparently, he's not.
I think Democrats are making a comeback. And it's not because of the financial argument, because I don't think that has gained traction in the voters' minds. Instead, I think some people are being portrayed as too extreme, out of the mainstream. And the idea is, wait a minute, let's give change a chance, rather than simply throw everything out because you are upset over health care reform and the like. That argument now doesn't have the passion it did a few weeks ago.
KRISTOL: Hope and change. To me, that's what this election is about.
HUME: Well, the thing you can't know -- and the pollsters do the best they can with their likely voter screens and where they ask people who respond to the polls a certain number of questions, trying to determine how great the chances are that they're going to come out and vote. My sense about this election all along is evidenced going back however long it's been to the beginning of the Tea Party, is there is this tremendous energy of resistance. And this is the first chance that people who are opposed to what President Obama and the Democrats in Congress have done finally get a chance to do something about it more than gather in protest, more than write letters, and more than carry signs.
The hope for the Democrats resides in the fact that a vote cast with gusto by an angry Tea Party activist or other energized citizen doesn't count any more than the vote of somebody who is rounded up, half asleep, and dragged to the polls in a bus by a good organization. But I do think there's a real possibility that that energy which I described will turn out voters in places we never expected we'd find them, and that it will just wash over all the efforts that are being made against it and we could have one of these great big washouts in which the House goes big, the Senate goes the works (ph), and the governorships all go, and it's just a big wipeout.
WALLACE: For the last time that this is ever going to happen?
You get the last word, Juan.
WILLIAMS: That's unbelievable. I guess I'm getting some courtesy here. Thank you, Chris.
WALLACE: It's one week only.
WILLIAMS: It's one week only. I think President Obama is trying to stir the black vote. He's trying to stir the women vote. He's trying to stir the youth vote because the passion -- I mean, right now there is no indication that much change is coming, because the Republicans do have the energy in this cycle. No question about it.
WALLACE: All right.
Thank you, panel. Thank you for ending up on time. See you next week. And don't forget to check out "Panel Plus," where our group picks right up with the discussion on our Web site, FoxNewsSunday.com. And we'll post the video before noon Eastern Time.
Up next, our "Power Player of the Week."
WALLACE: The pro-basketball season starts this week. And that means one of Washington's most fascinating characters will have a new role.
He's our "Power Player of the Week."
TED LEONSIS, OWNER, WASHINGTON WIZARDS: It really isn't my team. It's the fan's team. It's the community's team.
WALLACE (voice-over): Ted Leonsis is a different kind of sports owner. He bought the Washington Capitals hockey team 11 years ago. And he has just added the Washington Wizards basketball team.
Listen to how he talks about his new acquisition.
LEONSIS: The attendance was down year over year, maybe players didn't want to play here. They would ask to be traded. And so I thought we needed a fresh start.
WALLACE: Leonsis made his fortune building AOL.
AUTOMATED VOICE: You've got mail.
WALLACE: So he decided to bring the fans into his new project through the Internet.
(on camera): You put together this list of 101 signs of visible change. Such as?
LEONSIS: I put out the bat signal. Tell me what you need and I will do it. Paint the garage, paint the steps. Make sure the beer is cold.
People know that when they e-mail me I'll respond. And if enough people e-mail me, I'll listen to them.
WALLACE: Wait a minute. You answer every e-mail every fan sends you?
LEONSIS: People think it's a nice thing to do. I think it's a requirement.
WALLACE (voice-over): Despite his skill as a marketer, Leonsis understands the bottom line is the product on the court. He got lucky in this year's draft lottery getting the top pick, John Wall, a young sensation from the University of Kentucky. But it's another player, Gilbert Arenas, who was suspended for 50 games last year for bringing guns into the locker room who is still making headlines.
(on camera): Is there an end to your patience?
LEONSIS: Well, I'll know it when I get there. But right now he's still in my good graces.
WALLACE (voice-over): His other team, the Capitals, are doing great. They had the best record in hockey last year. And another top draft pick, Alex Ovechkin, is a superstar.
(on camera): What's the biggest mistake that sports owners make?
LEONSIS: I think the biggest mistake is that you think you know what you're doing. I have really strong opinions, but I could never fake it and think I could be a general manager or a coach.
WALLACE (voice-over): Leonsis spends 40 percent of his time away from sports. He's on the board of directors of American Express and Groupon, one of the fastest-growing companies ever. And he started SnagFilms, a booming Web site where people can watch documentaries.
(on camera): Why so many different projects?
LEONSIS: I've gotten pretty good at it. And so my family is proud of being involved with businesses that do well by doing good.
It's really wonderful to watch the growth of our company, along with our growth of best buddies.
WALLACE (voice-over): Which brings us back to owning a sports team. Leonsis calls it a public trust.
LEONSIS: We hold the psyche, the mental health of the community in the palm of our hands. And when you win a championship, it is a lifetime memory. You make grown men cry.
WALLACE (on camera): Will something be missing for you as an owner until you win a championship?
LEONSIS: Oh, totally. I will not rest. I won't be able to die in peace unless I can win a championship.
WALLACE: And if you doubt Leonsis' claim he answers every e-mail, he says put him to the test. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or the thewashwiz@aol com.
As we said, he is a different kind of sports owner.
Now a program note. Next week we will be at the Fox News election headquarters in New York. Among our guests, Sarah Palin, one of the key player for Republicans and the Tea Party this year.
And that's it for today. Have a great week, and we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
Content and Programming Copyright 2010 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2010 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 Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.
On the Show
It’s been one year since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults. We’ll talk with Carlee Soto, sister of victim Victoria Soto who died while shielding her students from the shooter. Plus, Mark Kelly, husband of former Arizona Congresswoman and gun violence victim Gabrielle Giffords, and Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America join us to discuss where the debate over gun control stands, one year later.