The following is a transcribed excerpt from 'Fox News Sunday,' June 20, 2004:
WALLACE: I'm Chris Wallace. A new plea for international help to fight terror in Iraq — next, on "Fox News Sunday."
Americans under attack in Saudi Arabia; the latest on the handover of power in Iraq; and will Congress vote to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage. All issues for Senator Majority Leader Bill Frist (search) in a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.
Bill Clinton's new book hits stores this week, and he calls his fight against impeachment a badge of honor. We'll hear from Clinton's White House chief of staff, John Podesta, and Republican Congressman David Dreier.
Plus, the 9/11 Commission discusses links between Al Qaida and Iraq, and Vice President Cheney goes after the coverage in The New York Times. We'll talk with our panel: Paul Gigot, Mara Liasson, Bill Kristol and Juan Williams.
And our power player of the week deals in collectibles, big ones.
All on the June 20th edition of "Fox News Sunday."
And good morning from Fox News in Washington. Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there. We begin, as always, with a quick check of the latest headlines.
Iraq's interim prime minister, Iyad Allawi, appealed today for more international help in fighting terrorists. With the shooting of a city councilman and an explosion near Iraq's central bank, Allawi said his nation is prepared to use emergency law in areas with the insurgency is strongest.
The U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, James Oberwetter, said the situation in the kingdom remains dangerous for Westerners. While praising Saudi officials for killing a top Al Qaida leader, the ambassador doubted it would make things safer immediately.
And former President Clinton, in interviews with Time magazine and CBS News, defends President Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq but questions the timing. Mr. Clinton says the U.S. should have waited for U.N. inspectors to finish their work.
Well, joining us now to discuss the latest foreign policy developments and some key issues on Capitol Hill is the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist.
Senator, welcome. Good to have you with us.
FRIST: It's good to be with you.
WALLACE: Let's begin with Saudi Arabia and the brutal murder of American contractor Paul Johnson. Is there anything more that American and Saudi officials can do to protect Westerners?
FRIST: Chris, we saw the brutal murder, as you said, the beheading, which is a parallel murder to what we saw in Iraq not too long with the same techniques. And I think it brings us to the realization that this war on terror is a global effort under way. We need to prepare ourselves here at home. We need to prepare ourselves in other nations. We need to make sure that our U.S. citizens who are in other countries are as secure as possible.
It does mean that we need to continue to work with the international community to make sure that the international community puts appropriate pressure on the governments, as well as the terrorist entities, in order to rid of this great scourge today.
WALLACE: Are you satisfied with the Saudi response?
A report from the Council of Foreign Relations this week says that the government there has failed to go after members of the Saudi elite who have allegedly bank-rolled, financed Al Qaida.
And then you also have the Crown Prince Abdullah, the man who runs Saudi Arabia, who had this to say about earlier Al Qaida attacks. And let's put it up on the screen. He said, "Zionism is behind it. It is not 100 percent, but 95 percent that the Zionist hands are behind what happened."
Senator, what do you make of these Saudi actions and words?
FRIST: You know, if you look at the past I think more questions can be raised. But I think that we are in a new world today, and I think that Saudi is stepping up today, and I think the Saudi officials are.
I think in the response that we saw two days ago and yesterday, we see a new aggressiveness. We see a new offensive against the fundamental Islamics that, in some ways, may have been defended in the past.
So I think it's a new world. I think we're getting good cooperation at this juncture, and we're going to need even better cooperation as we go forward.
I do think that even greater pressure can be put on Saudi and Saudi officials to go after the financing mechanisms, the support of charities both there and around the world that may be funding some terrorist activity.
WALLACE: Let's turn, if we can, to Iraq. There's quite a debate going on right now about the relationship, the connection, between the regime of Saddam Hussein and Al Qaida.
The president and vice president have been saying for some time now that there is close operational ties. But the 9/11 Commission, as you know, came out this week and said that there is apparently no collaborative relationship.
John Kerry, Democratic senator and Democratic nominee-to-be, says that the president misled the Senate and the country.
FRIST: You know, Chris, it's really interesting, first of all, I think, in terms of what the president has said. And what the 9/11 Commission has said is that there is a connection, that there is communication, or has been in the past, between Iraq, Saddam Hussein and Al Qaida and the terrorist network.
The examples are the Zarqawi network, which has been harbored both in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and Zarqawi is probably in Iraq right now. We know that there was a connection between Iraqi intelligence officers and Osama bin Laden in Sudan.
The connections are there. Both Lee Hamilton and Tom Kean both have said the connections are there. The president has never said that there is a connection between Saddam Hussein and Iraq and what happened at the World Trade Center itself.
I think that, at least to me, is clear today. The media clearly has skewed that, I think, over the last several days. And I think the president's done a good job in clarifying that.
WALLACE: As we said earlier, Iraqi interim Prime Minister Allawi is calling for more international help. I know you're just back from the area.
What do you make of the continued refusal of the French and the Germans to provide new troops, to forgive the debt, to step up to the plate?
FRIST: Well, it's really time that they do step up. I think that, in your comments about John Kerry just a few minutes ago, saying the president misled, this offends me a little bit, because on the floor of the United States Senate, just two years ago, it was John Kerry who made the real connection between Saddam Hussein and supporting of the terrorist network. He specifically mentioned the suicide bombers. He specifically mentioned the (inaudible) network, the Palestinian network.
And so, I think it is a little disingenuous and really offensive to me, the fact that you have John Kerry saying one thing back two years ago on the floor of the United States Senate linking Al Qaida, linking terrorism with Iraq, and then today saying that the president was misleading.
FRIST: In terms of the international support, it is time for the international community to step up and to aggressively, I think, come to the table in Iraq. I'd like to see NATO come forward somewhat more aggressively.
I was just in Iraq last week. And our coalition there now has 31 countries, 31 entities supporting our forces there. We have 140,000 of our own troops there, another 20,000 that come from the coalition forces.
I met with the prime minister, Allawi, while I was there and he said, "Yes, we need a broad coalition of forces, but what we really do need in Iraq are very effective forces. And the United States of America has, in the past, provided those forces. We appreciate that. We understand that the United States has shed blood for our freedom and for our future democracy there. And we very much appreciate that."
WALLACE: New subject. As Senate majority leader, you have scheduled a vote for mid-July on a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Is part of this an effort to force Democrats, including John Kerry, to take a stand — and I see a little flicker and a smile — to take a stand just two weeks before the Democratic convention?
FRIST: You know, I smile because, again, that's the most common question: Why do you bring up the marriage amendment at this point in time? And these are for political reasons, coming into the convention. And the answer is absolutely no.
Yes, it is true that John Kerry voted against the Defense of Marriage Act. He was only one of 14 senators in a bill that was signed by the president of the United States, President Clinton at the time, 1996, that said marriage is the union between a man and a woman. He voted against that act.
It's not why I'm bringing it up. I'm bringing it up because right now a court, Massachusetts for example, May 17th, activist judges have come forward and said, "We're going to redefine marriage. It's no longer going to be between a man and a woman."
In response to the activist judges there, and these marriages that are occurring around the country, it is incumbent for the people to speak. And the way they speak is through their legislators, through their United States senators, through a democratic process.
So we will take an amendment to the floor of the United States Senate that says just that: Marriage is a union between a man and a woman. And the purpose is to protect marriage for what it's been in this country for hundreds of years.
WALLACE: All right. If that's not why you're bringing it up, it's been suggested that one of the reasons that you announced so early, so many weeks in advance, that you're going to have the vote the week of July 12th, is that so John Kerry will have no excuse to miss the vote.
FRIST: Well, that's not why I announced it. It is because I only have 42 legislative days left and I've got about 17 different bills to pass, and therefore I need to plan out my 42 days. And I don't know exactly what day it's going to be, but hopefully it's going to be some time during that week.
And I do hope that there's a national debate on this particular issue. And as elected representatives, I think that that is our responsibility to use our great democratic process to discuss, is marriage the union between a man and a woman or is it not?
WALLACE: You caused another stir recently when you were asked about the president's policy on embryonic stem-cell research, and you had this to say about it, and let's put it up: "I do think it is time for a re-examination of the policy put forward."
Senator, in the wake of President Reagan's death and now Nancy Reagan calling for lifting some of the restrictions on embryonic stem- cell research, will you push a review of this policy?
FRIST: Well, Chris, we're reviewing it really all the time. And I think that is important to do anytime you have a policy that is this significant.
Several things about stem cells: First of all, scientists tend to over-promise stem cells. And I think Alzheimer's is a pretty good example. Right now, and I say this as a scientist, that if you're going to address Alzheimer's, you probably aren't going to use stem cells as one of the top five or 10 or even 15 ways to address it.
WALLACE: ... Parkinson's and diabetes.
FRIST: Number one, so the scientists tend to over-promise. And that gives false hope to patients, and that's just not fair.
Number two, there's no question, you mentioned diabetes, that stem cells, the marvelous little cells that are plastic and regenerate themselves do give great potential for things like diabetes, for example. So we need to continue research.
Number three, the real issue is the moral equivalence, the moral significance, how strongly you feel about the human embryo. I feel, and I think the president feels, that the human embryo is three things: It's living, it's biologically human, and it is differentiated genetically. And those three things justify saying that it has moral significance.
And the question is, the taxpayer dollars, can they be or should they be used to destroy a human embryo? The president thinks no. I think no. That's what the policy is.
The fourth thing is, what is the policy today. The president of the United States funds stem-cell research. He's the first president to do that. Adult stem-cell research, fetal stem-cell research and embryonic stem-cell research — the first president to do it.
FRIST: Number two, there is no dollar limit on the amount of money today, taxpayer dollars, that go into embryonic stem-cell research. There is no dollar limit.
Number three, the only restriction is that you don't destroy human embryos for experimentation, for experimental purposes.
And the fourth thing, which people forget, is that there is absolutely no limitation on embryonic stem-cell research or adult stem-cell research in the private sector. Unlimited monies, legally and appropriately, can go into that type of research.
WALLACE: All right. Finally, you broke with Senate protocol recently when you flew out to South Dakota and campaigned for the opponent of the Democratic leader in the Senate, Tom Daschle. And historians say they could not remember a previous case of a leader of one of the parties in the Senate going out and actively campaigning against his counterpart.
Why did you decide to break with tradition? And does that only add to the bitter partisanship in the Senate?
FRIST: Well, I am the Republican leader in the United States Senate, and Senator Daschle is the Democratic leader. It is our obligation as Republican and Democratic leaders to, I think, fight for our ideas, it's a battle of ideas, to stand for those ideas.
I did go to South Dakota to support John Thune, somebody who I helped recruit, not in this race but in another race, to run, who I had invested in in the past by raising money for, not just in this race but in a past race, who I traveled in buses with him and his family, not just in this race but in a past race.
So it would be a little bit disingenuous for me, as the Republican leader, promoting John Thune in, yes, a battle of ideas, to walk away and not participate in a campaign. It is — just that, is what our democracy is all about.
WALLACE: You don't worry at all about — I mean, the fact is, no other leader in history that anybody can remember...
FRIST: No other leader in history has been in an evenly divided Congress, in a very competitive race, at risk of losing a seat. That's just never been the case. No leader in the history, to my knowledge, has ever been on the verge of losing the support of the people of his own state.
WALLACE: All right. Every seat counts.
Senator Frist, thanks so much for coming in.
FRIST: Thank you.
WALLACE: Please come back.
FRIST: Thank you, Chris.