Will the changing of the guard really end the gridlock in Washington?

What will the relationship be like between Republicans and President Obama?


This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," November 9, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARIA BARTIROMO, HOST: Will the changing of the guard really end the gridlock in Washington?

Hi, everyone. I'm Maria Bartiromo. Welcome to "Sunday Morning Futures."

President Obama meeting with congressional leaders after Republicans secure the leadership of both houses on Tuesday.

Will it be major changes, or is it back to business as usual?

Senator Lindsey Graham joins us in moments. Already one rift may be forming. Senators like Mr. Graham not happy to learn that the president has already sent a letter to Iran's ayatollah without their knowledge.  This as the deadline approaches on high-level negotiations to limit Iran's nuclear program.

And today marks a symbolic end to the Cold War: 25 years ago the Berlin wall came down. Yet even as they celebrate in Germany, Russian tanks are again barreling into Ukraine. Gary Kasparov joins us on our panel today as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."


BARTIROMO: Well, a shake-up in the party leadership on Capitol Hill.  Republicans now control both the House and the Senate. The GOP taking the victory, campaigning on that promise that they're going to end the gridlock in Washington. Congressional leaders already having their first sit-down with the president.

My first guest is one of those Republicans who secured a re-election on Tuesday. Senator Lindsey Graham is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He joins us.

Good to see you, Senator. Thanks for being with us today.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: Thank you. Good morning.

BARTIROMO: So what do you see as the policy priorities in terms of getting things done come January?

GRAHAM: Well, we got a lot of bills that came from the House to the Senate with bipartisan support from the House that died in the Senate: the Keystone Pipeline; I want to take the defense cuts under sequestration, which will gut our military, replace them with something more balanced.

There are so many areas out there we could work together, on immigration. If the president goes it alone on immigration, I think there will be a backlash in the country. He's completely tone-deaf as to the results of this election.

Even those who didn't vote, Mr. President, are polled about your policies. They don't like them any more than the people who did vote. So if he does it -- goes it alone on immigration, I think it not only will poison the well, but there will be a backlash against him that will flow over on Democrats yet again.

BARTIROMO: So what did you see as the early body language from the president in terms of the ability or willingness to work with Republicans?

GRAHAM: Spoiled child. He is in denial about what happened. He is arrogant about the results. You don't have to look at the tea leaves to understand what happened. The American people put a stop sign outside the Oval Office. All he's got to do is look at it.

They didn't embrace us as Republicans, but this "I'm going to do it by myself on immigration because I'm tired and impatient" is really not worthy of the office. He should be sitting down with us on all fronts, including immigration,

And when it comes to his foreign policy, the biggest loser of the midterm, I think, is Iran, because with a Republican-controlled Senate, we can have votes on foreign policy matters that Harry Reid blocked. The first vote I want to take is, if there's a deal with Iran over their nuclear program, I want to bring it to the United States Senate for an up or down vote so we can look at it.

BARTIROMO: All right, I want to talk to you more about Iran, Senator, as well as immigration. The question becomes, what do you do, if, in fact, this is where we're going, where the president is going it alone? So plenty more to talk with you about, Senator Graham. Stay with us because we want to first look at voters booting the leading party in Congress yet again.

What is means as part of the bigger picture: Fox News senior correspondent Eric Shawn joins us with that angle.

Good morning to you, Eric.


And good morning, everyone. A divided government reflects a divided people. But on Tuesday, they largely spoke with one voice, throwing support behind Republicans, but it was the fourth such switch in just the last eight years. Take a look at this question. It's simple and direct.

It says, "Had enough?" A flyer from one candidate summing up the mood of many voters across the country.

Friday's White House lunch of sea bass and also for the president a serving of crow showed few signs of a more positive mood, with the president vowing to move ahead on his controversial executive order on immigration, despite, as you heard from Lindsey Graham, strong Republican opposition.

Take a look at this FOX News poll taken before the election. Only 40 percent of Americans were satisfied with the way things were going; 59 percent said they were not satisfied. That sour mood sent Democratic incumbents packing.

The newly elected members will try to turn the page and bring hopes to the nation's Capital. Like Mia Love of Utah, the first black Republican woman elected to the House; Democrat Gwen Graham, who snatched a Republican seat in Florida.

While in New York, Elise Stefanik, at 30 years old, is the youngest member ever elected. And Lee Zeldin will now be the lone Jewish Republican in the House. He is an Iraq War vet and took a seat from a six-term Democrat.


LEE ZELDIN, REPRESENTATIVE-ELECT: I want to see any type of progress in reforming our tax code and improving our energy policy or our health care policy. Wherever we can find a way to improve the quality of life for our constituents is productive.

I think that the dysfunction that we've seen in Washington in the past needs to be in the past and there needs to be a better day, a new way ahead in January with new leadership in Washington.


SHAWN: But that new leadership on Capitol Hill will be doing business with the same old leadership in the Oval Office. And despite those lofty hopes, the mood could likely remain with us until there is a change of management in 2016 -- Maria.

BARTIROMO: Eric, thank you for that, Eric Shawn. More now with Senator Lindsey Graham.

And, Senator, I want to pick up right there.

What are you going to do if, in fact, you are dealing with the same old sort of way of doing things and that is that the president wants to go it alone?

What does Congress do then?

GRAHAM: Don't take the bait as Republicans. If he's going to act immature on immigration, let's don't answer him in kind.

There is a deal to be had on infrastructure. Our highway trust fund is woefully short of money. We drive further on a gallon of gas. We have got a shortage in the trust fund. There's $2 trillion of American-held profits overseas by American-owned companies that won't come back at 35 percent.

There's a lot of bipartisan support for a 10 percent rate to bring that money back into the United States and put it in the highway trust fund so we can build our roads, bridges and ports. Do not let the president's immature reaction on immigration stop us from working with him when we can and push him to do more, not less.

BARTIROMO: And of course, we are in a different moment in time than just a year ago, when you consider ISIS and what's gone on in terms of terrorism. What are your plans in terms of defense spending?

GRAHAM: The defense cuts that we have in place will give us the smallest Army since 1940, 420,000 troops; smallest Navy since 1915. We'll be spending about 2.3 percent of GDP on defense at the end of this decade under sequestration, half of the normal.

Replace these defense cuts with something by reforming the tax code, entitlement reform, before we gut the military at a time when we need it the most. And also deal with the cuts to the NIH and CDC. Bipartisan effort to replace sequestration is my number one priority.

BARTIROMO: We've got to talk about Iran. The president is obviously sending a letter -- he sent a letter to the ayatollah without Congress aware of it.

What does this tell us about compromise, if, in fact, we're already seeing this kind of behavior take place after Congress has taken the Senate?

GRAHAM: Well, it tells you how delusional the president is about the world he's supposed to be managing here. To suggest a military alliance between us and Iran is insane. ISIL will take this as the greatest recruiting opportunity in the history of the organization.

You're talking about radical Sunnis who now cannot only fight the Great Satan, American, but the great heretic, the Iranian Shias. It is dumb at every level. Sunni Arabs would rebel with this alliance. Israel would not accept this. The people in Syria would see us joining with Iran, the group that's helping Assad stay in power to kill them. It's dumb at every level.

But the biggest mistake is yet to come and that is a bad deal with the Iranian government over their nuclear program. To suggest that the nuclear program should be part of another alliance is ridiculous.

I fear more than anything else that President Obama is going to do a deal with Iran. He wants a deal way too badly over their nuclear program that's going to wind up being just like North Korea. A small enrichment program monitored by the U.N. that one day leads to a weapon.

That's why I'm going to insist to Senator McConnell and Senator Reed that any deal with Iran regarding their nuclear program come to the Senate so we can look at it and vote on it. If it's a good deal, I vote yes. If it's a bad deal, I will kill it. And the president doesn't want the deal to come to the Senate. Well, we need to pass legislation making it come to the Senate.

BARTIROMO: And you think you'll be effective in doing that?

GRAHAM: I can't imagine any Democrat that could say the following. I trust Barack Obama and John Kerry so much I don't want to even look at a deal with Iran regarding their nuclear program.

If you asked me the one thing that would throw the world in further chaos than it is today, it's to give the ayatollahs a nuke. Sunni Arabs would want one of their own. Israel would be in the middle of a nuclear arms race. And I fear the Iranians not only would use the nuclear technology against Israel, they would use it against us.

This is the most dangerous thing that could possibly happen in the world and President Obama, I think, wants a deal way too badly.

BARTIROMO: Senator, good to have you on the program. Thanks so much for your insights on this important issue.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: We'll see you soon, Senator Lindsey Graham.

So what are the takeaways from 2014?

The GOP has a lot more seats up for grabs in 2016, not to mention the big one in the Oval Office. Political analyst Scott Rasmussen is with us next. You can follow me on Twitter @MariaBartiromo, @SundayFutures. I hope you'll send me a tweet. Let us know what you'd like to hear from Scott Rasmussen coming up as well as Maya MacGuineas, coming up. Stay with us as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."  


BARTIROMO: Welcome back. As Eric mentioned in his report, between Congress and the White House, Tuesday's GOP win was the fourth party control shift in less than a decade, underscoring a state of instability in which neither party has been able to gain a firm grip on power.

What will it take to get our sea legs under us? Scott Rasmussen is with us. He is a political analyst who founded the polling company Rasmussen Reports. He is now founder and president of the online information service Styrk Corporation.

Good to see you, Scott.

RASMUSSEN: Good to see you, Maria.

BARTIROMO: Thank you so much for joining us.

So, you know, what about that, the fact that we have changed control four times in the last eight years? Are we governing or are we, you know, politicking? Is anything getting done?

RASMUSSEN: Well, nothing is getting done. And I'll take it back even further. Three presidents in a row have now come into power with their party in control of Congress and lost control of Congress. That's never happened before in American history even twice in a row.

The American people are saying, "We're rejecting both of you. We don't like what we're seeing." So one guy gets in power, they say "We're going to vote him out."

BARTIROMO: So what does that mean for this period, this next two years now, with another divided government, and then going into 2016?

RASMUSSEN: Well, for the next couple of years, there's going to be challenges. The president is going to try and bait the Republican majority into overreaching. The Republicans are going to have an opportunity to begin laying the groundwork for where they're going on issues like health care.

You know, they're going to have to vote for repeal, even though it won't go anywhere. Then they're going to have to show some ways they can be pragmatic, but ultimately, we're going to be caught up in 2016 politics almost from the beginning of the new Congress.

BARTIROMO: Does that mean nothing gets done, really, at the end of the day, for two years?

RASMUSSEN: There will be some things. You know, I think they'll find both sides will have an interest on minor issues to work together to show that they're pragmatic, but nothing major is going to change. We have a system where both political parties are a little bit out of touch. They're both trying to find the right messaging, and we're not quite sure where it ends up.

BARTIROMO: The GOP really needs to get its message right and -- and articulate a message to the American people of where they want to take this country. Will they be able to do it?

RASMUSSEN: Don't know. I mean, ultimately the voice of the Republican Party will be the presidential nominee. We don't know who that's going to be.

In this -- in this Congress, they have a huge challenge. They have to take action on the health care law, but they can't appear obsessed about it. They've got to look at jobs and energy and other policy as well. They've got to show their base that they're standing up for things but recognizing that there's still a Democratic president in the White House.

BARTIROMO: Let's talk about 2016 for a moment. Hillary -- is that going to be the contender against whatever GOP candidate comes up?

RASMUSSEN: I'm skeptical. I do not think she's going to run. The reason? Very simple, Hillary Clinton is a very smart woman who knows what it's like to run for president more than anybody else on the planet. I don't think she wants to run in a fourth campaign unless she's almost certain to win.

And Secretary Clinton is going to look at the numbers, look at the fundamentals, and say, you know, unless Barack Obama turns things around, he's going to be as big a drag on the Democratic candidate in 2016 as George W. Bush was in 2008.

BARTIROMO: You know, I was saying that after she did an interview on Fox News with Bret and Greta. And I felt that, during that interview, she kept talking about the stamina that is required to campaign and how politics is brutal. I thought she was giving herself an out that maybe she wouldn't run.

RASMUSSEN: It could be. You know, I don't -- she hasn't called me and disclosed her plans. I have no real knowledge...

BARTIROMO: But you are also skeptical?

RASMUSSEN: But I'm very, very skeptical. And again, I think it's because the Republicans are going to be favored heading into 2016 simply because of President Obama's job approval rating. You know, that was the reason the Republicans did so well last Tuesday, and unless it turns around, he will be a drag on a Democratic nominee.

Now, on the flip side, Secretary Clinton is going to be under enormous pressure to run because there aren't a lot of other options.

BARTIROMO: What are the options on the GOP side?

I mean, let's face it, this next two years is a window for the GOP to tell the American people what they're going to do and try to get something done. Because, 2016, you've got a lot of seats up for grabs.

RASMUSSEN: Absolutely. Look, every single Republican governor who won re-election on Tuesday thinks, "Oh, this is my turn." They're all going to consider running. There's a lot of people in the Senate. There are going to be 20 people, at least, who are giving serious consideration to running for the GOP nomination, and it's a valuable nomination to have.

I don't know who -- who comes out of that. I don't have any idea, and we won't until they actually begin campaigning.

BARTIROMO: Scott, great to have you on the show today.

RASMUSSEN: Thank you, Maria.

BARTIROMO: Thank you so much. Scott Rasmussen, joining us this morning.

Another issue that factored into Tuesday's election, of course, the economy, how Americans feel about that. Because, while jobs and markets are up, consumer confidence is down. We'll talk about that and moving the needle with Maya MacGuineas, coming up, as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures." Stay with us.


BARTIROMO: Well, we're seeing a drip, drip, drip in job growth. The unemployment rate now down to 5.8 percent. That's good. Not ideal.

What many analysts, like my next guest, are hoping for is that a GOP- led Congress will lead to tax reform that sparks business growth and a surge in hiring. Joining us to explain that is Maya MacGuineas. She is the president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Maya, it's always wonderful to have you on program. Welcome back.


BARTIROMO: Your reaction to the GOP win this week and what it means going forward.

MACGUINEAS: Well, so it was a huge shift in political power in Washington.

And the question is, is this going to lead to real progress on some policy challenges?

I think realistically, there's still a lot of challenges to overcome in terms of there's a divide between president and Republicans, the Senate and the House and even within the Republican Party.

Clearly what you would want to have is a big comprehensive economic growth strategy, which is what this country needs and it's why we saw people coming out of the polls so worried about their security and the future of the country.

But that's a pretty big list, I have to say, in terms of the challenges politically. It would entail everything from kind of ginning up the economy now, like you said. Jobs growth is solid, but it doesn't reflect growing wages and it still shows too many people out of the workforce. And the economy is not growing as quickly as it should be.

So you need some up-front stimulus for growth, whatever form that would take, more investment. You need serious comprehensive tax reform to increase the competitiveness of our business sector and help grow the economy. And you need to get a hold of the fiscal situations that we have in this country.

People are talking about the short-term improvements in the deficit.  That's not the problem. The issue here is unsustainable debt path. And we need to tackle some very tough things.

That may be more than we can expect in the next two years, but it's the most important thing we could do to get the economy growing, is to have a real comprehensive growth strategy.

BARTIROMO: Right. Zero in on some of the spending debacles. You heard Senator Lindsey Graham at the top of the show talk about the sequester and what that has done to defense spending.

Where does that fit in, in terms of policy priorities relative to the entitlements which we were hearing so much about a couple of years ago, which seems to have taken to the sidelines?

What do you want to see as the priorities with regard to budget issues?

MACGUINEAS: I think what Senator Graham laid out are actually the right kind of manageable goals. We all would like to have a big comprehensive growth strategy would be the best thing to help the economy really take off.

The realistic things are there are a lot of little moments coming up in the next year. Those things include figuring go out how to trade out some of this really onerous sequester for more sensible saving policies.

We have a highway trust fund which we have to figure out how to replenish and get spending on our roads and bridges and really help with jobs in infrastructure there. We have these unsustainable cuts that we have in Medicare, which we should replace the so-called "doc fix" with health care savings.

And we have to deal with things like funding the government in the next couple weeks. We should do that without any issue. We should try to reassure markets, the economy and the public that we're not going to have government shutdowns.

And if you look later this year, we have another debt ceiling increase. So we want to make sure we get through all of these important moments smoothly, without incident or hostage-taking and hopefully replace some of the not-sensible policies we have in place with medium-term savings deals, which would generate savings over time.

That would be a solid step in the right direction and help Congress and the president start working together on some of these issues. And it would help the economy significantly.

BARTIROMO: And then of course there are the ideologies, Maya. Let's talk about tax reform for a moment. The president has said that he would like to see corporate taxes come down. That's what the Republicans want.

However, the president said he doesn't want to touch individual tax rates. But that also affects small business.

So how do you keep, you know, corporate tax rates low for the larger companies and high for the small companies, which, in fact, are supposed to be the job creators?

MACGUINEAS: Well, this is one area where everybody agrees we need to reform the tax code, but, boy, is the devil in the detail. This gets really thorny and complicated.

The ideal way to fix the tax code is to look at it comprehensively, individual and business taxation. Take all of that on, broaden the base.

We give away over $1 trillion a year in tax breaks on both the corporate and individual side. Use that money to bring rates down, help promote growth and have that on both, again, the corporate and individual side.

I think there's more interest now in the business side only. And like you say, that brings up real thorny issues because corporations would have lower rates while pass-throughs that are tax on the individual side wouldn't.

There is some effort to figure out how you allow those businesses to have other tax breaks that would keep their effective tax rates similar to what's going on in the corporate sector.

The other option is more of them could become corporations. I think in this one we do what can get done. We figure out how much appetite there is for, hopefully, an overall comprehensive tax reform and if not what you can do on the business side.

The really important thing here is to help with growth, competitiveness, simplifying the tax code. That needs to happen in all areas.

But keep in mind, there's winners and losers when you do tax reform.  That means people whose tax breaks are going to be removed are going to fight tooth and nail to keep them in place.

And we have to kind of keep our eye on the big picture, which is that overall competitive, simpler tax code will be good for the economy, even if some of those tax breaks really need to be gotten rid of.

BARTIROMO: Absolutely. You've got to have jobs as the priority.  Then everything flows from there.

Maya, good to have you on the program. Thanks so much for the analysis.

MACGUINEAS: Thank you, Maria.

BARTIROMO: We'll see you soon, Maya MacGuineas joining us.

Remember the Republican autopsy the RNC put together after the 2012 elections?

Well, the DNC is planning one for now the Democrats. Our panel starts there as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures." That's next.


BARTIROMO: Thank you, Eric.

DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is planning what she is calling a top-to-bottom assessment of the 2014 campaign, much like the RNC's group did an autopsy after the 2012 elections.

Funny thing about that autopsy, though, Republicans pretty much ignored all of its recommendations and they swept this year's midterms.

So what should that tell the Democrats, if anything? I want to bring in our panel right now. Chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov is writer and political activist, who's been thrown in jail by Vladimir Putin. He's the chairman of the Human Rights Foundation, which he took over from the late Czech President Vaclav Havel.

Ed Rollins is former principal White House adviser to President Reagan in both of his terms. He has been a long-time strategist and business political analyst to leaders. And he's a Fox News Political analyst.

David Rothkopf is CEO and editor of the FP Group, the publisher of Foreign Policy magazine.

Gentlemen, good to see you, thank you so much for joining us.

OK, so I just want to point out it's 29 years to the day since you won the championship. I'm so happy you're here.


BARTIROMO: 1985, congratulations, Garry. Good to see you.

I really want to focus on your expertise in term of strategy. Do you think President Obama now pivots to work with the Republicans?

KASPAROV: I'm not sure we can apply what strategy to what Obama has been doing. I think he will be forced to deal with the new Republican majority in the Senate because it's likely to my opinion that some of the Democrats, especially those who are vulnerable in 2016 elections, might side with GOP and help him override his veto and potentially embarrassment of his veto being overruled by his own party might force Obama to compromise.

But it's more about his image rather than about political calculations.

BARTIROMO: And about getting something done.

KASPAROV: It's still about his image, you know, just to look good rather than about being something done. So, it's a fear of being totally isolated might force him to compromise.

BARTIROMO: Ed, what's your analysis?

ED ROLLINS, FRM. REAGAN ADVISER: Grown men don't change. This president is not strategic as our grandmaster (inaudible) in the world grandmaster. He's not a strategist. He's never been a strategist. He's a tactician. And I don't think the Republicans don't fear him, don't like him. They have their own agenda, which is a good agenda for America. I think they have to pair it back. I don't think they can basically do all the things that they want to do. But they've got a Ryan plan, they can pair that down on the budget. They've got the -- basically the camp tax thing which won't pass, but you can pair it down. It's a good starting point. You've got to get some modification here done on health care.

BARTIROMO: But what happens if the president doesn't work with Republicans? What does the GOP do?

ROLLINS: Well, they put forth a plan. They take their case to the  American people. Here's how you create jobs, things like infrastructure and other things. The president wants to veto it, he has to give reasons why he's vetoing it. And it can't just be because they did it. This country desperately wants leadership and it desperately wants some economic stimulus. And I think everything they're going to do is going to move that ball forward.

BARTIROMO: So we have transparency.

ROLLINS: Definitely have transparency.

BARTIROMO: David, what do you think?

DAVID ROTHKOPF, CEO, FP GROU: Well, I don't think the body language from the president or from the other side was particularly encouraging. I don't think anybody ever went broke underestimating the inability of either of these sides to get along. But there is another election. And there is an incentive as a result of that election to do something. I think one of the messages of this election was deep frustration.

So I would expect on things like infrastructure, possibly on things it like tax reform, possibly on things like the Transpacific partnership trade deal that there will actually be some progress on the areas where the agendas overlap.

But around that, a lot of acrimony, a lot of name calling.

BARTIROMO: The GOPhas got to articulate a strategy to explain to the American people what they stand for. Can they do it?

ROLLINS: Well, they need another messenger besides -- no disrespect to Mitch McConnell, they need someone who can basically can go out articulate what it is that they're all about. And Television is very important. I was a former majority George Mitchell who was the most partisan guy I ever met, but he -- on television he was very judicious. He communicated very effectively.

We need communicators out there, telling them what we're doing and why we're doing it.

KASPAROV: Obama's advantage was always the ability to deliver whatever the message is. And you'll be lacking (inaudible) formulate and deliver the message. I mean as powerful as Ronald Reagan.

ROTHKOPF: But also, 2016 being around the corner, we're going to start seeing presidential candidates coming out there and becoming the spokespeople for their party or vying for the opportunity to be the spokespeople. And I think in that respect, Obama is going to fade in significance, and so is McConnell.

BARTIROMO: Well, that's the issue. I mean, you have got a window here, because once 2016 is upon us, the number of seats up for grabs for the Republicans is much more than the Dems.

ROLLINS: But the untold story for this election is how deep it went.  We basically have legislative seats -- we have the most legislative seats we've had in this century. We now control 69 (sic) state legislatures across the country, we control 39 governorships -- 31 governorships. So we have a lot of action out there that doesn't get wiped out in this next election.

So, my sense is they're going to sit around and talk about the Senate and can we lose the Senate? The first guy that can lose the senate seat is Harry Reid. Harry Reid is dead man walking. Sandoval, who is going to run against him, the governor of Nevada, he's got 71 percent getting reelected.  So, I mean, he basically is lame duck.

BARTIROMO: All right. Stay with us. Because we have a lot to talk about on this front. Let's get a look at what's coming up first now on "MediaBuzz." Check in with Howie Kurtz. Howie, good morning.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST, "MEDIABUZZ": Good morning, Maria.

We're going to be all over the coverage of the midterms and how some pundits missed the magnitude of the Republican wave.

I've also got an extended conversation with Sharyl Attkisson. She the former CBS investigative reporter. We'll talk about her clashes with the network and with the Obama administration as well as the hacking of her computers. And there's some left-wing elements in the media that are trying to discredit her by painting her as some kind of right winger, even though she's reported aggressively on both Democratic and Republican administrations. So I'm looking forward to that conversation.

BARTIROMO: I'm certainly looking forward to it as well. That is a great story and a great interview. We will be there. Thanks so much, Howie. We'll see you in about 20 minutes.

The U.S. mission to destroy is has been under way for months. Why is President Obama only now asking congress for authorization to use military force? Stay with us. Our panel continues as we look ahead on Sunday Morning Futures.


BARTIROMO: Well, after insisting for months that he did not need their permission, President Obama is now asking Congress to authorize the use of military force in the battle against ISIS.

We bring back our panel: Garry Kasparov, Ed Rollins, David Rothkopf joining us.

In fact, the president would like 1,500 troops and he said they're not boots on ground, but they are advisers.

What's your take, Ed Rollins?

ROLLINS: Well, it must be floating on the ground. Obviously, we've had thousands of men in there, training the Iranian army and spent billions of dollars. And the moment we left, they didn't fight.

So the idea you can put 1,500 people in there and train them again and make them fighters, we're not going to basically do well here until we get either both our allies and us to get troops on the ground, real troops, 10,000, whatever the number may be. Otherwise, we're going to be just playing games, little bombing missions, maybe knocking somebody out here, distracting them. But we're not going to win back what we need to win back.

ROTHKOPF: There's not a military leader I've spoken to who thinks this can get done without American troops on the ground leading coordination here. This coalition, which we don't know how many are in it, we don't know exactly what they're doing, is mostly behind the scenes.

And the results are of a group that doesn't have a strategy yet, despite the president's assertion that we've got a strategy. We are tiptoeing in with more troops, sporadic efforts and no results to speak of to date.

KASPAROV: It's typical of Obama trying to look like he's doing something. And he doesn't care much about results, as long as it looks good.

So I'm sending troops back, but he doesn't want to send too many, because that will look like he was breaking his old promise of pulling them out. So it's more about politics and his own image. And it's very unfortunate, because we're talking about matters of life and death. It's about winning or losing the war in such a pivotal region in the world.

ROTHKOPF: The enemy we're fighting here is bad press. We respond every time we think there's going to be bad press, whether it was, you know, going to play golf after a beheading or it was an assertion that we don't have our own strategy and then having to prove we did, or whether it was a problem on the ground that we then went after.

But there is nothing coherent in the way of our strategy. And you can tell because if you ask the question, what do we do if we win with Assad?  What do we do if we win with Iran?

BARTIROMO: No answers.

ROTHKOPF: No answers.

ROLLINS: That's the significant difference. John McCain goes from a cranky old man who's going on television every week in a minority to being the chairman of the Armed Services Committee. He'll basically push this administration very, very hard and expose it for basically the lack of real strategy.

KASPAROV: That's what is need in a strategy. There were so many failed attempts in the region. Now probably it's a good moment because the Sunnis' monarchies in the Gulf, they are willing to cooperate. There is probably some form of improvement in relations between them and Israel. So the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not as burning as before.

So there are opportunities for America to come up with a strategy.  But that's the keyword, strategy.


BARTIROMO: But will we?

ROTHKOPF: Nothing proves the lack of a strategy like this letter to Khamenei --

BARTIROMO: Let's talk about this right now. This is unbelievable.

So the president sends a letter to it the ayatollah without Congress' knowledge.

ROTHKOPF: He's sent several letters to the ayatollah. The ayatollah has not responded to any of the letters. But the thing about the letter was that it was talking about the shared interests we have with the Iranians in fighting ISIS.

This is precisely the coordination that the administration said, Susan Rice said on "Meet the Press" three or four weeks ago, was not going to happen. They're now lawyerly saying, well, coordination, this is not really coordination.

BARTIROMO: So did she just lie or is she not informed?

ROTHKOPF: Well, those are the two options that exist.

ROLLINS: She misled us.

ROTHKOPF: Yes, those are the two options that exist.


ROTHKOPF: When you think about it, the timing for this could not be worse. We're in the end game on this discussion with Iran on nuclear talks. And the idea we're sort of connecting these two gives them leverage, looks like we need the deal more than they need the deal and makes us look weak.

Furthermore, talk to our allies in the region, whether it's Israel or the Gulf States. They're furious because they were left out of this conversation.

ROLLINS: They want the sanctions off. And obviously we've got to promise something like that. And they want a nuclear weapon.

And at the end of the day, they're going to get it. It's going to be like North Korea. We basically say, you got to stay within these guidelines and eventually they get the weapon. My sense is the allies, again, if I was sitting there today, I wouldn't trust this country for anything.

KASPAROV: It seems to me that the Iranian deal is some form of foreign version of ObamaCare. It must be done at any cost. So no matter how poorly it's implemented, what could be the disastrous consequence in the future, it must be done because it was promised and he wants to be associated with the deal.

BARTIROMO: That's right.

ROTHKOPF: And one of the big issues here is going to be the end run with Congress. That The New York Times reported that the plan of Obama is to go and relieve sanctions and do this without consulting with Congress.

I don't think the Republican leadership is going to go for that. I heard Lindsey Graham earlier on your air talking about this. That's a real potential red line in the sand right now between the Republicans and the Democrats early on foreign policy.

BARTIROMO: It also doesn't give us any hope that any compromise will actually be achieved.

KASPAROV: Because the cost of doing anything with Iran will be at the expense of the Sunni allies. And the first time there's a great opportunity for the U.S. to build strong Sunni coalition against terror.

ROTHKOPF: And it's essential because the big fight in the Middle East right now is not Sunni-Shia. It's Sunni-Sunni. We need to be on the side of moderate Sunnis versus extremist Sunnis if we're going to go and make progress. And right now what we're doing is going to alienate them.

ROLLINS: Whether the president likes it or not, the present state of Iran, the present government, is not going to function. It has no money.  It can't have any budget. We're going to have to pay for their ongoing operations in addition to their military operations. And that's a very serious long-term price.

BARTIROMO: All right. Stay with us, gentlemen.

Up next, it was the symbol of Communist oppression: 25 years ago today, the Berlin wall came down. But while Germany marks the event with celebrations, Russian tanks are barreling into Ukraine. How will the GOP majority in the Senate handle this as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures"? Stay with us.



BARTIROMO: Our panel is back. Echoes of the Cold War return as tensions spike between the West and Russia over Ukraine. So will a Republican majority in the Senate lead to tougher sanctions against Russia?

Garry Kasparov, Ed Rollins, David Rothkopf with me today.

Have the sanctions begun to hurt, Garry?

KASPAROV: Absolutely. Because look at the Russian currency, the ruble. It's falling. Oil prices are also falling, so that definitely helps to -- to put pressure. The capital is fleeing. All the numbers, officials numbers released by the minister of economy, they look green. And I think it's a matter of time before ordinary Russians will recognize that the Crimean annexation eventually had a very, very high price for them.

BARTIROMO: And yet, even though here we are talking about, 25 years ago today, the Berlin Wall came down, and there are celebrations. Look at these live pictures in Berlin, celebrations going on. And yet we've got new tanks going into Ukraine as we speak.

ROLLINS: I think -- I think this prime minister, or president, is the toughest -- toughest player on the world stage, and he sees real weakness on our part. And who else is going to stop him? I mean, he's going to basically do whatever he wants to do. He's playing to a small -- you're the expert -- he's playing with a small majority there that basically support him, some of the older, the military, but I think -- I think Putin is going to do what he wants to do, and I think he saw that there was weakness in Ukraine, and he basically -- if he's, you know, going to do what he wants, and if the world stage doesn't like it, tough.

ROTHKOPF: Well, there's also, kind of, a wag-the-dog component to this thing. Things are so bad at home. The thing that has kept him popular is being tough like this.

ROLLINS: Absolutely, right.

ROTHKOPF: And so I think we have to worry with, you know, following up on Garry's analysis here, oil is falling, right? Oil is at $80. The more oil falls, it makes all our sanctions look trivial. It is going to squeeze that economy. It is going to cause real pain for the Russian people. And the question for Putin is what does he do to distract them?

He can't fix the economy. So the only thing he can do is move around at his borders, look tough, look like a leader and make them feel good about themselves. And that's dangerous, I think.

KASPAROV: Exactly. That's -- the question, is America ready for more aggressive actions? It's not only Ukraine. There is a potential explosion in Baltics. There are (inaudible) of Russian minorities, you know, living next to the border in Estonia. There's also Latvia. There's also potential conflict in the Transcaucasian region.

So Putin could strike in every direction. And I don't think he will have much choice. He will have to look strong and he'll have to justify him staying in power when the economy is doomed.

ROLLINS: And NATO looks weaker every day. I mean, the stories today in the paper about the war games against NATO country, Denmark, or what have you, I think it just basically has them sitting there shaking.

ROTHKOPF: But also, you know, a further complication, and it goes back to the earlier discussion we were having. Russia is now playing a central role in the Iran talks, in terms of taking away some of this uranium and storing it there.


ROTHKOPF: So we need them for that, and that has us backpedaling a little bit in our toughness, and you see it in our rhetoric, even at moment that we should be getting tougher with tanks coming in and more shelling in Donetsk.

BARTIROMO: So will we get tougher?

I mean, the president just landed in Alaska, by the way. He's on his way to Beijing to go to the APEC conference. What does the president do about Russia?

ROLLINS: Well, when he meets Putin there, who -- who's been there months before him...

ROTHKOPF: And just signed a gas deal.



KASPAROV: You -- you remember his famous phrase when he whispered it in Mr. Medvedev's ear, you know, that "Tell Vlad I will be more flexible."

Unfortunately, he is flexible. And Putin knows that.

And let's not, you know, talk about NATO as an institution. At the end of the day, the credibility of NATO depends exclusively on the credibility of the -- of the United States.

ROLLINS: Absolutely. I agree.

KASPAROV: And with Obama ruining the credibility of the office, there's so many red lines...

ROTHKOPF: I wouldn't -- I wouldn't let the Europeans off the hook that easily. The reality is they...


KASPAROV: No, but America won't lead.

ROTHKOPF: They dithered, too. But, if you look, Putin, Assad, the Iranians -- people have gotten tough with the United States, have not gotten enough pushback recently. And, right now, they're stronger today than they were two years ago.

BARTIROMO: Right. All right. Hold that thought. Still to come, the one thing to watch for in the week ahead or weeks ahead, on "Sunday Morning Futures," from our panel. Back in a moment.


BARTIROMO: And we are back with our panel. The one big thing to watch for the upcoming week. Ed Rollins, what's your one thing?

ROLLINS: I'm going to watch how the president behaves and how he's treated at the Asian conference because, obviously, he just took a big defeat back home. Is he going to be treated as a -- as a position of weakness, which I think he will be? And I'm going the watch that closely.


KASPAROV: It's, A, the conference in Beijing, followed by G-20 in Australia. And it's happened before when Putin was out of the country, the new escalation -- so whether Russia will escalate the tension in Ukraine while Putin is far away.

BARTIROMO: It's also interesting to get the -- our foreign friends' take on the GOP and see if that actually materializes into conversation.

What do you think, David? What's your one thing?

ROTHKOPF: Well, I'm going to look and see whether he changes up his national security team at all. The last three two-term presidents, Bush, Clinton and Reagan, all finished somewhat stronger on national security and foreign policy than they had started out. But they also had big changes in their teams. If Obama doesn't make big changes, then I wouldn't expect big changes, and I think that he may break the trend and actually finish weaker on national security and foreign policy than did his predecessor.

BARTIROMO: I'm going to take it back to the economy next week. We've got retail sales and the Wal-Mart earnings. That gives us a window into the consumer.

Gentlemen, good to have you on the panel today. Thank you so much.

And thank you for watching. That will do it for "Sunday Morning Futures." I'm Maria Bartiromo. I'll be back tomorrow morning on "Opening Bell" at 9 a.m. Eastern on the Fox Business Network. Take a look at where to find FBN on your cable network or satellite provider, or click on "Channel Finder" a Have a great Sunday, everybody. Stay with Fox. "MediaBuzz" with Howie Kurtz comes up next.

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