This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," September 20, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.
Today, the consensus winner of the Republican debate, Carly Fiorina, only on "Fox News Sunday."
CARLY FIORINA, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Problems have festered in Washington too long, and the potential for this nation is being crushed.
I think Mr. Trump is a wonderful entertainer. He's been terrific at that business.
If you want to stump a Democrat, ask them to name an accomplishment of Mrs. Clinton.
WALLACE: We'll go inside her campaign -- to see her up close and personal and watch as she tries to capitalize on her breakout performance.
FIORINA: Oh, that's the woman who's running for president.
WALLACE: And we'll sit down with the GOP's new "it" candidate to discuss her plans for the country and her controversial record in business. It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.
Then, Pope Francis is coming to the U.S., after a first stop in Cuba.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
WALLACE: We'll have a live report from Havana and preview the pope's trip to the U.S. with two Catholic leaders, the archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, and Father Thomas Rosica, a Vatican adviser.
Plus, our Sunday panel weighs in on the U.S.-trained fighting force in Syria.
GEN. LLOYD AUSTIN III, CENTCOM COMMANDER: It's a small number. We're talking four or five.
WALLACE: All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
Carly Fiorina not only moved up to the main stage in the latest Republican debate, she dominated it, establishing herself as a top tier candidate. We'll have an exclusive interview with Fiorina in a moment.
But, first, Fox News senior national correspondent John Roberts got special best hind the scenes access to the Fiorina campaign the last few days as she was taking her victory lap.
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In what amounts to the political blink of an eye, Carly Fiorina has become the new darling of the Republican Party.
FIORINA: Thank you, I will.
ROBERTS: So, what's different since the first debate or before the first debate? In terms of the number of people who are coming out and the people who are --
FIORINA: Well, the difference in the number of people is huge. I'm less of a curiosity, and more of a -- oh, you know, that's the woman who's running for president.
ROBERTS: In the carless town center of Mackinaw Island, Michigan, Fiorina was mobbed. Fans who watched her debate performance at the Reagan Library angling for the chance to say they saw her, they spoke to her, they touched her.
When you walked off that debate stage at the Reagan Library, what was going through your mind?
FIORINA: Well, at a very practical level what was going through my mind is, I want to get off this stage now, I want to get out of these shoes, and I don't want to answer a single question until tomorrow morning.
ROBERTS: Her rise among the 2016 candidates would appear meteoric, but the road to get here was long and difficult. In 2010, she badly lost a bid for the U.S. Senate in California, spending much of the campaign battling breast cancer.
On the way to the big Heritage Action event in Greenville, South Carolina on Friday, she told me that fight gave her the courage to shoot for the highest office in the land.
FIORINA: When you face a life-threatening or a tragic situation, you lose a lot of fear. And so, the things that might have caused you to be afraid about something -- I'm not afraid. I'm really not afraid.
ROBERTS: Does anything scare you?
FIORINA: Not really.
ROBERTS: How do you feel when you come in when you're about to give a speech in palpitations?
FIORINA: Well, not palpitations. I feel focused, I feel excited.
ROBERTS: Before the event, I had dinner with Fiorina and her traveling staff, including campaign manager Frank Sadler, whom Fiorina whimsically described a Winnie the Pooh character.
Frank always looks like he's worried about something, which is good.
FIORINA: I call him Eeyore. He's Eeyore.
ROBERTS: Is he?
FIORINA: He's Eeyore. Eeyore is always worried.
ROBERTS: Often misinterpreted as stern, even cold in public, Fiorina smiles plenty, even laughs. But with some new polls showing her leading the fact, Eeyore and the rest of the team may have a whole set of new worries to contend with.
A lot of people will be saying unkind things.
FIORINA: Yes, it won't be the first time. I led Hewlett-Packard during a very difficult time, and many people said unkind things. I battled cancer, I buried a child.
When you go through things like that, you really have perspective.
ROBERTS: It was the death of Fiorina's stepdaughter that provided one of the most poignant moments of last debate. Lori Fiorina died in 2009 after years of drug and alcohol addiction. As she told me about a poem that Lori wrote to her, Fiorina showed a side of her persona that the public has likely never seen before.
FIORINA: It says basically, I don't tell you enough I love you. And that's the thing, you know -- when you lose someone, you realize you never say it enough.
ROBERTS: It's a perspective that keeps Fiorina grounded, through the inevitable highs and lows of the campaign, the compliments, and criticism, the adulation, and insults.
FIORINA: Live is not measured in time. It's not measured in success or wealth or all these things we think it's measured in. It's measured in love and moments of grace and positive contribution.
ROBERTS: Fiorina has a big opportunity this week to demonstrate her range to a broad audience, appearing on "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon on Monday, then giving a major foreign policy address to cadets at the Citadel Military Academy in Charleston on Tuesday -- Chris.
WALLACE: John Roberts inside the Fiorina campaign -- John, thank you.
I sat down earlier with Carly Fiorina to discuss her new momentum and some of the issues she'll have to confront.
WALLACE: Ms. Fiorina, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
FIORINA: Thank you, Chris. Thanks for having me.
WALLACE: You've noted that up until now, more than half of Republican voters didn't know who you were. That obviously changed with the debate.
So I guess the question is, how pivotal a moment is this right now for your campaign?
FIORINA: Well, it's obviously a very important moment, because now more people know who I am and we know, based on what's happened before this debate, that as people come to know me and they understand who I am and what I've done and most importantly, what I will do, they tend to support me.
And so the truth is, we're going to stay out here working hard every single day so that people who maybe were introduced to me for the first time at that debate now get to know a little bit more about me.
These are important decisions. These are serious issues, and I want the American people to know as much about me as possible, actually.
WALLACE: Well, of course, with greater attention does come greater scrutiny.
Here's what you said about the political class in the debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FIORINA: If someone's been in a system their whole life, they don't know how broken the system is. A fish swims in water. It doesn't know it's water.
It's not that politicians are bad people. It's that they've been in that system forever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: To make your point, you say how long have we been talking about entitlement reform but doing nothing about it.
But, Ms. Fiorina, isn't that really less about being part of the system and more about the fact that there are really, you know, sizeable real differences between Republicans and Democrats?
How would you, as president, get those two sides, which both have their point of view, to compromise?
FIORINA: There are some real sizeable differences, for sure.
And the way I believe to bridge differences, the way to negotiate a good deal -- and a lot of politics is negotiation. I've done a lot of negotiating in my life.
You start out by stating very clearly what your principles are, what you must have, what your walk away position is. There can't be any misunderstanding about that. It can't be everything, but it has to be something.
And then you enter into an open-minded spirit of collaboration about everything else and try to find common ground. That's how I would work with members of Congress.
On the other hand, Chris, there are some issues about which there really is broad bipartisan agreement and yet nothing gets done.
How long have we been talking about broad bipartisan reform for tax reform?
It doesn't happen. Everybody says they want to secure the border. It doesn't happen. Everybody says our VA is a scandal. Nothing changes.
So, there are a lot of things about which there is actually agreement and nothing is happening.
WALLACE: I think it's fair to say your biggest moment of the debate was when you called for the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
Here that is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FIORINA: I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.
This is about the character of our nation and if we will not stand up and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: First of all, do you acknowledge what every fact checker has found, that as horrific as that scene is, it was only described on the video by someone who claimed to have seen it?
There is not -- no actual footage of the incident that you just mentioned?
FIORINA: No, I don't accept that at all. I've seen the footage. And I find it amazing, actually, that all these supposed fact checker in the mainstream media claim this doesn't exist. They're trying to attack the authenticity of the videotape.
I haven't found a lot of people in the mainstream media who've ever watched these things. I mean, they will claim somebody watched it for them.
I will continue to dare anyone who wants to continue to fund Planned Parenthood, watch the videotapes.
And anyone who wants to challenge me, first, is going to have to prove to me that they watched it.
WALLACE: You want to defund Planned Parenthood. So let's talk about what the organization actually does -- 4.4 million health services involving sexual diseases and infections, 3.5 million services in family planning, 935,000 services in cancer screening and prevention, 1.1 million other women's health services, and, yes, 327,000 abortions.
Ms. Fiorina, I understand that you want to end all abortions, but you're also willing to cut off funding for all of those HIV tests and breast exams?
FIORINA: Well, of course not. All of those things are important. I'm a breast cancer survivor and I've been engaged in programs that move aggressively into neighborhoods to make sure that all women are screened, every single one of those women's health services that you just described are vital to be continued, and, actually, vital to be expanded.
Of course we should be funding those things.
But I find it fascinating that Democrats will never support taxpayer funding, for example, for a women's health center right next door to a Planned Parenthood that would provide all those same services and also provide women an alternative to abortion.
Of course, those other services must be available to any woman and every woman. But that's not what this argument is about.
This argument is about whether or not, we, as a nation, are going to stand by while taxpayer money is being used to fund this kind of butchery.
WALLACE: You brought up the question of taxpayer. And you say that we should defund Planned Parenthood as part of the budget battle, which we're going to get in -- by the end of this month, even if that means that we end up with a government shutdown, regardless of who's responsible for that government shutdown.
Carol Tobias, who is the head of -- the president of National Right to Life, has just written a column in which she says that that -- a shutdown -- would be a big mistake, that it's more important to elect a pro-life president.
She writes, quote, "All of these goals are more easily and effectively achieved if the 71 percent of American voters opposed to a government shutdown aren't angry at the pro-life candidates running for president."
Is she wrong when she says a shutdown would be a mistake?
FIORINA: Well, I disagree with her on this, and I'll tell you why.
First, something very important has changed since the last government shutdown. What's changed is the Republican Party has historic majorities in the House and we now control the majority in the Senate.
A lot of people worked really hard out there in the nation to make that happen. I was one of them. And I think people worked hard because they expected a change based on that majority.
And I do think that people want to know what do we stand for? What does our party stand for? What do I stand for?
And I will say once again, President Obama can explain to the American people why it is so important to him to continue to fund this organization that no one denies is engaged in this kind of barbarity.
WALLACE: Ms. Fiorina, finally, I want to talk about your record as the CEO of Hewlett Packard, which you know will be a big issue in the campaign. Back when you ran for the Senate from California in 2010, Democrats ran an ad against you which a lot of people think sank you.
Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AD NARRATOR: Fiorina shipped jobs to China. And while Californians lost their jobs, Fiorina tripled her salary, bought a million dollar yacht and five corporate jets.
FIORINA: I'm proud of what I did at HP.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Question, why won't those same facts, 30,000 layoffs, a 45 percent drop in the value of HP's stock, why won't those sink you again, ma'am?
FIORINA: Well, first of all, politics is so often a fact-free zone and that ad is very misleading in many ways. And yes, all that's going to be brought up.
So, of course, it's important to remember that I led HP during the worst technology recession in 25 years. The NASDAQ, the technology heavy stock index, dropped by 80 percent. It took 15 years for that stock index to recover to its dot-com boom high.
WALLACE: But -- but if I -- but if I may --
FIORINA: The unemployment --
WALLACE: -- Ms. Fiorina --
FIORINA: -- rate in the technology --
WALLACE: Ms. Fiorina, if I may, though, you're -- you're kind of selective, because you're saying where the stock was, the NASDAQ dropped 80 percent in 2003.
By 2005, when you were let go, it had only dropped 23 percent, which was only half of what HP's stock had dropped at that point. You were twice as -- as bad in terms of the stock price as the market was in 2005.
FIORINA: Yes, and that technology heavy stock index dropped again. So I think if you look at it over 15 years, you will see that what I am describing is correct. You know, there are people who look at a stock one day at a time. I never led that way. The job of the chief executive is to build sustainable shareholder value over time. That is what we did.
The hardest thing for a chief executive to do is to tell someone that they don't have a job anymore. And that's why we provided the richest severance packages in the industry. It's way we provided employees with counseling so that they could go on and find another job.
But when you have a big bloated bureaucracy that costs too much, that is becoming inept -- and by the way, that's what we have in Washington, DC -- then there are some jobs that have to go away.
And I will say, as president of the United States, 256,000 baby boomers are going to retire out of the federal government in the next four or five years, I will not replace a single one.
WALLACE: Finally, there is a question that some of your rivals have brought up, and that is Iran. At the time you were the head of HP, there was a ban on any U.S. companies doing business with Iran, while you were the head of the company, a European subsidiary of HP sold hundreds of millions of dollars of computer equipment to Iran and the SEC ended up investigating HP for what it said was violation of the sanctions against Iran.
How do you respond to that?
FIORINA: Well, first, HP, you need to remember, was larger than each of the 50 states. It's a larger budget than any one of our 50 states and a global enterprise. And so it's impossible to ensure that nothing wrong ever happens.
The question is, what do you do when you find out?
In this case --
WALLACE: Did you say -- are you saying you didn't know about it?
FIORINA: Three years after -- in fact, the SEC investigation proved that neither I nor anyone else in management knew about it and the facts of the matter were the European subsidiary apparently was doing business with another company in the Middle East. That company was doing business with another company that was doing business with Iran. And when the company discovered this three years after I left, they cut off all ties with those companies.
The SEC investigated very thoroughly and concluded that no one in management was aware.
WALLACE: At the time, that company that was making the sales to Iran -- and you were the CEO of HP at the time -- was named the wholesaler, HP's Wholesaler of the Year.
So, how can it be that they were doing all this business with Iran, you were calling it the -- HP was calling it the Wholesaler of the Year and you didn't know what was going on?
FIORINA: The Wholesaler of the Year that you're describing was doing business with another company that was doing business with Iran. Clearly, that Wholesaler of the Year, which should not have been the Wholesaler of the Year, was not honest in their dealings with us and they were not honest in their dealings with this third company.
And that's why the dealings with this organization were cut off immediately. It is why the company cooperated with the SEC in a very thorough investigation. And it is why no charges were ever dropped -- were ever filed, because it became clear that this third company was not honest or trustworthy. Neither was the other organization that they were doing business with.
WALLACE: Ms. Fiorina --
FIORINA: It shouldn't have happened, obviously.
WALLACE: Ms. Fiorina, we're going to have to leave it there.
Thank you so much for talking with us.
FIORINA: Yes. OK.
WALLACE: And safe travels on the campaign trail.
FIORINA: Thanks, Chris.
WALLACE: Up next, we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss the latest controversy involving Donald Trump.
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about the changing space for the GOP race? Just go to Facebook or Twitter @FoxNewsSunday, and we may use your question on the air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a problem in this country: It's called Muslims. We know our current president is one. You know he's not even an American --
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need the question, the first question --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That's my question. When can we get rid of them?
TRUMP: We're going to be looking at a lot of things.
Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says bad or controversial about him? I don't think so, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Donald Trump last night defending how he handled that question at a New Hampshire town hall earlier in the week, and it's time for our Sunday group: Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume, USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers, strategist Karl Rove, and Charles Lane with The Washington Post.
Well, Trump's rivals jumped all over him when it came to the way he handled or didn't handle the question in that town hall meeting. And Hillary Clinton really let him have it. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He should have, from the beginning repudiated that kind of rhetoric, that level of hatefulness in a questioner in an audience that he was appearing before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Brit, given that, and you can see in the recent poll, 43 percent of Republicans say they think that Mr. Obama is a Muslim. Will this whole incident hurt Donald Trump or not?
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it certainly isn't going to hurt him with the hard-core supporters who are backing him now and probably because of the idea that you see reflected in the poll you just showed. It will, however, I think make some people look at him and say he is gaff-prone. This is -- he feeds ammunition to the other party and to his critics. If he were nominated, there would be no end to this. So, it may raise doubts about him, but I think the people supporting him are not going to be daunted by this.
WALLACE: We asked you for questions for the panel. We got this on Facebook from Richard McElrath. "Do you think Trump-fever has finally broken? Or do you anticipate he will continue to suck all the oxygen out of the race?"
There's some news this morning on new CNN poll that shows that Trump is at 24 percent, Fiorina now in second place at 15 percent. That is an 8 percent drop from a couple weeks ago for Trump and 12 percent rise for Fiorina from a couple weeks ago.
Karl, as I ask you this question, I should point out that Trump routinely calls you a total loser. But --
KARL ROVE, GOP STRATEGIST: No, no, no, please, please, get it right. I'm a total, complete, incompetent jerk. Get it right. Get it right.
WALLACE: But whatever, between the debate and the town hall incident, do you think that Trump trajectory has changed at all? How do you answer Richard? And how do you react to that poll?
ROVE: Well, I think it began several weeks ago when he made his originals comments about Fiorina saying, "Look at that face, look at that face," the interview that will that will be print indeed "Rolling Stone." I think it sort of begin to depict them, and we do have some evidence in this poll and there are some evidence in private polling that he has peaked and begun to decline.
If you look at it from a month ago, at CNN he's down six. Interestingly also Ben Carson is down five, the person who went up more than anybody else is Carly Fiorina, followed by Marco Rubio, who has gained eight points in the last month.
So, yes, I do think it's begun to fade. He's not going to disappear. He's going to continue to be a presence.
Let's just remember, we're at the beginning of this process. As of now in 2012, Rick Perry was ahead at 29.9 percent. We had seven more lead before it finally settled on Mitt Romney on February 28th of 2012. That's when the voting began in January. Now, it's going to begin in February.
If we have the same kind of situation where the lead goes back and forth, it will be March or April before we settle on the nominee.
WALLACE: There are other candidates in the race besides Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina. A lot of people thought that Marco Rubio had a good debate. As Karl mentioned, has gone up in the polls. A lot of people thought Chris Christie had a good debate. And Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz also had their moments.
Chuck, your sense of where this Republican race is now?
CHARLES LANE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: One of the things that's interesting about the numbers that Karl just referred to, they're still showing between 40 percent and 50 percent of the Republican electorate, favoring one or the other of the nonpolitical outsider, you know, people who haven't been in office before. Then you have the group, the Rubio, the Bush, the Kasich, Christie, coming up there.
What strikes me as interesting, Marco Rubio has come through the debate without doing any harm and a little bit of good. I think he's very well positioned to be the person, if anyone who sort of rises out of the pack when the fascination with the outsiders fades, as I think it inevitably will, certainly in the case of Trump. And so, Jeb is really challenged right now. He's sort of -- he's not fitting in anywhere in particular. It seems to me that Rubio is the one who is well positioned right now to pick up the pieces.
WALLACE: Meanwhile, there's a Democratic race as well, and in that race, Kirsten, Bernie Sanders is leading routinely, routinely getting much bigger crowds, routinely getting much more bigger crowds than Clinton is. How much trouble is Clinton in this and what is the latest on Joe Biden whether he's going to enter the race or not?
KIRSTEN WALKER, USA TODAY COLUMNIST: I think people are feeling more and more that it's more likely that Joe Biden will get in, but not s. But the sense is he's got to do it soon. I think there was some study that if he waited until the end of December, he would forfeit half of the delegates. So he would have to get in.
I think people are concerned about Hillary Clinton. That would be why there's this push for Joe Biden. There were 50 Democrats sent this letter to Biden, encouraging him to get in. Sanders is very strong, but he's very strong? New Hampshire and Iowa, these early states, but I think a lot of people feel once he starts moving into the south, it's not as friendly a territory, much friendlier to Hillary Clinton, so I think there's a question of whether he'll be able to expand that outside of these more predominantly white liberal areas.
WALLACE: Is the concern about Clinton specifically to the e-mail scandal and the some would say the way she's handled it, or more of a general sense she's not exciting both?
POWERS: I think both. I think the e-mail issue was the turning point, first of all, the campaign and her did not handle that issue properly, and it seems, to a certain extent she's not as up to the task as people were expecting. It's a bit of a rerun of 2008, where she doesn't seem to respond to questions quickly.
There seems to be an imperial attitude that she seems feels like she doesn't haven't to answer it, and people should be excited.
WALLACE: She spoke Friday at the University of New Hampshire, small room, 300 people, Bernie Sanders speaking there on Monday, already more than 1,000 people have signed up. So, there's just an enthusiasm gap.
All right. We have to take a break. We'll see you all later.
Up next, Pope Francis is in Cuba. Ahead of this historic trip to this country. We'll have a live report from Havana and preview the pope's potentially controversial U.S. visit. That's next.
WALLACE: A live look at Havana's Revolution Square where Pope Francis is celebrating a huge open-air mass. It's the pontiff's first trip to Cuba ahead of his historic visit to the U.S. Fox's Steve Harrigan is live in Havana with the latest on the pope's travel. Steve.
STEVE HARRIGAN, FOX NEW CORRESPONDENT: Chris, a sweltering morning here in Havana, but that has not slowed down the faithful or the curious who have streamed into Revolution Square by the tens of thousands in the early morning hours, predawn, some arriving at 3:00 a.m., people hoping to get a look at this first Latin-American pope and hear this open air mass which is under way now. The theme of the pope's visit to Cuba is mercy, mercy for the Cuban people and their struggles to survive, some on $20 or $25 a month, and mercy for the church here as well, which has seen much of its property confiscated after the Cuban revolution 50 years ago.
Relations between the church and the government have gotten much closer in recent years, especially after three papal visits. As far as the Cuban leader goes, Raul Castro, he was there at the airport to meet Pope Francis. He's had warm words of praise in the past for some of the pope's criticisms of the excesses of capitalism. He also took time to thank the pope for playing a key role in reestablishing relations between the U.S. and Cuba. The 50-year standoff, he said, the Cold War logjam was broken by this pope. And we've seen the two countries establish embassies just this summer. It's going to be a busy three days for this pope here on this island of 11 million people. He's going to give three open-air masses before heading to Washington on Tuesday. It's likely at some point he's going to meet with the ailing 89-year-old Fidel Castro, but one group he's not going to meet with, this, there are no public meetings scheduled between the pope and anyone who opposes the Castro regime. Chris, back to you.
WALLACE: Steve Harrigan, reporting from Cuba. Steve, thank you for that.
For a preview of the pope's next stop here in the U.S., I sat down earlier with two Catholic leaders, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, and Father Tomas Rosica, an adviser to the Vatican.
Your Reverence, Father Rosica, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
FATHER THOMAS ROSICA, ADVISER TO THE VATICAN: Thank you. It's good to be back.
WALLACE: Some Vatican watchers say this pope not only wants to change the church, he wants to change the world, which raises the question, how much of this trip, cardinal, is religious? And how much of it is about policy?
CARDINAL DONALD WUERL, ARCHBISHOP OF WASHINGTON: I think what he's trying to do is make this a better place. And that essentially is a religious action, bringing people to an understanding of the relationship to God and their relationship to one another. But that's going to have some political and some policy ramifications, to which I don't think he will be speaking, but he will call all of us to the pastoral and spiritual reality that we have to make this a better place.
WALLACE: Well, when you say make it a better place, he's been pretty frank and graphic about that. He has said the excesses of global capitalism are the dun of the devil. He has said that the excesses of environmental actions, the climate change is that we're making this planet into a pile of filth. How frank and blunt do you expect him to be especially when he addresses Congress?
WUERL: Well, when he addresses Congress, I wouldn't be surprised if he hear echoes of his encyclical (INAUDIBLE) on our coming home. And if you remember, in that letter he points out a lot of the problems, but he begins by saying we all have to come to the table, we all have to sit around the table recognizing the problems, but now work together to resolve them.
WALLACE: So, in that sense I mean it will be a political speech in the sense that he's going to be talking about issues that the politicians have to deal with?
WUERL: It will be a pastoral speech, it will be an announcement I believe of what our obligations are to one another. The political ramifications are a part of everything anybody says. And if he's speaking to Congress there will be the expectation that there would be policy that follows on this. But I don't expect him to be announcing policy.
WALLACE: Is it true that he's practicing English and that he intends to speak to congress in English?
WUERL: My understanding is he's going to read his talk in English, and it's completely appropriate that he would be reading in a language that isn't his first tongue, but that's what I'm told, it will be in English.
WALLACE: Republican Congressman Paul Gosar says that he plans to boycott the speech and he explained it this way, "When the pope chooses to act and talk like a leftist politician, then he can expect to be treated like one. Your response."
WUERL: I don't think the Holy Father is acting in any way other than as a pastor of souls. His message is interpreted by people in various ways, but everything I have heard him say sounds to me like he is a good shepherd, calling the flock. In this case he's calling the whole human flock to respond to real problems.
WALLACE: But in dealing with those real problems, Father Rosica, one thing about this pope, is that he is willing to step on feet on all sides of various issues. He's also going to be meeting with President Obama, and I don't have to tell you the Catholic Church is in something of a struggle with the Obama administration about the issue of religious freedom and the debate about the Obamacare mandate when it comes to contraception and insurance coverage of that, birth control by church-related groups. Do you expect him to bring that up with the president?
ROSICA: No, but what I do think is going to happen, his visit with President Obama, with other members of the government, is that he's coming as the cardinal said, as a pastor of souls, and his playbook for this visit, the lexicon, if you will, is not a political manual, it's not the handbook of a particular party, it's the gospel of Jesus Christ, which cuts across all divisions, which cuts across all of our categories. And the beauty of this pope is we can't pigeonhole him. He's a gentleman, he deals with heads of state with great grace and dignity. The visit to the White House, the president and his wife, and the whole team at the White House are doing a very good job, and they have a certain decorum that's required of them at that stage to welcome the pope as the greatest, I should say, not just the great, the greatest moral leader in the world right now, and this is an opportunity for the president and his whole team to welcome him and to listen to the message of a peacemaker. The backdrop of this whole visit is not what's happening in American politics or a presidential campaign. The backdrop is a world steeped in violence and bloodshed and rancor and hatred, and here we have coming to your city, to our diocese, a real prince of peace. If there's any princely title that should be associated with Francis, it's a prince of peace, it's a bringer of peace. And when peacemakers come, they upset those who are not at peace so if people are going to be upset in any side of the spectrum here, let them look inside themselves and see what those issues are first, because in the presence of Francis, as you know and as I know, you're in the presence of extraordinary goodness, of kindness, of intelligence and of humanity. So, humanity is coming to teach us how to be more human.
WALLACE: You talk about the decorum, particularly of the visit to the president and the reception at the White House. The administration has reportedly invited some transgender activists, the first openly gay episcopal bishop to come to the meeting, but so far there's no word that he – that they have invited some of the leaders of the pro-life movement to the welcoming ceremony, and some Vatican officials have expressed concern about that.
ROSICA: I can tell you this formally from the Vatican, as I have a certain title to bring news from the Vatican, that the Vatican never gets involved in the guest lists of heads of state, number one. And so if some Vatican officials unnamed have expressed concern, that's their issue, and they should come forward and give their name, but also this is not the purpose. There are 15,000 or so people invited to the White House and there are many pro-life people in that audience. I met a few coming here this morning. They are looking forward to it. They don't have press agents who are telling the world that they are invited to the White House. That's the problem. I was at the White House in 2008 when the president received Pope Benedict. And that's quite a big crowd. So to say that they have invited six or eight out of 15,000 really doesn't do justice to the 14,994 who represent the American people. And I applaud the White House for having such a wonderful reception.
WALLACE: Cardinal, there's also a battle going on, I don't have to tell you right now about Planned Parenthood and whether that should be defunded. And you have said that you believe the harvesting and use of fetal tissue is, in your word, heinous. Do you expect that to come up during the pope's visit?
WUERL: I expect that the Holy Father will probably focus, as he has done consistently in his pontificate on issues such as the dignity of every human person, the value and sanctity of life, but also on the development -- the social development that allows a life to fully develop. He will also speak, I would expect, to our common home. I see this thread running through his comments, whether they are his homilies, his talks, whether it is in the encyclical, that you have to start with human person, respect and care for every single human person, see that person in the context of a society that allows that person to develop and flower, and then care for the good earth that allows all of that to take place.
WALLACE: Finally, Father Rosica, and I think some people are surprised to find out, this is the first trip to the United States in this pope's life, not his papacy, his life, and some of his Argentine friends have been quoted as saying that he has concerns about some of the excesses, consumption, ecological of this country. Do you have any sense of how he views America?
ROSICA: He has great respect for America. He's looked at America from the outside, but one doesn't necessarily have experiential knowledge of every single place. I haven't been to many countries, but I have an idea of what's going on in that country. He's been well informed and surrounded by Americans. He belongs to an international religious order in which Americans have played a very key role, the Society of Jesus. He has wonderful bishop advisors and a few good cardinals that are working closely with them. And he knows, he's got the pulse of the church in America and of the people. He is very well-informed and very well-read. So, I have no doubt whatsoever that the talks he will give will reflect a knowledge. It doesn't have to be experiential knowledge of having visited the cities, but he knows what's going on in the cities, and the key is, he understands humanity. He understands human beings and suffering human beings, and they belong to every country in the world. There are part (INAUDIBLE) the whole world. So, we have somebody coming who is going to experience America up close and the wonders of Washington, and the other places, and he's not coming as a complete stranger.
WALLACE: Cardinal Wuerl, Father Rosica, thank you both so much. It's going to be an exciting week here in Washington, and we thank you for the preview.
WUERL: We're looking forward to it as well. Thank you.
ROSICA: Thank you.
WALLACE: When we come back, startling news about how many U.S.-trained Syrian fighters we have battling ISIS. We'll bring back the panel to discuss the Russian military buildup and a shift in administration strategy in Syria.
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SEN. DEB FISCHER (R-NE), ARMED SERVICES CMTE: Can you tell us what the total number of trained fighters remains?
GEN. LLOYD AUSTIN III, CENTCOM COMMANDER: It's a small number. And the ones that are in the fight is, we're talking four or five.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Well, an astonishing admission this week by General Lloyd Austin, the head of the U.S. Central Command about just how ineffective the administration program has been to train Syrian rebels to take on ISIS. Incidentally on Friday, the Pentagon said the number of trained Syrian fighters has now jumped from five to nine. And we're back now with the panel. President Obama had a $500 million program, $500 billion to train Syrian rebels. After spending $40 million, we now have it turns out nine trained Syrian rebels in the field, and the administration announced this week, well, they're going to change strategy. Is that a good idea?
HUME: Uh, I think so, because the chickens are coming home to roost on the current strategy. Not just with regard to the battle against ISIS, but the overall Syria policy. And here we have an excellent example of what happens in the world in far-flung places some times when the United States is not involved in leading. In Syria the United States -- it appeared the president was going to take the lead, he said Assad must go, he was prepared to mount an attack to deter the whole chemical weapons program. And then he just stopped short of that and turned it all over to Vladimir Putin whose influence in that region is growing and he is bound to be malignant.
And we're seeing on the shores of Europe the consequences of the mess in Syria, tragic circumstances, people dying in boats, in elsewhere, in significant numbers. It's a terrible mess, a humanitarian crisis, and, of course, on top of that we have the utter failure of the ISIS strategy.
WALLACE: After General Austin's testimony in Congress about the four or five fighters, now up till nine, the White House actually tried to disclaim responsibility for its own program. Here is White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Many of our critics had proposed this specific option as essentially the cure-all for all of the policy challenges that we're facing in Syria right now. That is not something that this administration ever believed, but it is something that our critics will have to answer for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Here's and I have to say in roughly 40 years here in Washington I have never heard that line of argument from the White House podium. We never wanted to do this, you made us do it, so now it's your fault?
POWERS: Yeah, well, it's a terrible argument. Look, and I think that they were never on board with this idea, because they were never on board with this idea they shouldn't have done it. That's the answer. It isn't that we went ahead and did something that we thought was a bad idea is a terrible argument. And I think that they were right the first time. I don't think it was a good idea. I think that their - this whole policy is incoherent, the idea that we're going to get rid of Assad and fight ISIS, well, they're enemies, first of all. If Assad leaves, there is no clear replacement. ISIS would be the obvious choice to move in. And so, when you look at the situation, there really aren't good answers. The people who are telling them send in the rebels, arm the rebels, arm the rebels, well, I don't think it's that surprising that it's turned out the way that it has turned out. And in fact, the Pentagon has said they've had the difficulty finding people who want to fight ISIS, because they want to fight Assad.
HUME: The president has spoken up for this program, he's defended it. He says it's the best way. So, was he lying the whole time about what he really thought about it? I hate to say it, but apparently so.
POWERS: I think it was a political decision. That's what I think. I don't think he ever bought into it.
WALLACE: Meanwhile, this weeks another - more alarming news, the Russians have moved in fighter jets, attack helicopters, tanks, armored personnel carriers into Syria. And after saying that they were going to isolate Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, the White House, the administration is reaching out repeatedly to Russia. Here is Secretary of State John Kerry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I spoke to foreign minister Lavrov again yesterday, the third time in less than a week. I made clear that Russia's continued support for Assad risks escalating the conflict.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Karl, a couple of questions. Whatever happened to our isolation strategy towards Putin and Russia after the Ukraine invasion? And secondly, is Russia now filling a vacuum in Syria that we left for them?
ROVE: Yeah, well, following the expulsion of the Soviet advisers from Egypt in 1973, Russia, the Soviet Union and then Russia have been out on the Middle East, and by the feckless foreign policy of this president, they're back in. 1,492 days ago, President Obama said Assad must go. Three years and one month ago today, he said if they use chemical weapons, it's a red line. If he had moved to remove Assad at either one of those points, two things would be reality today. ISIS would not be in the control of a great swath of Iraq and Syria, and Russia would not be re-emerging as an influence in the Middle East. Now, you mentioned a lot of equipment when you went through – the SU-27, flanker fighter bombers and tanks and so forth. You didn't mention one thing. The AU-22, surface-to-air defense system that the Russians have now put in Syria. Now, last time I looked, ISIS doesn't have an air force. That is a clear and provocative gesture towards the United States saying we will determine what happens in Syria, not you. You interfere from the air we have surface-to-air missiles which can take out your equipment. It is astonishing what a peace – what a place of weakness we have found ourselves in by this administration's missing …
WALLACE: You have Kerry reaching out to his counterpart, and you have Ashton Carter, the defense secretary
ROVE: Begging, begging, begging for them to talk to us. Which says we don't have a strategy, we're hoping they'll give us a strategy. We ought to be stepping back and figuring out what is in our best interests and what is the way for us to go about degrading ISIS and removing Assad from power, which this administration has declared as its goal.
WALLACE: Chuck, I don't mean this as a trick question, but can you explain what the U.S. policy is now in Syria towards Assad, towards ISIS, towards Russia?
LANE: No, I really can't. I mean there's a whole bunch of different contradictory goals. And in fairness, you know, you have evil people on both sides, neither of which we want to triumph. But I do - I guess I agree with the rest of the panel, even with all these difficulties they played that we can very, very poorly. And now, on top of everything else, Vladimir Putin is going to get an opportunity to launder his image internationally as the guy coming to ride to the rescue against the Islamic State. That's how he's going to spin the support for Assad. It's like the blow that will be struck against Islamic State. And all the stuff about taking over the Crimea and everything he's done in the Ukraine will go by the wayside. This guy has used Syria to destabilize and – the world, going all the way from the Middle East into Germany, because it's because of his support for Assad that the war was prolonged and all these refugees were forced out of the country. It's extraordinary.
ROVE: Well, and President Obama's fecklessness, let's not forget that.
WALLACE: OK. Duly noted.
ROVE: How could we?
WALLACE: Thank you, panel. We'll see you next Sunday.
And we'll be back in a moment with a program.
WALLACE: A look far outside the beltway, at the Alaskan Wilderness. We want to note today marks our 1,000TH "Fox News Sunday" since Tony Snow started here in 1996. We want to thank you so much for watching, and we promise to keep at it each and every week. For our 1,001st show next Sunday we'll have an exclusive interview with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. It's his first Sunday show interview since May. But that's it for today. Have a great week, and we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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