Inside the White House's strategy shift vs. ISIS in Syria: What does a Paul Ryan speakership mean for Washington?

Reaction from former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell


This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," November 1, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


Dozens of ground troops headed to Syria, marking a notable shift in the U.S. strategy to fight ISIS.

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

How much of an impact will President Obama's decision have? And will it change Russia's involvement? One of the best negotiators of our time, former Mideast peace envoy and Senator George Mitchell will join me in moments.

Plus, the new face of Congress looking to start fresh. We'll get - will we see more get done with Paul Ryan at the helm? I will talk with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

And how will changes in the fundraising race affect GOP presidential nominees, especially Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. Our panel on that as we look ahead this morning on "Sunday Morning Futures."

President Obama ordering boots on the ground in Syria. The White House planning to send fewer than 50 special operation forces there, marking the first time U.S. troops will be working openly on the ground in the war torn country. The White House saying that they will support local forces as they battle ISIS, but stressing this is not a combat mission. Critics, however, feel the move is being made without a clear U.S. strategy in Syria.

Joining us right now is former Democratic Senator George Mitchell of Maine, a former Senate majority leader himself and a former chairman of the Mitchell Commission. He's also the former U.S. envoy for Mideast peace.

Senator, good to have you on the program.


BARTIROMO: Thank you so much for joining us. Your observation on this troop new decision?

MITCHELL: I don't think it's a major shift, but it is a shift. And I think there's likely to be more of in the future. There is a strategy. Unfortunately, it isn't working, at least in a way - a successful and timely way as possible. And I think it's likely that there have been a substantial number of U.S. troops present in special forces and covert operations in the past. This is different because it's open and public and I think places a great focus on what we should or shouldn't do there.

BARTIROMO: There is a lot of confusion about what the strategy is. So much so that the White House comes out and says, look, we are sending these 50 special ops on the ground, but this is not a combat mission.


BARTIROMO: Can you explain that? If it's not a combat mission, what do you see it as?

MITCHELL: Well, I think it's intended to abet those who are engaged in combat, to make them more effective and efficient. That's at least the stated rational. But as we saw last week in the raid on the prison, there are Americans involved in what are truly an effectively combat missions. So that is likely to increase in a modest way, but I don't think you're going to see very large contingents of American groups, 10,000 or 20,000 or anything like that.

BARTIROMO: One - one of the criticisms or skepticisms from the military men and women that - that we have right now is a lack of strategy. Do you think that there is a clear strategy for our military right now in Syria and throughout the Middle East?

MITCHELL: Yes, it is to defeat ISIS and to combine American air power with ground forces from other countries to affect that result. When it's not working, people say you don't have a strategy. When it's working, even if you don't have one, if you're winning, that takes care of it.

I think the more difficult aspect of this is that we're going to face this for decades to come. There are internal conflicts within Islam, which we're now seeing manifested in Syria and Iraq and Yemen, to lesser extent in other countries in the region. There's a period of turmoil as the political order that was established after the First World War has effectively collapsed and there's now a new order taking place. And I think how we deal with this will be a training ground for how we deal with the same thing over many decades to come.

BARTIROMO: Why do you think the strategy has failed so far?

MITCHELL: Well, because, frankly, we don't have enough ground forces from people in the region who understandably want the United States to fight their battles. That's true of people around the world. We have the most effective, the most powerful military force in all of human history. We are the dominant world power. People around the world would like to harness American military power to achieve their goals. We have to be very careful about putting ground troops in. As we're seeing in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is very easy to start wars. It is very hard to get out of them.

BARTIROMO: But, I mean, if - if we know that the participation is not necessarily happening the way it should happen with our friends on the ground -


BARTIROMO: Then why are we pursuing this strategy? How will we defeat ISIS if, in fact, we don't have the wherewithal from our neighbors to put their forces on the ground?

MITCHELL: Well - well, first we have -

BARTIROMO: Or in the air for that matter?

MITCHELL: Let me put this in context. ISIS is a truly evil terrorist group. They want to return their religion to the manner in which was practiced during the life of the Prophet Muhammad. And that that - that's why you have all of the emphasis on beheadings and crucifixions and slavery, which existed widespread not just in Islam back in the 7th and 8th century, but don't exist now. They have to be defeated. But there is, I think, somewhat of an exaggeration of the threat that ISIS poses to the United States. They have been able to hold territory only in two places where a very specific set of circumstances exist. They are Sunni populated areas within countries whose governments are Shia and are seen by the Sunnis as sectarian and oppressive. They basically can't expand out of that mold. We do have to deal with them, but the people in the region who are most affected by them should be, in my judgment, more willing to put up ground forces and other military activities as well and we can't get ourselves in the position where we fight every war while the people on the ground there stand by.

BARTIROMO: Yes. No, you make a good point, it's just you keep coming back to the idea, but if - but it it's not happening -

MITCHELL: That's right.

BARTIROMO: What do we do now?

But let me - let me move on to the Iran deal and - and the latest out of Iran because an Iranian American obviously arrested in Iran. This is the first basically issue that we're facing since the - the nuclear deal was signed. Siamak Namazi, arrested and now being held in Iran, what are your thoughts on this?

MITCHELL: Well, I think Iran has the same internal dynamic that we do. A divided government. And one part of the government wants the deal. And one part of the government doesn't want the deal. And the part that doesn't want the deal controls the military and the judiciary and they're using that in the best way they can to defeat the deal, just as some Americans are saying we should cancel the deal.

Secondly, Iran has been a factor in the Middle East for 2,500 years. They have and they will continue to take actions that are contrary to our self- interest and we must resist them. But the fact is that Iran will be less effective in whatever they do, without a nuclear weapon, than they would have been with one. So the agreement, which was specifically focused on preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, was effective. And if complied with, will be effective. If it's not complied with, we retain all options, including the use of military force to prevent them from getting a weapon.

BARTIROMO: But we know that they still have the ability to enrich uranium. They still have the ability to ultimately get to a nuclear bomb. So, I mean- and then you're seeing things like this, you know, this arrest as well as death to America. I mean -


BARTIROMO: You have to go back and say to yourself, what are we doing?

MITCHELL: We - listen, Richard Nixon made a deal with the communist China. President Reagan made a deal with the communist Soviet Union. They were far more dangerous threats to our country than Iran ever was or will be. What were we doing then? We were taking steps in our national interest, even as we recognize that we were dealing with a hostile power who we must resist in other areas.

Let me just say on enrichment, they have agreed to reduce their stockpile of enriched uranium by 98 percent. They have agreed not to enrich beyond3.67 percent, which is far below weapons grade. Yes, they still can enrich. So can many countries in the world for private power uses and other nonmilitary uses. If they violate the agreement, we should retain all options. And we will be in a much better position if they violate the agreement now to assemble an international coalition against them, including the use of force if necessary, than if we had walked away from the agreement. Because let me make one final point. This is not just the United States and Iran in this agreement. This was the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France, and Germany.

BARTIROMO: Maybe, but the U.S. led it. Come on, senator.

MITCHELL: We did. Well, we -

BARTIROMO: The U.S. led it and the U.S. basic -

MITCHELL: We - absolutely.

BARTIROMO: They have - everybody else was looking to the U.S. to stay, what should we do.

MITCHELL: But the -

BARTIROMO: And the U.S. led it, wanted this deal to go through.

MITCHELL: I wish it were true that China and Russia look to the U.S. and say, what we should do on all issues, but that's not the case. However, let me just say that the fact is that Iran's capacity, breakout capacity to get a nuclear weapon, if they go all out, which was two or three months, is now more than a year. We retain all rights, including the right to use military force, if they violate the agreement.

BARTIROMO: And, by the way, you believe them? You, George Mitchell, believes them, that they're going to -

MITCHELL: No, I don't. I don't believe or trust them. I think they will test it as - push it as much as they can. And as I said earlier, they have a substantial faction in their government which opposes the agreement, which regards it as a sellout to the United States. So the question is, do the leaders, the Ayatollah Khamenei and President Rouhani, have the common sense to make the same judgment that dozens of other countries in the world have made? Dozens of countries have the capacity to make nuclear weapons.

BARTIROMO: We'll see.

MITCHELL: And they are voluntarily decided not to do so because it's in their interest and that's the best decision for Iran.

BARTIROMO: Senator, good to have your insight. Thanks very much.

MITCHELL: Thank you, Maria.

BARTIROMO: Good to see you, as always.


BARTIROMO: Senator George Mitchell there.

The man who said over and over again he did not want the job, speaker of the House, now has the job. We'll take a look at some of the biggest challenges Paul Ryan will face going forward with one of his predecessors, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with me next.

Tell us what you'd like to hear from Newt Gingrich on Twitter @mariabartiromo, @sundayfutures. We'd love to hear from you.

Stay with us as we look ahead this morning on "Sunday Morning Futures."


BARTIROMO: A new day on Capitol Hill, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan sworn in as speaker of the House, replacing Speaker John Boehner. Speaker Ryan immediately pledged to change business as usual on Capitol Hill. So will that promise become a reality? Want to talk about that with someone who knows the job firsthand. He is the author of the new thriller, "Duplicity." He is Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House and a Fox News contributor.

Sir, good to see you. Thanks so much for joining us.


BARTIROMO: Let's talk about Paul Ryan and what he brings to the table. Will he be able to carry through on these promises?

GINGRICH: Oh, I suspect he will. I - you know, you've got a taste of Paul Ryan this morning on Twitter. He sent out the new speaker's chair, which happens to be his deer hunting stand near Janesville, and I thought it actually captured a lot about Ryan, both his sense of humor but also where he's rooted. He's going to be different than John Boehner. He's going to be different than Newt Gingrich. He will be a very unique guy. The youngest speaker I think since 1873. He brings a tremendous commitment of energy and he has been thinking about public policy ever since he first worked for Jack Kemp over 20 years ago. So I think he's going to be a very, very impressive national leader.

BARTIROMO: Yes, I love - I love the fact that you bring in, you know, a fresh face and the - the - his age. You say, you know, the youngest speaker ever. Tell us - talk a bit about that. Why do you think that's important? Do you think at this point we need a fresh face, different thinking from a younger generation?

GINGRICH: Well, I think it's very telling, for example, in the presidential race that you have both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, who are both 44 years old. And part of what it means, I think, is, you're getting a new generation of ideas, you also get a new generation of energy. I mean the simple objective fact is that Paul Ryan has the sheer physical energy and, of course, he is a very intense workout enthusiast and has a very, very demanding regime of exercise. Now, this is a guy who's going to have the sheer energy, which is important. It's a - it's a comment Donald Trump had made that people undervalue. If you're trying to really change things, you've got to have a lot of energy because you're running into resistance.
You have all sorts of opposition. You have inertia.

And what Ryan will be able to do, I think, is bring new ideas and new approaches. Notice the speech he gave on Thursday was very low key, he was very humble and it talked about the whole house. It was not a partisan Republican right wing speech. It said to every member in both parties, we can come together, we can work together. He even said, we ought to pray for each other. Democrats and Republicans should pray for each other. That - and I don't know whether he was moved by Pope Francis in that concept, but I do think that that's the tone that is such a dramatic break from the last
10 or 12 years that it will be interesting to see him think methodically. And he will be. He'll be thinking very methodically out on that deer stand while he waits for the deer to show up. He's going to be thinking about, how can I turn these words into reality. And if he can do that, it will be a very different House of Representatives a year from now.

BARTIROMO: We were just looking at the picture of the - of the deer stand that you were referring to. And this, of course, was Paul Ryan's tweet that you just referred to.

But you know, Mr. Speaker, there are - there are - there's a tone and then there are actually the numbers, right?


BARTIROMO: So when - when the Republicans took control of Congress back in November, everyone - a lot of people were very optimistic and hopeful that a lot would get done. And what did John Boehner run into? The fact that, you know, a lot of bills passed in the House, but they could not get them through the Senate. Will Paul Ryan be able to have the alliances and the support in the Senate to actually put bills on the president's desk?

GINGRICH: Well, I think partly he'll be pretty able to work with the Senate, but partly I think Paul understands, as his mentor Jack Kemp and Kemp's mentor Ronald Reagan believed, that you really bring up a bill that's popular at the grassroots and let the grassroots move the Senate. Paul Ryan, as speaker of the House, doesn't have much stroke in the Senate. But Paul Ryan is a national figure who can use social media and can use television to reach millions of voters, could have a lot of influence on the Senate.

They've - they've got three big challenges. How do you keep the right wing inside the tent? How do you get things through the Senate? And how do you force Obama either to sign or veto them in such a way that it strengthens you for 16? Ryan's great goal has to be to help the Republicans win the presidency, keep the Senate, and then have an amazing first six months of 2017. He has the ability, I think, to do that.

BARTIROMO: What do you think will be top on his agenda? A lot of business people, economically minded people that I've spoken with want to see tax reform. Do you think we will see tax reform actually materialize in, for example, the first year of the next president's term?

GINGRICH: I think that could happen. And I'll give you something that - that is sitting on the table that Donald Trump talked about and that people really undervalue, which could be a very clean shot, and if it was organized right, you'd have enormous pressure to pass it. And that is the fact that there's - there's somewhere between $2.5 trillion and $4 trillion tied up overseas because the American tax code for businesses is so high that it punishes businesses to bring the money home. Now, if you could go to one time deal to bring $2.5 trillion to $4 trillion of capital back into the United States, and, one, you'd have a fair amount of money coming into the treasury, even at a low rate, but, two, you would really jump start the economy and create a lot of jobs. And I think you could build a very big coalition around a very simple commitment. One specific tax reform, bring the money home so we can invest it in America again.

BARTIROMO: And you think that will be - that - and you think a change in tax reform will, in fact, happen?

GINGRICH: I think -

BARTIROMO: Sooner rather than later?

GINGRICH: That could even happen early -

BARTIROMO: That - that's the question.

GINGRICH: I think that could happen early - that could happen early next year and I think it could be a very potent issue that will be pretty hard for people to oppose.

BARTIROMO: Newt Gingrich, good to have you on the program. Thanks so much.

GINGRICH: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: We'll see you soon, sir.

Up next, Russia stepping up its military involvement in Syria, posing new challenges to the U.S. and other world powers. Garry Kasparov is with us. He knows Russia inside and out. He is on deck.

We're looking ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures." We'll be right back.


BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

World powers wrapping up meetings in Vienna to discuss the crisis in Syria. For the first time, Iran's foreign minister took part in the talks, along with Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia's foreign minister as well. This as Russia ramps up its military involvement in Syria, delivering weapons for the regime and flying warplanes near U.S. ships.

My next guest is the author of "Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must be Stopped." He is Garry Kasparov. He's the chairman of the New York based Human Rights Foundation and a former world chess champion.

Garry, good to see you.


BARTIROMO: Thanks so much for joining us.

I want to get your take on the Iran deal. So put that aside for a moment because I know that you have some follow-up on the interview with George Mitchell. But first, your assessment and observation of the president now sending these 50 special operations on the ground to Syria.

KASPAROV: OK. It's not going to change anything on the ground. It's like a gesture. It's more like, you know, a PR stunt rather than an attempt to change the situation on the ground. And also telling that these 50 special groups who have no combat mission, tell ISIS about it, tell Assad about it.
Obama does very little and nothing that works, as usual.

BARTIROMO: The - you know, Fox News first reported that the Russians are transporting Iranian weapons by air into Syria on - on registered flights. Sources say this has been happening for the past few weeks. Give us your sense of - of the operation right now with obviously Vladimir Putin pushing the U.S. out of the way with its own air strikes.

KASPAROV: Absolutely. And it's - it's - it's the - it's Putin's strategic goal to create chaos in the region. And I have to say that he's quite successful. The same for Iranians. They're looking for - you know, to become a dominant force. And so far either no one is opposing them and with the United States on retreat, I'm afraid that soon we'll see the entire region ablaze.

And let's not forget, it's not just about, you know, Sunnis versus Shias, Alawites. It's not different, you know, Arab nations in the region. Israel is next door. And, of course, the moment Israel is involved and Hezbollah is already, you know, fighting there. And Hamas now started new attacks. You know, we have a new intifada. It seems to me that the - the - the - Putin's game plan will - will be just to bring Israel in this mess as well.

BARTIROMO: This is such an important point, Garry, you're right. And, you know, when I look at the story, taking a few steps back, it feels like the wheels are coming off of this operation. I mean you just heard George Mitchell talking about the globe and that it's not just about the U.S. as it relates to this Iran deal, that it's all these other superpowers and yet all of these negative things coming out of Iran and an Iranian American businessman being jailed, what's your sense of that - of what George Mitchell just said?

KASPAROV: Look, I think it's a fantasy, you know, talking about a powerful faction to rein in government that is opposing the deal and continuing to sell out to Americans. I heard the stories about doves (ph) and hawks (ph) (INAUDIBLE). At the end of the day, you know, they just - they can play all- all sorts of games. But I think they were very happy with the deal and they're pushing even further because America proved to - to be ready to give up almost everything and now these so-called talks and negotiations in Vienna, it's the best cover-up for - for Putin and - and ayatollahs to continue their march in - in the Middle East.

BARTIROMO: Yes, but, you know, Senator Mitchell just made the point that other world leaders in the past have done deals with evil. And, you know, this is what we should have been doing.

KASPAROV: But - but I have to correct senator. President Reagan has not made a deal with Gorbachev. In fact, he rejected the deal in Reagan(INAUDIBLE) 1996. And that was the beginning of (INAUDIBLE). Two weeks after returning from (INAUDIBLE) in 1996, Gorbachev called (INAUDIBLE) and brought him back from the exile.

BARTIROMO: What do you think the next year looks like under President Obama's leadership in terms of our strategy in the Middle East?


BARTIROMO: Now with Russia very much involved.

KASPAROV: More conflicts. It's - it's - we know from history that appeasement killed more people than deterrence. And it seems that, you know, Putin and ayatollah, they - they - they're in the mood to - to continue their attacks and I think that the war all against all, unfortunately, is a reality. And while Senator Mitchell correctly stated that the ISIS controlled territories populated by Sunnis and it was a Sunni in Iraq versus Shia government, Baghdad (ph), -- or Sunnis in Syria versus Alawites, Alawites in Damascus, he probably, you know, he omitted the fact that there's a big Sunni state down south, Saudi Arabia. And we - we could see that Putin has not bombed ISIS. ISIS, by the way, is gaining ground since Putin started his attack. Putin has been steadily bombing pro- American, pro-western opposition. And I think that he and the Iranians, they have a plan of pushing ISIS south against Saudi Arabia because that could, you know, realize Putin's biggest dream, to blow up Saudi Arabia and to push oil prices up.

BARTIROMO: We - it reminds me of what Mitt Romney said during the last election. Mitt Romney said that, you know, it's Putin that we have to worry about and, frankly, President Obama laughed at him.

KASPAROV: And - and we could see the result of this laughter.

BARTIROMO: Yes, we sure can.

Garry, good to see you.

KASPAROV: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: Thank you so much. Garry Kasparov joining us there.

GOP presidential campaigns holding a special meeting this evening and the RNC is not invited. What they will be discussing as we look ahead next on "Sunday Morning Futures." We'll catch up with our panel, next.


BARTIROMO:  Welcome back.  

Republican presidential campaigns will gather in Washington this evening to discuss the debate process.  This after the most recent debate on CNBC sparked backlash against the moderators with some critics accusing them of bias and "gotcha" questions.  Not showing up to the meeting tonight, RNC officials.  
So can the presidential campaigns alter their party's debate process?  We want to bring in our panel right now.

Ed Rollins is former principal White House advisor to President Reagan.  He has been a long-time strategist to business and political leaders.  He is a Fox News political analyst.

Tammy Bruce is with us this morning, a radio talk show host, we're thrilled she's here, Fox News contributor as well.  

And Alan Colmes is the host of the "Alan Colmes Radio Show."

Good to see everybody.  Thanks so much for being here.

Ed, what do you think goes on at that meeting tonight?  

ED ROLLINS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST:  I think a lot of rhetoric.  I think, at the end of the day, it's up to the RNC to step in and defend its clients, which are the candidates.  And they haven't done this from the beginning.  

And if Carson and Trump don't show up at this meeting tonight, doesn't matter.  They're the ones that basically do the draw.  So my sense that a bunch of people aren't going to be a factor in the long term saying I want to do something different is not going to make a difference.

BARTIROMO:  Well, I guess when you say you want to do something different, what does that difference mean?  

ROLLINS:  Well, they didn't like the moderators.  And I think the format, a 30-second answer to a big question is not serious.  You've already made that determination here and when you moderate the debate, it's got to be more substantive.  

I think the problem with this debate was you had a couple of -- biggest audience ever for CNBC but you had people on there who were trying to enhance themselves as opposed to get questions to the candidates.

BARTIROMO:  And of course, now we know, Tammy, that the RNC has pulled the next debate from NBC News, which is a huge thing for NBC News.  

I felt like what we're missing right now is we're losing sight of the fact that the reason that we do these debates, these debates are an opportunity for the moderators to help voters, help viewers better understand each candidate's positions.  That's what it is about.

TAMMY BRUCE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  Well, with NBC, Reince Priebus said that he suspended the next one with them.  He didn't say he canceled it.

So he's leaving the door open.  And I think one of the main problems is that when you have NBC or moderators who are clearly as biased, I mean, the train wreck of that last debate was ridiculous.  

But when you -- finding out what the candidates really think is beneficial, right, for the candidates, for the American people.

But there is a point where, if you're biased, that you don't want the American people to hear some real actual answers and that's what has now permeated some of these things.  

Obviously with the Fox Business debate, they'll find out how it is really to be done.  I think it will be beneficial for Americans across the board.  

But it is good, by -- NBC as a network should have never had any of these debates and now we're finding out why.  

Whether or not Reince Priebus has the courage to directly cancel, why there's not necessarily a talk radio debate, talk radio moves the conversation in this country.  I know I believe Rush Limbaugh suggested and Rick Santorum has.

So there is a lot of different possibilities.  And this is something that will be good tonight for the candidates to get together and their teams to decide how to -- what to push for effectively.

BARTIROMO:  Well, I'll be co-moderating the next debate with Neil Cavuto and Jared Beeker (ph) from "The Wall Street Journal" on November 10th.  And we've made a determination, we're sticking to the issues, that we want to help the viewer and the voter better understand how each candidate's position differentiates from the next one -- Alan

ALAN COLMES, RADIO PERSONALITY:  I think that CNBC debate was a bad debate, I'm one of the -- I may have a unique position on this.  I think even the question about fantasy football, should the government regulate it, should-- the Internet, where should it stop regulation.

I think the Republican Party should stop whining about tough questions where each of the questions seem to attack each candidate's most vulnerable parts, vulnerabilities, and that's the way it should be.  

I think the debate was a good one and revealed a lot about the character and the personality of these candidates, something you want to know about someone who is going to be President of the United States and the RNC is making a huge error and NBC smartly reminded them, by the way, we also have Telemundo, so if you want to suspend NBC, you're going to diss a whole group of Hispanics, who might watch you on Telemundo.  It was a really bad move by Priebus to do what he did and suspend it.

BARTIROMO:  Well, when you say, you know,  I mean, things like comic book campaign, I mean, which was one of the questions to Donald Trump --

COLMES:  That's a fair question.  

BARTIROMO:  -- you think that's a fair question?

COLMES:  -- there is a narrative about Donald Trump, that he is like that and for him to address it, I think, is significant and important.  I think it is a valid question.

ROLLINS:  There is too many people on the stage.  Ten people is not a fair, whether it is two hour or three hours and two hours is way too long.  You've got to give people an opportunity to respond.  And 30 seconds is not proper response.

But out of every debate there are winners.  And there were a couple of winners and a couple of losers who came out of this debate, in spite of CNBC.  I think that Rubio did extremely well and I think Bush did very poorly.  That's sort of the dialogue.  Cruz came out very strong; I think, to a certain extent, John Kasich, who I like very much, was -- started off well but didn't -- so people get to make an impression and it is not just a question of the answers at the end of the day.  It is what is the sound bite, the impressions that people have of people and I think Rubio did very well.

BRUCE:  One of the suggestions for change is to randomly choose a group of five and have it be the earlier debate and then the later debate, not to have a main one.  So you have an interesting mix of people, separated from each other, so that you have a smaller group on the stage and you can have a more substantive conversation.  

But the moderators are key.  No matter how many are on that stage, if you have a group of moderators who don't care, who have their own agenda, it is going to be a mess.

BARTIROMO:  Yes.  Well, I mean, we certainly saw a lot of mixed reviews post --

COLMES:  Now you have Ben Carson saying, well, let's not even do it on television, which of course is ridiculous; you have Donald Trump saying we should have only Republicans question Republicans, which doesn't sharpen a candidate as much as the candidate would be --

BARTIROMO:  Well, what about the Democratic debates?  The Dem debates, I know that the next Democratic debate will be moderated by Rachel Maddow of MSNBC.

COLMES:  Well, and you have a Republican debate on CNN, which was moderated in part by Hugh Hewitt.  And he comes back to -- so, you know, either you have objective moderators or you have -- but both parties have had people of their own ilk moderate the debate.

BARTIROMO:  Because I think the Democratic debate, they don't want a Republican asking the questions.  And the DNC will push back.

COLMES:  But the RNC, again, had Hugh Hewitt and goes -- tried to have -- they're now whining about fair and balanced --


ROLLINS:  I go back to the point, someone is going to come out of that debate as a winner and they did, just as someone will come out of your debate as a winner and it is because whoever can answer the question most can make an impression.  

You don't walk off with a five-minute policy speech in a debate.  You basically make an impression.  And again, they had an opportunity to make an impression, Jeb Bush was the big loser.  People expected him to step into this thing and I think he's been hurt badly --

BARTIROMO:  And I looks like Paul Singer (ph), one of the big donors, is actually moving his money from Jeb Bush to Marco Rubio.  

We'll get back to this but Howard Kurtz is covering this on "MediaBuzz", top of the hour.  Check in with Howie right now to find out what's coming up at -- in about 20 minutes.

Howie, good morning to you.


Well, I don't give the CNBC debate mixed reviews.  I think it was a unmitigated disaster for the network.  We're going to drill down and get different viewpoints on how that debate went off the rails and why the RNC at least now threatening to pull NBC's debate next February.  

Also, Bob Woodward is my special guest and he'll talk about how he would cover the 2016 campaign, everything from Donald Trump's wealth to Hillary Clinton's e-mails, using the techniques he perfected, of course, back during Watergate.

BARTIROMO:  All right. We will be there, Howie. We'll see you in about 20 minutes on "Media Buzz." Thank you.

Up next, Speaker Paul Ryan calling the House "broken." Will his solutions be a temporary Band-aid or a long-term fix? Our panel tackles that, as we look ahead this morning on "Sunday Morning Futures."


BARTIROMO:  "Ridiculous." That is what House Speaker Paul Ryan is calling any attempt to work with President Obama on immigration reform, saying that the president cannot be trusted on the issue, this after Mr. Ryan pledged to work with Democrats and start fixing the broken House, as he called it.

I want to bring in our panel once again, Ed Rollins, Tammy Bruce, Alan Colmes.

Wow. He said that this morning, that the president's stance on immigration cannot be trusted and it's ridiculous.

ROLLINS:  First of all, the House is not broken. The House has a Republican majority and the Republican majority is not getting its way, and there is a certain segment of the Republicans, about 40 members, that aren't happy. They're more conservative than the more moderate members; they have to argue that inside.

The truth of the matter is we just passed a gigantic budget deal in which a majority of Republicans and Democrats weren't involved in the deal and didn't vote for the deal, and yet the Senate leadership and the House leadership and the president (inaudible) got what they wanted.

It's an $80 billion increase. They basically lifted the sanctions and they now -- the debt ceiling is not a tool anymore...


ROLLINS:  ... and they weren't involved in this debate. And that's what they're unhappy about. And they should be unhappy about it.

BARTIROMO:  Tammy, what about this -- on immigration, though?

BRUCE:  Well, look, that was one of the promises we heard that he made to the House Freedom Caucus, that he would not engage in immigration with the president. So as he was managing to get the votes to be elected, he needed to make that pledge.

BARTIROMO:  OK, that's the point.

BRUCE:  He didn't have to make many pledges, but that was making a lot of people nervous, right? So this makes sense.

Plus, the next year is an audition by the Republican Party for the American people. This is not the time to take on your big issues. He's got 12 months effectively. It's got to be showing the American people the Republicans can get some work done, that they know what they're doing, that they can operate and actually govern. It doesn't mean you need to solve all the world's problems. Then, after the election, then we can kick into it and then we can have those fights.


COLMES:  This shows that they can't govern. This is exactly the opposite. This is a problem -- this is why government is broken; it's not -- if not the House itself, when the first thing out of the speaker's mouth is "ridiculous" to work with the president on immigration, simply because he did executive orders. And when the president issued those executive orders, he begged Congress to do something about it. "Go ahead, change it; do something; let's have comprehensive immigration reform. If you don't like my executive orders, let's go and let's come together on legislation."

For Ryan to say this is the worst possible thing he could be saying...


BRUCE:  Alan gets a gold star...

BARTIROMO:  ... together for President Obama?

ROLLINS:  This president has not worked this Congress since the beginning.
He basically passed the most major...

BRUCE:  Alan, really? I mean, really? Good try.

COLMES:  Yes, absolutely.

ROLLINS:  ... and didn't wait for one single vote, didn't make a deal to get one single Republican vote. No major overhaul of any legislative issue in the last 50 years has ever been done without some bipartisan support. He doesn't care about bipartisan support.

BARTIROMO:  That's true, Alan.

COLMES:  It works both ways. The first -- you have a new speaker, an opportunity for a new relationship, but the first word he uses is "ridiculous" to work with the president.

BARTIROMO:  But Tammy makes the right point, this is a pledge that he had made and he...

COLMES:  Yeah, well, that's the problem.

BARTIROMO:  ... everybody knew going into it.

COLMES:  That's the problem. He's beholden to the far right of the Congress, and that's why nothing is going to get done.

BRUCE:  Now, look, here -- we know Congress has a -- what is it, a 17 percent approval rating? The American people gave Congress to the Republicans because they wanted, in part, Obama stopped or slowed down. They didn't want -- and what the Congress has done instead is help move Mr.
Obama -- President Obama's agenda.


BRUCE:  That is what the American people seem to be unhappy about. They want this to be a slower process; they want what Mr. Obama is doing to be stopped.

BARTIROMO:  And they certainly don't want the executive orders.

COLMES:  And that's why the president has a 51 percent rating and Congress has something like a 17 percent rating.

ROLLINS:  Well, at the end -- at the end of the day, it took Ronald Reagan six years -- six years -- to get the '86 immigration bill through. He worked with it. It was a bipartisan effort and it's still the law of the land. This president basically didn't get his way and he said "I'm going to do it by executive order." The courts have now said "Your executive orders are unlawful" and he basically isn't getting anything.

COLMES:  But Tip O'Neill was willing to work with Reagan, unlike this new speaker.

ROLLINS:  Tip O'Neill had no choice. I was there. Tip O'Neill had 80 -- 70 to 80 of his members who voted with Reagan on national defense, tax issues, what have you. And so you think the 40 are bad for Paul Ryan and the president? Tip O'Neill never had control of his own caucus.


BARTIROMO:  I'm glad you mentioned Tip O'Neill because this brings me to economics, which we're going to get to in the next segment, and that is the tax plans. And I know that there was a real break in the Tip O'Neill relationship when it was clear that in fact raising taxes was the wrong move. But we'll get to that in the next segment.

Go ahead.

BRUCE:  Yeah, just, this is about governing. Who wants to govern? Reagan liked to govern. Barack Obama likes to dictate. That's the difference.

COLMES:  Oh, that's absurd. Of course he wants to govern.


COLMES:  The first thing that the Senate -- leader of the Senate said when Obama was elected was "My political goal is going to be to get him out of office and not work with him." I mean, that's exactly what Mitch McConnell said the minute Obama was elected. There was never an attempt on the part of Congress to work with this president.

BARTIROMO:  We'll take a short break on that note. Will positive news on the economy at the end of the third quarter mean a strong jobs report this upcoming week? We'll talk jobs, as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures," next.


BARTIROMO:  Welcome back. A big week for business. We will get the October jobs report on Friday, 185,000 new jobs expected, with the unemployment rate expected to hold steady at 5.1 percent. Our panel is back, Ed Rollins, Tammy Bruce, as well as Alan Colmes.

Let's talk the economy for a second because jobs and wages, number one issue, according to the polls, for the American people. How do you characterize things right now?

ROLLINS:  Well, there's still -- it's still flat. I mean, there's just -- no matter what they say, and everybody wants to shift back to middle-class focus, it is not a positive economic news on any front. You know, you can spin it any way you want to, but I don't think there's a confidence out there that things are getting better, that people are going back to work in greater numbers than the -- than the minimal numbers that are out there.

BARTIROMO:  And so all of these candidates, Alan, have to make the case that in fact it hasn't been an economy that is in slow-growth-motion for the last seven years?

COLMES:  Well, all the Democrats has to say, "Look at the last time we had a Republican president and see what was happening at the end of that presidency and look at where the economy is now."

BARTIROMO:  But what about looking at Obama's economy?

COLMES:  Well, look -- look what's happened since...

BARTIROMO:  That's what I'm talking about, Obama's economy.

COLMES:  ... the beginning of 2009 and over the last seven years. We've gone from over 10 percent unemployment to, like, 5-point-whatever percent.
Mitt Romney said, if he were elected, he'd have it at 6 percent by the end of his first term. It happened in this presidency much -- much sooner.

ROLLINS:  But 92 million people are out of the work force.


ROLLINS:  You keep forgetting that.

BARTIROMO:  That, and let's not forget 40 percent of working-age Americans have actually given up. I mean, you know, the participation rate?

BRUCE:  Yeah, look, if you -- you can spin many things, like what's happening in the Middle East. You can talk about things that people don't know about in their personal lives on a day-to-day basis. But when you hear about how the economy is fine and unemployment's really, really low, and you've been unemployed for three years; your wife is unemployed; you're working two part-time jobs, you know that's the point where -- and this is where it's dangerous, where you're being effectively lied to.

This is on a daily dynamic. The effect of receiving the unemployment check has a psychological effect on people. It's only at 5 percent because so many have dropped out of the work force. The American people know this one daily on a personal level, and nothing that the Democrats say is going to change that.

BARTIROMO:  How can Hillary Clinton make the case that an economy and job creation will be better under her leadership when we know she was just part of the Obama administration?

COLMES:  You just look what happened the last time we had a Republican president. They're coming forward with the same formulas, lower taxes. It's the same thing, and we have a wartime track -- you know, more wars...

BARTIROMO:  But the president's strategy has not worked, Alan. That's the point.

COLMES:  I don't agree with that. How can it -- how has it not worked...

BARTIROMO:  The African-American population, for example, worse off than they are today than they were seven years ago. Wages haven't moved in seven years.

COLMES:  It would have been a lot better if we shoved more money into the economy quicker, but the Republican Congress wouldn't allow that, and if we actually created a jobs program and put people to work building bridges...


ROLLINS:  Excuse me...

BARTIROMO:  But we're not creating jobs.

ROLLINS:  And that's because the Republicans...


BRUCE (?):  The reality of it is that Obama didn't do any of this, Alan.

ROLLINS:  What happened to the giant stimulus program in the first -- which, again, no Republican votes -- that basically was going to turn the thing around in the first term, and it didn't happen -- first year. There's more people out of work today than ever before and there's more women out of work and more minorities. And you can spin it any way you want to, but Americans don't feel better about things...

BRUCE:  The question that is asked is the perfect one still: Are you better off now than you were four years ago? And that's a question every single American can answer. Hillary Clinton is running as the third term of this current administration. She's got a lot to answer to. She might try to tack away from that, but she can't avoid it. She represents the theory that has destroyed American lives.

BARTIROMO:  All right. We want to get the one thing that's most -- go ahead, Alan.

COLMES:  One reason we have a lot more people who are not working, we have a larger older population that are retires, military coming back from wars who aren't working. We've got a number of people who would otherwise be working, but look at the aging demographics of the baby boom generation. That has to be figured in.

BARTIROMO:  Alan, you've got to also take a look at the fact that the business section does not want to hire because of the cost of Obamacare, because of the cost of regulation. This is not, sort of, an opinion. This is fact.

COLMES:  How do you account for the much better unemployment rate and the much -- that we've had in the last four or five years -- or six years? I mean, you can't just write it off and say it's because nobody is working.

BARTIROMO:  Right, unemployment has improved.

ROLLINS:  Yes, you can. You need -- you re-think that statistic, how you measure it. It's an old -- it's an old statistic that isn't relevant today. And I think that's the bottom line here.

BARTIROMO:  All right. The one thing to watch in the week ahead and the weeks ahead, next on "Sunday Morning Futures." We'll check in on our panel with that. Stay with us.


BARTIROMO:  Welcome back. I'm geared up for the next presidential debate.
That's on November 10th on the Fox Business Network. Join me for that with Neil Cavuto.

What are you watching going forward, Alan?

COLMES:  RNC, NBC. Make nice, hearts. Going to happen.

BARTIROMO:  Tammy Bruce, what are you watching?

BRUCE:  More details regarding the Russian airliner that was shot down over the Sinai Peninsula and Russia's reaction, considering their relationship, of course, with another commercial airliner that was shot down over Ukraine.

BARTIROMO:  Ed Rollins?

ROLLINS:  The Mets making the greatest comeback in history. They have great...


... and win this thing 4-3.


BARTIROMO:  Oh, the World Series. I'm watching the jobs number, obviously.
That comes out on Friday.

ROLLINS:  Go Mets.

BARTIROMO:  And of course, geared up for that debate.

That will do it for "Sunday Morning Futurs." I'm Maria Bartiromo. I'll see you tomorrow on the Fox Business Network from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Eastern on "Mornings with Maria." Hope you'll join us. And take a look at where to find FBN on your cable network. Have a great Sunday, everybody.

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