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Election 2016 focus turns to terrorism

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," November 20, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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ERIC BOLLING, FOX NEWS HOST: Hi, I'm Eric Bolling, in for Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching this special edition of The Factor: election 2016.

It's an election now being framed BY terrorism. The ISIS attacks in Paris and the al Qaeda linked attack on a western hotel in Mali. There are few signs the terror threat is going away any time soon. Now the Presidential candidates are sounding off on how they would protect Americans from further threats.

The two leading Republican candidates Ben Carson and Donald Trump have come under fire for their remarks. Here is what Carson said about keeping terrorists from sneaking into America with Syrian refugees.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If there is a rabid dog running around your neighborhood, you probably are not going assume something good about that dog and you are probably going to put your children out of the way. It doesn't mean that you hate all dogs by any stretch of the imagination.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLLING: Muslim interest groups like CAIR condemned Carson's remarks and Carson later denied he was comparing Syrians to rabid dogs saying he was just using a metaphor.

Meantime Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has suggested the United States may have to close down some mosques. He also wouldn't rule out keeping track of Muslims in America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should there be a database or system that Muslims in this country?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There should be a lot of systems beyond database. We should have a lot of systems. Today you can do it but right now we have to have a border. We have to have strength. We have to have a wall and we cannot let what's happening to this country happen any longer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But that's something your White House would want to implement?

TRUMP: Oh I would certainly implement that, absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think that effect of that -- how would that work?

TRUMP: It would stop people from coming in illegally. We have to stop people from coming in to our country illegally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But specifically how do you actually get them registered in the database?

TRUMP: It would be just good management. What you have to do is good management procedures.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLLING: Trump later posted on Twitter that it was the reporter, not him, who suggested a Muslim database and said he was in favor of strong surveillance and a terror watch list. Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton called Trump's remarks, quote, "shocking".

Several Republican rivals also denounced Trump's comments with Ted Cruz saying, quote, "I'm not a fan of government registries of American citizens." So how will all of this play out on the campaign trail?

Joining us now with reaction Michael Maslansky, a Republican strategist and from Tampa Adam Goodman a GOP communications strategist. Adam -- we'll start with you.

Will Trump and Carson -- will they be hurt by these latest comments, controversies?

ADAM GOODMAN, GOP COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGIST: I really don't think so. I mean, we have all been shocked by the recent events in Paris. We want answers. We want remedies. I thought Paul Ryan, by the way, was very sharp this past week in saying we have got to push the pause button and get control of this process before we move forward with Syrian refugees. A lot of governors are starting to say we are not ready to accept refugees into our various states.

The problem here is and this is what the election is about right now, Eric, whether we like it or not. There is a lot of insecurity and anxiety that's permeating throughout the American public and they want answers, they want leaders who are strong, courageous, tell it like it is. Stop playing political correctness and put it on the line.

At times, some of that rhetoric might be considered over the line. But when it comes to terrorism, there is a bright line that I think all of us as Americans have got to erase and eliminate and I think that's where the common purpose and the common ground will be found moving forward.

BOLLING: So Michael, what about it. Do you think some of the comments -- Carson's and Trump's in particular will be a problem?

MICHAEL MASLANSKY, GOP COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGIST: look, I think there is a point in which flame throwing doesn't help. And flame throwers flame out. Like, it's one thing to take these issues seriously. There are serious issues we need to be talking about what's going on with ISIS and terrorism. But this rhetoric particularly for Trump and Carson is not going to help.

BOLLING: So Carson says it was just a metaphor. He was saying, using rabid dogs as, you know, bad fundamentalists or Islamists who may be coming over with refugees just as a metaphor -- you see that as flame throwing?

MASLANSKY: Look, the language that you use matters. And he is using language we know in this environment that we are in if you use a bad metaphor you're going to get called to the carpet for it. And I think we are finally starting to see that there is a limit to how much Carson can get away with.

BOLLING: Ok. What about Donald Trump? Donald Trump literally was asked a question by a reporter while he is walking, signing autographs walking down a line. Is that fair to say to pin that comment on him especially after he walks it back?

MASLANSKY: Absolutely. I mean he is running for president at this point. He has got to be willing to take responsibility for the things that he says. And what he needs to prove now to the American people is that he's a serious candidate. And if you are going to react on a whim to a comment like that that is clearly kind of antithetical to many American principles you better be ready --

BOLLING: So what about it Adam? I think it sounds like Donald Trump will say things that Americans are thinking and it doesn't really hurt him contrary to what Michael is contending here.

GOODMAN: You said it. You said it perfectly in your question, Eric, it's what they are thinking -- a lot of people. And Michael I think would agree with this that we should get to the bottom line of what is really driving a lot of this.

We have a president who is acting like Neville Chamberlain did when he thought he could through appeasement and conversation back down a guy by the name of Adolf Hitler. We have an enemy that will not be negotiated with, that will not be silenced and won't be stopped until someone stands up and stops them. And I think that's where Donald Trump and others who are putting it straight on the line. He actually did.

MASLANSKY: Adam, the point is that this language isn't going to help the situation. Right now we study the language of leadership. What Americans are looking for now is a leader. They are looking for someone who is going to be responsible with their rhetoric, that are going to be positive about solutions.

This whole notion of getting into a fight about whether or not call it radical Islamic terrorism or whether we point fingers at others we have tested it.

BOLLING: You're almost -- Michael, you are almost saying that we shouldn't call it radical Islamic terrorism because you are worried about the language and, you know, the PC-ness nature of you putting those terms together radical and Islam -- people don't want to do it. Obama doesn't want to do it.

MASLANSKY: Everyone knows who we are talking about at this point. Every time we spend time fighting about the language.

BOLLING: Why don't we just declare war on radical Islam? Is political correctness just keeping us from declaring a world war on radical Islam?

MASLANSKY: Why don't we actually declare war on the people who are attacking us.

BOLLING: They are. Aren't they the ones that are attacking us -- radical Islamists?

MASLANSKY: My point is that every time we focus on the language in that case we are politicizing the situation and taking the focus away from agreeing on the solutions. We have much less of a gap, I think, on many of the policy solutions than we do on this rhetorical debate about radical Islam.

BOLLING: My problem, Adam, is that we are worried about the words. We're worried about what we are saying instead of what really matters. There are people who are dying around the world. It's gotten to the point there is a scoreboard between al Qaeda and ISIS who is going to win and the numbers are going up on the scoreboard is how many people they have killed.

Why don't we just call it what it is -- it's radical, it's Islam and stop worrying if Donald Trump mentions something in a line or Ben Carson uses a metaphor.

GOODMAN: I think that the essence of the campaign of 16 so far and the reason that the outsiders have had such groundswell of support so far is simply that they say we have seen what happens when you use words and nothing happens. We've seen what happens when nothing happens.

We want things to get -- we want to get things done. We want leaders who are going to get things done. We are looking at a situation in Paris where, once again, the President -- led by the President, we didn't stand up and lead, which is kind of in our nature and our ethos. We have to do that again.

BOLLING: We're going to give you the last world -- Michael.

MASLANSKY: The point is that candidates that perform best under these circumstances are ones that are focused on the solutions that we need to implement not on this rhetorical debate about radical Islam.

BOLLING: Got to leave it right there. Adam, Michael -- thank you very much.

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