Rep. King: Filibustering refugee bill would be a 'mistake'; Toys 'R' Us CEO previews holiday season's hottest toys

Republican lawmaker says Sen. Reid owes it to Americans to have a vote on legislation


This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," November 29, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


The fate of Syrian refugees in the United States awaiting more action by Congress.

Hi, everyone. I'm Maria Bartiromo. Welcome to "Sunday Morning Futures" on this Thanksgiving weekend.

What will come of the bill in the Senate right now, now that it got a veto proof majority in the House? New York Congressman Peter King will join us momentarily.

Plus, France President Hollande meeting with Presidents Obama and Putin, looking to ramp up support for the fight against ISIS. Prominent author and columnist Peggy Noonan on which president is showing the most leadership following the attacks in Paris.

And they're off, shoppers flooding stores, cyberspace for holiday gifts. The CEO of Toys "R" Us on the hottest toys of the season on this busy weekend.

We're looking ahead this morning on "Sunday Morning Futures."

Americans are being urged to be vigilant as they travel this holiday weekend after the State Department issued a worldwide travel alert amid concerns terrorist groups including ISIS continue to plan attacks in multiple regions of the world.

Meanwhile, Congress will reconvene tomorrow morning, where the Senate may take up a bill, passed by the House already, essentially barring Iraqi and Syrian refugees from entering the country right now.

New York Congressman Peter King is on the Homeland Security Committee and is the chairman of the subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence.

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

REP. PETER KING, R-N.Y.: Thank you, Maria. Thank you very much.

BARTIROMO: What are you expecting out of this bill now in the Senate? I know that it's been approved in the House. What next?

KING: Well, it was approved in the House. And not just approved, it was a veto-proof majority. We had 47 Democrats vote with us. So I would hope that Harry Reid will allow this to come to a vote in the Senate and not filibuster it.

You know, there's a role for the filibuster. But when it comes to national security and an issue like this which means so much to the American people, I think Harry Reid and the Democrats owe it to the Congress to have a full debate on this and a vote. Don't try to block it. Don't try to bury it. If it gets defeated, so be it. I don't think it will be. I think it will pass overwhelmingly if it's allowed to come to a vote. Reid has threatened to do whatever he can to block it, probably by using the filibuster, and I would say that's a -- it's a mistake for our national security and it's also a mistake for our faith in democracy.

BARTIROMO: Congressman, what do you say to those people out there who say, look, America is a country of immigrants. We're all immigrants from our ancestors who made the trek to America from all parts of the world. We want to have a heart. We want to open the U.S. to people who need us most and now we're shutting the doors to these people who needs it most, even though we know that ISIS has begun to infiltrate the flow of refugees.

KING: Yes, well, first of all, Maria, you're totally right, we are a nation of immigrations. And you and I particularly appreciate that coming from New York with our ethnic ancestry and having dealt with immigrant aunts, uncles, grandparents. So we understand the beauty of immigration.

And I, in fact, going back to 1993, I visited Muslim refugee camps in the Balkans. So I support the idea of refugees coming to this country, except in this situation with Syrian refugees, the FBI and others in the -- in law enforcement and counterterrorism have told us they cannot adequately vet the Syrian refugees coming in because there are no databases, there are no records in Syria, we have no intelligence on the ground to let us know who's who. And we know that ISIS does intend to smuggle or sneak in terrorists with the refugees.

So this is a risk -- my main job is -- and my oath is to protect the American people. And right now we are not at a position where we can take that risk of allowing terrorists to come into the country. Even if 99 percent of 10,000 refugees are honest, law abiding people, that means 100 of them are potential terrorists.


KING: And that is too big a risk to take in this climate.

BARTIROMO: And we know that a Syrian passport was found in Paris.

KING: Right.

BARTIROMO: Apparently belonging to one of the attackers there.

I want to ask you about vetting and the vetting process, congressman. Stay with us.

KING: Sure.

BARTIROMO: A lot to talk about with you this morning.

But first, from the Paris attacks to the Boston marathon bombings. Understanding family jihad. Why it's becoming more common and how we stop it. Fox News' senior correspondent Eric Shawn now on that angle.

Eric, good morning to you.

ERIC SHAWN, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Maria, and good morning, everyone.

It will take more than bombing Raqqa to defeat ISIS. Experts say that most likely target -- we also have to target the ideology fueling radical
Islamic terrorism and also break the ties. The ties that in some cases include close family relations between the terrorists.

The attacks have had one sorrowful and common connection, they are committed by blood relatives, brothers, united in family and jihad. In Paris, authorities say the Abdeslam brothers, Salah and Ibrahim, who blew himself up, rented the cars to commit that carnage. The third brother, Mohamed, who was released, says his siblings became radicalized on the Internet.

Ten months earlier, the brazen attack on "Charlie Hebdo" also carried out by two brothers, Said and Cherif Kouachi, French citizens who were born in Paris.

In Boston, the marathon bombings committed by the Tsarnaev brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar. Dzhokhar now sits on death row.


SHANNON TAYLOR, TERRORISM EXPERT: One brother grooms the younger brother, or one cousin reaches out to the other cousin, or one relative reaches out to the next relative, and who else are you going to hear or listen to or go with or travel with or study with?


SHAWN: Well even the suspected mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed himself, turns out to be related to another terrorist. He's the uncle of Ramsey Yousef. Yousef convicted of bombing the World Trade Center eight years before 9/11 in 1993. And Yousef was part of a terror cell that also included cousins.


TAYLOR: One can intimidate the other or one can be an example for the other. You want the respect of one. You want the admiration of the other. One is following their -- their lead and before you know it, they are both blowing themselves up and taking a lot of others with them.


SHAWN: Well, in Canada, twin brothers, nicknamed the "terror twins," face charges. So it seems breaking the bonds of brotherhood could be one of the toughest challenges we face in the fight against terrorism.


BARTIROMO: All right, Eric, thanks very much. Eric Shawn with the latest there.

And we are back now with Congressman Peter King.

Congressman, before I get into the vetting process, which I think all of our viewers really want to hear your take on, let me get your take on how we track these terrorists. Because the fact is, is the telecom companies really have been encrypting information or the technology companies and the -- the -- the --

KING: Yes.

BARTIROMO: The technology has really gotten ahead of law enforcement. How much tougher has it become to actually track what the terrorists are doing?

KING: This has made it extremely difficult. Whether it's FBI Director Jim Comey or NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, they've been saying for several months now how difficult it is to track terrorists, to track criminals for that matter, because they can obtain these encrypted apps which makes -- so even if there's a court order, there's no way that the FBI or local police or any law enforcement agency can penetrate that -- that encryption. And the companies, which are providing the encrypted apps, they say that when they sell the encryption to a customer, that they lose the right. You know, the company itself loses the ability to cooperate with the police. That they can't even break into the encryption.

And something has to be done about this. I -- if we have to get legislation to say it's wrong to sell this -- you know, it's illegal to sell this type -- you know, encryption app, we have to do it.


KING: Because right now, I mean, I'm just thinking if any of these IT officials, if any of their children were kidnapped and held hostage and they -- you know, we couldn't penetrate the encryption, you know, I -- I think they -- you know, that their mood would change quite a bit.

This is just wrong. It's dangerous. And it gives the bad guys, the terrorists, the murderers, a -- a much bigger hand.

BARTIROMO: So there's this conflict between national security --

KING: Yes.

BARTIROMO: And people's privacy basically.

OK, let's talk about vetting. Why has it become so difficult to vet refugees trying to get into this country?

KING: It's primarily Syria. Most other countries we can do the vetting with. But in Syria, there -- there are no databases. The government has no records. We have no access to them. We have no intelligence on the ground. Syria is basically one dark hole as far as we're concerned. So a person coming through from Syria, who is being vetted, and if they're being questioned, there's nothing to -- you know, to vet them against.

They could have a phony name. They could have a phony date of birth, a phony hometown. They could be lying about any type of terrorist connections they have. And we have no way of knowing who they are unless somehow they come up on our radar screen, which is very unlikely and hardly ever happen in a country like Syria.

And this was brought to our attention. This is not something that Congress went looking for. I mean this was brought to our attention by the director of the FBI, by officials actually involved in the vetting --


KING: Saying that they did not have confidence that the vetting was working.

BARTIROMO: Yes. By the way, you know, just last week, after the Paris attacks, France bombed certain areas within Syria that were known to be ISIS headquarters, whether it be recruitment centers or other centers that ISIS was in charge of. If we knew where exactly those places were, we knew ISIS had recruitment centers, why didn't we bomb them before that, congressman? Why did we have to wait for another attack in Paris, which killed more than 100 people, to actually bomb those specific targets that we knew existed?

KING: Maria, the best answer I've gotten on that, and it's not a good answer, is that because of the rules of engagement that the Obama administration has laid down, those targets were probably off limits to our military because we're afraid of any type of collateral damage.

Listen, in war, the goal is to minimize collateral damage. But there's always the risk of collateral damage. And if it involves, unfortunately, several civilians being killed in an attack, but that's going to save hundreds or maybe thousands of people later on, that's a risk that's taken in war. So we have very, very strict rules of engagement that this president has laid down different from any other war, and that's why I believe those -- those targets were still standing and why the French took them out really in the first day.

BARTIROMO: Wow! So -- so the strategy is such that we won't bomb if, in fact, we see that there is civilians because these are the rules of engagement as per President Obama then?

KING: Yes, Maria. In fact, even the fuel trucks, they were being -- they were not attacked all this time --


KING: Because they were being driven by civilian drivers. And they didn't want to kill the civilian driver, even though that fuel was being used to basically -- you know, literally to fuel ISIS and to be sold on the black market to fund and supply ISIS so it could carry out its murderous attacks.


KING: These are rules of engagement that never applied in any other war.

BARTIROMO: Wow! And we know that this is how ISIS is making its money, by selling oil on the black market.

KING: That's right.

BARTIROMO: Congressman, good to have you on the program. Thanks very much.

KING: Maria, thank you very -- thank you, Maria, as always.

BARTIROMO: We appreciate it. And we will see you soon. Congressman Peter King.

French President Hollande described the ISIS threat as, quote, "an emergency that requires urgent action." But is President Obama capable of an effective response to that emergency? We'll talk with The Wall Street Journal columnist and author Peggy Noonan next.

Follow us on Twitter @mariabartiromo, @sundayfutures.

We're looking ahead once again on "Sunday Morning Futures" today.


BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

Hours after the attacks in Paris, President Obama promised to be, quote, "redouble U.S. efforts in fighting ISIS." President of France, Francois Hollande, visited the White House this past week, hoping to unite in those efforts to fight the terrorists. Hollande then travelled to Moscow for a similar meeting with President Putin.

And while the world looks to America for leadership, a new Fox poll shows President Obama's approval ratings now plunging to a 40 -- to 4 percent. That is a near record low of 40 percent.

Joining me right now, the author of the new book "The Time of Our Lives," Peggy Noonan is with us today, "The Wall Street Journal" columnist and former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan.

Peggy, good to see you.

PEGGY NOONAN, WALL STREET JOURNAL COLUMNIST: Good to see you. Thank you for having me.

BARTIROMO: Congratulations on the book. And there is so much in that book to talk about and I want to sort of weave what you've learned throughout your years to what we're seeing today.

Let me begin on the most recent issues, and that is, of course, this Russian jet was shot down by Turkey because Turkey says it was in its air space. What's your sense of how things have escalated? Things seem a lot more dangerous than they ever have.

NOONAN: Yes, and they seem dangerous in a day by day way. It's not playing out over weeks and months. It's every morning, it's a different headline. This, the action, the -- or apparent action of Turkey brings in NATO implications with regard to Russia. So now and then you see a thing that is a mess and almost unsolvable and then it gets a little worse. That's what I think just happened.

BARTIROMO: Yes, and you -- you know, you wrote last weekend, look, Americans are looking at this, what's going on in Paris, and the -- this new tension in the air and saying, this is not going away.


BARTIROMO: We cannot negotiate them away from this at some negotiating table.

NOONAN: Right.

BARTIROMO: ISIS is coming.

NOONAN: Yes. They -- they are here. They had been, by the administration, much too ignored as to their import, their strength, their ability to cause trouble. Paris showed in some newer way -- in some new way, I think, with Paris, they arrived to the extent that people said, OK, the only question now is, how do we stop them? We are no longer debating, must they be stopped.


President Obama seems to be trying to get a little tougher because that first response, when he was oversea, people were really disappointed by --


BARTIROMO: In terms of not understanding what American people were feeling. You seem to capture the zeitgeist of America in your writings. How do you think the country is feeling right now?

NOONAN: The country, I think, is perturbed looking at the president, trying to figure out, you know, there is great mystique around the American presidency, but on great issues there should not be mystery around American presidents. It has been, and certainly in the days after Paris it appeared, you just couldn't look at the president and figure out exactly how he thinks about ISIS, exactly what he thinks it is, exactly what we should do. So there seemed almost a leadership gap, not that he was a presence in this debate, but an absence from the debate. And it is confusing for Americans, for all of us, and deeply frustrating when we can't look to the top guy and figure out, OK, he's kind of got his brain wrapped around it, we're going to do a, b and c, let's discuss whether that's a good course. You don't get the sense he has his brain wrapped around it. He's, since then, tried to do a lot of cleanup work.


NOONAN: But -- but a bad impression was made.

BARTIROMO: You spent so much time with Ronald Reagan. Today he is known as one of the best presidents in terms of certainly leadership and his policies. What would -- what would Ronald Reagan do at this moment, in your view?

NOONAN: Well, I can never answer that question because he was very much a man of a specific time and place, dealing with specific issues, the issues of his age, expansionist communism. But I cannot believe that his thoughts and his feelings about this challenge would be essentially mysterious and confusing to the American people.

Reagan had a way of, no matter what his most recent strategy was, say about the Soviets, you know, talk to Gorbachev, work this out, put up your hand and say, don't do that. Whatever it was, you knew exactly how he felt about the Soviet Union, exactly how he felt about communism. He was never afraid to name it. He actually was not afraid to call it an evil empire. So he had a lovely bracing clarity that was based on the ability to accurately read the situation.

One does not sense that with the current president on these issues. On domestic issues, you kind of get a sense of where his heart is, when a Newtown happens or a Charleston. But ISIS, the Mideast, oh, that's an area of confusion and confusion only begets confusion.

BARTIROMO: What's your take on Hillary Clinton? Secretary Clinton, last week, came out with her own ISIS plan. And a lot of people looked at it, wondering if it was just a continuation of President Obama's plan or different.

NOONAN: I thought it was simply, inevitably and yet somehow dishearteningly a merely political document. This was something cooked up by Hillary and her people, thinking, OK, what the president's doing, people don't seem to like. But what -- if we did this, others wouldn't like it. So let get as far from him as possible in certain specifics, but stay with him on the essentials. That's how I read it.

Which is not good enough when you're running for president. People running for president should say, this is how I see it. And this is what I think needs to be done. Whether or not that is politically good for them. If it's not politically good for them, fine, then the power of persuasion, and I can make an argument, comes in, and you can win an argument when you're thinking straight.


Peggy, the power of perspective is what we are grateful to you for. Thank you so much.

NOONAN: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: Peggy Noonan. The book is "The Time of Our Lives." Real perspective from Peggy Noonan this morning. We'll see you soon, Peggy. Thank you.

Up next, the holiday shopping rush now underway. The CEO of Toys "R" Us will be with me to talk about the crucial sales period this weekend and for the rest of the month. It shows off the hottest toys in the market as well.

We're looking ahead right now on "Sunday Morning Futures."


BARTIROMO: This, of course, is the critical weekend for shopping and for retail for the U.S. economy. We're talking about shopping right now and what we might expect, what that tells us about economic growth and jobs. Right now with the CEO of Toys "R" Us Dave Brandon joining us.

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

DAVE BRANDON, CEO, TOYS "R" US: Oh, it's nice to be here with you.

BARTIROMO: And I know that consumer spending is two-thirds of economic growth. That's why this weekend is really critical for the entire industry.

BRANDON: It really is. It gets things kind of set up for the whole holiday season. We get to see what kind of traffic we experience, how consumers are
reacting to both our regular price, as well as our promotional products. It's a critical time.

BARTIROMO: And you're ramping it up, going -- going into, obviously, Thanksgiving, Christmas. I mean the whole month of December. Tell us about the sales and how you're ramping things up.

BRANDON: Well, part of the challenges we have is to make sure that we've got robust inventories all the way through this really busy time. We get such volume compressed into such a short period of time. So we'll -- we'll continue to flow merchandise to our stores and continue to build sales all the way up until Christmas Eve.

BARTIROMO: I feel like this is particularly important this weekend because we've had an economy that's very much slow, two steps forward, one step back when you look at the economic data. Was that -- is that a fair statement?

BRANDON: Sure, it is. And the toy category is unique. And consumers behave a little bit differently as it relates to toys for families during this time of the year. So those -- those indicators of other categories are interesting, but it will be really interesting for us to see how the consumer reacts as it relates to their toy purchases.

BARTIROMO: So you brought some toys to show us.

BRANDON: You bet.

BARTIROMO: What you think is going to be hot. This is the "Star Wars." Tell -- tell me about this product right here, because "Star Wars" is so hot.

BRANDON: This --

BARTIROMO: And I think all the products from the film are going to be --

BRANDON: This will be a really hot product. All of the "Star wars" themes will be really hot products --


BRANDON: Because we're building towards the December 18th release of the movie. And you'll see more and more promotion coming out of Disney and Lucas Films, as well as all of us who are in the business of promoting merchandise.

BARTIROMO: So this lights up? This is a -- the --

BRANDON: This is a lightsaber. This lights up. And it provides a wonderful opportunity for brothers and sisters to go at one another during the season.

BARTIROMO: Oh, I know parents love that.

BRANDON: And it makes sounds. It makes noises, lights up, does some really interesting things.

BARTIROMO: And this guy is -- that's going to be a hot seller.

BRANDON: This guy is really going to be terrific. He's phenomenal. He'll go backwards. He'll go forwards. He'll spin around. He'll rotate back and forth. He'll interact with you for -- with voice recognition. He'll -- he'll beam a light beam up on the wall, a picture of Princess Leia. He's got all kinds of sounds and opportunities for young people to just enjoy tooling this thing around the house.

BARTIROMO: What is the -- what's the price of this one?

BRANDON: This regularly sells for $159.99.


BRANDON: There's a lot of technology. It's really a little robot.

BARTIROMO: Wow! And -- because of their sensors all over, right?

BRANDON: There's sensors all over and it's capable of doing so many things.

BARTIROMO: This is a Toys "R" Us exclusive, "Journey Girl."

BRANDON: Yes, "Journey Girls" is a line that we have that's very, very successful. We have a whole line of dolls. Every holiday season we roll out a new doll. This is an Italian themed doll that we're going to do a really good job with. We do every year. It's a beautiful doll. And it retails for $49.99.

BARTIROMO: Dolls never go out of style. Let's face it, right?

BRANDON: Dolls are always in style.

BARTIROMO: Little girls want dolls.

And what about this guy here? This is a lot of computer and technology in here too, right?

BRANDON: Yes. This guy is capable of helping a young child learn how to learn their ABCs, learn how to count. It's -- it's interactive. He'll dance. He'll perform.

BARTIROMO: He's cool.

BRANDON: And so anywhere from nine months up to four or five years, this is really a fun, easy toy. It's a Fisher-Price product and it's doing a great job. I think it's going to be one of the hottest items of the holiday season.

BARTIROMO: Press it once and he just keeps going.

BRANDON: He's going to just keep going.

BARTIROMO: And this guy here, I like it. He's one of my favorites.

BRANDON: Yes. Smart Toy Bear and we have a Smart Toy Monkey. And both of these are programmable toys. In their nose here, they've got a scanner and a camera, which allows them to actually be programmed to interact with different things that are flashed in front of them --


BRANDON: By the child. So the child can learn how to brush their teeth, learn when it's time for a snack, learn how to dance. And this toy will actually teach them and the parent can have some control over the messaging because they can program it through their app.

BARTIROMO: That's amazing.

Are you seeing increasing numbers of toys that are robust toys, with have sensors in them and cameras and all of this stuff?

BRANDON: You bet. The staples, the regular dolls are toys are certainly out there. But what the young people of today want is more interactivity, they want voice activation, voice recognition, robotics, movement, sounds.

BARTIROMO: How do you change the business depending on what you see this weekend? I mean do you have to -- if -- if it's not a great weekend, if it doesn't meet expectations, what does that mean for you or budget plans in 2016 and -- and the opposite as well, if it's a great weekend?

BRANDON: The benefit for us being a big player in the online business, we have a $1.2 billion online business, is dynamic pricing and dynamic promotions are available to us. So you literally, with the flip of a switch, can change mix, you can change promotions, you can blast out new opportunities and values to consumers and you can change prices. So you'll see a lot of that activity ongoing over the next few weeks.

BARTIROMO: So if -- in other words, if you see a weekend where it's below expectations, you can expect the sale to ramp up even more?

BRANDON: You could.

BARTIROMO: Discounting will go crazy into the holidays.

BRANDON: You could. But what -- what happens is, interestingly enough, there's always hot toys that everybody wants.

BARTIROMO: And they'll pay up for that.

BRANDON: And they tend to be in limited supply. And those are going to be the ones where supply is more important than price. And so that's all part of the dynamic management of the toy business during this time of year.

BARTIROMO: That makes a lot of sense.

So hottest toy right now?

BRANDON: Hottest toy right now would be this guy right here.

BARTIROMO: His guy? Uh-huh.

BRANDON: But we're really early in the cycle. We'll see what happens as we get further into it.

BARTIROMO: Really interesting stuff. Happy Thanksgiving.

BRANDON: Same to you.

BARTIROMO: Happy early holiday to you.

BRANDON: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: Dave, thank you so much for joining us.

BRANDON: You bet, Maria. Appreciate it.

BARTIROMO: Dave Brandon.

We're hearing a lot of policy talk on the campaign trail on combating terrorism and keeping our country safe.  

Which candidate's strategy is actually resonating most with voters?  Our panel will begin right there as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."  Stay with us.


SHAWN:  This is a Fox News alert.  Hello, everyone, I'm Eric Shawn.  

Chilling new details emerging this morning in the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting.  Law enforcement sources say the suspect, 57-year-old Robert Lewis Dear, mentioned "no more baby parts" after his arrest following the hours-long rampage.  And they say he expressed anti-abortion and anti-government views in later interviews.  Dear is due in court on Monday.  

Meanwhile, as police comb his residences for more evidence, neighbors described Dear as an "oddball" and a loner who lived off the grid, drifting between secluded cabins in North Carolina and an isolated RV you see there in Colorado.  All this as family and friends gather for a candlelight vigil, mourning the University of Colorado police officer, Garrett Swasey, one of three victims of the tragedy, remembering Swasey as a devoted father, church leader and former national figure skating champion.  

I'm Eric Shawn.  Now back to "Sunday Morning Futures" and Maria.


BARTIROMO:  Welcome back.  Terrorism, national security, becoming top concerns among registered voters in the wake of the horrific terrorist attacks across the globe, in particular, Paris.  

And GOP contenders on the campaign trail are making it priority number one.  Homing in on national security issues, so who is making the strongest case to keep the U.S. safe and to defeat ISIS.  Want to bring in our panel here

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.

Hank Sheinkopf is a Democratic strategist who worked on the Clinton-Gore campaign.  

And Doug Heye is a former RNC communications director and former deputy chief of staff of communications for ex-House majority leader, Eric Cantor.  

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


BARTIROMO:  So as soon as the attacks happened in Paris, you saw an increased concern and talk about national security.  And interesting to note that Ted Cruz started rising in the polls.  

Do you think that's the reason, Ed Rollins?  

ED ROLLINS, POLITICAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST:  I think Ted Cruz is very articulate, shows great strength.  I think Trump also showed great strength and I think the contrast given the president is perceived as very weak and I think to a certain extent, those who want to be tough on this issue will basically do well for the short term.

BARTIROMO:  The effect is that a Reuters poll that showed that voters took to address this and they said the top 2016 choices in terms of who is their choice to address this is Secretary Clinton at 20 percent support -- Hank.



BARTIROMO:  Followed by Trump.

SHEINKOPF:  -- before she became the secretary of state, she was much more to the center and even to the Right on defense related issues.  She voted for the Iraq War.  She is benefitting from the climb the president is having and within their own party and it makes her very formidable.

BARTIROMO:  Now we just heard --

ROLLINS:  She ran away from that Iraq war.  That's one of the first things she's done and did very recently so.

SHEINKOPF:  Again, let's go back to what she will use in the campaign and what history will show, because all politics is in the present tense.  There is --

BARTIROMO:  So wait, she was against the Iraq war or she was for Iraq war?  

SHEINKOPF:  She voted for the war.  And then in discussions, she said the Iraq war may not have been the smartest thing she ever voted for.

ROLLINS:  She said it was the worst vote she ever made.  She said it on the last debate.

BARTIROMO:  She said it was the worst vote she ever made.  

What do you think, Doug?  

DOUG HEYE, FORMER RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR:  Well, it's interesting to finally see a poll that says that Hillary Clinton is trustworthy on anything.  What we have seen from Republicans is really two different sets here.  

We have seen some specifics laid out from Ted Cruz, from Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio certainly, talking about ground troops, talking about no-fly zones and then we've seen the tough talk that really gets a lot of response and it's no surprise that it comes from Trump and even from Ben Carson.  

Ultimately we don't see much specifics from them.  And that's where maybe they're doing well in the polls for a week or two.  But as we go closer and closer to Iowa, they'll have to lay out some specifics on what they actually want to do.


What kind of specifics do you think people want to hear about?  

Because this whole idea of troops on the ground versus no troops on the ground is, I think, the divider for people.

ROLLINS:  It is a divider.  And I think Republicans have been pretty much in sync with most of the people in the Defense Department.  We felt that we pulled out of these wars too soon, we left 10,000 troops there that we basically wouldn't have had all the problems that we're having today in Afghanistan and elsewhere.  

And I think that that's going to be somewhat the line, that we need to put more -- the president in his press conference last week, with his president, basically made it very clear there are no more troops going there and that we'll do -- we'll hold hands and we'll -- don't be afraid, we'll take care of you here if they come here.  

And I don't think that's enough.  I think foreign affairs are going to be a very significant issue long-term in this campaign.

BARTIROMO:  And there are so many holes in the president's strategy, from whether or not ground troops are needed to the fact that these airstrikes are not hitting their target, Hank.  

Is it -- does it surprise you that so many people are criticizing the president's foreign policy and his strategy to defeat ISIS?  

SHEINKOPF:  Not surprising at all.  It's not a good strategy.  Whether the person occupying the Oval Office is a Republican or a Democrat, the proper move today would probably be to be much more broad-brushed, more broad strokes, have meetings, talk about conferences, getting people together, creating some kind of an alliance with all of our people in one place.  

I mean, we recently had a Soviet airplane taken down by Turks, who are part of the -- part of NATO.  

What is his plan?  

Getting everybody in one place and creating an alliance to fight ISIS and to even begin talking about that would be smart.

BARTIROMO:  Why is he not doing --

ROLLINS:  He doesn't have to lead the alliance anymore.  The truth of the matter is he's lost his leadership position.  And I think that's a very significant thing.  The U.S. president always been the leader of putting these coalitions together.


SHEINKOPF:  That's what I'm saying.  He's lost that position, it is time to try to reassert American strength.

BARTIROMO:  Why is he doing this, Doug?  

Why is he so adamant about even the refugee issue, without even taking five minutes to look at it?  

He said, we're not changing our strategy.  We already have the strictest vetting process.  Meanwhile, we just heard from Peter King, who said we can't vet them.

HEYE:  There has obviously been an illusionist and an arrogance to this foreign policy.  And we've heard it from our allies, all over the place.  I've been in meetings with leaders from the Middle East, where they say, not this strategy is good or this strategy is bad, they say where is America, we need American leadership now.  

That's why you're -- politically, you're even seeing Hillary Clinton, President Obama's former secretary of state, distance herself from Obama foreign policy.

And politically, it's a smart move for her to do.

BARTIROMO:  Can she do that even though she was the steward of foreign policy, Hank?

SHEINKOPF:  Oh, yes, she can. Because Obama has absolutely made that possible by creating this great void and division. And she will just jump into it. She's already doing it.

BARTIROMO:  Let's check in with Howie Kurtz. He's, right now, getting ready for his own show in about 20 minutes, "MediaBuzz."

Howie, good morning to you.

HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS HOST, "MEDIABUZZ":  Good morning, Maria. This is the week that some media outlets really started savaging Donald Trump after a couple of misstatements and missteps. We'll look at why he seems simply impervious to these kinds of journalistic assaults.

Also, my sit-down with Chris Christie on whether the media's coverage of the Syrian refugee debate has been fair and whether the coverage of his own campaign has been fair.

BARTIROMO:  All right, we will see you in about 20 minutes, Howie. We will be there. Thank you.

Top Republican donors, meanwhile, doling out some major cash to stop Donald Trump, in fact. Why are so many in the GOP uniting to de-rail Donald Trump's campaign? The panel on that when we look ahead, next, on "Sunday Morning Futures."


BARTIROMO:  Welcome back. A new ad airing in Iowa and New Hampshire going after Donald Trump right now. It is using Trump's own words to portray him as less than presidential, but the source of the ad, not a Democrat, but a SuperPAC supporting Ohio Governor John Kasich.

It's all part of a new effort from some Republican donors with links to several presidential candidates to go after Donald Trump and keep the party's presidential front-runner from winning the nomination.

We're with our panel today, Ed Rollins, Doug High (ph) and Hank Sheinkopf.

BARTIROMO:  Doug, let me kick this off with you. Why do you think so many in the GOP want Donald out, even though he's at the top of the polls?

HEYE:  Frankly, his message scares a lot of Republicans who want to get re-elected in the House, get re-elected in the senate.

As President Obama has said, remarks on refugees, it really helps ISIL's cause. The reality is it also helps Donald -- or it helps Barack Obama's cause, Hillary Clinton's cause, to castigate Republicans as being racist, insensitive to any minorities.

And as we've seen Trump really get a lot of attention and not get scrutiny, it's not surprising, as he's been leading the polls for so long that finally somebody's going to come in and provide him with some real scrutiny in blunt-force trauma fashion.

BARTIROMO:  Yeah, I think that's really good analysis. You're right. Because this whole refugee issue has divided a lot of people.

Hank, do you think we can vet refugees coming into the country properly?

SHEINKOPF:  Do you think that Mars and Saturn will collide next week?

We're talking about places where there is no computer; there is no database. We don't know who these people are. Ask the French if they're able to determine who the people were that came...

BARTIROMO:  So the answer is no?

SHEINKOPF:  No, it's not possible.

BARTIROMO:  So is the strategy "Let's put a halt to this program right now and not let anybody in right now," do you think? Is that the right strategy?

SHEINKOPF:  The strategy is probably for -- you're talking about the politics of it?


SHEINKOPF:  For the Republicans, it would be bad to be way up front banging that message through. It's got to be more calculated, calmer rhetoric. And that's probably why Donald Trump is being attacked so viciously. The rhetoric is too hot; it makes the Republicans look like they're racists.

And, frankly, no one minds being a racist. They mind being found out. Nobody wants to be found out here.

ROLLINS:  I don't think anybody wants to be a racist...


HEYE:  Well, I would also say this is where Paul Ryan has been critically important for Republicans right now, given a measured, reasoned response, talking about America's compassion, while also saying we need to sit back and take a pause at this, not the rhetoric that we've seen from Trump or from Carson. It's why 40 -- more than 40 Democrats joined him in his vote the week before last.

BARTIROMO:  That's true. That's true.

ROLLINS:  And what's wrong -- what's wrong with a bill that says basically the CIA director, the Homeland Security director, and the FBI director have to basically sign off on the policies here?

I mean, I think that's very reasonable. Those are the people that are going to have the responsibility when they get here.

Going back to the Trump, attacking Trump is a very foolish strategy. Everybody who is voting for Trump knows all the negatives on him...

BARTIROMO:  That's true, yeah.


ROLLINS:  ... and the rest of it. Iowa doesn't like negative commercials, New Hampshire less so. And at the end of the day, this is just going to be -- his argument is "The establishment doesn't want me; I'm against the establishment because I'm from you." And that's a very sound message. And I think that will have more of an impact.

BARTIROMO:  And as a result, he's already said, "Look, I" -- you know, he suggested he may do an independent run.

ROLLINS:  Well, that would be the death knell for the Republican Party. And I don't think, at the...

BARTIROMO:  Because that would divide the party and the election goes to Hillary, is what you're saying.


BARTIROMO:  That's very clear.

ROLLINS:  All you need to do is take five, six points. It's going to be a very, very close election, three or four points maximum. Either Bernie Sanders or Trump taking three or four points away from a main candidate basically will tip the balance the other way.

BARTIROMO:  Well, I also think that people -- people will be upset with Trump if he goes against his word. Didn't he sign something that says, "Look, I'm not going to do an independent run"?

ROLLINS:  Well, the danger he faces right now is, in New Hampshire, you basically have to run as a Republican. You can't run as an independent. So any dialogue about him running as an independent, basically, the secretary of state can say, "Thank you very much, but you're an independent." You can't run as an independent; you have to run as one of the parties, Democrat or Republican.

BARTIROMO:  Hank, how do you see it?

HEYE:  Listen, Trump is very important because, for the Democrats -- and they want him to stay there as long as he can -- he is divisive; his rhetoric is too hot, and it is -- creates all kinds of problems for the Republicans.

And they'd like him to stay there. The Republicans want him gone. Why? Calm the thing down. And the party elders want to have some control over this, as they always do.

BARTIROMO:  Who's -- who's emerging as the leader away from Trump?

HEYE:  Well, right now, we've seen an Iowa polling that suggests that Ted Cruz is perfectly positioned, which shouldn't be surprising, in Iowa, with so many evangelical voters.


HEYE:  As Carson voters have gone away, they've largely, in Iowa, gone to Cruz. Certainly, it would be possible with Trump as well, if he were to falter.

And that's one of the things about Iowa is you can make a lot of headlines, but you have to organize on the ground; you need to get people to show up and stay at those caucus sites.

ROLLINS:  The only ones that really have a chance at this point of winning Iowa would be -- Carson's now out; Carson is falling like a rock -- Trump can still win it; Cruz has the best organization on the ground and one of the best operatives. The guy that ran Joni Ernst's campaign is running his operation there now. And Rubio could -- there's really three positions you come out of there. If you win one of the first three positions, you can keep moving on and do well.

But the big day is the March 1st, where we have over 500 delegates being picked on March 1st.

BARTIROMO:  And what are the catalysts for the Democrats right now?

SHEINKOPF:  Keep doing -- Hillary's just got -- Hillary Clinton has got to do what she's doing right now, move away from Obama's foreign policy. Bernie Sanders has effectively said, "Well, you know, she's not so bad after all," so I don't think he's in it. It's hard to see him in it and it's hard to see anybody else in it. she's the one to watch.

And she can stand by, to some extent, and watch the Republicans kill each other, which is what they're probably going to do.

BARTIROMO:  And that's what she's hoping they do.

SHEINKOPF:  That's what she's hoping they do and she prays every night, certainly, that Donald Trump will continue doing what he does.

ROLLINS:  But what she can't do is she can't get rid of her own negatives. She's got a 30-year history of creating negatives. And over 60 percent of the country doesn't think she's honest, including a vast majority of...

HEYE:  It all depends who the Republicans nominate, whether she's the president or not. It's got nothing do with her. They nominate someone who is crazy, they're going to lose; she's going to win. It's simple.

BARTIROMO:  Wow. All right. We'll take a short break. Speculation is growing, meanwhile, that the Federal Reserve will finally raise interest rates next month. How could it impact our economy and your money? We'll talk a look, next, on "Sunday Morning Futures" with our panel.


BARTIROMO:  Welcome back. The Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee now saying it is ready to raise interest rates next month. The meeting is on December 16th. What will that mean for your money and the economy?

We're back with our panel, Ed Rollins, Doug Heye, and Hank Sheinkopf.

Before we get into the Federal Reserve, it is a big week next week. Let's go through some of the events that people need to understand. The highway bill is one.

ROLLINS:  The highway bill still is not properly funded and you have to basically work on that, and you have a temporary fix on that. You've got -- a lot of the appropriations stuff is there. Obviously, there's a lot of discussion now with the big merger between Pfizer and the Irish company...

BARTIROMO:  Yeah, Allergan, right.

ROLLINS:  ... and whether you basically have to have some ability to keep these companies from doing this. And so my sense is you'll have a lot of rhetoric. You've got a very short time frame. And I think there will be a lot of activity in the House and the Senate.


BARTIROMO:  And then there's a bill on the Syrian refugees.

ROLLINS:  Right.


So what's your take on all of these things, Doug?

HEYE:  Well, the House Appropriations Committee staff has been working all weekend to make sure that we, kind of, forget that we've got a lot of things coming up to keep the government open.

This is where Paul Ryan is going to be critical. He's had some really good weeks for House Republicans. He's been an adult in a room that surely needs more adults. If Paul Ryan's successful, I think House Republicans can move forward in a direction that we haven't been able to do in a few years.

BARTIROMO:  And, Hank, what do you see?

SHEINKOPF:  I see that, in an election year, the highway bill is the most important thing that people have to worry about, and not giving the Democrats any populist issues to run on, like a version -- like talking about -- talking about tax rules that just won't work or that make more money for rich people, regardless of how some of us may feel. If they do that and they don't pass the highway bill, it doesn't get funded appropriately, in states where it matters, those things will have tremendous impact.

BARTIROMO:  Actually, Secretary Clinton said last week she wanted to make it harder for companies like Pfizer to leave, go to another country, acquire another company, and actually pay lower taxes.

SHEINKOPF:  That's a great argument. And, by the way, it goes to states where -- where Democrats and Republicans are going to be hard at work trying to kill each other.

In the Midwest -- and this race will be won or lost, this presidential race, probably, in the Heartland again -- those are places that are tax-sensitive and road-sensitive.


ROLLINS:  I think it's also a big test of McConnell. McConnell, basically, has given the mantle up to Reid on many occasions, and now that you have Ryan, who's obviously ascending, McConnell has to basically really get this stuff going through...

BARTIROMO:  I mean, rather than come out with new rules so that companies can't leave America to go get a better tax rate, why not just attack tax reform?

Why not just change the tax code to lower corporate taxes? Why has this been so difficult?

ROLLINS:  Well, you should. And the truth of the matter, you probably would have a bipartisan -- if Ryan would have stayed as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, I think it would have happened next year. He has to now try to push it from the speaker's -- speaker's chair, which is a little more difficult.

SHEINKOPF:  Not so simple in an election year.

BARTIROMO:  Real quick on the Syrian refugee bill? What happens there?

HEYE:  Well, we don't know. We don't know if the Senate's going to take it up. But having it pass with such a broad bipartisan majority gives it some hope to pass in the Senate. The question is, will they get to a veto-proof number?

BARTIROMO:  Does it matter if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates next month?

ROLLINS:  It matters only to senior citizens, who have been without any kind of interest increase for a long, long time. And that's going to become an important political...

SHEINKOPF:  He or she who is responsible for that, or are going to be tagged with it is going to have a problem come the fall for their whole party.

BARTIROMO:  If they don't raise rates?

SHEINKOPF:  Correct.

HEYE:  And, you know, it's like the old Frank Sinatra song, "I've heard that song before." Every time the Fed meets, we hear, "This is the time they're going to raise rates." Certainly, the market could afford 20, 25 basis points. But we don't know if they're going to do it and if that will reduce uncertainty.

BARTIROMO:  But you're right about seniors. I mean...


BARTIROMO:  I mean, people can't even save money. You're not getting any money.

ROLLINS:  We deal with Wall Street. There are so many people that are dependent on their stock portfolio or their bonds or what have you, and they have had no interest for years. And so my sense is that's going to become a more and more -- a bigger issue.

BARTIROMO:  Yeah, for sure. And, in fact, a lot of the candidates are not loving Janet Yellen right now and question whether or not they would reappoint her.

Still to come, the one thing to watch for the week ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures," next.


BARTIROMO:  I want to thank our wonderful panel. Thanks so much, gentlemen. I'm Maria Bartiromo. I'll be back tomorrow on "Mornings with Maria" on the Fox Business Network.

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