OTR Interviews

Does Pres. Obama have a Plan B for ISIS?

After hearing the president's Oval Office address to the nation, Sen. Kelly Ayotte goes 'On the Record' on whether she believes he has a plan to defeat ISIS or whether he is repeating talking points


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," December 8, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: This is a Fox News alert. New threats against U.S. consulate in Istanbul. These new threats forcing the U.S. State Department to cancel consular services which includes the issuing of visas. And the State Department saying it has information about a possible security threat and are encouraging Americans in Turkey to remain vigilant.

Back here at home, President Obama's plan to take out ISIS under intense criticism. Critics say the obvious. ISIS is growing and growing, so the President's plan can't possibly be working.

Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee of New Hampshire, Senator Kelly Ayotte goes "On the Record." She is right here. 

Senator, that was my thought. They are growing and growing, whatever we are doing isn't working.

KELLY AYOTTE, NEW HAMPSHIRE SENATOR: Well, I would agree, Greta. And, you know, I think what we heard on Sunday night, was we certainly heard a lecture but we didn't hear changes on what's going to make the difference to defeat ISIS in terms of the current strategy.

Nothing new. Stay the course. And so, I think we need to be much stronger if we want to make sure that we reduce their safe haven in Iraq and Syria. And, frankly, we had some stepping up of air -- the air campaign but it needs to be much stronger.

We've got a situation where, frankly, I've been surprised that the president actually hasn't even called together NATO to say, OK, post -- post-terrorist attacks and obviously with...


SUSTEREN: Well, I don't know why France didn't invoke article 5.

AYOTTE: Right.

SUSTEREN: And I don't know why Turkey didn't invoke article 5 as -- I mean, no one anybody has, or why we haven't come.

AYOTTE: And we have an ability even sort of invoking Article 5 to bring -- to actually under Article 4, call a NATO meeting.


SUSTEREN: A meeting.

AYOTTE: A meeting on how are we going to work together to defeat ISIS and bring in up to a coalition.

SUSTEREN: I'd step it up to -- I'd step it up to five but that's just me. All right. What are generals saying though, and what does the military saying?

AYOTTE: Well, I think the military; we're going to hear tomorrow from Secretary Carter on this issue. But what I think is that we need to obviously have rules of engagement. And especially on the air campaign that's starting to change. That really make sure that we're focusing on the right targets.

We saw that when they took out the 116 oil trucks, but obviously that was way too late. We need to do more of that. We also need, I believe, Greta, a lot of these sorties are coming back where they don't drop the bombs.

And the way you avoid that is more forward air controllers J-techs to actually embed with the Kurds. Embedded with the Iraqi forces so that we can call an accurate air strikes to go after the best targets. And then more support for the Kurds, more bringing together our allies to really take ISIS out.

SUSTEREN: Well, the Pentagon, one of the other issues of course, I'm sure you know is all the talk today about Donald Trump, and even the Pentagon had something to say to him about national security. Let's listen.


PETER COOK, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: We have troops serving that follow the Muslim faith. And, again, without wading into politics, anything that tries to bolster, if you will, the ISIL narrative that the United States is somehow at war with Islam is contrary to our values and contrary to our national security.


SUSTEREN: Islam -- are we at war with Islam, radical Islam or nobody?

AYOTTE: Well, let me just say, Greta. I firmly believe to the -- to the statement that was just made, I respect all of our service members, regardless of what their religion is. We shouldn't have a religious base test on either immigration or service. But this administration...


SUSTEREN: We also have a constitutional amendment.

AYOTTE: Exactly. It's called the First Amendment to the Constitution and it needs to be respected. But that said, we are, if you look, radical Islamist terrorists and the president has not been willing to say that. And we have to be clear that this is the enemy. And we need to make sure that we do everything we can to defeat ISIS, and obviously other terrorist groups like Al Qaeda that still remain a threat to us.

And, to me, the president has not been clear and certainly that wasn't clear on Sunday night either.

SUSTEREN: I think it's fair to say radical Islam and I mean, I will make a comment at the end of the show about it, I think is actually very destructive to trying to beat ISIS. And I will explain it at the end of the show, so you have to stay tuned.


AYOTTE: I appreciate that.

SUSTEREN: Anyway, Senator, nice to see you. Thank you.

AYOTTE: Thank you.