Cruz: Rubio 'not telling the truth' about immigration stance

On 'Hannity,' presidential candidate blasts GOP opponents, explains rise in the polls


This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," December 21, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARK STEYN, GUEST HOST: Welcome to "Hannity." Tonight, Ted Cruz continues to challenge GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

I'm Mark Steyn. Sean's getting an early jump on the eggnog.

According to a new CBS News/Yougov Iowa poll, Ted Cruz is in first place in the key state with 40 percent, while Trump comes in second at 31 percent. The only other candidate in double digits is Senator Marco Rubio.

In New Hampshire, according to the same poll, Trump is leading the way with 32 percent. Cruz is in second with 14, followed by Rubio and Governor Chris Christie. And in the latest Fox News national poll, Trump is on top with 39 percent, and then it's Cruz, Rubio and Dr. Ben Carson.

Here now with reaction is 2016 Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. Great to have you with us, Senator. The New Hampshire result, frankly, must surprise you a little. Everyone thought, there it was going to come down to a choice between Donald Trump and a so-called establishment candidate. Instead, it's the Republican establishment's worst nightmare in the two-man race.

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, Mark, it's great to be with you this evening. You know, what we're seeing in New Hampshire and what we're seeing in Iowa is really a microcosm of what we're seeing nationwide, which is that more and more conservatives are uniting behind our campaign.

And it really has been encouraging. From day one, when we launched our campaign, the object was to bring back together that old Reagan coalition, to bring together conservatives and evangelicals and libertarians, to bring together young people and Hispanics and African- Americans and Jewish voters and women and Reagan Democrats. And we're seeing that happening, happening on the ground.

I think Iowa is further along in that. We've now had a number of polls fairly consistently showing us in first place. That's certainly encouraging, and we're going to continue working hard to continue to consolidate and grow that support.

But we're also seeing in New Hampshire conservatives coming together.  You know, in New Hampshire, you've got a much bigger libertarian population. We've got a lot of libertarian support. So I'm encouraged, what we're seeing in the early states and all across the country.

STEYN: Well, you've done something terribly cunning this campaign season because, as you know, it's an unusual campaign season.

CRUZ: Oh, yes.

STEYN: Every other candidate with the word -- who has had the misfortune to have the word "senator" or "governor" in front of their name, it hangs around their neck like a millstone plunging them into the toilet of history.

You -- you -- in a season of outsiders, you seem to have succeeded in being a U.S. senator running as an outsider. How are you managing to pull that off? Because the other guys would like to know.

CRUZ: Well, Mark, look, I think the reason is people are fed up with Washington. You and I are both fed up with Washington. We're fed up with politicians who say one thing and do another, who can't be counted on.

And it's one of the reasons why I'm so optimistic about where this presidential race is right now, that I think one of the most important things Donald Trump has done in this race is helped frame the central question of the Republican primary as, Who will stand up to Washington?

STEYN: Right.

CRUZ: Now -- now, if that's the central question, the natural follow- up is, OK, who actually has stood up to Washington? Who's taken on not just Democrats but leaders of our own party? And I think that's the reason that conservatives are uniting behind our campaign, is that of the nine people standing on that debate stage, I'm the only one who has a consistent record over and over and over again of standing up to what I call the Washington cartel, the career politicians in both parties that get in bed with the lobbyists and special interests and grow and grow and grow government.

And I think the people are looking for a leader who will do what he says and tell the truth and will stand with the American people. And that's what I've endeavored to do every single day I've been in public office.

STEYN: Well, let's talk about that, Senator, because this is what Marco Rubio has attacked as your "more purist than thou" routine. And he was on the TV over the weekend talking about this. Let's hear what he had to say.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think when you spend your whole time telling people that you're a clear talker and you say what you mean and everyone else is a sellout, that you're the only purist, I think it's fair to say, Well, hold on a second. I mean, here's where you've been in the past on some issues, and here's where you are now.

The truth is everyone running on the Republican side supports strong conservative positions. We have some differences on some issues, and we should discuss those, like national security, for example. But when you run by telling everybody you're the only purist in the field, you're the only one that's always consistent, conservative, well, I think then your record is going to have a light shown on it.

And in this case, it's proven that, in fact, well after the immigration debate had ended, he was still talking about how he was open to legalizing people and how important it was to bring people out of the shadows and so forth.


STEYN: Now, immigration is Marco Rubio's Achilles heel. He's trying to turn it on you by essentially turning it into a character issue. He's saying Ted Cruz speak (sic) with forked tongue on this. How does it stand with you, Senator?

CRUZ: Oh, listen, Marco's a good guy. He's a friend of mine, and I like him. He's one of the most personally charming people you could know.  He's very, very well liked in Washington.

I don't think it's surprising that he's attacking me and that other candidates in the field are attacking me. I mean, right now, we're winning. We're in first place in Iowa. We're seeing conservatives uniting.

And I understand the Rubio campaign. You know, they told The New York Times a couple of weeks ago that they were panicking because they're down in third and fourth place in states all over the country, and they've got to do something to change it, and so they're attacking. But he knows very well the attacks he's saying are not true.

And actually, I'll tell you what, Mark, I'll commend Jeb Bush. I think Jeb Bush has been very honest. He's been very candid about his support for amnesty. And Marco -- Marco, on the other hand, is trying to run away from his long support for amnesty. You know, Marco and Jeb have the same record on immigration, and Marco's team has gotten very nervous about it.

And I will say this, that all of the attacks that Marco has been saying -- in the last week, we've seen Senator Mike Lee come out and say Marco's not telling the truth and Ted is.

STEYN: Right.

CRUZ: We've seen Senator Jeff Sessions say Marco's not telling the truth and Ted is. We've seen Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin both come out and say Marco's not telling the truth and Ted is.

And I'm a big believer, at the end of the day, truth will win out, and his record and mine are very, very different, and anyone paying the least bit of attention can see that when it comes to amnesty and illegal immigration and immigration generally, we are on opposite sides of the fence. He stands with Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama. I stand with Jeff Sessions and Steve King and the American people.

STEYN: Since you mentioned Rush -- Rush a couple of days ago on his radio show said, basically, after the budget deal, what is the Republican Party for? Every other senator running for president -- Bernie Sanders, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham, you -- managed to vote on this budget deal.  Marco Rubio didn't.

You invited me to the Senate a few days ago for a committee hearing for a committee that both you and Marco Rubio were on. Marco Rubio wasn't there for that, either. What's with the absence?

CRUZ: Well, listen, I'll let Marco defend his own voting record, and then that's really an issue for him and the voters.

You know, what I've tried to do is every day honor the promise that I made to the men and women who elected me. So that has been -- you look at this omnibus deal, this was a betrayal. It was disgraceful.

It was Republican leadership passing a trillion-dollar spending bill that funds the entire Obama agenda. It funds "Obama care." It funds amnesty. It funds Planned Parenthood. It does nothing to stop this catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal. It does nothing to stop President Obama from bringing tens of thousands of Syrian refugees to this country that the FBI has said they cannot vet to determine if they're ISIS terrorists.

And it's why, Mark, people are so frustrated with Washington. They're looking for someone who will stand up and take on not just the Democrats but leaders in our own party who approach every fight by putting their hands in the air and surrendering to the Democrats, and it's why people are fed up.

CRUZ: Well, Mitch McConnell says that we have to choose electable people, as he puts it, in 2014 (sic). And you don't have to decode that too much to figure out that you're not one of the people he has in mind.

We were told that the Republican establishment was going to spend $100 million destroying Trump in the weeks before Iowa and New Hampshire. The problem they have now is if they do that, all the votes will go to you, and if anything, they seem to loathe you even more than they loathe Trump.

Can the Republican establishment actually do that to you at this stage?

CRUZ: Well, listen, right now, the Washington establishment is panicking. They're confused. Their chosen golden children are not succeeding in the polls, and the reason is the American people are fed up.  They don't want another Republican nominee to follow the path of a Bob Dole or a John McCain or a Mitt Romney, be really popular in Washington and to result in millions of conservatives staying home on election day because we cannot lose to Hillary Clinton.

And the only way to win is to follow the path in 2016, like we did in 1980, to paint in bold colors, not pale pastels. We win with a strong, principled, optimistic conservative who stands with the working men and women of this country.

STEYN: Well, Bob Dole says he's thinking of sleeping in on election day. I'm actually -- I think he slept in for a lot of the '96 campaign.  We'll get to that in a moment.

More with Ted Cruz, Senator Ted Cruz, right after the break.

And coming up later here on "Hannity"...


HILLARY CLINTON, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  He is becoming ISIS's best recruiter. They are going to people, showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists!



STEYN: Hillary Clinton made an outrageous claim about Donald Trump that the fact checkers say is not true. We'll tell you how Trump is responding and get reaction from our panel.

And later, President Obama is blaming the media and not himself for Americans being fearful of an ISIS attack on the homeland.

That and much more as "Hannity" continues.



STEYN: Welcome back to "Hannity" as we continue with 2016 Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz.

Senator, you introduced "Saturday Night Live" viewers to the lighter side of Ted Cruz this weekend with a special campaign commercial. Let's have a bit of that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Imagine the greatest Christmas stories told by the senator who once read "Green Eggs and Ham" from the Senate floor.

CRUZ: 'Twas the night before the shutdown, and all through the House, not a bill was stirring, not even to fund (ph) a mouse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A proven record presents a collection of timeless Christmas classics read by the trusted conservative leader Ted Cruz favorites such as "How Obama Care Stole Christmas" and "Rudolph the Under- Employed Reindeer."

CRUZ: All of the other reindeer couldn't afford to hire Rudolph.


STEYN: You have two really great professional child actors in that commercial, Senator. Where did you rent them for the day? They're terrific. They're really good.

CRUZ: Well, my daughters had so much fun with that. That's Caroline (ph) and Katherine (ph). And Caroline -- both of them have lines later in that commercial, where Caroline in particular enjoyed reading about the Grinch who stole her e-mails, and Caroline, with some gusto, reads about Hillary's secret server.

And they had a lot of fun with it. And it's -- you know, we try to bring our girls on the road with us. You know, we're in the middle of this nationwide road trip, touring across the super-Tuesday states, and the girls have been on the road with us.

But that "Saturday Night Live" commercial was a lot of fun. And you know, in just a day, we've had over a million hits. People have gone to TedCruz.org, they've watched it, they've laughed, they've passed it on to their friends.

And listen, Mark, you're someone who knows the power of humor. I think there are too many Republicans who act like a stick in the mud.  We've got to have some fun and laugh. And the way we win is we tell the truth and do it with a smile.

STEYN: Well, they are excellent in that. As you say, the way Caroline -- every time I try to get my kids to do something like that, they're terrible, and I have to have them edited out and replaced by professional union kids. So you really -- you've got the advantage on me there.


CRUZ: OK, so Mark, you've outed me that neither one of them has a SAG union card. So I may be in trouble for putting them up in that.

STEYN: No, well, just don't let it go to their heads. You don't want them turning into Justin Bieber.


STEYN: But that's -- that is a -- that's a pretty nice job they did there. You -- it's actually quite a sharp and pointed ad there. You talk about Frosty the Speaker, and the speaker who melted before Congress. And I wonder which speaker you had in mind there, Senator.

CRUZ: Well, look, I leave that to creative interpretation.


CRUZ: But listen, I will say we tried to have some fun with it but also to express -- people are frustrated. And so you can laugh and at the same time say what's happening in Washington doesn't make sense and we need a real change.

And look, I'm certainly trying to laugh at myself at the same time, which I think is important to do. And if I don't do, Heidi and the girls do it for me.

STEYN: Now, when we were looking at the poll numbers for six months ago, you were behind not only Jeb Bush, but you were also behind Huckabee and Rand Paul. It looked like for Rand Paul, there might be a libertarian moment, for want of a better word. The sort of neocon security state approach to foreign policy was out of favor.

Since then, we've had Paris, San Bernardino, massive expansion of ISIS. You seem to have been better at threading the needle between libertarianism and the security challenges. Where are you on that right now, as opposed to, say, Lindsey Graham, who just pulled out today?

CRUZ: Right. You know, there's no doubt that in the wake of Paris and San Bernardino, the most important question for Americans has become, Who's prepared to be commander-in-chief? Who has the experience, who has the judgment, who has the clarity of vision, who has the strength?

And I think that's one of the reasons, as people focused on the need to keep this country safe, we've seen our support just growing and growing and growing. There are a lot of good people in the race, but I think if people are making a judgment about who's prepared to be commander-in-chief, that my record of, number one, following the Constitution, which we don't have to be Barack Obama and trample on the Constitution to keep our country safe, but number two, being clear-eyed about the enemy we face.

It is radical Islamic terrorism. And as commander-in-chief, I will utterly defeat radical Islamic terrorism. We will destroy ISIS. And the single biggest national security threat facing America is the threat of a nuclear Iran. And I have pledged on day one of my administration to rip to shreds this catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal.

And I think Americans are looking for a commander-in-chief who will put the American people first, who will keep this country safe, and that is my very first and highest commitment.

STEYN: Senator, just finally, just quickly, before you can take out ISIS and take out the mullahs, you got to be able to take out Donald Trump.  Do you think you can do that in Iowa and New Hampshire?

CRUZ: You know, I'm very encouraged. And I'll tell you this. If conservatives continue uniting -- we've had over 160,000 volunteer at TedCruz.org, over 600,000 make contributions at TedCruz.org. If that keeps happening, we're going to win the primary.

And if conservatives show up in November 2016, we will win the general. We'll beat Hillary Clinton, and we'll turn this country around.

STEYN: Well, thank you, Ted Cruz. And we'll look forward to catching you on the campaign trail.

Coming up next right here on "Hannity"...


CLINTON:  He is becoming ISIS's best recruiter. They are going to people, showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists!


STEYN: Hillary Clinton says ISIS is using Donald Trump's comments to recruit new members, but the fact checkers say that her claim isn't true.  We'll get reaction from our panel next.

And later -- President Obama refuses to shoulder any blame for his failed ISIS strategy, and now says the media are the reason why Americans are fearful of a possible ISIS attack. We'll show you the video as "Hannity" continues.


STEYN: Welcome back to "Hannity." GOP front-runner Donald Trump is under fire from the Democrats, with President Obama accusing Trump of exploiting the fears of blue collar workers during an interview with NPR released earlier today. Let's take a look.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Blue collar men have had a lot of trouble in this new economy, where they're no longer getting the same bargain that they got when they were going to a factory and able to support their families on a single paycheck.

You combine those things, and it means that there's going to be potential anger, frustration, fear, some of it justified but just misdirected. And you know, I think somebody like Mr. Trump's taking advantage of that. I mean, that's what he's exploiting during the course of his campaign.


STEYN: And at Saturday's Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton also made a very questionable claim, saying ISIS is showing videos of Trump as a recruiting tool.


CLINTON:  We also need to make sure that the really discriminatory messages that Trump is sending around the world don't fall on receptive ears. He is becoming ISIS's best recruiter. They are going to people, showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists!



STEYN: Donald Trump responded to Mrs. Clinton's claim, demanding an apology and by saying she, quote, "lies like crazy." And according to Redstate.com, a new ISIS recruiting video actually shows images of Bill Clinton and President Obama.

Joining me now from The Washington Times, Charles Hurt, the vice president of WPA Research, Lisa Boothe, and Democratic pollster Jessica Tarlov.

So if I understand the president correctly, Trump is tapping into genuine blue collar anxiety, but underneath it all is just racist xenophobic fear of the other. Is that pretty much it?

JESSICA TARLOV, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Not quite. No, I wouldn't say that. I think, as the president admitted, that blue collar workers in this country do have a right to have anxiety and fear. The economy has improved, but it's not perfect, obviously.

And I think, actually, the Democrats need to focus more on the positives to our story, which is that unemployment is down to 5 percent.  We've created 13.3 million jobs.

But everything can't be Donald Trump's fault. A lot can. He's said plenty of xenophobic and bigoted things. This -- I wouldn't have gone after him about this in particular. I think that you just focus on the story, which is that we've had a great economic recovery. We still have more to do. I know there's low labor force participation -- before you come at me with that one.

But I think that it was not a right line of attack. There are many more worse things that we could be criticizing Donald Trump for.

STEYN: You could make the argument, Lisa, that Jessica's point about those 30 million new jobs have mostly gone to immigrants, which again taps into Trump's issue, why when things are just flatlined for blue collar workers do we just want to bring in tons more people into the country?

LISA BOOTHE, VICE PRESIDENT AT WPA RESEARCH: Well, and it's flatlined under President Obama's policies, quite frankly. A lot of these blue collar workers are suffering at the hands of President Obama's failed policies.

If you remember, it was unions that wrote President Obama about "Obama care" specifically and said that it would destroy the 40-hour work week, which is the backbone of the middle class.

It's President Obama who's gone after the coal industry that's essentially led to the destruction of tens of thousands of coal jobs and is going to shrink the coal industry by nearly 50 percent, leading to a quarter of a million jobs lost. So it's actually President Obama's policies who are hurting these blue collar workers.

So of course, they're looking for leadership. They're looking for someone else. They're looking for someone else to understand the problems that they're facing, and problems, quite frankly, that President Obama has created.

STEYN: Charles, let's take it as read (ph), but just for the sake of example, that ISIS are using Trump as a recruiting tool. Even if that were true, so what? I mean, the Nazis could have used Winston Churchill as a recruiting tool. Who cares? Why can't we say it? Why can't we say -- talk about our enemies openly.

CHARLES HURT, WASHINGTON TIMES: You know, I got to tell you, Mark, I kind of was flabbergasted to hear Hillary Clinton make that claim and bring up the thing, you know, about recruiting Muslims to attack the United States with Trump or whatever.

This is a woman who in the hours after Benghazi, decided to make up a story and blame a movie, some Internet movie that nobody had ever seen, was not on anybody's radar. She raised the profile of this movie so that after she blamed the movie, everybody goes and starts watching it. It incites riots around the world, countless people are killed, countless more are injured. And all because of a -- what was essentially -- maybe it wasn't a -- you know, a jihadist recruitment film, but it certainly was a jihadist incitement film.

And so I think it's -- I think it -- she's kind of playing with fire by talking about that. And if we do wind up with a debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, something tells me that Donald Trump will do a better job of hanging that on Hillary Clinton than Republicans have done so far.


STEYN: You take that position?

TARLOV: No, I think it's absolutely ridiculous. I think, first of all, it does matter if he would be appearing in recruitment videos, which he has not appeared in.

STEYN: Right.

TARLOV: I think what she should have said is Donald Trump will be used in this way.

STEYN: Wait. What about -- what about the other point, his point, that Hillary Clinton's policies have led to hundreds of thousands of deaths in Libya and the wider world?

TARLOV: First of all, it's been (INAUDIBLE) an unfounded thing to say that something -- that Donald Trump rhetoric, where he just throws out anything he's thinking at that moment and no one calls him on it or pushes it back hard enough on him that it makes a difference. He shouldn't be...


HURT: Hillary Clinton has a great record...

BOOTHE (?): ... which is very different than Donald Trump, you know, on the sidelines (INAUDIBLE)

STEYN: We got to go, Jessica. Thanks -- thanks a lot, guys.

Coming up next right here on "Hannity" -- President Obama defends his ISIS strategy despite mounting criticism from a former adviser and from Hillary Clinton. We'll get reaction from our panel next.

And later tonight...


DAVID MUIR, ABC NEWS, DEBATE MODERATOR: And we believe Secretary Clinton will be coming around the corner any minute. But in the meantime, we want to start with this eye-opening number...

CLINTON:  Sorry.



STEYN: Hillary Clinton was late returning to the stage after getting delayed in the bathroom during the commercial break at the Democratic debate this weekend.

That and more as "Hannity" continues.


STEYN: Welcome back to "Hannity."

President Obama continues to defend his ISIS strategy. In an interview with NPR released this morning the president downplayed the threat of ISIS and blamed the media for making Americans fearful of future attacks.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This is not an organization that can destroy the United States. This is not a huge industrial power that can pose great risks to us.

If you've been watching television for the last month, all you've been seeing, all you've been hearing about is these guys with masks or black flags who are potentially coming to get you.

The media is pursuing ratings. This is a legitimate news story. I think that, you know, it's up to the media to make a determination about how they want to cover things.


STEYN: The president's response to ISIS has been so bad that even Democrats are starting to criticize him. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought that he reacted, Jake, after the Paris bombing when he was over -- or the Paris events when he was over in Europe a little bit -- he was a little tone deaf there.

CLINTON: I have a plan that I put forward to go after ISIS, not to contain them, but to defeat them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not going fast enough. The pace is not going fast enough. I think we have to look for something to change the dynamic on the ground.


STEYN: Joining me now with reaction, a FOX News military analyst, Colonel David Hunt, the author of the book "Foreign and Domestic," retired Brigadier General Tony Tata, and former Navy SEAL and the author of "Extreme Ownership" Leif Babin. This business of the president feeling it's just media driven, I mean, is he out of his mind on that? That it's the media chasing ratings is the only reason we cover is?

LEIF BABIN, "EXTREME OWNERSHIP" AUTHOR: It's total denial. This is an organization that's vowed to try to destroy America. And certainly if Americans are concerned and not going to shopping malls or parades or things of that nature because they're worried about terrorist attacks, which is a bipartisan concern, then we've got to do something about it.

And what's frustrating for me as a former war fighter and knowing guys that are there on the ground now is it's not a hard problem to solve. We just need to take the gloves off, allow our U.S. military to go in, smash ISIS, and the problem is solved.

STEYN: Yes, it's weird that they're not actually a big military threat in that sense, but because of the way they're able to leverage social media around the western world they're able to exploit opportunities. General, how do you feel about the president's confident assertion that they're not an existential threat in that sense?

BRIG. GEN. TONY TATA, "FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC" AUTHOR: Well, Mark, if you actually watch the whole interview, the president's big takeaway from events so far for the last several years regarding ISIS is that the U.S. has failed at our public relations strategy. It has got nothing to do with defeating or destroying ISIS. We're just not telling the story good enough to the American people, which is why so many people are afraid of ISIS.

And that's the president's -- you know, he was called tone deaf. And I think that's being complimentary because to be tone deaf would mean that you actually care. And what this president wants to do is just not get into a ground war on his watch. He wanted to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now he does not want to put ground troops in there.

And what he should have done after Paris or even before, but after Paris is implement Article Five, lead NATO, be the leader of the free world, and develop a coalition with the 28 NATO nations and the Mideast nations that were all decrying the Paris attack and have a ground force that can work in complementally fashion with the air forces, because air power alone has never, ever, in the history of mankind, won anything.

STEYN: Colonel Hunt, we now have a situation, he says they're contained. They're contained in the sense that they are in Africa, they're in Asia, they're in Europe, they're in North America, they're in Australia.  They're basically contained to the planet, colonel.

COL. DAVID HUNT, FOX NEWS MILITARY ANALYST: ISIS has its own territory. It's also gained a lot of ground on the coast in Libya. But everyone's correct here. Killing ISIS is not the problem. Of course, we have 14 years of combat, going on 15 years. We just lost six guys in Afghanistan. But we know how to kill things.

The problem is once that's done -- I haven't heard this articulated.  Two problems, actually getting the Arab nations on the ground fighting so we're not doing it all. And the second one is what do you do with Syria and Iraq and Libya and Yemen, to name four, once you've done this killing of is and wiped them off the planet? This is a long war that less than one percent of this country is involved in. So there's all this talk about soldiers going back in, but there's no skin in this game. And less than one percent are doing this fight. We need a national effort and we're not getting it.

STEYN: Leif, that's true, isn't it? The president has bet that Americans are tired of what they see as ineffectual warmongering. One reason it's ineffectual is because the president isn't leveraging every aspect of national power to get the effort behind the war, is he?

BABIN: That's very true. I think to Colonel Hunt's point, there has to be a strategy behind that. I don't think it's really that difficult.  If we want our Arab allies, the Gulf States, Egypt, Jordan, to actually join up in this effort, we have to lead the fight. If we lead that fight, we can bring them on board for that.

STEYN: Isn't, though, that a bit of a copout, general, this idea that if we could just get the Arab armies on board? You have to go back decades since the Arab armies have ever won anything. I think you're talking about the Arab Legion under Glubb Pasha in 1948. You have to go back a long way.  How are they going to be leading this?

TATA: Mark, all you got to do is go back to the first gulf war. We had about 40 nations, a good third of them were Arab nations that were lined up on the Saudi Arabian bothered and ready to go into Kuwait or into Iraq and fight. And what this president does is instead of listening to the intelligence that's provided him, he takes that intelligence and shapes it to his view, his world view, and diminishes the threat instead of understanding the reality on the ground. And that prevents him from leveraging every aspect of our power. We have diplomatic power. We have economic power. We have military power. We have geopolitical power.  They're all elements of power that both other panelists have talked about that we need to be leveraging here in this long effort, as Colonel Hunt, said so that we can be successful in protect the American people. But President Obama is not interested in doing that.

STEYN: Thank you. Thank you, General.

Coming up next on "Hannity"  --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And do we believe Secretary Clinton will be coming around the corner any minute. But in the meantime, we want to start with this eye-opening number.




STEYN: We'll have a breakdown of Saturday's Democratic debate, including that interesting moment where Hillary Clinton briefly went missing from the debate stage after spending a little too long in the bathroom during a commercial break. Stay with us.   


STEYN: Welcome back to "Hannity." The third Democratic debate was held over the weekend. And in case you missed it, here are some of the, well, memorable moments. Watch this.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, D-VT., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There was a breach because the DNC vendor screwed up. Information came to our campaign. Not only do I apologize to Secretary Clinton, and I hope we can work together on an independent investigation, I want to apologize to my supporters.

CLINTON: I would certainly build on the successes of the affordable care act and work to fix some of the glitches that you just referenced.


CLINTON: Well, they're glitches because --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: IT's 27 percent in the last five years, deductibles up 57 percent.

CLINTON: It is, because part of this is the start-up challenges that this system is facing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to turn to the American jobs, wages, and raises in this country. And do we believe Secretary Clinton will be coming around the corner any minute.




STEYN: Joining me now -- that's amazing, that bathroom break. She's going to be doing that at the inauguration if we don't do something. Here is former Clinton pollster and FOX News contributor Doug Schoen and "Washington Times" columnist Monica Crowley. Doug, they hold these things Saturday night. Nobody's watching. It's very different from what's going on the GOP side.

DOUG SCHOEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It is. And what the Democratic Party wants is for Hillary to be nominated without a fight and without a problem. So far Bernie Sanders is mostly cooperating with that.

The real problem she has, though, is that she has to stay close to president Obama at least through Iowa and New Hampshire so she ends up associating herself with an unpopular Affordable Care Act and saying where we need to be fighting ISIS, which I think two-thirds of the American people would disagree with.

STEYN: You mentioned Bernie Sanders cooperating. Why is he doing this, Monica? You know, Trump came out in the first debate and he killed the frontrunner with a single adjectival description -- Jeb Bush is low energy. He struck at the king and killed the king. And why is Bernie Sanders playing princess wimpy-pants?

MONICA CROWLEY, WASHINGTON TIMES COLUMNIST: Because Bernie Sanders is not in this to win it, obviously. He's in there to tout socialism.  He's there talking about the virtues of his ideology, and that's what he's there to do. He is not there to actually win. So he was slobbering over her at the beginning, apologizing, slobbering over at the end. And she knows that, which is why she could sort of imperiously stroll out of the bathroom, or maybe she was on the phone with Bill Clinton during that break. Who knows what she was doing?

But it's sort of all her -- she handles herself very well in these debates. The problem here is because the DNC is protecting her by burying these debates on Saturday nights and having so few of them is that she's going to go into the general election without being beaten up. Their view is it's good that she's not being beaten up because it keeps her pristine.  The downside to that is that whoever emerges out of the Republican field will have taken enough slings and arrows and grown a thick enough skin to expect any question, that they will be far better prepared for the general and presidential debates than she will be.

STEYN: Basically, Martin O'Malley, he made a catty remark of a representative of a younger generation, oh, saucer of milk for Mr. O'Malley, but other than that, none of the -- neither of the guys --

SCHOEN: Look, Hillary has been around a long time. I've worked with her. I've certainly worked with Bill Clinton more extensively. She knows how to prepare. She certainly, Monica, knows how to change her ideological positioning due to the circumstances. You will see her move to the center once the nomination is secure, and she will emerge as hawkish, centrist politician competing with Republicans who, as you point out, are divided and occasionally dispirited.

STEYN: Did you agree with Monica that Bernie was never in it to win?

SCHOEN: He looks like he's in a tank. I mean, he's given up on the emails. He apologized for something with the data that we still don't know what happened. All the while had a lawsuit pending against the DNC.

STEYN: What about these idealistic college students all over America who are turning out for the great white socialist hope, great white wrinkly socialist hope?

CROWLEY: Einstein hair.

STEYN: Yes. And it turns out he doesn't mean it.        

CROWLEY: This is actually a very difficult line that Mrs. Clinton is walking, and this gets to Doug's point, because I wrote my column in "The Washington Times" about this last week. Is this Democratic Party Barack Obama's or Hillary Clinton's, meaning that Bernie Sanders has a lock on the radical left, which is where Obama is, which is where most of the party is, those kids that you talk about. She ideologically is there with them. But her husband, who remade the party and was rewarded not once but twice, elected and reelected, had a more moderate, pragmatic approach to this Democratic Party, moved it to the center where Doug is and his fellow Democrats. That is not where the party is. So I think she's right, and I think she's walking that fine line where she can't alienate the far left.

STEYN: OK, here is the inside scoop, because according to Monica, Bill is the centrist, and Hillary is this Bernie Sanders parady in drag.  Is that basically it?


SCHOEN: She is a pragmatic. She is a leftist now. She'll be centrist in the campaign. She's supporting Obama now. Just wait when she is free of the tethers of the Democratic primary. You'll see a different, more inclusive, centrist Hillary Clinton.

STEYN: And just quickly, Monica, Trump versus Hillary in debates, how is that going to go?

CROWLEY: Wildly entertaining, mark. Never a dull moment. I think Mrs. Clinton expected to run against an old school gentleman-type Republican candidate like Jeb Bush, like a Mitt Romney.

STEYN: And crush him like a bug.        

CROWLEY: And crush him like a bug, right, the gentlemen's rules.  What she's not ready for is to run against somebody like Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, somebody who will flatten her out of the gate.

STEYN: Fifteen seconds, Doug. Trump versus Hillary, how do you score that debate?

SCHOEN: Look, I think Hillary as the advantage of experience, but Trump has a wild card. And his response to her on death and destruction was pretty compelling.

STEYN: We have to go. We have to go, Doug. Thanks, guys. More  "Hannity" right after the break. Stay with us.


STEYN: Welcome back to "Hannity." That's a song off my new cat album, "Feline Groovy, Song for Swinging Cats." If you only buy one cat album this Christmas, make it "Feline Groovy."

If you're tired of the war on Christmas, be sure to check out "The Todd Starnes All-American Christmas." You can watch it online now at ToddStarnes.com, and it will air Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on Fox News Radio.        

That is all the time we have left this evening. Thanks for being with us. Have a great night, and we'll see you tomorrow.

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