KELLY FILE

New questions over Obama's ISIS messaging; Rand Paul takes aim at GOP competitors

President blames media for stoking terror fears; Reaction on 'The Kelly File'

 

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

MARTHA MACCALLUM, GUEST HOST: Breaking tonight, President Obama goes on the attack, placing blame on American's fears about terrorism, in part, on how the media is covering the threat.

Welcome to "The Kelly File," everybody. I'm Martha MacCallum in tonight for Megyn Kelly. So, shortly before the President took off for his vacation, he sat down with NPR to discuss a wide range of issues, including the 2016 race and the threat posed by Islamic extremists. And while the President admitted that he's not done a good enough job in communicating his strategy as he posed it, to defeat ISIS, he also suggested that the media is in part to blame for how people feel in this country about terrorism. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: What's fair is that post Paris, you had a saturation of news about the horrible attack there. And you know, ISIL combines viciousness with very savvy media operations. And as a consequence, 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 two are potentially coming to get you. Look, 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Interesting, right? So the President did not stop there.  He argued that Republican front-runner Donald Trump is exploiting American's fears about the future. Watch this part.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The fact that wages and incomes have been flat lining for some time and that particularly 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So this comes just days after a Fox News poll found terrorism and the economy are indeed the two most important issues to voters right now.

Chris Stirewalt joins me now, our Fox News digital politics editor and Howard Kurtz is the host of Fox News "MediaBuzz." Gentlemen, welcome.  Good to have you with us tonight.

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS DIGITAL POLITICS EDITOR: Howdy. Hi.

MACCALLUM: All right. Let's start with the Trump issue. And Chris, let me take this to you. Basically, he said that Donald Trump is taking advantage of anxieties that exists within working class Americans in this country because they're vulnerable essentially on the economic front and that that makes them feel more vulnerable in general, perhaps.

STIREWALT: And on the national security front and a lot of fronts and we know that the middle class is actually shrinking in the United States.  And what I find interesting, maybe even remarkable about what the President had to say, was that he was a bystander in this. As if he had no part in helping create the atmosphere that he was talking about. Well, the wages are flat, the people are unhappy, da-da-da-da-da, like this was a class at Columbia. No, his part in this, what the President has done, his presidency has made a fertile ground for Donald Trump to come in and fire people up.

MACCALLUM: Yes. It's stunning. He says wages and incomes have been flat lining for some time. And you look at things like food stamp participation, which have been up dramatically over the course of this presidency. You look at real median household income, that is down. The poverty rate is higher. Howard Kurtz, you know, the President also talked about the fact that the media is, to some extent, fueling this. And he basically says in the end there, you know, well, it's up to them how much emphasis they want to put on this, so that's sort of on their back.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST, "MEDIA BUZZ": Well, on the economic anxiety, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

KURTZ: -- Donald Trump is connecting with white working class folks who are worried about the tepid economic recovery. A lot of people dropped out of the workforce. That's not exploiting. That's connecting. And by that rhetorical standard, another person who is exploiting the economic anxieties and income inequalities is Bernie Sanders. But on the coverage of terrorism, because the President has sounded this note before, he says the media pursuing ratings, and in the next breath practically, he says it's a legitimate story. In the wake, the reason that Americans are concerned is that a terrorist killed a whole lot of people in Paris and San Bernardino. And yes, sometimes we can -- the echo chamber can sound a little too loudly in the wake of such an attack or warnings of future attacks, but at the same time, it would be crazy, we wouldn't be doing our jobs if we didn't aggressively pursue this story. And when there's nothing going on, terrorism is a ratings loser because it's a depressing story.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, he says that he understands. He said, you know, all you've been hearing about is these guys with masks or black flags who are potentially coming to get you. Chris, you know, it's a fascinating commentary. You know, the suggestion that in some ways, it's you know, the press' fault as we said. But the other thing that I want to ask you guys about, is this sort of issue that, you know, kind of, I'm sorry that you're scared --

STIREWALT: Right.

MACCALLUM: But I haven't articulated clearly to you enough, I guess, how much we're doing. And if you only understood what we're doing, then you wouldn't be so scared.

STIREWALT: I fail to understand how dense you are, and if I had appreciated how fearful and ignorant you were, I would have taken more time to better explain to you. This is now an annual event with Barack Obama.  He gets asked at the end of the year or at some point after there has been a failure or a setback, and somebody says, do you have any regrets? Is there anything you could have done better? And he started it when talking about ObamaCare and the Republicans routed him in 2010. And he said, I could have told a better story, I could have told our story better. It's like, well, what if they hated the policy? And so, this is an annual event for him.

MACCALLUM: But you know, Howard, what strikes me in this is that there's a presidential responsibility, I think. I think most people feel that there's a presidential responsibility to embrace the nation, to say here's why you need not fear. You are in a great country. We are in great shape to take care of this country and here's why. But instead, there's this sort of, you know, I guess you don't get it, or I didn't get that I wasn't explaining myself too correctly and it doesn't come across as a sort of paternal, presidential statement that is designed to embrace the nation and pull everyone together on this.

KURTZ: Well, in fairness, George W. Bush also tried to walk that line between saying, we must be vigilant against terror, we must be aggressive against terror but trying not to allow the terrorists to spread fear because that of course is how they win. But this whole notion that we're doing fine, blame somebody else, it's a pr problem, we haven't communicated or message well, I've heard lots of politicians do this when, in fact, they don't have a good story to tell and they think it can be just a pr problem.  In baseball, you fire the manager. In politics, maybe you get a new pr team, a new communications director. But what Barack Obama is really acknowledging here is that he has not reflected how anxious and concerned to me -- he said the words, but you don't get the feeling that he feels it in his gut. They feel that this is all an overreaction by the media and by you folks out there in the country.

MACCALLUM: And Donald Trump is tapping right into it. Interesting.  Gentlemen, thank you very much. Always good to see you, Chris and Howie.  We'll see you soon.

All right. Breaking news tonight. Just moments ago, Donald Trump firing back at Hillary Clinton in a new feud between these two presidential front-runners. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I love running against Hillary. I love running against Hillary.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: The war of words sparked after the former Secretary of State accused him of being a recruiting tool for ISIS. More on Trump's latest reaction to this back and forthcoming up in just a moment.

And the cringe-worthy moment from last night's Miss Universe contest.  Did you see this? We'll going to show you the entire play by play, because you've probably have not seen this whole thing, and how this went down, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And you see Hillary, I mean, did you watch that? What happened to her?

(CROWD BOOS)

I know, she's terrible. She's terrible. "Donald Trump is on video and ISIS is using him on the video to recruit." And it turned out to be a lie. She's a liar. It turned out to be a lie.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

It turned out to be a lie. And the last person that she wants to run against is me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: That was just moments ago. Donald Trump in Grand Rapids, Michigan tonight, firing back at Hillary Clinton, who sparked a war of words between the two front-runners for the presidency at this week's democratic debate, accusing Trump of being a recruiting tool, she said, for ISIS.

Ed Henry is in Washington on how we got here tonight.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Martha, it was yet another late Saturday night debate for Democrats that could help shield front-runner Hillary Clinton from much scrutiny over gaffes. Though at least a few of her comments managed to break through any way. The former secretary of state, whose strong suit is supposed to be national security, stumbled a bit when she said the strategy to defeat ISIS is finally where it needs to be. Then the Republican front-runner Donald Trump hotly disputed Clinton's claim that ISIS is using videos of him to recruit more terrorists. And PolitiFact Truth-O-Meter backed him up as Clinton aides try to clarify.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I will demand an apology for Hillary. She should apologize.  She lies about e-mails. She lies about Whitewater. She lies about everything. She will be a disaster as president.

JENNIFER PALMIERI, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, 2016 HILLARY CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: He's being used in social media by ISIS as propaganda. She did not have a particular video in mind but he's being used in social media.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY: Late today, a Clinton spokesman added, "Hell, no, she will not apologize to Trump, insisting his anti-Muslim comments are being used by ISIS." Now, this whole episode may be an early signal that some of Clinton's statements could sting her in the general election, though coming out of this debate, she had no major mistake to shake up the basic dynamic of the race. She's coasting to the democratic nomination and the party has helped smoothed the way. The next democratic debate is in mid-January, on a Sunday, when there will be not just one, but two NFL playoff games.  Martha?

MACCALLUM: Thanks to Ed Henry tonight. As we mentioned earlier, Trump just wrapped up that rally in Michigan where the Republican front- runner claimed that he has not even yet begun to fight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: So Hillary's going to get beaten, but I haven't started with Hillary yet. What happened to her? I'm watching the debate, and she disappeared. Where did she go? Where did she go? I thought she quit. I thought she gave up. Where did she go? Where did Hillary go? They had to start the debate without her. Phase two. I know where she went.  Disgusting. I don't want to talk about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: All right. That was earlier, just moments ago.

Joining me now, former Trump political adviser Roger Stone, and Lanny Davis, a long-time friend of Secretary Clinton and a columnist for "The Hill." Gentleman, welcome. Good to have you both here.

Lanny, where did she go, Donald Trump wants to know? What's going on here?

LANNY DAVIS, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, Martha, you know where she went and the last time Donald Trump made an anti-female remark he said to Carly Fiorina, look at that face. This is Donald Trump at his worst, which is why we all hope he will be the nominee of the Republican Party.

MACCALLUM: Roger?

ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP POLITICAL ADVISER: Well, now you see why the majority of voters, incredible national polls believe that Hillary is not trustworthy or honest. Look, she has a problem with the truth. She lies about her husband's sexual assault victims, as she did in New Hampshire a week ago. She lies about being under sniper fire in Bosnia.  She lies about classified documents on her e-mail. She lies about being broke when she leaves the White House. She lies about a video causing the assault that killed four Americans in Benghazi. She has shall we say, a casual relationship with the truth and I think it's going to be one of her greatest vulnerabilities in the general election.

MACCALLUM: Well, you heard Donald Trump, Lanny and he said that he has not begun on this, and he, no doubt, will be listing all of the items that Roger Stone just listed. If it's turns out to be head to head between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, you'll going to hear this all the time.

DAVIS: I'm so shocked that Roger don't use his vitriol about Hillary Clinton. This is a really shocking moment on FOX. You ought to look at Donald Trump's trust figures and also look at the national post in any contests which is why we want Trump to be the nominee. But look, let's look at two facts here that Mr. Trump, who is not exactly friendly to the facts according to his Republican opponents. Fact number one is that videos of Donald Trump and these bigoted remarks about people's religion, Muslims not coming to America, have been all over Middle Eastern television. Fact one. Fact two, social media, including Jihadist and ISIS supporters, are using the Trump comments to recruit.

MACCALLUM: Yes. A couple of things --  

DAVIS: And that is a fact that nobody really disputes --

MACCALLUM: Yes. A couple of things -- Lanny, first of all, PolitiFact.

DAVIS: Not even Roger Stone can dispute that.

MACCALLUM: -- said that they investigated -- they can't find any such video. Then her campaign sort of walked it back and said, we're pretty sure they're using it. They're using it in social media.

DAVIS: Not pretty sure, certain.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: -- Hillary said he is becoming ISIS' best recruiter. They are going to people and showing videos of Donald Trump, insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists.

DAVIS: So, let me repeat -- what she said is absolutely true, that Arab media, al Jazeera, al Arabic, al Arabia, all over the Middle East, Donald Trump's bigoted proposal has been seen and we know as a fact, not as an argument, that on social media, they're using those comments for recruiting.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: We also know that they used videos of Barack Obama, they used videos of Bill Clinton --  

(CROSSTALK)

DAVIS: No, we're talking about his proposal.

MACCALLUM: Hold on!

DAVIS: -- that was a bigoted proposal by --

MACCALLUM: Hold on though!

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Let me go to Roger for a moment. Now, think about this in just one second. Does he -- essentially, does it matter? Does it matter if there are videos being used? Does anybody believe for one second that jihadists need a video to continue what they're doing or that they would stop perhaps -- everybody was saying only nice things about them. Roger --

(CROSSTALK)

DAVIS: The Republican opponents are saying the same thing I'm saying here, Martha. Republican presidential candidates are saying what I am saying.

STONE: Martha, the irony is --

MACCALLUM: Hold on, Lanny.

STONE: The irony of this particular lie is, as we now know, it's Hillary who armed ISIS in her mania for regime change. Terrific piece by Pulitzer Prize winning Seymour Hersh today in the London Review confirmed that Hillary and the Obama administration armed ISIS. Bill Clinton, who had the opportunity to take out Bin Laden, and took a plus. Yes, I would be happy to fight this election now on the question of who can better deal with terrorism. Donald Trump's proposal to freeze Muslim immigration temporarily, common sense. Not bigoted or racist.

DAVIS: Common sense occurred to Jordanians, the Egyptians, people fighting ISIS? You say that's common sense Roger, I understand your partisanship but it's not commonsense to you that our friends, who are Muslim, are banned while we're allowing, and we know it's a fact, Martha, it is a fact that ISIS supporters on social media, according to experts, are using Trump's remarks as a recruitment tool. That's not in debate.

MACCALLUM: Lanny, but we all have to acknowledge that even if that is true --

DAVIS: Yes.

MACCALLUM: They have also looked at former presidents in the same way. And does anyone think for one moment that one video from a political candidate is going to change the course of the intentions of jihadists?  Really?

DAVIS: Of course not?

MACCALLUM: Really? I mean, do you really think that?

DAVIS: It is a simple fact that other Republican presidential candidates have said, it is a simple fact that when Donald Trump uses this anti-Muslim bigotry, he's allowing ISIS to use that bigotry against America and to recruit people to fight for them.

(CROSSTALK)

DAVIS: Well, they don't need a whole lot of help. But look at what the other Republicans are saying.

STONE: Martha --

DAVIS: Only Roger Stone is defending that bigoted proposal.

STONE: On the contrary, we know that one of the terrorists in San Bernardino slipped seamlessly through our immigration system. Among those who would come here are terrorists. Trump's proposal is simple common sense.

MACCALLUM: All right. Gentlemen, thank you.

DAVIS: You're disagreeing with most of the Republican field, Roger.  But that's not unusual.

MACCALLUM: Gentlemen, thank you. Good to see you both. Have a good night.

So coming up here, Senator Rand Paul has tough talk for the competition, and that is making headlines today, from shots at Trump to Christie, to Cruz and to Rubio. The presidential candidate is not holding back. He responds to that right here tonight.

Plus, why some college students are complaining that the way their dining hall is serving General TSO's chicken is insensitive. I kid you not. Stick around. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Most of Donald Trump is nothing more than sort of bits of populism, but no consistent conservative philosophy. I think this is what is very worrisome about not only Trump, but Christie and others on the stage who are really eager to have war, really eager to show how strong they are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some other attacks we've seen as Senator Cruz depict him as a craven politician.

PAUL: I think on several things he wants to have it on both ways.  The difference between Marco Rubio and I, is I show up for work. He's missed about a third to a half of his votes this year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Strong word. That was Senator and Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul taking aim at his competition for the 2016 GOP nomination. New reaction tonight to Paul's words after the Kentucky Republican held nothing back when it came to the front-runners. One of the targets at Senator Paul's attacks, Governor Chris Christie, not sitting by quietly, swinging back. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He was flailing away at everybody on that stage. He reminded me of Bobby Jindal in the undercard debate the last time, all he did was flail away at people on that a few days later he dropped out. Maybe that's Rand Paul's fate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Uhm. Joining me now, Republican presidential candidate, Senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul. Good evening, sir. Good to have you with us.

PAUL: Glad to be here.

MACCALLUM: So you heard Chris Christie. He thinks you're in the last legs of your campaign. What do you say?

PAUL: You know, I think it's kind of funny, because I actually thought we had a really substantive debate and I actually I am very alarmed at someone like Christie who seems to be eager to have a war with Russia.  You know, he was very bellicose in the debate. I put forward a no-fly zone was a bad idea because it might lead to confrontation with Russia. And Christie immediately said, not only did he want a no-fly zone, he was eager to tell Russia that if they get in his way, they'll shoot him down. You know, we went through seven years of a cold war, Republicans and Democrats leading our country. And fortunately, we had saner people than that.  People who weren't reckless or eager for war. So, I think it's a clear distinction between people like Chris Christie who I think really don't -- I think lacks the temperament to actually be president.

MACCALLUM: Well, you know, do you agree with the President when he said that we need to keep ISIS in perspective and that they don't present a huge threat to this country?

PAUL: You know, I think if we want to defeat ISIS, the first thing we have to do is quit arming them and we have to quit sending arms in on the same side. And pushing back Assad and saying oh, if we just topple Assad, it would be great. I think toppling Assad would lead to ISIS controlling all of Syria and more of the region. And in fact, I think regime change, which we did have a good clear debate on, has been the problem. Those who, like Rubio, want that regime change in Libya and Syria and all these places, I think it leads to a chaos and it leads to less of safety and more radical Islam rises out of that chaos.

MACCALLUM: You know, I mean, that perspective seems to be doing better for the people who are running for the nomination of your party.  When you look at the President's numbers on ISIS, people -- 78 percent think he's not doing enough. Fifty eight something percent say that he should be doing more in this fight. Boots on the ground or something that a lot of people consider a very pliable option at this point, given that that we're just simply not getting anywhere against this group now. So maybe what we're saying is not working well for you.

PAUL: Yes. I think probably the idea of boots on the ground -- if you want to send a half a million Americans, sons and daughters, back over there, we can militarily defeat ISIS.

MACCALLUM: Who's talking about sending half a million of people anywhere?

PAUL: But I know, I think that's what you would need. I think it's silly to send 50, that's what the President has done, has sent 50 into the war theater. But there are many saying send 10,000. The surge in 2007 did required much more than 10,000. And at one time we did have hundreds of thousands of people there. And including support staff, yes, it required hundreds of thousands of people. The problem is, is that if you militarily defeat ISIS, my fear is, they slither off and another generation arises. I think ultimately the defeat has to come from Sunni Muslims, because they're not going to accept Americans there, they're not going to accept even Shiite Muslims there. It ultimately has to be Sunni Islam rejecting this aberration. That's when you'll an ultimate victory and a long-lasting peace.

MACCALLUM: So, in terms of the, you know, criticism that you've been giving to the other candidates, do you feel like you have to be very pointed in your criticism at this point given your standing in the polls?

PAUL: Well, I think you have to mix it up. That's what elections are always about. I've never been a shrinking violet.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

PAUL: I think you do have to mix it up. So, for example I think Marco Rubio has to defend why he's missed 50 percent of his votes in the last six months. That's an honest question. He gets paid by the taxpayers. Should he have to show up and work? Let me -- we voted on a $1 trillion spending bill this last week and he didn't show up for work. I think that's a legitimate question. That's what happens in campaigns.

MACCALLUM: All right. Senator Rand Paul, very good to speak to you as always, sir. Thank you very much.

PAUL: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Good night.

All right. So for the first time since he resigned more than a year ago, President Obama's former defense secretary revealing that the White House, he says, does not have a strategy to defeat ISIS and that that is why he was nudged out, because he spoke up about it. He's the third defense secretary to do just that, and leave the White House.

Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer is here with new reactions from his sources inside the Pentagon to what Chuck Hagel had to say.

Plus, sobering new security concerns here at home after a bomb scare on an Air France jet. We'll tell you what the TSA just told Fox News.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: Developing tonight, less than 24 hours after a mid-air bomb scare forces an emergency landing of an Air France Jet, and just days before Christmas. New concerns here at home as millions of Americans travel this week.

Now, the TSA is telling Fox how this latest incident is impacting homeland security. Chief intelligence correspondent, Catherine Herridge with the latest from what's going on at the TSA. Good evening, Catherine.

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: A TSA official tells Fox that new security enhancements are in place to tighten security at airports overseas, specifically those airports with direct flights into the U.S.

Six passengers, including a former French police officer are being questioned after a fake bomb was found in the bathroom of this Air France flight forcing an emergency landing in Kenya Sunday. The device was made of cardboard, paper, and a household timer and did not contain explosives. But the incident underscores the current high risk environment.

After the Russian passenger jet was brought down by an ISIS bomb in October, TSA issued new security directives that remain in place this week. And while classified, the enhanced security it includes additional passenger and cargo screening, as well as vetting airport employees with access to the aircraft.

Based on our reporting here at Fox, the bomb was planted by an airport insider. While the U.S. government cannot force any foreign airports or airlines to follow these new directives, a former secretary of homeland security says the U.S. government does have the ability to block flights into American airports if the requirements are not met.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM RIDGE, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I remember at one point in time, we prevented several flights from several different countries; countries coming in. And initially, there was a protest. This is a matter of sovereignty. You can't tell us we can't take off. And we positively said that that's true, but we can't tell you that you can't land. So, you can certainly control that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HERRIDGE: On Christmas Day, 2009, Al Qaeda successfully smuggled an underwear bomb onto Northwest Flight 253 into Detroit. No one was killed because the detonator failed. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Thank you, Catherine.

Also developing tonight, new reaction to a potentially damning interview with President Obama's former defense secretary in his first public comments since he resigned more than a year ago, former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaking out now.

He says that the White House had no strategy to defeat ISIS, and that the administration tried to, quote, "destroy him on his way out." Hagel joins his predecessors now, Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, who also went into record to voice their concerns about some of the president's foreign policy decisions after they, too, left the Pentagon.

Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer is the CIA trained Intel operative and senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and he joins me now. Good to have you with us, Colonel Shafer.

TONY SHAFFER, CIA TRAINED INTELLIGENCE OPERATIVE: Martha. Thank you, Martha. Good to be here. Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So, what do you make, when you listen to the comments that Chuck Hagel made, do you think he's telling the truth?

SHAFFER: Well, absolutely. I've talked to multiple sources about this at the Pentagon, and fundamentally they say, yes, he's telling the truth. There's been a fundamental problem with the White House denying facts on the ground. This is not new.

And whenever you have facts on the ground which conflict with their political agenda, the political agenda always ends up winning. And that means people like Chuck Hagel who, you know, God bless Chuck, I think he tried to do as good a job as possible, being as honest as he good trying to tell the president what he needed to do.

And I think by the fact that Chuck is good as a man as he was just was ignored to the point of where he became ineffective. When he became frustrated being effective, he spoke out and they cached him for that purpose.

MACCALLUM: Well, the White House take on it after he left was that he wasn't up to the job, that the job description had changed somewhat, given the rise of ISIS, and that they felt that they need to look for somebody else.

And I think if that were an isolated situation, it might have more weight.

SHAFFER: Right.

MACCALLUM: But then when you've got Leon Panetta and you look through all the comments that he made about the micromanagement that happened and the finger pointing back to the White House. And then you look also at Robert Gates' assessment as well...

SHAFFER: That's right.

MACCALLUM: ... in a very detailed book that he wrote after he left, it seems to give Chuck Hagel's comments a bit more weight.

SHAFFER: Absolutely. And let's be honest here, there's been multiple tactical failures based on the White House over managing essentially -- micromanaging everything. The Matt Foley rescue attempt was sat on for, you know, the information that we have regarding his location was set on for over 30 days, so the actual intelligence became in actionable by the fact that the White House wouldn't act.

So, this is not new. And this is has been a continued pattern of the current White House with the current Pentagon. They continue to interfere at the tactical level.

Martha, those things a tactical commander should be able to do. For example, finding actual intelligence acting on it, they can't do it because you have to get White House approval to do pretty anything out there on the battlefield. It is not manageable and what Chuck has said continues to this day and that is something the Pentagon can continue to pay and some try to deal with.

MACCALLUM: Well, you know, I think back to the testimony that Ash Carter gave just the other week, where he was asked in congressional testimony is ISIS contained and he said no, it is not.

SHAFFER: It's not.

MACCALLUM: And he also said that the Commander-in-Chief -- that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs also agreed with that assessment. That was just days after the president had said that they were. So, you have to wonder what's going on with the current relationship.

SHAFFER: Well, General Joe Dunford said specifically the ISIS is not contained. And again, Ash Carter the same thing. Martha, we have to have a Pentagon which fights wars to win based on the truth, not on a political desire of the White House and that's where the conflict is.

You have people like Ben Rhodes and Susan Rice who are completely committed to a political agenda, mostly focused on the president's legally rather than trying to deal with the facts as they present themselves by the Pentagon to try to achieve a victory over ISIS. It's totally insane.

MACCALLUM: Colonel Tony Shaffer, always good to speak with you. Thank you very much.

SHAFFER: All right. Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Have a good Christmas.

SHAFFER: You, too.

MACCALLUM: All right. Well, the big moment from last night's Miss Universe pageant. That was something completely different. Folks, we will show you what you may not have not seen from this whole thing when it went down.

Plus, this burning question tonight, can sushi be culturally insensitive? Yes, is the answer according to some college students. The unbelievable headlines coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: We are back. And here is the breaking news. Oberlin College students in Ohio making headlines for speaking out about what they are calling culturally appropriated dining hall food, and they don't like it. Among the complaints, inauthentically prepared sushi, Vietnamese sandwiches that are not quite right, Indian tandoori also is lacking, those items found themselves among the dishes that were called, quote "insensitive" by some.

Joining me now Katie Pavlich, news editor at Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor, Andell Brown, and civil rights and defense attorney. Welcome to both of you.

KATIE PAVLICH, TOWNHALL.COM NEWS EDITOR: Hi, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So basically, they said bona petit, the food service vendor has a history of blurring the line between culinary diversity and cultural appropriation by modifying the recipes without respect for certain Asian countries cuisines.

I mean, this is tough stuff, you know? I remember cheeseburgers and chicken parmesan in my college dining hall didn't occur to me, you know, to say that it didn't taste like the stuff that I was getting at home, Katie.

PAVLICH: Yes, top ramen used to be the food of choice like college campuses, when going to college was actually a hard thing to do. They weren't coddled in this fashion, right> Look, these students are paying $50,000 per year, and they're a product of what I call the first world problem generation. They don't have actual problems to deal with. They're not starving in the streets like, well, I don't know, the majority of the world.

And therefore, they get to complain and demand meetings with the university president and dining administrators over the fact that American- based food isn't exactly the same as the food you might find in China and Vietnam. News flash, you're at an American university that serves an American dish that is based on other cultures.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Andell, there is so many levels with this standout. You know, one is, you know, we just talked moments ago about ISIS, about the threats that face the world. What we're hoping is that college students are being educated about what's going on in the world, that they are, you know, embracing real world concerns. Instead, they're talking about micro aggression in their tandoori.

ANDELL BROWN, CIVIL RIGHTS DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, one thing I wish they were around when I was getting some of that terrible pizza at Oakwood University. But when you look at another level...

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: But actually we're better person for it, you know.

BROWN: ... well, when you look at another level college environment is not only about academics, it's about culture, it's about social skills. Here when you have a culture that's being misrepresented, newscast in a false light, these students they feel uncomfortable. Imagine being in a foreign country nothing familiar to you...

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Oh, come on.

PAVLICH: Come on, this is so stupid!

BROWN: ... and they're making that with a food.

MACCALLUM: Yes. They are studying abroad Andell and...

PAVLICH: OK.

MACCALLUM: ... since you were all the time. They go to some other country, they go to China, they go to Australia, they're going to all over Europe...

BROWN: They need to cook the rice and the sushi the right way.

MACCALLUM: ... and they're saying oh, gee, this food is not like the food at home, and you know what? That's part of the experience. They're supposed to suck it up and try new things.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: Who is going to want...

MACCALLUM: What? Excuse me, go ahead, Andell.

BROWN: This -- we have -- as a matter of economics, if our food is being misrepresented around the world, who is going to want to come and see us?

PAVLICH: Oh, come on. If you want authentic Chinese food that is authentic, how about you go to China. And I guaranty you're going to get more of a history lesson, such lesson on how the economy works in China with poor people who are dying of starvation in that country. If you actually go and get that Chinese food there.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: That's the problem.

PAVLICH: This is absurd. This is stupid.

BROWN: They're saying this food is authentic and it taste nothing like a real thing.

PAVLICH: No. You know, on a serious note, during the holiday...

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: You know, but you're trying, Andell. The four people in the dining hall they're trying, they're trying to create a Vietnamese sandwich that's up to par to this young person. But apparently, he said, you know, he was just horrified because instead of using a crispy baguette with grilled pork and pickled vegetables and fresh herbs the sandwich used bread, the injustice. Can you imagine, they used pork and coleslaw.

BROWN: And they used coleslaw.

MACCALLUM: I mean, can you blame the kid? I'd be outrage, too.

PAVLICH: It's ridiculous.

BROWN: I never heard a coleslaw in Vietnam.

MACCALLUM: Well, let's just, I mean, during the holiday season, I think that these kids should go to a soup kitchen on a serious note and actually, you know, see what it's like to have a problem with being starving, OK? I mean, get over yourselves and deal with the fact that you're eating American based, American food.

PAVLICH: Bad cafeteria food.

MACCALLUM: Right. And if you want real authentic experiences, travel and fo eat the food in their country.

PAVLICH: Right.

MACCALLUM: Andell and Katie, I hope you, guys, have great food over Christmas. And I hope all those kids do too.

BROWN: Thank you. Merry Christmas.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: When they're home from college. Thank you very much for being with us. Unbelievable.

All right. So, without even meaning to, Steve Harvey stole the show at last night's Miss Universe contest by botching the announcement. The big moment that comes at the end of the night. He blew it. How did he get it so wrong? We're going to show you what you probably have not seen yet when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: Developing tonight, the controversy surrounding the crowning moment of last night's Miss Universe pageant after host Steve Harvey -- he will never forget this moment, declared the winner but he got it wrong. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE HARVEY, MISS UNIVERSE HOST: Miss Universe 2015 is Colombia!

I have to apologize. The first runner-up is Colombia. Miss Universe 2015 is Philippines. This is exactly what's on the card. I will take responsibility for this. It was my mistake. It was on the card. Horrible mistake, but the right thing. I can show it to you right here. The first runner-up is Colombia. It is my mistake.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: And off the crown goes from her head and it goes on to the other girl's head.

Joining me now is Eboni Williams, an attorney, a Fox News contributor, and it turns out a former pageant contestant herself who judges pageants.

EBONI K. WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Oh, my Martha. Yes. My heart broke again watching that. Look, here's the thing, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

WILLIAMS: I've been one of those two girls. I'll be it, not Miss Universe, to be clear. But I was first runner-up in the Miss North Carolina USA back in the day, and in that moment your life could change. And here is the only thing worse than not being the winner is thinking you're the winner for a few seconds. It'd been only it's the worst-case scenario.

MACCALLUM: It's unbelievable.

WILLIAMS: It's so sad. Those girls did not deserve that.

MACCALLUM: But you know, I would say today, I -- maybe he -- you know, they always do it sort by default. So, the last name you hear is the first runner-up, and then everyone goes oh, wait, who is left over...

WILLIAMS: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: She's Miss Universe. Why do they even do it that way?

WILLIAMS: That's confusing evidence. Sometimes they realize what you're saying is right? So, they go, just say the winner. Just go because everyone wants to know the winner.

MACCALLUM: Right.

WILLIAMS: And I think that's what Steve caught himself doing last night. Now, I'm tight in these pageant circles. There are a lot of conspiracy theories out there, Martha. Likewise some are saying, OK, give me this take. Some are saying that he read the prompter versus reading the card. In any trained pageant vet knows when they give you the card, you read the card.

MACCALLUM: Right. Go with the card.

WILLIAMS: So, another conspiracy theory is, well, maybe this was planned. Nobody was watching this pageant. I was one of very few people watching this pageant live, right? There was NFL going on, the ratings were pretty low. Many people were saying that this was a ploy.

MACCALLUM: But they really do that to these poor girls to get attention because of course I thought of that, because we all have that kind of that brain.

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: That's the theory, people thinking.

MACCALLUM: Probably they did it for ratings but do you really think they did it.

WILLIAMS: I don't think that, but the lawyer may have to tell you, if they did indeed do that and that's proven, let's just speculate here, that's ground for a lawsuit. There's this old court theory called intentional infliction of emotional distress where someone intentionally devastates you.

MACCALLUM: That was emotional distress.

WILLIAMS: Like you've never seen it before on live TV. I mean, my goodness, awful, heartbreaking. It broke my heart again.

MACCALLUM: And you know, Donald Trump of course said this would never have happened when I own the pageant people.

WILLIAMS: Yes.

MACCALLUM: And I thought, you know, Donald Trump, he probably would have made this the best day of Miss Colombia's life. She probably would be standing next to Donald Trump and he will say...

WILLIAMS: Sure.

MACCALLUM: ... you know, put his arm around Miss Colombia and tell her everything is going to be OK and she is going to be a big star, too. But nobody did that.

WILLIAMS: She's going to be all right, though. She'll make the top circuit but she'll be OK. But here's the thing Donald Trump also say which I love this man's ability to insert himself into anything in the news cycle, right? He also said make them call Miss Universe as he tweeted that out. Donald that's a terrible idea.

MACCALLUM: Right.

WILLIAMS: We wouldn't call Super Bowl victors, would we? We take these pageants very seriously, Martha. So, I don't think so. No calls...

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Maybe he's like to be co-president with somebody.

WILLIAMS: Right. No calls crown up.

MACCALLUM: Eboni, thank you.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Good to have you. The perfect person to have on this tonight. Thank you so much for coming.

WILLIAMS: Sure. You, too.

MACCALLUM: All right. We're going to be right back. But first, coming up on Hannity at the top of the hour.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: All right. So, let's get you a look at the cards so you can play along at home. OK? This is what was in Steve Harvey's hands when he declared a winner but got it wrong. So, you can see that clearly it says the second runner-up is Miss USA, first runner-up is Miss Colombia, and then in the corner, they put it big, bold print, Miss Universe, 2015, and then that says Philippines.

But I think his hand might have been over that part. Do you think his hand was covering that part? Tell us what you think. Go to Facebook.com/thekellyfile.

Great to be with you all tonight. Thanks for watching. I'm Martha MacCallum for Megyn Kelly. Join me tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock on "America's Newsroom." This is "The Kelly File." Have a great Christmas, everybody.

Content and Programming Copyright 2015 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.