Will Iowa be the end of the road for Huckabee?; Rep. King on the need for increased security, surveillance

Republican presidential talks his strategy for the caucuses, recent attacks toward Cruz on 'Fox News Sunday'


This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," December 27, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

DOUG MCKELWAY, FOX NEWS HOST:  I’m Doug McKelway in for Chris Wallace.

Another night of deadly twisters.  And in the race for the White House, Mike Huckabee says it’s Iowa or bust.  


MIKE HUCKABEE, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  If we don't do well in that state, then I don't know how I translate that into a great surge going forward.  

MCKELWAY:  Mike Huckabee on make or break in Iowa and his Republican rivals.  It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.  

Then, holiday travelers may no longer be able to opt out of those controversial body scanners.  

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I flew right after 9/11.  And that was all scary, but this I would say I’m feeling pretty comfortable with.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don't think that this is an effective screen procedure for somebody who’s determined.  

MCKELWAY:  We'll ask Congressman Peter King about the change and what's being done to keep the country safe.  

Plus, when does political commentary go too far?  

We'll ask our Sunday panel about the controversy offer an editorial cartoon of Ted Cruz and his children.  

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Not much ticks me off, but making fun of my girls will do it.  

MCKELWAY:  All right now on "Fox News Sunday."


MCKELWAY:  And hello again from Fox News in Washington.  

We begin with breaking news of another round of wild winter weather and another string of deadly tornadoes this time in the Dallas area.  

At least eight people are dead in the aftermath.  The twisters touching down after dark Saturday, leaving a path of damage stretching over 40 miles just southeast and north of the city.  On the other side of the state, the same storm system is expected to leave at least 18 inches of snow in what could be an historic blizzard.  Look as the sun fell at the Sun Bowl college football game between Miami and Washington State in the Mexican border city of El Paso.  

The storm follows several days of severe weather in the Southeast that’s spawned tornadoes and massive flooding that killed at least 17 this Christmas week.  Meanwhile, the eastern third of the country could set record temperatures again today, including here in the nation's capital, where we could see a high in the mid-70s.  

Meteorologist Janice Dean is covering it all in the Fox Extreme Weather Center -- Janice.


We still have the threat for strong storms today, even severe weather east of the Dallas area, moving in towards Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.  And tomorrow's threat diminishing quite a bit, but we could see large hail and damaging winds across portion of the southeast.  

Flood advisories are in play for a dozen states.  We have the potential for four to eight inches of additional rainfall over the next couple days, and across a wide swath of the country that's already got in saturated ground.  So, that’s going to be as concern.  Flash flooding and, of course, the rivers continue to rise.  

Looking at the future radar, Doug, snow behind this system, a mixture of freezing rain or ice as we head into Monday across the Midwest.  The heavy rain threat continues.  And then by Tuesday, moving into the Northeast, where they could get an additional six to eight, even 12 inches of snow.  So, there's your forecast snowfall.  

Also want to make mention we have the potential for blizzard conditions over Texas and New Mexico up towards the Southern Plains.  

MCKELWAY:  Meanwhile, Janice, the East Coast, what is it with these balmy temperatures we’re experiencing here?  

DEAN:  Yes.  We have set records Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and through the weekend, we have record-setting temperatures, because we have this frontal system that hasn't really budged and all of this southerly air moving towards.  

So, take a look at the temperatures on Monday: 42 in New York City, still very warm, and in some cases, we saw temperatures colder in Phoenix than we saw in New York City.  So, the temperatures are going to moderate a bit, as we head into Tuesday, still very cold air coming from Canada.  But you can see, it's starting to move into the Southeast, the Ohio Valley, in towards the Northeast.  

But long-range forecasts are still showing a pattern, Doug, of warmer than average temperatures for the East Coast well into January.  

MCKELWAY:  Janice Dean, thank you very much.  

And now to presidential politicians.  Just more than a month now to the nation's first voting in Iowa.  Just eight year ago, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee won the GOP caucuses there.  

But it's a different story this time around.  Huckabee is currently polling eighth in the state at only 2.3 percent according to the latest Real Clear Politics average.  And this week, he said he will likely end his campaign if he does not finish in the top three.

Governor Huckabee joins me now from Little Rock, Arkansas.  Governor, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

HUCKABEE:  Thanks, Doug.  Great to be back with you.  

MCKELWAY:  Let me ask you.  It's incumbent upon me to ask you right off the bat.  Do you got any announcement to make right now?  

HUCKABEE:  Of course not.  Not one person in all of America has even voted.  I get so amazed that people act like that this is all settled.  It’s never settled this far out.  

I mean, I go back to the Iowa caucuses, both Democrat and Republican.  John Kerry won when he wasn't supposed to.  Barack Obama won when he wasn't supposed to.  I won and nobody thought that was going to happen, Rick Santorum won, he was seventh place back -- or sixth place out of the seven candidates, five days out from the caucuses.

So, everybody wants to base it on polls that have polled 200 or 300 people.  Why don't we wait until the voters make the decision and we’ll have a better picture of where this is all headed?

MCKELWAY:  In Iowa perhaps more than any other state, it depends on ground game.  


MCKELWAY:  How is your ground game in Iowa?  

HUCKABEE:  It's terrific.  We've spend more time there than anybody.  We have organizations in all 99 counties.  We have more named chairmen and cochairmen, and people stretched out to the precinct levels.  

We did a phone survey of 5,000 people in Iowa.  And, Doug, what we found was 75 percent of people in Iowa haven't made up their minds.  And 58 percent said they're not even leaning one way or another.

So, this idea that this is all sewed up or fixed, I’ve been in that state enough to know it's just not quite like that yet.  

MCKELWAY:  And, Governor, if you’re going to stay in it, until the caucuses get underway, you've got to play hardball.  That’s the name of the game.  It ain't beanbag, as they say.

Your -- a super PAC that has been closely aligned with you has begun running an advertising criticizing Senator Ted Cruz.  Let's take a look at.


AD NARRATOR:  Listen to Cruz raise money in New York City from liberals who don't share our conservative Iowa values.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So, would you say it's like a top three priority for you, fighting gay marriage or?  

CRUZ:  No.  


MCKELWAY:  Governor, you have been accused of selectively and deceptively editing what Cruz said at that private fund-raiser in New York last summer. The Washington Post, The Fix pointed out that after the Cruz said no in that comment, he quickly expanded on the point, quote, "No, I would say defending the Constitution is a stop priority and that cuts across the whole spectrum whether it's defending the First Amendment, defending religious liberties, and stopping courts from making public policies that should be left to the people," and he said, "I also think that the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution cuts across a lot of these issues."

Isn't that selective editing, sir?  

HUCKABEE:  No, not at all.  And there was nothing selective, there was nothing deceptive.

The point is that in Iowa, he's made a major point, and his pitch to evangelicals as a person who is utterly authentic, he's going to fight for religious liberty, he’s going to protect the right of people to disagree with decisions on same-sex marriage, but that's not what you heard in that Manhattan fund-raiser.  And that's the only thing I have pointed out.  

Obviously, I had nothing to do with the ad, because as you well know, candidates cannot communicate in any way, can't even have a conversation with people who run a super PAC.  So, there is no coordinate or communication there, but it's just a matter of listening to the transcript and recognizing that it's not a big issue when he's in Manhattan, but it is a much bigger issue in Iowa.

Look, we all I think are looking for people who are consistent, and consistent means that you say the same thing regardless of where you are geographically, and that you don't take a different position or slightly nuanced position because it would help you or hurt you with Manhattan fund-raisers and people who are the big-dollar donors in what I call the Washington to Wall Street axis of power.  

MCKELWAY:  Governor, I think in the bigger picture, though, this kind of intra-party GOP bashing harkens back to the 2012 campaign when we had somewhat the same dynamic, including Mitt Romney, who all of the candidates were spending their war chests on attacking each over while President Obama was out building his grassroots campaign, spending his money on that.

The Los Angeles Times at that time said and I quote, "An examination of how the two campaigns have spent their money in the last year starkly illustrates the huge advantage Obama will have.  Spared a primary opponent, the president's reelection campaign by the end of February had pumped nearly $79 million into laying the groundwork for an ambitious, tech-savvy field effort."

Are there similar liabilities for the GOP this time around?  

HUCKABEE:  Well, no.  And, Doug, I think there's a big difference between showing some legitimate contrast and bashing.  I don't think anybody in the GOP so much has bashed another candidate, maybe there's been a little bit here and there, but it certainly hasn't been by me.  And I don't think that anything that I have said has been going after a candidate.  

It's really pointing out that for those people for whom issues like the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage are critical, important, non-negotiables, then I think that they, you know, certainly need to understand where candidates stand and make sure that they have a candidate who stands the same wherever he is, and doesn't adjust according to the geography of place.  

MCKELWAY:  As you well know, Donald Trump is not the front-runner in Iowa.  But in many, many nationwide polls, he is just pulling ahead of the pack.  He does this, despite the sexual slang that he used to describe Hillary's loss in 2008, yet he remains atop all these nationwide polls despite numerous, numerous gaffes.

What explains in your mind is imperviousness to falling?  

HUCKABEE:  The amount of attention that guys like Fox News and everybody else gives him.  I mean, my gosh, in the days after he made the comment about Muslims entering the country, Donald Trump got 25 times more media attention on television than all other GOP candidates combined.  

And so, it's very difficult -- some of us are saying thing that are substantive.  For example, when I’m talking about getting the wages up for the bottom 90 percent of the workers who have had stagnant wages for 40 years, or if I talk about the merits of the fair tax, how we can compete in manufacturing, or if I focus on getting the veterans system cleaned up by making members of Congress get their health care, as well as from their families from V.A. system until they clean it up -- you know, it's not that all of America is hearing that because they’re hearing what Donald Trump said and particularly --   

MCKELWAY:  Well, you know as well that Fox News has spent a lot of time criticizing Donald Trump's comments, and when we do so, we hear it from his followers, no doubt.  

Does his popularity have anything to do with just generalize coarsening of the culture?  

HUCKABEE:  It’s not so much a coarsening.  It’s the anger, the seething rage of the electorate right now.  People are seething mad.  

And, Doug, I can understand a lot of it.  They feel like that this government is completely oblivious to protecting them.  They go through metal detectors, and they take their shoes off to get on a plane to see grandma at Christmas, and yet, you know, here comes a terrorist coming in who passed this kinds of background checks and goes and shoots up a Christmas party after her husband has set there and had lunch with their fellow employees.  

People see that and they're angry.  They're angry at the fact that there's a handful of people who get richer and rich ever.  A lot of people work harder and harder.  They've got nothing to show for it.  

There is frustration.  They're frustrated when they watch Republicans pass a huge multitrillion spending pill that doesn’t defund Planned Parenthood, that welcomes Syrian refugees, that doesn't do a thing about Obamacare, basically gives the Democrats everything they said, the Republicans nothing.  

So, what I’m seeing is that people are just so incredibly angry and understandably so.  

MCKELWAY:  Governor, many longtime respected political analysts say that Mr. Trump cannot win a general election and here's way.  Larry Sabato from the University of Virginia.  


LARRY SABATO, UVA CENTER FOR POLITICS:  Trump cannot appeal to swing voters in the key states like Ohio and Florida, Virginia, Nevada, the other swing states.  And the swing states are where the election is.  


MCKELWAY:  Will he become the nominee?  And will you support him if he becomes the nominee?

HUCKABEE:  If he’s the nominee, of course I’ll support him.  I mean, that's what we pledged to do.  

I’m a little frustrated that the Republican Party made such a big deal of insisting that Donald Trump be loyal to the party, but look, that goes both ways.  The party better be loyal to whoever the nominee is, be it me, be it Donald Trump.  And that has to work that way.  Otherwise, we have no system, nothing at all.  

But here’s one question, Doug, all these guys who say Trump can't be the nominee, if they're so smart, how come none of them predicted that they would be on top of things right now, how come none of them predicted who would be leading, would be trailing?  How come none of them got it right so far?  

And if they're so wrong about that, why on earth should anybody in America believe them about who’s going to be the nominee and who isn't?  

MCKELWAY:  And that's your ticket to the Iowa caucuses, I assume, right?  

HUCKABEE:  Why not?  

MCKELWAY:  All right.  Governor Huckabee, thank you very much.  Thank you for joining us, and happy holidays to you.  

HUCKABEE:  Thank you, Doug.  Great to be with you.  

MCKELWAY:  Up next, Donald Trump courts controversy with some choice words about Hillary Clinton.  Our Sunday group joins the conversation on the Republican frontrunner and his popularity in the polls.  

Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about Donald Trump's history of controversial remarks?  Just go to Facebook or Twitter @FoxNewsSunday.  We may use your question on the air.



DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  She was going to beat Obama.  I don't know who would be worse.  I don't know.  How does it get worse?  She was going to beat -- she was favored to win and she got (EXPLETIVE DELETED).  She lost.  

HILLARY CLINTON, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  You were looking at somebody who’s had a lot of terrible things said about me.  That's why it’s important to stand up to bullies wherever they are and why we shouldn't let anybody bully his way into presidency, because that is not who we are as Americans.  


MCKELWAY:  Hillary Clinton reacting to some crude language by Donald Trump earlier this week, as he commented on her first run for the White House.  

And it's time now for our Sunday group. The Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayes, Anne Gearan of The Washington Post, Nina Easton from Fortune Magazine, and former Democratic Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana.  

Thank you all for joining us today.  

This is not the first time we’ve heard this kind of a comment from Donald Trump.  He called Rosie O’Donnell a fat pig, a slob.  He appeared to make reference to Megyn Kelly's cycles.  

He praised Vladimir Putin as the great leader, ignoring what he’s done to some of his political opponents and to some journalists in that country.  He didn't know what the nuclear triad was, our ballistic armor of submarines, bombers and missiles.  He called Senator McCain no war hero, and it goes on and on.  

Yet, with each perceived gaffe, he rises in the polls.  

Senator, I’ll give you the first shot.  What explains this?

FMR. SEN. EVAN BAYH, D-INDIANA:  Well, Doug, clearly, he's defying the normal laws of political gravity.  I mean, all -- any of these things, let alone all of them, would have brought a normal political figure back down to earth with a resounding thud.

I think a couple of things are going.  First, his core supporters love the fact he's not politically correct.  So, in some ways, these comments just endear him to them even more.  Secondly, the people who pointed all this out, and the fact that he's made statements that aren’t verifiable and that sort of thing, are the mainstream media and political class who are loathed by his supporters, so that doesn't hurt him.

And you take all this together and it's just going to not hurt him in the Republican primaries.  But as Professor Sabato said, it makes him really unelectable in the general election.  Independent voters, swing voters, they’re not going to go for this.  And so, this would be very damaging to the Republicans in the longer term even if it doesn’t him hurt so much in the primaries.  

MCKELWAY:  Nina?  

NINA EASTON, FORTUNE MAGAZIEN:  I think Senator Bayh is exactly right on a lot points.  

And I think the really important thing to remember about the rise of Donald Trump is the economic forces behind this.  This is economic populism.  These are blue-collar voters, white voters, who are very much his base.  

If you look at how his standing with blue collar voters, non-college educated voters, he's way, way up there.  If you look at him among college educated voters, he's like fourth.  In the close, I mean, they’re all combined, a top four, he's up there, but he’s not far and away the favorite the way he is.  

So, there's a tremendous amount of anger.  I mean, you’re not -- you have to look at the median incomes have stagnated, and there has been a drop of incomes for working-class folks, particularly since the financial crisis of 2009.  

And you look at what he puts in his speeches.  He talks about free trade.  He talks about shipping jobs overseas, and so forth.  This stuff appeals to people even beyond the politically correct/unpolitically correct notes that he makes.  

MCKELWAY: And let's look at the latest national poll.  CNN/ORC poll has Trump at 39 percent, Cruz 18, Rubio 10, Carson 10.  They were the only ones in double digits.

But it’s important to remember, back in 2008, Rudy Giuliani held the same position that Donald Trump does today, after the start of the New Year, he fell precipitously.  So, a word of warnings and I think Governor Huckabee sort of alluded to this.  

ANNE GEARAN, THE WASHINGTON POST:  He did.  But thus far, Trump has proved much more durable, and much more canny and savvy about how to stay on top really than any figure who might have approach his numbers in the past.  

It's a much bigger field.  It's been a field that has been completely unable to dent him, unable to touch him.  You heard that frustration in what Huckabee said to you earlier.  He honestly don't know what to do and they blame it on the media, saying that, you know, there's been too much attention to paid to him while he's leading.  I mean, there's a reason that people are paying attention to him.  

Another observation about Trump's durability, which I think is interesting here is that he's been completely immune to fact-checking, right?  I mean, I think as you both alluded to, one of his strengths has been to turn around criticism and deflect it.  He's able to do that really well.  

It makes it very difficult to know, you know, as a reporter, sort of where to go, right?  You want to evaluate him on the same objective scale that we use for everyone else, and he's sort of immune to it.  

MCKELWAY:  Yes.  You say he ran or runs a canny campaign, but I’m reminded, as you said that, of Winston Churchill's quote that the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.  His campaign has been devoid of substance, with the exception of his tax plan, which was legitimate, and I think fairly, widely praised.

Steve, Joe Palladino writes on Facebook, or in Twitter I should say, "When will he start talking about policy substance instead of people?"  

STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD:  Yes, it’s a good question.  You know, he gave an interview on "Fox & Friends" a little before we came on the air here, and he said he hopes that the field is winnowed, because he wants more time in the debate to really flesh out his policy proposals.  

Well, he really doesn't have much.  And I’d be interested to see how he fills that time, because he doesn't know much about policy.  But ironically, that's one of the things the voters like about him.  

And I think to Anne's point about the trouble that we all have fact-checking him, you're absolutely right.  I have tried repeatedly with limited success.

But again, if you're a Trump voter, you think everybody in Washington lies.  You think that for some reason.  That's not just out of the blue.  

I think there's one primarily overriding question that will define the Republican race, and that is, will the people who today say they support Donald Trump be Trump voters in February, March and beyond?  If they will, Donald Trump is the nominee, period.  I mean, that's the way it's going to unfold.  

And you talk to other people from campaigns about Donald Trump falters, and they don't really have an explanation.  

I think you have plausible speculation that if he losses in Iowa, it might upset him, he might, you know, give a crazy speech like he gave when Ben Carson surged.  And that could hurt him.  And then, on the other hand, the Ben Carson speech didn't hurt him.  So, what's the moment where he falters?  

EASTON:  The faltering in Iowa is such wishful thinking.  Ted Cruz can win Iowa, it’s not going to hurt Donald Trump.  Mike Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses.  Rick Santorum squeaked by in the Iowa caucuses.  This is not -- this is not going to be a deathblow for Donald Trump.  

BAYH:  He's got a floor of voters who just don't care about fact checking, don't care about the statements he's making and all that sort of thing.  But I think he’s also got a ceiling.  

So the real question, is ultimately, 50.1 percent of Republicans willing to embrace this?  My guess, at the end of the day -- no.  But he's a phenomenon that will go all the way to the convention.  

MCKELWAY:  And, Senator, to that point, some people speculated that his rise and sustainability gives rise to the thought -- the demise of the Republican Party.  The left-leaning Center for the America Progress in the study this month points to the demographic dilemma for the GOP.  Two percentage points more minorities and two points fewer whites in 2016 and 2012, and that's held through for several election cycles previously.  

They say that American -- the Center for American Progress, quote, "The main challenges for Republicans in 2016 are twofold.  First, an overreliance on white votes at the expense of buildings a broader demographic coalition in battleground states.  And second, an agenda and a political tone that is too exclusive and exclusionary for a national electorate."


HAYES:  Let me say, the Center for American Progress would be saying that about any Republican.  It’s not just Donald Trump.  But I think it’s a valid point.

If you are of the demography is destiny school, you think Republicans have a very difficult time winning this election.  I happen to think the issue set, if you look at where American voters are is very good for Republicans right now.  Voters are more skeptical of governments, particularly the federal government, than at any time, including in the post-Watergate constitutional crisis.  

That's a time for Republicans to be making a solid, substantive fact-based argument for smaller government.  And instead, what we're getting is the Trump clown show.  

MCKELWAY:  Indeed, there are two GOP candidates, Cruz and Rubio, who potentially could fight that demographic trend that the Center for American Progress is speaking of.  

GEARAN:  Well, I think both Cruz and Rubio have used that to their advantage -- certainly, their youth, their ethnicity, just their obvious difference from the others on the stage.  They use that with the others and they have used it always both of them against Hillary Clinton, their youth particularly.  

And I think you're right that absolutely, you know, CAP would be making the same argument about any Republican, but I think it's also useful to remember that Reince Priebus made the same argument.  I mean, he has identified and many thoughtful Republicans have identified the long-term demographic problem.  

EASTON:  The demographic problem is real.  I mean, Mitt Romney won about the same percent of the white vote as Ronald Reagan and he still lost.  Republicans have lost the presidential level, the popular vote five out of six times.  

BAYH:  It's true, the Republicans face long-term demographic challenges.  Eventually, the Republican Party will respond to that in the way that will allow the Republican Party to survive.  My own party twice in my lifetime carried one state in a presidential election.  

That’s hard to carry only one state.  But ultimately, the Democratic Party responded to that, came back more to the mainstream and is, you know, now is thriving.  

MCKELWAY:  Ted Cruz is rising in Iowa.  We have seen that, coming on very, very strong.  He's also firing back again a Washington Post political cartoon that depicted his two daughters as monkeys belonging to an organ rider.

Here’s a bit of that.


CRUZ:  All of us learned in kindergarten -- don't hit little girls.  It's not complicated.  Don't make fun of 5-year-old girl and a 7-year-old girl.  


MCKELWAY:  The origin of this was a political ad that Cruz had produced with his two daughters sitting on a couch in their home and it looked like he was reading "The Night Before Christmas" to them.  In fact, the book that he’s reading are "How Obamacare stole Christmas", and "Ronald, the unemployed reindeer", and "Frosty, the speaker of the House."

Is it fair to bring his daughters into this, Steve?  

HAYES:  No, I would leave them out.  I mean, I think as a general proposition, you leave siblings of candidates, children of candidates out as a general rule.  But, look, Ted Cruz is leading in Iowa.  As you said, of the seven credible polls taken in December in Iowa, he's leading in five of them, including "The Des Moines Register", the gold standard poll, by 10 points.

I do think that the point you raised with Mike Huckabee and the super PAC ad is an interesting one.  I do think he is being hit unfairly on that question on gay marriage, where not just because of the selective editing that we saw the Huckabee super PAC undertake, but also because he actually answered the question in a way that was consistent with the way that he’s answered it in public.  

There really is no there there, but you're seeing his opponents precisely because he's leading in Iowa, try to smack him for it.  

MCKELWAY:  We’ve heard this again and again from Senator Cruz, how he deflects controversies, often by referring to the Constitution, the components of the Constitution that defense his position.  

BAYH:  Well, it's true in this particular case.  There are only a few rules in politics left.  I mean, ultimately, everything is sort of out there in the public report, but one them, Doug, is, leave the kids out of it.  So, the cartoon -- The Washington Post did the right thing but pulling the cartoon.  

Whether the average voter ultimately understands constitutional nuance remains to be seen.  On this issue, I think it’s pretty clear -- if same-sex marriage and gay rights is sort of your driving issue, you know -- and for those rights, you know Senator Cruz is probably not your candidates.  If you're an evangelical who takes the opposite of view, you know that ultimately you'll probably be safe with him.  

MCKELWAY:  Well, panel, we have to take a break here, but we'll see you a little bit later on.  

Coming up next, a new message purportedly from the leader of the Islamic State, says the group is alive and well, and that airstrikes have only made it stronger.  We'll discuss with Congressman Peter King, next.  

Plus, do you think -- what do you think, I should say, about the new rules for airport security screening?  Let me know on Facebook or Twitter @FoxNewsSunday and use #fns.


MCKELWAY:  A look outside the beltway, at Times Square where the 2016 sign has arrived ahead of the upcoming New Year's Eve celebration.  Security is certainly on the minds of tourists and residents alike in the city that's been on high alert since last month terror attack in Paris.  To discuss, let's bring in Congressman Peter King, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee.  Congressman, good to see you.  Thanks for joining us.  


MCKELWAY:  I'd like to get your reaction to some news that's broken just in the past 24 hours or so.  Yesterday, a purported audio tape reporting from the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was released, in which he says that neither airstrikes by Russia, nor by the U.S. -led coalition in Syria and Iraq has done much damage to his terrorist organization.  What do you make of it?

KING:  Well, I would expect al-Baghdadi to say that.  We've had some impact, but unfortunately overall he is probably right that after 15 months of, 16 months of air attacks by the U.S., it's had really minimal impact on ISIS, considering how long those attacks have been going on.  And as far as the Russians they're focusing most of their attacks on the Syrian resistance as opposed to ISIS, so ISIS is as strong, ISIS is stronger, I believe than it was 16 months ago.  They certainly have a larger land mass under their control, not just in Iraq and Syria, they are significant, but also they are making great inroads in Afghanistan.  And as we know, they also do intend to attack the United States.  I would say in the last several months it's become clear that they do want to launch an attack on the U.S.  

MCKELWAY:  And another item in the news, just last Friday, the TSA announced that it is now going to require full body scans for some traveling passengers.  Bruce Anderson of the TSA said, quote, some passengers will be required to undergo full body screening, if warranted by security considerations in order to safeguard transportation security.  He said this will occur in a very limited number of circumstances where in-hand screening is required.  What do you infer from this change in procedure?

KING:  Well, I do believe it is only going to be a very limited number of people, but there will be reasons for it, there will be security reasons why certain people will be chosen for this and required to go through it.  I can't go into these reasons now, but there are going to be definite reasons why, and also, Doug, it's related to two events.  One, the fact is, that there's been a series of Inspector General inspections, which have shown that TSA -- to much has gotten through, that the inspections have not been effective enough, and that's why you're going to see this extra level of security directly against certain people.  

MCKELWAY:  So, this ...

KING:  Add to that - Yes ...

MCKELWAY:  Can we infer, then that this is related to the failure of those TSA testings in the past?  Or is it related perhaps to some evidence uncovered in recent terrorist attacks, San Bernardino or Paris?

KING:  Well, I would say it's both.  The fact is that the past inspections have not been effective enough, and secondly, the fact that we - there is no doubt that ISIS is planning increased attacks against the U.S.  So, that's why this is going to be done.  I just wish, though, the TSA -- and I think Admiral Neffering is doing a good job, but I wish they would lay the groundwork more for what they're doing, because I think there is going to be reaction against these people going to - they've got to - tremendous delays at the airport.  You know, there are sound reasons why this is being done.  And I hope the TSA when they do roll it out, they do it in the least intrusive way possible.  But it is going to be necessary.  We do live in a very, very dangerous world, and people have to realize that.  

MCKELWAY:  Turning to another issue now, the crossing of illegal immigrants from the southern - across the southern border.  The DHS, I should say, said in the past two months, the number of families crossing the southern border illegally, has risen sharply compared with the same period of last year.  Just over 12,500 families were apprehended in October in November, compared to 4500 during the same two months in 2014.  What is causing this uptick in border crossings?

KING:  This is a story that really hasn't been covered that much.  Again, I'm not certain why, but it is the fact.  They are crossing.  Doug, this is really the case of almost the politics of false compassion.  I remember when those unintended minors, unaccompanied minors were coming across the border, back in the summer of 2014, and they were, you know, your hearts have to go out to them, but the fact is the ones who have suffered the most are the people living in the lower income communities here in the United States.  That's where those kids go, and they're not ready for those schools.  Many of them come with criminal backgrounds.  For instance, I know here in Long Island, talking to the police, the numbers of MS-13 gang incidents have risen dramatically, and (INAUDIBLE) number of these kids coming in.  Again, it's not their fault.  They come from very violent background, many of them, and so they're not prepared educationally.  They're not prepared socially.  And they are put in - again, it's not going to be white people living on the East Side of Manhattan.  They're going to be going into, again, underprivileged communities, communities having a tough time already, and now on top of that, they have this added burden of having these kids coming in.

So, again, you feel bad for the kids, but the ones suffering the most are the people living and trying to survive, you know, under, you know, very tough conditions.

MCKELWAY:  Congressman, I want to turn again to terrorism on the home front.  You have said somewhat controversially that we need better surveillance of mosques in the United States, quoting you.  The only way you're going to find out this in advance is to do the same type of 24/7 surveillance that was done in the Italian-American communities when they were going after the mob, mafia, and the Irish communities, when they were going after the Westies.  You look at where the terror threat is going to come from.  And right now it is going to come from the Muslim community.  I can hear the cries of civil libertarians and constitutionalists right now, Congressman.  

KING:  Yeah, listen, they can cry all they want.  The fact is that's where the threat is coming from.  And we can say that 98, 99 percent - of the Muslims in this country are good people. I'm actually swearing in the first elected Muslim on Long Island.  She is a good friend of mine.  So, this is nothing against Muslims, but the fact is that is where the threat is coming from.  And we are kidding ourselves.  We have this blind political correctness, which makes no sense.  For instance, in Boston, with the Boston marathon bombing, you had the older Tsarnaev brother.  He was put out of a mosque because of his radical thoughts and his radical statements made in the mosque, but nobody in the mosque ever told the police, nobody ever told the FBI.  And if they had known that in advance, you combine that with the fact that the Russians had already told us to be on the lookout for him, we could have prevented possibly the Boston marathon bombing.

We've had a number of Muslims from where I lived, who've got - fighting with al Qaeda, and you find out they've been in mosques and they've spoken very radically, but nobody in those mosques ever told the police.  So, in those all occasions you find that --

MCKELWAY:  That gets to point I wanted to ask you about next.  Having been privy to classified briefings and intelligence matters, do you know of specific cases where people within the Muslim community have been reticent, for lack of a better term, to rat out suspected terrorists, or for a lack of a better term, people who see something, say something, are reticent to do that?

KING:  I would say definitely more often than not.  I'm giving examples right now.  On Long Island here, we've had people in mosques who have spoken radically, who spoke of their intentions to be involved in jihad.  It was never told to the police, never told to the police at all.  And when you talk to police off the record, they will tell you that they get very little cooperation from within the leaders of the Muslim community.  There was one imam in New York going back to the days of the attempted subway bombing, there was one imam that the police did trust.  And when they heard that the liquid explosive bomber was coming to New York and they wanted to find out who else was involved with him, they went to that imam, asked him for some help.  The first thing he did was tip off the father of the bomber.  He was the one guy they trusted, and he tipped off the enemy.  A guy who was coming to New York to kill thousands of New Yorkers.

MCKELWAY:  Real quickly, Congressman, we're almost out of time. What kind of limits are being placed on U.S. investigative agencies that prevents them from infiltrating these mosques or pursuing sources that they know can be beneficial?

KING:  Basically, the Justice Department guidelines make it very difficult.  Local police, and again in New York, the NYPD, they do a phenomenal job.  The Civil Liberties Union, the New York Times have tried to cut back on that.  Mayor De Blasio I think made too many concessions.  They're still doing a great job, don't get me wrong, but they are doing it in spite of a lot of the restraints that some have tried to put on them, but as far as the feds, they are very limited.  They basically cannot be infiltrating mosques.  I think that has to be done.   

MCKELWAY:  Congressman King, thank you very much for joining us today.  

KING:  Thank you.  

MCKELWAY:  Certainly the person who replaces President Obama will have to deal with these very issues.  

We'll discuss what strategies the presidential candidates may have to fight the war on terror when we bring the panel back, next.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.:  Our most important job is to keep Americans safe.  The United States continue to lead a global coalition in our mission to destroy ISIL.  ISIL has already lost about 40 percent of the populated areas it once controlled in Iraq, and it's losing territory in Syria.  


MCKELWAY:  President Obama at his end of the year pre-vacation press conference, touting progress against ISIS, a comment which stays very much in contrast to a tape-recorded message from ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi, released just yesterday, in which he maintains that the Russian and U.S.-led coalition air strikes against ISIS are having very little effect.  We're now back with the panel.  Steve, your observations?

HAYES:  That wasn't the only thing that was in contrast between President Obama's message and Al-Baghdadi's message.  Remember, if you listen carefully to what the president has said over the past several weeks, you would think that Guantanamo and closing Guantanamo was a key priority for the president and is a key magnet, as he said it, for ISIS.  It was never mentioned at any time in the 24-minute audiotape that Al-Baghdadi released.  It's never been a key component of ISIS or al Qaeda propaganda, and yet the president is insisting on moving forward and closing it.  

Look, I think we've made some progress, by all accounts, in Ramadi.  I hope Ramadi turns out well, but I think the way that the U.S. and its coalition is taking Ramadi will virtually ensure that whatever short-term gains we have, there won't be a long-term consolidation of those gains.  Primarily because we're relying once again on the Iranian PMUs, the popular mobilization units, and Iranian Shiite militias, backed Shiite militias.  That will exacerbate the sectarian tensions.

You have Ramadi, the capital of the Anbar province, the heart of the surge, and the reason the surge worked was because we worked with Sunnis and we neutralized Shia militias.  This time around, we're taking on the Sunnis, the local Sunnis in addition to ISIS, and in many cases we're working with the Shiite militias, so huge contrasts.  

MCKELWAY:  To be sure, whoever inherits Mr. Obama's job, the next president, will inherit all of these problems with the global war on terrorism, and they're all speaking about it to some degree or another.  Let's take a look at a montage of various perspectives.  


CLINTON:  I do not believe we should again have 100,000 American troops in combat in the Middle East.  That is just not the smart move to make here.  

CRUZ:  We will have a president who will make clear we will utterly destroy ISIS.  We will carpet bomb them into oblivion.  

TRUMP:  It would be so great if we could get Russia on our side and other countries on our side, and knock the hell out of ISIS.  Just knock the living hell out of them.  


MCKELWAY:  It's unfair to diminish their perspectives to just those sound bites, with the possible exception of Trump, but what's lacking in almost all these candidate responses to waging the war on terrorism, is, assuming ISIS is ultimately defeated, what replaces it? Just as ISIS filled the vacuum left by the U.S. departure from Iraq in 2011, who fills the next vacuum created by the defeat of ISIS? And this is something that nobody is really touching in this country.

GEARAN:  One thing that I think the Islamic State teaches us is that something always does fill the vacuum.  It is itself an outgrowth of al Qaeda, which had its origins, as you say, in many respects in the early days of the U.S. intervention in Iraq.  Something always leads to something else.

Certainly what I think we heard from Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is the voice of a would-be wartime leader.  He's trying to be a battlefield general in that address.  And the timing of that address is interesting, because he had suffered a few battlefield reversals, and he is trying to rally the troops and essentially respond to the combination of threats he now faces, which are primarily from the United States and Russia.  At one time he might have thought that Russia would be, if not a friend, at least a benign force for him.  And that hasn't turned out to be the case at all.

So I think there's one thing that we'll have to see among the political candidates is how well they address that question, what is your long-term strategy for what is behind this movement, what's basically allowing one thing to flow from another? And how does the United States position itself to not look like the enemy, not look like it's exacerbating the problem in the Middle East and is actually there to try to be a force for good?  


EASTON:  Just first of all, just to put the terrorism threat in perspective, you know, the year after 9/11, 2002, there were 1,000 terrorist attacks worldwide.  This past year, there were 30,000 terrorist attacks.  And of course we see them from groups not just ISIS and Al Qaeda, we see them throughout North Africa and other places. So it's a worldwide, global threat.

So I think this president would do well not to once again downplay that threat.

The Baghdadi comments I found particularly interesting in that Baghdadi was also targeting Saudi Arabia for its off brand of Islam. Why? Saudi Arabia's actually put together a 34-member nation coalition to go after ISIS.  The kingdom where a lot of the extremism that fuels ISIS has come from now feels like ISIS is an existential threat.  There have been terrorist ISIS attacks within Saudi Arabia, but I do think this is going to become a key component of defeating ISIS in the end.  

MCKELWAY:  Muslims make up something like I think one quarter of the world's population.  And even if only a tiny, tiny fraction of them are radicals or jihadists, it points to thousands upon thousands of terrorist attacks.  Is Islam in need of a reformation, the like that Christianity underwent hundreds of years ago?

BAYH:  Doug, what is the old saying? All that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good men and women to do nothing? So if we're going to defeat this in the long run, we have got to have the reformation you talked about within Islam, so that the law-abiding, peaceful, constructive Muslims step up and say, this is not the face of our religion.  Because those of us who are not Muslim don't have credibility in that part of the world.  So it will have to come, it will have to be indigenous and authentic to them to reform these societies in a way that gives these young radicalized young people some hope for the future.  Better economies, a political system that gives them some outlet for their aspirations.  And so forth.  And it's just not happening right now.

MCKELWAY:  That's the carrot approach.  Does the stick approach help in this effort?

BAYH:  Absolutely.  The sound bites you played are interesting.  In the short run, we have homicidal terrorists, who have to kill us all.  Every one of our viewers today, they would gladly kill.  We only have one alternative, and that's to stop them.  And if we have to kill them first, we have to do that.  But in the long run, every expert will tell you, we are not going to kill our way out of this problem.  We have got to try to deal with the root causes of the problem, ultimately if we're going to prevail.  Regrettably, that's a generational undertaking.  

EASTON:  Well, you do have to do a lot of killing your way out of it.  But Muslims are also victims of these terror attacks.  You think about the terror attacks on the school in Pakistan.  Those children being shot, 132 of them, you think about the attack on Beirut, just days before the Paris attack, a suicide bomber.  Those were all Muslims killed.  This is a point that Muslim leaders need to bring to the Muslim population over and over again.  

HAYES:  This is why I think Donald Trump's comments were so hurtful.  It's been exaggerated, it's not the case that ISIS is using this as propaganda regularly, as Hillary Clinton says.  At the same time, the entire long-term strategy of reformation inside the Muslim world has to be based on separating moderate Muslims from the radicals.  And this makes that job all the more difficult.  And there are many moderate Muslims.  I've talked to moderate Muslims here in the United States.  When you interview, when you cover intelligence and national security, some of the very best people you talk to are moderate Muslims, who are working on our behalf in the war on terror.  So it's not helpful at all to paint them all with a broad brush.  

MCKELWAY:  If this war is multigenerational, we've seen how Americans are willing to accept some intrusions into their privacy, examination of metadata to some extent, but if you have a generational war against radical Islam, that is a de facto permanent intrusion into our civil liberties.  Is America willing to accept that?

GEARAN:  I think yes, on an expanding and contracting basis, we're willing to accept it when the threat appears to be more acute, less willing to accept it when the threat appears remote.  

MCKELWAY: 30 seconds.

BAYH:  It's one of the dilemmas a free society faces in an age of suicidal terror.  We have to preserve the values that make us as Americans exceptional, but at the same time, the ultimate denial of one's individual liberties is when they're killed.

The final thing I'll say is, we can't let someone like Edward Snowden define how we protect America.  Our government is not as great a threat to the American people as suicidal terrorists.  We need to focus on them.

MCKELWAY:  Thank you, Senator.  Thank you, panel.  We'll see you next Sunday.  Up next, a final note for 2015.   


MCKELWAY:  A look at the sights and sounds on the beach in Honolulu, where the president is spending time with his family this holiday weekend.  Meanwhile, the holidays are no time for a break for the Republicans vying for the president's job.  The trail taking many of the candidates to New Hampshire.  Next Sunday, Chris will sit down with two candidates for whom that state is do or die.  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has seen some momentum in the first-in-the-nation primary state in recent weeks, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, both "Fox News Sunday" exclusives.  You don't want to miss it.  

And finally, we want to thank you for watching us each week throughout this busy new year.  As we say goodbye to 2015 and look ahead to 2016, here are the names of all the people who work so hard every week to put this program on the air.  From all of us, happy new year to you, and we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."

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.