How did the candidates do responding to terror?

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," September 19, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


States, or my opponent, and both won't even say the words "radical Islamic
terror." In fact, Hillary Clinton talks tougher about my supporters than
she does about Islamic terrorists.

actually take on those challenges, not engage in a lot of irresponsible,
reckless rhetoric. We have to smash ISIS' strongholds with an accelerated
coalition air campaign, more support for Arab and Kurdish forces on the
ground, and intense diplomatic efforts in Syria, Iraq, and across the


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton today with a different tone and delivery about
reacting to the terrorist attacks over the past couple of days, New York,
New Jersey, and Minnesota. And you saw Donald Trump today. This also as
the White House went out and the vice-presidential nominee responded to the


JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: In some ways this is a war of
narratives. And so we want to make sure that we're getting out our counter
narrative against ISIL.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama know we are at war. Did you hear a White
House spokesman today went on national television and said that we were in
a, quote, "narrative fight," a, quote, "narrative battle"? Well, that
would be news to the men and women in uniform in Iraq who are taking the
fight to the enemy every day.


BAIER: And the latest FOX News poll on the issue of terrorism has it
essentially tied, 47-46, within the margin of error. And there you see
where it has come from since May, last August, and then now.

Let's bring in our panel, Gillian Turner, former National Security Council
staffer under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Charles Lane,
opinion writer for the "Washington Post," and syndicated columnist Charles
Krauthammer. OK, Charles, what do you think, responses and how they have

from the presidential spokesman on narrative was clearly a mistake and
something that can be easily exploited by the other side and should be,
because it reflects the president's idea which he has had since the
beginning of his terms, which is that diplomacy, soft power, and all this
is what international relations is all about. And this is a subset of
that. In other words, the war on terror is a war of narratives. It's a
war of idea, hearts and minds.

Yes, however, hearts and minds are swayed by what's going on on the ground.
It's what bin Laden talked about when he said people will go for the strong
horse. The fact that there is less recruitment to ISIS today is a
reflection of the fact it's losing on the ground slowly, very gradually.

But nonetheless, if you are going to give your life to the jihad, you are
not going to do it if you think the jihad is not going to succeed. And
that, I think, is what this administration simply never understands.
Everything is soft. Everything is ideological. Nothing matters on the
ground. Everything hinges on what happens on the ground.

BAIER: There is something about the emotion of delivery and internalizing
what people at home feel about the terrorist threat. You saw a difference,
I think, Chuck, in how Hillary Clinton said -- we don't often hear her say
we're going to smash ISIS, perhaps in reaction to Donald Trump's

this entire campaign, you really start to form the impression that these
two candidates are addressing two different -- almost with every other
issue, two different audiences who see the world through two very, very
difference lens.

On the Republican side, there's an emphasis on force, the emphasis on
radical Islamic terrorism, the emphasis and all this sort of hard power
side of the story. And over on the Democratic side the emphasis is all on
don't overreact, don't go too far, don't reach for the hammer. And these
are two different worldviews in competition now over how best to fight

And I think it's interesting in that regard. Quinnipiac had a poll today
that shows that among Republicans -- Republicans are three times more
likely to say then Democrats that they fear being directly hit by
terrorism. I don't know why that would necessarily be the case, but that's
-- these two candidates are dealing with different emotional experiences
depending on party now.

BAIER: That's a good point. You worked for both administrations,
different world views in the NSC. You buy that description?

would say that on Saturday in the middle of these unfolding incidents Trump
did a really great job of connecting emotionally with people. Hillary
Clinton did not. But she bounced back today in her comments. And that was
because she had some real substance to fall back on, by which I mean I
really commend the fact that she of the two has put forward a comprehensive
plan to defeat ISIS that American voters can look at, can evaluate, can
decide for themselves whether they think it's viable or not.

I think that Donald Trump has really shot himself in the foot at this point
by still refusing to put forward a plan. I think it's downright
disrespectful to the voters at this time. I mean, we're 50 days out. I
was hoping we were going to have something six months ago. And he is
standing by his decision not do it.

BAIER: And yet, when he talks about going after is, when he links this all
together and says that his opponent is weak, just as Barack Obama is, it is
suggesting this is a third term candidacy.

KRAUTHAMMER: And I think it really is a third term candidacy. It always
is at the end of a two-term presidency, whether it's a former vice
president or secretary of state. It's particularly true in this case
because she was involved in the decisions. Yes, according to the memoirs,
she was more hawkish than Obama on Syria, Libya, it's not exactly a talking
point, and other places. But nonetheless she is tied to the hip to Obama
and the policies. And even when you hear the presidential spokesman today
speaking about narratives, it washes over on her. There's no escaping

BAIER: All right, Chuck, this DHS inspector general report, the summary
here, the USCIS granted U.S. citizenship to at least 858 individuals
ordered deported or removed under another identity when during the
naturalization process their digital fingerprint records were not
available. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, has
identified about 148,000 older fingerprint records that have not been
digitized of aliens with final deportation orders who are criminals or
fugitives. And they point out 858 come from what are called select
countries that are a particular concern on national security.

LANE: Surprise, our immigration bureaucracy is a mess, and it has been for
years. Everybody knows that. These kinds of things -- there's a lot of
disagreement about immigration policy, but everybody ought to be able to
agree that people who are not entitled to citizenship should not get it
through bureaucratic error.

BAIER: So when Donald Trump says that 110,000 refugees coming in and we
don't have the screening process --

LANE: He can point to this. Whether it's actually one-on-one germane to
it or not, it's a great talking point for him.

BAIER: Gillian?

TURNER: At the same time -- this story is indefensible in my opinion. But
at the same time the broader narrative that I think it's only fair we point
to is that DHS on the whole -- and I'm not talking about the political
elite. I'm talking about the guys on the ground, the agents, do a
fantastic job of protecting the homeland every day. It's the kind of job
where they really only get recognition when there is a screw-up. And so on
the hole since 9/11, they have done a fantastic job. Not a single attack
perpetrated, executed by a foreign terrorist organization on U.S. soil.
They have got to get some credit.

BAIER: ISIS-inspired, you can go to Orlando and others. You can go to
Fort Hood. That was originally called workplace violence. Quickly?

KRAUTHAMMER: I think the real inside story is a typo. They read this as
these people as being merely deportable. The "deplorables," stepped on my
own line.


KRAUTHAMMER: And instead, they were, of course, deportable.

BAIER: It's one we're going to follow, because it does fit with the story
today as you are dealing with a naturalized citizen from Afghanistan who is
believed to be behind all of these bombings in New York and New Jersey.

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