Bannon reportedly takes aim at GOP primaries across the US

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," September 28, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, "THE STORY" HOST: Good evening, everybody. I'm Martha MacCallum. And tonight, our story begins with some numbers. 3.1 percent. That is the new number for second-quarter GDP -- that's April through June. It represents the fastest pace of economic growth in over two years.


STUART VARNEY, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK ANCHOR: The economy, growing at a 3.1 percent annualized rate -- the first time we've seen that in years.

GARY COHN, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: People didn't think we could get to 3.1 percent GDP for a while, we're at 3.1. One percent of GDP means $3 trillion. It more than pays for a tax cut.


MACCALLUM: So, you get the argument. So, during the election, polls show that people wanted jobs, they wanted a growing economy, and then-candidate Trump said he would make it happen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm going to get us to four percent growth and create 25 million jobs over a 10-year period.


MACCALLUM: So, you've got all that. And then, you've got this number that just came out tonight at a huge group of new Fox polls. But take a look at this, how do you feel about the way things are going in the world? To hell in a handbasket: 56 percent. Everything is fine: saying 37 percent. So, while the president's approval numbers are stuck in the low 40s, he's sticking up a little bit in his handling of the economy -- that's at 49 percent. All right. So, all of this comes as you've got the media buzzing about the NFL, about the tweets. Deep concerns, legitimate ones, over hurricane damage and loss. But the question that's likely to be at the forefront, again and again over time: are jobs being created, and can it last? And can this new tax plan juice the economy here in the United States?

Marc Thiessen and Juan Williams will join me with their opinions tonight, but we begin with Chief National Correspondent, Ed Henry, live at the White House tonight with what this economic growth means for you. Hi, Ed.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, good to see you, Martha. This is a big deal because it means the economy is accelerating. It also means, President Trump is keeping a promise to get growth up to three percent, at least in the short-term, and it's especially sweet for him because there were a lot of naysayers among liberal economists predicting he would never reach this level. Chief among the naysayers was the New York Times Columnist, Paul Krugman, who won a Nobel Prize in Economics, and he mocked the credibility of the president back in February when his budget forecast, economic growth of three percent to 3.5 percent annually over the next decade.

Krugman writing, "People should not believe wrongly that Trumponomics is going to do wonderful things for incentives a la Reagan. You should still be expecting growth of two percent or under. Now, maybe something awesome will happen: either driverless or flying cars will transform everything or whatever. But you shouldn't be counting on it," back in February. Oops, today, the president found out he's already hit that higher range. The Commerce Department revising upward its estimate for Gross Domestic Product in the second quarter of the year, covers April through June, as you said, 3.1 percent.

Here is why it actually matters to our viewers: a sustained one percent, point, increase in economic growth from, say, two percent to three percent over a decade, 12 million new jobs, $10 trillion in economic activity, $3 trillion, as you read Gary Cohn, in deficit reduction over 10 years -- that's according to the White House and Treasury Department. Now, to be sure, White House officials believed growth is going to slow down a little in the current quarter we're in now because of disruptions from both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

But then, it will take off again in the fourth quarter because, obviously, there'll be all kinds of rebuilding in Texas and Florida. Gary Cohn predicted today, economic growth will be "substantially above three percent in the month ahead" because of government regulations the president cutting for businesses, plus those large tax cuts you mentioned. The Vice President, Mike Pence, was pushing on the road today in Michigan and Wisconsin -- two of those key battlegrounds the president carried last year.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to cut taxes on the trillions of dollars that American companies have locked overseas, so they can invest those in American workers, American jobs, and American future.


HENRY: Now, some challenges for the president: you hear these kinds of economic estimates from both parties all the time, sometimes they don't pan out. And the other big thing is that the markets are already factoring in a big tax cut because of all this talk in Washington. If it doesn't actually get through Congress, it doesn't get signed into law, that could be a big problem, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Dow is up 13 percent since President Trump took office. Thank you, Ed. Good to see you tonight. So, let's bring in Marc Thiessen, American Enterprise Institute Scholar, and Fox News Contributor; and Juan Williams, Co-Host of "THE FIVE" and a Fox News Political Analyst. So, that leaves it out on is Trump0nomics or whatever you want to call, Marc, does it appear to be working?

MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE SCHOLAR: It does to some extent. You know this is only one quarter. We've had this kind of high economic growth under Barack Obama briefly, but over the period of his entire presidency, economic growth tapped at two percent. So, you know, Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to get economic growth going again. He promised that the forgotten Americans left behind by Barack Obama's weak recovery that he would deliver economic growth to them, so he needs the tax cuts to do that.


THIESSEN: And the only way you're going to get this over a sustained period is if we have a real economic stimulus with lower taxes.

MACCALLUM: Yes. And that's what they're betting on, Juan. They're betting on getting this tax cut, which after the health debacle is pretty important, politically, as well as economically. A million jobs so far created since President Trump took office. If they can get these two things put together, the economy and the tax cuts, that could be a pretty good package for them.

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST AND POLITICAL ANALYST: For the Republicans, especially going towards 2018, but even more so for President Trump as he starts to think about 2020. I mean, that would allow him to say he had real accomplishments at the moment -- as you know those legislative accomplishments are not in hand. But when we come to the tax plan, there are some interesting numbers to look at, including the 3.1 percent that you mentioned that the top, Martha. If you look at the most recent Fox News poll, 88 percent of Americans think that we should not -- I'm sorry, 88 percent of American think we should cut taxes for small businesses, we should cut taxes for the middle class.

But when it comes to lowering taxes for corporations or lowering taxes for the wealthy, you're down to about 30 percent, saying that they should be. And when you look at the Trump tax plan, I think this is what Democrats are going to do, they're going to say this is a tax cut plan that benefits the rich and the corporation.

MACCALLUM: Of course, that's what they're going to say. I mean, that's what they always say. But I wonder, you know if you asked the same people, and, Marc, I want to get your thoughts on this, if you thought that lowering the corporate tax rate would stimulate jobs in this country, would you be in favor of it?

THIESSEN: Absolutely. Well, you're not going to get economic growth unless you get the corporate tax rate down. In 35 percent, we are the -- out of the 35 industrial nations, we are in 35th place when it comes to tax competitiveness. So, you've got to get that corporate tax down in order to spur economic growth and also to bring back the $2.5 trillion that's parked outside of the economy that can come in here and create jobs. So, look, if we do this tax reform and we do it right, and we do a growth-oriented tax cut across the board, then, and the economy starts growing at three, 3.5, four percent, which is the postwar average for an economic recovery. Obama's recovery was only two percent. If we can get that going, everybody is going to be fine with the tax cut for corporations. I don't think it probably even matters.

MACCALLUM: You know, it's interesting. Gary Cohn said something interesting today, Juan. You know, he was asked, you know, what about the middle-class tax cuts, and will the president actually end up paying less or more under this scenario? And his argument was, you know, I don't think that most individuals in the country really care if somebody else is paying more or less. What they care about is what they're paying, whether or not, when they get their taxes or they get their return back, it's a bigger check when they get it back in the mail. You know this notion that there should be punishment for corporations and punishment for wealthy people is a very baked in the notion. Does it really matter and is it the right way to think about it, Juan?

WILLIAMS: Well, no, because -- look, I think what you are right about, Martha, is that people want to know, how it affects me? They want to know, is my job secure or am I going to get a higher pay rate? But when it comes to the principle at stake, and this is very key to me -- I think you and Marc disagree with me on this. But when people see that, in fact, this is a tax plan that's going to benefit people like the billionaire Donald Trump, the president, they say, wait a second, so what's the benefit for me, or am I simply having the wool pulled over my eyes? And I would also add that in terms of Republican orthodoxy on the deficit, the president has not laid out his plan how he is going to pay for these tax cuts. So, people are saying, well, how are you going to pay for this? Is it possible? We'd like a tax-cut, but tell us how it works so you don't drive up the deficit as the percentage of GDP --

MACCALLUM: Deficit's annoying us for the past how many years albeit now there is all this concern?

WILLIAMS: But that was it -- listen --

MACCALLUM: But I guess the argument is --

WILLIAMS: Go back to Reagan years, go back to Obama years --

MACCALLUM: I got you. But the argument is growth. Now, whether or not it's going to work, I don't know, but that is the argument that the growth will drive and that's the argument that Gary Cohn was just making when you get a one percent increase, you get this exponential impact on growth. Marc, go ahead.

THIESSEN: Absolutely, you'll get growth. And look, as part as the -- I mean, if you think about this: the two percent growth under Barack Obama, which is half of his postwar average, that left six million jobs on the table that were not created. If we have gone a postwar average of four percent, $17,000 in median income increase that would have occurred. So, that's how that benefits the American people. And as for the debt and the deficit, nobody in the Democratic Party was talking about debt and deficit when Barack Obama doubled the national debt over the last eight years. He collected more debt in eight years than every president from George Washington to George W. Bush combined.

WILLIAMS: But, Marc, given that Republicans were so hard on that point, doesn't it look to your kind of hypocritical?

MACCALLUM: All right. Well, President Trump said on the campaign trail, at a debate, he said that he's going to get to five or six percent. We've lost our business, I think you can go five or six percent. So, we'll see if he can produce those kinds of numbers with this plan. Thanks, you guys. Good to see you both.

THIESSEN: Well, thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So, up next.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got enough resources marshaled and deployed forward.


MACCALLUM: The White House defending its response to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, but it is an ugly picture there. The administration comes under attack for not sending help soon enough. Is that a fair assessment? Charles Hurt and a Puerto Rican native, Janice Fuente, join me to debate that coming up next. And as new the NFL protests are planned for tonight, it is Thursday night in America, so you're going to see more of this, over the national anthem, a football coach who was fired for kneeling wants to know what's up with this and calls it hypocrisy. Plus, House Majority Whip, Steve Scalise, made an emotional return to Capitol Hill less than four months after being shot during a baseball practice. Bill Bennett with his powerful reaction and more next.


REP. STEVE SCALISE, R-LA., HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP: I am definitely a living example that miracles really do happen.



MACCALLUM: Breaking tonight, the Trump administration clearing the way for much need relief in what is being called a humanitarian crisis unfolding in Puerto Rico. The Pentagon is now dispatching a three-star general to coordinate the relief efforts there. President Trump has authorized a ten- day waiver now of the Jones Act, a federal law that limits shipping to U.S. ports by foreign vessels. Those vessels can now come in to help. The White House today, saying that this is their top focus as they tackle criticism about the response time.


TOM BOSSERT, HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISOR FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: We had up until the waiver last night, enough capacity in U.S. flag vessels to get all the commodities necessary to the island. We'll just then dealing with the priority challenge of disturbing land-based commodities into the people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why has it taken eight days to get a three-star general on the ground to start organizing this? We know the island's situation and etc., why eight days?

BOSSERT: Yes. Well, because it didn't require a three-star general eight days ago.


MACCALLUM: So, Fox News' Garrett Tenney just filed this report. There is a curfew so filed this moments ago before the sun went down in San Juan.


GARRETT TENNEY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL REPORTER: Martha, several shipping executives told me today that the problem hasn't been getting supplies to Puerto Rico, it's actually getting it delivered to those who needed it. You can see that here in San Juan's main port where there are nearly 10,000 shipping containers just sitting here waiting to go out. These containers have a lot of the commercial goods. Folks are waiting in line for hours to buy food, medicine, as well as construction materials to begin making repairs and rebuilding.

JOSE PACHE AYALA, CROWLEY MARITIME CORPORATION: Well, the most frustrating thing for me is seeing that -- seeing so many people in need right now, and knowing that around the terminals of the bay of San Juan, we have over 9,500 containers filled with goods.

TENNEY: The reason they're not being delivered is Puerto Rico does not have enough truck drivers to get them to the stores and businesses across the island that need it. Right now, only 20 percent of the island's drivers have reported back to work post-Maria, some of them lost their homes, and trucks, and others, the government still has not been able to make contact with. On top of that, many of the roads are still covered by debris and there are severe shortages of diesel fuel. The governor's office tells me they are trying to work through these distribution nightmares, but the people of Puerto Rico are suffering and they can only keep the patience for so long, particularly when that help is right here on their shores already. Martha.


MACCALLUM: All right, Garrett Tenney reporting. So, meanwhile, the Trump administration ramps up what has already been a very big effort to help Americans in the midst of that humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. Many on the left are trying to score some points in this situation as well. They feel that the response has been lackluster. Watch.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-NY, SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER: Mr. President, these are American citizens. They desperately need our help.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, D-MARYLAND: The response has been anemic. God certainly wouldn't be pleased with this response. And I'm saying to President Trump, you need to quadruple your efforts.

REP. JOSE SERRANO, D-NEW YORK: Mr. President, this is not a foreign country. These are American citizens. So please understand that these are your folks too.


MACCALLUM: Charles Hurt, Political Communist for the Washington Times and a Fox News Contributor; Janice Fuente, born in Puerto Rico and the former Chief of Staff to Democratic Congressman Louis Gutierrez who is heading there on his own on a commercial flight as we understand it. Welcome to both of you.


MACCALLUM: So, obviously, a lot of emotion, a lot of people who are very desperate there, Janice. What is your take on whether or not the criticism is well-founded?

JANICE FUENTE, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN LOUIS GUTIERREZ: It's absolutely well-founded, and I actually take issue with Fox saying this politicizing. I think people are dying as we speak, Martha, and when that's happening, elected officials do what they were elected to do. They take on to the media, they take onto the people, they take up the commander in chief, they take up to their own party, they go partisan, and they say bipartisan, they say we need money, we need to save lives. Puerto Rico, the federal response has been abominable, has been criminal, and has been cruel. Because we are not Texas. We are an island. So, we are trapped.

And unlike Houston -- not to diminish their tragedy -- but we are trapped. There is no other state to run to. And as the man from Crowley said, there is a lot of stuff on the island. People are going hungry, people are going thirsty; there are babies dying in hospitals. It's very hard as a Puerto Rican living in the states to sit here and here of anything, any accusations against elected officials because this is the time to get together. And I think both sides in Congress are doing the best they can, to those who were not aware of Puerto Rico's relevance, and the fact that we have 3.4 million U.S. citizens that have served with distinction in the military since World War I.

MACCALLUM: Well, I mean, when you, you know, you see the effort that's going on, you see that this three-star general is being sent in. You know, I think that you know, we have to feel that they're trying to make their best effort whether or not it was too late, Charlie, what do you think?

HURT: Well, of course, it is absolutely heartbreaking, and these images are just -- they are kind of hard to watch and it's devastating. And you know, we all pray and hope for the best. But, you know, listening to Chuck Schumer and these other Democrats turn it into some sort of political cudgel to beat up on Donald Trump is, quite frankly, why Americans despise politicians, they despise Washington, they despise politics. Another problem here is, of course, the same politicians are the ones who go around making all of these promises about the federal government being the answer to every single problem, and we are seeing here, as we have seen before, it is not the answer to every single problem. Lots of times, its neighbors and people with boats pitching in to help. The goods have gotten to San Juan. The problem, of course, is distributing it locally.

FUENTE: Charles, I'm sorry, I have to interrupt you. I'm sorry I have to interrupt you.

MACCALLUM: Go ahead.

FUENTE: I cannot sit here while people are dying and hear you say that nonsense. People are dying.

HURT: I'm sorry. I'm sorry, what was nonsense?

FUENTE: Eight days. Eight days. Eight days. Excuse me, it is eight days before a general -- before a general gets to Puerto Rico. Eight days. We are the army -- the best army and the military in the world. We were in Berlin back in World War II when the war was happening, dropping supplies. Why does it take eight days for a three-star general? The person in the White House said because we didn't need him until today. That is false. People have been dying for eight days in Puerto Rico. And let's not politicize this issue. Donald Trump had better things to do. They should've come forward in Puerto Rico instead of talking about the NFL, OK?

HURT: I'm not politicizing. But the fact that you do have all of the goods sitting in the port in San Juan and the problem is you don't have truck drivers to distribute them.

FUENTE: We need to distribute. We need the U.S. military. We need the U.S. military, Charles

HURT: It seems like that is not our problem, that's the fault of the federal government.

FUENTE: Absolutely, it's U.S. citizens. The same way it would have been the fault of Texas, the same way it would have been the fault of Katrina. Charles, you are wrong.


MACCALLUM: I got to jump at you, guys, thank you very much for both bringing your opinions tonight. We appreciate it. And we're going to stay on this story and follow it through. Thank you, guys. It's good to have you both tonight. All right, so coming up next, Congressman Steve Scalise's incredibly emotional return today to Capitol Hill.


SCALISE: You have no idea how great this feels, to be back here at work in the people's house.


MACCALLUM: Bill Bennett coming up on that. Plus, he just met with Steve Bannon, and he's got some exclusive insight into what they're calling a looming GOP civil war. And Michelle Obama weighing in on the 2016 elections with a message for women.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice.




RICARDO ROSELLO, GOVERNOR OF PUERTO RICO: The president and the administration have done everything that they can, that we've asked them to do. The fact of the matter is, the Puerto Rico's an island, and a lot of the things need to be flown in or brought in boats, and that takes some time.


MACCALLUM: All right. Just a footnote to the emotional conversation that we just had. That was Ricardo Rosello, the Governor of Puerto Rico, basically saying he feels like the response from the federal government United States has been all that it could be so far. So, we'll keep a close eye as that tense story continues tonight. And also, there is this, House Majority Whip, Steve Scalise, made a triumphant return today to Capitol Hill, just 3.5 months after he was gunned down at a congressional baseball practice and enduring months of surgeries and rehab. The Louisiana congressman tweeted this beautiful and simple message this morning: "I'm back." And there he is, looking at them all with members of his family, and then this happened.


MACCALLUM: That's going to get tears rolling down people's cheeks and everybody on their feet, because he is a beloved member of Congress. And the cheers lasted for several minutes, and everyone just soaked it all up and took it in. And then Steve Scalise took the podium.


SCALISE: You have no idea how great this feels to be back here at work in the people's house.


SCALISE: When I was laying out on that ball field, the first thing I did once I was down and I couldn't move anymore is, I just started to pray, and I will tell you, it gave me an unbelievable sense of calm knowing that at that point it was in God's hands. I also thank, owes thanks to a lot of the people that are on the field with me. Right after the shooter was down, a lot of my colleagues came and ran to come check on me. Happened to have Brad Wenstrup on the field that day, and he was one of the first to come to my side. Who would've thought that God would've put brad out there on that field with me because the tourniquet he applied, many will tell you, saved my life so that I can actually make it to the hospital in time with all the blood loss.

A lot of people ask, did that change you? And I think those of you who know me know I'm an optimistic person, I'm, you know, just a fun-loving person. I'm from South Louisiana, we believe you work hard and you play hard, and Joie de vie. Is an event like this going to really change that? And the first thing I can tell you is, yes it changed me but not in the ways you might think. It's only strengthened my faith in God and it's really crystallized what shows up as the goodness in people. I got to see that goodness in people.


MACCALLUM: Scalise said that he is excited to get back to work, telling "60 minutes" that he had no idea just how much danger his life was in on that day in June.


SCALISE: I found out later just how much damage was done internally. And you know, I mean, my femur was shattered, the hip and pelvis had serious damage where the bullet went through and, you know, did some damage to areas that had to be shored up with steel plates, and they did a phenomenal job of rebuilding, kind of rebuilding Humpty Dumpty. I mean, there were -- there was a lot of damage inside that had to get fixed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They put you back together again.

SCALISE: They put me back together again.


MACCALLUM: Incredible. Bill Bennett joins me now, host of the "Bill Bennett Podcast", also a Fox News Contributor. Bill, good evening to you. You know, there's a lot that flies back-and-forth on the hills, on Capitol Hill, and in Congress, but that was a special moment, and everybody was very happy to see him back today.

BILL BENNET, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. Great story, dramatic story, a very sad beginning, of course, but a great ending. I noticed a couple of things. He brought up that subject which a lot of officials in Washington and the media don't like to talk about, first thing he mentioned was prayer, praying to God on that field. Second, you know, I think of a line in Virgil, the honorable finds its duty. There is honor in Washington. He was right to say how lucky he was that Brad Westrom was close by, Colonel Westrom, veteran of Iraq, got there to apply the tourniquet. Good to have a veteran on the ballfield.

MACCALLUM: It sure is.

BENNETT: He's been on the battlefield. He's a great guy, Scalise, and I think it was heartfelt on both sides of the aisle. It's a wonderful return.

MACCALLUM: It is. It's heartwarming to see the genuine outpouring from him. And even before that, he was just a guy that is very well-liked on Capitol Hill. And that's the whip's job, to know everybody and to know -- going to have a lot of work ahead of him, too. So we look forward to seeing them back on the hill shortly.

BENNETT: You know, when he was shot in the leg, I think a lot of people thought, well, you shot the leg, you'll recover, it will be a couple of weeks, but his life was at risk.

MACCALLUM: Absolutely.

BENNETT: And thanks to the good medicines, you know, he is back. But this is very serious business by a guy who had a rifle come showed up and said, this is the Republicans, right? He wanted to be sure he was shooting at the people he wanted to shoot at. Ugly business.

MACCALLUM: It certainly is. I want to change topics for a moment. I know that you say that you had a conversation with Steve Bannon, and word out of Breitbart editor Alex Marlow is that they found Alabama to be very emboldening. And that now they're going to start getting on planes, Steve Bannon is, and travelling across the country and try to fire up other candidates to run against Republicans, against Dean Heller in Nevada, against Roger Wicker in Mississippi, and they've got a list of targets that they're going after. What do you think?

BENNETT: Well, I wasn't part of that strategy group. I was seeing Steve Bannon on other business. But we talked about the election. I told him I thought Roy Moore would win and would win handily. And, yeah, I think we will see some challenges, and I think the challenges will be in the senate.
You know, Paul Ryan, my former staffer, I will confess, did an interview last night, which he pointed out something like 200 pieces of legislation have been passed by the house. You can fault the house for some things, but those pieces of legislation have gone to the senate and have sat there. They have not moved. And so, some challenges to some of these senators seem to be perfectly appropriate. You know, James Mattis wrote in The Federalist, if every member of the assembly or the congress were Socrates, it would still be a mob. The problem with the senate is that most of these guys think they're Socrates, or a lot of them think.

MACCALLUM: The deliberative body, yes.

BENNETT: Yeah. So deliberative that the, you know, can't act the Hamlet thing. But we need more action. So I think that's fine. Light the fire. The president is lighting the fire. Bannon is lighting the fire.

MACCALLUM: I want to just -- I have 10 seconds, but I just want to get your thoughts on this because you're a wise man. Tom Price, should he keep his job or not? He has apologized and said he'll pay back.

BENNETT: I've got to know more details. People have been asking me all day. I was in government ten years, didn't use private planes, use government planes on government business it did in private plans. But it's tough business. Need to know the details. Don't know. I know Tom and I admire him, got to know the facts.

MACCALLUM: All right. Bill Bennett, always a pleasure, sir. Thank you very much.

BENNETT: Thank you, Martha, you bet.

MACCALLUM: So you remember this from the 2016 presidential campaign.


UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hillary Clinton will always be there for you. And just remember, there is a special place in hell for women who don't help each other.



MACCALLUM: I've got a big response now. Former first lady Michelle Obama is upping the ante. Lisa Boothe, Emily Tisch Sussman, up next on that. Plus, when the Green Bay Packers kicked off, less than an hour from now, they have a demand for fans that could reignite the anthem debate. We're watching that closely. We'll be right back.



MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER U.S. FIRST LADY: That we look at those two candidates, as women, and many of us said, that guy. He's better for me. His voice is more true to me. Well, to me that just says that you don't like your voice.


MACCALLUM: That was former first lady Michelle Obama. She went on to say that women who voted against Hillary Clinton needed some serious soul- searching. Here is that.


OBAMA: Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice in a way to me. That is -- to me it doesn't say as much about Hillary and everybody's trying to wonder, well, what does this mean for Hillary? No, no, no. What does it mean for us as women?


MACCALLUM: So, 41 percent of women voted for Donald Trump in November. Hillary Clinton won their support overall, 54 percent. When you break it down among white women voters, 52 percent for Donald Trump, 43 percent for Hillary Clinton, and in a Fox News poll that was conducted just days before the election, it suggested that the Democratic candidate had a credibility issue not on some trustworthy, 61 percent said that of Hillary Clinton. So let's talk about Michelle Obama's comments and what these two ladies, who are friends of ours and frequent guests, thinks about it.

Lisa Boothe, president of High Noon Strategy and Fox News contributor, and Emily Tish Sussman, campaign director for the Center for American Progress Action Fund. So Lisa, she blatantly says, you know, if you voted for Donald Trump there's essentially something wrong with you. You don't like your own voice or you don't like women, and you have to ask yourself, you know, how could you do this, essentially, to a woman? What do you think about that? How does that sit with you?

LISA BOOTH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think my voice is great. I fundamentally reject the premise that somehow I'm supposed to vote for someone simply because we share the same gender. Madeleine Albright says there is a special place in hell for women that vote against Hillary -- that don't vote for Hillary Clinton. Well, it's going to be a packed house because millions of women, as you have stated, voted for Donald Trump and rejected Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton lagged behind President Obama's numbers with Latinas, also with college young girls as well. And look, I think the Democratic Party -- this scapegoating for Hillary Clinton is getting embarrassing for them. If they've just spent as much time focusing on why they have suffered such staggering losses on the state and local level as well as in congress, and the fact that Donald Trump is sitting in the White House instead of Hillary Clinton.

MACCALLUM: I mean, it begs the question, Emily, you know, have we advanced enough as women to able to vote for the person whose policies we think are better, or are we stuck in this place where you're going to get scolded by other women for not voting the way that they voted?

EMILY TISCH SUSSMAN, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS ACTION FUND CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR: Look, there's no question that for some, the fact that Hillary Clinton was the first nominee in a major party and potentially the first female president, was a very big deal and was a motivating factor. That was the case for some. The fact is, she didn't win, and Donald Trump is in the White House. And he did make promises to women saying he would be a great president for them, and that's just not the case. Look at his budget alone. We know that his own budget cuts $400 million from after-school programs and from child care. That is not supporting women. The health care bill, every version of the health care bill that he has tried to pass through and has tried to champion has made maternity care a pre-existing condition. Again, maternity care would go up. That is not supporting women.

MACCALLUM: Emily, I understand what you're saying, but it brings the argument down to, you know, you judge a person or a candidate or a leader based on how much money they're willing to give to your identity group, and if they give you less, then you don't like them. If they give you more, then you like them. I mean, doesn't that seem, you know, to sort of negate the ideas for stimulating the economy and some of the economic principles that, perhaps, people who voted for Donald Trump agree with?

SUSSMAN: Look, women are drivers of the economy in many cases. More women than ever are the primary breadwinners of their household. Economic issues.

MACCALLUM: Absolutely.


SUSSMAN: . that they had championed as Ivanka's signature issue for Trump voters.


MACCALLUM: Let me get Lisa back in here. When I do that, I want to put up a picture.

BOOTHE: Martha, here's the thing.


MACCALLUM: Go ahead, Lisa.

BOOTHE: Here's the thing, as I have mentioned, there are a lot of women out there that reject the premise that we're supposed to vote for someone simply because we share the same gender. And look, this is what the Democratic Party does. They play identity politics, and that's what you just heard Emily said. And there are a lot of women this election cycle that are sick and tired of that identity politics game. And look, there are a lot of us who also think that equality is being treated the same as men. We don't want to play the victim's and we don't want carve out simply because of our gender, but that is what the left believes, that's what Hillary Clinton believes, and clearly she wasn't able and capable to win enough women over to make the difference in this election and that's why she lost. If she spent as much time caring about voters as she did herself, perhaps it would be different.

MACCALLUM: I would like to live in a world where women can be close. Can respect each other regardless of who they voted for, and that you're not admonished if you have a different opinion. I think that's really a way that women can come together and support each other in this country, and let's hope we get there some day.

SUSSMAN: That sounds like a good world.

MACCALLUM: Thanks, Emily. Thanks, Lisa. Good to see you both.

SUSSMAN: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So coming up next, Thursday night football gets underway, which women across America love. And that's at the top of the hour. One team request to fans on the NFL anthem protest is sparking some outrage tonight. The team asked everyone in the stadium to do something, and they're not sure they want to do that. Also, when a coach took a knee on the field and lost his job for it because he was praying in the middle of that field, he's kind of looking at all this going, really, how does that work for me? Coach Joe Kennedy, who you've seen here before, and his lawyer, they joins us with their thoughts on what they're calling a cruel hypocrisy in all of this.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I have so many friends that are owners, and they say we are in a situation where we have to do something. I think they're afraid of their players, you want to know the truth. But when it comes to the respect of our nation, when it comes to the respect of our anthem and our flag, they have no choice. You have to have people stand with respect.


MACCALLUM: That was President Trump earlier with Pete Hegseth on Fox & Friends. Those NFL owners likely are feeling the pressure as the league's kneeling controversy just doesn't seem to go away. In fact, we're just minutes away from the Packers playing Chicago tonight in football, of course -- what else would they be playing? And a new request by the Green Bay players for fans to stand and join them in unity during the national anthem and all link arms as the players have been doing has done little to calm this debate. Trace Gallagher is live in our west coast newsroom tonight with more. Hi, trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS: Hey, Martha. You know, the Packers statement to their fans starts out talking about how the NFL family is one of the most diverse communities in the world, from the players and coaches to the people you sit next to in the stands. It goes on to say, locking arms on the field is a display of unity. It then tells fans, quoting here, join us this Thursday by locking arms with whomever you're with, stranger or loved one, wherever you are, intertwined and included in this moment of unification.

But, if social media is any indication, Packer fans wanted none of it. The vast majority saying things like, quote, there is no honor, no respect in locking arms, only arrogance. Or this quote, packers asking fans to lock arms to show unity. Fans are united. It's the delusional players. #Boycottnfl. And this one, quote, Packers, you're making stand from the anthem ridiculous but now involving fans. Lock arms? Admit your mistake and play the sport. Stop. And fans aren't just speaking out, they're actually acting out. A Tennessee soup maker just pulled their NFL ads for the rest of the season over what the owner calls unpatriotic protests.

A South Carolina bar is refusing to show NFL games until the anthem protests end. Some customers say they will eat at palmetto ale house just to support the owner, others say they will never go there again. Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker is telling fans who don't like the protests not to come to the game. Though Walker and others should be careful what they ask for, because a Facebook group now has more than 75,000 members calling for an NFL boycott on Veterans Day weekend, telling people not to watch football to support veterans. We should note, finally, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tweeted that he gave his tickets to tonight's game to some Green Bay police officers. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Nice gesture. All right. Trace, thank you very much. So here now with an exclusive interview is Coach Joe Kennedy. Who not only took heat, but was fired from his high school coaching position for kneeling in prayer after each game. He's joined by his lawyer, Mike Berry. Good to see you both, tonight. Welcome back to the program. You know, more than a couple of people, Coach Joe, brought up your situation to me in talking about this NFL story, and said that some people tweeted us and talked about it. You know, why couldn't he kneel on the field and these players are allowed to. What do you think?

JOE KENNEDY, FORMER HIGHSCHOOL COACH: Hi. You know, I can't wrap my brain around it. You know, I'm a marine. I served for 20 years. And I just want the same rights as everybody else. And, you know, what applies for one should apply to every American. So, I see a lot of similarities of freedom of speech and, you know, freedom of -- the constitution should apply to all.

MACCALLUM: Yeah. You know, Mike Berry, obviously, the decision that went against the coach came from the ninth circuit. It was based on the fact that he's a public employee, and it's basically a church and state argument, right?

MIKE BERRY, ATTORNEY: Well, Martha, they didn't even really get to that point. They said that if you're an employee of a school district or any -- really, any government employee that you can be fired for doing what coach did, which was taking a knee in private, silent prayer for 15 or 30 seconds, if people in the stands can see you. So that's the decision of the night circuit right now. But, you know, at first liberty institute, we are continuing to challenge that decision. We've got to get it overturn. And we encourage people to go to first to show their support for the country, for the flag, and most importantly here for Coach Kennedy.

MACCALLUM: Yeah. You know, people are also reminded of Tim Tebow, and when you look back at how he was mocked for kneeling on the field in prayer. Listen to some of what was said about him.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: He's back, Tim Tebow, one of the most popular and polarizing quarterbacks in NFL history.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: If you haven't heard of Tim Tebow, he's the college quarterback/religious nut,

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I, Jesus Christ, am indeed the reason you've won your past six football games.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Uh, Tim, easy. Easy.


MACCALLUM: What do you think about that, coach?

KENNEDY: Yeah. You know, I always -- you know, Bronco is my team. I love that guy. And Tebow, he stood up for what he believed in, and that's exactly what I've told my players from day one that, you know, it doesn't matter what anybody else says. You just stand up from what is right.

MACCALLUM: What do you say for the guys that kneel on the side now and say that's what we're doing? We're standing up for what we believe in.

KENNEDY: And, you know, that's a great thing about America is everybody has difference of opinion. And, you know, being a marine, we fought to defend the right. And that's what I stand by, even today.

MACCALLUM: So you lost your job over this, and the president has said that these players should be fired, that the owners should let them go. Do you agree?

KENNEDY: Well, you know, I don't really pay a lot of attention to the politics of things. I just know that Trump has always supported me in my decision on what I did, so I greatly appreciate his support. And, yeah, that's about it.

MACCALLUM: So one last question for the lawyer. Do you think this will change -- does this change anything to you? Does it give you the opportunity to go back? Where is your legal fight stand here?

BERRY: Well, right now, we're hopeful that the ninth circuit will take this case en banc, which means in front of the full panel of eleven judges of the ninth circuit, and maybe they'll overrule this case. And if that doesn't happen, we could possibly go to the Supreme Court.

MACCALLUM: Thanks, you guys. We'll be watching. We'll be right back with more.


MACCALLUM: So tonight, we leave you with a quote from Hugh Hefner, who died today at the age of 91. The publisher of Playboy with the racy pajama-clad, thrice-married Hefner, who loved his role as what he called an eternal Peter Pan, and said that he was living out every boy's dream. Today, his brand of media looks a bit tame compared to what came after, and perhaps leaves some longing for the more innocent time of a monthly magazine rather than the barrage of hyper-sexuality that we see today. When asked by a reporter once for his favorite pick line, he said what worked best for him was, hi, I'm Hugh Hefner. We leave you tonight with this quote, in my wildest dreams I could not have imagined a sweeter life. So that's "The Story" for tonight. Send us yours @marthamaccallum on twitter. Have a great night. Tucker is up next, and then Hannity. So stick around. We'll see you tomorrow.


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