Gabbard: Current policy not hard enough on Islamic extremism

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 29, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  All right, now, you didn`t hear it from me, but there`s a caucus that`s going to go down on Monday in the state of Iowa, and we have got all the candidates out just crisscrossing the state.

You`re looking at a Hillary Clinton rally, then a Carly Fiorina rally and, in that order, Ted Cruz rounding it out.  So, it`s anyone`s call.  We`re told that up to half, maybe two-thirds of voters haven`t made up their mind, which is wild to me.  By now, you would think they would, but they haven`t.  So, we will see.

A big issue that could come up, besides the economy, as we mentioned at the outset of the show, and certainly if this congresswoman has her way, national security, ISIS, bad guys wanting to hit us over here and soon.  She was way ahead of the curve on this, the Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, the fine state of Hawaii.

What I love about the congresswoman when she`s on is, I always hear from Democrats who are ticked off at what she has to say and Republicans who are ticked off.

So, you -- you`re a mutual offender, I guess.



CAVUTO:  Are the candidates talking on either side enough about these issues to your liking?

REP. TULSI GABBARD, D-HAWAII:  No, they`re not, and they`re not being held accountable for their positions on these issues of national security, on these issues of how to defeat not just ISIS, but Al Qaeda, Jabhat al- Nusra, and a number of the other Islamic extremist groups that pose a threat to the American people and the United States today.

CAVUTO:  Well, they say that it`s the administration`s fault for not being more diligent.  Do you hear anything out of the Republican candidates that sounds more aggressive?

GABBARD:  I listened to some of the debate that we had just last night.  And I heard...

CAVUTO:  Just some of it?

GABBARD:  And I heard -- I had early wake-up.


GABBARD:  But I listened to the part relating to national security and foreign policy, and was disappointed to see that there was a lot of strong talk against ISIS, but the reality on the ground in Syria today is that, if ISIS is defeated, you have Al Qaeda-affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra that is poised to take over all of Syria and create this emirate or caliphate there that would be a hub for Al Qaeda.

CAVUTO:  In other words, another morphed terror group.  Right?

GABBARD:  Exactly.

CAVUTO:  And that`s always the...


GABBARD:  And that`s the key here, Neil, is that people talk about ISIS, but you`re not talking about the ideology, the radical Islamist ideology that is fueling ISIS, Al Qaeda, all Nusra and a whole variety of other ones.

CAVUTO:  Well, how do you stop that?  Ted Cruz says you bomb until the sand glows.

GABBARD:  Well, I want to say why I think that there`s not enough being focus put on these Islamic extremist groups with the current policy, which I think is important to recognize, and that is, because the current policy is the United States is working with so-called allies like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and other states to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad and are aiding and supporting directly many of these Islamic extremist groups in doing that.

So, how can you be...

CAVUTO:  But we never know who our friends are.  Right?  One group, we think is going to be a group we can work with.  We found out we can`t work with them.

GABBARD:  Well, we need to know who our enemy is.  We need to know who our enemy is in order to defeat them.

CAVUTO:  I don`t think we ever do, Congresswoman.  I remember the Arab uprising.  We just celebrated, I guess, the fifth anniversary of that.  We hooked up with the wrong folks.

GABBARD:  And that`s why it`s important for those who are seeking to be our commander in chief to exercise foresight, to have a military mind-set, to where they are making decisions that will impact our country, our men and women in uniform, how we expend our resources.

They better be looking ahead to see, what are the consequences to this decision?  How will this country or that country react to the action that we will take?  What will our response to that be and take that down the line, so that we don`t end up being in a position today where we`re repeating the same mistakes of the past, just like we`re seeing in Libya 2011.

The president, Secretary Clinton, Senator McCain, Senator Graham championed the overthrow of Gadhafi.  The result today is a failed Libyan state, ISIS, Al Qaeda and Islamic extremist groups poised to take over that country.

CAVUTO:  And merged.  Some of them are merging into one big...

GABBARD:  Exactly, which is why you can`t be attached to one specific group.

CAVUTO:  Well, what do you think of Hillary Clinton`s approach to this and her stewardship of the State Department?

GABBARD:  Well, I think it was a failed decision, like I said, by Secretary Clinton, the president, Secretary -- Senator McCain and others, and they need to acknowledge that that was a bad decision in Libya.

And it`s important for them to acknowledge this, because then hopefully they will acknowledge the fact that what is happening in Syria now is going to be a repeat of the exact same thing.  And if we acknowledge this now, if our leaders acknowledge this now, then we can stop our country from repeating that same mistake, which would, by the way, end up with a far more disastrous result if they`re successful in Syria.

CAVUTO:  But what if we`re too late?  Have you thought if we`re too late?  I raised this with Donald Rumsfeld, that maybe these groups, particularly ISIS, have morphed into these multicell, you know, tentacled units all over the world, whether we had the arrest of a guy who was sympathetic in Milwaukee, to this guy who was outside Disneyland Paris, that they`re everywhere now?

GABBARD:  Well, I will say this.

The longer we wait -- we have waited too long to take this threat seriously, to identify and understand and know our enemy and take action to defeat them.  We should have done it immediately after 9/11, when they attacked us here on our soil.

CAVUTO:  Right.

GABBARD:  But the longer we wait, the greater risk we are at of having to deploy American troops, of having to expend vast amounts of our American taxpayer dollars, our American lives to go and defeat...


CAVUTO:  But we never learn.  We never learn.

Real quick on Hillary Clinton, what do you think of her?  What do you think of how her race is going?

GABBARD:  Well, I think we have got an interesting race on the Democratic ticket.


CAVUTO:  You haven`t committed to her or Bernie Sanders?

GABBARD:  I`m a vice chair of the DNC, so I claim neutral territory.

CAVUTO:  But you were just very critical of her.

GABBARD:  Well, I would be critical similarly of any other candidates, and I have been of other candidates...

CAVUTO:  No, to be fair, you have gone after both sides.

GABBARD:  ... who espouse those policies.

CAVUTO:  But this e-mail stuff and stuff that was top secret, that might have been released, and now a bunch of e-mails that are too secretive to be released, does that concern you?

GABBARD:  I`m watching the investigation carefully to see how this thing goes through.

Generally, of course, there should not be secret, classified, top-secret information being put out into an open public server.  This is something...


CAVUTO:  So, when she says it wasn`t intentional, does that give any solace to you?

GABBARD:  I`m watching it carefully.  I want to see how this investigation works out and see what they uncover.

CAVUTO:  All right.

Congresswoman, great pleasure seeing you, Tulsi Gabbard.  We didn`t even get to talk about Adele.


GABBARD:  Adele.

CAVUTO:  Maybe next time, Congresswoman.

GABBARD:  Call Neil, Adele.

CAVUTO:  Call me up.  She`s not, she``s not.  But I`m sure I`m just missing the call.

Anne (ph) in the control room, has Adele called?


CAVUTO:  She`s not.  OK, fine.


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