Rep. King on lame duck Congress' agenda; Toys 'R' Us president on 2014 holiday shopping

This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," November 30, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARIA BARTIROMO, HOST: The fight before Christmas. Good morning, everyone. I'm Maria Bartiromo. Welcome to "Sunday Morning Futures."

The lame duck Congress returns from its Thanksgiving break tomorrow morning with just small windows to tackle some big issues before leaving on the next holiday. We will get a window into their priorities with Congressman Peter King, coming up.

Tomorrow, also, is Cyber Monday, but after so many stories this past year about predators overseas hacking into personal accounts, not to mention business accounts, how safe are consumers when shopping online?

Meanwhile, after anemic back-to-school sales this year, retailers are hoping we are in the mood to indulge this holiday season. The president of Toys "R" Us will join us live, as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."

A couple of items on the agenda when the lame duck Congress returns tomorrow, but they are big ones. Two House committees are holding hearings this week on the president's executive actions on immigration, the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and Homeland Security on Wednesday, this as lawmakers have another budget deadline looming, and of course last week's big announcement that may signal a big change in our defense strategy, the resignation of Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Congressman Peter King is a member of the Homeland Security Committee. He joins us now. He chairs the subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence.

Congressman, good to have you on the program. Thanks so much for joining us.

REP. PETER KING,R -N.Y.: Thank you, Maria. Thank you very much.

BARTIROMO: Let's take a look at tomorrow when business gets back to usual. When do you -- what do you want Congress to prioritize in terms of getting things done beginning tomorrow?

KING: Well, the main thing we have to do right now, between now and December 11th, is to make sure that we -- to me, this omnibus bill, which means get all the spending straightened out for the end of the fiscal year, which is next September 30th.

Right now, all authorization for spending expires on December 11th, and I don't think it's good for the Congress or it's good for the Republican Party or good for the people for us to be bogged down in an endless budget debate between now and the end of the year and then into next year with a Republican House and Republican Senate. I want us to have a clean slate so we can lay out our agenda and have real budget fights going into next year, but not to be having them now when it's done under the gun and the possible threat of a government shutdown and, again, just, you know, lurching from month to month.

We should wrap it up through September 30th, but then, as of January 1st, really start fighting it out over what our policies are and what the president's are.

BARTIROMO: It certainly makes sense. But -- so tell me, in terms of budgeting, what are your priorities? I mean, would you prioritize defense spending over something else?

Where did you see the priority?

KING: I believe, right now, that we have to do what we can to end or minimize the sequestration when it comes to the military. Because, again, when sequestration was put into place, everyone was -- at least the president was talking about troops coming out of Iraq, troops coming out of Afghanistan and terrorism being on the run.

Well, the fact is troops are back in Iraq. The president is talking about troops staying in Afghanistan for at least another year. At least that's what reports are. And then ISIS is such a -- as former Secretary Hagel had said, it's such a great, great threat to our country, a severe threat. We have to have increased military spending.

BARTIROMO: Yeah, for sure. All right, plenty to talk about with you this morning, Congressman. Stay with us. More with Peter King coming up.

But first let's look at that lame duck Congress, and will it live up to its name, or could we expect something prolific out of it ahead of the holidays? Fox News senior correspondent Eric Shawn on that angle.

Good morning to you, Eric.

SHAWN: Good morning, Maria. And good morning, everyone.

You know, it may be the holiday season, but they are gearing up for continued confrontation in Washington. As the House reconvenes tomorrow, the lame duck is biting back. From immigration to Obamacare, the knives are out on Capitol Hill as Congress goes back to work for eight days.


REP. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: If the president has the ability to announce "I'm not going to enforce federal immigration laws because I disagree with it," and the president has the same power to say "I'm not going to enforce tax laws or labor laws or environmental laws," that's dangerous. It's why we have a Constitution.



SEN. DICK DURBIN, D-ILL.: I hope and I believe that the Republicans on Capitol Hill learned a lesson when Senator Ted Cruz of Texas shut down the government over the Affordable Care Act. It was a political disaster which they should never repeat. What the president is doing is basically saying "I'm going to do what I can within my power to have accountability in immigration."


SHAWN: Well, Republicans are responding to the president's controversial immigration executive order by considering spending moves to try and curtail it. And again, the GOP will attack parts of Obamacare by targeting the employer mandate, hoping to delay that. And, you know, they've already filed their lawsuit against the president over his signature law.

And despite its narrow loss in the Senate, the Keystone Pipeline will likely be back, and with the Republicans soon in charge of both houses, that measure is expected to pass and head to the president's desk, where he will likely veto it.

And then there will be some more unpleasant reminders of his tenure.


LOIS LERNER, FORMER DIRECTOR, EXEMPT ORGANIZATIONS UNIT, INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE: On the advice of my counsel, I respectfully exercise my fifth amendment right and decline to answer that question.


SHAWN: The shocking discovery of 30,000 of former IRS official Lois Lerner's missing e-mails will breathe new life into the investigation of the agency's alleged political targeting of conservative groups. More hearings and what those e-mails could expose are expected.

And yet again in Washington, it seems, the more things change, the more they stay the same. And you can bet, if anything actually does get done, both sides will try to stop the other from getting any credit. Maria?

BARTIROMO: All right, Eric. Thanks very much, Eric Shawn.

We are back now with more from Congressman Peter King.

Congressman, let me ask you, once 2015 and the new Congress takes effect, what would you like to see in terms of the easy things to get done? We know that the Keystone Pipeline failed in the Senate. Will it become another issue come January?

KING: I think it will be relatively easy to pass it through the House and Senate now that they are under Republican control. And that will force it to the president's desk. So the easy part will be getting it through House and through the Senate.

As far as other issues, on ObamaCare, as to how we phase it back and ultimately lead to its repeal all together, that repeal is not going to happen overnight, but we can start attacking parts of it such as the individual mandate. That should be able to pass through the House and the Senate. And certainly the medical device tax -- I believe we can get that through the House and Senate to have that repealed.

And what this will do is this will force a dialogue with the president. And also, this will play into the whole spending debate, the whole budget debate. We will be able to get everything to the president's desk. And that is going to force him, I believe, to negotiate. And it's just going to change the whole power structure in Washington, and not just -- you know, the president just can't rely on Harry Reid to block things in the Senate.

We passed over 300 bills last year which just sat in the Senate. Now many of those types of bills will be passed by both houses and go to the president. And that's going to, I think, be a healthy debate for the country. It's not going to just be a partisan fight. I think, if we can actually get bills through, they go to his desk, then the president is going to be forced to negotiate, forced to debate it and not just have these hidden away.

So I think, actually, we can see some progress. As far as immigration, I think that's possible. But it was made much, much more difficult by the president issuing the executive order.

BARTIROMO: All right. Let me ask you this. Last week, of course, we learned that Chuck Hagel is stepping down as defense secretary. Is this basically telling us that the strategy against ISIS has failed?

KING: Yes. I was struck, over the last several months, the way Secretary Hagel was publicly disagreeing with the president as far as the policies toward ISIS and Syria, the way the president was still -- at a time when the president was still not acknowledging the real danger from ISIS, Secretary Hagel was saying it was perhaps the greatest threat our country has ever faced.

So, you know, the one real difference is -- so I think that, with Secretary Hagel gone, I'm not sure what it means other than there's a dissatisfaction between him and the president. Is the president going to change policies? What are his policies going to be? And that's going to evolve over the next several months.

That's why I think, you know, once we get to January and we start having the Senate confirmation hearings and Senator McCain as new chairman of the Armed Services Committee, it's going to be very interesting because it's not going to be just a confirmation hearing on a nominee, but it's going to be a whole discussion of policy and where we go forward.

And as you know, Senator McCain has had strong differences with the president. And quite frankly, I don't know what the president's policy is right now when it comes to ISIS and the Middle East.

BARTIROMO: And, clearly, Chuck Hagel had differences with the president as well, as you just mentioned. He was publicly disagreeing.

So do you think we could see a completely new strategy against ISIS come January and the new defense secretary in place, meaning perhaps boots on the ground?

KING: I believe that we have to ultimately have a number of boots on the ground, not so much in a combat role but as far as being embedded with the Iraqi army to coordinate strategy and tactics with the Kurds, also to have special operators on the ground to carry out missions which only special forces can do, and also to have spotters on the ground so we can make better use of the air attacks.

But there has to be a real discussion on what we're doing. I support a strong policy against ISIS. I also believe we have to be ready to move against Assad. And with the president, it's always one step forward and one step backward or one step to the side. We're going in, but we're not going to use ground troops; we're going to do this, but we're not going to do that. It's a very uncoordinated, a really floundering policy.

So hopefully, even though I thought Chuck Hagel did a good job as defense secretary, better than a lot of Republicans had thought he would when he was going through his confirmation hearings, it depends really on what the president wants his policy to be. I don't know if he's decided yet what it's going to be.

BARTIROMO: How do you want the GOP to respond to the president's executive action on immigration?

KING: I believe that we should not be talking about shutting the government down, but when January comes, we should use every opportunity we can to block initiatives or moves that the president wants to make, whether it involves confirmation of certain officials or whether it involves confirming judges, and we have to make it clear, not in a power play but to restore the balance of power and to restore the proper constitutional powers to the Congress and to tell the president this isn't a one-way street.

BARTIROMO: Congressman, good to have you on the program today. Thanks so much.

KING: Maria, thank you.

BARTIROMO: We'll see you soon.

Up next, the president of Toys "R" Us is with us. We'll see if he can help you and your budget stay on the "nice" list this year.

And I hope you'll follow me on Twitter -- @mariabartiromo is the handle; @sundayfutures, the handle for the program. Stay with us. Tell me what you would like to hear from the CEO of Toys "R" Us. He's next, as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."


BARTIROMO: We are officially into it, folks. The holiday shopping season is well under way. Retailers are hoping the spirit is upon you.

Hank Mullany is the president of Toys "R" Us, and he joins us right now.

Hank, good to see you.

HANK MULLANY, PRESIDENT, TOYS R US: Thanks for having me, Maria.

BARTIROMO: Thank you so much for joining us. Happy holiday to you.

MULLANY: Same to you. It's great to be here.

BARTIROMO: What can you tell us about the selling season so far and what you're expecting going into the big Christmas and December holidays?

MULLANY: Well, Maria, we've done a lot of consumer research this year to identify what consumers want, and what we're hearing that they want is "make it easy for me; make it a better shopping experience." So the team at Toys "R" Us has worked really hard to do that, both online and in store.

BARTIROMO: What kind of changes have you made?

MULLANY: In store, when people go into our store, they'll see improved navigational signage. Also, we've got a new position. When you walk into our store, you'll see a live GPS guru for play stuff. So that's an employee who is dedicated to helping you find the items that you're looking for fast.

Also, when you walk into our stores, Maria, you'll be able to scan your mobile device, download a store-specific map for that store, key in what you're looking for, and a pin will drop, literally, in the aisle that the item is located.

BARTIROMO: Oh, my God, that's - that's...


MULLANY: Very cool. You know, also, after you've got the hot item -- and we've got the hottest toys at Toys "R" Us -- people want to check out fast, so we've implemented new technology in our stores to get faster checkout. We also have an express lane for two items or less. You can get out fast.

If you've got a big shopping cart, and we hope to see a lot of those, we'll have team members going around pre-scanning before you get to checkout so that, by the time you get there, you're ready to go and can get out fast.

BARTIROMO: We -- we spoke with the CEO of Macy's on the show last weekend, and basically he said consumers know exactly what they want and what price they're going to spend even before they walk in the store because they're using online initiatives and they're going e-commerce to find out how much it costs.

MULLANY: Yes. Yes. So we're seeing that in our business also. Our dot-com business is a growing part of our business. The other thing that we're seeing, Maria, is people are shopping more via mobile devices. So we've made a lot of enhancements to our mobile site this year, faster, easier navigation and also faster checkout.

BARTIROMO: Love it. OK, so are there hot items this year that people are gravitating toward? I know you brought some toys.

MULLANY: There are. We have got a couple hot items. This is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Leonardo.

BARTIROMO: That is cute. That is very cute.

MULLANY: He's my favorite hero in the half shell.



MULLANY: He stands up to eight inches. All the great turtle phrases.

BARTIROMO: I love it.

MULLANY: So that is an awesome item.

BARTIROMO: I love him. Yeah.

MULLANY: This is a Toys "R" Us exclusive, Charmazing.

BARTIROMO: Bracelets.

MULLANY: Bracelets -- there are about 100 different charms that you can get. They're stackable; they're expandable. Also, there's a free app that you can download...

BARTIROMO: That's -- that's cool.

MULLANY: ... so that the fashionistas can compare what they've got versus their friends and compare the items.

BARTIROMO: So little girls like this?

MULLANY: Absolutely.

BARTIROMO: What -- what does this retail for and how much is that guy?

MULLANY: This guy is about $24.99, and this is a very hot item for us also.

But I've got another one. This is...

BARTIROMO: "Frozen."

MULLANY: So we've got...

BARTIROMO: Singing and talking...

MULLANY: ... singing and talking...

BARTIROMO: ... Elsa and Anna.

MULLANY: ... Elsa and Anna.


MULLANY: You can hear it talk a little bit. And it has some great phrases. This is a hot item. And this is also an exclusive at Toys "R" Us. So we've got some fantastic items.

BARTIROMO: I love that. Yep.

Tomorrow is Cyber Monday. And all we've heard about all year long is all of these hack attacks. What do people need to understand about Cyber Monday and swiping their credit card so that they don't get hacked?

MULLANY: The key thing is, in certain establishments, you can swipe your card to check out yourself. Sometimes those can be tapped into so that information can be stolen, so just be careful where you're swiping your card. As long as you're with a, you know, a large retailer, you should be safe.

BARTIROMO: Even gas stations, you swipe your card.

MULLANY: Exactly right. And so that's an area you need to be careful of also.

But we've invested a lot in terms of cybersecurity at Toys "R" Us, worked with third parties to make sure that our sites are safe for our consumers.

BARTIROMO: All right. We'll be watching all of the developments ahead of the holidays. Happy holiday to you. Hank Mullany, good to have you on the program.

MULLANY: Thanks for having me, Maria.

BARTIROMO: Thank you so much.

MULLANY: Have a great holiday.

BARTIROMO: Hank Mullany is the president of Toys "R" Us. We'll see you soon, sir.

Well, with the coming new year, new leadership in Washington. Will there be a new tone among business leaders? A leading investor on what it will all mean for the bottom line, as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures." Sam Zell, coming up next.


BARTIROMO: A new day in Washington after the midterm elections and the now GOP-controlled Senate beginning with the new Congress in January.

Joining me right now with the impact on business and the economy is Sam Zell. He's the founder and chairman of Equity Group Investments, which was the genesis for three of the largest public real estate companies in history.

Sam, it's great to have you on the program. Thank you so much for joining us.


BARTIROMO: Given your stance across the world in terms of investments, let me get your take first on the economy today and what you're seeing out there.

How would you characterize things? ZELL: I would say that it's bifurcated. I think that the very top has done very well by virtue of quantitative easing and the steps that the Fed has taken to save the system but I think the 90 percent that didn't benefit from that, they have seen their wages go down and I think that we saw in the election last week that there's a lot of discomfort and a lot of lack of trust.

BARTIROMO: Will the president be able to work with the Republican controlled Congress to actually move the needle on jobs?

ZELL: Isn't the question whether the president wants to work with anybody to create anything?

Isn't that really the core question?

BARTIROMO: I guess so.

ZELL: Nobody knows. Based on the way he's operating on this immigration issue, he's back to my way or the highway. That doesn't look very positive for the next two years.

BARTIROMO: Let's talk about that.

What's the impact of this immigration executive order?

ZELL: I've been a very strong advocate of immigration reform. I think the country is made up of immigrants and that's why it's so strong.

I think we've had a poor policy in the past. I would love to see it fixed. Unilateral action is not the solution to fixing anything. And I hope that the president reconsiders because otherwise I think that unilateral action at this moment is likely to be the equivalent as somebody quoted of running a red flag in front of a bull.

BARTIROMO: Why we are pushing it through in a hurried fashion now knowing the new Congress is coming in next month is also questionable.

ZELL: Well, I think that obviously he feels he has more support in the outgoing losers than he would in the incoming winners.

BARTIROMO: What do you think can get done?

Let's talk tax reform for example.

As a businessman -- and you are investing so much in the American economy as well as around the world, what do you want to see tax reform look like?

ZELL: I want to see tax reform be rational. To me this whole inversion business is just like the Volstead Act.

If you have a piece of legislation that doesn't work, everybody will do everything they can to get around it. We shouldn't have laws that encourage everybody to focus their efforts on getting around it. We need clarity and we need simplicity and we need to stop using the tax code as a policy wonk's weapon.

BARTIROMO: The devil is in details. The president said he would like to see corporate taxes go lower. But he doesn't want to move on individual taxes but of course then we know that small business then will be faced with higher taxes while large businesses will get their taxes cut.

ZELL: There's very little doubt that this president has done more damage to small business in this country than any president I can ever think of.

BARTIROMO: We haven't seen small business, the vibrancy you would expect. They are the job creators and yet --

ZELL: Maybe. They were the job creators. But all of a sudden when you have things like ObamaCare and the number of people and what happens and that affects small business much more dramatically than big business.

BARTIROMO: That's what we continue to hear. The expense of ObamaCare has been crippling.


ZELL: -- expense and it's just a constant -- you spend all of your time on your resources, not enough time on selling your product.

BARTIROMO: The Republicans now have two years to try to articulate what they are going to do to the American people going into 2016.

Do you think there's a candidate on the Republican side for 2016 to go up against, I don't know, Hillary?

ZELL: I think there will be. I think that -- I'm not -- I don't know whether Hillary is going to run or not. If she doesn't run, it will be a very different kind of an election. But I wouldn't make any assumptions that she's the automatic winner or that she's the automatic candidate.

BARTIROMO: You think maybe she won't run and if she does run, she may not -- it's not a slam dunk that she wins?

ZELL: Not in my opinion.

BARTIROMO: I have got to ask you what you think about this market as it trades near record highs.

ZELL: Well, I think that the stock market does not necessarily reflect what's going on in the economy. And that to some extent there's nowhere else which is one of the justifications for its high price. I think that there are very -- elements of the market that are much higher than others. And therefore much more likely to deal with adjustments in the future.

BARTIROMO: You told me that you can make an argument that holding cash is better than investing in a stock market that's overvalued.

ZELL: There's no question that's the case even though you get no return on cash.

BARTIROMO: As you look at the economy today, an economy that's bumping along the bottom and not much growth, where is the growth? Where are you investing today?

ZELL: I think in the United States we continue to look for special opportunities. You know, earlier this year we bought a refinery in Hawaii that nobody else wanted where we think we're going to make some real serious progress and the price reflected it.

And so there's a case where we've created this company, Par Petroleum (ph) and I don't know, maybe it will work. I think it will. But as opposed to having a broad thesis of investment, I think it's very much transaction by transaction.

BARTIROMO: One of those transactions that a lot of people are talking about, you being one of the bidders for Albertson's.

What's so attractive about the Albertson's stores?

ZELL: Well, obviously like every deal, it starts with the price. And in this particular case, this is a $9 billion or a $10 billion merger of Safeways and Albertson's and this is about 140 stores that they were forced to divest. So their focus is then getting the big deal done, which creates a more opportunistic environment on taking care of the (INAUDIBLE).

We have a lot of confidence in the supermarket business. We've been in it before very successfully. And we think this is an interesting opportunity and a good deployment of capital. But it's a one-off situation like most everything else that we're currently doing as opposed to following a theme, because I don't think there are consistent themes in the economy today.

BARTIROMO: You are looking for the areas where you have an edge and obviously you have the edge there. Sam, it's great having you on the program today.

ZELL: My pleasure.

BARTIROMO: Thank you for so much for joining us. Sam Zell, founder, chairman, Equity Group Investments.

Up next, they don't call it lame duck for nothing. The 2014 Congress has just days left to leave its mark.

Will it leave a bad taste before the GOP majority takes over? Our panel begins right there as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."



SHAWN: From America's news headquarters, I'm Eric Shawn.

Less than one week after a grand jury did not indict Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer has resigned. Wilson has been on administrative leave since the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, which sparked all those protests.

The grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson sparked protests in several other cities besides Ferguson as well. Wilson saying, quote, "It is my hope that my resignation will allow the community to heal."

And the research firm ShopperTrak today says Black Friday sales were down half a percent from last year but we still spent $12.29 billion at the stores. That does not include online shopping on Friday.

I'll be back at noon Eastern with more news along with Heather Childress her on the FOX News channel and then the doctors will be in, Drs. Siegel and Samadi join us as always for "House Call" at 12:30 Eastern. I'm Eric Shawn. Now back to "Sunday Morning Futures" and Maria.

BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

The lame duck Congress returns tomorrow with a big change at the Pentagon looming after last week's announcement that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is resigning. We bring in our panel right now.

Ed Rollins is former principal White House adviser to President Reagan. He has been a long-time strategist to business and political leaders and he is a Fox News political analyst.

Ed, you have been a longtime strategist and you are a Fox News political analyst.

Judith Miller is adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. She is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist and a FoxNews contributor.

And Michael Crofton is president and CEO of the Philadelphia Trust Company.

Good to see everybody. Thank you so much for joining us.

Big news last week when we learned that Chuck Hagel is stepping down.

What are your observations, Ed?

ED ROLLINS, POLITICAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: He never quite connected with the president the way that Gates did. I think obviously there's a lot of debate that's gone on beyond that.

I think the critical thing here for the president is he has two of his most important Cabinet members, Holder's and Hagel's replacements, two of the most controversial agencies will be front and center for confirmation hearings and a lot of his failures have been in those two areas and certainly they'll be exposed by the Congress.

BARTIROMO: I think all that has been written this past week about this brings up the idea that this resignation is a sure-fire indication that the strategy against ISIS has failed.

ROLLINS: Well, it has failed. There's no question it's failed. I think any serious military person in the Pentagon will tell you that and will mean it, and will tell you that the president's premise of not putting troops on the ground is going to be a bigger failure.

JUDITH MILLER, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: Actually, that's exactly when Chuck Hagel's problems began. It was last August when he challenged the inner circle's assertion that ISIS was just the JV team.

He said, no, in fact, it's a serious threat to our interests. It's worse than anything we've seen. The White House staff shot back with, that's not helpful, and things have been going downhill ever since then.

BARTIROMO: Yes. That's a good point. He was pretty vocal about that. People were surprised that he went completely against what the president said, calling him them the Junior Varsity.

MILLER: Exactly, off the reservation.

MICHAEL CROFTON, PRESIDENT AND CEO, THE PHILADELPHIA TRUST COMPANY:  And the arguments continued. So the president and Hagel have parted ways and I don't think the president is going to do anything by putting boots on the ground. He's signaling that's not something that's in his agenda and that's going to be a real problem.

BARTIROMO: Well, of course, John McCain overseeing the nomination process for the incoming Defense secretary. Will that mean a change of strategy, including boots on the ground?

ROLLINS: Well, I think they have to eventually put boots on the ground. I think our allies are not going to commit as aggressively as they would. They think America has to lead this battle we started and we have to finish it and we're not going to finish it unless we put troops on the ground.

BARTIROMO: Real quick on immigration, the executive action that we saw from the president has created all sorts of debate.

Is there an economic impact to that executive order, Mike?

CROFTON: I think for California certainly there will be an economic impact; 25 percent of illegal immigrants are in California. I'm just not sure how many immigrants are going to sign up and how many will come forward and identify themselves. I think very few. But the jury is out on that. So I don't think there will be a major impact on the economy or the market.


MILLER: Well, I think that in 2012, when this act was extended, only half of the people who are eligible to register and receive this preferential treatment did so. So I tend to agree that we don't know what's going to happen.

What I do know is that the figure I used, thanks to Ed Rollins -- I know it's not a correct figure because the figure we used that this is just what George Bush did, this was given four Pinocchios in "The Washington Post." Every newspaper organization ran with it. But it's not true.  There are big differences between what the president did and what George Bush did.

BARTIROMO: All right. It's a great point.

ROLLINS: The critical thing here is just as in the '86 bill, a lot of people have lived under the cover for a long, long time and they're not sure signing up for a two-year not getting deported is a good step because in many cases they have lied about saying they're legal to be here and they basically could lose their jobs or could lose their status.

BARTIROMO: Why are they going to come out of the shadows now?

And by the way --

ROLLINS: And especially 6 million are not getting out of the shadow.  The other half of the people that are not covered by this.

BARTIROMO: And take half of the money that they've been getting and pay taxes.

All right. I want to talk about lame duck Congress and really what can get done in the coming few weeks.

But let's do that after this. We want to get a look at what's coming up on "MediaBuzz" and check in with Howie Kurtz at the top of the hour.

Howie, good afternoon to you.


Well, we'll look at the situation and the coverage of Ferguson. Bill Hemmer weighs in on whether people are just tired of all the stories about beltway gridlock and dysfunction and I'll sit down with the ladies of "Outnumbered." And they're going to school me about such terms as sexism and feminism and how they are used and abused in media culture.

BARTIROMO: I like it.

All right. You're going to be outnumbered. Thank you so much.

KURTZ: Totally.

BARTIROMO: See you in about 20 minutes, Howie.

Just 708 shopping days until the next presidential election.

Have you picked a candidate yet? Our panel helps us get our money's worth as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures." Back in a moment.



BARTIROMO: Welcome back. We're looking ahead to 2016. Our panel is back -- Ed Rollins, Judy Miller, Mike Crofton.

Of course once next week begins and 2015 gets underway, it's going to be all about 2016.

How do you think the playing field looks, Ed?

ROLLINS: Well, on our side -- the other side is Hillary. And if she doesn't run then obviously there's nobody else. You got Kerry and Biden, some old names that may come forward but no new names.

On our side, we've got an abundance of governors, topnotch governors from big states and blue states in some cases.

Can they raise the money and put a national organization -- we have old governors, Bush, Huckabee and Perry who are going to run and we have new governors, present governors who just won reelection like Kasich and some others. I think a governor will be our nominee.

MILLER: I'm not sure because I don't cover politics for a living yet.  I must say that I think the Republicans risk a replay of the debacle of the last time where everybody was so tired of these candidates before we finally got a nominee and the nominee was so wounded. I know Republicans don't want that to happen but with the field so large, I don't see how it doesn't.

BARTIROMO: I think that's a really good point.

ROLLINS: It's a very good point. You can't force them out. The problem is they are all major players and they have their own supports.  Every single governor has 20 people around saying you're as good as anybody else. Run, run, run.

They have shortened the season. The problem is it's going to be a very short, compressed season. There's four states going quickly, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina and then after that for the next two weeks any state that wants proportional can get in and then after that March 15th it becomes winner take all.

My sense is most of the big states will wait until winner take all.  They reset their dates. Dates aren't set yet and it all has to be over by June because our convention is early this time.

BARTIROMO: So you think it will be a governor?

ROLLINS:  I think it will be a governor.

CROFTON: I agree. I think it will definitely be a governor. I wouldn't count out Mike Pence of Indiana. He is a very attractive candidate this point in time. He has a lot of people who are kicking tires on him.

MILLER: And he basically ties -- he can tap into evangelicals.

CROFTON: Absolutely.

MILLER: And he happens to be good on the First Amendment. I know because when I had my troubles defending the First Amendment and went to jail to protect my sources, Mike Pence was one of the few conservatives who spoke up for me.

BARTIROMO: Wow. That's good to know.

The economy obviously was the leading issue for voters going into the midterms.

Do you think that will be the case for 2016 as well, Mike?

CROFTON: I absolutely think the economy is front and center with the Fed backing off on quantitative easing it's now up to the economy to carry this market to the next level and whether or not the economy can do it, the jury is still out. You'll need to see GDP growth at 3 percent or better.

If you don't, the economy is going to -- the market will stall and the economy with it. Also you have got to watch oil prices very carefully.  Oil prices are basically a tax cut for the average American.

However, such a large portion of our economic growth in the last couple of years has come from the energy sector, particularly fracking, that if oil prices drop to below $70 a barrel and they begin to close down some of that fracking, it could hurt the economy in a very serious way.

BARTIROMO: Which of course, the XL Pipeline is so important as well.

ROLLINS: Historically defense policy and foreign policy are not major issues in presidential campaigns. I think in two years we'll still be in the Middle East the same way we are and I think it will be very much front and center.

BARTIROMO: So you think those will be the issues --

ROLLINS: They will be very big issues, I think.

BARTIROMO: Very interesting. All right. Stay with us. We'll continue with our panel. It's the most important time of the year for a lot of businesses. How the U.S. economy is shaping up as we wind down 2014 and look ahead to a new year on "Sunday Morning Futures." We're back in a moment.



BARTIROMO: Well, welcome back.

And we bring back our panel, Ed Rollins, Judy Miller, Mike Crofton.

We were talking about the economy. And, you know, while the numbers seem to be improving, we get the jobs number, actually, for the employment situation for the month of November next Friday, this upcoming Friday, people are not feeling it. I mean there's still a sense of things are moving slow, people are worried about jobs and their wages have gone down over the last five years.

ROLLINS: The ordinary person who is middle class or lower middle class does not feel this economy is good for them. They think it's great for the millionaires and billionaires on Wall Street, but there's a great differential between their lifestyle. And they don't see any hope that it's going to get any better in the short-term.

BARTIROMO: Yes, what do you think, Mike?

CROFTON: I think the problem is that unemployment is a lot more serious than the numbers are leading us to believe, because there are a number of -- a huge number of people who have stopped looking for work and basically there's even a larger number of people who aren't qualified to work in the modern age.

The modern age is an age that's dominated by technology and there is a certain percentage of the population that can't adapt to even the most basic technological requirements of the job market.

So that is going to be with us for a very long time.

So if the Fed -- and the Federal Reserve and the Treasury looking at employment numbers, they're going to have to start factoring in a much higher number of unemployed, because those people are going to have a great deal of difficulty adapting to the new market.

BARTIROMO: Yes, you're right, because people are looking at machines, talking to machines.


BARTIROMO: They don't know where that leads...

CROFTON: Yes, even, for instance...


CROFTON: -- for instance, the trash collection in my town, the trash truck comes up, they put the cans on the back of the truck and the guy taps into a computer what he just did.


There's -- there's a whole list of jobs that people say are going away, from, you know, real estate agents...


BARTIROMO: -- to people who, you know, basically restock shelves.


BARTIROMO: That can be done in an automated way.


BARTIROMO: I think you bring up a great point.

Judy, what's your take in terms of that issue being front and center as people talk about 2016?

I mean it's not a shoe-in that Hillary will run, right?

MILLER: That's precisely what I'm worried about in terms of our -- our conventional wisdom that she's got the nomination if she wants it. I'm not sure Elizabeth Warren thinks that, because she's in Israel. She's been in Israel making that pilgrimage to Jerusalem that all presidential wannabes have to make.

Hillary is vulnerable as being insensitive to those issues. Her background is in national security. She was secretary of State. She doesn't resonate -- she doesn't have an economic message for the American voter that has resonated that we've heard yet.

ROLLINS: I'm not a Hillary promoter, but Elizabeth Warren is not going to basically fill the gap that -- that millions and millions of American women want for the first woman president, including my daughter, who's 19 years old.

So at the end of the day, Elizabeth Warren may be a candidate of the future, but she's not a candidate this time.



BARTIROMO: -- I think that Republicans would like to see her run.

ROLLINS: We would love to...


ROLLINS: -- we do real well against Massachusetts liberals. So -- but, of course, they do, too.

But at the other -- the other side of this is there's nobody else. So you're either going to have a bidden or you're going to have a Kerry or someone like that that has the political organizations to go out and try and be the nominee. And neither of them are viable candidates (INAUDIBLE).

BARTIROMO: So you think it's Hillary by default?

ROLLINS: I think it's Hillary by pressure. And I think the reality is that unless there's a health issue -- I mean she can't just say I want to spend more time with my grandchild. I think to some...

BARTIROMO: She'll have to give a real reason.


ROLLINS: She'll have to give a real reason.

CROFTON: An attack from the left could hurt Hillary, particularly if someone like Jim Webb runs, and he's going to come from the centrist populist point. He'll carve off some votes there.

Elizabeth Warren marches in from the left. It could be like 1972, when Muskie was the frontrunner and the -- the presumed winner. McGovern beats Muskie from the left and then McGovern goes on to lose 49 states to Nixon.

ROLLINS: The rules have changed dramatically since 1972. And so my - - my sense is that if Hillary wants this nomination, she has the total support of her former colleagues in the Senate and the total support of the establishment of the Democratic Party. So it would be really hard for anybody else to break in there on that.

MILLER: And buyers' regret. I mean those who deserted Hillary the last time around may look at Barack Obama and say, boy, did we make a mistake.

BARTIROMO: You're right. That's absolutely right.

I mean let's talk real quick about the lame duck Congress.

What can get done in the next couple of weeks?

ROLLINS: Nothing. I think...

BARTIROMO: Nothing gets done...

ROLLINS: I don't think...


BARTIROMO: -- in the month of December?

MILLER: Nothing?

ROLLINS: I think -- I think the only thing that they could have done was basically some of these tariffs that are expiring. They should have done something on that.

But I -- I don't think they're going to have a continuing resolution on the budget. I think there's too many issues out there that they're fighting over. And I think the Republicans are now, after this -- after the president's executive order, are saying thank you very much, we're not going to work until we have a majority.


Even though we do have deadlines in terms of -- in terms of budget and spending issues.

ROLLINS: They've been violated for a long time, though, unfortunately.

BARTIROMO: All right, we'll take a short break.

Then the -- the one thing that's most important in the week ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."

We'll get that from our panel.

Stay with us.


BARTIROMO: And we are back with our panel.

What is the one big thing to watch in the upcoming week?

Mike Croft, tell us your one thing.

CROFTON: You've got to keep your eye on Germany to see if they accept Mario Draghi's attempts at reflating Europe. If they don't, then the European experiment with pooled sovereignty is in trouble.

BARTIROMO: Well, I -- I mean what about all the capital expenditures, IT spending expected to pick up this year?

A lot of uncertainty about things like...

CROFTON: All -- all of that...

BARTIROMO: -- the tax (INAUDIBLE)...

CROFTON: -- was postponed because of the regulatory environment.  Most corporations don't know what regulatory environment they're going to have to work with. The regulators that are dealing with them don't know what the regulations are going to be themselves.

So what they did is they took all of that money and they bought back stock. And they reduced their share count, which is going to make the returns that much more significant when this economy really does pick up some steam.

BARTIROMO: No wonder the stock market continues an all-time high.

CROFTON: No question. No question.

BARTIROMO: Judy, what's your one thing?

MILLER: I'm still focused on Iran and what the Republicans are going to do in response to the decision to kind of delay and give us seven more months of negotiating. You know, there is a term in Farsi called shanazani (ph), and I'm probably mangling that because I'm -- I don't speak Farsi, but...

BARTIROMO: Shanazani.

MILLER: -- it means bargaining and the Iranians are great at it. And de -- delaying and delaying.

How are the Republicans going to respond?

ROLLINS: Well that...

MILLER: Can they put together a coherent message?

ROLLINS: They're going to treat it like it's a bigger turkey than anybody ate last week for Thanksgiving and...


ROLLINS: -- and the president and Kerry want this so bad, they can taste it.

I'm going to watch very closely my old friend, the grumpy old man who's been on TV for the last five years, John McCain, who now is going to have one of the most significant roles in two fronts, one, the Armed Services chairman, the Senate. He's going to set policy for the Republican Party and maybe for the country. And equally as important, on immigration, where he's always been front and center.

BARTIROMO: And, of course, he's going to oversee the nomination of the incoming Defense secretary...

ROLLINS: Absolutely.

BARTIROMO: And I'm sure a lot of people are talking about a woman taking that role.

ROLLINS: It could be great. I think there are many qualified women that could.

BARTIROMO: We'll see.

Ed Rollins, Judy Miller, Mike Crofton, thank you so much for joining us.

MILLER: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: That will do it for us today on "Sunday Morning Futures."

Thank you so much for being here.

I'm Maria Bartiromo.

I'll be back tomorrow morning on "Opening Bell," 9:00 a.m. Eastern, on the Fox Business News.

Take a look at what you can find, Fox Business News on your cable network or your satellite provider. Or you can click on channel finder at

Have a great Sunday, everybody.

"MediaBuzz" with Howie Kurtz begins right now.

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