Rick Perry: Ted Cruz is best to beat Hillary Clinton

This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," March 27, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  Good morning.  Happy Easter, everyone. Texas Senator Ted Cruz gaining momentum in the race for the White House.

Hi, everyone.  I'm Maria Bartiromo.  Welcome to "Sunday Morning Futures."

This coming as Cruz picks up more endorsements from former presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush.  The latest FOX News poll shows that Donald Trump still has a lead with 41 percent of the vote, but look at where Ted Cruz is coming in second with now 38 percent of the vote.  That's within the margin of error.  Ohio Governor John Kasich finishing third with 17 percent.

Joining me right now, Cruz supporter, former presidential candidate himself and former governor of Texas, Rick Perry.  Governor, good to see you.  Thanks so much for joining us.

RICK PERRY, R-FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Happy Easter.  Good to be with you.

BARTIROMO:  Thank you so much.  And to you and family.

What's your take on this?  It looks like things are really getting tight here with these most recent endorsements for Ted Cruz?

PERRY:  I think so.  And that's what everyone expected to occur, was when it got down to a two-man race, which obviously it is and everyone recognizes it as a two-person race that Senator Cruz was going to do really well, and I think probably take the lead at some point in time, which takes us to this issue of a contested primary, if that is -- or not a contested primary but a contested convention, if that is where it goes.

Not on like a runoff election, if you will.  So we started out with 17, and it's winnowed down now to two-person race.  And if nobody gets to 1,237, you can expect a contested contest at there at convention.  At that particular point in time, I think there will be a lot of people comfortable that Ted Cruz, the consistent constitutionalist, if you will, the consistent conservative, the best person for us to put forward to beat Hillary Clinton.

BARTIROMO:  Well, you know, it's interesting, because I don't think this is where the GOP thought that they would be.  I mean, this whole idea, you said contested primary actually by mistake, but that's actually what it's been -- contested primary season as well, right?  Now, all of a sudden, the GOP --

PERRY:  Yes, oh, has it ever?

BARTIROMO:  Yes, the GOP is rallying behind Ted Cruz.  But in some cases, reluctantly so, right?

PERRY:  Well, I think no one saw this coming.  You know, a year ago, I thought it was going to be Jeb Bush and myself to, you know, two successful governors laying out their vision for America and bumping their records up for each other.  But that's not what the electorate wanted.  The electorate wants an insider, someone who will really shake Washington, D.C. up.

And I think what they're getting comfortable with is the person who best is capable of doing that, that is the most consistent in their ability to shake Washington up, if you will, is Ted Cruz.  He's done what he said he would do.  Go to Washington, D.C.  He would do everything he could to overturn Obamacare, to take care of our veterans.  And people are getting very comfortable that that truly is the individual.  They like what they're hearing Donald Trump say, but they're not sure that this guy is going to be consistent when it comes to actually governing.

BARTIROMO:  Yes, and actually governing with solutions.  I mean, we saw once again more terrorists this week obviously create havoc.  And now, national security is once again the top issue for voters.  And they want to feel like they have a leader in place that has a plan to take down ISIS.

PERRY:  Yes, and not just -- you know, not just throwing up some words that sound good.  Like let's build a wall and it's going to be a big wall and it's going to be ten feet higher just because you said that and we're going to make Mexico pay for it.  All kind of interesting rhetoric, but Senator Cruz has been the one that's actually laid out clearly the way that you secure the border with technology, with boots on the ground, with the type of effort that really we know will work.


PERRY:  We haven't heard Mr. Trump be that specific.  And I think now after people are kind of getting past the rhetoric and all the rah-rah stuff and they're looking at the clear plans to get things done, they're settling that Ted Cruz is actually the person that is going to do what he says he's going to do, and has the consistency and the conservative message to win -- not only in the primary process, but also the general election.

BARTIROMO:  Yes.  Well, you do have to give Donald Trump credit for bringing up this issue in such an aggressive way, though.  I mean, I had an interview with him back in January, Governor.  I think it was the end of January 2016, and he said unsolicited that Brussels was falling apart.  And that it was so radicalized.

And then the next day, The New York Times writes a story and they say Donald Trump chose a new city to insult, Brussels.  And yet, look where we are.  And look what just happened in Brussels.

PERRY:  Listen, Donald Trump has got good instincts.  There's not any doubt about that.  But, you know, we can't govern with just instincts alone.  We have to have a plan.

And when we hear him being pressed about -- well, tell us what your plan truly is, that's when it gets a little bit into the gray area.  I think where Americans are starting to get uncomfortable now, that the guy's got good instincts.  He's great TV, but when it comes to really laying out with definitive plans and who is consistent -- when you look back at Ted Cruz, this is a consistent conservative, day in and day out.


PERRY:  I think Americans so want consistency in their government.  They're tired of people talking one thing and doing something else.

BARTIROMO:  Yes, we're going to talk with senator Cruz coming up in the program.  I wanted to get into his tax plan, because when it comes to the economy, he also has solid positions in terms of tax reform, as well as rolling back regulations.

PERRY:  Yes.  When you talk about doing away with the IRS and being able to file your taxes on a single postcard, that -- not only does that resonate with Americans, it is where we need to go as a country to free this country up economically, and I will suggest to you that he has a plan that will work really well.

BARTIROMO:  Yes.  Let me ask you about getting the necessary 1,237 delegates.  I mean, obviously, Donald Trump is still in the lead in that regard, but, you know, Ted Cruz seems to believe that he could actually get to 1,237 before the convention in July.

But, Governor, I mean, doesn't that mean he's going to have to -- you know, he's going to have to run the table, or he's going to have to win every single contest from here on in.

PERRY:  Well, certainly, that's his intention.  And nobody said this is going to be easy at this point in time.  But there still is an avenue for Senator Cruz to get to the 1,237 before the convention.  It's not going to be easy and there's no use trying to sit here and tell people that it is. I don't think he'll tell you that it's going to be easy.

It is doable, and you can bet he's going to be working -- listen, Wisconsin is going to be really important.  And with Paul Ryan and Scott Walker do matters in Wisconsin and having those two guys weigh in for Senator Cruz could be monumental.

BARTIROMO:  Yes.  I mean, I know that these endorsements most recently have really helped Ted Cruz, but, you know, you've got a fair amount of endorsements on the Trump side as well.  I mean, you look at Jeff Sessions is on his team.  Steven Miller, who he had on this program this week, is very articulate about the immigration issue.

PERRY:  Yes.

BARTIROMO:  Of course, Chris Christie.

PERRY:  But when it's your home state governor -- when it's your home state governor, you think about Governor Abbott and myself, and obviously, Senator Cruz is from Texas, and he's got his own operation there.  But when the home state governor and when the speaker of the house, that could be really, really important.  I hope both of those will give great consideration to Senator Cruz, because I know they can work with him at the end of the day.

BARTIROMO:  Yes, that's powerful stuff.  You're right.

And what about -- let's talk delegates at the moment because the delegates that are up for grabs, they're not necessarily Trump delegates, they're not necessarily Cruz delegates.  They're GOP delegates.  They can go anyway.

PERRY:  You're absolutely correct.  When you look at the way the convention is set up and the process of winnowing down to a nominee, after that first ballot, people are going to come and they're going to be committed because their state is committed to Donald Trump.  He won that state.  Therefore, they were committed to him.

On the second ballot, they're freed up.  They can go wherever they want.  I'll suggest to you, those are going to be what I refer to as real Republicans.  They're activist Republicans.  They're people who know what that Republican platform, by and large talks about their solidly in the pro-life, pro-traditional family economic world that you find most Republicans.

And what you've seen in a lot of states is that, you know, to Donald Trump's credit, he's brought a lot of people in that aren't Republicans that are basically, you know, they'll admit they're Democrats, but they kind of are intrigued by him or what-have-you.  But philosophically, they are not in that limited government conservative camp.


PERRY:  When that convention occurs, that's the people that you will see voting.  That's the reason I think Ted Cruz in a contested convention is going to do very well.

BARTIROMO:  Governor, good to see you.  Thank you so much for joining us.

PERRY:  Thank you, Maria.  Absolutely.  Have a happy holiday.

BARTIROMO:  We appreciate it and we will see you soon.Governor Rick Perry there.

And there are some more surprises to come in the months ahead.  We will talk about that with House Speaker Newt Gingrich coming up next.

I hope you'll follow me on Twitter @mariabartiromo, @sundayfutures.  Let us know what you'd like to hear from our guests this morning. Stay with us as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."


BARTIROMO:  It wasn't what the GOP was planning, that's for sure, but now with three candidates left in this race, some key members of this party like Lindsey Graham and Jeb Bush are backing Ted Cruz for president, in an effort to prevent Donald Trump from getting the nomination.

So, how will this play out as we move toward the convention in July?

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is a FOX News contributor, joins me right now.

Mr. Speaker, good to see you.


And I think it's an extraordinary moment which nobody could have predicted six or eight months ago.  So, it's a little dangerous to predict now, because the truth is none of us knew that you'd have Donald Trump as the frontrunner.  Nobody would have dreamed you'd have Ted Cruz as the savior of the establishment.  It's pretty remarkable.

BARTIROMO:  It really is.

And when you look at these most recent FOX News polls, you can see that actually, it is a lot tighter than I think certainly Donald Trump would have thought.  We're looking at a neck and neck race here, according to these latest polls between Cruz and Trump.

GINGRICH:  Well, the Cruz theory all along had been that if other people got out, that in a one-on-one race, the anti-Trump vote was larger than the pro-Trump vote.  The first real test of that I think is going to be in Wisconsin in about two weeks.  And it's a big deal.

I mean, I think in the many ways, Cruz has to win Wisconsin in order to make sense out of his strategy.  But if he does win Wisconsin, it's going to force Trump to really focus on winning states like New York in order to get to the numbers he needs to be nominated.

This is not a done deal.  Cruz has run a very intelligent race with great technology and great investment and grassroots organization.  Trump has run a brilliant race with earned media.  So, two very different styles.  But nobody in Washington would have believed six months ago that the choice was going to come down to Cruz and Trump, and that has to be a very sobering realization for the old establishment.

BARTIROMO:  For sure.  And now we've seen that old establishment rally around Cruz, by the way, and obviously they weren't counting on that.  So, this makes Wisconsin that much more important, right?

I mean, we're going to speak to Ted Cruz in a few minutes.  And when I caught up with him earlier this week, he basically said, look, I don't need a contested convention because I'm going to get the 1,237 delegates going into that July convention.

Is that possible?

GINGRICH:  Well, it's possible.  It would require running the table a little more than I think is likely.  I think he has to get something like 80 percent of the remaining delegates.  But he's probably counting on
Kasich's delegates coming with him, and on Rubio's delegates coming with him, and that makes it a little bit easier.

I think he believes -- he sincerely believes that in a head-to-head race between he and Trump, that Trump can't get to a majority anywhere.  So it's going to be fascinating.  Trump so far has turned out to be a very good student of this game, and he's clearly going to have to make some adjustments from what he's done up until now.  He's in a different environment with different expectations.

I would say that Cruz has a real shot at it.  Probably a better shot than you might have thought three or four weeks ago.  Watching people like Jeb Bush rally to Cruz is a very interesting phenomena, both because of the degree to which the Washington establishment did not like Cruz until he was the only alternative.

But also, I think the question is about to become the next few days, does Cruz become the insider candidate, and does that actually start to backfire?  I mean, I think he's got to walk a pretty tight rope here between gathering up all of these folks and remaining an outsider, because it's clear that the majority of Republican voters want an outsider.  They don't want the establishment picking the candidate.

BARTIROMO:  How much do you read into these polls?  I mean, I look at these latest Fox News poll, and one thing that is pretty evident is that when it comes to the general election, Ted Cruz can beat Hillary Clinton.  John Kasich can beat Hillary Clinton, but not so with Donald Trump.

Donald Trump has been saying he's the guy to beat Hillary Clinton.  The establishment has pushed back and said, no, no, this is the problem.  You're not going to beat Hillary Clinton.  And these polls show he loses to Clinton.

Do you believe that to be true?

GINGRICH:  No.  Remember that in 1980, in March, Ronald Reagan was 25 points behind President Jimmy Carter, 25 points.  So I think it's a long way from here to the general election.  I think whoever we nominate, whether it is Kasich or Cruz or Trump will beat Hillary Clinton because I think her core vulnerabilities are so enormous that in the end, she's not going to be able to survive a general election.

But I think it's important to remember that right now, you have a very tough fight under way.  You have a lot of media opposed to Trump.  You have a lot of the Republican establishment opposed to Trump.  And so, he's got to climb his way past that.

He also has to remember to stay focused on the nomination.  He can't afford to shift into a general election style yet because he hasn't finished winning the nomination.  He's got -- I think he's got a pretty hard fight with Cruz over the next few weeks, and we'll see -- you know, I think Trump has the advantage.  But I think that it's not 90/10.  It's more like 60/40 or 65/35.

BARTIROMO:  What did you make of Paul Ryan's speech, basically laying it on the line, saying he's disturbed by the GOP and American politics right now?

GINGRICH:  Well, I agree with him.  I think he should be disturbed.  I've been disturbed much of my career.  I came out of a background of Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp, and what we did with the Contract with America, I hope that Speaker Paul Ryan is going to be part of creating a better, more ideal-oriented, more inclusive Republican Party.

I know that's what he wants to do.  And I think in that sense, that his speech is a beacon of hope for all the younger Republicans who are looking for a future in which they can be very proud of a governing party.

I think he's got to be a little frustrated.  This has been a primary season that has had a lot more tweets and attacks, and not just Donald Trump.  You had Rubio and Cruz for a long stretch each yelling liar, liar about the other one.

So, a fair amount of things here.  You had the Jeb Bush PAC spending $25 million attacking Marco Rubio.  So, it's just been a mess, which is frankly the nature of these primaries.  When you start out with 17 candidates, there's going to be a fair amount of negativity knocking people out.

BARTIROMO:  Wow.  It's quite extraordinary.  Mr. Speaker, always a pleasure to see you.  Happy Easter to you and family.

GINGRICH:  Happy Easter.  Great.  Take care.

BARTIROMO:  Thank you so much.  Newt Gingrich there.

Up next, Senator Ted Cruz will join us.  His take on the controversial idea of keeping a close watch on Muslim communities.  How his plan is different from Donald Trump's when it comes to Muslims, as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."  Back in a moment.


BARTIROMO:  Welcome back.

The terrorist attacks in Brussels this past week highlighting concerns about members of ISIS infiltrating the movement of Muslim refugees into Europe.  GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz also addressing the safety of Americans, saying Muslim communities in the United States should be subject to surveillance.

The Texas senator joined me on "Mornings with Maria" this past week to explain his stance.


SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  If you look at Muslim communities, radical Islamic terrorists, they just don't murder Christians and Jews, they murder fellow Muslims as well, and we need to stop ignoring the problem, stop justifying the problem.  We need to focus on Islamism.  Islamism is a political and the theocratic philosophy, that commands its adherence to murders infidels, which they define as everybody else.


CRUZ:  Or violently convert them and subject them to Sharia law.  And we need a focused and direct approach from law enforcement, from national security and the military, especially ISIS.  As long as ISIS continues to thrive, these attacks will continue and grow and we'll see more attacks in America.

BARTIROMO:  Differentiate your position from Donald Trump's position, because I feel like when Donald Trump first called for a temporary ban on Muslims from entering the United States, everybody looked at him and said this guy is nuts.  You can't ban all Muslim.

And then, yesterday, you said, you know, we need to immediately halt the flow of refugees from countries with a significant al Qaeda or ISIS presence.  I feel like now most people are agreeing with what Donald Trump said initially.

CRUZ:  Well, you know, Donald uses a lot of hot and angry rhetoric.  Donald's approach to every problem is to yell and scream and curse.  But he doesn't actually have real solutions to fixing the problems.

So, for example, Donald has said multiple times that he intends, if he were president, to be neutral between Israel and the Palestinians.  Now, that statement reflects an astonishing lack of understanding.  That Israel and the Palestinians are not the same situation.

If you look at the radical Islamic terrorists in Hamas that are part of the Palestinian Authority in a unity government, they are murdering citizens and no one who understands the situation wants to be neutral between the IDF forces that are protecting innocent citizens in Israel and the terrorists who are celebrating, who are inciting violence, who are compensating the terrorists.

BARTIROMO:  Your tax plan, got to talk about the economy for a moment.  Because Art Laffer says it's the best tax plan out there.  Why does lower taxes create jobs?  What's the 411 on your tax plan?

BARTIROMO:  Well, look, the simple cause and effect.  If you want economic growth, small businesses at the heart of our economy.  Two-thirds of all new jobs come from small businesses.

When you do what we've done in the last seven years, when you hammer small businesses with taxes and regulation, you get the stagnation and misery and malaise we've seen.  On the alternative, when you lift the burdens on small business, when you lift the taxes, when you lift the regulations, you see incredible economic growth.

Now, my tax plan is a simple flat tax.  So, for a typical family of four, first $36,000 you earn, you pay nothing.  No income tax, no payroll tax, no nothing.  Above $36,000, everyone pays the same simple flat 10 percent, no longer do you have hedge fund billionaires paying a lower effective tax rate than their secretaries.  Everyone pays the same.

You fill out your taxes on a postcard.  And we actually have the postcard on our website, TedCruz.org.  You can see the real postcard.  When we do that, we abolish the IRS.

On the business side, we eliminate the corporate income tax.  We eliminate the payroll tax.  We eliminate the Obamacare taxes.  And we eliminate the death tax.


CRUZ:  Replace all of them with a simple 16 percent business flat tax that's fair and uniform.  The effect of this will be to produce nearly five million jobs, to raise wages for everyone, to produce economic growth.

BARTIROMO:  Wisconsin super important for him.

CRUZ:  Tremendously important.

BARTIROMO:  How are you feeling ahead of Wisconsin?  And does that lead to your contested convention, which is what you need?

CRUZ:  Well, Wisconsin is in two weeks.  I'm flying to Wisconsin today.  We've got great support on the ground.  And actually, our first path is to win 1,237 delegates before the convention, and we've got a direct path to doing so.  Yesterday's win in Utah was a big step.

And as long as Republicans continue to unite behind our campaign, we will beat Donald Trump either by getting 1,237 before the convention, or if both of us come into the convention with a bunch of delegates short of 1,237, we win by continuing to unite Republicans because Donald Trump loses to Hillary Clinton and I beat Hillary.

BARTIROMO:  Senator, good to have you on the program.

CRUZ:  Thank you, Maria.

BARTIROMO:  We'll be watching your path.

CRUZ:  Excellent.

BARTIROMO:  Senator Ted Cruz joining us.


BARTIROMO:  My thanks to Senator Ted Cruz.

Were Americans the primary target in Brussels this past week?  The latest on the Belgium terrorist attacks with our panel coming up as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."


ARTHEL NEVILLE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  Live from America's Election Headquarters, I'm Arthel Neville.

It is a clean sweep for Bernie Sanders.  The Vermont senator winning all three of the dramatic caucuses held yesterday.  He won decisively in Alaska, Washington state, and Hawaii.  Sanders hoping the victories will spark momentum as the race moves to more liberal states in the N Northeast.  Despite losing all three states, Hillary Clinton still holds a comfortable lead in delegates.

And Pope Francis is delivering a message of hope this Easter.  The faithful gathering in St. Peter's Square to hear his message this morning.  Tens of thousands enduring tight security following the Brussels attacks.  The pope also denouncing terrorism as he spoke about the victims of attacks around the world.  He said darkness and fear must not win in the end.

I'm Arthel Neville, now back to "Sunday Morning Futures."  I'll be back at noon Eastern with Eric Shawn.  Happy Easter.


BARTIROMO:  Welcome back.  What a week.

We want to turn to the investigation into the Belgium terrorist attacks.  The bombings killed more than 30 people, left hundreds injured.  Just a few days ago, a top lawmaker on the House Intelligence Committee said that the bombers were likely targeting Americans.

We want to bring in our panel on that.  Ed Rollins is former White House adviser to President Reagan.  He's a Fox News political analyst.  Gerry Baker is with us from The Wall Street Journal, managing editor -- editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal.  And Monica Crowley, online opinion editor of The Washington Times and a Fox News contributor.

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



BARTIROMO:  A scary week.  I want to begin on this notion that the bombers were actually targeting America.  What do you think about that, Ed?

ROLLINS:  I think that's -- I think they probably are, at the end of the day they're going to create terrorism everywhere in Europe.  I think this is the beginning of a long, long siege here.  If they get Americans as collateral damage, that's even better because, you know, to get here is pretty hard, but to keep scaring the heck out of people from traveling and what-have-you, I just think it's a long hard fight and they have a worthless leader who is not taking this thing seriously.

BARTIROMO:  One of the issues, Gerry, that you and I spoke early this week is the fact that there are really open borders throughout Europe.  As a result, you know, Abdeslam, who was the mastermind of the Paris attacks, was able to walk freely in his neighborhood in Brussels.

GERRY BAKER, WALL STREET JOURNAL:  So, he was able to get from -- I mean, he's been living in Belgium and living in an area which is close to a no-go area.  It has been for a long time before the police because it's 80 percent, 90 percent Muslim area.  They don't welcome outsiders.  They run things very much according to how they wanted it.

Most of them obviously are peaceful, and they're not supporters of terrorism, but unfortunately, it's an environment in which radical Islamists can thrive.  And they have done.  He was able to travel freely between France and Belgium.  He was involved probably in helping -- Abdeslam was very much involved in the Paris plot.  So are others.

As you say, there are no -- Europe decided 30 years ago to bring down the border to core European countries in the so-called Schengen area, to take away their borders, which was supposed to obviously encourage trade and free movement, and it has done.  The problem is that when you have people who are going to use that freedom, that opportunity to destroy the very way of life that those people have, it's unsustainable.  And they're going to have to revisit it.

BARTIROMO:  What about these areas, you call them no-go areas.  I mean, these areas where even the police are afraid to go into.  If we know where those areas are, why aren't we just going in and ripping out the terrorists?

CROWLEY:  It's a very good question.  Europe has these closed communities, they're primarily Muslim.  And as a function of political correctness, cultural sensitivity, these western governments have decided that they will allow those communities to police themselves, to have Sharia law in many instances, where the laws of these different governments don't apply, but Sharia is applied.

This is a very dangerous situation.  It is running Europe into the ground.  The threat is metastasizing, because these threats grow in this kind of environment, like in a Petri dish, and then they expand.

What we're really talking about here is civilizational jihad.  We talk about violent jihad because that's the most urgent and immediate threat, it's a question of life and death.  But there's also another form of jihad called civilizational.  And these no-go zones, this is all part of the infiltration of the West.  It's part of destroying Western civilization and replacing with Sharia law and the domination of Islam.

ROLLINS:  This is a very sophisticated group.  These are not idiots who go off the curb and basically decide to make a bomb.  This is building and building and building, and they're having extraordinary results in the sense of the attack in Paris, attack here a couple of years ago, and obviously, the threat is big, and the president dismisses it.  The president pretends like it's not happening.

I think if you have to talk to Americans.  Americans are very concerned about travel.  Travel will be down this summer, I predict.  And I think two or three ore about this type of things, and you have a very fearful world.

BARTIROMO:  At this point, everybody is on alert, Gerry.

BAKER:  Europe is under really enormous threat.  No one knows the exact number of sympathizers, of jihadists themselves, but there are probably thousands who have been radicalized and who have gone out to Syria where they received training.  It's not just going and, you know, fighting the fight that they're having in Syria.  It's also about them getting specifically trained in explosives, building explosives, in how to conduct jihad in a Western setting.

They're coming back easily because many are able to get back in through these huge migrant flows.  Several million are coming to Europe in the course of this year.  They're able to get in and out.  They live in these communities where they receive protection and where the police are afraid to go after them.

Cities like in Brussels, in Paris, in parts of Germany, in parts of even the United Kingdom, which I think has done a better job of getting on top of these things.  Europe is threatened by these people who have the motivation, who have the training, who have the wherewithal, and the determination to kill innocent people, and that's what they're going to do.

BARTIROMO:  It's very scary.  And all the while, you know, President Obama was in Cuba this past week and then he went to Argentina.  When this first happened, he took under a minute to talk about it in a press conference.

ROLLINS:  Forty seconds.

BARTIROMO:  The optics of him speaking from arguably one of the biggest communistic dictatorships on the planet about terrorism.  And then he did the tango.

ROLLINS:  Under the picture of Che Guevara, who was one of the great terrorists in all of Latin America during his reign of terror.  I think the critical thing here is this president, he doesn't take it seriously.  His thing is if they don't have a nuclear weapon, and not going to blow up Times Square, it's not a threat to us.

It is a threat.  It's a fear threat.  And, obviously, it's something that we have to use our intelligence forces.  And just like we have here in New York City, we have an extraordinary police force here that every single day worries about these kinds of things.

Obviously, in other parts of Europe, they don't have the same kind of sophistication and they basically are not doing the kinds of things that we have to do.  But we have to take the lead on this.  And our president, whoever the next president is, has to take a more significant lead.

CROWLEY:  You know, there's the behavior of the commander in chief this week was appalling, but it should shock no one.  This is who he is.  Remember, after Ft. Hood, it was workplace violence.  And then, San Bernardino, same thing.  The beheading of an American James Foley by ISIS, he went and played golf after that.

He didn't decide to show up to that march in Paris in solidarity after the two waves of terror attacks in Paris last year.

This is who he is.  So I literally hope that the Western world survives the last year of this president, but he's not engaged in this fight.  And by doing the wave in Cuba and the tango in Argentina, he is projecting weakness.  So, the United States is also projecting weakness, and we know the lesson in history which is that the bad guys advance, the good guys retreat, and the wheels come off the world.

BARTIROMO:  I mean, were you surprised that no adviser told him, Mr. President, what's going on in Europe, you know, people are afraid in America, don't go to the baseball game and do the wave and don't do the tango?

BAKER:  I'm sure there was a discussion.  But, Maria, this isn't an accident.  This isn't an oversight on the part of him.  It's not oh, my gosh, somebody forgot that there had been this terrible thing and they went ahead with their schedule anyway.

This is deliberate by the president.  He actually -- and he's on record of saying this.  He went out at his press conference, by the way, in Cuba, the other day.  He said very clearly, this is not -- they are not a big threat. They can't destroy us.  They can't destroy our way of life.


BAKER:  They're a problem and we have to deal with them.  But they're not -- you know, the message was, I'm not going to disrupt my schedule.  I'm not going to get out -- I'm not going to alarm the American people by flying back to Washington or anything like that.  This is not a big threat.

He said in his famous interview a couple weeks ago in The Atlantic Magazine, climate change is a bigger threat, is a genuine existential threat to the United States.  Terrorism is not.

That's how he views things.  That's what drives his policy.  A lot of people disagree with that.  That is actually what he thinks.

BARTIROMO:  Yes, absolutely right.  And he said that again in the press conference from Cuba about climate change.

Take a short break.  What did the voters think of the top candidates?  Now, they are not exactly big fans.  We'll get into that with the panel, next. We're looking ahead, as always, this morning on "Sunday Morning Futures."


BARTIROMO:  New polls this week on the opinion among Republican candidates.  Take a look at this favorable/unfavorable ratings that we have here.  Ted Cruz, favorable 59 percent, 33 percent unfavorable.  Donald Trump, 55 percent favorable, 41 percent unfavorable.  John Kasich, 46 percent favorable, 33 percent unfavorable.

We are back with our panel Ed Rollins, Gerry Baker, and Monica Crowley.

It just feels like voters -- and this is Republican voters -- don't think much of any of these candidates.

ROLLINS:  Well, it's a very polarized electorate.  And, particularly, the party is very polarized.

And I think the reality here is that, you know, Trump probably is the nominee, he's marching that way, but he's not unifying the party.  And he basically is not -- this is a game of addiction.  In order to be successful, he has to come out with a unified party.  He's got a lot of work to do that.

And he needs to quit saying nasty things about Cruz and Kasich and their wives especially, because this is -- ultimately, women are going to decide this election and he keeps alienating women by attacking Megyn and Mrs. Cruz and others, he's going to have a very hard time.

BARTIROMO:  That was ugly, getting on the wives like that.

ROLLINS:  And it's ugly and ridiculous, and people recoil against that.  And he's done that to Megyn.  He's done it to a whole variety of people.  And I think it just shows -- he's won the hard tough guy battle, he now needs to have a soft side.

BARTIROMO:  We should point out they don't like Hillary Clinton very much either.

CROWLEY:  Yes, that's right.  Her unfavorables are through the roof and her negatives have been that way for a very long time.  I think in light --

BARTIROMO:  People are sick and tired of --

CROWLEY:  They're sick and tired of her.

BARTIROMO:  No, I'm saying of the whole process.

CROWLEY:  Well, but it's also true with Hillary Clinton.  I think with the advent of the revelation about the e-mail server, the Clinton Foundation, the possible corruption involved there, the FBI investigation, those negatives on her part have only gotten higher.

So she's got a challenge of her own, which is to lock down her base, which is with Bernie Sanders, and to Ed's point about Donald Trump, he's got a similar problem in that he is the frontrunner.  He is likely to be the nominee barring some extraordinary event, but he doesn't have his conservative base locked down either.

BARTIROMO:  No, people don't see him as a conservative, Gerry.

BAKER:  No, and I think the problem -- those polling numbers show very clearly also that why the idea that somehow this can be -- this can be won at the convention, taken away from Trump at the convention is also a bit of a fantasy because there's nobody -- exactly as Ed says, the party is so polarized, the idea that say Trump is 100 votes short in total delegates, and someone like, you know, Cruz or Kasich or even somebody who's not even been running could come in in that environment with the level of hostility towards anybody, Trump supporters, towards anybody who isn't Donald Trump, is just a fanciful notion.

If it did happen, the party would fracture immediately and would be incapable of winning the general election.

BARTIROMO:  Agree.  Unbelievable.

This is going to be such a convention.  But there's also such activity on the Democratic side.  We're going to get into Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders next as well.

We're looking ahead this morning on "Sunday Morning Futures."


BARTIROMO:  Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seems to be on an easier path to the nomination than her GOP rivals, but what would a general election look like, between Hillary Clinton and each of the GOP's final three.

How about this?  A new FOX News poll shows that Clinton trails John Kasich and Ted Cruz in head-to-head matchups.  However, she beats Donald Trump by 11 points.

We're back with our panel right now, Ed Rollins, Monica Crowley, Gerry Baker.

Do you believe that to be true, Gerry, that, in fact, Hillary beats Trump?

BAKER:  We'll see.  It is really early days.  I think Trump can beat Hillary.  What those polls demonstrate very clearly that Trump has a problem against Hillary that in a way that even Cruz and Kasich don't.  I think that problem is heavily, as Ed has said earlier, about women and about the gender gap with Trump is much, much larger than any other candidates.

He's going to try, though, in the campaign, I think, to campaign towards more of the center ground, especially on women's issues.  Remember, he's been attacked for having supported Planned Parenthood.  He thinks he can turn that into an advantage in the general election.

He has got a record in the past of having been -- now, he is pro-life.  But he has in the past, been pro-choice.  Expect probably to hear a little bit more muddying of that issue if Trump is the nominee.

He does think on issues.  He's actually present him receive as more friendly to the women's causes -- that have traditionally women's causes than any candidate has in the last 30 years.  The question is whether the things he says and particularly some of the things he tweets about women and things like this week with Ted Cruz and with Heidi Cruz, whether or not that is going to overwhelm any policy issues that he's going to try to present.

BARTIROMO:  Ye.  I agree with you on the wives thing.  That was so ridiculous.

But, the truth is that, Monica, we also should point out we don't know where this investigation of Hillary Clinton goes.  So, we don't know what happens in term of her likability there and her ability to beat Trump.

CROWLEY:  That's right.  So, all of the polls are assuming she is going to be the nominee and the conventional wisdom may be right that she could be the nominee.  But she has big weaknesses and vulnerabilities of her own.  I mean, her negatives, we just talked about her unfavorables, very, very high.  And so, she has got to make it through this FBI primary.

So, let's assume that she is the nominee and Donald Trump is the nominee, he can absolutely beat her because I think he can -- he, unlike the other Republican candidates, can actually build a different kind of coalition that can put different kinds of states in play.  Maybe even New York, maybe even California, you might be able to track a significant number of black voters.  I agree with Gerry and Ed about women.  I mean, he does have an issue there.  He is going to have to lock down his base and fix the issue that he has with women.  And then he might be unstoppable.

ROLLINS:  These are national polls.  We don't want a national campaign.  We run a state by state campaign which is very, very close.

At the end of the day, the same states we won last time, we probably won again with him.  Then you've got to add the four or five that are critical, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, and Midwest, the Michigans and what-have-you.  I don't think California, I don't think New York are going to ever get in our column.

But at the end of the day, he'll attract different voters.  The problem is --

BARTIROMO:  Trump could take New York, though.

ROLLINS:  Maybe.

The problem is there is a five million vote margin for Obama last time that came out of those two states.  The truth of the matter is these national polls are not relevant other than the fact they both have extremely high negatives.

You're going to have the most negative campaign you've ever seen.  It is going to be nuclear war.  They're going to be basically -- there is nothing but rubber left on the ground from both parties.  And at the end of the day, you're going to have every Democrat strategist digging stuff up on him, from Carville to what-have-you, and we're going to do the same to her.

So, at the end of the day, you're going to have two of the most unpopular people going into the game and whoever wins this thing is going to be barely standing.

BARTIROMO:  Look, you said she's got a problem -- he has a problem, Trump has a problem with women.  He has a problem with Hispanics, right?  And which president has won the election or candidate won an election without the Hispanic vote?

BAKER:  Well, you certainly got to do -- Hispanics are a growing share of the electorate.  George W. Bush in 2000 won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote.  I think Mitt Romney was down in the 20s in 2012.

Now, you can win -- you can win an election.  One of the most interesting statistic is that Mitt Romney got roughly the same proportion of the white vote that Ronald Reagan got and lost significantly, Ronald Reagan won in a landslide, because the nature of the electorate has changed.  You can win without getting more than Mitt Romney got in the Hispanic vote but you have to get a huge proportion of the white vote.

That -- maybe Trump can do.  That maybe he can get 75 percent of the white
vote.  It's not impossible, but it is a tough task.

ROLLINS:  It's never happened and my sense is there are still white Democrats that participate in the process.  That's the only place he can go.  It's a very, very tough, tough thing to get through.

CROWLEY:  I would just say, all of this is true.  But don't underestimate Donald Trump.  This is the first time politician.  He has never run for anything before in his life.

He's doing this for the first time essentially alone.  And he's taking incoming from all sides, Republican establishment, other Republican candidates, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, the press, the media and the man is still standing.

BARTIROMO:  Surprising everybody.

All right.  We will take a short break and still to come, the one thing to watch in the week ahead in "Sunday Morning Futures" next.


BARTIROMO:  Back with our panel.

Ed Rollins, what are you looking at the week ahead?

ROLLINS:  Well, we've got have a little break here.  Wisconsin is the next big race about 10 days away.  So, we've got a little break on the politics for a while.  So, it's going to be nice to kind of sit back and watch it.

BARTIROMO:  I agree.  It's still going to be a quiet week ahead given that it is the week after Easter.

What do you think, Monica?

CROWLEY:  Yes, and I think everybody needs and deserves a breather for a week.

BARTIROMO:  Take a break.

CROWLEY:  Speaking about the Wisconsin primary, which comes on April 5th, watch for the sitting Governor Scott Walker who exited the Republican race and the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, both of whom are from Wisconsin, to deliver endorsements.

BARTIROMO:  Yes, we'll see about that.  It was interesting to see Jeb Bush endorse Ted Cruz, actually.

Gerry, anything on your radar?

BAKER:  Friday is the first Friday of the month which for economic nerds is the most exciting day of every month.  It's the day the employment department, the Labor Department releases the jobs numbers.  We'll see whether or not this recent run of strong jobs growth the United States has had is continuing.  If it is, whether or not the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates later in the month, which is becoming a distinct possibility.

They already said they're not going to raise interest rates that much this year.  But we could see another quarter point interest rate increase sometime in April, depending on what happens on Friday.

BARTIROMO:  Because it feels like things are getting better economically, yes?

BAKER:  The economy is just rumbling along at a not an impressive pace.  It's creating enough jobs, but it's not creating jobs in great number.  The question is -- the Fed wants to get policy back to some kind of -- towards normality.  It is below where interest rates normally would be at this stage.  So, they want to push interest rates higher.  Friday may give them an opportunity to do so.

BARTIROMO:  We'll see about that.

Gerry Baker, Monica Crowley, Ed Rollins, always a pleasure.  Thank you so much.

ROLLINS:  Happy Easter.

CROWLEY:  Thank you, Maria.

BARTIROMO:  Wishing everybody a Happy Easter, by the way.

That will do it for us on "Sunday Morning Futures."  Thank you so much for joining me.  I'm Maria Bartiromo.  I'll be back tomorrow morning on "Mornings with Maria" on the Fox Business Network.  Join us.

Have a beautiful holiday, everybody.

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