What's at stake for US as Saudi-led airstrikes pound Yemen?

This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," April 26, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARIA BARTIROMO, HOST: Good morning. Iranian warships turning back in a sign of de-escalation in the Arabian Gulf. Hi, everyone. I'm Maria Bartiromo. Welcome to "Sunday Morning Futures."

Those warships headed home, as Saudi-led airstrikes continue to pound Yemen. We have the former ambassador to Saudi Arabia with us on what's at stake. And as Iran reportedly claims progress in the latest nuclear talks, potential 2016 candidate Senator Lindsey Graham lays out what he says he needs to see in any final deal.

Plus, how are oil prices and dropping prices affecting the global economy? We'll get some answers from Larry Fink, the chairman and CEO of the largest asset manager, BlackRock, as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."

Saudi airstrikes continuing to pound Yemen as battles in the streets shake the capital yet again. But concerns over a face-off between the Iranian and American Navy is fading, at least for now, as Iranian war ships turn away from the Arabian Gulf.

With me now, Robert Jordan. He is the former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia under President George W. Bush and the diplomat in residence at Southern Methodist University.

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


BARTIROMO: A lot of conflicting reports about Yemen this morning. I want to get to that in a moment. But let me kick it off with the breaking news of the day in Nepal, a horrible story there, more than 2,000 people dead after the worst earthquake in 80 years.

How would the State Department go about this in terms of getting aid to such a remote place?

JORDAN: well, we have access to our military personnel, who are very, very helpful in situations like this. It's really an opportunity for America to make friends by aiding in a time of terrible necessity.

This remind me of the tsunami aid that we provided some years ago. This is a terrible tragedy, but it's one where we can actually make a difference. America is very good at mobilizing and dispatching aid. We'll obviously have many challenges because of the terrain in Nepal. But this is something that our military, with State Department guidance, are very much up to.

BARTIROMO: Of course, the U.S. has already mobilized to assist Saudi Arabia in its Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen. And Iran is fighting against the Saudis. What can you tell us in terms of what's happening there, given the fact that, earlier in the weekend, we thought that the airstrikes were over, only to see more fire overnight?

JORDAN: Well, the Saudis were very clear that the airstrikes were over as long as the Houthis did not try to advance their positions. The Houthis ignored the cease-fire, went into additional areas. And so the Saudis have had to come in to try to stop those advances and degrade them. This will continue if the Houthis don't lay down their arms, if they don't heed the call for peace talks.

My guess is, though, those discussions are occurring somewhat under the radar, and at some point here we'll see the Houthis and the government of Yemen, probably also with Saudi and perhaps even Iranian involvement, on the sidelines.

BARTIROMO: Ambassador, a lot to talk about with you on this issue. I certainly want to get your take on the Iranian ships suspected of carrying arms to those Houthi rebels.

Stay with us, please, Ambassador, because, first, we want to take a look at this extreme vigilance, deterrence, or a little bit of both? What exactly does the U.S. and Iranian naval presence in the Arabian Sea mean going forward?

Fox News correspondent Eric Shawn, with that. Good morning to you, Eric.

ERIC SHAWN, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Maria. And good morning, everyone.

It had the makings of a major confrontation with Iran, but the Iranian navy apparently hightailed it in reverse as a U.S. aircraft battle carrier group loomed on the horizon.


MARIE HARF, ACTING STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: I think there was a lot of misreporting. I saw a lot of cable tickers today, ships going there to intercept Iranian ships. That is blatantly untrue.

SHAWN (voice over): Well, whatever it was, it worked. The United States Navy showed up, the USS Roosevelt aircraft carrier that guided missile cruiser the Normandy and shadowed that Iranian convoy suspected of being dispatched to resupply the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The nine-ship Iranian convoy, consisting of seven freighters and two Iranian frigates, did a 180, heading towards home, we are told, instead of delivering its suspected cargo of rockets, missiles, and mines intended for the Houthis.

It came as Saudi Arabia announced it was somewhat partially scaling back some of those airstrikes, a move observers suspect gave Iran a possible excuse to back down and open the way for Iranian president Hassan Rouhani to call for a cease-fire, even if some question his sincerity now that his Houthi allies have taken over most of Yemen.

ROUHANI (TRANSLATED): We hope that everybody comes to their senses, and we hope that Iran's proposal is realized. It is for an immediate cease- fire. We believe that this is a solution that can resolve Yemen's predicament.

(UNKNOWN): There is an opportunity for us to try to effect a legitimate political transition in Yemen.

SHAWN: Well, it turns out that political transition may end up helping the Houthis and their patrons in Tehran.

You know, despite the Saudi airstrikes, the Houthis remain firmly entrenched, which is what their Iranian allies had always intended. And as for the USS Roosevelt, well, it is also leaving, heading back to the Persian Gulf, to resume launching its airstrikes against another threat, and that of ISIS. Maria?

BARTIROMO: All right, Eric. Thanks very much. Dangerous things happening in the world. More now with Ambassador Jordan.

And, Ambassador, what do you think about that? I mean, why do you see this actually deepening when we thought it was actually coming to an end?

JORDAN: This is really not unusual, Maria. Often in situations where you're on the verge of having peace talks, both of the combatants will try to capture additional territory in a last-minute flurry of activity. That may be what's going on here.

But, in any event, the Saudis, I think, are going to have to be very careful. They're going to alienate much of the Yemeni population by airstrikes that continue to pound civilians and raise enormous civilian casualties. There needs to be a relief effort organized here, which I think the Saudis are in the process of doing. And it needs to reach out to the people.

But they also need to try to give credit to President Hadi, who is now in exile in Riyadh, for any progress that is made. I think Hadi's equity has been damaged somewhat by his fleeing the country at a time of crisis, even though that's probably something he had to do.

But he needs to be rehabilitated in a way so that he can get credit for relief efforts and for leading at least this contingent of his country in the peace talks. This is not going to be easy, but let's remember, the Houthis are probably 35 percent of Yemen's population and really can't be ignored at this stage.

BARTIROMO: Really interesting analysis there. Ambassador, what should the U.S.'s role be at this point?

JORDAN: We need to be supportive, but we need to be in the background. The last thing we need to be is the primary actor in a local dispute, essentially, even though it's being fought through proxies.

The Saudis, for many years, have had relations with Yemen through the tribes. They need to work those relationships and perhaps even are speaking with Iran on the margins and under the radar. But this is something that we need to keep a light hand on.

You know, I think we should really be encouraging the Saudis at strong relief efforts and ways to try to reach a political solution. We haven't yet seen from the Saudis what their vision of a political solution would be. And I think this is next.

BARTIROMO: Meanwhile, despite the strikes and the ground fight, Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is making more ground in southern Yemen. Is it fair to say that the rebels are dominating in this part of the world?

JORDAN: I think it's fair to say right now. We're seeing the collapse of many of the state systems that have been created, and we're seeing non- state actors now rising even more violently than they have in the past. This is a situation of chaos and it's one that requires a great deal of patience but also some firmness in dealing with many of these rebels who are filling these vacuums.

BARTIROMO: Well, how often does this come up in the so-called nuclear talks about a framework between the U.S. and five superpowers and Iran?

If Iran is spreading terrorism in this part of the world, in Yemen, how are we talking with them in a friendly manner and believing that they, in fact, would consider stopping the enrichment of uranium toward a nuclear bomb?

JORDAN: This is where the "trust, but verify" breaks down. I think you have to mistrust and then verify. And the enforcement mechanism is really key here. Because these are bad actors, because we can't trust them, we have to have an air-tight enforcement regime. We so far haven't seen that, of course. It's not clear how effective it can be. It's not clear how effective our coalition will hold together once sanctions are lifted.

So I think this is a very difficult hurdle that we're going to have to follow very closely and insist on a very robust, firm, and essentially air- tight enforcement regime.


JORDAN: But I'm not sure we're going to see that.

BARTIROMO: Ambassador, good to have you on the program today. Thanks so much for your insights.

JORDAN: Sure. Thanks, Maria.

BARTIROMO: And while Iran expands its influence in Yemen, it is also trying to make the case for that nuclear program with international negotiators in Vienna this week. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham will be with us to tell us what Congress needs to see happen before signing any deal on a nuclear agreement.

Remember, I hope you'll follow me on Twitter @mariabartiromo @sundayfutures. Stay with us. Tell us what you'd like to hear from Senator Graham as we look ahead on Sunday Morning Futures.


BARTIROMO: Well, good but slow progress being made in Vienna, that's according to Iran's senior negotiator as talks on the country's nuclear program resume with leaders of the five world powers, trying to finalize a deal.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif are expected to speak on the phone early this upcoming week.

Tehran is pushing hard to get all sanctions lifted the moment a final deal is signed by that June 30th deadline. But many lawmakers in congress, such as my next guest, want to make sure inspectors can monitor progress first before giving Iran what it wants.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is on the armed services committee. And he joins us right now.

Senator, good to see you. Thanks for joining us.


BARTIROMO: What would you like to see from Iran in order to see a deal happen?

GRAHAM: Well, the outline of a good deal would make sure that no sanctions are lifted until there's full compliance by the Iranians to the inspection regime, that we could go any time, anywhere when it comes to facilities, military and nonmilitary. The idea that we cannot go anytime, anywhere, to inspect their military facilities, which have been used in the past to make a nuclear weapon, I believe, is a nonstarter.

And before the inspection regime is dismantled down the road in the future, there has to be a certification that Iran is no longer a state sponsor of terrorism. Those three things I think must happen.

BARTIROMO: It doesn't seem like any of that is happening, senator.

GRAHAM: Well, then I think it would be a bad deal. Everything I've described has had bipartisan support. The UN has embraced many of the thing I just told you.

I would love to have a good deal to end the nuclear ambitions of the Iranians, but I don't trust the Iranians. They've been lying and cheating. And if they're able to get a nuclear capability, the Sunni Arabs will want one in kind. Then you have a nuclear arms race in the Mideast. That's the biggest consequence of a bad deal.

And the Iranians have shared every weapon they've ever developed with terrorist organizations. I fear they would share nuclear technology with a terrorist organization that would one day come here.

BARTIROMO: We have been talking about this now for so long, and the president and John Kerry has been working on this for so long. Do you expect a deal with Iran to materialize?

GRAHAM: Here's what I think. The best deal that Barack Obama can get will not be the best deal to be had because he's weak and indecisive. In the eyes of the Iranians, they don't respect or fear Barack Obama. He drew a line against Assad when he used chemical weapons and did nothing about it. And our friends, the Arabs and the Israelis, don't trust President Obama. So, I think the best thing, if you can't get an air-tight deal with every "I" dotted and every "t" crossed is let the next president have a chance to deal with the Iranians.

BARTIROMO: I have got to you, I had lunch last week with a former prime minister of a major Middle Eastern country that was our friend. And he said there are questions throughout the Middle East right now where is America in terms of leadership and in terms of foreign policy? We simply have impacted our Middle Eastern friendships and sort of alliances at this point.

GRAHAM: Yeah, we have.

You know, at the end of the day, the Iranians did not believe that Barack Obama would use military force to stop a nuclear breakout.

Unless the Iranians believe that the military option is really on the table, you're never going to get a good deal out of the Iranians. They have to believe that if they try to break out and build a bomb, that their regime would be at risk, they believe that from the Israelis but not from America. America is no longer a reliable friend and no one in the region fears us anymore. And the Iranians are wreaking havoc throughout the region as we negotiate about their nuclear capability.

And one last though, what does anybody in their right mind believe Iran would do with the money they get from sanctions relief? Would they build schools or hospitals? No, they'd put it in their war machine.

BARTIROMO: Well, I think there were reports just recently that in fact they were selling more arms to groups like Hezbollah.

GRAHAM: This is ridiculous. Not only Hezbollah but Hamas. Hamas terrorist organization has launched 10,000 rockets into Israel. A lot of them come from Iran.

Please remember who we're dealing with here. The Iranians supplied copper-tipped IEDs in Iraq to kill about 1,500 American soldiers. The most lethal IED in Iraq came from Iran. So they've been disrupting the region.  They have American blood on their hands. They're religious fanatics.

BARTIROMO: And then there's Hillary Clinton. Will she be able to separate herself from the Obama administration's foreign policy as she campaigns and continues to say that she is fighting for the average guy and gal out there?

GRAHAM: I think our press core in this country needs to up its game when it comes to Hillary Clinton. She's getting a pass on the most consequential issue of our time or quite frankly any time. No one's ever set down and challenged her. Do you support this framework? Do you trust the Iranians?

At the end of the day, should congress be allowed to review this bill before its finding? She's been given a complete pass on Barack Obama's failed foreign policy. And she should be asked to account for what she would do with the Iranians. And at the end of the day, nobody ever asked her a hard question.

BARTIROMO: OK, let me ask you about your plans. You said there's probably a 91 percent chance that you will, in fact, run for president.

GRAHAM: 91.5.

BARTIROMO: How do you come up with those odds? When are you going to announce, senator?

GRAHAM: I'm looking at the end of may, first of June. I get finances in place. If I can get the finances in place, I'm very likely to do this.

These are the most troubling times I've ever seen. There are more terrorist organizations with more capability, more safe haven, more weapons, more desire to hit the homeland than any time before 9/11. And I've got the best job in the world being a senator from the United States, a senator from South Carolina in the United States Senate, representing South Carolina in the United States Senate is a dream job for me, but the world is literally falling apart. And we can't get anything done here at home. So that drives my thinking more than anything else.

BARTIROMO: Senator, great to have you on the program. We look forward to that announcement in early may.

GRAHAM: Thank you, Maria.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Maria.

GRAHAM: Thanks very much.

Senator Lindsey Graham there.

And coming up next, the GDP report for the first quarter is out next week. Many people are expecting a weak number with oil prices dropping, major moves in the markets from the U.S. through Asia. I'll talk with the head of the world's largest asset manager with $4 trillion under manager -- Blackrock CEO Larry Fink is ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."


BARTIROMO: The largest asset manager is telling clients to make sure to look for the long term when allocating capital to the stock market. Joining me right now is the chairman and CEO of BlackRock, the largest asset manager, with $4.8 trillion under management, Larry Fink.

Larry, good to have you on the show.


BARTIROMO: Thank you so much for joining us.

FINK: It's great to be here.

BARTIROMO: So we continue to see, sort of, two steps forward, one step back, in terms of the economy. I want to get your sense on the U.S. and the rest of the world in terms of this global economic recovery right now. What are you seeing?

FINK: Well, I think the world is being transformed by technology, and the most important area where technology is changing the world is in oil. And we're witnessing, you know, a 50 percent drop in oil prices. It's impacting Asia very positively because Asia is a net importer of all energy sources. So countries like India, even China, Japan, are all going to be benefiting.

And so we are quite positive that GDP will be incrementally stronger in Asia in 2015 than '14. At the same time, China will be incrementally smaller in GDP because they are going through this 10-year restructuring of its economy, trying to become less dependent on exports and much more of a domestic consumption society with -- and they're trying to migrate to more of a service-oriented economy like most developed countries are.

But because of lower oil prices, because of a better banking system, and most importantly now a very aggressive central bank, the surprise of 2015 is going to be the strength of Europe. I believe, actually, Europe is going to grow in the first quarter faster than the United States.

BARTIROMO: Wow, that's a big -- that's a big statement.

FINK: That's a huge change just in three months. So Europe is fine. And this is why the European stock market is rallying so much. So many people have been under-invested in Europe. And now you're seeing this money rushing into Europe.

BARTIROMO: One of the things you mentioned is activism. You have got all these activist investors trying to pressure CEOs to do -- pay dividends, do buybacks. And you're saying focus on the business, on the strategy.

FINK: The main purpose of my letter was to try to create a narrative that creates more balance. I believe there's been an emphasis of short- termism. I think investors are forcing companies to raise dividends and stock repurchases. And in some cases, it may make sense, but in many cases, it may not.

What we're trying to ask all the leaders of companies and their board, articulate a long-term strategy -- a long-term strategy. Tell us about how much money you're going to reinvest in your company over time, how many people you're going to be hiring. Give us an understanding about what you think about mergers. Would you -- are you interested in any component of your business that you need to have an opportunity to buy another company? And then, importantly, tell us about your capital plans related to dividends and stock repurchase.

If a board and the management team articulates a long-term strategy, then we have something to measure them by.

I mean, you think about Washington. Washington cannot do anything beyond short-term fixes. We don't have a policy for infrastructure. We have one of the worst infrastructures in the world now. We are one of the largest infrastructure investors in the world, and we can't invest adequately in the United States because there's just not enough opportunities here. We're going to Mexico and India and other places with our clients' capital.

Look at -- you know, we can't create a tax reform policy. We can't work on immigration policy of some sort. We're not unlocking the potential of this country, and it's time -- and it's time to be doing that through a long-term, effective strategy.

BARTIROMO: John Boehner told us last week about the victories that the new Congress has had, but one of the low-hanging fruits that we all thought was -- was going to happen was tax reform. And you mention corporate taxes and the capital gains tax. You think that there could be something done to capital gains taxes to actually incentivize people to hold on to stocks for a longer time?

FINK: Well, first and foremost, I'm not trying to raise taxes for anybody. I'm trying to evolve the tax policy of capital gains to reward people, even small businesses, for long-term holdings, so -- and to harm people who are just flipping and trading and adding nothing to society.  BARTIROMO: So what's your idea on tax reform?

FINK: Well, the idea was, right now, we have a capital gains tax beginning with the anniversary of a one-year holding. I don't think one year, Maria, is long term, you know.


BARTIROMO: It's not.

FINK: And yet, we've persisted to keep this policy at one year. So I believe we should hold the capital gains tax at the ordinary rate until the third year anniversary of holding.

And so you hold something at minimum of three years, and then you'll get the long-term capital gains rate. And then find a way to graduate the tax rate at a lower level as the holdings extend and try to just change one tax. Let it be revenue-neutral. Let the, you know, CBO come up with an estimate of how we could construct the model in which it's revenue-neutral. It might be 12 years; it might be eight years where we don't have to pay taxes.

BARTIROMO: Larry, great to have you on the program.

FINK: Thank you, Maria.

BARTIROMO: Thank you so much. Larry Fink is chairman and CEO at BlackRock.

Up next, the Clintons sure seem to embody the phrase "More money, more problems." But for Hillary's White House ambitions, how many problems will be too many? Our panel is coming up on that, as we look ahead this morning on "Sunday Morning Futures."


SHAWN: From "America's News Headquarters," I'm Eric Shawn. Here are some of the other stories that are making headlines at this hour. At least three Americans are among the more than 2,000 people now confirmed dead in Nepal after that devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake that occurred yesterday. Strong aftershocks continue to cause chaos in the Kathmandu region, complicating the critical rescue efforts there. Most areas still remain without water or power. The U.S. is sending a disaster response team and $1 million in aid.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Baltimore yesterday. It was the largest Freddie Gray demonstration so far.

At least two people were injured and a dozen others arrested as the protests turned violent, some demonstrators breaking windows and throwing items at police, this coming one day after police admitted they failed to provide medical care for Gray, who was arrested for having a knife after he ran from the police. He suffered a spinal injury while in custody and later died.

Video shows him being dragged into a police van. The six officers involved have been suspended with pay.

I'll be back with Arthel Neville at noon Eastern with more news, and the doctors, as always, are in. Doctors Siegel and Samadi join us for "Sunday Housecall," two hours from now at 12:30 Eastern. So, for now, I'm Eric Shawn. Back to "Sunday Morning Futures" and Maria.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Eric. Hillary Clinton under a hot media microscope as more follow-up reporting emerges from the explosive new book "Clinton Cash" by Peter Schweizer.

She's accused of doing favors, while secretary of state, for donors, to help her family's charitable foundation, or for companies that hired her husband for lucrative speaking engagements. In some cases, she's being accused of covering up her behavior by failing to disclose the money that was actually received because her e-mail server has been scrubbed.

So while there is no hard evidence yet of any wrongdoing, there is a lot that looks bad. And in all that, it raises one big question. Will this stop Hillary Clinton from winning the White House?

We bring in our panel on that. Ed Rollins is former principal White House adviser to President Reagan. He has been a long-time strategist to business and political business leaders and he's a Fox News political analyst. Judith Miller is adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. She's a Pulitzer-Prize-winning author and journalist and a Fox News contributor. And Stephen Moore, visiting fellow for the Project for Economic Growth at the Heritage Foundation. He is also a Fox News contributor.

Good to see everybody. Thanks very much for joining us.

Is this going to get in the way of her winning the White House, Ed?

ED ROLLINS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure, it is. I mean, at the end of the day, she has had the worst launch I've ever seen in my 50 years around American politics.



ROLLINS: Two weeks...

BARTIROMO: Big statement.

ROLLINS: It is a big statement. I mean, what has she said that basically puts her forward to -- and her vision -- to where she should be?

There's two national polls that came out this week, Fox and a Quinnipiac. And both have a majority of the American public not thinking she's honest. When was the last time we elected someone we didn't think was an honest president?

In that same poll, basically, Rubio, who's a brand new candidate on the national scene, doesn't have anywhere near her name ID, is within two points of her.

So I think she's going to have a long, hard battle here. And I think she's got to get some straight answers. I don't know what's real or not real. But, at the end of the day, she better basically...

STEVE MOORE, PROJECT FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH AT THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: You know, Maria, you asked a question about whether there's a smoking gun here. And we just learned about this scandal a few days ago. So we really don't know. But this is a pattern with the Clintons, isn't it?

I mean, they're always -- Bill and Hillary Clinton are always one half-step ahead of the law. And maybe, at the end, we won't be able to, you know, connect these dots from the Russians who bought the uranium after they made these donations to -- to the Clinton Foundation, but this reminds people of the kind of sleaze factor that was really in the White House in the 1990s.

And when you look at what the American people want right now, they're so disgusted with Washington.


MOORE: They're disgusted with the sleaze, the corruption, the non- transparency. I think this is a big deal for her. And for the first time, when I talked to some Democratic operatives this week, they're starting to have some doubts about whether Hillary is the one they want on the ticket.

BARTIROMO: Wow. And that's all they've got...


MOORE: For now, they do.

JUDY MILLER, MANHATTAN INSTITUTE FOR POLICY RESEARCH: Apart from the issue of legal, whether or not she has legal exposure here, there is such political exposure.

MOORE: Exactly.

MILLER: How does she explain being the voice of the common people when she goes from being dirt poor to filthy rich in the time that her husband is now collecting -- 11 out of the 13 most lucrative speeches he gave, he gave when she was secretary of state.


MILLER: The appearances are overwhelming. So, absent evidence, even if there's no evidence, politically it's, kind of, going to be hard to explain.

BARTIROMO: So what should she have done, Ed?

ROLLINS: Well, first of all, she made commitments when she became secretary of state. They made promises there were certain things they wouldn't do. They violated every one of those -- every one of them.

BARTIROMO: They said they would not accept money from foreign...


ROLLINS: They signed an agreement and they said that, and they basically paid no attention to it and went ahead and did what they did.


MILLER: And they didn't disclose what they did accept.

ROLLINS: Didn't disclose...

MILLER: And now they have to refile tax returns.

ROLLINS: And -- and then they'll argue that it's -- you know, typographical errors. I wish I could say the same thing to the IRS...

BARTIROMO: You'd be in jail.


ROLLINS: Not in jail, but I'd certainly be in trouble.


And it's just -- I think Steve's point is that we lived through eight years of drama. Every day there was some excuse for something that they didn't do. And I'm not arguing that she shouldn't be a nominee and I'm not arguing that she might not be president, but at end of the day, she'd better clean the act up pretty quick.

MOORE: You know, she's going to be -- she's been talking on the campaign trail about the division between the rich and the poor and how, you know, she's going to be the candidate of the middle class.

And you're exactly right, Judy. How does she pull this off? She's been making $200,000 a speech. This is about -- more than the people who wait on the tables at these events make in two or three years.

And the other problem for her is that, you know, Bill was making half- million-dollar speeches to the very groups that were getting these deals at the State Department. That smells really bad. And this one, Ed, I think, is especially important because it deals with American national security.

MILLER: A hundred and thirty-six billion dollars in speeches.

BARTIROMO: That's really what's really most important. This is actually national security and, in fact...

ROLLINS: Well, the uranium deal. I mean, we're basically -- they made a deal with the Russian company to literally have a majority of our uranium...


MILLER: But we don't know what her role in that -- and even the New York Times said they couldn't tie her directly to that decision yet. So we have more to do.


MOORE: You're right, Judy, but why would she take the money in the first place?

MILLER: Peter Schweizer has said there's no smoking gun in my book; I'm going to leave it to reporters to do the leg work for me. And you know what? The reporters are doing it and it doesn't look good.

BARTIROMO: But, you know what? I mean, at the end of the day, if she is -- is talking about this as a distraction -- she's on the campaign trail; she's saying, "Look, I'm going to focus on the issues." She does not see this as an issue.

MILLER: But it is an issue.

ROLLINS: It's a very big issues.

BARTIROMO: But this is one of the issues?

MILLER: Of course. Trust is a very big issue.

ROLLINS: Integrity and leadership are two of the most overarching issues that are going to be in this campaign and she's going to be judged on both of those.

MILLER: She's going to have to have a press conference. She's going to have to do more than she did with e-mail.

BARTIROMO: Will she?

MILLER: And she's going to have to.

MOORE (?): Of course she will.

MILLER: Even Steve Rattner, who was a major bundler for the Democrats, said the other day on MSNBC that she must do this in order to clear her name. I think people who want her to succeed are telling her "What you've done before is not good enough."

BARTIROMO: I don't think she's done any interviews.

MILLER: No, none.

BARTIROMO: She will not speak with reporters.

MOORE: She won't. And she's going to have to at some point. But one caution for the Republican candidates, I think the beating up on Hillary is a little excessive. Let the media do this because Republicans still have to have a message of growth. And I don't -- I'm not hearing that right now.


BARTIROMO: Yes. It's a good point. And I want to talk about the GOP field, I got to get your assessment of Marco Rubio in particular. What's gone on with him in the last 48 hours.

So stay with us, panel. Let's take a look at what's coming up at the top of the hour. The "MediaBuzz" and Howard Kurtz at 11:00.

Howie, good morning to you.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST, "MEDIABUZZ": Good morning, Maria. We're going to drill down on the questions raised by Clinton cash with a particular focus on "The New York Times" and The Washington Post teaming up with conservative author Peter Schweitzer as well as Fox News, those papers hardly part of the vast right-wing conspiracy.

And Diane Sawyer's sit-down with Bruce Jenner about becoming a woman; 17 million people watched that thing on Friday night. We'll talk about that as well.

BARTIROMO: Yes, that was something. That is great that you're going to be talking about that. We'll be there. We'll be there at the top of the show. Thanks very much, Howie.

There is a new candidate jumping into the head of the pack of Republicans eyeing the White House in 2016. We'll have more with our panel on that as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures." Back in a moment.


BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

He is the one to watch, Florida Senator Marco Rubio is surging ahead of the large group of Republicans vying for the GOP nomination. Check out this new Fox News Poll of likely Republican voters.

Senator Rubio is at 13 percent -- that's up from eight percent just last month. He's followed by Scott Walker, Rand Paul and Jeb Bush.

We're back with our panel. Ed, Judy and Steven.

Your thoughts on Marco Rubio. What's going on?

ROLLINS: He's had a great start. As I talked about Hillary having a terrible start, he had a great start. I hear a buzz about him from a lot of Republicans across the country, who didn't really know who he was, and now, all of a sudden, particularly young people, this is a candidate of the future.

Win, lose, or draw this time, he's a candidate of the future in our party --


He's just moderate enough.

ROLLINS: Well, he's moderate and he's also smart. And he's articulate and he has got a great story. And the thing I liked about him, he never tried to whitewash over my father was a bartender, he worked hard, you know, he basically put us through school. He's got a story that basically is inspiring and he's an inspiring speaker.

BARTIROMO: It's an American story.

MILLER: He's also Hispanic. That matters especially in a party that has gone out of its way to alienate many Hispanic voters. He talks the talk. He's young. He's exciting. And he was one of the first people to say that he would attend a gay wedding.

That may not be a weighty national issue, but it's very important to people looking for what they consider a, quote, "moderate" Republican candidate.

MOORE: One of the great lines he had when he rolled out his campaign was he said, Hillary Clinton is yesterday. So this is clearly -- you know, he's framing his campaign as basically the candidate of tomorrow, the bridge to the future, as Bill Clinton used to say. And Hillary is yesterday. I thought that was a great line.

But what's surprising to me about these polls, which actually at this point I think are pretty meaningless, but where is Jeb Bush? Everybody, three or four months ago, thought Jeb was going to run away with it.

ROLLINS: Jeb has been struggling.

MOORE: He hasn't done anything. He hasn't been out there. He's too busy raising money.


ROLLINS: One of the serious things he decided last week is he's going to try and run his campaign by his super PAC. Mike Murphy, who's his chief consultant, doesn't want to go to Florida, wants to live in California, basically run an entire presidential campaign with a super PAC. I think that's a big, big mistake.

MILLER: Having Sheldon Adelson on your side, a wealthy Republican donor, may also help Rubio. That could account for his sudden rise in the polls.

BARTIROMO: What about the Jeb Bush factor? They're both from Florida.

Does Marco Rubio take Jeb Bush's donors?

MOORE: Sure, he does. He steals a little bit of his thunder. And I agree with what you were saying, Ed, earlier.


MOORE: -- that, you know, Florida is now the most important primary because the loser of that between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, I think, is out.

But look, Jeb Bush has to get out there and start talking to the people. He's so obsessed right now with raising tens and tens of millions of dollars -- and how many -- the political graveyard is filled with presidential candidates who just raised money.

BARTIROMO: How about Marco Rubio? How much has he raised?

ROLLINS: He's actually had a very good couple weeks here. The critical thing, people forget, he gave the best speech by far at the last convention. He inspired people. And a lot of people thought he should have been the running mate, including me.

At the end of the day here, he is going to be an exciting candidate.

To Steve's point, 96 delegates is what Florida is. It would really be a two-person race. If he beats Bush in Florida, it's over for Bush.

MOORE: The other candidate people aren't paying attention to is I think Rand Paul. I think Rand Paul has a segment of the Republican ticket that is really important. He takes his dad's empire and builds upon it.

One of the things about Rand Paul that's interesting is he appeals to groups that Republicans need to win if they're going to have a bigger tent.  He appeals to young people and to minorities and Libertarians. So don't forget about him.

MILLER: But the tensions between evangelicals and Libertarians --


MOORE: That's true.

MILLER: -- it's a very special challenge.

ROLLINS: We had 19 candidates last week up in New Hampshire. We had six or eight yesterday at the Iowa religious summit.

We have way too many candidates. We're going to get down to six or seven candidates. We need to be down to three. We have some very articulate people. We have some governors who have won two terms. We have some senators that are very important. My sense is we'll have a good field at the end. We'll make it, but we've got to narrow it down.

BARTIROMO: And those people will be Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush --

MOORE: Scott Walker and Rand Paul.

ROLLINS: And I would not rule Ted Cruz out. Ted Cruz has got a crowd.

MOORE: He's a Tea Party candidate.


ROLLINS: That's an important part.

MILLER: The problem is the dynasty thing is not working for Jeb Bush.  It is working for Hillary Clinton. It's a double standard.

BARTIROMO: You think it is working?

MILLER: It was until Foundationgate.

BARTIROMO: All right. A quick break and then a record-breaking finish to the week on Wall Street after U.S. earnings soared past expectations. We have the GDP report next week. That may very well bring us back down to earth. We're going to talk about economics with our panel next as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."



BARTIROMO: Welcome back. Big week next week for the economy. Forecasters expect next week's GDP number to show the U.S. economy growing at just one percent, a slower rate than the first quarter of 2014, as most earnings reports are surpassing lowered expectations.

Back with our panel now, Ed Rollins, Judy Miller, Stephen Moore.

Steve, how would you characterize thing right now?

MOORE: One percent would be a good number, actually.


MOORE: I mean, a lot of people are...

BARTIROMO: Even lower than that, you're expecting?

MOORE: Yeah, and a lot of people are thinking maybe half a percent. But that was the last three months. The Obama administration is again going to blame this on the weather.

But, you know, look, I do think things are picking up. I mean, hiring has been good for the last nine to 12 months. I'm a big believer that these low gas prices are a big stimulus to the economy.

BARTIROMO: At some point, but we haven't seen it yet.

MOORE: Well, look, it's putting more money into the pockets of consumers. And, by the way, for our manufacturers and other industries, it's a huge windfall; it reduces their costs.

You know, one other quick point about the economy. When I talk to employers, you know what they tell me their number one problem is now? They can't find workers.


MOORE: There's a skills problem in this country.

BARTIROMO: Big time.

MOORE: There's a skills problem.

BARTIROMO: You're absolutely right. That's what CEOs tell me as well. They have jobs, but they can't find the people to fill those jobs...

MOORE: Exactly.

BARTIROMO: ... because they don't have the skill...

MOORE: ... and that's a real indictment of our education system, by the way, that we're not training workers for the jobs of tomorrow.

BARTIROMO: You're absolutely right. And as we see an economy that is, sort of, two steps forward and one step back, you have got the candidates for the White House trying to, you know, assimilate themselves with a stronger recovery, but it's just not happening.

MILLER: Right. And Hillary's going to be dependent on a stronger economy under the Democrats...

MOORE: That's for sure.

MILLER: ... starts to weaken. Look, adjusted for inflation, the median U.S. household income hasn't changed. In fact, it's lower than it was in 1996.


MILLER: Those are not good figures. And the inability of our schools to produce people who are going to be able to fill the jobs that are out there, plus the pressures on immigration, plus the weakness of Europe and Asia, I think that all spells great trouble for the United States economy.

ROLLINS: The American economy is driven by small business. And there's nothing basically to create incentives for small businesses. We've done no tax reform. They're the highest-taxed group in the country. And corporations can go anywhere they want and do whatever they want. Small businesses have to stay...

MOORE: That's why we've got to cut our corporate tax, right? I mean, if we're not competitive.

ROLLINS: That's what we absolutely have to do.

BARTIROMO: Not to mention...


BARTIROMO: Not to mention the expenses around ObamaCare, which has certainly dictated what small business...


MOORE: If we could just get the government out of the way, we're really prepped for a boom. I mean, there's a reason the stock market is at all-time highs.


MOORE: These companies are profitable.

BARTIROMO: Well, let's not forget the Federal Reserve, which ends its two-day meeting, also, this upcoming week on Wednesday. We'll see what Janet Yellen has to say about rates on Wednesday.

We'll take a short break. Then the one thing to watch in the week ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures." Back in a moment.


BARTIROMO: And we're back with our panel, with the one thing to watch in the upcoming week. Judy Miller, what are you watching?

MILLER: I'm watching to see whether or not the Hill-gate stories, or Foundation-gate, or whatever else they're going to call it, have legs, whether or not reporters are going to continue to do the leg work for Peter Schweizer to flush out the details of this very, very unappealing conflict of interest.

BARTIROMO: And we'll know more this week?

MILLER: We're going to. We'll see how -- whether or not the stories get picked up. And there are more stories being written.


MOORE: I'm tempted to say the Kentucky Derby, but...


... but, look, I think the big story that I'm watching is a bunch of the Republican candidates in the week or the next two weeks are going to come out with their tax plans.

You know what's back, Maria? The flat tax. I think you're going to see two or three or four of these candidates endorse a simple postcard return, get the rates down, clear out all the clutter, get rid of the IRS, a very populist message.

BARTIROMO: We'll see if we can actually see tax reform in the next couple of years.

MOORE: It's going to probably take a Republican president.


BARTIROMO: Ed Rollins?

ROLLINS: What I'm watching -- in all the chaos in the Middle East and everything, we forget that the British elections are in two weeks. And our most important ally and, obviously, a very, very close election between David Cameron, who's the incumbent prime minister, and the Labor left, Ed Miliband.

BARTIROMO: Yeah, that's going to be important for the world, actually.

ROLLINS: May 7th.

BARTIROMO: Thanks, everybody, on the panel for joining us today.

I'm watching the GDP report -- it comes out Wednesday -- looking for a very weak number.

Thanks for being here. Thanks for watching "Sunday Morning Futures." I'm Maria Bartiromo. I'll see you tomorrow, live from L.A., on the "Opening Bell" on the Fox Business Network. Take a look at where to find FBN on your cable network. Have a good Sunday.

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