Wrong time to withdraw more US troops from Afghanistan?

This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," December 14, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARIA BARTIROMO, HOST: Good morning. Re-examining our drawdown from Afghanistan. Hi, everyone. I'm Maria Bartiromo. Welcome to "Sunday Morning Futures."

Daily attacks in Afghanistan this past week. The Taliban signaling it is not going anywhere as the new Afghan government tries to take hold and our military prepares for the December 31st pullout. Is this the right time? Former CENTCOM commander General Anthony Zinni will join me in moments.

The House Oversight Committee wants Jonathan Gruber back on the stand after last week's hearings. The ObamaCare architect was drilled about his so-called contempt for the American people. We'll talk to a committee member who questioned Gruber.

And we'll also ask him about the lame duck Congress that has been anything but. After name-calling and finger-pointing and unlikely alliances during intense negotiations, the trillion dollar budget is finally on its way to the president's desk. Is this a shade of politics to come? We'll take on that as we look ahead this morning on "Sunday Morning Futures."

After 13 years the U.S. officially ended its combat role in Afghanistan last Monday. Now we are just two weeks away from another troop drawdown that could leave only a small force of about 10,800 men and women in uniform helping to keep that country secure.

It also comes amid a string of new attacks by the Taliban, at least 19 people were killed this weekend alone. Two American soldiers died in the Taliban attack on Friday. Today, Afghanistan's new president, Ashraf Ghani, made an impassioned plea for the Taliban violence to stop.

He yelled, "enough," saying his country will never surrender. Critics saying now may not be the best time to draw down. Retired U.S. Marine General Anthony Zinni is the former commander of CENTCOM.

General, good to see you. Thanks very much for joining us this morning.


BARTIROMO: Can you characterize where we are in Afghanistan today?

ZINNI: Well, I think we're at a point where we're testing the Iraqi (sic) military to see if they're able to stand up against the Taliban.  It's -- I think it's critically important that the training and the equipping continue at a level that they need.

But most importantly, this really is Ghani's moment. He has to step up and give the Afghan military and the people something to fight for. He has got to get rid of the corruption in the government. He has got to make sure the government is inclusive. It's sort of a repeat of what we saw with Maliki and his successor.

I think 10,000 troops and drawing down is fine if we keep several capabilities in there, Special Operations capabilities, that we can hit targets that are important to us that maybe that capacity isn't there for the Afghans.

And more importantly, the advisers, the trainers, and the equipment that are necessary for that Afghan army to sustain itself.

BARTIROMO: General, we have a lot to talk about with you in addition to Afghanistan. I want to get your take on Iraq and, of course, ISIS, as well as that CIA report. So stay with us, much more to talk about with you, General Anthony Zinni.

But first, let's take a look at the reality of a troop drawdown and what do our past actions tell us about the future? FOX News senior correspondent Eric Shawn on that angle.

And good morning to you, Eric.


And good morning, everyone. It seems we just don't, or in some places, should not ever leave. While Afghanistan is an increased hotbed of terrorism and Taliban attacks, U.S. troops are deployed in far greater strength elsewhere.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: America's combat mission will be over by the end of this year. Starting next year, Afghans will be fully responsible for securing their country.


SHAWN: Well, not so fast. Six months after announcing the end of our combat role in Afghanistan, President Obama reversed himself and increased the number of U.S. forces, even though just by 1,000, who will stay there.

But will they be enough to help Afghan forces eventually defeat the Taliban once and for all? Right now, 10,800 troops will remain, but the plans are to cut that number by about half to 5,500 by 2016, and then zero in three years.

All this while the U.S. has deployed much larger forces elsewhere. A sizable presence in some places decades after war and hostilities ended there. Nearly 50,000 U.S. forces remain in Japan. More than 38,000 in Germany. Twenty-eight thousand five hundred are still in North Korea (sic). About 10,000 are deployed in Kuwait. And even South Africa rates 216 military personnel, making more troops assigned to peaceful countries than are now facing the Taliban.

Some insist those commitments are needed for the U.S. to remain a global leader.


CAPT. BOB WELLS (RET.), U.S. NAVY: There's a lot of responsibility on the U.S. shoulders, but we have the posture to do it. We have the people to do it. We just have to have the will to sustain this long war, and that's exactly what it is.


SHAWN: Well, the challenge that continues in Afghanistan can be symbolized by one shocking attack just last week. It happened at a French school in Kabul. Students were performing a play called "Heartbeat," about freedom and democracy, when a suicide bomber sitting in the audience blew himself up.

Reports say that that attacker was a 16-year-old boy who hid the bomb in his underwear -- Maria.

BARTIROMO: Just horrible stories continuing. Eric, thank you very much.

We have now more with former CENTCOM commander, General Anthony Zinni.

And, General, when you see what has gone on in Iraq after the U.S. troops were pulled out, and how the ISIS force really just rolled over the army, why should we have any sort of optimism about the drawdown in Afghanistan?

ZINNI: Well, I think the optimism in Iraq, first of all, is with the new government. It's still very iffy. But if this new government can reach out and be more inclusive, work with its Sunni neighbors, and we can rebuild the army, rebuild the leadership, make sure they have the right kind of equipment, I think it can be salvaged.

But I want to go back, in both cases, it's going to be up to the new leadership in the government. In the case of Afghanistan, Ghani, and of course in the case of Iraq, Maliki's successor.

I don't think us staying there forever and continuing to fight the Taliban or ISIS and other elements are going to get it. We have got to get these countries to stand up on their own. And there is a time to take off the training wheels.

In Iraq, we knew Maliki was the problem. We knew it from the time he took over. I heard it from every embassy official out there and general that we had out there. And yet, we watched as he slid away from being an inclusive government and he alienated the Sunnis and the Kurds, to an extent, and now we're paying the price for that.

BARTIROMO: So how do we ensure success? I mean, you know, what can the U.S. do to ensure that these governments can in fact take the lead?

ZINNI: I think that what has to be done -- this becomes more of a diplomatic mission. We need pressure on these governments. We need to work with them to ensure they understand how to clean up corruption, favoritism, cronyism, all the things that led to this.

I mean, obviously, Maliki was rewarding generals that had no military skill. We can't do it for them. But we certainly can stay on them about this. We don't want to get our military tied down into decades' worth of war that is going nowhere.

I do think we have an obligation in Iraq, since we broke it, to ensure they have the equipment and the training. But there's more of an obligation to ensure that government changes and reaches out to the minority populations that have been alienated.

BARTIROMO: But, meanwhile, the threats are getting bigger. How would you characterize ISIS today?

ZINNI: Well, I would have -- I would have taken a different approach.  I would have put ground forces in early on. ISIS has been in Iraq for six months now. We are betting that time is on our side and that some magical ground force is going to appear in the short term, which I doubt.

It's going to be a while before the Iraqis are able to stand up to ISIS. And obviously the Kurds, there's an unwillingness to arm them, which I don't understand.

But I think had we put even a small ground force in there, we would have gotten other allies. And we should have extricated ISIS from Iraq.  And that would give more space and time for the development of the Iraqi military, and a little more space and time for the government, give them some breathing space.

But in this case we have ISIS right at the gates of Baghdad, and they have been sitting there for quite a while.

BARTIROMO: Let me turn to the big news, of course, this week in terms of the release of that CIA report on interrogation tactics. What are your observations, General?

ZINNI: Well, first of all, I think John McCain said it in the most eloquent way it could have been said. This is not who we are. And we should not subscribe to this kind of use of whatever you want to call it, my mind, it's torture.

There are several things that are bad about this. One, we claim it saves lives. In fact, it puts lives at risk. If you remember the Abu Ghraib incident that occurred, I talked to the young NCOs and officers in the villages. And they said that that put them at great risk when it came out that there -- now, of course, that wasn't part of this program, but that Americans were torturing.

By us saying that these measures are OK, it's saying we condone them.  My son is a marine. Are we saying if he was taken as a prisoner that these methods are OK, when the international community and the conventions we've signed say no?

I also don't understand why we paid $81 million as I understand it for some contractor to come up with these things. I don't know if it's a Marquis de Sade LLC or whoever this was. But this is probably one of the most ridiculous things we have done in recent years.

BARTIROMO: And what about actually releasing the report, obviously that's also been up for debate in terms of what this information and the presence of this report is doing to our people in harm's way right now.

ZINNI: Well, first of all, by saying that releasing the report puts people in harm's way sort of validates the point that it puts lives at risk by even doing it.

I think the important part about releasing this is the rift that has occurred between our intelligence committees in Congress and the CIA. That to me is very, very dangerous.

If they are at odds with each other, that flies in the face of congressional oversight. To me, that is something critical that we need to fix immediately and I would hope that the director of Central Intelligence, the new chairman of the Intelligence Committees in the House and the Senate begin to work to heal this rift.

Information should not be kept from the Intelligence Committees. They are required by law to oversee the agency. And I think that may be the most important point to come out of this release of this report.

BARTIROMO: General, good to have you on the program. Thank you very much for your insights today.

ZINNI: OK, Maria. Buon Natale.

BARTIROMO: See you soon, sir. Thank you so much. Buon Natale to you, General Anthony Zinni.

Good news meanwhile, our government gets to stay open. But, boy, was it a tough ride getting there. A member of the House Oversight Committee on that and putting ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber back on the hot seat after last week's grilling.

I hope you will follow me on Twitter @MariaBartiromo, @SundayFutures.  Let us know what you'd like to hear from Representative Ron DeSantis. He's next. Stay with us as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."




BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

The $1.1 trillion spending bill on its way to the president's desk, but not without a lot of give and take on both sides of the aisle.  Congressman Ron DeSantis is with us on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Congressman, good to have you. Thank you very much for joining us.

REP. RON DESANTIS, R-FLA.: Good morning.

So take us behind the curtain.

How tough was getting this bill done?

DESANTIS: Well, look, I mean, I voted against the bill because I think when you're passing bills to find out what's in bills, that's not in the best interest of taxpayers and the bill was unveiled less than 48 hours before we voted on it.

And I know a lot of Republicans were critical when Nancy Pelosi used to pull those tactics and I just can't stroke a $1.1 trillion check with other people's money without knowing where exactly that money is going.

I think it was a mistake to give the lame duck Congress all this authority to make all these decisions when we just had an election and had we just punted the spending issues into the new Congress, I think we could have handled everything in a more transparent and fiscally responsible way.

BARTIROMO: Well, that ceremony makes a lot of sense, given the new Congress on its way in next six weeks.

What was most troublesome about the spending bill and the reason that you couldn't sign it -- you couldn't vote yes?

DESANTIS: Well, one, the amount: it was $1.1 trillion. There was a lot of spending in there that was beyond the budget caps, that was characterized as emergency spending but really, wasn't. Then you had a lot of special interest provisions that benefited particular constituencies that have power in Washington.

And again, if you had an open process I think that would have given all members the ability to offer amendments and to make that more better and really, more consistent with what the average American taxpayer expects out of their government.

BARTIROMO: What are your priorities in terms of spending and where the money should be allocated as we look ahead to the new Congress?

DESANTIS: Well, I think what we need to do as Republicans is do what we told the people we would do in this last election.

First, ObamaCare is going to be a huge issue. When Chuck Schumer admits that it was a mistake and that it didn't help the middle class, I think you're going to see a number of votes on ObamaCare; that has the potential to save taxpayers a lot of money.

I also think we do need to check the president's overreach on illegal immigration but also on the EPA and the HHS. That imposes lot of costs on the economy as well as on taxpayers.

And then I do think we need to have a budget that is slowing the growth, reducing spending, eliminating programs that aren't working going into the next fiscal year. We have the numbers now where we'll be able to get votes on that. So I think that that's important.

I also think if you look at the economy, you have middle class voters who really feel squeezed by what's happening. Their wages aren't going up, but yet the cost of the staples of life, groceries, higher education, continue to rise. So a lot of them are losing ground. I think we need to address those issues as well.

BARTIROMO: They're losing ground partly because of the cost of health care. Let me ask you about you grilling Jonathan Gruber last week.

How would you characterize his performance at that hearing?

DESANTIS: I thought it was a dismal performance. We see hundreds of witnesses into Congress come; he was one of the worst witnesses. He was not honest with the committee. He dodged; he wouldn't answer questions directly. And actually I think he has placed himself in some jeopardy.

We're going to go through and look at all of his previous statements and then compare it with the transcript of what he provided to us and his testimony under oath. I think you will see some serious discrepancies there.

And then of course he would not admit the amount of money he's made from all of these consulting contracts he's received since ObamaCare passed. So we have subpoenaed that information.

So I don't think Jonathan Gruber is off the hook. I think he's going to be back before that committee in the new year.

BARTIROMO: How much money has he made?

DESANTIS: He admitted he made roughly $500,000 from consulting with the federal government but then he admitted that he has about six contracts with various states.

Now the reports peg that anywhere from $2.5 million to $5 million. He said he would not -- he didn't know. He had to talk to his lawyer. And he was not willing to give us an answer.

The thing is, Maria, we're going to get that information, so I don't know why he was trying to be so coy about it.


DESANTIS: But there's no doubt he personally has made out like a bandit with ObamaCare's passage.

BARTIROMO: Real quick, here, Congressman, in terms of the discrepancies that you heard from Gruber, is that going to impact the ability to change ObamaCare, the legislation?

DESANTIS: Well, I think it helps us. I think the wind -- ObamaCare critics have the wind at our back.


DESANTIS: I think Gruber's testimony shows that, you know, there's always been a question of the legitimacy of this law because of the way it was passed, because of the way it was obscured. So I think that helps us. I think Schumer's comments helped us. And I think the fact is 60 Democratic senators voted for Obamacare. Only 30 of them remain today.

BARTIROMO: Congressman, thank you. We'll be watching. We'll see you soon. Thank you so much for your joining us today.

A new year, a new focus on your money. How are you set up for retirement? We'll have the founder and president of the investment firm BlackRock next, as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."


BARTIROMO: Welcome back. One of the biggest questions hanging over most Americans' heads, "Am I saving enough for retirement?"

Robert Kapito is a co-founder and president of the investment firm BlackRock, the largest asset manager.

And good to see you, Robert.

KAPITO: Good to see you.

BARTIROMO: Thank you so much for joining us.

So before we get into saving for retirement and, sort of, how you do it effectively, let me get your take on what went on this past week. We had some rocky days there, in terms of market sell-offs. Are we seeing a change in sentiment, in terms of the stock market right now?

KAPITO: I don't think so. I think last week was really a function of the end of the year, people trying to assess where oil is going to be and what the impact of oil is going to be, a weekend right before the big election in Japan and, I think, a look back at the year and wondering what the next cycle is going to bring.

When it comes to equities, is it going to be cyclical stocks, defensive stocks? And, of course, the question is, when will the Fed raise rates?

All of those in conjunction to being at the end of the year, I think people really squared off their positions, those professional investors, and it caused a pretty big dip in the market.

BARTIROMO: In fact, this upcoming week we've got the Federal Reserve meeting with a two-day meeting. And there is some talk that the Fed will remove that line for a considerable amount of time. Rates will stay low for a considerable amount of time. Do you think the Fed starts raising rates in 2015, and how does that impact people?

KAPITO: Well, I think it's very overblown. I believe it's going to be lower for longer, and if the Fed did raise rates and signals a raise in rates for 25 or 50 basis points, I really don't think it's going to change the way you should be investing for the future. So I think it's very overblown, but if you wanted my view on rates, I would say lower for longer.

BARTIROMO: All right. So let's talk about the future and, in fact, retirement. Most people do not have enough money saved up for retirement. What are you seeing? And I know you guys just did a survey in terms of what people are doing and how they're saving for retirement.

KAPITO: Well, this is going to be the biggest issue in our times. People have not saved enough for retirement. And this is complicated by the fact that we've all learned that we're going to live longer. So in the '50s you lived until you were 68. Today you're going to live until you're 80. That means when you were going to have about 10 to 14 years of retirement, today you may have 25 years of retirement. And we found...


KAPITO: ... that people have not saved. And this is very, very dramatic, Maria. We have found that two-thirds of the people that we surveyed have less than $25,000 for retirement.

BARTIROMO: For 25 years?

KAPITO: And one-third have saved nothing.


KAPITO: So people have about 45 percent of their income is going to expenses. The rest of the globe, by the way, is around 32, the global average. And we're finding that people are not investing for the future. And they're thinking about timing the market instead of time in the market. And I'm going to tell you that you can't save for the future in the future. Now, what was interesting...

BARTIROMO: Right, you have to do it now.

KAPITO: ... about this survey was that, while people are confident about their financial future, they're worried about the economy; they're worried about unemployment, but they haven't done anything about it.

So this $10 trillion sitting in bank accounts earning zero, every year people are saying, "I'm going to get in; I'm going to get in," and they don't get in the marketplace earning zero. This is a very big mistake. And the more time you're sitting in cash, the harder it's going to be to catch up.

BARTIROMO: So what's the best way to do it?

KAPITO: Well, first, let me tell you there's a breakdown. This is really fascinating stuff. The millennials have actually started saving. Why have they started saving? They spend about 11 hours in social media and four of that is on financials. And what they're doing is they haven't gone through the financial crisis, so they don't remember and they didn't have any assets when we had the financial crisis.

BARTIROMO: They're not worried like the rest of us.

KAPITO: So they're thinking about the future. But the baby boomers, Generation X, are saving nothing. And, in fact, the Quiet Generation that is collecting Social Security, our biggest issue is that 50 percent of the people that are getting Social Security are living off of it. It wasn't meant for that. It was meant to supplement your income. So we have a -- a problem with retirement that's going to be so big, and maybe people will recognize it when parents are going to have to move in with their kids.

BARTIROMO: So what should we do?

KAPITO: Well, you have to get invested. And we talk about all of this short termism in the marketplace, the market's up; the market's down, and we're going to wait until there's a pullback. You mentioned the pullback this week.


KAPITO: Is anybody getting in? No. They're waiting. Because people never remember when they made money, but they remember every single time they lost money. So they're sitting in cash. And, in fact, in this survey, 63 percent of household savings is in cash.

BARTIROMO: Cash meaning the money market accounts, a cash account, instead of actually getting a return from the stock market?

KAPITO: Yes, yes. And, of course, with rates being low, people need to look for income. So what should they do?


KAPITO: Well, dividend-paying stocks. Dividend-paying stocks are something that have been around for a long period of time. Dividends have been a large portion of the total return. I just looked this morning: things that are in your refrigerator. I looked at Kraft, and it had about a 3.5 percent dividend. I looked at Verizon, and it had a 4.75 percent dividend.

Just think about that in -- and the appreciation on the stock, because we're very bullish on equities going forward. In the bond market, you could still get a good return and high yield. Our high-yield funds yielded over 6 percent this year.


KAPITO: Another year that you missed or even in municipal bonds if you're a taxpayer. Taxes will probably go up, higher probability than going down in history. So municipal bonds are another way to earn an income.

So you need a diversified portfolio that has income producing securities, more weighted to equities than bonds, if you think that interest rates are going to go up going forward.

BARTIROMO: Great advice. Rob Capito, good to have you on the show today.

KAPITO: Thank you, Maria.

BARTIROMO: Thank you so much. Rob Capito is the president of investment firm BlackRock.

Did you ever think you'd see the day Nancy Pelosi sided with Ted Cruz?

The Senate going topsy-turvy?

We are looking ahead with our panel next on "Sunday Morning Futures." Stay with us.




BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

Well, they say politics makes for strange bedfellows. Nowhere was that more evident than the battle over the cromnibus spending bill.

Who could have foreseen John Boehner teaming up with President Obama and Harry Reid on this? Or how about this one? Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren aligning with Ted Cruz?

We have to begin here with our panel. Ed Rollins is a former principal White House adviser to President Reagan. He has been a long-time strategist and business and political leader and he is 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 Keith McCullough is CEO of Hedgeye Risk Management, where you're doing independent research.

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

Strange bedfellows; what are your observations here?

ED ROLLINS, POLITICAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: I promise they're all going to hop out of bed the next morning.


ROLLINS: This is not a long term engagement.

I think the overarching thing for both the White House and for John Boehner was not to shut down the government. Whatever it took, they were willing to make compromises all the way.

There's two people who have emerged, though, that are going to be long-term leaders and real pains in the side of both of their parties and that's Elizabeth Warren, is going to be the liberal leader of the Democrats and may run for president out of all this.

And obviously Ted Cruz is now the new Tea Party leader and basically is a great champion of the base.

BARTIROMO: Will they be able to pull their parties in their direction and sort of muck it up for others?

ROLLINS: I think they're actually not going to pull the -- they're not leaders of the party. The interesting thing about Cruz is he doesn't care. Cruz is going to be the outlier all the way through.

Warren, I think, was a little bit more responsible and may long-term be responsible. She is against the banks and no friends of business, though, in the Congress today.

BARTIROMO: It sounds like she really does want to put her hat in the ring, Elizabeth Warren.

JUDITH MILLER, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: Oh, yes, she really does. And to see this wonderful kind of reversal of -- we have all been watching the Republicans, we have all been watching them going at one another, the Tea Party wing and the, quote, "moderate" or pragmatic wing, now we have exactly the same or a mirror phenomenon on the Democratic side, which I think will be exacerbated by Republican control of the Congress.

But beyond that, I love quoting Nancy Pelosi on this.

"They have to pass the bill to know what's in it."

No one has read 1,603 pages worth of stuff. Who knows what's in it?

BARTIROMO: That's what she said of ObamaCare, right. We have to pass the bill to know what's in it.


KEITH MCCULLOUGH, HEDGEYE RISK MANAGEMENT: I don't think people are going to trust her or Congress anymore for doing this. At the end of the day, if they have your money, they'll spend it. I think they'll do absolutely anything to do that.

If you look at this relative to the deficit, don't forget that four or five years ago when the deficit was high, they couldn't spend your money because they didn't have any. Now you get a kind of a pro-cyclical move to the deficit coming down, GDP accelerates, deficit goes down, they take the money and they spend it. I think that's going to be a huge topic. Jeb Bush could nail this in the presidential election.

ROLLINS: There's one point that I want to make. This is $1.1 trillion. It's a $4 trillion budget. This is the unmandated part of the budget. Imagine if you had that whole $4 trillion with all the various entitlements being debated or the tax cuts which are every bit as large as this -- what we went through.

BARTIROMO: You make a good point. You have to put it into perspective. You mentioned Jeb Bush. He's released 250,000 e-mails over the time that he was governor. I guess this tells you right now he's going to be running.

MCCULLOUGH: Transparency. He gave us the transparency.

He can do so many things with particularly, you know, going to the spending, spending, spending. He can be anti-spending, anti-his dad, anti- his brother, anti-Fed. He can do a lot of things that are anti- -- you know, government and very pro-success.

ROLLINS: The most important thing he did is he's anti-Christie.


ROLLINS: All the money guys want to write checks to Christie are basically going to write a second check and Jeb Bush could be a very viable candidate.

BARTIROMO: So you think he's running?

ROLLINS: I think he'd definitely running.

BARTIROMO: And will he be the Republican candidate?

ROLLINS: I don't know. He's got a long, hard -- for no one is getting out because he's getting in.

MILLER: And another sign that he's running is that "The New York Times" did a very nice opening piece on him. And was very tough on Hillary the week before. So clearly, "The Times" wants a race here. And they're going to do their part to make sure it happens.

BARTIROMO: Interesting that it will be Bush-Clinton.

ROLLINS: The critical thing is this is the third Bush. She's the first woman.

Do we want a third Bush, that's the question that will be debated. A lot of people do want the first woman.

BARTIROMO: That's absolutely right. But we'll see if she -- if she actually wins because of that. I mean, people are thinking they wanted the first African-American as well.

ROLLINS: We had that.

MILLER: Do we want a second Clinton, that's also independent --


MCCULLOUGH: And on the second Bush, I think he could really say, look, I'm not my brother. I mean, being anti-Federal Reserve or anti- spending would be the opposite of his dad and brother. I think that could be the answer.

ROLLINS: He was a great governor on his own rights. He deserves to be a very viable candidate and would have been four years ago or eight years ago. He has got a big field that's going to run against him today.

BARTIROMO: Let's talk about more on that and foreign policy in our next segment. But first let's get a look at what's coming up on MEDIA BUZZ.

Howie Kurtz standing by for the top of the hour, over to you, Howie.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST, "MEDIABUZZ": Hi, Maria. We have a full plate this morning. We'll look at the Sony hacking and also look at rape accusations as the new media battleground. We have got "The Washington Post" report, who blew major holes in the account of that "Rolling Stone" story about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia. We're looking at a controversy of Elena Dunham's book. She makes a rape claim that her publisher is now offering some man a legal settlement. And more accusers now in the Bill Cosby saga, including a supermodel. So all these coming up at the same time. We're going to look at how the media are coverage these disparate stories.

BARTIROMO: So many amazing stories there. We will see you in about 20 minutes, Howie. Thank you very much on "MediaBuzz."

Meanwhile, deadly violence rocking Afghanistan in the closing weeks of the U.S. military campaign.

Is drawing down now a good idea?

Our panel will begin there in our next segment, as we look ahead on SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES.

Stay with us.


BARTIROMO: We're bringing back our panel right now, Ed Rollins, Judy Miller, Keith McCullough. We had U.S. Marine general, Anthony Zinni, on the program earlier.

As we approach the deadline for the complete draw down of troops in Afghanistan, Judy?

MILLER: I cannot agree with Mr. Zinni more. I think that this -- this draw down has been too fast. I think we're seeing the grad -- the results of that on the ground in Afghanistan.

You know, the -- the policy in Afghanistan should be dictated not by President Obama's desire for legacy of having ended wars and withdrawn soldiers, but by the facts on the ground. And the facts on the ground simply do not merit the pace at which this withdrawal is being...


MILLER: -- conducted.

BARTIROMO: It sounds like what happened against ISIS. I mean, you know, he doesn't want troops on the ground, even though the generals are telling him time and time again...

MILLER: Exactly.

BARTIROMO: -- we are not going to win this.

MILLER: Deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra would say.

ROLLINS: We can't win. Every -- every general should -- and you have to understand, generals don't want to go to war. But when they're in wars, they want to win wars. And -- and they make it very, very clear that we cannot basically even hold our own there unless we have 10 or more -- 10,000 or more troops there.

And clearly, to do this drawdown would be idiotic.


MCCULLOUGH: The volatility situation is going to be perpetuated by what's going on in oil, don't forget.


MCCULLOUGH: You know, there's going to be many unintended consequences associated with this move. Last week, oil was down another 13 percent. It's down 45 percent since June. I mean we have a crash in the oil markets...


MCCULLOUGH: -- that today, you know, the Dubai stock market is open today. Not a lot of people watch it, but it's down 8 percent today.

So you're seeing a lot of action in the Middle East that are really going to hammer people where it matters, which is in their pocket.

BARTIROMO: This is a really important point. Oil prices have been collapsing. That has to change our relationships with these oil producing countries like a Saudi Arabia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, absolutely.

BARTIROMO: You know, obviously, the Russians.

MCCULLOUGH: Um-hmm. Absolutely.


MCCULLOUGH: I mean the Russians, I mean they've had issues of their own, but big time capital market issues, they're huge. There are currencies crashing. Their stock market was down 13 percent last week.  It's down 45 percent this year.

So, again, if you want to start to see some things occur, you know, start to -- start to see some reversals in these moves and then some more volatility.

BARTIROMO: But you know what I thought was interesting is e -- while oil prices are coming down and it's a real positive for consumers, you -- you've spent, what, $80 filling up your SUV, now you're spending $60.  That's a big deal, right for -- to -- to fill up the gas tank.

But at the same time, you're actually seeing the shale revolution get impacted. This was the growth story of America for a long time. And in the month of November, you had permitting down 40 percent.

ROLLINS: The short-term gains are going to be immeasurable for the consumer. Long-term energy independence is going to be damaged badly by this.

Equally as important, some of our allies are going to have some very severe problems with this. And -- and certainly the -- the country that we fought for 10 years, Iraq, is going to -- is going to basically have a big problem funding itself.

MILLER: But I would also keep my eye on Iran, because Iran is a major exporter that needs high prices.

And will this translate into greater flexibility at the negotiating table on the nuclear side?

We don't know yet. There are no indications this have -- it's had that effect to date.

But as this pressure mounts, the Iranians are going to have to respond.

BARTIROMO: Yes, but I mean I'm -- I guess the relationships that we have with the Saudis, for example, all of this changes. I mean this -- this dovetails into foreign policy...


BARTIROMO: -- the fact that oil has plummeted so much.

MCCULLOUGH: It's huge. I mean it's a huge inflation expectation.  Think of it, how we get paid. I expect my core assets to inflate.

Now, once you get deflation into the system, you're deflating people's expectations, not only sovereigns, but those who are levered to the entire energy space.

Don't forget, if you tie that back to home, yes, you may save some money on your SUV, actually, for the median consumer, it's 6 point percent of their budget is gas prices. Everything else matters, too. So, again, we also have a jobs revolution that occurred in the Dakotas. In Texas.  There's going to be a lot of unintended consequences associated with oil falling.

BARTIROMO: And we're also seeing that on the good side of things, because it's putting more money in people's pockets.

We're going to talk more about the economy and where are the jobs. We had good news at the pump, but could it be taking a big bite out of your 401(k)?

Our panel will look at that, as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."

Stay with us.


BARTIROMO: And we are back with our panel, Ed Rollins, Judy Miller, Keith McCulloch. Let's talk about what happened last week, Keith, in the market. We had a rough day on Friday. Do you think this is the beginning of -- of more selling? Are we going to see a rocky stock market?

MCCULLOCH: Yeah, stock markets versus bond markets. Again, I think that this has been an epic battle, if you really look at it, this year. So what is the bond market telling us? What is the Russell 2000, by the way, and the stock market telling us? Both of these things are down. Bond yields are down in the Russell 2000, which is a broad measure of the U.S. stock market that's down 1 percent now for the year to date.

So what's it telling us about growth? And I think what it's telling us is that global growth expectations are falling and now bond yields are falling faster. So, again, if you're long bonds, you've had a great week. If you're long bonds for the year to date; if you're long the 10-year, the 20-year, the 30-year, you're up 25 percent to 40 percent on the year. And we're going to sit here and bang our heads against the wall trying to debate whether the Dow should be up 4 percent or up 2 percent.

And, again, I think that that's the first sign of volatility entering the market. Last week volatility, the VIX, was up 80 percent on the week.


MCCULLOCH: You know, and if -- you know, if you're long that kind of thing, you're going to be agitated. And the final thing that I'd say, and you mentioned it, you can save X amount of dollars in your (inaudible). You might have saved 20 or 30 bucks. That is fantastic. But your 401(k) just lost a couple grand last week. So, again, this is going to start to wear on people from an asset price perspective because people have a huge amount of net wealth, obviously tied to the stock market.

BARTIROMO: Yeah, and it's gone up steadily, until the end of the year. Now we're seeing some -- some activity, and you think the volatility is only going to increase.

In terms of the spending bill, the budget, we've funded the government. Is this going to have an impact, you think, Ed?

ROLLINS: Minimal. I mean, it's -- the truth of the matter is like I said, this is only a small portion. This is $1.1 trillion of a $4 trillion dollar budget. The entitlements, the revenues, all of those kinds of things -- I think what this has done -- this chaos has been overblown for so long, I think the new Congress, the responsibility of Republicans to get back to having appropriation hearings. Don't want until the end of the year to get this thing done. There is things in this bill that no one has ever any idea what's there except the staff. And I think if Republicans want to be responsible, they've got to make sure this works right.

BARTIROMO: The GOP has said -- you know, John McCain told us last weekend, no government shutdown; we need to convince the American people that we know how to govern.

ROLLINS: Right, absolutely. And if they don't, then, clearly, they're going to have a short-lived majority in the Senate.

BARTIROMO: And of course then there's the CIA report, Judy. Your thoughts on what Anthony Zinni said about that?

MILLER: Well, speaking of Anthony Zinni and John McCain, john McCain had his finest hour when he went on to the Senate floor and talked about this not being who we are. And I think anyone who read that report, as I did this week, has to really take note of what it says. It doesn't have recommendations, and I am very disappointed that it was so partisan and that they did not speak to anyone in charge of the program. But the bottom line of that, which is this was an agency which somehow, some way, managed to get out of control. We had $81 million spent on psychologists who didn't know anything about psychology, torture, or the military. This is a bad showing. We've got to fix this.

BARTIROMO: What -- what's the pushback for those who say this report should not have been released?

ROLLINS: I will -- I will make that point. I'm against torture. I believe in the eighth article of the Constitution which says we don't torture and it gives us a moral authority. And John McCain, who has been the only member of the Senate who has ever been tortured other than sitting through filibusters over and over again, but he really was through torture, and he basically was totally against it. He said it doesn't work. And it doesn't work.

We don't have torture any more. We've outlawed it. The president is not -- not implementing it. And I hope that we won't ever do it again. But the problem is we've now damaged the CIA. And the CIA is very important in these terrorism wars, and I would imagine they're very demoralized and, to a certain extent, you put a whole bunch of people on guard. The Oversight Committee needs to set some new rules, some new regulations and obviously be careful on the appropriations.

BARTIROMO: All right. Quick break and then the one thing to watch for the week ahead, on "Sunday Morning Futures." We're looking ahead. Back in a moment.


BARTIROMO: We are back with our panel, looking at the one big thing to watch for the week ahead. Ed Rollins?

ROLLINS: I think Gruber's the big thing that's going to be -- he had a hearing last week that wasn't satisfactory. I think he ought to basically go put "Everlast" on his forehead because he's going to be the punching back for ObamaCare for the next Congress.


BARTIROMO: Jonathan Gruber, you think, is going to be back on the hot seat?

ROLLINS: He's definitely going to be back on the hot seat.


Here's a guy who spent billions of dollars, had an absolute disdain for the American public and couldn't tell you how much he was being paid for his enormous consultant fees.

BARTIROMO: He would not answer that question, how much he was being paid.

ROLLINS: "My lawyer knows. I don't know."

BARTIROMO: Yeah. Judy, your one thing?

MILLER: My one thing is, once again, the Senate report. Is this going to be like all of these reports that comes out and everybody wrests (ph) about them for a week and talks about them on the air and then they die, or is this going to be an opportunity to look at the intelligence community and its relationship with the Congress, it's overseers?


MCCULLOCH: Your favorite unelected central planning agency, the Federal Reserve, on Wednesday...



MCCULLOCH: They're -- you know, what they say on Wednesday matters. This "considerable time" phrase which everybody is focused on, I think, remains. And you're also going to get the inflation report on Wednesday, and what we have is deflation. So that's what worries the Fed. That is why I think that the Fed is going to be on hold longer than people think.

BARTIROMO: So the whole thing is that the Fed has the language in the statement, "Rates will stay low for a considerable period of time"?

And there's this big debate going on, on whether or not they're going to take that "considerable amount of time" out.


BARTIROMO: You think it's stays?

MCCULLOCH: Yeah. And again, the debate is only amongst the people who kept saying that rates would go up this year. To be clear, rates are going down. They will be down for a considerable time. So that's the point.

BARTIROMO: All right. We will leave it there. We'll be watching that.

Thanks, everybody.

Great to see you, Ed Rollins, Judy Miller, Keith McCulloch. Thanks. Have a great rest of your Sunday. And thank you for watching. That will do it for "Sunday Morning Futures" today. I'm Maria Bartiromo. I'll be back tomorrow morning on "Opening Bell" at 9:00 a.m. Eastern, and that is on the Fox Business Network. Take a look at where to find the Fox Business Network on your cable network or your satellite network. Or you can just click on "Channel Finder" at foxbusiness.com. "MediaBuzz" with Howie Kurtz is up next. And from all of us, have a great Sunday. See you next week.

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