In this Fox News Sunday Show With Chris Wallace: Sen. Corker, Rep. Engel debate US response to Syria, Egypt; Gov. Fallin on Australian athlete’s murder
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I’m Chris Wallace.
Allegations that Syria’s Assad regime launched a poison gas attack one year after President Obama issued this warning.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have been very clear to the Assad regime that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.
WALLACE: The U.N. calls for an investigation, while the Obama administration hedges about its response.
JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT: I’m not talking about red lines. I’m not having a debate or a conversation about red lines.
WALLACE: We’ll ask two key lawmakers, Republican Senator Bob Corker and Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel, what the U.S. should do in Syria.
Then, a student athlete from Australia is killed in a senseless act of violence.
911 OPERATOR: Is he breathing, he is conscious, is he talking to you, what’s he doing?
CALLER: Ahh, he’s not conscious.
Is he still breathing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barely.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was an amazing person and I’m going to miss him forever.
WALLACE: Prosecutors say these teens killed him for, quote, “the fun of it.”
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and local district attorney Jason Hicks join us to discuss the case.
Plus, it’s been 50 years since Martin Luther King inspired a generation with his dream for America. We’ll ask our Sunday panel about the gains of the past half century and where the civil rights movement stands today.
All right now on “Fox News Sunday.”
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington. There are reports and shocking video out of Syria this week that same to show the Assad regime is engaged in the largest use of chemical weapons since Saddam Hussein attacked his own people a quarter century ago.
Bob Corker of Tennessee is the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and recently returned from the Middle East.
Congressman Eliot Engel is the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Gentlemen, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday.”
REP. ELIOT ENGEL, D-N.Y.: Thank you.
SEN. BOB CORKER, R-TENN.: Good to be with you.
WALLACE: The president’s national security team met this weekend to discuss military options, including the possibility of a cruise missile strike. We’re told that U.S. Navy ships are moving closer to the coast of Syria. President Obama says this is a big event of grave concern.
But the president then adds that we need to act deliberately.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: What we’ve seen is that folks will call for immediate action, jumping into stuff that does not turn out well, gets us mired in very difficult situations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senator Corker, how much proof does President Obama need? And if he decides that Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons on a large scale against his own people, what should he do?
CORKER: Well, Chris, the–the amount of social media that’s coming out of Syria indicates this is not something where opposition forces have contrived something. I think it’s very evident that the regime has acted in this way. I do think it’s always good to be cautious.
But my sense is that this has happened. I think we will respond in a surgical way. And I hope the president, as soon as we get back to Washington, will ask for authorization from Congress to do something in a very surgical and proportional way, something that gets their attention that causes them to understand that we are not going to put up with this kind of activity.
At the same time, I hope it’s the kind of action that doesn’t move us away from the policy we have right now where we want to see the Syrian opposition group taking the lead on the ground. So I hope we’ll move our training up. I know we’re doing it covertly now. I think we need to move to more industrial strength training on the ground. We need to tilt the balance a little bit more as it relates to the opposition group on the ground. And I don’t want our actions that–that are in response to this chemical warfare to alter that.
But I do think we had to respond–
WALLACE: Let me ask you–
CORKER: –and I know we can use the–
WALLACE: Senator, let me pick up on–
CORKER: All right.
WALLACE: –two parts of that.
First of all, you say wait until Congress comes back.
Do you really think that the world can afford to wait a couple of more weeks?
And when you talked about a surgical action, what are you saying?
Air strikes, either cruise missile strikes or jet fighter strikes, but offshore, long distance?
CORKER: Look, I–I think there’s numbers of things that we can do, both from the ships that we have based right off the coast. And there are other kinds of things we can do from countries nearby. I think you’re aware that we have people on the ground in very nearby locations.
But obviously, not boots on the ground. I do think we will take action. It may not wait. I mean, if again, additional activities occur there, I think we should respond. My guess is that will not be the case.
But look, Congress has had a pass on these kinds of activities for a long time. And I think it’s time for us to take up–step up and take responsibilities here, too. My guess is they will. I’ve been talking with them recently this week. I think they will come back. I think they will ask Congress for authorization.
I hope Eliot and I will work together to make that happen. But I do think you’re going to see actions taking place there. I do hope the United Nations’ force will be able to get in–or group–will be able to get in and verify what’s happening.
But even if not, I think there are indications that this is real. This was not contrived. And, obviously, the world is a better place when the United States takes leadership. This is time for us to do this. I hope we will do it soon.
WALLACE: Let me bring in Congressman Engel. Your reaction to what Senator Corker said. Does it make sense for the U.S. military to take action? Should the effort be to topple Assad or to punish him, to basically warn him, no more use of chemical weapons?
And what’s your sense of the time frame? How quickly do we have to act?
ENGEL: Well, I think we have to act rather quickly. I think the–the horrific killings of–of people, murdering his own people, he’s been doing it for a while now, but obviously the gas that was used to kill his own people, I think we have to respond. And I think we have to respond in conjunction with our NATO allies. We have to respond much, I think, as was done in–in Libya, with the–with the NATO allies.
And I think that we cannot afford to sit back and wait. We certainly can’t wait for the United Nations. The Russians are there to block everything with their veto. I–I look at this situation as analogous to the 1999 situation in Kosovo, whereby we–there was an endangered population and NATO launched air strikes to save that population. We couldn’t do anything then in the U.N., because, again, the Russians were–were blocking.
I think we can act. I think we should act. I think we should act for humanitarian purposes. And I think we should act because it’s in our national interests to act. Assad has essentially–
WALLACE: But how far would you go? Are you talking about surgical strikes, cruise missile strikes? Or are you talking about enforcing a no-fly zone?
How far would you go?
ENGEL: Well, I certainly would do cruise missile strikes. I think you can do that without boots on the ground, without having Americans in harm’s way. You can destroy the runways–Assad’s runways. You could destroy his munitions and you could destroy his fuel.
There are lots and lots of things we could do. We could even destroy the–the Syrian Air Force, if we wanted to.
I sent a letter to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey, to ask what kind of options can we do.
I just think that we have to move and we have to move quickly. I–I do agree with Senator Corker that I think Congress needs to be involved, but perhaps not initially. Perhaps the president could start and then Congress needs to resolve it an–and assent to it.
But we cannot sit still. We’ve got to move and we’ve got to move quickly.
WALLACE: It’s a dangerous neighborhood, gentlemen.
Let’s turn to Egypt.
Former dictator, Mubarak, was released this week from prison, sent to a military hospital with surprisingly little public protest. At the same time, the elected president, Mohammed Morsi, remains in custody and the White House continues to say that a coup is not a coup.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We’ve concluded that it is not in the best interests of the United States to reach a determination on a coup. Now, we–that is a decision that will be set aside and that we will evaluate our assistance to the Egyptians.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senator Corker, is it time to choose a side in this struggle, the military or the Muslim Brotherhood?
And how do you feel about the fact that we are continuing to withhold, not cut off, but withhold at least half of our military aid this year to the Egyptian military? Should we go ahead and release that?
CORKER: Well, look, Chris, there are all kinds of machinations relative to the aid and whether it’s obligated, unobligated. Look, at the end of the day, we’ve had the same kind of relationship with the Egyptian military for about 35 years. And I do think it’s time for us to recalibrate it, as I’ve said many times.
On the other hand, we have 11,000 military officials in the Egyptian military that have trained in the United States. They rely upon our country for parts. I think each year; we ship about 35,000 parts to the military. And certainly, we want them to continue to function.
So, look, we need to have a healthy relationship with the military there. It looks, over the last few days, that they’ve been acting in a way that certainly has created security, but not stepping over the top.
So I think we’re beginning, hopefully–I know this is just maybe a few days of calmness. But we’re beginning to move in the right direction.
I think all of us know that sometimes we try to move too quickly toward democracy and we think that elections make democracy occur. The governance piece sometimes doesn’t follow.
So, look, I’m beginning to see things take shape in a way that I think makes sense. No doubt, there will be some suspensions, but we’re going to keep that relationship. It is in our national interests. We have first priority in the Suez Canal.
CORKER: It’s important to Americans. It’s important for us to have security in that region, important–
WALLACE: Let me- let me bring in–
CORKER: – important to Americans.
WALLACE: Let–excuse me, sir.
Let me bring in Congressman Engel.
Time to choose a side in Egypt?
ENGEL: Well, if I’ve got to choose a side, from the United States’ point of view, between the Muslim Brotherhood and the–and the military, I would certainly not choose the Muslim Brotherhood. We need to nudge the military towards democracy. We need to push them towards civilian rule.
But we’ve had a 35 year relationship with them. And it’s time to use that relationship with them. I–I think that we need to–to work with them.
Morsi, from the Muslim Brotherhood, in my opinion, was trying to destroy democracy in Egypt. And I think the United States needs to look at our interests. You know, they do give us over flights over Egypt. They do put our ships in priority in the Suez Canal. They do have a peace treaty with Israel.
They’ve been our ally, with military to military cooperation, for 35 years. It’s frustrating, I don’t like when they kill people. I think that we have to stand and nudge them. But I think the military, the relationship we’ve had with the military, I think, needs to continue and I think we need to work with them.
WALLACE: Another story, the NSA story, where it seems that almost every day, there is another revelation that comes out about the fact that the NSA, our government had access to more information, communications involving Americans, than we had suspected or had thought, that they have violated their own rules in collecting thousands of domestic e-mails.
Senator Corker, you have called for the head of the NSA, General Keith Alexander, to brief Congress when you get back in September.
I–let me ask you a direct question, sir.
As the top Republican on Senate Foreign Relations, as you sit here today, do you feel that you actually know what the government is and isn’t doing in surveilling Americans?
CORKER: No. I mean I think–I do think there’s many people–there are many people that work harder than I do. I’m not on the Intelligence Committee, and, obviously, they are privy to information that I am not. But absolutely not. And that’s why I–I wrote a letter this week to the president, asked that the head of this organization come in and brief folks from top to bottom, to explain every program that’s underway, understand that, so we can understand its intent and to understand how appropriate oversight is taking place.
Look, I appreciate efforts to keep Americans secure. At the same time, this is getting out–this is in front of us. We are not in front of it. And every day, there are stories, as you just mentioned, that are leaked out. The American people want to know that those of us who are elected, Eliot and I, understand fully what’s happening here.
I don’t think we do. I would imagine there are even members of the Intelligence Committee themselves that don’t fully understand the gamut of things that are taking place.
It’s our responsibility to know those things, to ensure they’re in balance. And I hope as soon as we get back, there will be a full briefing from top to bottom so that can happen.
WALLACE: Let me bring in–and we have a–just about a minute left, Congressman Engel.
Some time back, you voted against reauthorization of the Patriot Act.
How far would you go in limiting government surveillance of Americans?
ENGEL: Well, you know, we had an amendment to the appropriations bill cutting off the funding for the NSA surveillance. I voted against that amendment, because I don’t think you can just cut off a program. You need to replace it with something.
But I am very troubled by the things that are coming out day after day, showing that we have not really been told the truth. And I do think that Congress needs to revisit this — this whole issue and come up with a plan.
What I’ve seen so far is really unsatisfactory. We were told one thing. Congress was–was told one thing. And as Senator Corker said, we don’t feel that we’re being told everything. And that’s not really the way things should work.
So, I’m–I’m troubled by it. I think we need to look at it and I think we need to revamp the program.
WALLACE: Congressman Engel, Senator Corker, we want to thank you both so much for coming in today.
We’ll stay on top of all these stories.
Gentlemen, thank you.
ENGEL: Thank you.
CORKER: Thank you.
WALLACE: Up next, a thrill killing in Oklahoma.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON HICKS, STEPHENS COUNTY, OKLA. DISTRICT ATTY: And I am appalled at the behavior of these three children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Shock and outrage on two continents, after prosecutors say a group of teens murdered an Australian college student because they were bored. We’ll speak with the governor of Oklahoma, and the DA handling the case.
WALLACE: We have become all too used to violence in this country, but a brutal murder in Oklahoma has shocked the nation. Twenty-two-year-old Christopher Lane, an Australian college student in the U.S. on a baseball scholarship was shot and killed while out for a jog. Police say three teens picked him at random, shot him in the back, and then drove off, because they say they were bored.
We’ll talk with Oklahoma governor, Mary Fallin, in a few minutes, but first we want to get the latest on the case from Stephens County district attorney, Jason Hicks.
Mr. Hicks, we’re learning more, especially about one of the suspects, 15-year-old James Edwards. He put videos on the web, in which we see him playing with a gun, flashing gang signs. He tweeted a number of racist messages, including this one, “90 percent of white people are nasty #hate them,” and yet you say you don’t intend to treat this as a race-related crime.
Sir, why not?
HICKS: Well, good morning Chris. The reason that I’m not going to be treating this as a hate crime, is as far as the evidence goes, that is directly linked to the murder of Christopher Lane, there’s nothing inside the files, and the audio, and the reports that we’ve been given, that would lead us to believe that Christopher Lane was killed simply because of his nationality, or because of his race.
And in the state of Oklahoma, our hate crime statute is a misdemeanor, and I believe that it’s more important for us to focus on the death of Christopher Lane, than it is to focus on the hate, and whatnot, that Edwards has spewed.
Now with respect to those tweets, I don’t have any evidence in my possession at this time that would allow me to prove that that account is actually owned by Edwards, or that Edwards was the one who actually Tweeted those statements.
WALLACE: Let me ask you about another aspect of this, because we’ve heard some shocking stories about these three suspects’ callous indifference. Is it true that this 15-year-old James Edwards was dancing at the police station while he was being booked for this murder?
HICKS: Yes, that is true. I described that to the court on Tuesday, when I was asking the court to hold him without bail here inside the Stephens County jail. The description would have been he was dancing and doing twirls, laughing and cutting up during the booking process. He thought the whole thing was a joke.
WALLACE: Which brings me to, I think, the big question. I don’t know that you can answer it any better than we can. You say that these three suspects were running around the apartment complex where they lived, playing violent video games, and pretty much raising themselves, you know, that James Edwards mother is in jail. Of course that’s no excuse.
But is that part of the explanation? How have you wrapped your head around the idea that these three young men were so utterly indifferent to life and death?
HICKS: I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to wrap my mind completely around the why or how three individuals could have such a callous attitude, and drive down the road, and pull the trigger, and take the life of somebody who’s out for a jog. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to give an explanation as to why there.
But some of the information that we have indicates that they ran loose at an apartment complex here in Duncan, and really had no parental supervision, and spent a lot of time playing video games and whatnot, while they were inside their homes. But as far as being able to completely understand the why, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do that, because it’s just such a senseless act of violence.
WALLACE: We’ve got less than two minutes left, I want to go through a couple of questions about where we go from here, sir. What’s the timeline for when these three–you called them thugs, which is certainly not wrong, when these three will face trial?
HICKS: Right, and I think my description of them as thugs is exactly right. I don’t think they’re children. They’ve decided to play an adult game, and it’s taken the life of another human being, but as far as timeline goes, what I anticipate is first part of October there will be preliminary hearing conferences for Edwards and Luna, and then we actually have a preliminary hearing scheduled for Jones at the first part of October as well. I anticipate getting through the preliminary hearings and then getting them to trial sometime within 12 to 18 months.
WALLACE: How strong a case do you think you have Mr. Hicks?
HICKS: I think I’ve got a very strong case. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
WALLACE: And very briefly, if convicted, the two that are charged with first degree felony murder, Edwards and Luna, what’s the maximum penalty they could face?
HICKS: Life without parole. In Oklahoma, a murder one charge carries life, life without parole, or the death penalty, but because of their age, I’m prohibited by the United States Supreme Court from seeking the death penalty. So the maximum for those two would be life without parole.
WALLACE: Mr. Hicks, we’re going to have to leave it there. We want to thank you so much for coming and talking with us today. Thank you, sir.
HICKS: Very good. Thank you, Chris.
WALLACE: I spoke earlier with the governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin.
WALLACE: Governor, we associate these kind of cold-blooded murders with inner cities, not small-town Oklahoma. How much has this case shaken your state?
GOV. MARY FALLIN, R-OKLA.: Well it’s absolutely shaken our state down to the core. It’s just unimaginable, unbelievable, that something this tragic could happen in the state of Oklahoma, especially in one of our great communities in our state, in Duncan, Oklahoma.
But we are all heartbroken, we’re shocked, and just can’t believe that something as horrible could happen to someone that was a very active member of the community, someone that was an active member of the student campus, was beloved by his friends, and our hearts and our–and our prayers are with Chris Lane’s family, and especially the community of not only Duncan, Oklahoma, but certainly of Ada, Oklahoma, the Central University where Chris was a student.
WALLACE: Governor, the former deputy prime minister of Australia has advised tourists that they should boycott the United States to make a statement about gun control, and some gun control advocates are making the same point. What do you think of attempts to link this murder to the easy availability of guns in your state?
FALLIN: Well I don’t think this issue is about gun control. It’s an issue about murder. It’s an issue about three young men who did something very terrible to a very innocent bystander, that was jogging through his community, and it’s very unfortunate what has happened.
And I certainly understand that Australia is very upset. People in Oklahoma are very upset too, people in the United States are very upset with what’s happened, because it’s just such a shock that anyone would do what they had done to Chris Lane. And it’s unfortunate that Australia feels that way, you know, the United States has been a great friend to Australia.
But I certainly understand that there are some raw feelings out there, certainly raw emotion, and I think that’s something that would be anticipated, that people would have different concerns and different ideas about America itself.
WALLACE: Let me pick up on that, because on the other hand, there are some people on the right who note that civil rights leaders and President Obama spoke out quite quickly about the Trayvon Martin case, and yet have remained silent in the case of Christopher Lane. On Wednesday, 48 hours after this became international news, the White House spokesman was asked about the case. Take a look.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REPORTER: Do you have any reaction to the Christopher Lane case?
EARNEST: I’m not familiar with it actually.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Governor, what do you make of the silence of people like Al Sharpton, and quite frankly, the silence of the president?
FALLIN: Well, you know, I don’t know what to think about that, but I think it would be nice, and I certainly am going to say something on behalf of the state of Oklahoma, to the family, but it would be nice if our nation were to certainly express their condolences, how very sorry we are.
This is a very unusual circumstance that you don’t anticipate, that someone would create such a brutal crime upon such an innocent person, but I will tell you that I have been to the campus of East Central University last night, I was able to shake hands with some of his colleagues on the campus, some of the students, some of the baseball players.
I expressed my condolences to the East Central campus itself, the faculty, the students, the community.
We certainly are going to try to reach out to the family, I have the family’s phone number, and when the time differences allow, I’m going to personally call the family, and hopefully I can get a hold of them, and visit with them, just to tell them how very, very sorry and sad the people of Oklahoma are for this tremendous loss.
WALLACE: Excuse me, Governor, do you think the president should speak out on this as well? Particularly given his involvement in the Trayvon Martin case?
FALLIN: I think it would be a nice gesture for him to do that, and especially since the country of Australia has expressed their sentiments as to the murder itself. You know, I think it would be a nice gesture for them to be able to do that, and I certainly know that’s what I’m going to do.
WALLACE: And briefly, we have less than a minute left, and I’m going to ask you a big question, which I’m sure you’ve thought about, what on earth do you think would lead three teenagers to gun down a complete stranger, because they say they were bored and had nothing to do?
FALLIN: Well it’s hard to get into the minds of those three teenagers, and it’s just unbelievable and unfathomable that they would even have a thought in their mind to gun down somebody who is so innocent, just taking a jog through the community.
But, you know, in America, we do have different families that are broken, we do have poverty rates, we have those that are uneducated, we have substance abuse issues, we certainly have a lot of video games, a lot of movies that depict violence in our society, and that is something we as parents, certainly, as community people should take at heart, to always try to make things better in our communities for our families and selves, and certainly–and make things better in society.
WALLACE: Governor, I’m going to have to leave it there, obviously a big discussion, and we’ll have to continue with it. Thank you so much, Governor, for talking with us.
FALLIN: You’re welcome. Thank you very much.
WALLACE: Up next, 50 years after the March on Washington, how far have we come? Our Sunday panel looks at Martin Luther King’s message, and the state of civil rights in America, next.
WALLACE: Fifty years ago this week, Martin Luther King, Jr. led a March on Washington to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered this iconic message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: So where does the civil rights movement stand today? Time to bring in our Sunday group, former Republican Senator, Scott Brown, Kirsten Powers of “The Daily Beast” website, radio talk show host David Webb and Fox News Political Analyst Juan Williams.
There are plenty of numbers to support either side of this argument. Let’s put some of them up. On the one hand in 1970 there were 1,469 black elected officials in this country. Now there are more than 10,500. In 1964 26 percent of blacks 25 or older had completed four years of high school, now that’s 85 percent.
On the other hand, the unemployment rate is now 6.6 percent for whites, 12.6 percent for blacks. And black men are six times as likely as whites, six times as likely to spend time in prison.
Juan as somebody who has written extensively about the civil rights movement for years, how far have we come? What’s left to do?
JUAN WILLIAMS, POLITICAL ANALYST, FOX NEWS: Well I don’t think there’s any question we’ve come a long ways. And I just think, you know, in personal terms, my dad couldn’t be sitting here on a major network talking about the news you know, 50 years ago.
Or you think back 100 years before that Emancipation Proclamation; you understand how far we’ve come as a nation. But on some very basic levels there’s also been just outstanding improvement.
Again, here in Washington you think of President Obama. 50 years ago that was beyond-I mean nobody would have said oh yeah, the president could be a black man. Not possible. You think of Secretary Condoleezza Rice as the face of America for the world.
WALLACE: Or Colin Powell.
WILLIAMS: Colin Powell. You think of Senator Scott, you know, from South Carolina, a black Senator? Or you think of, you know, goodness gracious Thurgood Marshall on the Court, Clarence Thomas, that we have someone on the Supreme Court. Again, tremendous change.
But I think that if you look at the realities of today, you’ve got to talk about things like family breakdown. You’ve got to talk about the fact that 70 percent of black children today are born out of wedlock. I think Dr. King would cry.
You’ve got to talk about the fact that this is a horrific dropout rate in the country. Failure of urban schools, Chris. I think that’s the civil rights challenge of this generation.
And the culture, I was just listening to your interview with Governor Fallin. You think about the culture for a second. You think about people, Jay Z and his latest album, hit album. He’s using the N word repeatedly. That kind of, I mean, you think what is going on here?
Snoop Dog, it’s pornographic. And it invites people to think authentic blackness is you’ve got to be hip hop, you’ve got to be hard. Education not valued. To me this is the tragedy of our day.
WALLACE: David your take? Where are we 50 years after “I Have a Dream”?
DAVID WEBB, RADIO HOST, DAVID WEBB SHOW: Not only 50 years after “I Have a Dream,” Chris, but where we are is 237 years after the founding of this country. We reversed course on what was a world-wide tragedy, racism exists. We can’t pretend it exists or we can’t pretend it doesn’t exist, but we can’t pretend it exists everywhere.
So all the things Juan talks about are true. We’ve advanced to 2013, what we haven’t done is left some of the old arguments aside. We need to tackle the new challenges. And it’s moral decay in this country. Because when it happens in the black community, it’s not just in the black community, it’s the American community. And what we see happening whether it’s, in any city frankly in America, we see an epidemic, this, when you talk about the facts and the numbers, the single parent birthrate. The unemployment. The failure to graduate. Functional illiteracy in Detroit. This is a major urban environment and major failure.
This is something that shows the world that America has made great strides and Americans that we’ve made great strides. But as a matter of fact we have a lot of challenges and we need to move into 2013 and take these issues on in our current environment and education, it is the civil rights issue today.
Because what we do as a nation is we degrade and we lose our culture, our workforce, we lose our ability and America is the land of opportunity. If you’re not educated, you can’t take advantage of that opportunity.
WALLACE: You know 50 years after the March on Washington, one of the questions is, how long, how much longer the government should give special treatment to minorities? Back in 2003, then Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was the swing vote in upholding racial preferences, continued racial preferences in college admissions. But she said, that that should end, she said back then, within 25 years.
Kirsten, Justice O’Connor has now backed off that 25 year deadline, but at some point does affirmative action, does special treatment need to end?
KIRSTEN POWERS, COLUMNIST, “THE DAILY BEAST”: Yeah and I think President Obama has even addressed that before saying perhaps we should be looking more at economic inequality. You know we’ve made a lot of progress obviously we have an African-American president, we have a lot of people in high positions.
But Pew asked Americans whether, how much progress they thought we’ve made and only 45 percent thought that we had made real progress towards racial equality. African-Americans said 32 percent. So I think that Americans seem to be in agreement that we have a lot, a long way to go.
The March on Washington was also about jobs, it was a march for jobs and freedom. And Pew also found for the past six decades, African-American unemployment has been double that of white people. So it’s not something that’s just happening in this economy. This is something that’s been going on, really since the beginning of time.
WALLACE: But I guess the question I’m trying to get at, Senator Brown is, at what point have we gone as far as the country, as the government needs to go in putting a thumb on the scale if you will? You know it is 50 years after Martin Luther King’s speech. Obviously there were hundreds of years of discrimination.
But at what point do we in effect say, you’re on your own? Obviously there’ll be government programs to help poor people or education in the inner city, but not this kind of special preference affirmative action.
SCOTT BROWN, ON-AIR CONTRIBUTOR, FOX NEWS: Well, I think we’re getting close. I certainly agree with all the comments from the panel. We’ve made huge strides.
There are certain pockets still where there is inequality. There are disadvantages that need to be addressed. But do we do that through government intervention or do we do it by job creation? Educating our kids, our youth?
Getting a culture of family. The black-on-black violence, 90 plus percent. We have to step back from glorifying a movement, the hip hop movement and other types of movements that glorify violence. So there are certain pockets I think, and I think we’re getting very close to just letting Americans, black, white, all races, colors, creeds, move forth with their own qualifications and stand on their own merits.
WALLACE: Do you agree with that Juan?
WILLIAMS: I think the largest argument of this day, at this time, is one that says, is it personal responsibility? That would be the conservative take. Or is it the case that there’s systemic racism in this society that continues as a legacy of slavery and legal discrimination in our country?
And you know, I’ll just tell you how I feel about it. I think you’ve got to go at this point with taking personal responsibility for your family, your community, your neighborhood. Because just like Sandra Day O’Connor, I don’t believe that White America, in fact a much more diverse America is going to allow affirmative action preference to exist.
It doesn’t exist in any great way in the Fortune 500 now. But people have this perception and that’s why the court recently ruled in the way that it did in terms of higher education in Michigan and in Texas. So I don’t think that’s going to exist.
And I think that you need civil rights leaders to speak out against crime in the black community. To speak out against these hip hop leaders Senator Brown was talking about. To say to kids, here’s how you can make it in this country and stop thinking that just because you’re black there’s a reason or excuse for not achieving.
WALLACE: All right. We have to take a break here. But when we come back, the ongoing split inside the GOP over how to stop Obamacare. But first get Fox News’ Daily Politics Newsletter straight in your inbox. Fox News first gives you the scoop first thing in the morning. Sign up now at foxnews.com/foxnewsfirst. I read it every day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: I think there is far too much navel gazing and looking at polls and being scared of political consequences. Stand up, do the right thing, lead and the politics will take care of itself.
REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: If you don’t want to be a problem solver, then you’re putting yourself ahead of the movement. You’re putting your personal ambition in front of your patriotic duty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Republican Party Chair Reince Priebus disagreeing about how far is too far in opposing President Obama’s policies. And we’re back now with the panel.
There was some commentary this week that the GOP is actually in worse shape with voters now than they were right after the election last November.
The argument is that for all the talk about learning lessons, the postmortems that the GOP has further alienated Hispanics and women and gays. That they’re now stuck in this argument about whether or not to try to shut down the government to defund ObamaCare.
Senator Brown do you agree with that?
BROWN: I believe that Washington as a whole is dysfunctional. That both parties have very serious problems and that as a party, as a Republican Party, there needs to be room for a Ted Cruz, people like me, Rand Paul, others. We need to have the ability to have and share those great ideas and then find a consensus and move our country forward.
What I have found as I travel around the country is that people are tired and fed up with the divisiveness and the lack of putting our country’s interest ahead of personal and political interest.
So whether they shut down the government, I think that’s exactly what Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer want. And that’s what the Democrats want in the House because that will just show, oh here we go again! The Republicans holding everything up. You’re not going to get your paycheck. You’re not going to get your paycheck, so and then they’re going to throw it on us.
But listen, ObamaCare is not good. I voted to get rid of it three or four times. We have it in Massachusetts. The unions are trying to get out of it. You have everybody trying to get waivers. It’s crushing job creation, job growth. And we need to find a way to do it better.
WALLACE: House Republican Speaker John Boehner held a conference call with fellow House Republicans this week. He wants to put off the fight over funding ObamaCare by offering a short-term spending bill to fund the government for a couple of months.
And Kirsten, the idea seems to be instead of threatening to shut down the government unless you defund ObamaCare in September, get all these issues together and have one big fight over that and the deficit in November. And clearly, he wants to avoid this, any possibility of shutting down the government, exactly because, as Senator Brown says, he thinks it’s going to end up hurting Republicans. Do you think that’s a smart political idea?
POWERS: Yeah I do think, look I think the Old Guard is definitely right on this and this is very much the New Guard versus the Old Guard which I think makes it very interesting when you have Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz on one side and McCain, Coburn, Boehner on the other side.
But what they’re really disagreeing about is tactics. Of course, everyone, all Republicans agree you should defund ObamaCare. It’s just a question of how.
And I suspect the new guard probably thinks that if they don’t shut down the government, that it’s probably not going to get defunded. And while I disagree with them substantively on what they’re trying to do, I do think there’s something refreshing in the fact that they actually seem to stand up for what they believe, not on just this issue, but I think, on a lot of issues. And that is something that, frankly, I can’t hardly think of anyone in the Democratic Party who–who behaves like any–any of these three men who really have sort of challenged the party on a lot of issues.
WALLACE: David, you know, to pick up on this question of the old guard versus the new guard, the new guard, the new guard, more conservative Republicans, the so-called Tea Party faction, they say we don’t want to put off this fight until November or not have it at all. They want to defund ObamaCare. They’re willing to shut down the government and they want to have it now.
Is–is that–you can argue whether, obviously, it’s the courage of their convictions, but is that going to end up hurting the Republican Party, not helping it?
WEBB: No one knows. Everyone is trying to determine the outcome of this, Chris. And when you look at the old guard versus the new guard, one of the problems is we’ve had an old guard in Washington that has become the political class. The political class has been there for 30 years on both sides of the aisle plus. And they have no new voices, no new input. They’re just simply functioning within a system that is very big, and, frankly, slow to move.
Washington, DC does not work well with comprehensive anything. Look at ObamaCare. Comprehensive bills. Look at putting these fights together into one comprehensive fight.
Why are we not tackling solutions, finding solutions incrementally on issues, whether it’s border security, energy policy, immigration, continuing resolutions?
Instead, what we have is a political class, and really in America, it’s Americans versus the political class, because we now have basically a group of oligarchs who decide our future based on the old guard. And the new guard or the new voices need to be heard. The Reagan principle, we need a big tent. We need to bring everyone in. This is an American problem, not a Republican or Democrat problem.
WALLACE: But if you’re saying, David, that we don’t do well with comprehensive reforms, does that also mean that we shouldn’t have a comprehensive rollback that instead of saying defund ObamaCare and shut down the government, maybe go after ObamaCare in bits and pieces?
WEBB: ObamaCare, you use everything you can in Washington to get rid of it, incrementally, comprehensively. You use every trick, every tool, because this thing is a train wreck for the American people.
And as Senator Brown talked about, whether it’s unions, waivers, UPS, all these decisions are being made on ObamaCare and they are hurting our economy. They will continue to hurt our economy.
And this thing is a multi-trillion dollar nightmare down the road.
WALLACE: I want to pick up on that, because there were some more big bumps in the road for ObamaCare this week.
Let’s put some of them up.
UPS and the United–University of Virginia say they will no longer cover working spouses because of the cost of increase–health insurance under ObamaCare. Some companies say they’ll have to raise premiums to cover ObamaCare. Delta Airlines said that this could cost them $100 million a year, the increased costs from ObamaCare. Which raises the question, Juan, forget the politics of the Republican Party, could just the fact of the implementation of how, when the rubber hits the road, could ObamaCare be a big political burden for Democrats, and in that sense, maybe Republicans should just sit back and let it happen?
WILLIAMS: Well, I think the big problem here is the dysfunction we’ve been talking about. But it’s not with ObamaCare. I mean every major social program that we’ve had roll out in American history — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, things that are so popular, they–they all had bumps in the roads as they were rolled out. They’re major programs. And you can anticipate that with ObamaCare.
But I think Republicans are making a huge mistake if they think this is going to somehow rebound to their benefit.
“The Wall Street Journal” had a poll about two weeks ago. Most Americans say, look, you know, this is going to happen. There’s no way that you are going to turn this around at this point.
There’s a Democratic majority in the Senate. There’s a President Obama, a Democrat, in the White House. They’re not going to allow you to defund or do away with ObamaCare.
WILLIAMS: That’s ridiculous.
WEBB: This thing isn’t a bump in the road; it’s a giant sinkhole in the American economy. Look at the reality of how ObamaCare was passed. This thing was a party line vote. It was not based on fixing the system. And there’s something Americans need to realize here, Chris.
While it’s only 2,000 something pages, which is ridiculous in nature, the regulations are already somewhere near 19,000 pages. There’s no technology to match…
WALLACE: All right…
WEBB: They can’t make it…
WILLIAMS: Let me just say…
WEBB: This thing is a train wreck.
WILLIAMS: This is no train wreck. Look, if–if Republicans were serious, why don’t they make it better?
Forty votes to try to veto it, not one vote for an alternative which says here is how we can make the…
WALLACE: Well, that’s not true…
WILLIAMS: Give me…
WILLIAMS: -you name one program, one time they voted on an…
WALLACE: Senator Brown?
BROWN: Juan, with all due respect, when I got there as the 41st senator, we tried to fix it, and they would not bring up any — all the amendments they brought up, they would not move it forward. The Democrats were lock, stock and barrel, because they knew if we opened up and passed one amendment, then the whole bill would–would fail.
Listen, it’s–it’s a mess. It’s a train wreck. You — Democrats and Republicans are saying it’s a train wreck. Individual states should have the ability to determine the kind of health care they want. The federal government should not be making that determination for the states.
It’s crushing jobs. Eighteen new taxes. They’re about to click in. We’re in deep trouble with it. We should be focusing on our debt, deficit, taxes, spending, jobs …
WALLACE: All right, we…
BROWN: –national security…
WALLACE: –we’ve got 20 seconds left. I’ve got to ask you, you were seen at the Iowa State Fair eating …
BROWN: Great, Chris.
You should try them. They’ll go right to your belly.
WALLACE: Are you going to run…
WALLACE: I don’t–I don’t need anything that goes right to my belly.
Are you going to run for president in 2016?
BROWN: Yes, I’m going to focus on taking my message, as we talked about tonight, of inclusiveness and a bigger tent as–as, obviously, our panel here has said, because right now, there needs to be room for everybody in our tent in order for us to be effective.
So I’m going to…
WALLACE: But real quickly, that’s not enough.
BROWN: –I’m going to travel around the country and see what happens.
WALLACE: Thank you, panel.
See you next week.
It was not a no.
Remember, our discussion continues every Sunday on Panel Plus. You can find it on our Web site, FoxNewsSunday.com. Make sure to follow us on Twitter, @FoxNewsSunday.
Up next, our Power Player of the week, the new mascot of the U.S. Marine Corps.
WALLACE: I can always tell how good our Power Player is by how many members of our staff want to go to the interview.
Well, everyone wanted to go back in March, when we first ran this story.
So once again, enjoy our Power Player of the week.
WALLACE (voice-over): Meet Sergeant Chesty the XIII, the mascot of the U.S. Marines. This English bulldog is the face of the Corps.
CAPT. JACK NORTON: The mascot is involved in a number of official functions here in Washington, DC.
ANNOUNCER: We are proud to introduce the official mascot of Marine Barracks, Washington, DC Sergeant Chesty XIII.
NORTON: Engaging with senior level leadership, engaging with government officials. When we bring guests here for official functions, he’s one of the most popular figures.
WALLACE: Captain Jack Norton is the public affairs officer at the Marine Barracks, which makes him Chesty’s spokesman.
NORTON: Sometimes they’re tough to get along with and sometimes, you know, they’re–they’re kind of grouchy. But at the end of the day, they’re always going to be there for you and they’re going to accomplish the mission.
WALLACE: But there’s about to be a changing of the guard. Chesty will retire this summer and recruit Chesty, who is now in boot camp, is expected to become a private in April, training to take his place.
NORTON: And he’s getting history classes. He’s been through the home of the commandants. He’s getting indoctrinated in his surroundings, getting indoctrinated into the discipline and the esprit de corps that we do with all of our recruits.
WALLACE: Sergeant Chesty?
There you go.
NORTON: There we go.
WALLACE (voice-over): Chesty has his own uniform, complete with sergeant chevrons and service medals.
As for recruit Chesty, let’s just say he’s got a ways to go to match up to the sergeant.
NORTON: We’re looking at him to kind of mentor this young recruit and kind of set a positive example for him.
WALLACE (on camera): Well, he’s got big paws to fill.
(Voice-over): The mascot tradition goes back to World War I, when the Germans called the Marines Devil Dogs. In the early ’20s, Private Jigs I formally enlisted.
In 1957, they changed the mascot’s name to Chesty, after Lieutenant General Lewis Chesty Puller, the most decorated Marine ever. And they take all this very seriously.
NORTON: We have had him busted back in rank before.
WALLACE (on camera): And how do the dogs take it?
NORTON: Well, Marines typically don’t take it well when they get demoted, so it’s, you know, it–it’s a message. We can’t have a mascot running around biting, barking and doing things that they’re not supposed to do.
WALLACE (voice-over): But that’s exactly what Sergeant Chesty did last summer, when he went after Defense Secretary Panetta’s dog at the Friday evening parade.
NORTON: He barked and–and lashed out at Bravo. And it was a little bit of a tense moment.
WALLACE (on camera): This is challenging civilian control of the military.
NORTON: This was right there in front of the secretary of Defense and the commandant of the Marine Corps.
WALLACE (voice-over): After the breach of protocol, there was speculation Sergeant Chesty was being forced out.
NORTON: Actually, he was promoted to sergeant after that. So there is no truth to the rumor there’s a forced retirement.
WALLACE: Whatever the reason, this pup should be the new mascot, Chesty XIV, by late August, with as many as five public events a week.
NORTON: Heel. Heel. Heel. Heel, Chesty.
Chesty is a great way to represent the more than 200,000 Marine sailors and civilians who make up our corps. It — he’s got a very important job. And so, you know, we’re happy to have him.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
WALLACE: Sergeant Chesty is in his final week as the Marine mascot. Private First Class Chesty is being promoted to lance corporal and will take over his official duties on Wednesday.
That is one good looking Marine.
And that’s it for today.
Have a great week.
And we’ll see you next on “Fox News Sunday.”
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