In this Fox News Sunday Show With Chris Wallace: Sens. Corker, Cardin react to nuclear deal with Iran; Sarah Palin talks D.C. dysfunction, Bashir comments
WALLACE: Now, the president must convince skeptics on Capitol Hill this is a good deal.
We bring in two key members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Top Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee and Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland.
Senator Corker, in recent weeks, I think it’s fair to say you have been very skeptical of these negotiations. Now that you have seen the outlines of this deal, what do you think?
SEN. BOB CORKER, R-TENN.: Well, Chris, we just got the details this morning about 20 minutes ago. But look, I mean, Iran has consolidated their gains and have sanctions relief.
So, look, I think all of us want to see a diplomatic solution here. I think it’s now time for Congress to weigh in because I think people are very concerned that the interim deal becomes the norm and that’s why I crafted legislation to hold the administration and the international community’s feet to fire over the next sixth months, to ensure that this interim deal is not the norm.
But, look, I think we all agree it was skepticism. For instance this morning in the preamble, we see where they stay in that preamble. There will be a mutually defined enrichment program.
So, you know, the U.N. Security Council at a base level stated that Iran would not have the right to enrich and yet it appears that we’ve already given a tilt. It looked like passively agreed that they will be enriching for commercial purposes down the road.
So, I think you’re going to see on Capitol Hill again a bipartisan effort to try to make sure that this is not the final agreement because people know this administration is strong on announcements, very — long on announcements but very short on follow through. And I think there is a lot of concern. I think you will see Senator Cardin joining in, in those efforts.
WALLACE: Well, Senator Corker, one question for you before we bring in Senator Cardin. I understand that what you’re talking about is a set of guidelines that this deal only last for sixth months, that if the Iranians renege, that the U.S. must react in a short time, that the two sides only have six months to come up with the final deal.
So, the question I have, though, is you’ve also talked about imposing — and some of those senators — about imposing new sanctions. Now, the foreign minister Zarif said today, if there are new sanctions, this whole deal is off.
Are you going to —
WALLACE: — still for tougher sanctions, or are you going to give this deal time to see how it works out?
CORKER: Chris, my greatest concern throughout this whole situation is the North Korean issue. And that is that you begin relieving sanctions, you end up basically with no deal. And so, my biggest concern is seeing follow through here. Again, this administration is big on announcements, very short on substance. We see that time and time again. The American people are seeing that right now all across our country.
So, my effort, the effort we put forth in our office, is to hold their feet to the fire, to make sure that they actually do the things that are part of the U.N. Security Council agreements.
We’re very concerned that that is not going to be the case. If you see the reaction of Iran right now — I mean, they’re spiking the football in the end zone saying that, look, we consolidate our gains, we’ve relieve sanctions. We’re going to have the right to enrich. So, I want to make sure we go to the end zone here. I think there are going to be some people that want to impose additional sanctions. That’s another effort that we may well take place — take part in. But again, I just want to see this all of the way through. We’ve seen what’s happened in North Korea. They now have nuclear weapons, and I don’t want to see that happened in Iran.
WALLACE: Senator Cardin, what’s your reaction to the deal and to the reservations you just heard from Senator Corker.
SEN. BEN CARDIN, D-MD.: Well, Chris, first, it’s clear to I think everyone but for the U.S. leadership and tough series of sanctions that were imposed by Congress, we would never have gotten serious negotiations in Iran.
We are very concerned as to whether Iran will live up to even these commitments and this is the first step. During the next six months, we expect that there would be negotiations to eliminate the infrastructure in Iran that would be able to produce a nuclear weapon.
Congress needs to be prepared, as the administration has said, to make sure this interim step is enforced, that there is no deviation whatsoever. And during this period of time, there is a broader agreement that’s reached with Iran that permanently eliminates their ability to produce a nuclear weapon. These sanctions that have been released are just part of overall sanctions and can be re-imposed at any time. Congress I think will want to make it clear that if Iran does not live up to these commitments, we will not only insist that the sanctions be reapplied, but we will have stronger sanctions against Iran.
WALLACE: But let me ask you, Senator Cardin, about the concern that is expressed by skeptics, and that that this deal — the concern is that this interim deal becomes the final deal and it leaves Iran just short, a few months short, of it’s breakout ability to dash and create a nuclear weapon.
CARDIN: That would not be acceptable to the Congress, nor the American people, and I hope the international community. The agreement by its terms indicates that progress must be during the next six months to have a more permanent elimination of Iran’s capacity produce a nuclear weapon. If not, the sanctions are re-imposed and I think Congress will be watching this very (AUDIO GAP), so that we will not stand by and let this be the final deal.
WALLACE: Senator Corker, what about the argument that there is a window of opportunity right now that the moderates are at least leading the conversation and that if you don’t reach out and you don’t make this deal, that you only empower the hard-liners?
CORKER: Well, the deal has been made. So I understand the argument. But let’s face it — this is a deal that the president discussed with us this week at the White House. There are a few changes.
But this is in essence it, and the deal has been made. And I think the thing that is interesting — I think from their perspective — they do view this administration as weak. And I think from their standpoint, they see this as their window of opportunity to negotiate with an administration that has shown that it really doesn’t have a lot of the intestinal fortitude that other admirations have had. They’ve seen that in Syria and that’s been a learning experience for them.
So, I think that there are different perceptions depending on where you sit. And, look, we’ve now reached this interim agreement. We signed it.
I think it’s Congress’s role because Congress is what brought us here. The administration was kicking and screaming all the way with these sanctions being put in place. I think we know that we brought us to this place. We thank them for entering into negotiations. I wish they have been stronger.
But now, it’s up to Congress to make sure that we follow through because, again, we’re the ones that brought it to this point and we need to make sure that we see this through and they don’t end up in a situation where they are a threat to the world, as they will be if this interim deal continues to be or ends up being the norm.
WALLACE: Senator Cardin in Amy Kellogg’s piece, you heard the very strong comments, critical comments by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. How did you justify this administration making a deal with one of our biggest enemies in the world over the very strenuous objections of two of our strongest allies in the Middle East, Israel and Saudi Arabia?
CARDIN: Well, our objectives are the same. We made it very clear — we will not tolerate Iran having a nuclear weapon. That’s Israel’s objective. That’s the Saudi’s objective.
WALLACE: But they think this is the wrong way to go about it, sir.
CARDIN: Well, it’s too early to make that judgment. We’ll see what happens during the next six months.
So, look, I disagree with what Senator Corker said about this administration. We got chemical weapons coming out of Syria. We’re able to achieve that. We are in talk with North Korea and have gotten an international coalition.
The bottom line is that we have to work with the international community.
Are we concerned that Iran may try to circumvent this agreement? You bet we are concerned about it and we’ll watch to make sure we do everything we can to make sure that doesn’t happen.
WALLACE: Finally, and let me ask you both briefly. There is a remarkable news story today from Associated Press that turns out the top U.S. diplomats had been meeting face to face in secret talks in Oman with top Iranian diplomats for the last year, even before the so- called moderate President Rouhani came into office, under President Ahmadinejad.
Senator Cardin, you first, what do you make of that?
CARDIN: Well, I don’t think we’re surprised. We knew there was communications taking place. I think the United States made it very clear that the only way to reach an agreement with the United States on sanctions was to dismantle their nuclear weapon program.
WALLACE: And, Senator Corker, briefly, your reaction to the idea that there were these secret negotiations going on for the last year?
CORKER: I — you know, I don’t know how to react to that. This news has just come out. I think — you know, there have been statements of overtures that have been made for some time. So, I don’t have much reaction to it.
Again, I want to see what we accomplish over this section six months. I know the administration has been trying to set the framework for these discussions for sometime and I guess I’m not really particularly shocked that this has occurred.
WALLACE: So, it sounds like a change in the old Reagan proverb, “distrust but verify”.
Gentlemen, thank you both very much. Senator Corker, Senator Cardin, thanks for coming in today.
WALLACE: More dysfunction in the nation’s capital this week, as the problems and finger-pointing over ObamaCare continue.
With partisanship at new levels, can anything get done in Washington?
Earlier, I talked with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin who has written a new book, “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas.”
WALLACE: Governor Palin, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday.”
PALIN: I’m honored to be with you, Chris, thanks.
WALLACE: When you look at all the troubles with ObamaCare, the — all the problems with the Web site, the millions of cancellations, a lot of other things, what’s your takeaway? In a macro sense, what’s the problem?
PALIN: Well, certainly the rollout itself and a malfunctioning Web site isn’t the problem. ObamaCare itself is the problem, you know, a road towards socialized medicine is unaffordable and unasked for, unpopular. It’s not workable. That’s the problem.
People want ObamaCare scrapped. I think at this point, Chris, we don’t even care if the Web site gets up and running. It’s just going to prove to be an invitation to find out to more problems as to ObamaCare as a whole.
WALLACE: You know, the president came into office — and I want to talk about this big picture, vowing to transform America with big government solutions like ObamaCare, like cap-and-trade.
Do you think all the debacle — and Kathleen Sebelius called it that — the debacle with ObamaCare is a tipping point for that approach to government?
PALIN: I do. Thank goodness people are awakened from their slumber, thinking that it’s OK for government to deceive us in thinking that they can — they can give us free stuff.
PALIN: There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch and people have opened their eyes now, understanding, oh, Tea Party Patriots, they were right when they said that this big government policy crammed down our throat called ObamaCare, it’s not good for America.
And people have awakened and realize that Tea Party was right then; hmm, they may be right on a couple of other issues, too.
WALLACE: But —
PALIN: So, yes, it’s a tipping point. People are awake now.
WALLACE: But, Governor, on the other hand, ObamaCare does and there’s no really questioning this — he is going to extend coverage to 30 million Americans who are now uninsured, according to the non- partisan Congressional Budget Office, the last comprehensive Republican approach would only cover 3 million.
I mean, isn’t that a problem? Don’t you guys have to come up with a better answer?
PALIN: Oh, I am one to question it. I am one to question those numbers. That 30 million more people will receive health care coverage under ObamaCare? I question it.
One, I don’t believe a doggone thing coming out of Washington, D.C., anymore, and isn’t that a sad state of affairs, where a normal American has to be so cynical of what government and government reports are telling us, even if it is a non-partisan report?
Chris, no, once that employer mandate kicks in after the New Year begins, next year, employer mandate, that’s going to kick more and more people off — private sector, health care coverage that they had at least up until now been able to enjoy and been able to afford. There will be fewer people being covered under a sensible doctor- patient relationship-centered health care program under ObamaCare than what we see today, I guarantee you that.
WALLACE: Let me switch subjects on you. You talk about dysfunction in Washington.
Senate Democrats this week changed the rules so that — to confirm a presidential nominee, except for the Supreme Court, it will now take a simple majority of 51 votes instead of a supermajority of 60 votes. It turns out that 79 Obama nominees have faced at least one vote to end debate, have faced the possibility of a filibuster, 79, more than double the 38 Bush nominees during his eight full years in office.
Question — doesn’t any president, Republican or Democrat, have the right to be able to name his team unless a nominee is just wildly outside the mainstream?
PALIN: Well, there are a lot of wildly outside the mainstream nominees and pals of Barack Obama that he wants to see help him usher in an agenda to transform America. So, that’s one thing that Congress has done right and that is oppose some of these nominees.
As for this rule change that some people are calling the nuclear option, I understand it rules. You know, I guarantee this week, Thanksgiving dinner, people sitting around their tables, we’re not going to be talking about the president’s blessing, the thwarting of a balance of power in Congress with new Senate rules called the nuclear option.
People are going to be talking about our failed big government policies that will bankrupt this country. So this distraction, this new talking point in the media and with Congress, with senators and with the president blessing this action, it’s a distraction and it’s a lot of, you know, double standard and Democrat hypocrisy because just a few years ago, they were so anti, anti-nuclear option. They were against any thought of Republicans ever considering changing these rules. And yet now, you know, it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.
So American people, they don’t care about distractions like that. They’re not in that inside baseball Senate rule stuff. They want government to be back on our side. They want it to get out of our lives and in order to do that we need those who will not fundamentally transform America but will fundamentally restore what’s right about America. We do that by having good judicial nominees and nominees in these regulatory agencies and elsewhere.
So, this new rule change, it stinks.
WALLACE: All right. Let me ask you about something that when we told people that you were going to be on the show, a lot of us wanted to ask you about it. It isn’t pleasant, but you know where I’m headed.
Martin Bashir, the MSNBC anchor, has had some ugly things to say about you. A couple of weeks ago, you made, frankly, I think fairly unobjectionable remarks, saying that — comparing our debt to slavery and saying that eventually we’re going to beholden to our foreign masters.
Mr. Bashir took great exception to that. He called you a, quote, “world-class idiot,” his words. And then he talked about a slave owner named Thistlewood, who used to punish his slaves by having someone defecate — it’s unbelievable — defecate in their mouths.
And then he said this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC ANCHOR: When Ms. Palin invokes slavery, she doesn’t just prove her rank ignorance, she confirms that if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, then she would be the outstanding candidate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Governor, your reaction?
PALIN: That’s funny, because Bashir has invoked the analogy of slavery also. The definition of slavery is to be beholden to a master. And we will be beholden when that note is due, when we have taken from our children and our grandchildren and borrowed from China and other foreign countries in order to pay for our wants today. So we will be beholden to another master at some point here when that note’s due.
As for the — you know ,the networks condoning those types of statements, because there’s been no punishment of the fella who said these words, that’s hypocrisy. That’s a given, though, when a conservative woman says something that they’re — they take offense, they usually just kind of pooh-pooh it, laugh it off; it’s no big deal.
But as for personally taking shots like that, Chris, everybody in life takes shots. You have a decision to make when you take a shot. Are you going to become bitter or better?
In a case like this, you know, I don’t have to accept his words, his vile, evil comments, so they don’t have to affect me. I move on. And I charge forth.
However, if Mr. Bashir or anybody else in this media elite bubble that they put themselves in were to attack someone who is defenseless, like a vulnerable child, who does not have that podium, that microphone that God has blessed me to be able to express my opinion, if they don’t have that type of platform to defend themselves — well, if you want to see a mama grizzly get riled up and slap that person down, then you come after a vulnerable child.
In this case, he didn’t come after a vulnerable child. I can defend myself and, you know, I can take it.
WALLACE: A few days later, Bashir offered his apology. Here that is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASHIR: I made some comments which were deeply offensive and directed at Governor Sarah Palin. I wanted to take this opportunity to say sorry to Mrs. Palin. My words were wholly unacceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: First, do you accept his apology?
And secondly, I want to go back to something you brought up. NBC, for instance, put Alec Baldwin off the air for a homophobic slur. They have taken no public action to what Bashir said about you.
PALIN: Well, that’s the executive hypocrisy that is so prevalent in that media elite bubble, where it depends on the target of the vile rants that it doesn’t depend on what their rant itself actually is. And conservative women are a target of them.
As for the apologies, well, obviously, you know, who am I to not accept an apology? Everyone must humble themselves and accept that offer to, you know, of apology.
But as for the apologies, too, next time that they want to say such a thing and then get the attention that they were seeking after they’ve said it, and then they want to call and apologize to me in private, I’d like them to go through, say, Todd first or one of my children first. Leave the message with them. Hear what they have to say about it and then they can come to me.
WALLACE: Finally, on a happier note, you have a new book out. It’s called, “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas.”
Governor, you say there is a link between faith and freedom. Explain what you mean.
PALIN: It’s an inherent link, and our Founders knew that. They said that our government is — our Constitution for our government is written for a religious and world people, meaning you have to have a strong foundation of faith, believing in something greater than self and not be so selfish.
Otherwise, our Constitution isn’t going to do any good. There’s no need to follow a Constitution or a rule of law if you don’t have that foundation.
So, it’s very, very important that we protect the heart of Christmas, which then will protect the heart of America.
And it’s been a wonderful book tour; 21 cities thus far. And it is all about good tidings and great joy and amazing, amazing, inspiring, energetic people we’ve met along the trail, love them. And it’s a good book.
WALLACE: And, finally, what’s wrong with the idea of a business or a government at some level in an effort to be inclusive to people of all faiths, saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”?
PALIN: Well, there’s not a doggone thing that’s wrong with saying “Happy Holidays.” It’s like I say before Christmas, “Happy Hanukkah.” After Christmas, you can say “Happy Kwanzaa.” But as for Christmas itself, Jesus is the reason for the season. And Christ is the foundation of Christmas. So, to have a double standard, try to be applied to say, well, you just can’t say “Merry Christmas” or invoke God or Bethlehem or an angel when anything spiritual when it comes to actually that day, December 25th, Christmas, otherwise somebody may take offense, it’s a double standard, more hypocrisy, more nonsense, and I’m just saying no, we’re going to protect the heart of Christmas because Christ is what it’s all about.
WALLACE: Governor Palin. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to you and to all of the Palin family this year.
PALIN: Thank you so much. To you also.
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