tv FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace FOX December 6, 2010 2:00am-3:00am PST
>> chris: i'm chris wallace, and this is "fox news sunday". tax cuts and the growing debt crisis. will the government take a bigger bite out of your paycheck in january? will congress find a way to cut the deficit? we talk to two key capitol hill players. the chairman of the senate budget committee, kent conrad. and one of the new house republican leaders jeb hensarling. then as the g.o.p. prepares to take control of the house, we'll ask former speakerer and possible presidential candidate newt gingrich about the changing balance of power in washington.
plus, president obama makes a surprise trip to afghanistan, as wikileaks revealed what u.s. officials really think of hamid karzai. we'll ask our sunday panel what happens next in the war there. and our power player of the week. a real-life dr. house trying to solve medical mysteries. all right now on "fox news sunday." and hello again from fox news in washington. with tax cuts and deficit reduction the hot topics in washington, we're joined by two members of the president debt commission. democrat kent conrad chairman of the senate budget committee, and from dallas, congressman jeb hensarling, one of the new house republican leaders. gentlemen, welcome back to "fox news sunday." senator conrad, let me start with you. you voted for the deficit commission plan which would cut $4 trillion by the year 2020 from the deficit. it didn't pass. but you are the chairman of
the senate budget committee. how much of this do you intend to put in your plan this next year and what do you think the president is going to do? >> what i think is necessary now that there be a summit that involves the president, and judd greg and i proposed this three years ago and designed it to the president's people were at the table. secretary of the treasury was the chairman. when we didn't get sufficient votes in the senate to advance that proposal, the president by executive order created this commission, but did not include his representatives. i think if we're going to reach conclusion, we have to have the leaders of the house and the senate, republican and democrat, and the president or his representatives at the table. i think that's the next logical step. >> chris: how much of this do you think could get through? >> i think a large part of it could get through. look, i would prefer to even go farther in deficit reduction in this package.
i think we need more than is provided for in this package. there is certainly a strong beginning. this cuts spending. $1.5 trillion in the next ten years. it has dramatic interest savings and puts social security on solvent course for the next 75 years. most importantly, it fundamentally reforms the tax system in this country that is so broken by eliminating or dramatically reducing exclusions and deductions to lower rates to help america be -- >> chris: let me ask quickly before bringing in congressman hensarling, have you told the white house of the idea of the summit or are you just telling us now? >> i've told them. >> chris: their response? >> i've told them and the leaders in the house and the senate and the leaders of the commission. >> chris: what does the president say? >> i've not talked to the president, but i've talked to his representatives. and they didn't give me a
reaction. we'll have to do a budget resolution, debt limit extension this year. i think it's critically important for the country that we send a signal that we are going to do something serious about the debt. we have borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend. that can't continue much longer. >> chris: congressman hensarling, let me bring you in. you were also a member of the panel, but you voted against the plan. what do you think of -- although, having said that, you say that you support a major portions of it. what do you think of the idea of a summit bringing everybody together and try to get a deal and act this year? >> i would endorse the idea. that i believe republicans are ready to have an adult conversation with anybody, wants to talk about saving our nation from the eventual bankruptcy. one good thing about the commission, number one, i think everybody left agreeing there is a crisis. the most foreseeable crisis in american history. second of all, i think it was
an adult bipartisan conversation, which frankly there hasn't been many. and somebody like senator conrad was a huge contributor to that. next, we clearly have had -- we have to have presidential leadership. i hope we get it from president obama. we need to do something very, very soon. as senator conrad said we are borrowing almost 40 cents on the dollar, much from the chinese and sending the bill to our children and grand children. that cannot be sustained. >> chris: congressman hensarling, let's take a look at what happened on the commission. all three house republicans voted against the plan, while all three senate republicans voted for it. senator coburn, known as dr. no said pass the plan, if you pass it by 14 of the 18 votes it would have forced congress to cut spending by
$4 trillion. this is what he said. >> the time for action is now. the threat is real. it's urgent. we cannot wait until another election. we can't wait until we get more of what we want. >> chris: congressman, didn't you waste a chance here to back up your rhetoric and force an up-or-down vote that may not have been perfect but would have made progress cutting the deficit this month? >> chris, definite is the symptom. spending is is the disease. there are a number of elements about the plan that i like but at the end of the day it still unfortunately represents $2 trillion tax increase on the american people and does not fundamentally address the key driver of the national fiscal crisis, and that is healthcare. yes, i want to do something soon. i have been working for eight
years since i came to congress. i have co-sponsored paul ryan's roadmap for america's future, solutions to ensure that the next generation doesn't have to have a lower standard of living. i think i could give senator coburn's closing speech and he probably could give mine. there is nothing magical about 14 votes. if the speaker and the senate majority leader want to bring the provision before the congress, they can. i will encourage them to do it. whether it received 18 votes, four vote or one vote, they have the power to bring it to the congress today. >> chris: i want to pick up on some of the objections that congressman hensarling has, because they represent what a lot of critics say. obviously, congressman hensarling speaks for the new republican majority that takes over in the house at the beginning of the year. first of all, he says, and a lot of republicans say that this plan, the deficit plan
would have increased revenue $2 trillion over the next decade. true or false? >> i don't agree with that assessment. it would have increased erevenue by the commission's estimates by $1 trillion over ten years. but how would it have done it. it would have done it by dramatically reducing tax expenditures using the vast majority of the money to lower tax rates to make america more competitive. including lowering the top corporate rate from 35% to 28%. which most economists say would help us be more competitive and help us create more jobs. >> chris: let me ask about the other aspect, this is a criticism you hear from a lot of people. this bill didn't get serious about the single biggest cause of government spending, which is healthcare. >> i really respectfully disagree on that as well. first of all, we have just done a healthcare reform bill that is going to reduce the deficit --
>> chris: there is disagreement about that. >> no, no, no. there is no disagreement by the official scorekeeper, cbo. >> chris: i understand. >> they say the healthcare reform bill will reduce the debt by $1 trillion in 20 years. it needs to have more done. this bill, this proposal from the commission does more. first of all, it deals with the most important thing most economists tell us, which is to change the tax treatment of healthcare, phasing out the deductions. >> chris: the number of tax exemptions. we're going to run out of time here and i want to get into taxes. congressman hensarling, your response on the revenue side and also about the healthcare? >> well, back to the commission plan and it depends on whose baseline you use, which is washingtonese for a huge set of assumptions. the commission decided to use the president's assumptions. we have respectfully disagree and believe it represents $2 trillion tax increase. be that as it may, yes, healthcare continues to be a
contentious debate in washington. i think it is instrucktive that the congressional budget office that probably gave the healthcare plan et cetera most growing score, did not change their long-term cost estimates. if you talk to the actuaries at the center for medicare and medicaid services, they actually say it will increase the national healthcare bill. so until we change the architecture from the healthcare plan passed by congress and reform medicare for future generations, grandfather all the grandparents, you just don't get there from here. i don't see road to fiscal sanity without doing that. although this plan of the commission does many great things with respect to trying to flatten the tax code, save social security for the next couple of generations, its fatal flaw is the failure to deal with the single largest driver of fiscal insanity,
that is our healthcare program. >> chris: let me move to the other big subject in washington right now. the deficit commission, we talk about cutting the deficit, there are enegotiations going on between president and congressional leaders of both parties about a compromise plan that would greatly increase the deficit. let's put it up on the screen. extenting all the bush tax cuts would add $115 billion to the deficit just in the first year. but the president is now threatening a veto unless congress also extends other tax cuts for lower income families and small businesses and extend jobless benefits for another year. the cost of all that would be $150 billion. add it up and we're talking about another $265 billion and more debt the first year and as much as $800 billion over two years. senator conrad, even in washington those are big
numbers. i know we have 9.8% unemployment for the last month. do you support the compromise and how do you square adding another quarter trillion dollars to deficit at the same time you're trying to reduce the deficit? >> what is clear, we have to think of the economy in two ways. short-term and longer term. the short-term, it's imperative we extent the tax cuts for the middle class, because the economic consequences of failure to extent the tax cuts are severe. we could see the economic growth cut in half. if the tax cuts, especially for those for the middle income people are not extented. we could see economic growth cut in half next year. it's simply got to be done. that doesn't take away from the fact we then have to pivot and have a longer-term plan to control the debt and bring it down. >> chris: congressman hensarling, as i laid it out, where you would have a temporary extension of all the tax cuts, but you would also extent at least for a year jobless benefits and
also some of the, if you will, obama tax cuts that were in his stimulus plan, could you accept that compromise? >> well, we'll have to see how the negotiations unfold. i think our position is quite clear. we don't want no tax increases on nobody. it's poor grammar but it's great economics. we have a spending problem in washington. cost of government averaged 20% of the economy and it's due to double. we don't need more taxes number one. taxes are already baked in the system. under c.b.o.'s analysis they are going to increase roughly 10 to 12% of the course of the next generation. >> chris: if i may -- >> spending that is due to double? yes? >> chris: let me ask another question went're almost out of time. some people say hey, look, republicans say if we're
going to extent unemployment benefit for people out of work for months, the government has to cover that, but they don't have to find a way to make up for the difference when you are going to extend all the benefits which is -- rather, all the bush tax cuts which will cost more. i take your point that allowing people to keep their money is a cost -- or is not a cost but it does have an effect on the deficit. >> i agree, but again, the definite is the symptom and spending is the disease. we're talking about preventing tax increases, something keynesian economists would warn against. we need spending restraint, not tax increase. >> chris: final 15 seconds to senator conrad. go ahead. >> the disease is the disease. the disease is a run-away debt. spending is the highist it's been in 25 years as share of the economy, or 50 years. revenue is the lowest it's been as a share of the
economy in 50 years. you have to work on both sides of the equation if you're going to control debt. >> chris: we have to leave it there. we want to thank you for coming in to discuss challenging you're facing. >> have a good day. >> thank you. >> chris: up next, as republicans prepare to take control of the house we talk about the changing balance of power and presidential politics with former speaker newt gingrich. logistics makes the world work better. ♪ when it's planes in the sky ♪ ♪ for a chain of supply, that's logistics ♪ ♪ when the parts for the line ♪ ♪ come precisely on time ♪ that's logistics ♪ ♪ a continuous link, that is always in sync ♪ ♪ that's logistics ♪
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>> chris: joining us now is former speaker of the house and possible presidential contender newt gingrich. welcome back to "fox news sunday." you've been through one of these big shifts of power in washington before back in 1995 when the republicans led by you took over the house. what advice do you have for speaker-to-be boehner? >> he is doing a good job. he's avoiding most of my mistakes. i give him higher marks than i'd give myself for the time
period. he has focussed on reform in the house and focussed on keeping his word to the american people. he's spoken on spending cuts. he understands jobs come first, controlling the deficit is second and repealing obamacare is third. he is a very discipline team leader. that's his back ground. he will be effective as the speaker. >> chris: you talk about the mistakes you made and he's not repeating them. conventional wisdom, i think it's fair to say, when you became speaker in '95 you tried to do too much. you say that's the wrong lesson and in fact, boehner and this new generation of house republicans should be even more aggressive. >> well, i would say i was too aggressive in public relations and too willing to lead with my chin in debating with the president. i thought was essential to fill a vacuum at the time. i think, i don't think boehner has to do that. what boehner should do is
decide what the voters led to a landslide, the biggest shift in house power since 1948, what is they really want? what does he owe them as a legitimate part of a free society? calmly and methodically get it done. he has so far. his reaction has been to try to get the president to understand there was an election, which the president still seems to be confused about and communicate in a calm way. if they don't pass the tax bill before the end of the month my guess is the republicans win the house will pass no tax increase on anyone, no later than the 15th of january. >> chris: you talk about the president and i want you to analyze this from his point of view. you said that the period between the midterm and the "state of the union" is the defining moment for this presidency. how so? >> look, every president can redefine themselves every 30
days. the presidency is powerful and central to the society presidents have huge ability to regenerate themselves. he has an opportunity to stop. i read david plouffe's book, i recommend highly. >> chris: the campaign manager -- >> back in the white house. i was impressed with it. a clear statement of what they did and what they were trying to accomplish. boy, there is such a gap between the clarity and focus of that campaign and the confusion of the presidency. my advice for the president consistently is slow down, take some time off and think. he just suffered a stunning defeat. he is behaving as if nothing has changed. it's the same baloney. nothing has changed. >> chris: let me ask you about that. i understand what pelosi and read did with passing, trying to pass tax cut extension for the middle class, which
obviously was something of a statement or a stunt but had no chance of really passing. on the other hand, in terms of the backroom negotiations, it does seem that the president is very close to a deal to extent all the tax cuts temporarily. you see him in his focus talking more about putting start and ratification of the start treaty ahead of "don't ask, don't tell" and the dream act for children of illegals. are those indications to you that maybe he is beginning to get it? is moving to the center? if so, does he need to worry about blowback from the left? >> he does have to worry about blowback from the left. he's caught in a dilemma, which bill clinton was faced with. i gave clinton a certain amount of cover because he could say to the left, "at least i'm not newt." he could sign healthcare reform and the left said fine, do whatever you have to, we just have to beat gingrich. but boehner is not going to
give him that cover. in fund me tall ways he's disappointing the left, afghanistan, immigration and host of other things. the challenge for the president is he either has to move to the center and work with republicans to enrage the left or pretend he's harry trueman and decide to take the congress head on for two years and have the left happy and hope he can make the case to the country. the challenge he's got, and i'm stunned with this friday morning. when you go up from 9.6 to 9.8% unemployment, and you pick class warfare over getting something done, you're taking an enormous risk with the country. the american people are not going to tolerate. if we're still at 9-10% unemployment in 2012 this is a one-term president no matter how articulate he is. >> chris: talk about the possible compromises on taxes that is out there. republicans have the leverage.
if they do nothing, if nothing happens, everybody's taxes will go up. democrats will get blamed and first order of business in the house is that republicans, the new majority will pass an extension as you say in the first weeks of january. given they have the leverage, should republicans accept a temporary extension as opposed to permanent extension? the president is now supposedly threatening a veto. should they agree, okay, we'll extend the unemployment benefits and some of your stimulus tax cuts? >> the number one challenge in america is jobs and paychecks. what republicans ought to do is say to people who create jobs, how many years does the tax code have to be extented for you to make an investment decision? the goal is not to have an annual extension of the current tax code and every business in the country trap and say i don't know, i want to make 20-year invest in the the factory. >> say the compromise were two years or three years,
would you sign on for that? >> there is a number. but i veed the business leader of the country describe the number. it wouldn't hard to do. go out and find out from -- if you have a small business, how much do you have to have security about future taxes, particularly when we didn't freeze obamacare. >> would you agree to extent unemployment benefits as part of the deal? >> i proposed since we spent $134 billion last year in unemployment we change the program to a worker training program and not give anybody mup for doing nothing. >> chris: if you were a member of the deficit commission, that put out the plan, $4 trillion from the deficit cut in the decade, would you have voted for it? >> no. wrong commission on the wrong topic. the number one topic is jobs. if you're at 4% unemployment you cut the deficit in half. i am against any tax increase
on capital gains or dive depped because it makes us less competitive with china, india and germany. >> chris: you would have had huge decrease in income rates -- >> but even if you accept liberal version it's $1 trillion tax increase. and if you listen to congressman hensarling, it's $2 trillion. i'm against the tax increases. the government is too big. i helped balance budget for four straight years and we did it while cutting taxes because we controlled spending. we didn't raise taxes on american people. >> chris: i have to talk 2012 politics with you, because that's what we do. you are dropping crumbs, like hansel and gretel, with the bread crumbs but it didn't work well because the birds ate the breadcrumbs. you may be going further but is it a tease? >> no. we'll make a decision at the end of february or march.
i think we recognize this is an enormous challenge. we think the country is faced with fundamental choices about our future and people and nation. >> chris: are you 50/50? >> no, we're much more inclined to run than not run. everything we've done in the last year talking to friends, thinking things through made us more inclined to believe it's doable. >> chris: how do you handicap the field? >> a lot of terrific contenders. romney is the front-runner. huck shuck in the polls. palin. you have to look to mitch daniels, tim pawlenty. >> chris: where are you? >> i'm in the list. mitt romney and mike huckabee are the front runner. >> chris: finally, how does
the white house handle wikileaks over the last year, because there has been a succession of the leaks? and if you were in charges, how would you handle julian assange and the website? >> first, i'm shaped by the fact that my father spent 27 years in the army. so i approach this very seriously. information warfare is warfare. julian assange is engaged in warfare. information terrorism, which leads to people getting killed is terrorism. and julian assange is engaged in terrorism. he should be treated as an enemy combatant and wikileaks should be closed down permanently and decisively. even more, how can we go through the last year and not figure out how did all the documents get released? who is responsible -- >> chris: we think we know. it's a private in iraq. >> how do you have a system so stupid? you and i have credit cards. if the credit card is used here and in belize the same day they call you and say gosh, were you really there?
you have a private first class who downloads a quarter million documents and the system doesn't say, oh, you may be over extented. this is a system so stupid it ought to be a scan of the first order. they're so shallow about security it's painful and dangerous. >> chris: speaker gingrich, always interesting to talk to you. please come back. >> i'll be back. >> chris: up next, sunday panel on debate over tax cut and the huge deficit. are the democrats and republicans in a mood to compromise? ♪ [ deb people don't just come to ge capital for money. they come to us for help. at ge capital, we've been financing taylor guitars for over eight years, helping them build a strong dealer network. bringing music to people... i like that. ♪ ♪
[ bob i didn't know you could play. i didn't either. ♪ i'm hugh jidette and i'm running for president. i'll say a lot of things but do i really care about this baby's future? when he's 30 years old our $13 trillion debt will be $70 trillion eventually his taxes will double just to pay the interest. i'm hugh jidette and i say let's keep borrowing and stick our kids with the tab.
in era of deficit to now is over. >> chris: that was debt commission cochair erskine bowles declaring that washington is ready to get serious about the growing debt crisis. time for the sunday group. former bush white house press secretary dana perino. nina easton from "fortune" magazine. former state department official liz cheney. and fox news political analyst juan williams. nina, as we said, the debt commission did not get the super majority it needed to pass and force an up or down vote to cut $4 trillion in the next decade. but is erskine bowles right? when you see everybody from a liberal like dick durbin on the left to a conservative like tom coburn on the right
supporting this, will congress support the plan? >> in the environment, that is political momentum. there is some momentum behind it that needs to move forward. but i think you cannot talk about the debt, chris, without also looking at what another piece of news that came out friday which was the unemployment. unemployment statistic. 9.8%. at a time when the economy is rebounding and retail sales and real estate, corporate profits are up. we have to start asking ourselves why is there a long-term unemployment. add to the debt extending unemployment benefit, fine. are we hitting our head against the wall constantly? job vacancies surged by 37% and up employment continues to go up. there is a mismatch between skills, training and the jobs that are open. a small disincentive on the part of some people to find jobs that aren't necessarily the jobs they want. we've got to start looking
more long-term, because when you create one way to go after the deficit is to create more revenues, as we talked about that. means creating more taxpayers. we've got to address that long-term unemployment problem. >> chris: but you also, dana, have a problem that you have spending at an all-time high and revenue at an all-time low. some say it's the economy, others say it's various tax cuts. what kent conrad a talked about is doing two things at one time. have a short-term stimulus coming from government programs or more importantly from the tax cuts, continuing the tax cuts and long-term deficit. do you agree with that? >> i do. i think that's what the senate is doing right now in talking to the white house, trying to figure out the compromise. i don't disagree with nina that you can't divorce short-term from the long-term to what they oar doing thousand and worried about what the grand kids will face in the future. on the debt commission, i thought it was interesting there was more support than expected.
they held off the vote. it's not a panacea and it's not all things to all people but what is interesting is how it has created innovation from other people. with all of that momentum, as nina said, there is a possibility. but whether president obama will make a severe pivot and stop head-butting penalties against the american benefit and job creators and i think that opportunity exists and it might be what they are talking about with the vice president last night. >> chris: i was going to say, liz, if the president is president is accepting and it seems like he will the so-called bush tax cut cans for two or three year, isn't that a significant pivot? it's also recognition of reality of the midterm elections. >> it is a significant pivot. as we go forward, the debt commission recommendations i
would applaud. i don't agree with all of them, i don't think anybody agrees with all of them but they add to the discussion. alan simpson and erskine bowles, both reminding people of the urgency of this is critical. one of the problems of the debt commission they expect the obama healthcare plan will continue. that is where republicans see cost savings, if we're able to repeal that. >> chris: but that isn't going to happen until at least 2013 with the new president. didn't they accept that because otherwise nothing gets done? >> i don't think so. i think frankly, you will see the republican congress after january, the house, anyway, begin to repeal some sections of it. obviously, the president has a veto. need the president republican to get the whole thing repealed but you can't just assume it's a given as a basis for going forward. the other interesting thing the commission did is
recognize how important is it to cut taxes and get the economy going. interesting that they recognize something at odds for the policy. need for fundamental tax reform, lowering the top rate. >> chris: juan? >> the president has cut taxes, payroll taxes and he wants to cut taxes for people earning less than $250,000. i think he -- couples earning less than the $250,000. with the majority of the american people, an a new poll is out indicating majority of the american people are exposed to extending tax cuts for more making more than $250,000. most republicans don't support it. they say extend the tax cuts for everyone permanently. it's just not true. so the president is not bargaining hard. people are saying this guy doesn't have a center. we're not clear what he stands for or what he is willing to do in the negotiations, even though,
okay, let's extend the tax cuts if you allow some of the tax credits that came out of the stimulus package to be working -- >> chris: and the unemployment benefit. >> okay. but standing by principle or saying the rich don't need another tax break, where is this president? that is the concern on the left. it understand what you're talk about on the right. the political reality is the republicans won this fight. >> it's not surprising that juan and i read different polls but one of the interesting things is you look at how the white house views taxes, and perhaps i'm a nerd, but i did watch austan goolsbee's whiteboard recently where he talks about not raising taxes as a gift. basically we cannot give the money to the american people because we have to borrow to do it. most americans out there say it's fundamentally backwards, that not raising taxes means you let people keep money they earn. as a government, you're in
the situation you can't let people keep their own money where you have to raise taxes or you have to borrow, the problem is a spending problem. not a tax problem. they'd like to see the government look at the revenue side of things and get the spending side of things to match up to that. >> chris: nina, i have been around the town a while. i just see us headed to the "state of the union" speech where this president will become the champion of deficit reduction. am i wrong? it seems to be an issue, when you have tom coburn to dick durbin supporting it, broad swath of the american political spectrum and it would be such a dramatic way for him to say i get it and i'm moving to the center. it would change his image as tax and spend traditional liberal democrat. >> you're having a 1995 flashback. >> chris: yes. you'd be surprised how often that happens. >> i think it would be a good, it would be -- i mean
he needs the next big ball in his court. he needs to go with the next big thing. spending, i think doing any program that involves spending, whether it involves energy spending program or so on is just a dead letter right now. i think the deficit, going after the deficit and using it as a basis to go after it is something that will earn him marks. >> chris: dana, last word, is that what you think they're headed? >> think back to last year's "state of the union" one thing he said in the rhetoric of the speech, "i'm going to focus like a laser beam on job creation." then they spent nine months working on healthcare. then they said they'd focus on job creation like laser beam. it's great for the "state of the union" but if you don't back it up by actions you leave people wanting more and more. >> chris: we have to take a break, he's but when we come back, president's trip to afghanistan. is he committed to victory there? fifteen percent or more on car insurance?
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we will never let this country serve as a safe haven for terrorists who would attack the united states of america again. that will never happen. >> chris: the commander-in-chief in a surprise trip to afghanistan friday telling u.s. troops success is within reach. we're back now with the panel. so, liz, there has been a lot of criticism from conservatives, i think it's fair to say, over the last year that the president was not committed to victory in afghanistan, that he talked in the speech a year ago when he announced the troop surge, 30,000 troops and next sentence talked about pulling troops out in july 2011. when you take the comments on this trip, we'll never allow the taliban to have a safe haven and you see what he said at nato, where he is talking about being there for four more years before we turn things over, are you convinced the president that's now is all in in afghanistan?
>> he is clearly moving in the right direction. we ought to praise him for visiting the troops. this is important thing for him to do and send message of support here. i was pleased to see the 2014 date out there you now as opposed to just the 2011 date. what i'd like to see, because i do believe that setting the 2011 deadline did cause damage to the effort, in terms of committing people who are committed to be there win. it'd like to see the president repudiate it and say let's be clear. we are going to make our decisions based on conditions on the ground. not on days we set back here in washington. that is important not just for what is happening in afghanistan but for the pakistanis to hear it as well. so they understand it's not this their interest at all to help support, and provide safe havens to extent taliban has safe haven in afghanistan. i'd like to see the president stay conditions based and not deadline set. it has to be a
full-fledged -- >> she is pleased he is moving in the right direction. it seems to me he's done everything you could ask in terms to of the bush-cheney agenda for afghanistan. so i am surprised that this wonderful sunday morning you can't say go, president obama, you've done a wonderful job. >> i know you'd fall out of your chair if i said that. >> give credit where credit is due. republicans don't like to say when the president has done something -- >> do you think it's a good idea to be in afghanistan four more years? >> no, i don't. i don't. but you have to get the job done. i'm admiring of the fact yes, he said to the troops, we have political debate. they may disagree, but in america, everybody is behind the young people out there fighting the war this morning. the idea this is an extending war, issues at home and time it's not clear that we should be engaged in nation building, that is a problem point. >> chris: let me just, because i need to move on.
one thing that the president said in afghanistan we're breaking the momentum of the taliban, that we are now on offense. you follow this closely in your time as white house press secretary. is it your sense that the surge is working and under general petraeus we're making progress? >> you hit the nail on the head. one of the best decisions obama has made is asking petraeus to go back to war effort about lead troops in afghanistan. i don't think he would have said what he said in afghanistan, if he wasn't hearing that from general petraeus. if that wasn't the idea he was given. general petraeus is a very frank advice-giver and he would not have put the president in a position to say that if he didn't think that momentum was on his side. i think the 2014 date was probably something that general petraeus helped president obama come to. there 2011 date hurt but the tough talk president obama had was good for karzai and
taliban and the allies to hear. >> chris: nina, let me pivot a little bit. we have had a document dump from wikileaks over the last week, quarter million state department cables. specifically on afghanistan, we hear american diplomats talking about how rampantly corrupt it is and karzai, how unstable he is. can we succeed in the war if the afghan partners are unreliable? >> if you talk to people in the middle, we don't have a choice. the options aren't there. corruption of karzai is something that the government has known. we've known, basically nun, but the wikileaks of course brought it home to the public. this is where the president has the biggest political challenge moving forward. showing the american public we have also, we have to
commit to the war in spite of karzai, not with his help. we hear it from the president in lisbon a couple weeks ago when he did the tough talk to karzai. this isn't helping the war effort. he has been willing to come out up front and stand up to karzai, but i don't think the options from what i understand talking to people in the middle of this, there aren't a lot of good options out there. >> chris: but liz, is this just an obstacle? or is this a fatal, perhaps fatal problem? if we are extending blood to gain territory and we turn those areas over to afghan government incapable of governing, that's a problem. >> there is a difference between corrupt and capable of governing. it's important to fight corruption and put programs to increase transparency. we do that. >> chris: they also talk about the fact we clear an
area and supposedly bring government in a box and there is no governance. . >> that is clearly part of the counterinsurgency strategy that general petraeus put in place. the basis of the countersecurity is you have to provide security to have a governance, government in place. >> chris: do you think karzai can do the job? >> we're seeing progress and a situation where the taliban no longer has as many places to hide. general petraeus' strategy is working and it's important that we keep an eye on the primary objective, and not allow taliban to get a safe haven. to do what juan say, this is too hard, let's walk away -- >> i didn't say that. >> ignores what happened in the 19840s and '90s when we had a victory and we did walk away. we have to make it work. as flawed as the situation in afghanistan may be it's light
years better than safe haven. >> karzai is not stable partner. it's question to sell our efforts at home and to the afghan people. they say that petraeus strategy is not legitimate, it disrupts the lives of afgh afghan and i don't think he is good partner for petraeus or american -- >> they disagree with you. petraeus -- >> [ overtalk >> i don't know that we have an alternative. we have to stay in there and i didn't say pull out immediately but we have to stop al-qaeda from coming back to the country. >> chris: i'm glad we solved all of that. thank you, panel. see you next week. don't forget to check out panel plus where the group picks up with the discussion on the website foxnewssunday.com. we'll post it before noon eastern time. up next, the power player of the week.
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the week. >> patients have been to many other places and have been through a lot of testing and haven't come to a diagnosis. >> it's still a mystery. >> for sure. >> chris: william gahl is the director of the undiagnosed diseases program at the national institute of health. his team is often the last hope for people with baffling illnesses. >> critical element in accepting patients whether we think it's a new disorder, a true medical mystery and whether we think we have a clue to pursue additional investigations. >> chris: all this may remind you of another famous doctor. >> stop hiding. i'm asking you if you want to live or die. you can't even say that. >> what do you want me to do? cry? >> yes. >> >> chris: you have been compared to tv's dr. house. how do you plead? >> not guilty. i'm not drug dependent except for caffeine.
i'm not a sociopath. >> chris: another big difference, real life is more complicated. >> the final stage of apromythetis, it's possible it wouldn't show on smears. >> we take years and still fail and he's always successful in an hour. >> chris: the numbers tell the story. 1600 people have applied since the program started 2-1/2 years ago. only 300 have been accepted. when dr. gahl meets a new patient, he doesn't sugar coat the odds. >> you know we're not very successful. our success rate is 20% or so. >> chris: that is the patients they're able to diagnose. they find treatments for only one or two of 100. >> excellent! >> chris: 4-year-old caden came to the program with enlarged liver and suffering from seizures. >> sometimes there can be a relationship between liver disease and neurological
disease. >> chris: people spend a week at n.i.h., undergoing a series of tests and seeing different specialists, all research funded by the taxpayer. even if they can't find a cure, gahl says, by studying rare diseases they learn to treat common illnesses. then there is a human side. >> it's been a long journey. we waited 31 years to come here. >> chris: for patients who spent years unable to find out what is making them sick. >> nobody has ever been able to tell me exactly what the problem is. >> they're just glad that they now know what it is. even if the diagnosis made the prognosis terrible, they'd still rather know than not know. >> chris: as we talk, dr. gahl grew emotional about a reality far more gripping than anything on tv. >> patients are dying. there isn't a damn thing i can do about it most of the time. >> chris: so when you can?
when you can even reach out to them? >> that's when we have to think about and not think so much about the times we fail. >> chris: dr. gahl says one big advantage his patients have when they come for testing is he doesn't have to get insurance approval for anything, since the government picks up the tab he says he can do all the tests in one week that might take a year in the real world. that's it for today. next sunday, our guests will include supreme court justice stephen breyer. have a great week. we'll see you next "fox news sunday." captioned by closed captioning services, inc