FNC Panel: Dems Seem ‘Very Small’ on ISIS after Attacks; U.S. Hasn’t ‘Done Whatever It Takes’

A special Saturday edition of Fox News Channel’s Special Report aired due to the terror attacks 24 hours earlier in Paris with a panel of The Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayes, U.S. News & World Report’s David Catanese, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. 

Collectively, the panel had a variety of takes, ranging from slamming the Democratic presidential candidates for seeming “very small” after the attacks to observing that the U.S. has not “done whatever it takes” to stop ISIS. 

First up was Hayes, who initially pointed out how President Obama’s comments on Friday that ISIS had been “contained” finally “[caught] up with him” and was bound to cause issues for a President who has been making claims about terrorism being on the run “for years” going all the way back to just after taking office.

Catanese brought up the effect that the attacks will have on Saturday’s Democratic debate and slammed Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and Bernie Sanders for “look[ing] very small now” as “they have to tear up their pre-Paris debate plans and I think Hillary Clinton is in a very tough spot tonight” because “[s]he said just this week she would not put any American boots on the ground to deal with this.”

He then added: “Frankly, Sanders isn't in a great spot for this either. He doesn't talk about foreign policy very much and I think this will consume at least half of the debate tonight.”

After a commercial break, Krauthammer opined that the attacks by Islamic terrorists on the French is undoubtedly an unwise move:

The French, for all of our ridicule of their military prowess, are serious players in this war. They’re all over west Africa. They saved Mali. They got troops everywhere and when they get up set as they are now, they probably redouble the efforts. They might even be the ones who will push Obama into showing some leadership. 

Later on, Hayes alluded to the U.S. often “leading from behind” on Libya a few years back and it was instead France that “was the one making the broad push.” Going forward, he predicted that “the challenge for France” will be getting substantial support from the U.S.

It was following that that Hayes hammered the Obama administration for failing to do “everything it takes” to stop Islamic terrorism around the globe:

I mean, when you heard this from Hollande say we will lead this coalition. We will prosecute this war is whether the United States will truly follow. I mean, you heard from President Obama again yesterday said as he said repeatedly after this other attacks, we will do everything it takes to defeat this scourge of terrorism. We haven't done everything it takes and, you know, I think it is responsible to doubt that this will change anything and it will require great leadership from Francois Hollande. 

The relevant portions of the transcript from FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier on November 14 can be found below.

FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier
November 14, 2015
6:45 p.m. Eastern

STEVE HAYES: Well, look, you know, I think the President making comments like that as he has been now for many years eventually was going to catch up with him. I m you run the risk of ISIS expanding and conducting attacks in Paris, perhaps one day in the United States. We’ve heard this from the Obama administration for years. I mean, literally since the beginning of the President's term, even predating his term. Remember, there is a famous argument he gets in with David Petraeus about the reach of al-Qaeda in Iraq, which is the precursor to ISIS, so the President has been saying this for a long time. I think that's one of the reasons that this I think complicates Hillary Clinton's bid. I mean, she'll be fine in the Democratic primary, but she'll have to find a way to finesse a defense of the administration broadly and a defense particularly of her role as secretary of state with the growing unease, I think, in the American electorate that we aren't really safe and that this threat does continue. 

BRET BAIER: Yeah. Dave, is it fair to say that this event in Paris changes the dynamic completely for the 2016 race? 

DAVID CATANESE: I don't see how it doesn't and I think it's a shame that this Democratic debate is on a Saturday night competing with football, Iowa football, because I think it's going to be a fascinating event. Frankly, all week, you heard about Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders strategizing to hit Hillary on Keystone Pipeline or immigration. That looks very small now. I think they have to tear up their pre-Paris debate plans and I think Hillary Clinton is in a very tough spot tonight. She said just this week she would not put any American boots on the ground to deal with this. Will she put that on the table tonight and will O'Malley and Sanders hit them and frankly, Sanders isn't in a great spot for this either. He doesn't talk about foreign policy very much and I think this will consume at least half of the debate tonight. 

(....)

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Look, I think [David] Cameron is right about ISIS expanding. This has been a very good week for ISIS, or week and a half. An attack in Beirut. They were likely involved in the bringing down of an Russian airliner and now an attack on France. That is a lot of reach. Cameron is right. The question is why France in this attack? And I think they have a lot of objectives. The first, you have to ask yourself, why was a Syrian passport found near one of the bombers? They were all carrying suicide belts. They were all going to die. He didn't need it to go to an airport and get out of the country. I think it was a way to exacerbate the tensions inside Europe over the mass migration. Everybody is going to be screaming that they are — ISIS are going to use them as a way to infiltrate. So, that’s going to be a huge issue. Second, I think Waleed talked about this. They want the French government to go into the suburbs, the so-called no go suburbs where the writ of the government does not extend and to reoccupy them and that could be huge tension in France. Seven and half percent of the population is Muslim. The last objective, I think, is to get the French out of the air war and I think, in that respect, it’s is a miscalculation. The French, for all of our ridicule of their military prowess, are serious players in this war. They’re all over west Africa. They saved Mali. They got troops everywhere and when they get up set as they are now, they probably redouble the efforts. They might even be the ones who will push Obama into showing some leadership. 

(....)

HAYES: And if you remember, the original phrase, leading from behind, the description from an Obama administration to describe the administration’s approach in Libya. We were following France. I mean, France was the one making the broad push. I think the challenge for France — I mean, when you heard this from Hollande say we will lead this coalition. We will prosecute this war is whether the United States will truly follow. I mean, you heard from President Obama again yesterday said as he said repeatedly after this other attacks, we will do everything it takes to defeat this scourge of terrorism. We haven't done everything it takes and, you know, I think it is responsible to doubt that this will change anything and it will require great leadership from Francois Hollande. 

CATANESE: I was looking for signs from Capitol Hill. Where’s Congress going to go on this? And I saw a statement from Senator Diane Feinstein, a California Democrat, who came out sand said what we’re doing right now is not enough. Now, this is not a Republican. This is a Democrat that has pretty good credibility on both sides of the aisle. She put out a statement today not being specific about ground troops but she said the limited air strikes aren’t any longer enough. We need to ramp up. I think watching where congressional Democrats go this week is going to be fascinating.

Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Foreign Policy Europe Middle East Military War on Terrorism Surveillance Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Religion Islam Fox News Channel Special Report Video Government & Press Stephen Hayes Steve Hayes David Catanese President Obama President Barack Obama Charles Krauthammer Bret Baier Hillary Clinton Barack Obama Bernie Sanders Martin O'Malley
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