tv Happening Now FOX News October 15, 2015 8:00am-9:01am PDT
tomorrow, and we'll go over what the president has to say, no doubt afghanistan will be in the news throughout the afternoon, and we will see you back here on a friday. have a good day, everybody. jenna: fox news alert on two very big stories developing right now. we're awaiting that announcement from the president on his decision to keep troops in afghanistan after next year while at the same time we're expecting the israeli prime minister to also speak during our hour on the recent wave of deadly attacks in his country. that's also a very big story. hello and welcome to "happening now," i'm jenna lee. jon: emphasizing it remains a dangerous world, i'm jon scott. president obama expected to speak shortly from the roosevelt room at the white house announcing he plans to keep more than 5,000 troops in afghanistan beyond 2016 and beyond his last day as president, leaving the nation's longest-ever war to his successor. right now we have nearly 10,000 troops in country. the president wanted to draw that force down by the end of next year to a small presence based at the u.s. embassy. the pentagon arguing against
that timeline because of the resurgence of the taliban and the new threat from islamic state fighters in afghanistan. meanwhile, we are also standing by for a news conference from israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu as his country deploys troops to try to defend against attacks by palestinian terrorists. jenna: a lot going on. we have live fox team coverage with copp no powell -- conor powell reporting from jerusalem, but we're going to begin with kevin corke on the president's decision. >> reporter: jenna and jon, good morning to you. make no be mistake about it, this is a departure from the desire of this white house which was, as you pointed out, to absolutely end operations in afghanistan save for a skeleton crew, if you will, of about a thousand troops in and around kabul. that is not the condition that is happening on the ground there, and that's why you're seeing this departure. we expect to hear from the president mow momentarily, he sd be joined, we are told, by the joint chiefs of staff chairman
and vice president joe biden. i want to show you a graphic that lays out what's happening here. 5,500 troops will remain in afghanistan into the end of 2016 and beyond into 2017 and, again, that is a departure from the thousand or so troops they had hoped to leave on the ground, a major shift for american policy. there are a lot of people who are talking about this and, frankly, many of them felt like this is the wise thing to do even before the president made this decision. john mccain, senator from arizona, in fact, among them. let me show you what he is saying about the president's decision. he says 5,500 troops will only be adequate to conduct either the counterterrorism or train and advise mission but not both. our military commanders have said that both are critical to prevent afghanistan from spiraling into chaos. so what's the long and short message here? the long message is despite all intentions from this white house, the war in afghanistan continues, and troops will remain there into the thousands into 2017. that is not what the president wanted. he'll explain what all that means.
and the short message is this: there is no combat mission for these troops. that's still exactly what they're telling us. this is not combat-related. this is train aring, this is security, and that's what he's going to tell us in a few moments. jenna: kevin, thank you very much. that is important to emphasize. we're going to hear from the president in about a minute now. president obama hoped his legacy would include ending this war and bringing those troops home. this decision insures that's not going to happen during his administration in spite of many remarks over the past two years promising steep troop withdrawals and declaring that the afghan war is over. >> several years ago we had more than 100,000 troops in afghanistan. today fewer than 10,000 troops remain on a mission to train and assist afghan forces. we'll continue to bring 'em home and reduce our forces further down to an embassy present by the -- presence by the end of next year.
tonight for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in afghanistan is over. by the end of this year, the transition will be complete, and afghans will take full responsibility for their security, and our combat mission will be over. america's war in afghanistan will come to a responsible end. with afghan forces now in the lead for their own security, our troops have moved to a support role. together with our allies, we will complete our mission there by the end of this year, and america's longest war will finally be over. jenna: we have some great guests to go over what the president has to say in just a moment, but let's listen to the president now and these historic remarks. >> more than 13 years after our nation was attacked by al-qaeda on 9/11, america's combat mission in afghanistan came to a responsible end. that milestone was achieved thanks to the courage and the skill of our military, our intelligence and civilian personnel.
they served there with extraordinary skill and valor, and it's worth remembering especially the more than 2,200 american patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice in afghanistan. i visited our troops in afghanistan last year to thank them on behalf of a grateful nation. i told them they could take great pride in the progress that they helped achieve. they struck devastating blows against the al-qaeda leadership in the tribal regions, delivered justice to osama bin laden, prevented terrorist attacks and saved american lives. they pushed the taliban back so the afghan people could reclaim their communities, send their daughters to school and improve their lives. our troops trained afghan forces so they could take the lead for their own security and protect afghans as they voted in historic elections leading to the first democratic transfer of power in their country's
history. today american forces no longer patrol afghan villages or valleys. our troops are not engaged in major ground combat against the taliban. those missions now belong to afghans who are fully responsible for securing their country. but, as i've said before, while america's combat mission in afghanistan may be over, our commitment to afghanistan and its people endures. as commander in chief, i will not allow afghanistan to be used as safe haven for terrorists to attack our nation again. our forces, therefore, remain engaged in two narrow but critical missions; training afghan forces and supporting counterterrorism operations against the remnants of al-qaeda. of course, compared to the 100,000 troops we once had in afghanistan, today fewer than
10,000 remain in support of these very focused missions. i meet regularly with my national security team including commanders in afghanistan to continually assess, honestly, the situation on the ground to determine where our strategy is working and where we may need greater flexibility. i've insisted consistently that our strategy focus on the development of a sustainable afghan capacity and self-sufficiency, and when we've needed additional forces to advance that goal, where we've needed to make adjustments in terms of our timetables, then we've made those adjustments. today i want to update the american people on our efforts. since taking the lead for security earlier this year, afghan forces have continued to step up. this has been the first fighting season where afghans have largely been on their own, and they are fighting for their country bravely and tenaciously.
afghan forces continue to hold most urban areas, and when the taliban has made gains -- as in kunduz -- afghan forces, backed by coalition support, have been able to push them back. this has come at a very heavy price. this year alone thousands of afghan troops and police have lost their lives as have many afghan civilians. at the same time, afghan forces are still not as strong as they need to be. they are developing critical capabilities; intelligence, logistics, aviation, command and control. and meanwhile, the taliban has made gains, particularly in rural areas, and still launch deadly attacks in cities including kabul. much of this was predictable. we understood that as we transitioned that the taliban would try to exploit some of our movements out of particular
areas and that it would take time for afghan security forces to strengthen. pressure from pakistan has resulted in more al-qaeda coming into afghanistan, and we've seen the emergence of an isil presence. the bottom line is in be key areas of the country, the security situation is still very fragile, and in some places there's risk of deterioration. fortunately, in president ghani and chief executive abdullah there is a national unity government that supports a strong partnership with the united states. during their visit earlier this year, president ghani and i agreed to continue our counterterrorism cooperation, and he has asked for continued support as afghan forces grow stronger. following consultations with my entire national security team as well as our international partners and members of congress, president ghani and chief executive abdullah, i'm
therefore announcing the following steps which i am convinced offer the best possibility for lasting progress in afghanistan. first, i've decided to maintain our current posture of 9,800 troops in afghanistan through most of next year, 2016. their mission will not change. our troops will continue to pursue those two narrow tasks that i outlined earlier; training afghan forces and going after al-qaeda. but maintaining our current posture through most of next year rather than a more rapid drawdown will allow us to sustain our efforts to train and assist afghan forces as they grow stronger. not only during this fighting season, but into the next one. second, i've decided that instead of going down to a normal embassy presence in kabul by the end of 2016, we will
maintain 5,500 troops at a small number of bases including at bagram, jalalabad in the east and in the south. again, the mission will not change. our troops will focus on training afghans and counterterrorism operations. but these bases will give us the presence and the reach our forces require to achieve their mission. in this sense, afghanistan is a key piece of the network of counterterrorism partnerships that we need from south asia to africa to deal more broadly with terror threats quickly and prevent attacks against our homeland. third, we will work with allies and partners to align the steps i'm announcing today with their own presence in afghanistan after 2016. in afghanistan we are part of a 42-nation coalition, and our nato allies and partners can continue to play an
indispensable role in helping afghanistan strengthen its security forces including respect for human rights. and finally, because governance and development remain the foundation for stability and progress in afghanistan, we will continue to support president ghani and the national unity government as they pursue critical reforms. new provincial governors have been appointed, and president ghani is working to combat corruption, strengthen institutions and uphold rule of law. as i told president ghani and chief executive abdullah yesterday, efforts that deliver progress and justice for the afghan people will continue to have the strong support of the united states. and we cannot separate the importance of governance with the issues of security. the more effective these reforms happen, the better off the security situation's going to be.
we also discussed american support of an afghan-led reconciliation process. by now it should be clear to the taliban and all who oppose afghanistan's progress the only real way to achieve the full drawdown of u.s. and foreign troops of afghanistan is through a lasting political settlement with the afghan government. likewise, sanctuaries for the taliban and other terrorists must end. next week i'll host prime minister sharif of pakistan, and i will continue to urge all parties in the region to press the taliban to return to peace be talks and to do their part in pursuit of the peace that afghans deserve. in closing, i want to speak directly to those whose lives are most directly affected by decisions i'm announcing today, to the afghan people who have suffered so much. americans' commitment to you and
to a secure, stable and unified afghanistan, that remains firm. our two nations have forged a strategic partnership for the long term, and as you defend and build your country, today is a reminder that the united states keeps our commitments. and to our men and women in uniform, i know this means that some of you will rotate back into afghanistan. with the end of our combat mission, this is not like 2010 when nearly 500 americans were killed and many more were injured but still afghanistan remains dangerous. twenty-five brave americans have given their lives there this year. i do not send you into harm's way lightly. it's the most solemn decision that i make. i know the wages of war and the wounded warriors i've visited in the hospital and in the grief of gold star families.
but as your commander in chief, i believe this mission is vital to our national security interests in preventing terrorist attacks against our citizens and our nation. and to the american people, i know that many of you have grown weary of this conflict. as you are well aware, i do not support the idea of endless war, and i have repeatedly argued against marching into open-ended military conflicts that do not serve our core security interests. yet given what's at stake in afghanistan and the opportunity for a stable and committed ally that can partner with us in preventing the emergence of future threats and the fact that we have an international coalition, i am firmly convinced that we should make this extra effort. in the afghan government, we have a serious partner who wants our help. and the majority of the afghan
people share our goals. we have a bilateral security agreement to guide our cooperation. and every single day afghan forces are out there fighting and dying to protect their country. they're not looking for us to do it for them. i'm speaking of the afghan army cadet who grew up seeing bombings and attacks on innocent civilians who said because of this i took the decision to join the army to try and save innocent people's lives. or the police officer training to diffuse explosives. i know it's dangerous work, he says, but i've always had a dream of wearing the uniform of afghanistan and serving my people and defending my country. or the afghan commando, a hardened veteran of many missions, who said if i start telling you the stories of my life, i might start crying. he serves, he said, because the faster we bring peace, the faster we can bring education
and the strong arer our unity will -- strong arer our unity will grow. only if these things happen will afghanistan be able to stand up for itself. my fellow americans, after so many years of war afghanistan will not be a perfect place. it's a poor country that will have to work hard on its development. there will continue to be contested areas. but afghans like these are standing up for their country. if they were to fail, they would endanger the security of us all. and we've made an enormous investment in a stable afghanistan. afghans are making difficult but genuine progress. this modest but meaningful extension of our presence, while sticking to our current, narrow
missions, can make a real difference. it's the right thing to do. may god bless our troops and all who keep us safe, and may god continue to bless the united states of america. >> mr. president, can you tell us how -- [inaudible] >> this decision's not disappointing. continually, my goal has been to make sure that we give every opportunity for afghanistan to succeed while we're still making sure that we're meeting our core missions. and as i've continually said, my approach is to assess the situation on the ground, figure out what's working, figure out what's not working, make adjustments where necessary. this isn't the first time those adjustments have been made, this won't probably be the last. what i'm encouraged by is the fact that we have a government
that is serious about trying to deliver security and the prospects of a better life for the afghan people. we have a clear majority of the afghans who want to partner with us and the international community to achieve those goals. we have a bilateral security arrangement that insures that our troops can operate in ways that protect them while still achieving their mission. and we've always known that we had to maintain a counterterrorism operation in that region in order to tamp down any reemergence of active al-qaeda networks or other networks that might do us harm. so this is consistent with the overall vision that we've had and, frankly are, -- frankly, we anticipated as we were drawing down troops there would be times we might need to slow things
down or fill gaps in afghan capacity, and this is a reflection of that x. it's a dangerous area. so part of what we're constantly trying to balance is making sure that afghans are out there, they're doing what they need to do, but that we are giving them a chance to succeed and that we're making sure that our force posture in the area for conducting those narrow missions that we need to conduct, we can do so relatively safely. there are still risks involved, but force protection, the ability of our embassies to operate effectively, those things all factor in. so we've got to constantly review these approaches. the important thing i want to emphasize, though, is that the nature of the mission has not changed, and the cessation is of our combat role has not changed. now, the 25 military and civilians who were killed last year, that always weighs on my
mind, and 25 deaths are 25 too many. particularly for the families of the fallen. i understand relative to what was involved when we were in an active combat role and actively engaged in war in afghanistan was a very different scenario. so here you have a situation where we have clarity about what our mission is, we've got a partner who wants to work with us. we're going to continually make adjustments to insure that we give the best possibilities for success, and i suspect that we will continue to evaluate this going forward as will the next president. and as conditions improve, we'll be in a condition to make further adjustments. but i'm absolutely confident this is the right thing to do, and i'm not disappointed because my view has always been how -- how do we achieve our goals
while minimizing the strain and exposure on our men and became in uniform -- and women in uniform and make sure we are constantly emphasizing to the afghan people this is their country, and they've got to defend it. but we're going to be a steady parter partner for them. thank you, everybody. jenna: the president taking a bit of a surprise question, answering a journalist who asked are you disappointed? the president as early as 2009 was really talking about ending the war in afghanistan and had repeatedly laid out his plan to do so ministration. so this is a change. 9,800 troops with two narrow taskings as the president describes it, training the afghan forces and supporting counterterrorism operations, not being in any sort of combat role. a lot to talk about here. we're going to bring in lieutenant colonel tony be schafer, senior fellow at the london center for policy research. he conducted cross-border raids into pakistan -- from pakistan into afghanistan back in 2003.
and mike to to hand land also -- mike o'hanlon, director of foreign policy research for the brookings institution. you both spent some time in the country from very different perspectives. so that's going to really add to the conversation we're going to have now. lieutenant colonel, what do you think of the mission as the president has laid it out? >> this is absolutely the right way to go. we've got to focus on the reconciliation process. the president brought that up. we cannot do that for them. i've talked about this, my book operation darkheart, this is very much like the northern ireland process where you have two elements of the same religion, in this case two tribes, two elements of the same tribe fighting each other. and we've really got to do the job of helping that go in that direction. the president's correct also in main a towning the anti-terrorism mission. -- maintaining the anti-terrorism mission. we are at, i would say, the sweet spot right now, about 10,000 troops with an offensive mission. and let me be clear on this, the
troop level has never been relevant. the issue has always been what are the mission of our troops there, what are they doing? being there to essentially stop isis is going to be very critical. isis is now in about ten provinces in afghanistan, they're controlling about seven. this is a critical issue. as well as the fact that we don't want al-qaeda coming back. and i think a real quick shoutout here, we see general campbell on the ground in afghanistan hitting all the right marks, doing the right job, and general joe dunford just took over as chairman of the joint chiefs. he was commander on the ground up until last year. i think we have the right men at the right time doing the right things to actually, i think, get us a win out of the situation. jenna: mike, when you talk to combat veterans sometimes describe what they're reading of the president -- this was earlier today before this announcement -- as a band-aid on a gaping chest wound. they really don't feel that 10,000 troops is going to make a difference and don't like the fact they are in the same role of just training and doing some counterterrorism. what about that number of 10,000? is it really enough to make a difference, and has our mission
so far in those efforts been successful enough to want to invest and continue them? >> well, first of all, jenna, thanks for having me on. i agree with the colonel. i think there were a lot of good things we heard from president obama today. the policy, i think, that he announced is generally correct. i thought it was an excellent speech. 5,500 troops a year from now may, indeed, be too small, but i'm more encouraged by the fact that we're not going to rush down to that number, and we're going to preserve a physical infrastructure with the three key bases the president talked about; bagram, jalalabad which is in the east, these are some of the areas the colonel may have been fighting a decade ago, and kandahar in the south. this gives us a lot of capability across the full spectrum of intelligence, training, counterterrorism. and there also is one more mission. the president didn't mention this, but it's obvious from the recent activity in kunduz including the bombing of the hospital, we are occasionally coming to the help of afghan
forces when they are in a pinch in tough tactical fights. i think we should continue to do that. the president doesn't like to talk about that, butst actually something we're doing, and i think we're doing. 5,500 may be too few, i take them seriously. we should have that debate, but the good news is if you preserve this infrastructure, you've got flexibility and so will the next president. i think that range of up to 10,000 troops is actually a very formidable and appropriate capability going forward. jenna: tony, why do you think this makes us safer today? >> two reasons. first, we recognized before 9/11 that the al-qaeda folks were able to use the taliban in afghanistan as a base for operations. there's no reason to believe that won't happen again. al-qaeda has moved back into pakistan based on discussions with intelligence experts. with that said though, we have to recognize we can't be everywhere and do everything for the afghans.
this is where our focus on anti-terror with a 10,000-man force -- when i was there in 2003, we were very effective. we were winning the war by the fact we had a very low footprint. the afghans were mostly in charge of what was going on, and i think that's the right answer here. the right answer is to push them into the front, and i agree with michael. the kunduz thing, while tragic, is exactly how we should be fighting the war. the hospital getting hit is bad, but us working with the afghans, them in the lead, us supporting them on the periphery is the right way to go. it's their country. and, again, we cannot abandon our interests because we don't want that safe haven again, but at the same time we have to push them forward to reconciling with the taliban and moving forward with their own progress. jenna: michael, a two-part question, and i always do this to you, i apologize. i'm curious if you could comment a little bit about what tony just said about why this makes us safer when it feels that the threats to the united states are in syria, why do we keep investing troops in afghanistan?
take us out beyond just a year, take us ten years. will we still have 10,000 troops on the ground in afghanistan? is that the scenario we're in at this point? >> on the second question, we might be still near 10,000 or at least, let's say, the 5,500 number the president envisions as the goal. we might be. and, frankly, i think the magnitude of the global jihadist threat with now isil joining the ranks is serious enough that we may just have to recognize we are in a long war, a generational war. and we can do that with pieces of presence around the world that are a few thousand troops here and there, fundamentally that's an affordable cost. i mean, it's tragic when we lose people, it's more than any of us would like to see. but in the grand scheme of a major geostrategic challenge to our country's security, i would support it even ten years from now if it were still necessary. obviously, that depends on circumstances, so please have me back in 2025, and we'll talk about it then. [laughter] jenna: i will.
>> as for syria, you make a fair point, but we need to ramp up our role in syria. we're not doing enough now. the president's policy there is not as successful as it's been in afghanistan even though afghanistan itself is still a passable one, i think we should try to preserve that relative progress. in syria we have no such real progress to report. we need a much-invigorated capability, but i don't see this as either/or. we've got to have policies that are tailored to each country's conditions, and we're going to have to wage this broader conflict on multiple fronts. jenna: it'll be interesting. this is -- i don't want to say a riding scale, but the president in conceding to do this perhaps does become more aggressive in other parts of the world. it's hard to know at this point, but it'll be interesting to see what goes on from here. tony and michael, great to have you both. appreciate your perspective. certainly more on this today. and, jon, you know, our show's unique because we have both sent people that we love to war over the last decade. and although we can certainly
debate the foreign policy ramifications of all of this, there's a lot of families that are listening to what the president has to say today and wondering what does this really mean for us? what does it mean for us not only as a country, but also as a family. we can't forget that. jon: it does bring that hope. jenna: it does. jon: coming up, we'll be talking with another one of our fox news military analysts, major general bob scales -- now retired from the army -- what he heard in the president's remarks. also some politics. there will be, this war will be left to the president's successor, so let's talk about some possibilities here. hillary clinton and her strong debate performance, how that might have hurt president -- i'm sorry, vice president joe biden's chances of winning the nomination if he should decide to run for president. and from insiders to outsiders, donald trump and ben carson way out in front of the gop field in a new fox poll. what it means for all of those other candidates. we also want to hear from you. do you agree with the president's decision to keep
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war was at hand and he was bringing it to a responsible end. he says he will leave 9800 troops on the ground through the end of 2016 and a smaller force beyond that. what does it all mean? major general bob scales is a fox news military analyst. when you heard the president's words, as a military man, general scales, what comes to mind? >> obviously the president made the right decision here and for three reasons. first of all was the marginal performance of the afghan forces in northern province in kunduz trying to take back that city. second as tony said, surprising appearance of isis in seven provinces. this was never foreseen until about a year ago. the other thing from a soldier's perspective, jon, remember, in afghanistan the campaign season, the fighting season goes from april till october. it literally just ended. starts in april when the mountain passes open.
it would be a tragedy to have less than a full compliment of soldiers on the ground in afghanistan when the taliban starts its new offensive around the cities. so to have draw down from 9800 in 2016, would have opened up the afghan, to in my opinion at least, tragic consequences, jon. jon: 9800. is that enough? >> no, of course not. many more are needed but that's all the administration is willing to send. so what's important for general john campbell is to take that 9800 and use it in the most optimal fashion he can which includes three things. advise, assist, train, counterterrorism. that is euphemism for using delta seal team six and rangers to go out and kill terrorists. third, to provide some semblance of backbone, infrastructure, helicopters, logistics,
intelligence, command and control. all of those things, even 13 years into this the afghans are not capable of doing. we have to backstop them, otherwise, the danger is as the new campaign season starts the afghans will be in real trouble, jon. jon: general bob scales, you will joins in the next hour of "happening now." we will have more questions for you then. thanks for being here now. ♪ jenna: hillary clinton getting high marks in the media for her debate performance as vice president biden continues to consider whether he will run for president. political insiders say her strong showing that biden missed opportunity to jump in the race earlier. article in the "wall street journal" quote, a polished performance from hillary clinton in the first democrat presidential debate serve ad noticeable shift in the party, with many democrats saying mr. biden might have missed his moment and might find little room to manuever in the primary field. the white house feeling debate
aftershocks as well. josh earnest responded to comments that the clinton camp may be pressuring the vice president to speed up his decision. >> they run their own campaign. they can apply pressure or take it away wherever they feel warranted. i'm confident the vice president will do what he set out to do, make a intensely personal consideration based on his own considerations. jon: joining us, larry sabato, director of politics at the university of virginia. so, larry, if the vice president was looking for a reason to jump into this race, and a lot of people said he would evaluate hillary clinton's performance in the debate the other night, did he find that reason to jump in in this debate? >> no, he didn't find any reason. i think the democrats generally were pleased with how hillary clinton performed. for that matter bernie sanders supporters were pleased with his performance. of course it was one night, jon. that was tuesday.
here we are thursday and we've just seen another new issue reinjected into this campaign, afghanistan. and so, you just never know what's going to change the landscape on any given day and we're too inclined to think when you have a debate like tuesday night, somehow it is the most important thing that ever happened or ever will happen and it set the table for the rest of the campaign and that's not true. jon: one of the issues that really didn't get mentioned that much during the debate the benghazi tragedy. there is a new fox poll out in which 60% of americans say hillary clinton has been dishonest with americans on benghazi. you know what happened that night, her knowledge of it, her reaction to it and all of that. if you have got 60% thinking a candidate is dishonest on an issue, you can have great debates all you want but you still could have a tough road trying to occupy the oval
office. >> yes and october 22nd is a date that ought to be circled twice in everybody's political calendar. it may be more critical to hillary clinton's chances and maybe joe biden's decision to run or not run than that debate was. october 22nd, when hillary clinton appears before the benghazi committee. jon: that is exactly right. she will be testifying in public, seems to be eager to do so according to her, statements the other night during that debate. what about bernie sanders? he went in as the challenger? how did he do in forcing his position? >> i don't subscribe to the conventional wisdom which said somehow sanders blew it by being eased toward hillary clinton. his supporters. people say, well, he didn't broaden his appeal. i don't know that you necessarily use a debate to broaden your appeal. just in general, jon, we criticize candidates constantly
for being too negative and always attacking one another. so bernie sanders not only didn't attack, he praised and gave an opening to one of his opponent. maybe we ought to salute him for that? jon: let's talk a little bit about the gop field. also that new fox poll show outsiders on top there, 24% of republican voters prefer donald trump to be their nominee. dr. ben carson just 1% behind him at 23%. statistically, as you know, larry, that is a tie. the other current officeholders, cruz, rubio, former governor bush back behind them, well behind them, really, 10, 9, and 8%. i guess, larry, just as is true on the democratic side we have a long way to go until the election and these numbers could change? >> yes, you've already given my answer jon, so i don't know what to say. jon: you say it better than i do. >> i would point out one thing
to people, no, i think it is critical to remember something. how is this cycle different than 2012? probably 100 ways, but a way nobody has ever mentioned. it has been moved back a month. remember the last cycle started right after new year's day in iowa and then new hampshire. now i think the republicans and democrats did a smart thing, moving it back to february. so we have got an extra month of cushion in the new year and my guess is, whatever ways it goes, people are going to reconsider their initial choices in that key month of january because the voting is right there. they have to make a real decision not, a decision they tell pollsters. jon: and everybody is indoors and huddled up and paying attention to the news on the television, could change things. >> we hope so. jon: all right. larry sabato from the university of virginia center tore politics. larry, thank you. this fox news alert. we're awaiting a news conference
jenna: now this fox news alert. as we await a news conference by israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu where we expect him to address a recent wave of terror attacks in his country. his country now stepping up security, deploying more troops to stop the deadly violence. conor powell live in jerusalem with more of what is going on today. conor? reporter: jenna, comparison the last few weeks, today is hands down the quietest and calmest day. so far there are no reported attacks. the damascus gate in jerusalem's old city is extremely quiet. this is one of the busiest gates in the old city area, a favorite of tourists but also a site
where israelis go to the western wall to play and muslims on the way to the al-aqsa compound. this is a set of unease an tension despite the fact it has been quiet now. in large part, some of this, quiet we've seen today is due to security measures implemented by israel here in the last 24 hours. there are checkpoints over east jerusalem, essentially dividing east and west jerusalem. east is where primarily palestinians live are and west is more israelis. they divided the city and limiting access between the two. you have police officers and soldiers being deployed around the entire area. so that is a big change. in next few days we're told possibly secretary of state john kerry will come to the region. we don't know where, we don't know when and we don't know who he will meet with. we expect possibly prime minister netanyahu and possibly
prime minister abbas. the goal would be to help reduce the tensions here and find a way to work out the underlying causes here which stem from dispute and effort to prayer on part of israelis at al-aqsa compound a site holy to muslims and jews that sit on temple mount. it historically is a flashpoint and in real weeks has been a flashpoint here. whether or not secretary of state kerry will do much to ease those tensions, jenna, that is a big question and a big if. jenna: quick question, what is the reaction from average israelis? do they think secretary of state john kerry will be helpful in this situation? what do people feel? reporter: i don't think in all honesty, jenna, palestinians or israelis have faith in secretary of state john kerry or the obama administration. just yesterday the state department sort of issued a stern rebuke to israelis that they were concerned about
excessive use of force dealing with arab and palestinian protesters. also john kirby, the spokesman at the state department said both sides committed acts of terrorism. from the point of view of many israelis, particularly government officials connected with prime minister netanyahu there is not a lot of tolerance and really hope that secretary kerry would come here and do much. still he is expected to travel to the region. we'll see what actually can be done. these are long-standing tensions we've seen in jerusalem for a long time. jenna: always interesting to notes on comments on our one ally in the middle east which is israel. conor. thank you. jon: we have more on a recent close end counter between a russian fighter jet and american plane over skies over syria. "wall street journal" says the russian jet came within two miles of the aircraft not to confront but identify the play according to a russian article.
the incident happened last weekend just before talks on avoiding dangerous encounters over airspace in syria which is getting more crowded. jenna: we're awaiting a news conference for prime minister benjamin netanyahu as palestinians target israelis in a new wave of attacks across the country. as conor mentioned we hear secretary of state john kerry will be heading to the region. our next guest says the white house is clueless when it comes to ending the latest cycle of violence. he is going to tell us why next. sure, tv has evolved over the years.
state department weighing in what is going on in the middle east, taking issue with israel's response to the recent attacks. >> we've seen reports what many would consider excessive use of force. obviously we don't like to see that. we're always concerned about excessive use of force against civilians and we routinely raise our concerns about that. jon: joining us now, jonathan schanzer, vice president of research at foundation for defense of democracies. you heard admiral kirby there mention it at the state department. he called it an excessive use of force. is it? >> well look, it's not. what we're seeing right now is a campaign, what looks like spontaneous violence but it is certainly coordinated, where you have palestinians going out in the streets and stabbing random israelis, whoever they can stab. so the israelis have taken measures, counter measures against these people. in some cases they have been shot. in some cases they have been wrestled to the ground.
the point of most of what we're seeing from israelis, i think probably 99% of what we're seeing from israelis is an attempt to subdue attackers. this is not a cycle of violence as i think the administration is trying to portray it, but rather a campaign of violence that the israelis are trying to do. jon: this campaign, how is it being coordinated? is it all handled by social media? is it given a wink and a nod by the palestinian leadership? who is running this thing, do you know? >> it is complicated but i think what we have is indication that hamas is driving this in the gaza strip. they don't want a war in gaza but they're more than happy to have one in the west bank where they don't have control. meantime you're seeing mahmoud abbas, president of the palestinian authority with one foot in and one foot down. he knows chaos could bring him down and trying to drive popular wave of discontent in the west bank.
he engaged in blood liable. he called out israelis on a murder they didn't commit on 13-year-old boy. he is very much to blame for some of the incitement. on top of that there is social media aspect. i've been tracking a lot of these sites. you see some artwork and graphics they put up. they're certainly spurring on their followers to carry out knife attacks in jerusalem, in the west bank and beyond. jon: we are awaiting benjamin netanyahu to take to the podium there on the left of the screen. he will be speaking momentarily. what do you expect him to say, what should he say? we only have a few seconds, i'm sorry, jonathan. >> absolutely. he will explain the surge of troops at that israelis deployed to the streets to keep his own people safe. he will explain that the israelis are doing everything they can to try to bring this back to peaceful resolution. he will call for peace talks with abbas, saying israelis are ready regardless what abbas says. jon: we'll have his remarks live when he makes them.
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>> still awaiting remarks from the israeli prime minister. we'll hear what he has to say coming up. >> certainly will. great to have you in this hour. see you at 1:00. "outnumbered" starts right now. harris: fox news alert. we're moments away from a news conference with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. it is coming at a critical time. the israeli leader is expected to address a wave of violence making life intense and dangerous for israelis and palestinians. that is "outnumbered." i'm harris faulkner. here today, sandra smith. andrea tantaros, fox news contributor, julie roginsky. #oneluckyguy, jesse watters. >> he is the warm-up act. harris: try that out on him. see how it