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State of the Union

Interview With Ohio Governor John Kasich; Interview With Former U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz; Interview With U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson; Rudy Giuliani Under Fire

Aired February 22, 2015 - 09:00   ET


GLORIA BORGER, CNN ANCHOR: A terror threat against Western shopping malls.

And Rudy Giuliani becomes a lightning rod for the Republican Party.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BORGER: Good morning from Washington, I'm Gloria Borger.

Breaking this hour, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on the troops threat facing American shopping malls.

And Rudy Giuliani under fire for his stunning comments about President Obama.

Former Defense -- Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz on the president and terror.

And Republican Governor John Kasich on his White House ambitions.

But, first, an al Qaeda-linked terror group is calling for attacks on shopping malls here in the United States, specifically the Mall of America in Minnesota, as well as shopping malls in Britain and in Canada.

In a taped message...


BORGER: Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, thanks so much for being with us this morning.

I have to get right to the news this morning, which is that an al Qaeda-linked terror group, Al-Shabaab, is publicly calling for attacks now on shopping malls in the United States, as well as overseas. They have specifically targeted the Mall of America in Minnesota in a video they have released.

What can you tell us about how operationally advanced this threat is, Mr. Secretary? JEH JOHNSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Gloria, this

latest statement from Al-Shabaab reflects the new phase we have evolved to in the global terrorist threat, in that you have groups such as Al-Shabaab, ISIL publicly calling for independent actors in their homelands to carry out attacks.

We're beyond the phase now where these groups would send foreign operatives into countries after being trained someplace. We're now at a stage where it is all the more important in our counterterrorism efforts that we have a whole of government approach.

We have the military response through an international coalition, but there's also law enforcement and Homeland Security, which is why the summit we had this week on countering violent extremism in our communities is all the more important. I have personally been to Minneapolis to meet with Islamic community leaders there.

And so our law enforcement-Homeland Security engagements here at home, given how this terrorist threat has evolved, are becoming all the more important.

BORGER: Well, there are reports that ISIS is trying to recruit Al-Shabaab, and that that may be part of the problem in Minneapolis. Is that your read of it?

JOHNSON: We're in an environment right now where I suspect these groups are competing for attention.

ISIL has received a lot of attention through their very effective use of the Internet, social media. And we're now seeing, for example, AQAP in its most recent edition of "Inspire," a whole chapter on how to build a non-metallic device, as well as this most recent public statement.

So, my concern is that these groups are actually competing for attention and for fund-raising and recruitment.

BORGER: And not only that, saying to their members, do it at home. You can do this at home, and you don't need to travel.

JOHNSON: We're in -- we're in a new phase, in that these groups are relying more and more on independent actors to become inspired, drawn to the cause, and...

BORGER: And the Internet, through the Internet.

JOHNSON: ... carry out small-scale attacks on their own through their effective use of the Internet.

And so that's why it's critical that we work in the communities where these groups might be able to recruit to help develop the counternarrative, to build trust with law enforcement, with Homeland Security, with state and local law enforcement.


BORGER: So, how seriously are you taking this threat?

JOHNSON: I am very concerned about the serious potential threat of independent actors here in the United States.

We have seen this now in Europe. We have seen this in Canada.

BORGER: But specifically against the Mall of America.

JOHNSON: Any time a terrorist organization calls for an attack on a specific place, we have got to take that seriously.

And so, through our intelligence bulletins, through working with state and local law enforcement, through working with the FBI, we take this kind of thing very seriously.

BORGER: And I just want to read you one more thing on this. This is a statement from the Mall of America today: "Mall of America is aware of a threatening video that was released which included a mention and images of the mall. We take any potential threat seriously and respond appropriately. We have implemented extra security precautions. Some may be noticeable to guests, and others won't."

What are you telling Americans who might be planning a trip to the mall this Sunday?

JOHNSON: What we're telling the public in general is, you have got to be vigilant.

We just revamped our If You See Something, Say Something campaign at the Super Bowl last month. And so public engagement, public awareness is critical. Americans should still feel that they are free to associate, they are free to go to public gatherings. But it's critical that we have public awareness and public participation in our efforts.

BORGER: Are they safe in going to the Mall of America today, if you want to go take your kids to the Mall of America?

JOHNSON: I would say that, if anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they have got to be particularly careful. And, as the statement you read indicates, there will be enhanced security there that will be apparent to people who are there.

BORGER: Federal security as well?

JOHNSON: There will be enhanced security.

But public vigilance, public awareness and public caution in situations like this is particularly important. And it's the environment we're in, frankly.

And it's all the more reason why I need a budget. And I'm assuming you're going to ask me about that.

BORGER: I will. I am going to ask about that right now, because, of course, this comes down at a time when Republicans in Congress are threatening to shut down your department in a week over a fight on immigration.

If it were to shut down a week from now, what would that do to national security? How would that impact a discussion like the one we have just been having about Al-Shabaab and fighting terrorism in this country?

JOHNSON: In a bunch of ways.

First of all, it's absurd that we're even having this conversation about Congress' inability to fund Homeland Security in these challenging times. But, if, by the end of the week, Congress has not funded the Department of Homeland Security, we will have to furlough some 30,000 people, mostly at headquarters.

People on the front lines, aviation security, maritime security will be forced to come to work without a paycheck. And so for the working men and women of my department to have to work without a paycheck is very significant and very serious. And Congress needs to appreciate that.

Our grant-making activities to state and local law enforcement, to commissioners, sheriffs, chiefs grinds to a halt. FEMA, in the midst of this very harsh winter right now, will have to furlough something like 80 percent of its permanent appropriated workers.

BORGER: Are you talking to each other? Are Republicans...

JOHNSON: I'm talking to...

BORGER: They were off last week, right, so...

JOHNSON: They were off last week.

But the week before and the week before that, I have been on the Hill constantly talking to Republicans and Democrats about -- on the House and Senate side, about the significance of funding the Department of Homeland Security right now. And the thing that, frankly, is frustrating to me, when I go to the Senate, they say, it's not us, it's the House. Go over to the House side, talk to them.

I go to the House and they say, we passed our bill. It's not us. It's the Senate.

So they're literally doing this right now. And we have, I think, four or five working days left to get this right. And so I will be back on the Hill again, I'm sure. I'm hoping someone will exercise some leadership to get the public, for the good of public safety, a budget for the Department of Homeland Security.

BORGER: And I have a couple other areas I just want to get to.

And that is, you also have a problem on the legal front when it comes to immigration. A federal judge temporarily stopped your plan to start processing illegal immigrants. I'm assuming the administration plans an appeal to that. How soon will we see that?

JOHNSON: Yes. This is what appellate courts are for.

BORGER: And when will you do this appeal?

JOHNSON: We will be appealing and seeking an emergency stay probably on Monday, tomorrow.

And I expect that we will prevail. You have to consider the position this injunction leaves us in, this judge's decision in Texas leaves us in. The judge himself said in his opinion he does not quarrel with the secretary's ability to prioritize who we remove, who we deport from this country.

And so we're focused on deporting convicted criminals, threats to public safety, threats to border security. And there is a population of people who have been in this country for years who are not priorities and will not be deported in any administration, Republican or Democrat. And the net effect of this decision is, we are not allowed to try to encourage them to come out of the shadows.

BORGER: Right.

JOHNSON: They have to remain in the shadows.

BORGER: So, you're going to appeal, and say, allow us to start doing this again?

JOHNSON: We will appeal and we will seek a stay, so that we can go back to implementation of our efforts to build accountability in the non-documented community.

BORGER: And let me get to...

JOHNSON: From a law enforcement perspective, that is a very important thing to do, so that we know who these people are.

BORGER: And let me get to one more subject. And it's changing subjects on you a little bit.

And it's about Rudy Giuliani's comments this week. I know you actually worked for Rudy Giuliani, or worked alongside Rudy Giuliani.

JOHNSON: He hired me to be a federal prosecutor in 1988. That is correct.

BORGER: So, you know him pretty well.

JOHNSON: I know Mayor Giuliani well. We were together this past 9/11. We did the rounds together in New York. I'm a New Yorker, too. We did the rounds together at fire stations, police precincts in Lower Manhattan on 9/11.

And I will just say that, in my judgment, Mayor Giuliani's comments were not helpful. His comments about the president of the United States, particularly in these times not... BORGER: Not loving America.

JOHNSON: ... are not helpful.

BORGER: What do you mean by not helpful?

JOHNSON: His comments were not helpful.

And I'm sorry to see statements like that coming from the former mayor, whose response to 9/11 in 2001 I admired very much.

His response, to me, is a model for how government leaders should respond in times of crisis. I think his most recent statements are very regrettable.

BORGER: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. Thanks for being with us this morning.

JOHNSON: Thank you, Gloria.


BORGER: And when we come back: America's mayor takes heat for comments about America's president and puts his own Republican Party in a bind.


BORGER: He was America's mayor after 9/11, then a presidential candidate. Now Rudy Giuliani is a lightning rod, even within his own party, for saying that the president does not love America.

He first made the comments at a private event, but then he went on TV to double down.


RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: I don't feel this love of America. His initial approach is to criticize this country, and then afterwards to say a few nice things about us.


BORGER: In an interview with CNN's Jim Acosta, Giuliani said -- quote -- "I don't regret making that statement. I believe it."

The Republican Party's presidential candidates were left holding the bag. This is supposed to be the new GOP, the party that cares about these things.


JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: The stickiness of poverty is a huge challenge for this country.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If we can get immigration right, we have got a good chance of winning in 2016.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: When you have great economic success, you need to share it with those who live in the shadows.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Evolve, adapt or die. I think the party has to change.


BORGER: But, this week, that party was blindsided by one of its most elite members.

And joining me now to talk about all of this and the future of the party is quite an elite group, Tom Ridge, former Pennsylvania governor and an adviser to Jeb Bush, George Pataki, who was governor of New York on 9/11 -- he's thinking about a presidential run -- and Congressman Darrell Issa, a leading member of the House Republican Conservative Caucus.

Thanks so much to all of you for being here with me.

I'm going to go first to Governor Pataki, because you were Rudy Giuliani's post-9/11 partner there in the state of New York. When you were governor, he was mayor.

What did you think when you heard him utter those words, that the president doesn't love America?

GEORGE PATAKI (R), FORMER NEW YORK GOVERNOR: Well, Gloria, let me first say, I was honored to work with Rudy. We worked as closely as two leaders could at that time. And I'm proud of how well we came together and the American people came together after September 11 to get us through that horrible time.

But, Gloria, just think. You just had the homeland security secretary saying Americans have to use extreme caution if we go to the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. And we're talking about this? We should be taking about a proactive strategy to go after Islamic terrorists overseas, what we have to do to grow our economy even more. And you're talking about the battle over immigration in Washington, instead of solutions as to how we can deal with those who are here illegally?

BORGER: But is Rudy -- but isn't it -- but isn't it Rudy Giuliani who stepped on that message that you're talking about?


PATAKI: You know -- you know, the media loves to talk about somebody's comment. OK, they're having a schoolyard spat. Who loves America?

I don't doubt that the president loves America. But I do doubt that we're focusing on solving the problems in Washington that we need to. And instead of let's -- fighting about stupid things like this or measles vaccines or evolution, let's focus on coming together, as we did after September 11 and solving the very real problems facing the American people.

BORGER: Well...

PATAKI: Our government doesn't work.

BORGER: Well, you know, Governor Ridge, let me take this to you.

I hear Governor Pataki blaming the media. In fact, Governor Scott Walker tweeted this, this morning: "Enough with the media's gotcha game. We started our American revival to talk about big, bold ideas."

And I get that. But when a leading Republican, who once ran for president, by the way, and was a serious candidate says, something like the president doesn't love America, is he a divider and not a uniter, as George W. Bush might say?

TOM RIDGE, FORMER U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY CHIEF: Well, we certainly know that Rudy is not concerned about how people respond to his -- to his sentiments.

I, for one, disagree with my friend. And Rudy is a friend. He's a great and accomplished leader. I think there's enormous frustration.

BORGER: I mean, it was hateful. It was a hateful remark.

RIDGE: Well, but let's -- but I think the point that George is trying to make and I'm trying to make is that he's got the strong opinion. Everybody knows Rudy articulates his opinions that way. He's zealous about that.

But we need to get beyond that. He was expressing a frustration in a way that I don't agree with. I don't doubt the president's patriotism.

It's not about love of country. It's about leadership or lack of leadership. And the way he articulated it, I don't particularly care for it. I don't think George cares for it. I don't think Darrell cares for it. But it's typical Rudy.

But I think the end of the day is, it's about...


BORGER: That's typical Rudy.


RIDGE: Well, but he's always aggressive. He's always up front.

I mean, you never walk away from a conversation with Rudy Giuliani questioning how he feels about a particular point of view.

BORGER: Yes, but this was a personal insult to the president of the United States. RIDGE: Yes. And it has been rejected by most of his colleagues

and his friends.

But, at the end of the day, there's enormous frustration with the presidential leadership, or lack thereof. How about the flexibility with Putin? They gobbled up more of Ukraine. How about, we're going to get rid of Assad? Well, he's been able to kill 200,000 of his own citizens and hundreds of thousands left. ISIL's not a J.V. team. Tehran has more authority and influence in Baghdad than we do.

That's what everybody's concerned about. So, Rudy articulated it in a very bold, dramatic way, in a way that most of us don't agree with. But it's about the frustration with the president, not about Rudy.

BORGER: Well, he kind of -- he kind of hijacked the conversation in a different direction.

RIDGE: Well, I mean, he certainly hijacked it.

But, again, look what we're talking about today on a popular Sunday news program, not about ISIL, not about Iran nuclear negotiations, not about the Ukraine being gobbled up by the individual that President Obama said, well, after the election, I will have more flexibility. Well, he certainly has more flexibility.

So, I guess these are the things that are concerning a lot of people. And instead of talking about Rudy -- and we have probably beat that one down pretty good so far -- there's a lot of other things we need to be talking about. And I think that is what my colleagues are saying.

BORGER: Let me -- let me let Congressman Issa get his two cents in here.

Do you have any defense for what the mayor said?


REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Well, I don't think Rudy's ever going to get the dust from Ground Zero out of his lungs.

He was there during the fall of those towers. So, for him to take personally a president whose policies have left Israel hanging, have left our Arab allies not trusting us, have left -- let ISIL, as the governor said, go from being called a J.V. team as they took on more territory expansively from Algeria to Iraq than, in fact, the size of Texas, so the reality is that Rudy has taken our debate -- and I think we should thank him for this part of it -- back to national security, to the key element that the president should be focusing on.

He needs to call it Islamic terrorism. He can't be looking at everything through the vision that, somehow, if you treat people better, if we're more democratic, you're not going to have terrorism, and then have his own secretary telling people they have to be vigilant if they go to a mall in Minnesota. The reality is that we are losing the war against -- against

Islamic fundamentalists around the world. And they -- it is not about religion, he says, but it is about religion. These people hate us for who we are and who we're not. And if we don't get on board with allies we can find and root out these terrorist organizations, then America will not be safe.

They're saying it on this Sunday, and yet, at the same time, we have a haphazard no-boots-on-the-grounds effort around the globe. And that's just not right. And Rudy cares passionately about America's national security.

And one thing to remember about Rudy. He governed a city that was majority, vast majority Democratic. He's not a partisan politician in any real way. But he cares a great deal.

BORGER: Oh, these were -- these were pretty partisan comments, though. These were.

ISSA: Well, you know what? When President Obama -- but when President Obama implied that -- actually, he said that Bush was unpatriotic for his spending in 2008, that was wrong, too.

There's plenty of that kind of behavior that goes on. But the policies that Rudy is talking about on the trail are important. And the policies have to be about national security.

BORGER: Well...

ISSA: It's nice to take -- to do a war on poverty again, but the reality is, we look to our presidents to go around the world and make sure that our friends believe in us and can work with us...

BORGER: Well, let me...

ISSA: ... and our enemies fear us and know that we are not going to tolerate them.

BORGER: Let me take this -- let me take -- let me take this to Governor Pataki, who is, am I correct, thinking about a run for the presidency? Yes?

PATAKI: Yes, that's correct.



BORGER: So, when, as a -- as a potential presidential candidate, we have asked lots of potential presidential candidates this week about Rudy Giuliani's comments. Some of them have disowned them, for example, Jeb Bush.

Some of them, like Scott Walker, refused to comment. Yesterday, he told "The Washington Post" he wasn't sure if the president was a Christian. And then his press secretary had to clean that up a little bit.

Don't you think Republican presidential candidates, who are blindsided by this, I admit, but don't you think they have to come out there and say what they believe about what Rudy Giuliani said directly? You need to do that?

PATAKI: I think -- I think, when you're asked the question, you have to answer it.


PATAKI: Yes, I think what he said was wrong. But I am -- I think it was wrong.

But what I understand is that Rudy and I saw the horrible consequences of looking the other way because radical Islamic terror was thousands of miles across the world. And we saw the thousands of people, many of whom both of us knew, die that day. And we saw the courage with which Americans and New Yorkers responded.

And it's deep in our bloods. And when we look today and we see them have training camps, we see them have recruiting centers, we see them have social media capability...

BORGER: Right.

PATAKI: ... and our own homeland security secretary coming on and saying we have to use extreme caution going to a mall here, and we have very weak leadership from Washington, I can understand how you get very upset about that.

I get upset about it as well.

BORGER: So, is it..

PATAKI: We have to be proactive and go after those camps on the ground before they can attack us again here.

RIDGE: Yes, Gloria, I think you sense from my colleagues the enormous frustration we have with this litany of decisions and basically non-decisions that the president has made or miscalculations he's made over the past couple...


BORGER: Right. But there's one thing to have frustration with the president, and there's another thing to demean the president.


ISSA: Yes, but, Gloria -- but, Gloria, we -- we -- if we wanted to get -- get on top of the vice president every time he says something flip and foolish or vulgar, we could have this discussion every Sunday.

BORGER: Well, but -- let me just say something about -- let me just say something about that, Congressman Issa.

ISSA: The fact is, the story -- the story -- the...

BORGER: The vice president may very well be clumsy, but these remarks were hateful.

ISSA: The -- Rudy Giuliani -- and I think Marco Rubio said it very well when he said exactly that. Look, we can find somebody who believes strongly something.

Rudy Giuliani said he didn't believe. He didn't say the president wasn't. He said he didn't believe. Now, the reality is that I do believe that the president believes strongly in America. I just think he views America differently. I was there when he denounced the U.S. Supreme Court in the halls of Congress during the State of the Union for their decision.



ISSA: His beliefs are -- should be his policy decisions. And I hope we get back onto it.

BORGER: OK. Let me go to Governor Ridge for a moment.

ISSA: We have a president who doesn't believe the Supreme Court is supreme.

BORGER: Let me go to Governor Ridge for a moment on this.


Well, I think, again, to reiterate the point that I made before, I think, not just among Republicans, but even some of the polls are showing great concern about the direction the president has taken vis- a-vis the multiple foreign policy challenges that we have.

And it has resurrected itself in a lot of challenges to the president. Rudy obviously said something that a lot of us reject. But the notion that Rudy was challenging the president's policy, I think that's at the epicenter of this debate that we should be having, is whether or not there should be boots on the ground...

BORGER: Well, but...

RIDGE: ... whether or not -- whether or not the flexibility he gave to Vladimir Putin led to the incursion into Ukraine.

BORGER: But -- and my question -- and my question is whether this...

RIDGE: Those are the debates we should be having and discussions we should be having.

BORGER: ... whether this hurts that policy debate, because, instead of focusing on the policy debate -- and you might blame the media -- I just think what he said is so out of bounds that it hijacks...


ISSA: Gloria, it's a -- Gloria, it's a distraction. There's no question it's a distraction, because what we want to talk about, need to talk about is America being safe, our allies realizing that they can count on us again.

Look, Bibi Netanyahu is coming to the U.S. House, to a joint session, because, in fact, he's not being heard by this president at a time in which Tehran is heading toward a nuclear weapon aimed at him. We have some real problems where our allies do not trust us and our enemies obviously do not fear us. That has to change.

BORGER: Well, and, Governor Pataki, let me say this to you, if you might run for the presidency.

In the last presidential election, you had a Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, who was in a private fund-raiser and made the now infamous 47 percent remarks, which really hurt his candidacy. You now have Rudy Giuliani at a private event making some very direct and inflammatory remarks about the president of the United States, at a private event.

So, what can you say to people who might be thinking about...

PATAKI: And, Gloria?


PATAKI: And, Gloria, you have a president whose policies have, frustratingly, made...

BORGER: Right.

PATAKI: ... in my view, America much vulnerable to attack than we have been since September 11.


BORGER: OK. I understand what you're saying.

PATAKI: And that's what we should be discussing.

BORGER: I understand what you're saying.

PATAKI: But why are we talking about the 2012 election?


BORGER: But what do you say to -- but what do you say to...

PATAKI: I don't understand why we're not talking about standing with Egypt, arming the Peshmerga. Your earlier show this morning talked about how the Peshmerga

were not getting the arms and the support that they need.

BORGER: I think we are.

PATAKI: These are the type of policy discussions that should be -- we should be having.

BORGER: I -- right.

And I think -- and I think -- and I think we are having them. And I think it's been hijacked.

But let me get to my question about you as a potential presidential...


BORGER: ... candidate, which is -- which is, why should voters who are thinking of voting Republican say -- believe that people are saying one thing about how they -- how they feel privately to the -- to fundraisers, to people who want to, you know, throw red meat out to candidate backers and another thing in public? So what can the Republican party do to convince voters that, in fact, it wants to broaden itself, it has a real foreign policy message that it wants to deliver which we've heard from you all this morning and convince me and...

PATAKI: You know, Gloria -- Gloria -

BORGER: ...the public (ph) that it is a party that...

PATAKI: Gloria, I understand.

BORGER: ...they should vote for.

PATAKI: Gloria, you may be a little surprised, but the Republican Party has done pretty well of late. We control both houses of Congress.

BORGER: That is true.

PATAKI: Most of the governorships...

BORGER: That is true.

PATAKI: ...and the state legislators and you're acting as though the Republican Party is somehow suffering enormously. The individual candidates have to express to the people why they have the vision and the experience to be able to not just run this country but change this country's government.

BORGER: Right, but to win the White House back.

PATAKI: Because we have to change Washington. And it comes down to the individual candidate, their vision, experience, and the ideas that they have. And I know we have to change the -- this country is a great country with a very weak government. It's the government in Washington that has to change, not American people -- not the American people.

BORGER: No, and what I was talking about was the Republicans becoming a presidential party as opposed to being hugely...


PATAKI: The Republican Party is doing well.

BORGER: the -


PATAKI: But more than that -- Gloria, the other point that I'd make is it's not just about Republicans, it's about the American people coming together and understanding that we have a common future. The politicians, the media, so many try to point fingers at each other. Let's solve problems. I saw what Americans could do when we stand together in the months and years after September 11th.


PATAKI: Right now it's the politicians who divide us. Let's solve problems, move forward together, and if we do, the best for this country is ahead of us.

BORGER: And I'm going to just go to former Homeland Security secretary -- first Homeland Security Secretary Ridge and ask you about first of all what you've heard this morning from Jeh Johnson and secondly about this fight to cut off funding.

RIDGE: Well, first of all, I appreciate Jeh's reminder that the general public, the law enforcement and the military are very much the tip of the spear, but we do encourage awareness not only in that mall -- but just generally that's the -- unfortunately the world within which we are going to live and it may be a permanent condition. Particularly these kind of propaganda films and everyone (INAUDIBLE) excited (ph).

But remember this, they've done it before. They did it in Kenya in 2013. This is on the minds of mall owners and those who -- responsible for people aggregating in large numbers ever since 9/11 so it's not as if we needed that reminder.

I happen to have enormous sympathy for Secretary Johnson. I think -- I believe President Obama gravely over reached his constitutional authority. I mean, I just find it very, very troubling not only on the integration piece but he has done it many, many times before.

But having said that it's an overreach. It's a grave overreach. At least we have one (INAUDIBLE). Having said that I don't believe that this country has faced the breadth and the depth of challenges, foreign policy challenges, al Qaeda, al Shabaab, ISIL, gravest we've ever seen. And so to be talking about immigration and using a funding mechanism to really undermine the department, these are great patriots all. They go to work every day trying to make sure America is safer and more secure.

So, what I would recommend, my friends (INAUDIBLE) is accept the notion we're going to do this, either the judicial branch or perhaps let's send the president a bill or a series of bills -- a series of bills dealing with immigration.

BORGER: And fund Homeland Security separately.

RIDGE: Exactly. Fund it. This is an inside the beltway game.

Listen, moms and dads are concerned about their job, got to get the kids to school, got to pay my bills.

BORGER: Right.

RIDGE: The one thing they know, and Governor George Pataki alluded to it, they know we got both chambers. We have the House. We have the Senate. They don't know anything about the 60 vote (ph) cultural and the (INAUDIBLE) United States. They will blame Republicans --

BORGER: So, tell those House Republicans, right?-

RIDGE: I want my Republicans to give the secretary a clean funding bill and use the legislative process to engage America around the desperate need,...


RIDGE:, humanitarian, economic for robust immigration reform.

BORGER: Thank you, governors and thank you Congressman Issa for being with me this morning for a very spirited conversation.

ISSA: Thank you. And we did send a pretty clean bill to the president.

PATAKI: Thank you.

BORGER: OK. We're going to have to end it there, Congressman. Thank you so much.

RIDGE: (INAUDIBLE) have a slightly --

BORGER: (INAUDIBLE). Have it in the greenroom. Thanks so much.

And next, how important is language in the fight against terror? Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz on whether Obama is right or wrong in his choice of words and the former deputy secretary on his new role in advising Jeb Bush.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BORGER: And joining me now, Paul Wolfowitz, former deputy

secretary of Defense and a key player in the George W. Bush administration as it prepared to go to the war in Iraq. Thanks very much for being with me, Mr. Wolfowitz.

I have to start by saying the president held a summit on violent extremism this week as you know. He refuses to use the terms Islamic radicals or Islamic extremists because he believes it's both inaccurate and that it's also inflammatory. What do you think about that?

PAUL WOLFOWITZ, FORMER DEPUTY DEFENSE SECRETARY: Look, I have a little bit of sympathy for what he's wrestling with. He doesn't want to give Islamic extremists, which is what they are, a monopoly on that word Islam. But I think to pretend that Islam has nothing to do with the problem is a mistake.

I think what we need to say is what we're dealing with is a totalitarian ideology that exploits Islam and many of our best friends and allies in the fight against that ideology are going to be Muslims themselves.

BORGER: You know, it's interesting to hear you say you have sympathy for the president on this point because this week there is a large controversy, as I'm sure you know. New York mayor Rudy Giuliani caused quite an uproar when he came out and said that the president doesn't love America.

What do you think about that? Do you believe that?

WOLFOWITZ: No, I don't, but I think this refusal to call a phenomenon what it is makes him look silly. It makes him look as though he's an authority about what is true Islam when he's not even a Muslim.

I think people understand that Islam has something to do with what we're fighting and when you deny it, I think you lose a lot of support and understanding, including from the American people.

BORGER: But on the one hand you said you had sympathy with him and on the other hand now you're saying he is refusing to kind of acknowledge reality?

WOLFOWITZ: Look, yes, I have sympathy for him because I don't think we want to alienate the Muslims who are on our side. That's where my sympathy stops. I think unless you're frank about what the problem is, you will, in fact, not recruit them.

BORGER: You're a foreign policy adviser to Jeb Bush now. You were one of the original drivers of the invasion of Iraq when his brother, George W. Bush, was president. Do you think now that it will inevitably take American combat group -- boots on the ground to successfully battle ISIS there?

WOLFOWITZ: I don't think it will inevitably, but I think we have to be open to all the possibilities, and I do think one thing we learned --

BORGER: Likely?

WOLFOWITZ: I think at the rate things are going we're not winning I think is the problem. And what we need to be doing a much better job of is finding the Sunnis who are on our side and not setting ourselves up basically as I think General Petraeus said, the air force for the Shia militias of Iraq.

BORGER: Let me play for you a little bit about what Jeb Bush said about Iraq last week and then we'll talk at the other side.


JEB BUSH (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: There were mistakes made in Iraq for sure. Using the intelligence capability that everybody embraced about weapons of mass destruction was not -- turns out not to be accurate. Not creating an environment of security after the successful taking out of Hussein was a mistake.


BORGER: You were there at the time. You believed you would find weapons of mass destruction and you also said, and I quote, "These are Arabs, 23 million of the most well educated people in the Arab world who are going to welcome us as liberators."

Were those your mistakes?

WOLFOWITZ: I think in large parts in Iraq people did welcome us as liberators. What we were up against was a terrorist organization that was built on the -- basically the old Saddam security structures and that had a terrific capacity to intimidate people and to scare people into opposing us. I think --

BORGER: What were your mistakes?

WOLFOWITZ: I think a -- clearly something we should have done at the beginning was to have a counter insurgency strategy. When we finally adopted one after four years, it worked amazingly quickly and brought things down to a relatively peaceful relatively stable level by 2009. And I think one of the mistakes was to leave in 2011 and not make a serious effort to keep an agreement to keep an American presence in Iraq.

BORGER: Let me also ask you this question which is a little bit political, but Jeb Bush said he wants to be seen as his own man. He made that very clear. And yet his team of foreign policy advisers is largely staffed by people like you and former members of his brother's foreign policy team.

How can he be seen as his own man when the people who are advising him promoted a foreign policy that in retrospect has largely been regarded as flawed and unpopular?

WOLFOWITZ: Gloria, you're painting an awfully broad brush there. A lot of people in that group and actually including myself who participated in the Reagan administration which I think was a successful foreign policy. Secretary Shultz, Secretary Baker -- there's a wide range of views there but in any case he is his own man.

I think he demonstrated that quite clearly in the question and answer session after his speech where he obviously was very comfortable answering a whole range of questions. I think he demonstrated that he knows this subject, he doesn't need a lot of coaching.

BORGER: If you could give him one piece of advice about what went wrong when you were there that should not occur again, what would you say?

WOLFOWITZ: Look, I think it's a perennial piece of advice about any time you use force you need to anticipate that as they say in the Pentagon, the enemy gets a vote. You can't predict what's going to happen.

BORGER: OK. Thank you so much. Paul Wolfowitz, thanks for being with us.

WOLFOWITZ: You're welcome.

BORGER: And when we come back, my exclusive interview with Ohio governor, John Kasich on whether he's in the 2016 mix (ph) and what Republicans can do to win back the White House.


BORGER: He's the popular two-term governor of the state vital to any Republican hoping to win the presidency. So it's no wonder that Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich is tiptoeing around a possible presidential bid. He showed up in the early primary state of South Carolina last week where I sat down with him.

The official reason for his visit is his long standing crusade, as he calls it, for constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget. It's something he's been working on for decades.


GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: When I left Washington after being budget chairman and being part of the budget deal with a $5 trillion surplus we blew the whole thing. We have to change the culture because it's going to eat us alive.

BORGER: Is this a way for you to test the presidential waters?

KASICH: Not really. The reason I came here is that I know that it would send hearts a Twitter (ph) to say, what is he doing? And that's why I came here.

BORGER: Are you going to run for president? Let me ask you directly? KASICH: I don't know. All my options are on the table and it's

a process that I, you know, have really not spent an enormous amount of time studying internally.

But look, I'm not saying I won't. I'm not saying I will. I'm leaving my options out there and we'll see how things develop. I do -- Gloria, look, I do want the country, as much as I can, in a -- really in a humble way to tell people about what's happened in Ohio and what's happened in Ohio has been incredibly good. And I think people need to hear about the way we think out there and what we do.

BORGER: What's your timetable? Everybody's raising money?


BORGER: Everybody's out there in early states like this.

KASICH: Well, I can let the pundits write me off and say, you know, it's not going to happen. That's OK. I am cool with that.

But look I am the governor of Ohio. We haven't had -- you know, we haven't had an election decided by anything by putting a thread through an eye of a needle. And I won 86 out of 88 counties and it's a big state, and it matters. And I think I can, you know, go on my own timeframe to make this decision. And I'm going to try to make the best decision that I can and I will do it when I'm ready not when somebody else is ready or whatever the experts say. I mean, it just doesn't work that way.

BORGER: Where do you fit on the Republican spectrum?

KASICH: You know, you figure it out. I think a lot of people have a hard time trying to figure where I fit. And I've never put myself in a box so we're balancing budgets, we're cutting taxes and guess what, we're helping the poor to get on their feet. And we believe that when you have great economic success, you need to share it with those who live in the shadows. We are helping the mentally ill. We are helping the drug addicted. We are helping the working poor.

BORGER: But it is the state of Ohio...


BORGER: ...which is so important in a presidential election.

KASICH: Yes, it is.

BORGER: Swing state, no Republican presidential candidate, I don't have to tell you this, has ever been elected without winning the state of Ohio.

KASICH: Probably a Republican can't be elected president without winning Ohio. If they are going to come to Ohio, extremism is going to work.

BORGER: So, is this a formula for Republicans, is that what you're saying?

KASICH: I think it's a formula for the country. Look at problems and fix them. Don't be worried about the next election.

Too many politicians worry about getting elected as they do their job. If they worried more about doing their job, they would get elected.

BORGER: If you decide not to run obviously you'd be on a list of vice presidential candidates again because you're --

KASICH: I've been on the list of vice presidential candidates since I was, you know, 35 years old or something. I pay no attention to that.

Look, I love being -- look, as governor --

BORGER: Would you have any interest in it?

KASICH: I'm interested in being governor now...


KASICH: ...OK? What do vice presidents do by the way?

BORGER: What do they do?

KASICH: I think they stop traffic on the roads when they move from point x to point y. I don't know.

BORGER: You should ask Joe Biden.

KASICH: He stopped me today. So, yes.


BORGER: He was in South Carolina today, too. Right. Exactly, exactly.

Well, talking about Ohio. You did win with 64 percent of the vote.


BORGER: Impressive statistics 60 percent of women voted for you, 26 percent of African-Americans voted for you. You look like presidential gold on paper. Yet if you look at conservatives to vote in Republican primaries, you also took the Medicaid expansion money.

KASICH: Right.

BORGER: And the Tea Party thinks you've gone to the dark side, that you're for big government. Rand Paul said governors who did this think that, "money grows on trees."

KASICH: You mean Senator Ron Paul? BORGER: No, Rand Paul.

KASICH: Oh, I get them confused sometimes, Ron and Rand. Because I served with Ron. Anyway, I think what works for us in Ohio, we are running surpluses of $2 billion. We are structurally balanced. Half the states -- almost half the states are not.

BORGER: What do you say --

KASICH: Let me go on. I cut the taxes in Ohio. The legislature and I by the largest cut in history. That's kind of conservatism.

Now, let me tell you another thing. You know, Matthew 25 says that it's about how you treat the widowed, how you treat the poor, how you treat the hungry, how do you cloth those who have no clothes. That is a conservative position to help them get on their feet so they then can assume their rightful place in our society.

The faith community I think still is, at least used to be, part of the conservative movement. And the conservative movement is you don't just kick people to the shadows or push them off the side of the road.

BORGER: So, what would you say to Rand Paul when he says -


KASICH: I'm not sure I would say -- I'm not sure I'd say much to him. I don't know what he's -- you know, I don't -- maybe it doesn't work in Kentucky. Maybe everybody is fine. Maybe there are -- maybe there are people who are suffering these problems.

It's either pay me now or pay me later. And we think by giving people an opportunity to get the help they need and then give them the tools they need to rise, that is conservatism. And you know what? I've got as much a right as anybody in the Republican Party to define what conservatism means. We've cut taxes more than anybody in the country. And they are wondering about my conservatism, maybe I should wonder about theirs.

BORGER: You also support Common Core and you haven't ruled out a pathway to citizenship. How can you have those positions and win your party's nomination...

KASICH: Well, you know -

BORGER: ...if you were doing to run.

KASICH: First of all, when I ran in 2010, I received self- identified conservatives 80 percent of their vote. I can't think of anything that's more conservative or more right in terms of what America is about than opportunity for everybody.

BORGER: Do you think this is a problem for the Republican Party?

KASICH: I will tell you this, if somebody comes into Ohio and they are extreme, they're not going to win. I mean, we don't operate that way in Ohio.

BORGER: Let me move to foreign policy.


BORGER: So, is Hillary Clinton's foreign policy experience an asset for her? I mean, it seems to be kind of hard to match as least as you look up the lineup of Republicans so far.

KASICH: Well you know, I don't want to get into Hillary. You know, I like Hillary. But -- I'm not ever going to be for her for president. But you know, Gloria, foreign policy does matter. You know, so hopefully whether I do this or not, I can have somewhat of a voice when it comes to the fact that America -- you know it just seems to be in a retreat.

Here is the tragedy. I talk to people, you know, people who really are -- they are just kind of bipartisan folks who study these issues. A lot of our friends, allies and even our enemies are wondering where is America, what's happening to it. And we are a moral force in the world. And when we decide to leave or to double talk or paint red lines and walk away from them, we develop credibility problems.

BORGER: How would you handle ISIS differently from the way the president --

KASICH: Well honestly, I think that the western world needs to be united and we need to invite our friends in the Arab world together and we do need to develop a plan. And we're not going to solve this problem just by bombing.

BORGER: Would you -- would you -

KASICH: I think we should be part of an effort to deal with this problem before it gets much worse.

BORGER: So you would consider boots on the ground?

KASICH: Sure, sure.

BORGER: But Americans don't want boots on -- I mean --

KASICH: Look, Americans will go for leadership that makes sense. Our job, you know, as public officials is not to put our finger in the air, our job is to listen and then lead.

BORGER: So you would say to the American people --

KASICH: First of all, I'm not president now. So, I'm not making...

BORGER: Right.

KASICH: ...a speech tonight in the Oval Office. I'm just suggesting to you that if at some point dealing with ISIS you mark my words, whether John Kasich, you hear from him again, at some point it will require boots on the ground from the world to be able to deal with this problem. And I would rather deal with it sooner than later but you just don't go running over there. You've got to have a battle plan. You've got to figure out exactly what you're going to do. But I would never suggest that we should engage in nation building or trying to convert all these people to our way of life. We need stability and we need to stop this.

BORGER: If you were president and Netanyahu came to address Congress, would you meet with him?

KASICH: I'll have a meeting with him. We'll have a cup of coffee. Why not? You're making such a big deal. The guy -- you know, have been invited to come speak to Congress, let him speak and the president can have a meeting with him. They don't have to have a photo (INAUDIBLE). But of course you go and you talk to him. Use common sense. You had a foreign leader coming, a great ally of ours. He's coming here -- was it handled in maybe a clumsy way, OK, so it was. But look, get beyond that.

See, that's our problem, Gloria. We spend too much time either trying to be politically correct, play to our cameras, play to our base. I worry about America.

For the first time in my lifetime, I'm worried about us. I'm worried about how our values to some degree have been eroded, personal responsibility and compassion and teamwork. I worry about it. I worry about the fact we're so divided. But do I think it can be fixed? I have no doubt because I saw Ronald Reagan do it and I've seen other great leaders throughout history. Harry Truman, whatever party they are. They can bring us together. It can happen.


BORGER: Now, while Governor Kasich has visited a number of states pushing for balanced constitutional amendment he told me he's considering traveling to one more that could be more than just a coincidence. It's called New Hampshire.

Thanks for watching STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Gloria Borger.

Fareed Zakaria, "GPS," starts next.