‘Fox News Sunday’ on October 23, 2022


This is a rush transcript of ‘Fox News Sunday’ on October 23, 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Shannon Bream.

Nearly two weeks to Election Day, seven million Americans have already cast their vote, as both parties debate the best path forward for the country.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Republicans in Congress have a very different vision. They will crash the economy next year.

BREAM (voice-over): The president comes out swinging, claiming Republicans will raise drug prices, cut Social Security and Medicare, and give the wealthy a tax cut if they win big in November.

But Republican candidates are pushing back hard, blaming Democrats and the White House for Americans’ economic struggles.

J.D. VANCE (R), OHIO SENATE CANDIDATE: We don’t have to live like this, and if we get better leadership into Washington, D.C., we can actually solve some of these problems.

BREAM: And Senate debates get heated, including an unusual race in Utah.

EVAN MCMULLIN (R), UTAH SENATE CANDIDATE: We need to send people to Washington who are willing to stand up both to Republicans and Democrats.

SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT): To suggest that I’m beholden to either party is contracted by the plain facts.

BREAM: We’ll ask Senator Mike Lee about his reelection battle in a deep red state.

Then —

REP. HENRY CUELLER (D-TX): We need to do our job at the border.

BREAM: The migrant crisis reaching new highs as asylum seekers flood New York. But one Texas city says it plans to stop sending buses north and wait until you hear why. We’ll have a live report from the border and bring in Democrat Congressman Henry Cuellar, a moderate in a competitive race for his south Texas seat.

Then, a new poll shows a big change among independent women. We’ll ask our Sunday panel which candidates could benefit.

Plus, FOX Business Network’s Larry Kudlow on fears of recession, and we’ll show you the big honor Kudlow himself just received.

LARRY KUDLOW, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: It’s humbling actually, humbling to me.

BREAM: All right now on “FOX News Sunday”.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BREAM (on camera): Hello from FOX News in Washington.

In this final countdown to the November midterms, we see dynamics shifting in races all across the country. Candidates are on the trail and making the case only they and their economy can right the economy and lead the divided country forward. They’re facing off on debate stages with challengers hoping to break through against sitting lawmakers whose races had been considered safe.

It’s actually playing out right now in a key Senate race in deeply conservative Utah. In just a minute, we’re going to speak live with Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah who’s in a tight match up for reelection to a third term.

But, first, a look at how his race went from a sure thing to maybe not so sure.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEE: You, sir, owe me an apology.

BREAM (voice-over): Utah Republican Mike Lee on defense on the debate stage.

MCMULLIN: Senator Lee has been doing this with his pocket constitution for the last several years.

LEE: This is not a prop. And I don’t carry it as a prop. This is a reference manual.

God bless you.

BREAM: In a race that was once considered a lock for Lee, polls have tightened, and independent Evan McMullin is blasting Lee over his actions after the 2020 election.

MCMULLIN: If you’re committed to the Constitution, then stand up for our free and fair elections. Stand up for the peaceful transfer of power.

LEE: There is absolutely nothing to the idea that I would have ever supported, ever did support a fake electors plot.

MCMULLIN: Thank you very much.

BREAM: McMullin, a former CIA officer, burst on to the scene in 2016, running for president as an independent hoping to peel away votes from Donald Trump.

MCMULLIN: I believe that Donald Trumps harms the strength and prosperity of this country.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: In Utah, I had this character that nobody ever saw before, Evan McMuffin. Do you believe this?

BREAM: But McMullin is still behind in the polls and if he does win, he’s vowed not to caucus with either party. That means in a Senate that could be held by the slimmest of margins, McMullin might end up being a swing vote.

Meanwhile, Senator Lee now finds himself making an 11th hour plea for help from a fellow Utah Republican.

LEE: Mitt, if you like to protect the Republican majority, give us any chance of seizing the Republican majority. Please get on board, help me win reelection.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BREAM: Joining me now, Utah Senator Mike Lee.

Senator, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”.

SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT): Thank you, Shannon.

BREAM: OK. We’ve got to get to a lot of big issues, the economy, abortion, others. But first, I want to talk about your race.

Your opponent — by the way, had been invited to join us here on “FOX News Sunday” — says that you betrayed your oath to the Constitution with regard to the 2020 election. Here’s what he said right after that debate you guys had a few days ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EVAN MCMULLIN (I), UTAH SENATE CANDIDATE: Lee actively helped plan the effort to recruit fake electors and to overturn our election and American democracy. No one need take my word for it. It’s a matter of public record, and he can dispute that as much as he wants, but the truth is the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: Here are some of texts that he cites between you and then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

December 8th: If a very small handful of states were to have their legislatures appoint alternative slates of delegates, there could be a path.

January 4th: I’ve been spending 14 hours a day for the last week trying to unravel this for him.

That same day: I’ve been calling state legislators for hours and I’m going to spend hours doing the same today. I’m trying to figure out a path that I can persuasively defend.

Evan McMullin says the texts speak for themselves. How do you explain them?

LEE: Look, there’s not a scintilla of truth to what he’s suggesting there. The fact is, there were rumors circulating in the days and weeks leading up to January 6th, rumors suggesting that some states would be shifting out their slates of electors.

Now, as a U.S. senator, it was my job to open and count the electoral votes on January 6th. And we were trying to narrow down what was truth and what was fiction. I made phone calls to investigate the truthfulness of those rumors.

That’s all. Not advocating, just investigating the truthfulness of them. There’s only scenario in which Congress would have had a role.

I concluded after my investigation, that the rumors were false and on that basis, I voted to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.

BREAM: So, when you’re saying, I’m looking for a path forward with the states electors or with state legislatures, that path forward would suggest that you were at some point onboard with the idea?

LEE: No. Look, the point here was that there was — there was only one path and that path I was trying to get the White House and president’s team to acknowledge, that was the only path. If a state concluded that it incorrectly certified results of its election, and on that basis shifted out its slates of electors, that would be only way of doing it.

Now, I didn’t believe they were going to do it, and my own investigation played that out. My point there was to say we’ve got to figure out whether this is the case and I wanted the president’s team to acknowledge that that would be the only scenario in which there would be any role for Congress. There wasn’t, and on that basis, I voted to certify.

BREAM: OK. Let’s go back to 2016, I remember being a reporter on the floor of the Republican National Convention when there was a vociferous response from you when it came — and others to actually supporting Donald Trump as the nominee. Here’s that moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those opposed shall say no.

AUDIENCE: No!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: I think I got that on my cell phone.

By the way, back in 2016, that year that you opposed Donald Trump, you actually voted for Evan McMullin. I’m guessing you’re not going to vote for him this time in this Senate race. But if President Trump runs again, will you be a supporter?

LEE: Look, if he runs again, I think there’s a very high probability he gets nomination. I will, of course, support the nominee in 2024. And yeah, you’re right about my vote in 2016.

I was wrong, I was really wrong. I didn’t believe that President Trump would do the things he promised to do. And I was still sore over the way some of my colleagues had been treated during the 2016 election cycle.

But that vote I cast in 2016 was a huge mistake, just as it would be huge mistake for my fellow Utahans to vote for Evan McMullin today.

Evan McMullin is a Democrat. Look, he’s been endorsed by the Democratic Party. He’s raised 2.5 million last quarter alone on Act Blue, the Democrats’ donor network. He spent $1.6 million feeding it right back into the Democratic industrial complex. He supported Democratic policies.

We have a saying — if it quacks like a duck, if it walks like a duck and has webbed feet like a duck, in this case, it’s a Democrat. And that’s what Evan McMullin is.

Utahans don’t want more of Joe Biden’s policies, policies that are costing them dearly. The average Utah family shelling out an additional $949 a month every month just for what they need to live on because of Biden’s inflation.

Evan McMullin supports Joe Biden and his policies. He would be a reliable Democratic vote as he is the Democratic candidate in this race.

BREAM: We, as I said, have invited him. We’d love to hear from him, as well.

OK. You were on FOX News days ago. We played this clip, reaching out to your fellow senator, Mitt Romney, also a Republican, of course, there in Utah for his endorsement.

Here’s a little bit of the reaction. From “The Washington Post”, their headline is: Romney aides irked by Lee plea for support, highlighting GOP divide in Utah.

And here’s what McMullin says.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCMULLIN: I think it’s shameful what I saw this week from Senator Lee attacking our other senator. We need two senators who will work together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: All right. You didn’t endorse the late Senator Orrin Hatch when he ran for reelection. You didn’t endorse Senator Romney in his primary.

So, why should you get his endorsement now?

LEE: Well, first of all, I have always supported nominees for the U.S. Senate in my party in the general election, always. And in this circumstance, I’m pleased that I’ve got the endorsement of all 48 of my other Republican colleagues in the Senate. Even Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, we often disagree on a number of issues, and yet, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and every other Republican senator have endorsed me. I’m grateful for their support.

Look, we’re going to win this, but we need help. We need help explaining and we need help spreading the word that Evan McMullin is the Democrats’ candidate in this race. And I encourage your voters and you viewers who want to vote in Utah or support my race, go to leeforsenate.com. We could use their help.

BREAM: OK. If you win the Senate back and the House back as Republicans, the president has a warning, inflation sits at 40-year high. He says his policies need time to kick in. He is celebrating what they had passed and legislation that’s gotten through the Hill.

He had this warning, though, Friday, for voters if they vote for the GOP.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They will crash the economy next year by threatening full faith and credit for the United States, for the first time in our history putting the United States in default unless, unless we yield to their demand to cut Social Security and Medicare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: He says you all are just a “no” vote. You want to get rid of caps on prescriptions. You heard him talking about entitlements. He says you’re about giving billionaires tax cuts.

So, the party of no, or does the GOP have a plan for tackling inflation?

LEE: Look, that as usual is an information-free, truth-free statement by President Biden.

The fact of the matter is his policies have made our economy worse. We brought in over $4 trillion into the federal government’s coffers last year. We spent $7 trillion. That is literally what causes inflation.

Milton Friedman says there’s only one cause for inflation in America, and that’s overspending by Congress. Right now, we’ve got a Democratic Congress that rubberstamps everything Joe Biden does and he wants more spending that results in inflation. Evan McMullin would support that. He would be part of the Democratic establishment and that is why Utahans are going to vote for me.

BREAM: Well, he also has run an ad that talks about Ukraine and Russia. He says you voted against Russian sanctions. You voted against aid for Ukraine. And that you’re the only member of Utah’s congressional delegation not blacklisted by Vladimir Putin himself.

So, can you explain the vote and tell us what is your position on Putin and on his invasion of Ukraine?

LEE: Look, I’m a strong believer in the fact that Vladimir Putin is an evil man who needs to be stopped. I voted for the first Ukraine package. I voted against the second Ukraine package, along with package of sanctions a few years ago, not because of underlying issue or because in the affinity for him, but rather they were packaged with a number of progressive liberal policies that I object to.

For Evan McMullin to suggest otherwise is absolute farce.

As to why I’m not on black list for Russia, I don’t know. But I look forward to being put on such a blacklist. They should put me on one, because I can’t stand Vladimir Putin.

BREAM: All right. We’ll see if you end up there.

I want to talk about the issue of abortion. A couple of things here. First of all, would you sign to the 15-week nationwide ban that Senator Lindsey Graham is backing? After Republicans for years have said that this should be solely a state issue, most of them.

And also, the leak of that draft opinion from the Supreme Court, you clerked over there. Are you concerned about whether or not we’re ever going to get an answer about that leak?

LEE: Yeah. Right. As for the leak, I’m troubled that we haven’t gotten an answer. I believe they could have and should have gotten an answer right away. It baffles me to why they haven’t figured this out.

I know some things are more difficult to investigate than others. I am surprised and it worries me, quite frankly, that we’ve gone this long and that suggests we may not get an answer.

As to Senator Graham’s bill, I have immense respect for Lindsey Graham. He’s a dear friend. I can’t sign to — to it. Let me explain why.

We’ve been saying for nearly 50 years that this is not a federal issue. It should be primarily a state issue except in so far as we’re dealing with federal funding and things that are distinctively part of Congress’ role. So, now, that Roe has been overturned correctly, we can’t suddenly make it a federal issue.

Moreover, the best way to save the most babies is to allow states, each state to protect babies in the way they deem most appropriate for their state.

BREAM: OK. By the way, this is the toughest question. I know you’re a big U2 fan. I know you’ve seen them on tour.

But Bono is kind of doing a solo thing right now. He’s got a book tour, but he said it’s music, too. Do you support Bono solo? Will you go see him?

LEE: Sure. I haven’t listened to any of his new music that is solo. It’s definitely worth investigating. If it’s anywhere near as good as U2, yeah, sure, I would. I usually like the band as a whole.

Look, Van Halen wasn’t as good when they got rid of David Lee Roth. And I’m not sure U2 will be as good when it’s just Bono. But I’ll check it out.

BREAM: OK. Listen, I’m with you, David Lee Roth versus Sammy Hagar. I’m sorry, folks, that’s just my position.

We’re going to leave there. Senator —

LEE: Sammy Hagar is fine by himself. But with Van Halen, it didn’t work.

BREAM: The magic was with David Lee Roth.

LEE: Uh-huh.

BREAM: All right. Senator, thank you for joining us this Sunday morning.

LEE: Thank you.

BREAM: Up next, we’re going to bring in our Sunday group. We’ll show the latest FOX News power rankings.

(COMMERCAIL BREAK)

BREAM: Welcome back.

FOX News is out with its new power rankings, so I’m going to walk you through our latest midterm election projections.

Let’s start in the House where Democrats right now hold 220 seats, a clear but slim majority. Republicans at 212.

But take a look, our power rankings forecast, Republicans winning around 232 seats, a 15-seat majority.

It is much more of a toss-up for control of the upper chamber. Right now, the Senate, 50/50, with Vice President Harris as that tiebreaking vote.

The rankings project that Republicans hold 49 of those, Democrats 47. That means those four races, those toss-ups, they make the debates all the more important.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): First thing we have to start doing is stop spending that kind of money. The Democrats were warned by Larry Summers, if you do this, you’re going to fire up inflation.

REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): Of course, the senator who has never run anything at all but his mouth would know nothing about helping people and being there for people when they are in trouble

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: It is time for our Sunday group. “Wall Street Journal” White House reporter Catherine Lucey, former Bush White House advisor Karl Rove and former — well, current FOX News analyst Juan Williams, he’s still here, and FOX News senior national correspondent Rich Edson.

Sorry about that, guys. I gotten a little off of the prompter. Good to see all of you today.

All right. Let’s start here. This is interesting and it’s got a lot of headline attention. Over in Slate they’re writing about this. What to make of the poll that showed independent women swinging Republican. The poll found that women who identified as independent voters now back Republicans by 18 points when in September, they favored Democrats by 14 points.

Karl, you watched a lot of campaign and races. Is it possible there’s really a 32-point swing?

KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: No. Look, there is a swing, but remember, the sample size, we’re going to get very technical here, the sample size of independent women is very small and the plus or minus on that is 20 points. So, there is probably a swing, but it’s probably not 32 points.

BREAM: I mean, that would be a big one.

All right. Also from that “New York Times”/Siena polling, “The New York Times” writes about this. They say in that polling, there’s a variety of data that suggests the electorate’s attention is shifting back to issues where Republicans are stronger, they’re in stronger ground in public economy like the economy, inflation, crime and immigration. Juan, we’ve seen that in a number of polls. How concerned are you?

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, over the summer, Democrats message was helped by the news, Shannon. I mean, you think about it, gas prices down, the Supreme Court — the Republican majority in the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and then you had the January 6 committee in primetime making the case that President Trump was involved in an insurrection against the U.S. government.

But in September, gas prices went up and I think what we’ve seen is that stirred more concern about the economy and in this campaign, Democrat — Republican candidates put Halloween fright wig on the economy and it’s working. That’s the dominant message, dominant concern among voters.

BREAM: But do you not think the economy is frightening when you look at over eight points, too, in the last reading for inflation?

WILLIAMS: I think it’s a real concern, but I think in terms of the —

BREAM: Even the White House concedes that?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it’s a real concern, I just said that, but I think that what now, you have to think about is the fact that Democrats remain angry over abortion rights issues, Democrats are still outraged by Trump’s lies and the insurrection, the threat to ban books, divide over race in society. But since civil war, I think there’d been 40 midterm election and only three has the party in power gained seat.

So, the reality is, we’ve got a jump ball election right now, you know? But it’s no red wave, but it’s not where Democrats were at the start of the summer.

BREAM: OK. So, economy scary but not fright wig scary.

WILLIAMS: No —

BREAM: Just to be — clarification.

OK. So, let’s talk about the Senate. I was ahead of myself last week. They’re going to have the Senate debate this week in Pennsylvania, Fetterman and Oz, and here’s what “The Philadelphia Inquirer”. They quote Republican strategist Matt Beynon saying, I’d argue this debate probably means more to this race than it has for any Senates race for the last 30 years.

Rich, I’m popping my popcorn. You’ve covered this race quite a bit. Do you think this debate will flip votes either way?

RICH EDSON, FOX NEWS SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you’ve had John Fetterman now for months. He’s done TV interviews. He’s done campaign events. This is going to be the first and only time that he’s going to have a debate with his opponent.

And there are questions about his health. There are questions as to how this is going to play. And there are questions about how Dr. Oz is going to respond to all of that. There are concerns among some Republicans that perhaps he might be seen as too harsh about the health issue.

So, the stroke issue is a major. There’s going to be this teleprompter. It’s not going to look like a natural or a normal debate because of his health challenges. It is just another issue in a race that is one of the more unique races I’ve ever seen covering.

I mean, you’ve got the national issues that are playing in Pennsylvania. You have a Republican trying to hold the seat, a lieutenant governor against a novice politician, and then you throw a stroke on top of it. It’s incredible.

BREAM: Right, and that split ticket issue where the Democrat seems to be dominating in the gubernatorial race, but this one has really tightened up, the Senate race.

OK. There are a lot of interesting gubernatorial races as well. So, let’s talk about that. By the way, Lee Zeldin is going to be on “Special Report” on Monday to talk about the New York race where things have tightened up.

Over in Arizona, they’re not, Catherine, apparently having debates there. The headline is, Katie Hobbs, “The Arizona Republic” running away from a debate with Kari Lake is the debacle that just won’t die. They say, while Lake revs up an already energized base, Hobbs is often seemed invisible to the independents and moderate Republican she will need if she wants to win this election. She says the debate would be a waste of her time.

CATHERINE LUCEY, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yeah. I mean, this is a very tight race, as you know. This is a state that President Biden won by a really narrow margin and the debate — the lack of debate has now become a narrative in the race, right? So, Hobbs is saying this would not be a good use of her time. She claims it would be a circus, that this wouldn’t be helpful.

Btu she’s now facing I think criticism and I think concerns from voters. And voters in all these races, and including in Pennsylvania, when one candidate had a stroke, expect to see their candidates, expect to seem facing questions — expect to see them facing each other. And so, she is now spending time defending this decision as opposed to talking about policies or proposals in the race.

BREAM: And, Carl, what do you make of this Arizona race? Because Kari Lake is surging in most of the polls, in that gubernatorial race, and where there is a very tight Senate race. Does she pull out? And does she pull Blake Masters along with her on the Senate side?

ROVE: Well, I wouldn’t use the word surging. She’s moving ahead, but the Democrats have nominated a particularly inept candidate in Katie Hobbs who has run a dreadful campaign and this latest decision not to debate is a big mistake.

And yes, if Kari Lake wins by sufficient margin, she might just bring Blake Masters in on her coattails. Same thing in Georgia, if Kemp wins by a 5, or 6 or 7-point margin, he may just well bring Herschel Walker in on his coattails. And in Nevada, it is clear that Sheriff Lombardo, sheriff of Clark County, Las Vegas, is helping Adam Laxalt who’s from the other end of the state, Waxhaw County, Reno, in his race.

So, and then we got this weird dynamic in Pennsylvania, where we literally have, you know, Josh Shapiro and Mehmet Oz being seen as the more centrist candidates and the Republican nominee for governor and the Democratic nominee for the Senate being seen as extremist, outside of the mainstream.

BREAM: Juan, what of these tight Senate races are you watching that you think Democrats will hold on to or multiple, if you do?

WILLIAMS: Well, I think that they will win in Arizona. I think, you know, just picking up on what Karl was talking about, I think you’re going to see a large number of split tickets, split votes and I think people are writing about that.

I think that if you’re looking for interesting races even beyond Washington, I looked at that race in Oklahoma for governor, Kevin Stitt and Joy Hofmeister and to me, this idea that a Democrat could win in a red state, like Oklahoma, I don’t think they’ve had a statewide Democrats since ’06, it’s pretty amazing.

But, again, I think it reflects the idea that, you know what, we’ve got an election where turnout is key. You got to get your people to the polls and right now, what we’ve seen in Georgia for example with early voting is big turnout. Both sides are highly energized in that race by the way.

In the Oklahoma race, he was saying, hey, crime is out of control, this is another messaging. And she said, no, actually crime is higher here in Oklahoma than it is in New York or L.A. He said, no, it can’t be, but it turns she was right.

BREAM: Well, in that, that is one of the issues that has definitely bubbled up in our polling and all across this campaign.

Catherine, quickly, do we think we’ll see the president out more in some of these races?

LUCEY: Yeah, he’s been out quite a bit already. He was — he’s been in Pennsylvania. He’s going back to Pennsylvania. We know he’s going back to Florida. He did a swing through the West Coast. He did a stump with Senator Bennet, who is running for re-election there.

He is going to be out more. He has not been doing big campaign rallies. He has been doing more, you know, issue events, policy events and a lot of fundraising on the trail. But we will expect to see him do more of that.

BREAM: In very specific states.

OK. Panel, stick around, we’re going to take a quick break here.

Up next, Texas Republican candidates in a historically blue region near the border are now raking in more money than Democrats ahead of Election Day. We’re going to sit down with Democrat incumbent in this area, Henry Cuellar, who is fighting to keep his seat there and we’ll go live to the border itself for a look at what’s happening on the ground there. That’s coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BREAM: There’s growing frustration along the U.S.-Mexico border where officials are struggle to handle the number of arrivals. It is an issue that is spilling out into the campaign trail and also pitting border Democrats against the Biden administration.

Let’s turn to Bill Melugin, live in Eagle Pass, Texas, where he’s been reporting on the border crisis since Biden’s second month in office.

Hello, Bill.

BILL MELUGIN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Shannon.

Well, migrants continue crossing here in massive numbers, really from all around the world. But we are starting to notice a major drop in the number of Venezuelans showing up. That’s a result of a brand-new DHS policy which expels Venezuelans if they are caught crossing illegally in between ports of entry.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MELUGIN: It’s before sunrise in Eagle Pass, Texas, where exclusive images from a Fox News thermal drone reveal a huge group of hundreds of migrants crossing illegally into the U.S., a large majority of them single, adult men. A scene that plays out here daily.

Earlier in the week, an even bigger group crossed illegally in the same spot. More than 450 migrants all at once. In the last two weeks alone, Border Patrol says this Del Rio sector has seen nearly 18,000 illegal crossings and more than 6,000 known got-a-ways.

This week, “The New York Post” reported the White House asked El Paso’s Democrat mayor to not declare a state of emergency over the migrant crisis there in an effort to avoid bad optics, something the mayor now denies, though he admitted to it in a city council meeting last month.

MAYOR OSCAR LEESER (D), EL PASO, TEXAS: And the White House has asked at this point for us not to do that.

MELUGIN: The white House says that never happened, telling Fox in part, quote, we did not make any such request, but we did make clear that the federal government stands ready to support the city of El Paso.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MELUGIN: And, Shannon, speaking of the federal government, they conducted a very blatant Friday night news drop this past Friday. At 11 p.m. Friday night, they finally released the September border numbers. And those numbers are historic. They show that in September there were more than 227,000 migrant encounters. That is the highest number for a September in DHS history, and it’s not even close. The numbers also show fiscal year 2022 ended with nearly 2.4 million migrant encounters. That is the highest fiscal year ever recorded and it does not count the known got-a-ways.

We’ll send it back to you.

BREAM: Bill Melugin, live from the U.S./Mexico border. Bill, thank you to you and your team down there.

Joining us now from San Antonio, Democratic Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar, whose district includes Laredo, along the border.

Congressman, welcome back to FOX NEWS SUNDAY.

REP. HENRY CUELLAR (D-TX): Thank you. And good morning to you, Shannon.

BREAM: OK, so you heard the numbers there. They came after 11 p.m. here in Washington on a Friday night. They are record breaking. I know you’ve talked with this administration repeatedly about the issue at the border, trying to get some help.

Here’s what the vice president said last month.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a secure border in that that is a priority for any nation, including ours, and our administration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: Congressman, based on your conversations with the administration, first, do you think the secure – the border is secure? And, secondly, do you think it is a priority for this White House?

CUELLAR: You know, first of all, no, the border is not secure. When you have 1.7 million individuals last year, and now another 2.7, that’s over 4.5 million individuals encounter at the border, plus the – if you add the getaways, that’s going to be over 5 million individuals in just two years. No, the border is secure – it’s not secured and we’ve got to make sure that we have repercussions there.

Look, I – I’ve talked to the administration a week before the December – this was in December of 2020 and I started telling the transition team in December of 2020, this is what’s going to be happening. You all have to be ready. And if we don’t have repercussion – we can be compassionate at the border, but you’ve got to enforce the law. And if you don’t return people, then this is what you’re going to have.

I saw the numbers from the Venezuelans that have dropped out. I – I actually want them to do that to every country. If we do that to every country, the numbers will go down. We will be able to control our borders. And that’s important to us that live along the border.

BREAM: Well, there’s been a lot of attention play — paid to El Paso. You heard Bill’s reporting there. They have been bussing migrants to other places, like New York, which has since declared an emergency because of the influx they’ve gotten.

El Paso reportedly not going to continue the bussing because there’s reporting out there that the feds are not going to send migrants to El Paso anymore, at least not in the numbers that they were.

Instead it appears they’re using something that they had criticized from the Trump administration as cruel and it’s actually a policy they’re currently fighting in court, Title 42. AP says this, with the increasing number of Venezuelans arriving at the U.S./Mexico border as the November 8th election nears, Biden has turned to an unlikely source for a solution, his predecessor’s playbook.

So, is it your impression that this administration is saying one thing publicly but doing things differently when it comes to actually handling the reality of what they’re seeing at the border?

CUELLAR: I think so. You know, with all due respect to the administration, you know, they said they want to get rid of Title 42, but Title 42 is used more than Title 8 to return people back. And if you look at what they’re doing with the Venezuelans, doesn’t that sound familiar, like the MPP, that is you wait outside before you come in, or you go through a port of entry. And notice that it’s the same thing in many ways, it’s the same concept. And I’ve always said that, look, we can spend all the defense on the one yard line called the U.S./Mexico border, but if we don’t go to their 20- yard line, work with Guatemala, work with Mexico and – and get them engaged so they can stop those folks from coming in, then they’re just going to be at our door steps and we’ve got to make sure that we understand the importance of securing our border.

BREAM: Want to put up some polling that shows where voters think Republicans have the advantage in handling issues. They give a 21-point advantage to them on border security. So, your opponent, Cassy Garcia, says that you say the right thing when it comes to the border, but she says you can’t point to anything concrete you’ve done.

Your response?

CUELLAR: Well, you know, she’s not from my district, so she probably doesn’t understand what I’ve been doing in my district. I sit as the vice chair of Homeland Security. I’ll be moving up. In the Appropriates, I – I have money there for more border patrol agents, money for their mental health, money – money for child care, a pay raise for Border Patrol. I work very well with her husband, Mr. Owens (ph), which is a Border Patrol chief in Del Rio. He’s a friend of mine. He invited me to be the speaker when we had a graduation of the Border Patrol agents in New Mexico, in Articia (ph). So people know.

In fact, tomorrow, I’m announcing a $165 million Border Patrol checkpoint in Laredo. And so I can go on and on and on.

So, she’s not from the district. So she probably doesn’t know what I’ve been doing. But I can tell you, I’ve been supporting the men and women in green, and the men and women in blue, which are the ones at the ports of entry.

And, by the way, Shannon, if you want to stop drugs, drugs are coming in — over 90 percent of their drugs come in through ports of entry. So, we’ve got to support the men and women in green and the men and women in blue also.

BREAM: Yes, they’ve got very difficult job. That — that poll, I want to put that up gain. It also, on the issue of the economy, it gives, on inflation, Republicans a 13-point advantage on how they’re handling that.

Now, this week, Democratic Senator Mark Warner said that there was too much spending in the American Rescue Plan. One of the top Democrats over on the House side with you, James Clyburn, said this week that of the trillions in new spending, quote, all of us knew that it would drive up prices.

Does he speak for you in that, do you have any regrets on voting for those trillions in new spending?

CUELLAR: Well, look, you know, I – I want to make sure that people understand, if you look at the deficit spending under the prior administration compared to the one now, there actually was more spending on the prior administration.

But I would say this, to help reduce the prices that we have right now, we got to focus on one of the biggest driver, and that’s oil and gas. I support the oil and gas industry because, in – in – in my place, my district, there is 40,000 jobs. We lower the prices of – of oil and gas. I was the one that passed — helped pass the ban on oil exports. So, we created more jobs here. We want to see domestic drilling here in the United States. You lower the price of petroleum, it lowers the price of fertilizer, it lowers the price of so many things that has an impact on our goods.

So, that’s what I’ve been focused on, what I can control. And that is having domestic drilling here in the state of Texas or in the United States.

BREAM: So many of the positions that you take, Republicans would say you should come join them and their party because so many of them are more aligned with them. You’re often described as only pro-life Democrat in the House. David Wasserman, a top election forecaster over at Cook Political Report says this about you. He is now pretty much alone as a conservative Democrat in the House.

Do you worry that people who hold your positions are being squeezed out of the Democratic Party? Is there a place for you?

CUELLAR: You know – you know, surely I’m a Democrat. I’m a conservative Democrat. I work in a very bipartisan way. I work with Senator John Cornyn on so many issues, on the border issues. We work together. And I think every party has the extreme. We have the extreme left. We have the extreme right. But some of us are not sent up to Washington to go make political statements. We’re sent to Washington to do the hard job, and that is govern. And you’ve got to work with Democrats and Republicans like my friend Tony Gonzales (ph). We sit on Appropriations and we work together. Michael McCall is another person that we work together.

So, there’s ways of working together and I think there is definitely room for a conservative, moderate Democrat like myself.

BREAM: Congressman, you are in a close race there. We’re all watching these House districts along the border. Your opponent, Cassy Garcia, we mentioned, she’s brought up the FBI raid at your home back in January. Is there anything you can say to clarify or explain that investigation or what’s going on there?

CUELLAR: Yes. You know, definitely there is — I’m not the target of the investigation. That is what my attorney has told me. And we – we’re going to go ahead and just move and focus on the election.

What I want to know is what she wants to do? You know, she’s focusing on negative attacks. And I think people are sick and tired of the negative attacks. What they want to see is, this is a market of ideas. This is what I want to do. This is what she wants to do. Let the people decide.

And I will tell you one thing, if you look at the numbers in the past, I usually do about 10 percent better than most state and national Democrats that run in my district. I’ll tell you why, because I get independent voters that come and support me and I get a lot of the moderate Republicans. And that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to get independent voters. I’m going to get moderate Republicans. A lot of cross over, along with the Democrats, and we’re going to win this race.

BREAM: All right, Congressman, just a little more than two weeks to go. Yours is one to watch. We thank you for making time for u this morning. Great to speak with you.

CUELLAR: Thank you so much. And I invite you to come to Texas.

BREAM: OK. I will come down shortly. It’s a great place.

All right, up next, we’re going to bring back the panel to discuss some of the biggest issues that parents are talking about ahead of the midterms.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It’s mega MAGA trickledown. Mega MAGA trickledown. The kind of policies that have failed the country before and will fail it again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: That is President Biden this week introducing yet another attack on Republican economic policies as Democrats face headwind on issues like inflation and the border.

We’re going to try to get to all of those.

Rich, I want to start with you, though, about something else that got headlines this week.

The CDC voting to recommend the Covid-19 vaccine be in the schedule of recommended vaccines for kids. A lot of parents – and, by the way, this comes on the same weekend that we get news that the CDC director, vaxed and boosted, now has Covid. So it’s raising a lot of eyebrows. Townhall.com says this, a number of Republican governors and gubernatorial candidates are vowing they will not issue mandates requiring the shot. So, it’s showing up on the campaign trail.

RICH EDSON, FOX NEWS SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It’s definitely showing up on the campaign trail. And this is an issue that Republicans want to talk about. They want to talk about the shutdowns. They want to talk about what’s happened in schools over Covid.

But you have to remember, this is a recommendation from the CDC. And candidates on both sides are going to have to answer this because if they want to be leaders in their states and in their – in – in their communities, they’re the ones who are going to have to decide whether this recommendation of medical experts from the CDC is something that they want for their schools.

So, it is an issue. It’s something Republicans want to talk about. But t should be an issue because they’re the ones who are going to have to decide on it.

BREAM: They are. OK, let’s talk about the economy. We — you heard there from the president about how well they’ve done. He says an historic drop in the deficit, $1.4 million – trillion, excuse me. Million would be fun. We’re talking trillions out here in Washington.

“The Wall Street Journal” over there says it’s president Rumpelstiltskin trying to spin economic straw into political gold. They say if Mr. Biden wants to play Rumpelstiltskin in the classic fairy tale, spinning straw into gold, he might recall that it had an unhappy ending for the spinner, Juan.

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: I like that, Shannon.

Well, I mean, he’s — no president drove up the deficit more than Trump, OK. So, in that sense, yes, he’s right. But it’s also the case that Republicans are succeeding on the campaign trail, as we said before, by talking about the economy, the number one concern of voters.

Now, the thing about this is, they tie inflation directly to Biden and Biden spending. But what Democrats are pointing out is that inflation is global. It’s not just here in the United States. In fact, inflation here is better than it is in western Europe. The dollar remains strong while the euro and the pound are weak. So, the U.S. economy, with low unemployment, remains the best in the world. But it’s not great and that’s why it’s a concern of voters.

Liz Truss, out this week as the British prime minister.

BREAM: Look (ph) –

WILLIAMS: What was she doing? She was pursuing Trump-type policies that led to hyperinflation in Britain. So I think there are a lot of people who think the Federal Reserve is trying to tamp down inflation. If you go back to tax cuts for the rich under – like the Trump policies, you’re going to send inflation out of the roof in the United States.

BREAM: Well, and, Catherine, he’s getting criticism, though, on this announcement of more oil out of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve just in time for the midterms.

CATHERINE LUCEY, “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL”: Yes, the president announced the additional release this week. He’s trying to work on this problem. He says, you know, gas prices are going back up. He’s trying to counter the fact that there were cuts made by OPEC and that there’s other international pressures. But certainly the timing is that we are coming barreling down to the midterms and this is the top inflation, high prices and gas are the top issues for voters and they have been for a long time.

BREAM: Yes, they stay at the top of the poll.

All right, the president, I want to play a bit of – when he was asked Friday, at least this aired Friday, about whether or not he’s going to run for re-election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have not made that formal decision, but it’s my intention. My intention to run again. And we have time to make that decision.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Biden is for it? Mr. President?

BIDEN: Dr. Biden thinks that — my wife thinks that — that I — that – that we’re – that we’re doing something very important. And that I shouldn’t walk away from it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: Karl, that’s getting a lot of attention for reasons not that the White House would like it to.

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Look, he’s not going to be the nominee of the Democratic Party in 2024. The party – that party is not going to nominate an 82-year-old who was older his first day in office than they – any president on the last day of their office, and who is clearly struggling. And the country’s going to demand a generational shift and it’s going to start with no 82-year-old is going to be the Democratic nominee, and I suspect no 78 year old is going to be the Republican nominee.

BREAM: You – oh, you heard it here. Karl is prognosticating.

All right, predictions, we’ll see what comes true.

Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.

Up next, we will bring in Fox Business Network host Larry Kudlow on recession fears and also on the special honor he just received.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BREAM: My next guest has had the ear of several presidents and is a veteran host of a roster of financial news programs including “Kudlow” on the Fox Business Network.

Larry Kudlow was just awarded the National Review Institute’s William F. Buckley Jr. Prize for leadership in political thought. During his acceptance speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, he talked about his life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KUDLOW, HOST OF “KUDLOW” ON FOX BUSINESS NETWORK”: My life has had its twists and turns. Doors have opened. Doors have closed. I’ve had some fabulous experiences.

I always believed it was God’s handywork, not mine. But when the opportunities came, I gave them my best shot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: Joining us now, Fox Business Network host Larry Kudlow.

Welcome back. Good to see you.

LARRY KUDLOW, HOST OF “KUDLOW” ON FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: Thank you, Shannon. Appreciate it very much.

BREAM: OK, we’re going to talk more about your award, but first I want to do some news headlines with you.

The president talked about the economy and the outlook on Friday. He says his policies just need a little bit more time to work. He’s doing the best with the challenges that the Trump administration left him. Here’s some of what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But look at what I’ve inherited and what I’ve done, and look at what they’re offering (ph). They want to double down on the Trump tax cuts for the wealthy, make them permanent because they’re going to expire in 2025. They want to send jobs overseas where big corporations can, in fact, pay lower wages and increase their profit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: So, he says the previous administration, that includes you, left him a broken economy, Larry.

KUDLOW: Yes, you know, I’ve never understood these crazy assertions. Utter fraud. I mean just to look at the numbers, Shannon. When Joe Biden was inaugurated, the economy was growing at about 6.5 percent. The inflation rate was barely above 1 percent. And in the course of the next 12 to 15 months, 18 months, he took that economic boom and essentially turned it into a recession because of all the inflationary federal spending and regulating and the war against fossil fuels, which has caused, you know, 10 percent inflation.

The soft underbelly of the Biden economy, almost from day one, has been a continuous decline in the working folks wages. Real wages have fallen for 18 straight months year on year basis.

The inflation tax is killing the economy. We’re on the front end of a recession. All these business titans, so to speak, bankers, Jeff Bezos, JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, people like that, are now predicting recession next year. I mean it’s a – it’s just part of the fraudulent, almost like white is black, black is white.

He will not tell the truth about the economy. He inherited a boom. He turned it into a bust. We’re in a lot of trouble now. The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates. Stock markets are falling we are headed for a very deep recession. And these progressive policies have utterly failed. This radical, you know, war against fossil fuels, I mean, it just doesn’t make any sense to watch him try to turn the truth around. And I think it’s really hurt him. I mean I think it’s hurt – there’s no confidence in him. There’s no confidence in his policies. And right now there’s no confidence in the economy. And that’s why the calvary is coming. That’s why we’re going to see a tremendous turnover in Congress in the next couple weeks in the midterm elections.

BREAM: And we’ll see what they do if Republicans do regain power in the House and/or Senate.

In the meantime, I want to talk about your prize, the speech that you gave the other night. You talked about the importance of faith in public life. I know you and I have had conversations about how it led you though some of the storms in your life. But, you know, a lot of recent polling shows that Americans are increasingly walking away from the idea of faith as being integral to their life. What’s your message on that front?

KUDLOW: Yes, you know, it’s a disturbing thing. You and I have talked about this.

Look, Shannon, going back many years, almost 30 years ago, in my worst moments, I looked for God, I reached for God, I asked for his help, and I’ve been doing so for the last three decades.

I came to faith. And I want to say, by the way, with respect to Bill Buckley, who was a – you know, one of the great modern fathers of conservative, you know, Bill, in addition to being a free market capitalist, which of course I’ve always followed, Bill was a man of great faith. I mean Bill was a high church catholic and believed that religion had to play an important part in our lives, in our culture, in our families, in our communities. And, you know, there’s only one Bill Buckley. I’m not Bill Buckley. But I sure have tried to follow that model.

And, again, Shannon, I know it’s a Sunday show and we don’t have time to go through a lot of stuff, but I think some of these people on the radical left, who want to take religion, I’m not making any specific religion, but just take religion, take God out of our schools, out of our work, out of our families, out of our lives, I think it’s a huge mistake. I think it damages the culture. And I hope that people think twice about that in the future.

It helped me in my personal life and I think it can help everybody in their lives.

BREAM: Yes, it’s helped me in mine, too. And I know that this country is a beautiful place of freedom where you can have a religion or none at all and we celebrate that.

Larry, thank you very much.

That’s it for Sunday morning. Thanks for joining us. I’m Shannon Bream.

Have a great week. We will see you next Fox News Sunday.

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Host Shannon Bream welcomed guests Larry Kudlow, Rep. Henry Cuellar, Sen. Mike Lee, and more to discuss the latest political news on ‘Fox News Sunday.’

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