"Face the Nation" transcript: September 4, 2011
Below is a rush transcript of "Face the Nation" on September 4, 2011, hosted by CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer. The guests are Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman.
You can watch the full show by clicking on the video player above.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on Face the Nation, will the bad economy and the dismal unemployment figures bring out even more Republican candidates?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN: The challenge is not simply to replace Obama in 2012, but the real challenge is who and what we will replace him with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIEFFER: Is she or isn't she running? She still won't say, but there's no doubt about this fellow's intentions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK PERRY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One in six work- eligible Americans cannot find a job. Mr. President, that is not a recovery, that is an economic disaster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIEFFER: Suddenly he's the Republican frontrunner. As the president prepares to tell the nation his plan to create more jobs on Thursday, we'll talk to two Republican candidates who surprised the pundits: Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who is doing much better than expected; and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman who has found rough going as the moderate in the race.
It's all ahead on Face the Nation.
ANNOUNCER: From CBS News in Washington, Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer.
SCHIEFFER: And good morning again. Welcome to Face the Nation. And we welcome Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. She is with us this morning from her home state of Minnesota. She's in Minneapolis.
Good morning, congresswoman.
BACHMANN: Good morning, Bob. Good to be with you.
SCHIEFFER: Thank you. And to get the economy going, you and most of the Republicans -- I want to just dive right in here -- are calling for reducing taxes on corporations. But yesterday Sarah Palin went all of you one better. She called for just eliminating all corporate taxes. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PALIN: I propose to eliminate all federal corporate income tax. And hear me out on this. This is how we create millions of high- paying jobs to balance out any loss of federal revenue from this tax cut, we eliminate corporate welfare and all the loopholes and we eliminate bailouts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIEFFER: So you're a tax lawyer, congresswoman. Would you go that far? Would you eliminate all corporate income taxes?
BACHMANN: Well, you're right, I am a tax lawyer. And I'm also a private business woman as well. We've started our own company. And we've created jobs here in Minnesota. And I think the very first thing that I would do today as president of the United States is to bring about repatriation of income from American corporations that have earned money overseas. We have, according to 60 Minutes on your own network, we have over $1.2 trillion in earnings that we could bring immediately to kick-start the economy which would be a true stimulus.
We could bring that money in at a 0% tax rate. Have it be 0% through December 31. And then have it permanently fixed at 5%. After that, I think we do need a reduction permanently in the corporate tax rate. And that's the difference I think between what I want to do versus President Obama. His solutions, Bob, have all been government focused and very temporary gimmick fixes.
What is destabilizing as a private businessperson like myself, if you don't have permanent fixes. I want to see permanency in the tax code. That's what will change and make dynamic job creation and pro- growth policies.
SCHIEFFER: But congresswoman what I asked you was, would you go as far as Sarah Palin and eliminate all corporate income taxes?
BACHMANN: Well, of course to do that we'd have to have a fundamental restructuring of the tax code. What we would have to do then is rejigger other elements to define revenue and what revenues would be needed to the economy. We could go that route. If we went that route, then we'd have to have a fundamental restructuring of the tax code.
I'm open to having that debate. And as a former federal tax lawyer, I've dealt with whether it's a national consumption tax, a flat tax or some variation on the current system.
This is what I do know. It needs to be simplified. It needs to be fair and it needs to be reduced. What we do know is that the current corporate tax rate is killing job creation.
SCHIEFFER: So you could see a way to do that? You're not ready to just say, yes, I'll do that, but you could see by making other adjustments a way to eliminate corporate taxes?
BACHMANN: It would be possible if we have a fundamental restructuring of the tax code, but immediately what we could do is repatriation of bringing this money in from American companies that are earning the money overseas. But second I do believe that the president at minimum should lower the corporate tax rate to 20% so that businesses can see that they will have a more competitive rate.
We certainly could get down to a 0 percent corporate tax rate, but it would mean a fundamental restructuring of the tax code.
SCHIEFFER: All right, speaking of the president -- and I expect you'll be speaking of him several times during our broadcast -- you've been beating him up pretty bad for not creating jobs and they dismal unemployment figures. It's certainly a fair comment in the presidential campaign to be doing that. But you have not given very many details besides saying we have to restructure the tax system and eliminate some deductions and loopholes.
The main part of your plan to bring down taxes and get people back to work seems to be, number one, repeal the president's health care plan and number two defeat President Obama at the polls. Aren't you going to have to do a little more, give a few more details than that?
BACHMANN: Well, I've been on the campaign trail regularly. And I've been giving quite a few details out as a matter of fact, because I've lived this life both as a tax lawyer and as a job creator. And when I talk to business people all across the United States, they agree with me.
The principles that I adopt are permanent fixes rather than temporary gimmicks like we've seen from the president. And also private-sector solutions versus government solutions which the president has put forward. That's a very -- that's a large distinction in principle. And operating from permanency, that would deal again with repatriation of income earned overseas and also reductions in the corporate tax rates, but also permanency in dealing with the EPA, putting on hold as the president wisely did on Friday, the EPA rules.
The president recognized that that would bring about more job losses at a time when we could ill afford them. But if the president would also announce a moratorium on implementation of Obamacare, Bob, I'm just telling you all across America that would just have a sigh of relief for businesses because Obamacare quite literally is killing jobs all across the country even today.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Let me just play for you something, because you guaranteed something that really set people back on their heels last week I think it was in South Carolina. Here's what you said. Here's what you guaranteed under a Bachmann administration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BACHMANN: The day that the president became president gasoline was $1.79 a gallon. Look at what it is today. Under President Bachmann, you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again. That will happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIEFFER: Now congresswoman, I think that's a great idea. And I think everybody hopes that. But who would you propose to do that?
BACHMANN: Well, by embarking on an all of the above energy strategy. What the president has been doing is strangling the United States energy sector. The good news is, Bob, that many Americans still don't know is that the United States is the number one energy resource rich nation in the world. We have 25 percent of all the coal in the world. One of the largest natural gas finds, trillions of cubic feet of natural gas was recently discovered in Pennsylvania. And of course from ANWR, to the east Gulf region to the Atlantic, to the Pacific, to the Bakken oil fields, we also have billions of barrels of oil.
The president has just put all of that off limits. When the president put a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf region, that devastated the energy industry in the United States. I want to do what House Republicans have been talking for a long time. And that is embrace an all of the above energy solution so that we can be our own answer. We all realize we can no longer be dependent on foreign sources of oil and energy.
Let's have our solution home grown. That's millions of high- paying jobs. And that will change our economy. But with the president's direction on the EPA, that's not possible.
Let's embark on a pro-growth policy.
SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you this. I mean, I know you believe in the free market. And the market sets the price.
BACHMANN: I do.
SCHIEFFER: So if the market was unable to do that in order to get gas down to $2 a gallon, which you say you're guaranteeing, would you put in price controls or how would you do that because all of these things, people have tried a lot of these things. And the gas prices are where they are.
How can you guarantee that you're going to get gas prices down to $2.
BACHMANN: Well I'm an unashamed apologist for the free market. And the last thing I would do is price controls. But this is what I know, we haven't been doing these things, Bob. We haven't been opening up American energy production.
There are many, many companies that would love to. We can do this responsibly. And if we ask access American energy again we will create millions of jobs and high-paying jobs.
We also need to recognize this, when energy is at a high price, that brings up the price of everything in this country: goods, services as well. For every ten cent change that there is in increasing the price of gasoline that negatively impacts the economy $14 billion.
BACHMANN: So one thing that we know, again, gasoline was $1.79 a gallon when President Obama came into office. We can bring the price of gasoline down, but not with the current policies of this administration. My pro-growth, pro-energy policies will bring the prices down. Because, again, it's not government-directed; it's private-sector directed.
SCHIEFFER: You know, one of the things that got a little attention was when you said, as part of this policy, that maybe we ought to start drilling oil wells in the Everglades. Folks down in Georgia -- in Florida, I should say, took some exception to this. They pointed out that's where they get their drinking water, and this is, kind of, a natural resource down there that people from the NRA to even some folks you would call tree- huggers want to protect.
Did you really mean that you're ready to start drilling oil wells in -- in the Everglades?
BACHMANN: Well, of course, I didn't bring this up. I didn't say that we should drill in the Everglades. What I said -- because we know that thousands of Floridians receive their drinking water from the Everglades.
What I said is that we need to open up resources across the United States of America but do it responsibly. Because we need to make sure that, of course, that we don't do anything that has degradation for habitat or for drinking water or for air quality. But the good news is we can do this. We have the technology in the United States to responsibly access America's energy resources.
The problem is...
SCHIEFFER: Even in the Everglades?
BACHMANN: Anywhere in the United States, even if it's Iowa or Minnesota or Washington, D.C. If we can access energy responsibly in a way that does not degrade the environment nor cause problems to humans or to animals or to the environment, then we can access these resources.
So, wherever it is, we can access these resources if we do so responsibly. The good news is we have so many fields where we can look. We need to look where the energy is the most plentiful, and later we can look at other sources.
We aren't even looking at the sources right now, Bob, where we know we have plenty of resources.
SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you about something else. I've, sort of, made a list of things you've said since the last time you were on the broadcast. I want to play something else. And this is what you said about the recent hurricane.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BACHMANN: I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We've had an earthquake. We've had a hurricane.
He said, are you going to start listening to me here? Listen to the American people, because the American people are roaring right now. Because they know what needs to be done. They know that government is on a morbid-obesity diet. It's got to rein in the spending.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIEFFER: Now, Congresswoman, you, kind of, walked that statement back afterward. Your staff quickly said, well, she was only joking, that that was just a joke.
But I guess I would ask you the broader question. Do you believe that God does use the weather to send people messages here on earth?
BACHMANN: Well, of course, with Irene, this was a terrible tragedy. We saw destruction of property but more importantly of human life. And everyone across the United States was devastated by those views. And my prayers and thoughts were with those families as well.
Obviously, I was speaking metaphorically. That was clear to the audience. It was clear to me. Because the American people have been desperately trying to get the president's attention. He's not paying attention. I've spent my time all across the United States listening to people.
I want -- that's why I'm running for president, Bob. I want to bring the voice of the American people and their concerns into the White House, where their voice hasn't been heard for a long time. They're trying to get the president's attention, and that was the metaphor that I was making.
SCHIEFFER: So were you, or do you believe -- and this is the question I asked you -- do you believe that God uses the weather to send people messages?
BACHMANN: Well, I believe in God. I'm not ashamed to say that I believe in God. I'm a woman of faith and a woman of prayer. But the comment that I made right then was a metaphor. That was very simply what I was doing.
SCHIEFFER: If someone were to ask you, Congresswoman, because he seems to be saying a lot of the things that you've been saying and he's getting a lot of attention, what is the difference between you and Rick Perry?
Why should someone decide to vote for you rather than Rick Perry?
BACHMANN: Well, one thing people have seen from me, Bob, I have spent, now, the last -- since 2006, since my election, I have been at the tip of the spear on issue after issue after issue in Washington D.C., fighting against the implementation of Obamacare, fighting against the EPA rules and also fighting against the out-of-control government spending.
I didn't sit back when I had the chance in Washington. I have taken these issues on. That's what people want to know. Will the next president of the United States understand the problem? Will they know what to do? And most importantly, will they demonstrate the political courage to bring about the bold actions that need to be done to get the economy back on track and create millions jobs?
I've done that. I have a proven track record of doing that in Washington. And that's what sets me apart from all the other candidates.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Congresswoman, thanks. I hope we'll talk to you again. Enjoyed having you on the broadcast.
BACHMANN: It would -- it will be a pleasure.
SCHIEFFER: We'll be back in a minute to talk to Jon Huntsman.
SCHIEFFER: Back with another Republican presidential hopeful, the former Utah governor and more recently former ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman. He joins us from Bedford, New Hampshire this morning.
Let me just ask you a quick question, here, Governor. What's -- how are you and -- and Michele Bachmann different?
HUNTSMAN: Well, let me just say that we have put forward, Bob, a very, very specific proposal on how to get this economy moving again.
This economy has hit the wall. It is sucking wind right now. And we're never going to be able to come together as a country. Let's face it. Today we are divided. And it's totally unnatural and un- American for us to be divided as a country. We're not going to be able to get other act together until such time as we improve our economy and get back on our feet.
I put forward a very, very specific list of proposals. And I think that's probably unlike anyone else in the race. This is a proposal that's been endorsed by The Wall Street Journal.
But moreover, this is a proposal, Bob, that comes right from what I have done as governor. And I do believe the next president of the United States in 2012 will be a former governor. When I talk about tax reform, it's hard-hitting; it's bold. It's big-picture. I'm drawing from exactly what I did as governor of a state. I'm not talking hypotheticals. I'm not talking political hyperbole. I'm drawing from exactly what I did as governor, because what I did as governor, I want people to see as being completely relevant to where this country needs to go in terms of improving its competitive dynamic.
Because that, first and foremost -- if we can't do what needs to be done in terms of a competitive environment that will attract and keep brain power, that will allow for the aggregation of capital and allow this country to expand and create jobs, we are going to see the end of the American century. And one of the reasons I'm running for president, Bob, is I refuse to see the end of the American century.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Let me -- I'm going to -- here's, kind of, how you describe the proposal you put forward. I just want to play this because it pretty much sums it up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUNTSMAN: I'm going to drop a plan on the front steps of the Capitol that says we need to clean house, get rid of all tax expenditures, all loopholes, all deductions, all subsidies, all corporate welfare. Use that to lower rates across the board and do it in a revenue-neutral fashion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIEFFER: That's pretty clear. Let me just ask you some details on that. Does that mean that there will be no deduction for interest on mortgages, Governor? Does it? That's what it means?
HUNTSMAN: That means no deductions. That means no deductions at all.
SCHIEFFER: What about -- what about no child tax credit? I guess it means none of that, no earned income tax credit...
HUNTSMAN: None of that.
SCHIEFFER: But let me ask you this, does that mean that Social Security recipients are now going to have to pay taxes on their income?
Will veterans have to pay taxes on their disability checks and their benefits?
HUNTSMAN: Bob, what I'm asking for is a complete remake of our tax code. And in order to get where this country needs to be, in a position for the rest of the 21st century, given where of our other competitor nations have come since 1986 tax reform, which I thought was very successful under President Reagan -- we forget we just haven't made a whole lot of progress in the last 30 years.
HUNTSMAN: All the while you have a lot of our competitor nations in the world who have made tremendous strides towards becoming more competitive.
We're sitting kind of a little bit fat, dumb, and happy as still 25 percent of the world's GDP without having made the steps necessary to get us back in the game. So I'm calling for that which is bold.
I know it's going to be politically controversial, but I think it is absolutely needed at this point in our nation's history.
SCHIEFFER: Well, let me ask you this...
HUNTSMAN: Clearing out the cobwebs, clearing out the cobwebs, clearing out the deductions, the corporate welfare, the subsidies, buying down the rate. And when I hear people saying you can take it down to zero, all I'm saying is you have got to be real about the math here. You have got to raise some revenue and you've got to be able to buy down a rate to a level that mathematically makes sense.
SCHIEFFER: Well, what about what Sarah Palin said yesterday, let's just do away with corporate taxes. Do you think -- would you be willing to go that far?
HUNTSMAN: Listen, that's a great political bromide. And everybody would love to go down to zero in terms of corporate taxes. How do you do it? How do you make the numbers work? All I'm telling you is I have been there and I've done that. I have worked on tax reform, the most sweeping tax reform we ever saw in the history of our state, the kind of tax reform where people like Art Laffer and others came into our state and said, this is exactly what needs to happen in every other state, effectively creating a flat tax.
I've been there and I've done that. I know how difficult it is to make the numbers work. You have got to find the revenues somewhere that you can reinvest back in the tax code to bring down the rate for everybody.
I've looked very carefully at the numbers. I've looked at what the Simpson-Bowles Commission report did. And this was a bipartisan group of very thoughtful people who looked at our tax code. I looked at their work. I thought it was outstanding.
I took their work and built upon it, I think made it even better. So I believe that ours is based on the real world and where we can make the numbers actually work. SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you about something else in the real world, Governor. You have styled yourself as the moderate in this race. But when I look at these polls I see Rick Perry now getting 26, 27 percent of the Republicans favoring him.
You heard Congresswoman Bachmann. She's scoring 10 to 16 percent favoring her. Ron Paul getting 10 percent in some polls. Now Palin getting in with another 10 percent or so. That means that at least 50 percent, perhaps 60 percent of the Republican electorate seems to favor very, very conservative candidates.
Do you think you can keep on styling yourself as a moderate? Or are you going to have to move to the right here?
HUNTSMAN: Well, let me just say, everybody kind of gets a label slapped on their forehead, which I think is unfortunate. All you have to do is look up at my record. My record is what it is. I'm running proudly on my record. I am who I am as a politician and as a human being.
And when people look at my record, they're going to see that I'm pro-life. I'm pro Second Amendment. I'm pro growth. We've created the largest environment for tax cuts and economic rejuvenation in our state.
When people look at my record, they're going to find a lot to like about it. But the early polls, Bob, are absolute nonsense at this point in the game.
SCHIEFFER: All right.
HUNTSMAN: I mean, if we had gone by the polls back in 2008, Fred Thompson would be president. Howard Dean back in 2004. I believe we've always had -- we've already had about four frontrunners in the race so far.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Clock just ran out.
HUNTSMAN: So stay tuned. There's a lot to play out this fall season.
SCHIEFFER: The clock just ran out, Governor. I'm very sorry. Thank you so much and good luck down the trail, and see you again.
HUNTSMAN: Thanks again from "American Gothic." I appreciate it.
SCHIEFFER: Finally today, 49 years ago this week, I got out of the Air Force after serving three years on active duty. I got out on the same day I went in, 7 September. It's the one day I always put the date first and then the month because that's how the Air Force did it. It just pops up in my memory that way.
I didn't join for noble reasons. I enrolled in ROTC in college because I didn't want to be drafted, but I learned more in those three years than I ever did in any school.
One of the first lessons was when I came up with some crazy idea and my boss told me, that might work but first learn to do it our way, then you can try it your way. Remarkably, it turned out the Air Force had figured out several things that had never dawned on me at age 22.
That saved me a lot of trouble down the line. This revelation that others might have ideas just as good or better than mine. The Air Force gave me the pride that comes from being part of something larger than myself and the knowledge that comes from working and learning from others on a team.
Maybe it's unfair, but as I watch the mess we've made of our politics I find myself asking, do you suppose these people were ever on a team, ever sat down and really listened to what someone else was saying? Ever had anything on their minds but themselves?
I know. I already said it's unfair. But I keep wondering and thinking how much I learned after 7 September.
Back in a minute.
SCHIEFFER: That's it for us. See you next week.
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