"Face the Nation" transcript: January 29, 2012
Below is a rush transcript of "Face the Nation" on Jan. 29, 2012, hosted by CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer. The guests are Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, Rep. Michele Bachmann, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. Allen West, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, Donald Trump, Dave Barry, Marc Caputo and John Dickerson.
SCHIEFFER: Today, on a special one-hour edition of FACE THE NATION, we are in Miami and we are all about the Florida Primary and a campaign that is down and dirtier than ever.
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GINGRICH: The message we should give Mitt Romney is, you know, we aren't that stupid and you aren't that clever.
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SCHIEFFER: It has been a rough week for Newt Gingrich after acing the debates in South Carolina.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, (SPEAKING IN SPANISH), Mitt Romney!
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SCHIEFFER: He found a revitalized Mitt Romney in Florida.
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MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am speaking to you today as if I am already the candidate for president for the Republican Party.
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SCHIEFFER: Gingrich did not take it quietly, accusing Romney of being too dishonest to be president.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of man would mislead, distort, and deceive just to win an election? This man would. Mitt Romney.
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SCHIEFFER: Back and forth it went. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: He was given the opportunity to lead our party. What happened four years later? Well, he was fined for ethics violations. He ultimately had to resign in disgrace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIEFFER: And we will have the latest. We will hear from Newt Gingrich, one-time candidate Michelle Bachmann, Republican Party Chair Reince Priebus, and his Democratic counterpart, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, we will get a comment from Donald Trump.
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TRUMP: It is a very nasty business, I have never seen anything like this. It is Republican against Republican, and yet the level of hatred I guess, you could say, I mean, there is no other word for it, is unbelievable.
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SCHIEFFER: We will hear from Dave Barry, the humorist, Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, and Allen West, plus our own John Dickerson and The Miami Herald's Marc Caputo.
This is FACE THE NATION in Florida.
ANNOUNCER: And now from Miami, Florida, FACE THE NATION with Bob Schieffer.
SCHIEFFER: Good morning, again, and we begin with a little news today. Donald Trump told me last night that if Republicans nominate a candidate who he thinks can't win, he may run himself as an independent.
Our interview with "The Donald" will come in a little while. First, it is a big day here. The marathon got under way this morning, 25,000 people are running. And The Miami Herald poll is out this morning and says Newt Gingrich has lost the lead he once held in the polls here. Mitt Romney is now ahead by double digits. Rick Santorum and Ron Paul are far behind.
Last week we invited Romney and Gingrich for a one-on-one conversation on FACE THE NATION. Romney wanted no part of that, but Gingrich agreed. And in an interview on his campaign bus, he told us why he now says Romney is too dishonest to be president.
Here is the interview.
SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you this, I mean, are you worried about the law of unintended consequences? I think you have made Mitt Romney a pretty good debater. He was not bad in these debates. GINGRICH: Well, he has gotten better because he has gotten a coach, but the problem he has, I think you will see in the next day or two, is that it is really useful in a debate to use facts to win, and I think it is really dangerous in a debate to use non-facts to win, because you win a tactical victory, but you strategically begin to destroy your own credibility.
SCHIEFFER: There were a couple of times during the last debate in Florida where you seemed to just stop for a moment.
GINGRICH: I did.
SCHIEFFER: Why was that?
GINGRICH: Because what he was saying wasn't true.
SCHIEFFER: But I mean, you are never at a loss for words. Were you just shocked or what?
GINGRICH: Yes. I mean, look, when somebody says to you, I have always voted for the Republican when the opportunity existed, and Larry Sabato tweets within minutes that what Mitt said wasn't true, that, in fact, he could have voted for George H.W. Bush or Pat Buchanan on the day that he voted in the Democratic Primary for Paul Tsongas.
Lincoln once said if a man won't agree that two plus two equals four, you will never win the argument because facts don't matter. Romney is the first candidacy who fits the Lincoln description.
SCHIEFFER: You are running a pretty tough ad down here now. Basically it starts off with Mike Huckabee saying, if a man is dishonest in getting a job he will be dishonest on the job. Are you saying that Mitt Romney has a character flaw here, that he is just dishonest?
GINGRICH: You and I had this conversation before.
SCHIEFFER: Yes, we have.
GINGRICH: There are a series of things that happened in the debate that are factually false. Now this is a smart man and as you point out, he was well-coached. He came into the debate prepared to say things that are false. I will let you decide whether that is clever or whether that is really bad.
I think somebody running for president has a unique requirement to be honest, because the only way you lead the American people is by having them believe in you. And just take one example I gave you, it is a fact in 1992, he gave money to Democrats for Congress, he voted in the Democratic Primary for Paul Tsongas who was the most liberal candidate.
He could have been said, yes, you know, I was in Massachusetts, he could have admitted. And this is why several times in the debate if you go back and look at it, I am standing there controlling myself because I didn't want to get into a running fight at that moment when I knew what he was saying was so false that the better way to handle it is get the data, lay it out, and let people make a judgment on their own.
I mean, the election wasn't going to be the next morning.
SCHIEFFER: If you don't win Florida, what happens? Do you keep going?
GINGRICH: Oh, sure. I mean, I think when you are ahead 52-39, why would you quit? But I think there is a high likelihood we are going to win Florida because I think when people understand how many different times last night he said things that weren't true, his credibility is going to just frankly collapse.
SCHIEFFER: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you.
GINGRICH: Good to see you, Bob.
GINGRICH: Thank you.
SCHIEFFER: Newt Gingrich on his campaign bus. When he said, we are ahead 52 to 40-something, he was talking about some national polls, he is actually behind about 10 points in the new Miami Herald poll that is out here today.
Michele Bachmann, who dropped out of the race after Iowa, is with us here today to give us some thoughts on how she thinks the thing is going.
Ms. Bachmann, Newt Gingrich is making a very serious charge. He says that Mitt Romney is just too dishonest to be president. Do you think he is too dishonest to be president?
BACHMANN: Well, I am not going to weigh in on the veracity of any of the candidates or on the particular charges. That will be for the voters to decide and they will clearly decide here in Florida on Tuesday.
But I think we are seeing intensifying occurring from both sides. This is going to continue throughout Tuesday, but I think Tuesday's results will be very significant across the nation and then of course from there then we will move into a lot of the caucus states.
It is not over, but, again, this is just the opening salvo of the depth and intensity of what we will see going forward. Once President Obama embraces our nominee, then we will have never seen anything like what is coming.
SCHIEFFER: Well, I mean, but do you think that Mitt Romney is not a person of integrity? Because that's what he says. BACHMANN: Well, I am not going to weigh in on that. That is between those candidates. I am not going to weigh in on that. That will be for the voters. But, again, we are seeing an intensifying with what both candidates are saying and the voters will make their decision on Tuesday.
SCHIEFFER: But you won't say if he is a man of integrity?
BACHMANN: Well, I have always believed the best about other people. And of course I ascribe the very best motives from all of our candidates. I am on board the team, put it that way, no matter who our nominee will be, I am on the team because I intend to make sure that Barack Obama is a one-term president. And whoever our nominee is, I am for them.
SCHIEFFER: Are you -- we had heard early in the week that you were getting ready to endorse someone. Are you going to endorse someone?
BACHMANN: Well, I reserve the right to endorse someone, but at this point I haven't made a decision about endorsing any one of the candidates. We are still involved in the process, and I really, truly, Bob, want to be a unifying person in this party. I want to be a part of bringing in disaffected Democrats, independents, because we have a very good message come November. We need to be victorious, and that is where my heart is.
SCHIEFFER: Let me read something to you. Sarah Palin weighed in yesterday on Facebook, in a very tough statement she had strong words for the -- what she calls the "Republican establishment."
She says: "This isn't about Gingrich versus Romney, it is about the Republican establishment against the tea party," and she says, "GOP cannibals are attacking Gingrich."
Where do you come down? Are you an establishment Republican or a tea party Republican?
BACHMANN: Well, I am the head of the Tea Party Caucus...
SCHIEFFER: I know you are.
BACHMANN: ... in Washington, D.C. And so that is a voice that I think is very important to hear, and the tea party is very strong across the country. A lot of people say where is the tea party? They are not strong. The tea party is evident every time you see a debate on television.
SCHIEFFER: But do you think that is where Florida is? Is it the tea party versus the establishment or do you see it a different way?
BACHMANN: It is all of the above, because the tea party has really infused the lifeblood in the Republican Party. They are very important part of our party because their number one issue is the spending and the debt. That's what the tea party cares about and they are reacting against the incredible increase in regulations with "Obama-care." They oppose "Obama-care," they oppose the out of control spending and the debt accumulation, that is the tea party.
And you see the evidence of the tea party in every single debate. They had pushed this debate and framed the debate because their concerns are the ones that the candidates are trying to give voice to.
SCHIEFFER: Do you think Mitt Romney is conservative enough to get tea party voters?
BACHMANN: I truly believe that we will see a coming together of all factions of our party, the tea party insurgents as well as the establishment. We are going to come together and we'll unify. We're in the normal rough-and-tumble of any campaign. I know. I understand. I've been on the receiving end of a lot of these kind of hits that come from other candidates. This is normal. This is what we expect is going to happen. But we will unify and we will amalgamate. We're going to have a great message when it comes to November.
SCHIEFFER: Congresswoman, I know you decided to run for reelection in your congressional district.
BACHMANN: I have.
SCHIEFFER: We wish you the best.
BACHMANN: Thank you.
SCHIEFFER: We also thank you for coming down and speaking with us.
BACHMANN: Thank you, Bob. I look forward to it. Thank you.
SCHIEFFER: Those noises you here are the helicopters that are out covering the marathon which is going on as we speak.
Yesterday we sat down with Donald Trump at his resort in Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago. Is he still thinking of running for president? Well, listen to what he said.
DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN AND PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Well, I am thinking about it, Bob. We'll see what happens. This is a very critical time for this country. The country is going to hell in a handbasket. What's going on is unbelievable.
SCHIEFFER: So if you ran, would you try to get into the Republican race or would you run as an independent?
TRUMP: It would have to be as an independent. i would be precluded. And, you know, sadly I'm precluded from running now because of the show. If I didn't have the show, I probably would have, maybe, just kept going because I was doing well. As you know, I was leading in the polls.
SCHIEFFER: What's going on now that you don't like about this race?
What would cause you to do this?
TRUMP: Well, first of all, it's a very nasty race, I have never seen anything like this. It's Republican against Republican, and yet the -- the level of hatred, I guess you could say -- I mean, there's no other word for it -- is unbelievable.
And the question is, are they hurting themselves? Are they hurting the party? Are they hurting the Republicans? And are they hurting their chances of winning an election against Barack Obama?
And probably the answer is yes, other than there is a possibility that, with all of the press and all of the media attention and, you know, keep going, going, going, somebody is going to emerge and maybe they're going to emerge much stronger. So we'll have to see. Only time will tell, but it's very possible that they're hurting themselves.
SCHIEFFER: Well, there you have it. Well, we're going to get the reaction to that when we go up to Washington now to hear from the chairman of the Republican Party, Reince Priebus.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for coming.
PRIEBUS: Hey, good morning, Bob.
SCHIEFFER: And just to add on to that, I want to show you the cover of Newsweek magazine today. They show Romney and Newt Gingrich together there as Roman warriors.
Is that what this has come down to?
PRIEBUS: No, Bob. That's...
SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you first, do you think -- are those their real bodies, do you think? I mean, have you ever seen Newt Gingrich without his shirt?
PRIEBUS: For the record, no, not at all.
But, no, you know, this is -- this is a primary, and I think primaries are tough. And, you know, you're in Florida. Their governor came through a really tough primary. He won. My governor in Wisconsin came through a tough primary. He won.
You are going to have Debbie Wasserman Schultz on your show in a few minutes. She led the Hillary Clinton charge against Barack Obama and called him a hypocrite from the very beginning.
Look, I think primaries work. I think they make candidates stronger. And I think, if you look at American history, you will see that usually winners come out of very tough primaries and they make these candidates stronger, tougher and battle-tested. And I think it's great that everyone's talking about the Republicans right now.
SCHIEFFER: But Donald Trump -- he's, kind of, worried about it. You heard what he just said. He said, you know, he thinks they're cannibalizing each other. Do you think that's going to all come out OK?
PRIEBUS: Now, the history shows, Bob, that -- that tough primaries and a little bit of drama are a good thing for the challenging party. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama -- you know, they killed each other through June, and guess what? He won pretty easily. I think the evidence is there.
I think it's good for America. And in the end, in a few months, this is all going to be ancient history and we're going to talk about our own little Captain Schettino, which is President Obama, who is abandoning the ship here in the United States and is more interested in campaigning than doing his job as president.
SCHIEFFER: What -- what did you just say? What did you call President Obama?
PRIEBUS: I called him Captain Schettino, you know, the captain that fled the ship in Italy. That's our own president, who is fleeing the American people and not doing his job and running around the country and campaigning.
You made me think of it with all the ships behind you, Bob.
SCHIEFFER: I -- I see what you're saying. So but what you're saying is, you think that somehow this is going to strengthen the party; it's not going to hurt it in any way?
Don't you think that you run the risk of seeing some of these things that Republicans are saying about each other showing up in Barack Obama's campaign ads, come fall?
PRIEBUS: Listen, Hillary Clinton had a famous ad that she used against Barack Obama, the 3 a.m. call. You might remember that. And that was the ad that Hillary Clinton put up and said, "Who do you want to answer the phone at 3:00 a.m.?" -- devastating ad against Barack Obama. Well, we tried to use it against Barack Obama. It didn't work out.
Look, in the end, this is going to be a referendum on Barack Obama. Did he fulfill the promises that he made to the American people? Did he live up to the standards that Barack Obama set for himself, on employment, jobs, the debt, the deficit?
The answer to all of those questions is, no, he has been a miserable failure. And that is going to be what this election is about. And I think that, as a referendum on this president and where we are in this country, he loses every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
SCHIEFFER: You saw Sarah Palin's Facebook posting where she says this is not Gingrich versus Romney; it's the Republican establishment versus the Tea Party. Is that how you see it?
PRIEBUS: I don't -- I don't see it that way, but I do think that she taps into a good point, which is that people are angry. They're angry with Washington; they're angry in many ways with both parties, and that we know we have to get serious about our debt and our deficits in this country.
And, you know, when Paul Ryan and the Republicans come out with an entitlement reform package that actually puts something adult on the table to talk about it, he get vilified. So I think people are frustrated and upset and they want a president and leader that makes promises and keeps promises. That is what America is hungry for here today.
SCHIEFFER: Do you think Mitt Romney is an honorable man? Newt Gingrich is throwing some pretty heavy charges at him, saying he is too dishonest to be president.
PRIEBUS: Well, when Hillary Clinton called Barack Obama a hypocrite and when Obama said that Hillary Clinton didn't have the moral fiber to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, you see what happened. Hillary is now the secretary of state. Barack Obama is the president.
I think primaries are tough. And do I believe that, as much as possible, our candidates should follow Reagan's 11th commandment? Absolutely. But I also know that, in the end, our party is going to come together. We are going to get serious about defeating Barack Obama. And -- and we're going to work on saving America and making him a one-term president. That's what this is all amount.
SCHIEFFER: Well, I do want to give you an opportunity to say he is a man of integrity, if you'd like to say that.
PRIEBUS: Of course -- of course I think he is a man of integrity. I think all of our candidates are men of integrity. And I think, in the end, though, we have got a president who -- who has to do a better job at keeping the promises he makes to the American people.
I mean, that's where the evidence is. The proof is in the pudding there. He's the one that made these promises and he's the one that didn't keep them. And that's what this election is going to be about. SCHIEFFER: All right, Mr. Chairman. Well, we want to thank you for being with us this morning and giving us your side of it.
PRIEBUS: Thank you, Bob.
SCHIEFFER: We're going to be back in one minute, when we'll hear from the chairman of the Democratic Party.
SCHIEFFER: Well, the head of the Democratic Party also happens to be a Florida congresswoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose district is just to the north of here.
SCHULTZ: Yes. Welcome to South Florida.
SCHIEFFER: Thank you very much.
Well, this thing has really gotten nasty, this Republican primary. Are you enjoying it?
SCHULTZ: Well, as a representative of the state of Florida and someone who represents millions of senior citizens and struggling homeowners who are really hoping to be able to remain in their homes, what I'm not enjoying is seeing this extreme Republican field led by Mitt Romney that thinks that we shouldn't anything to help homeowners remain in their homes; when it comes to seniors, has a proposal that he supports that would end Medicare as we know it.
Mitt Romney in particular sat on the board of a corporation, Damon Corporation, that, at the time, got the largest Medicare fraud fine in history. And we already have experience, Bob, in Florida, our governor was the CEO of a company that at the time -- and since has had the largest Medicare fraud fine in history.
When you elect someone like that who thinks it is okay to take advantage of senior citizens, then we see how it works out, our governor is the least popular in the country. He has presided over massive budget cuts in education and healthcare and really taken our state a turn for the worst. That's what I think Mitt Romney would do for the country.
SCHIEFFER: You know, you have got a very popular senator down here, though, Mario Rubio...
SCHULTZ: Marco, yes.
SCHIEFFER: Marco Rubio, I beg your pardon. And a lot of talk he will wind up on the Republican ticket. If he does, do you think that means the Republicans will carry Florida?
SCHULTZ: I don't. And I think that because whoever the Republicans nominate, but particularly if it is Mitt Romney, I think that Mitt Romney is so out of step with the priorities of Floridians, I mean, I stood in line, Bob, behind senior citizens in my district who had to leave one or two of their prescriptions at the counter because of the doughnut hole in the prescription drug program.
Mitt Romney would repeal the Affordable Care Act. Any of the Republicans would, and that would mean we would reopen the doughnut hole and seniors would have less affordable prescription drugs again.
On countless issues -- on immigration, Mitt Romney thinks that undocumented immigrants should just line up and self deport and leave the country, would veto the DREAM Act. So whatever Marco Rubio, as nice a guy as he is, he won't be able to salvage the really extreme positions that Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican field have, since they are dramatically out of step with the priorities of Floridians.
SCHIEFFER: This new Miami Herald poll that was out this morning shows that in a head to head contest that right now Mitt Romney would beat Barack Obama. Do you think that is right?
SCHULTZ: Well, no, I don't. Actually, there is a variety of polls, there are other -- another poll that has President Obama beating Mitt Romney and the entire field, some by more than others. and that is because -- I mean, just look at the contrasts from this week, President Obama began this week with a State of the Union talking about his priorities: the importance of focusing on creating jobs here in America, talking about making sure that we can have a tax policy that gives everybody an opportunity to succeed.
The Republican field, led by Mitt Romney -- Mitt Romney benefits from the tax loopholes that exist in the tax code today, and he wants them to continue. That's the dramatic contrast. Barack Obama is fighting for the middle class and working families and the tax code that makes it possible for everyone to be successful, Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican field thinks we should extend tax breaks for the wealthiest, most fortunate Americans so they can do better.
SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you this, Donald Trump told me last night that if the Republicans wind up mom neigh somebody who he thinks can't beat Obama that he is thinking about running himself as an independent. What do you think that would go to the race?
SCHULTZ: Well, I think just the fact he says that is emblematic of the unacceptability of the entire Republican field. I mean, we have seen the race unfold on the other side with each of them out trying to right wing each other. Their circular firing squad has really been pretty remarkable. And as a result of how extreme they have been, you have seen Mitt Romney's numbers with moderates and independents across the country crater because he is so out of step with what middle class Americans care about.
Making sure there's a tax code that is fair, making sure that we have a job creation focus that stands up to the middle class and working families. Making sure that small business owners have tax breaks rather than corporations who already are doing well. We need to make sure we balance the scales and give everybody a fair shot.
SCHIEFFER: All right, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who has the Democratic take on all of this. And we will be back in just a minute.
SCHIEFFER: It is always great to come to Florida, because Florida is the quintessential swing state. It is always close here. Florida is a microcosm of the country as a whole, people say it is more like the rest of the country than any other single state. Always important, but this year more important than ever, because it is growing fast and will have 29 electoral federal votes in the 2012 election. That is two more than the last time.
So the story of Florida in this campaign is just beginning. We will be right back.
SCHIEFFER: And some of our stations will be leaving us now. For the rest of you stay tuned for more Face the Nation, where we will have more of our interview with Donald Trump and some predictions from the top political types in Florida about what is going to happen Tuesday. We will also have humorist and Miami resident Dave Barry, a lot more to come. We will be right back.
SCHIEFFER: And welcome back to this special edition of FACE THE NATION from Miami. during the next half hour we will hear more from Donald Trump. first though, we are going to get some insight on where this is going from Florida. Congressman Allen West, Mario Diaz-Balart and Michele Bachmann has come back to talk with us during the roundtable.
Well, Congressman West, I got to you first, because you come here directly from the marathon.
SCHIEFFER: You ran the marathon this morning or at least half of it. How did it go?
WEST: It went very well. It was quite humid this morning and ran the 13.1 miles. And because I haven't had an opportunity to get a lot of good training runs, when I hit that mile-10 marker, that was tough, the last 3.1. But it really is an honor to be here with you.
And it was great to be out, you know, we have people from every single state. We have folks from about 60 different countries, we had some Olympic athletes. So it was a great venue to show off Miami and the commitment that we have to the running community.
SCHIEFFER: Do all the Congressmen run in this? Congressman?
DIAZ-BALART: I drove 10 miles and I am more tired than he is.
DIAZ-BALART: All right, so (inaudible). No, this guy's a machine. He's a machine.
SCHIEFFER: Well, let's talk about what is going on down here. Congressman, tell us where you think it is right now. I take it you are supporting Romney?
DIAZ-BALART: Yes, I am with Mitt Romney, look, I think the issue is going to be the economy, you know, borrowing a phrase from the Bill Clinton years, it's the economy, stupid. I think what we have in Washington is a failed presidency, a president who said that if we pass the stimulus, if Congress passed the stimulus, that unemployment would not reach 8 percent.
But wait, at this time it is supposed to be at 6.4 percent, and we know that that's not the case so it's been a failed presidency and I think the question is who is the person who can get the jobs, you know, get the economy going, create the jobs. And I think the name that continues to surface after all of the battles are said and done is Mitt Romney.
SCHIEFFER: Well, you are a Tea Party guy, Congressman West, do you agree with that?
WEST: Well, this is what I want to look for, is the best person that can stand by our Constitution, and our conservative principles, to be able to get this thing turned around.
When I travel through the district down here and you look at the closed store fronts, the healthcare laws affecting our small businesses, the Dodd-Frank is affecting our small community banks and their relationship with small businesses. And I think everybody knows that South Florida is ground zero for the foreclosure rate since Florida's unemployment rate overall is about 9.9 percent.
And it's quite higher down here in South Florida, So we need to have some people that will come up with the right type of fiscal, tax and regulatory policies to turn this thing around.
SCHIEFFER: Well, do you agree with Sarah Palin, who is saying this is not Gingrich versus Romney, it is the Tea Party the versus the Republican establishment?
WEST: Well, you know, I have only been up there for a little over a year, so I haven't been there long enough to be establishment, but, you know, I took an oath as part of my 22 years in the Army to support and defend this Constitution.
So what I am looking for is the candidate that is going to do the best by honoring our Constitution and making sure that we put the American interests first and foremost.
I think it is a very interesting contrast you have here across our country. It is equality of opportunity versus equality of achievement.
And I think that is what the American people have to look for to -- we have got to have people that understand, set the conditions for the opportunities here in America for those businesses to grow, for production and manufacturing to come back here, not to have a government that picks the winners and the losers in the free marketplace or amongst the individuals.
SCHIEFFER: But I am interested from all of you, and this thing that Sarah Palin said yesterday about it is the Tea Party versus the Republican establishment, and I am trying to figure out, what is the Republican establishment right now, Congresswoman Bachmann. This is not Mitt Romney's father's party. This is a different party, isn't it?
BACHMANN: The party has changed so much for the better, and I think that is what we are all thrilled about, because the Tea Party has infused the energy and the excitement and really is bringing the Republican Party back to its basic values, which is limited government, cutting spending, being smart and making the government more efficient.
That's what the Tea Party has done. The Tea Party is not about Washington. The Tea Party is a lot more about the Constitution, a limited government, growth and opportunities. And that is exciting, and again, this is a very small day-by-day process that we are looking at. And every day the media is looking for a new story.
But at the end of the day, what we absolutely know, it doesn't matter which wing of the party it is, we are united in purpose that we will make Barack Obama a one-termer.
SCHIEFFER: Well, I want to ask you, though, that is a very interesting take, but has the Tea Party made compromise a dirty word, and is that why Congress can't seem to get anything done?
BACHMANN: Not at all, no. The Tea Party is trying to make sure that we hold on to our core principles and values. The Tea Party has been only a force for good in Washington, D.C., because otherwise we continue to go farther and farther to the left, which is redistribution of wealth.
That is why Obama will be a one-termer, because all he has been about is redistribution of wealth and the rise of socialist principles, and the Tea Party rejects that.
WEST: And I think that you can have your principles but also there has to be pragmatism with those principles. You know, I was one of those guys that voted for the debt ceiling with the budget control act and, of course, some folks in the Tea Party were me.
But when came back and I gave them the rationale and I laid out the framework and the groundwork and I told them the most important thing that we have to be able to prove is that we can govern, and that is a big task.
You know, when you look at, as Michele said, the understanding of fiscal responsibility, constitutional-mandated government that is effective and efficient, our free market, getting away from crony capitalism, like we said, where the government has taken hard work and American taxpayer dollars and they're funneling it to choose the winners and the losers based on ideological agendas or what they want to see happen.
And the last thing is a strong national defense. I am very concerned about that.
SCHIEFFER: Newt Gingrich keeps saying that Mitt Romney, whatever else he is, he is just not conservative enough to get elected, and not conservative enough to go up against Barack Obama. I mean, he makes comparisons. How about that, Congressman?
DIAZ-BALART: You know, I -- Romney came in just a few shy, votes shy of first in Iowa. I don't think Iowa is exactly a left-wing radical state.
Look, the reality is -- the issue here is who can defeat Obama, who can defeat a failed presidency who is bringing our country -- who has brought our country to the brink of bankruptcy, who has borrowed trillions of dollars, mostly from Communist China on failed policies, to send it to companies like Solyndra, where his friends, frankly, were large investors, who is a person who can change that dynamic, bring back the country that we all love, the land of opportunity.
This is the greatest nation that God has ever allowed men and women to build on Earth. And we need to improve it but unfortunately President Obama seems to want to change it organically. And what Mitt Romney wants to do -- and he has a plan to create jobs, to make sure that we bring back the standing of the United States internationally.
Look, I just got back from the World Economic Forum in Davos and what you hear everywhere is the decline of the United States, the concern of the incredible debt that the United States has right now. That is -- there is one person who is the cause of that, and it is President Obama, it is a failed presidency. And I'm convinced that Governor Romney is the one who can beat him in November.
SCHIEFFER: Do you give President Obama credit for nothing? I mean, you know --
DIAZ-BALART: I give him credit -- I give him credit --
SCHIEFFER: Osama bin Laden is not with us anymore.
DIAZ-BALART: No, you've got to give him credit for, you know, for signing that order to go after bin Laden, but let's be clear, the conditions would have not have been there if he had not kept the policies of President Bush to go after terrorists abroad.
By the way, policies of President Obama when he was senator, disagree with, but you have to give him credit, he didn't have to keep them. He did, and because of that, he was able to give that order to kill bin Laden and you have to give him credit for that.
BACHMANN: (Inaudible) keeping scoring, Bob. They aren't keeping score between people, they just want the country to work again. And they see that, under Barack Obama, the country isn't working. They just want the country to work, because they want to hold on to their house, they want a job, they want higher wages, and it is not happening under Barack Obama.
SCHIEFFER: Well, I want to thank all of you very much for giving your side of the story here, thanks very much and it is fun to be down here.
DIAZ-BALART: Welcome to paradise.
SCHIEFFER: Thank you so much.
You know, during our interview with Donald Trump last night at Mar-a-Lago, his historic private club in Palm Beach, we asked him to give us his take on how in race is shaping up. As you might guess he had plenty to say about the race and told us why he is thinking again about running.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, things are changing a little bit. I really loved about, as an example, Newt, his debating ability and he would be the first to say the last two debates weren't that great. I was a little bit surprised. He wasn't the same man that I watched in the previous debates.
At the same time, he has got great ideas, he is very smart, he is very tough and he is a great debater, although had two that weren't good, in particular the last one I didn't think he did very well and he didn't think he did very well.
But he is a man of great vision, lots of ideas, but he has some baggage as we all know. And then you have Mitt, who I thought did very well in particular in the last debate. He has got, you know, the obvious things, whether it is healthcare in Massachusetts or whatever, I am not sure. I think that has been so played out I am not sure that is a liability anymore.
But he's a solid guy, has a great presidential look which, whether we like it or not, is an asset, and I think he is really coming on pretty strong. I think he is doing very well. I think Newt is doing very well. I mean Newt came from nowhere -- on your show, I was watching that show, and it looked like it was over.
And, you know, you wouldn't have said a few months ago the he would be fighting it out for first place. So they are both strong guys, they are both tough guys and I think if they win, they perhaps would have a very good chance of winning the election.
SCHIEFFER: Mitt Romney seems a little uncomfortable with his wealth. That clearly never bothered you. Should he be more willing to talk about that (inaudible)?
TRUMP: Well, I think he was uncomfortable with it until the last debate. The last debate he started getting out there and saying, hey, look, I did a great job. I made money. I didn't inherit anything, I -- you know, et cetera, et cetera, and I thought he was very effective in the last debate in terms of that. I thought he was much more forceful in many ways, but also about his success.
Because I mean, the American dream is a great thing. That is what it is all about. Everybody wants the American dream, and if you sort of have done well I think it is OK to talk about it.
SCHIEFFER: Well, what do you think they are doing wrong right now? Because obviously you are still thinking about well, maybe I ought to get into this thing. What is it that is making you think that?
TRUMP: Well, I just think it is really important -- and, you know, I look at the different polls and one of the big things is can they win. I just think it is really important for whoever is chosen to be able to win. And I think people dislike the Democrats and the Republicans more than they ever have, so I actually think the right independent could win. And there was a poll about a month ago, you saw it where I was the number one independent choice.
Now, it is not I love my by business. I love what I am doing. I love this whole thing of what Donald Trump does. It is not something I want to do. I would love to see a candidate come along who is going to go up. But if I don't see a person number one is going to win, that is tantamount, I would certainly thinking about doing it after the show ends.
So it is a very sad situation what is happening to the country. And I do say that and I say many other things. And somehow it resonates with a lot of people and that is why they, you know, would like me to run. It's not something I want to do, but that is also why the candidates want my endorsement because I do have millions of people that agree with what I say.
I don't know if they like me or not. I don't really care if they like me, they like what i say.
SCHIEFFER: So let me make sure I understand this, you may endorse one of these candidates?
SCHIEFFER: If you do that, does that that mean, then, that you definitely would not run as an independent?
TRUMP: If that candidate wins, absolutely. If that candidate would get the nomination, I absolutely would not run.
But obviously if that candidate wouldn't I am a free agent. I am a free agent after May. And we will see what happens.
I really -- I really enjoyed the process. I loved going up to New Hampshire, I love doing everything I was doing. And I was having a lot of fun doing it, but I would rather do what I am doing now. I mean I built a great company, a great business, I actually in my book that just came out, I actually published my net worth, because I did my financial disclosure forms thinking I may very well do this, and I am getting ready for it, potentially, and I published my net worth statement. And, you know, because I am a private person nobody really knew, there was, they were the summary pages and everybody said, wow, that is really a great company. Lots of cash, very little debt, and tremendous net worth. That is what the country should have.
SCHIEFFER: But you are telling me, you are really serious about it and you may, depending on what happens, you may get into this thing after all?
TRUMP: I hope I don't have to, but I may. Absolutely. The number one thing for me is this country, our country is in a lot of trouble, so I may. I hope I don't have to.
SCHIEFFER: Well, we will be back in one minute with our former political -- with our Florida political round table to talk about that in a minute.
SCHIEFFER: And we are back now with our team of analysts, including the hardest working man in journalism, our political director John Dickerson, Marc Caputo who is the political reporter for the Miami Herald, and Dave Barry, humorist and syndicated columnist.
Dave, I have got to ask you...
DAVE BARRY, COLUMNIST: Did you just call me a communist?
SCHIEFFER: A columnist. Are you a communist?
BARRY: Not in Miami, no.
SCHIEFFER: No, OK.
You wrote not so long ago that 2011 was so bad as a year that it made people think fondly of back to the BP spill.
BARRY: The oil spill, yeah.
SCHIEFFER: From what you are seeing of the campaign so far, how do you think 2012 is shaping up?
BARRY: Not good. It's very depressing to listen to the radio here in South Florida. The ads are -- you want to take a shower after they say like, you know, are you aware that, you know, Newt Gingrich when he was speaker of the House robbed a liquor store? You know, and they say, this ad was not approved by anybody and just putting out there and have something about Mitt Romney. It is depressing.
SCHIEFFER: And what about Donald Trump saying he might get into this thing?
BARRY: What a courageous patriot. I mean, the man is willing to maybe give up his TV show to run for president. Thank you Donald Trump. America thanks you. Just like Abraham Lincoln gave up his TV show to run for...
SCHIEFFER: Marc Caputo, let's talk a little bit about...
MARC CAPUTO, MIAMI HERALD: Thanks for letting me following follow him. I appreciate it.
SCHIEFFER: Oh, sure.
Let's talk a little about your poll that came out came out in the Miami Herald this morning. Now it looks like Mitt Romney has got, you know, double digit lead here. When did you start to see this thing shifting toward Romney? Or did it not shift or was it that way all along?
CAPUTO: No, you sort of see things shift probably around Tuesday or so. It looks after the debate on Monday made a difference, and Gingrich just came in here and didn't have much of a message. And Romney and his people are outspending Gingrich and his people three to one. And they're really beating him up over Freddie Mac. They're parlaying Gingrich's consulting work for Freddie Mac into angst over the housing market. One in 360 homes here is in a state of foreclosure. And it's just -- it's just pretty tough.
Down here in Miami you have a different dynamic. You have a very large Hispanic population that is the bulk of the Republican voters. So a lot of the ads are on radio. And they are Spanish language adds. There is one that Gingrich ran in which he quotes, or has Fidel Castro talking at first -- gives you an idea of the tenor of the dialogue that is going on. Incidentally that ad was slapped down by Marco Rubio, the favorite son here in the U.S. senator and that really threw Gingrich off his game. And after that, it doesn't look like he has much recovered.
SCHIEFFER: So you think Romney might increase his lead by the time we get to election day? Or do you see this as pretty stable now?
CAPUTO: Usually things tightens up. It's like a basketball game or something. No matter how much one team is up at the half, it seems at the end they pull it closer. But Romney has a really strong organization. He's been banking early votes. We don't have one election day here, we have like 30. You can vote by mail. And he has been calling, advertising and mailing Republicans. And he has probably banked a lot of those votes.
Probably half a million ballots will be cast before election day, at least 400,000 or so have already.
SCHIEFFER: What do you have, about a million votes.
CAPUTO: There may be as many as 2 million Republican votes in this primary. And it's a closed primary, unlike South Carolina and the other early primary states -- and by the way, there is a lot of angst here about Iowa having not being able to count its ballots, which they cast on construction paper, this is probably more of Dave Barry's line, but as we look at this election going forward, you see a lot of Republican excitement, at least for right now. We will see what the final total is. It's probably about 2 million ballots will be cast.
SCHIEFFER: If Mitt Romney wins down here, John, what does that mean?
DICKERSON: It is a huge blow to Gingrich. I mean Gingrich coming in this race was a challenge of money and organization, that is what Romney had versus momentum. Well, if you take momentum away from Newt Gingrich and give the momentum to Romney what does Gingrich have left? He doesn't have much.
And what you are seeing here is that Gingrich's problem is he has been a megaphone for conservatives. They like what he says. Well in the two debates he lost his megaphone. And so how does he get his voice back? Well there are no debates. We remember what happened earlier in the race when Gingrich was heavily damaged in Iowa by those negative ads, the same kind that are running here. And he didn't have a debate to come back and remind people why they liked him.
It is not enough for him to just complain about Mitt Romney, he as to sell something that people like, and he is going to lose that opportunity going forward, plus he doesn't have the money, plus he doesn't have the organization. It is a big blow if he loses Florida.
SCHIEFFER: You know, Dave I would like to ask you what you see as the most significant thing that happened so far. I mean, and I take that to some of your past writings. I know -- I notice you express this thought last year, you said you noticed that an earthquake hit Washington last year, but didn't destroy a single federal agency.
BARRY: Yes, it was one of the big tragedies of 2011.
SCHIEFFER: Yeah, what are people talking about down here?
BARRY: Down here, the moon base.
SCHIEFFER: The moon base?
BARRY: Yes, when you ask the people pretty much all over the country, but especially here what do we need to do, establish a place on the moon where we can -- somebody can have a state, maybe even a state soil, a state animal. That's what we are talking about.
No. The economy is all we talk about down here. It's all we talk about anywhere, right?
CAPUTO: Well, he points out, this will sound offensive -- he points out something good in a humorous way, which is when Gingrich is talking about a lunar colony on the moon, he is not talking about the fact that people here in their own homes are having trouble staying in them. And Mitt Romney has been much more disciplined and much more on message about that. And that also compounds the problems that Gingrich is facing. If he does come out of here, he says he is going to fight all the way to the convention, but it really looks right now that he is going to be way behind in momentum, and that really matters in this election.
SCHIEFFER: Do you think this is really hurting the Republicans, John, or...
DICKERSON: I don't think so.
SCHIEFFER: They keep saying it is not.
DICKERSON: Well, you know, remember, you know, and they talk about the Democratic races, but let's look at Republican races, there was a pretty ugly Republican race in 2000, remember John McCain said all kinds of terrible things about George Bush. They patched it up there.
And also in this case what you have is you have Barack Obama, and he is a unifying force for Republicans. They really want to beat him badly and that is in part what is helping Romney here, is he has won back that notion that he is the one that can go up against Barack Obama and beat him.
Interestingly, not in the debate, still in the poll, I think in The Herald poll and other ones, it still shows people think Gingrich is a good debater, but they, in the long run, think that Gingrich in the general election can't do it and that Romney is the one who can.
CAPUTO: Yes, our poll shows that in a theoretical general election matchup, Obama would lose, albeit it within the error margin, to Romney, but he would blow away Gingrich, he would blow away Santorum, and that's that sense of electability that helps translate into more Romney momentum, more positive coverage for Romney, and more votes for him.
BARRY: Seriously, I heard when you were asking them, when you have been listening to, as we have down in Florida, they're calling each other essentially vermin, scum, you know, they can't -- are they really going to suddenly just -- can that happen?
SCHIEFFER: Well, we will find out.
SCHIEFFER: We will find out. I have to leave it there, back in a moment with some final thoughts.
SCHIEFFER: Finally today, Kevin White, the long-time mayor of Boston during the 1970s, who died Friday, had a rare insight into campaigns that comes only with running for and holding office. Asked about criticism, he once said, "don't judge me by the almighty, judge me by the alternative."
Not a bad thought as we head toward November and a general election already in full swing. Republicans still have a detail or two to work out, picking a candidate, but we already know what this election is about, or at least what the two sides want it to be about.
As the president sees it, it is about fairness, the Republicans are trying to stack the deck against average Americans to make easy street easier for rich folks.
As the Republicans tell it, it is about Barack Obama. He didn't get to the White House last week, they will tell you, he has been there three years and he has made things worse.
The nastiness of this Republican primary season is but a preview of what is to come. Our system has its flaws, we don't find out much about issues but we do find out a lot about the candidates, their backgrounds, character, and how they respond to pressure, good things to know about those seeking the most powerful office in the world.
But the best part is, we get to make our choice for whatever reason we choose, whether they ever heard what he said or even know who he was, I get the feeling a lot of people will be thinking the way Kevin White thought, comparing the candidates, not to the almighty but to the alternative.
Kevin White was 82. Back in a minute.
SCHIEFFER: And that's all the time we have today. Thanks for watching this special one-hour edition of FACE THE NATION. And we want to give a big thank you to the folks here at the Miami Seaplane Base on Watson Island in Miami. We will be back in Washington next week. We will see you then.
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