"Face the Nation" transcripts, June 17, 2012: Gov. Romney, Senator Graham, Gov. Dean
(CBS News) Below is a rush transcript of "Face the Nation" on June 17, 2012, hosted by CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer. Guests include: Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. A roundtable with Peggy Noonan, Rich Lowry and CBS News' Jan Crawford and John Dickerson.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on FACE THE NATION, from Cornwall, Pennsylvania, we're on the campaign trail with Mitt Romney.
With the polls closer than many expected at this point, Mitt Romney is riding high and getting a warm welcome in places like Pennsylvania, once Obama territory.
MITT ROMNEY: We're going to do it here in Pennsylvania with your help.
BOB SCHIEFFER: When he took a break to talk to us--
MITT ROMNEY: Hey, Bob, how are you doing?
BOB SCHIEFFER: I'm good, yeah.
--he had strong words for the President's new plans to stop deporting the children of illegal aliens.
MITT ROMNEY: If he really wanted to make a solution that dealt with these kids or with the illegal immigration in America, then this is something he would have taken up in his first three and a half years, not in his last few months.
BOB SCHIEFFER: So he did it with politics?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, that's certainly a big, big part of the equation.
BOB SCHIEFFER: He vowed to stop the President's health care plan no matter what the Supreme Court rules.
MITT ROMNEY: Regardless of their decision, if I'm President, we're going to stop Obamacare on its tracks.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And he saw little that United States can do to help the financial crisis in Europe.
MITT ROMNEY: Well, we're not going to send checks to-- to Europe. We're not going to bail out the European banks.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Later on his campaign bus, he remembered his dad on this Father's Day weekend.
MITT ROMNEY: He spoke the truth, suffered for it politically from time to time but he didn't care about the politics of-- of truth. He said what he believed and-- and moved on.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And he told us about the Romney family's Olympic athlete.
MITT ROMNEY: Yeah, it's not me.
BOB SCHIEFFER: On page two, we'll hear from the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean; Republican Senator Lindsey Graham; and for analysis, TIME magazine's Rich Lowry, Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal; and our own Jan Crawford and John Dickerson. It's all ahead because this is FACE THE NATION.
Good morning, again. Mitt Romney got on a bus this weekend and began a tour of six battleground states. He's traveling mostly on the back roads. He is visiting New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa. We caught up with him in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.
MITT ROMNEY: Well--
BOB SCHIEFFER: Governor, thank you so much for joining us--
MITT ROMNEY (voice overlapping): Thanks, Bob.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --we really appreciate it. I-- I think we ought to just get right to the news.
MITT ROMNEY: All right.
BOB SCHIEFFER: The President said, Friday, the government will no longer seek to deport eight hundred thousand of these young illegal immigrants who were brought into this country by their parents. I think you said this is just a short-term solution to a long-term problem, but would you repeal this order if you became President?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, let's step back and-- and look at the issue. I mean, first of all, we have to secure the border. We need to have an employment verification system to make sure that those that are working here in this country are here legally and then with regards to these kids who were brought in by their parents through no fault of their own, there needs to be a long-term solution so they know what their status is. This is something Congress has been working on, and I thought we are about to see some proposals brought forward by Senator Marco Rubio and by Democrat senators, but the President jumped in and said I'm going to take this action. He called it a stopgap measure. I-- I don't know why he feels stopgap measures are the right way to go and he--
BOB SCHIEFFER (voice overlapping): Well, what would you do about it?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, as-- as you know, he was-- he was President for the last three and a half years, did nothing on immigration. Two years, he had a Democrats' House in Senate, did nothing of permanent or-- or long-term basis. What I would do is I'd make sure that by coming into office I would work with Congress to put in place a long-term solution for the-- for the children of those that-- that have come here illegally--
BOB SCHIEFFER (voice overlapping): Would you--
MITT ROMNEY: --and I've said, for instance, that-- that those who served in the military, I would give permanent residents, too.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Sure, but would you repeal this?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, it would be overtaken by events, if you will, by virtue of my putting in place a long-term solution with-- with legislation which creates law that relates to these individuals, such that they know what their-- their stat-- setting is going to be--
BOB SCHIEFFER (voice overlapping): But would--
MITT ROMNEY: --not just-- not-- not just for the term of the President, but on a permanent basis.
BOB SCHIEFFER: I-- I won't keep on about this but just to-- to make sure I understand, would you leave this in place while you worked out a long-term solution or would you just repeal it?
MITT ROMNEY: We'll-- we'll look at that-- we'll look at that setting as we-- as we reach that. But my anticipation is, I'd come into office and say we need to get this done on a long-term basis, not this kind of a stopgap measure. What-- what the President did, he-- he should have worked on this years ago. If he felt seriously about this, he should have taken action when he had a Democrat House and Senate, but he didn't. He saves these sort of things until four and a half months before the general election.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, why did you think he did that?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, I-- I think the timing is-- is pretty clear. If he-- if he really wanted to make a solution that dealt with these kids or with the illegal immigration in America, then this is something he would have taken up in his first three and a half years, not in his last few months.
BOB SCHIEFFER: So he did it for politics?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, that's certainly a big part of the equation.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let's talk about health care. The Supreme Court is going to hand down its decision, maybe as early as Monday, on what to do about the President's health care law. If the court throws it out, what will you do?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, I-- I will continue to describe the plan that I would provide, which is, number one, to make sure that people don't have to worry about losing their insurance if they have a preexisting condition, and change jobs. Number two, to let individuals buy insurance on their own, if they want to, on the same tax advantage basis that companies do today. And number three with regards to those that are poor or uninsured, I'd bring that responsibility back where it's been for the last couple of hundred years, to the states, and provide states the funding they need to help with this issue by granting Medicaid and DSH payments on a block basis to each of our states.
BOB SCHIEFFER: If-- when-- when the Massachusetts health care law was put in, the Obama people delight in telling us that they base their plan on your plan in Massachusetts. It had a mandate. Do you think a mandate is unfair?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, I think federally it's unconstitutional, but, of course what I think is going to be a-- a-- a-- surpassed by what the Supreme Court thinks ultimately. But states have, under their constitution, the-- the right to require people to either go to school or get auto insurance or in this case, to get health insurance. We-- we created a solution. Republicans and Democrats, business and labor in our state, we worked collaboratively. The President instead, on a very partisan basis, jammed through a bill, didn't get a single Republican vote, didn't really try and work for a Republican vote. I mean the people of Massachusetts, the most Democrat state in the nation, voted for a Republican senator to stop Obamacare. He went ahead anyway and put this-- this bill upon the American people. They don't want it. I hope the Supreme Court believes--as I do--that it's not constitutional. But regardless of their decision, if I'm President, we're going to stop Obamacare in its tracks and return to the Tenth Amendment that allows states to care for these issues on the way they think best.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let's talk a little bit about the economy. Yesterday, the British government said it would be injecting billions of dollars of cash into its banks to protect the economy there in light of what some are calling the most dangerous point in the financial crisis in over two years in Europe. If the European economy falls apart, do the American economy is going to be in big trouble. What should we be doing right now?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, I-- I wish that over the last three and a half years that the President would have taken action to rebuild the basis of our economy, its foundation get it on such a strong footing that the challenges in Europe, if they occur, wouldn't have a significant impact as they might otherwise. But-- but, right now, we're dealing with twenty-three million people out of work or stopped looking for work or underemployed. Homes are still bumping along the bottom, foreclosures are at very high levels, median income is way down. The President has, frankly, made it harder for our economy to reboot. I-- I'd strengthen the-- the basis of America's economic might, hopefully, we never have to go back.
BOB SCHIEFFER (voice overlapping): How would do you that?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, there are a number of things, Bob. The top three, for instance, one is to take advantage of our energy resources. We have a-- an extraordinary gift, which is massive natural gas reserves, as well as coal--
BOB SCHIEFFER: But-- but, I mean would that work right now? I mean, that's going to take a while to get that going. I mean, I-- I'm talking about what-- what if this whole thing falls in-- in Europe? What should we be doing here? Should we become involved? What do we do?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, we're not going to send checks to-- to Europe. We're not going to bail out the European banks. We're going to be poised here to support our economy, but I-- I'm very much in favor of the fundamental things one does to strengthen the economic footings of a nation. And-- and as to what's going to happen in Europe and what kind of impact that will have here, time will tell. But our banks are on a much stronger basis than they were at the time of the-- the last economic crisis, and they have built their capital base and their equity base and worked through a lot of their toxic assets, their toxic loans, and-- and I hope that, regardless of what happens in Europe, that our banking sector is able to-- to weather the storm.
BOB SCHIEFFER: The Federal Reserve, as I understand, is going to meet this week to weigh the possibility of a new economic stimulus for our economy. Now, you didn't think much of the last stimulus. What do you think they should do now--is it time for another?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, the-- the QE2, as it's called, which was a-- a monetary stimulus, did not have the desired effect. It was not extraordinarily harmful, but it does put in question, the future value of the dollar, and-- and will, obviously, encourage some inflation down the road. A QE3 would do the same thing. I know how it is. Politicians in office want to do everything they can just before an election to try and temporarily boost something, but the-- the potential threat down the road of inflation is something which we-- we have to be aware of, and at the last QE2, the last monetary stimulus, did not put Americans back to work, did not raise our home values, did not bring jobs back to this country or encourage small businesses to open their doors. What's wrong with our economy is that our government has been warring against small, middle, and large businesses. And-- and people in the business world are afraid to make investments and to hire people. I-- I want to make it very clear that in my administration, government will see it-- itself as the-- as the friend of enterprise and job creators, and we'll start building jobs again.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But are you saying here that-- that when this trouble that's going on in Europe right now, that we-- there's not much we can do but just sort of watch and see what happens?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, we can certainly offer our counsel and we can look nation by nation and talk about the kinds of things we think are appropriate for them to do, which actions we think are-- are too challenging for them to deal with, which-- which actions would have the best chance of shoring up their-- their banking sector. But I-- I surely don't believe that we should expose our national balance sheet to the-- the vagaries of what's going to be happening in Europe. Europe is capable of dealing with their banking crisis if they choose to do so. Obviously, this is going to depend enormously on-- on Germany. But-- but they and others will have to make that decision. But we don't want to go in and start providing funding to-- to European banks.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You were one of the vast majority of Republicans who signed the pledge that was circulated by the leading anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist, "No new taxes under any circumstance." And I remember once back during one of the primaries, you-- you were asked if you would agree to one dollar in-- in taxes if you could get ten dollars cut in spending cuts, and you said at that time, no, I wouldn't even accept that. Do you still feel that way?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, we all felt that way. And-- and the reason is that government, at all levels today, consumes about thirty-seven percent of our economy.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But do you still--
MITT ROMNEY (voice overlapping): Let me go on and explain--
BOB SCHIEFFER (voice overlapping): --how?
MITT ROMNEY: --and-- and the answer is I do feel that way. Government is big and getting larger, and there are those who think well, the answer is just to take a little more from the American people, just give us a little more and-- and there are places that have gone that way. California, for instance, keeps raising taxes more and more and more. And funny thing, the more they raise in taxes, the deficits get larger and larger. The only solution to taming an out-of-control spending government is to cut spending and my policies reduce the rate of spending, bring government expenses from twenty-five percent-- federal expenses from twenty-five percent of the economy down to twenty percent and ignite growth of our economy. That's the way that we're going to balance our budget is getting people back to work with rising incomes again. So, we're going to get bigger tax revenues as a-- as a result of that good news.
BOB SCHIEFFER: We-- we know, Governor, you've told us, you haven't been bashful about telling us where you want to cut taxes. When are you going to tell us where you're going to get the revenue? Which of the deductions are you going to be willing to eliminate? Which of the tax credits are you going to-- when will you going to be able to tell us that?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, we'll go through that process with Congress as to which of all the different deductions and exemptions are the ones--
BOB SCHIEFFER (voice overlapping): But do you have any ideas now, like, the home mortgage interest deduction, you know, various ones?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, Simpson-Bowles went through a process of saying how they would be able to reach a-- a setting where they had actually, under their proposal even more revenue for the government with lower rates. So mathematically, it's been proved to be possible. We can have lower rates, as I propose, that creates more growth, and we can limit deductions and exemptions--
BOB SCHIEFFER: But you're not--
MITT ROMNEY: --but my view-- my-- my view is the right way to do that is to limit them for high-income individuals because I want to keep the progressivity of the code. One-- one of the absolute requirements of any tax reform that I have in mind is that people who are at the high end, whether you call them the one percent or two percent or half a percent, that people at the high end will still pay the same share of the tax burden they're paying now. I'm not looking for a tax cut for the very wealthiest. I'm looking to bring tax rates down for everyone, and, also, to make sure that we stimulate growth by doing so and jobs. For me, this is all about creating good jobs.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But people at the top would-- would be paying the same-- basically the same--
MITT ROMNEY (voice overlapping): Share.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --at the same share (INDISTINCT) beginning.
MITT ROMNEY: Yeah, I'd be looking for-- I think that's important to say, look, I'm not looking to reduce the burden paid by the wealthiest.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Okay.
MITT ROMNEY: I'm looking to keep the burden paid by the wealthiest as the same share as it is today.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me turn to foreign policy. And Bill Kristol writing in The Weekly Standard this week, says, "We are reaching the time of consequence in our dealing with Iran on nuclear weapons." He says it is time for the President to go to the Congress and say, "I want you to authorize me to be able to use military force, if that becomes necessary. And he says if the President is not willing to do that, then the Congress should do it-- themselves. What's your take on that?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, I-- I can understand the reason for his-- his recommendation and his concern. I think he's recognized that this President has communicated in some respects that, well, he might even be more worried about Israel taking direct military action than he is about Iran becoming nuclear. That's the opinion of some who watch this. And so, he wants the President to take action that shows that a military-- excuse me, that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable. And I-- and I believe it's important for us to communicate that. I can assure you if I'm President, the Iranians will have no question but that I would be willing to take military action, if necessary, to prevent them from becoming a nuclear threat to the world. I-- I don't believe at this stage, therefore, if I'm President, that we need to have war powers approval or a special authorization for military force. The President has that capacity now. I understand that some in the Senate, for instance, have written letters to the President indicating you should know that-- that a-- a containment strategy is unacceptable. We cannot survive a-- a course of action which would include a nuclear Iran, and we must be willing to take any and all action, they must all-- all those actions must be on the table.
BOB SCHIEFFER: What have you learned out here on the campaign trail? You say you've been talking to regular folks. What are they telling you?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, it's fun going across the country. This has been a great and thrilling experience. I-- I come away impressed with how patriotic people are, how much they love this country, how much they respect the principles that made us a unique nation? I come away impressed with the entrepreneurialism of the American people in tough times. A lot of people have found ways to make do and-- and make better. People are, however, tired of being tired. These have been long years, three and a half years of a very difficult economy, and in a lot of cases, a lot of disappointment, disappointment with the President and with his policies. I-- I hear from small business people day in and day out why is it that my government seems to think I'm their enemy? They feel they're under attack by their own government. We've got to change the attitude in this country. We-- we've got to recognize we're all in this together. Let's not divide Americans. Let's come together and say to business creators, job creators, we want you to succeed. We want you to hire more people. How can we help? Government has to be the friend of the American people.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Now, Governor, I'm-- I'm running out of time here, but it just prompts me to ask you this question. The country is deeply divided. The Congress is deeply divided. What is it that you think you can bring to it to bring the two sides together because they're a long way apart right now?
MITT ROMNEY: You-- you are right. And-- and, perhaps, part of what I would be able to do flows from the fact that I-- I'm really not a guy that's going to from the next step in my political career. Bob, I don't have a political career. I served as governor for four years. I spent my life in the private sector. The private sector is where I've-- I've made my mark. I-- I'm in this race because I want to get America back on the right track. I don't care about reelections. I don't care about the-- the partisanship that goes on. I want to get America right. We're at a critical crossroads in this country, and if we keep going down the path we're on, we're going to become like Europe with chronic high unemployment with-- with wages that are stagnating, with fiscal crisis down the road. That's where we're heading. We have got to take an entirely new course in this country and it has to be adapted and-- to our current times, but I know what it takes to get America going again and America is poised. We're on the cusp of an extraordinary economic resurgence in this country, but it's going to take a different President with a different vision.
BOB SCHIEFFER: So you're not saying you're just intend to serve one term?
MITT ROMNEY: Oh, no, look, I'm going to do whatever I think is right to get America right, but for me this is not about politics. This is not about, did I win this or did they win this? This is about what can we do to get America right? And there are good Democrats and good Republicans who care about the country more than anything else and who know that we're getting very close to a dangerous cliff and we have got to pull back and we've got to work together. Heck, I was in a state where my legislature was eighty-seven percent Democrat. And we faced some tough times. We worked together. We-- I didn't get everything I wanted. They didn't get everything they wanted. They got most of what they wanted. And-- but we worked together. And that's got to happen in Washington. We've got to have people who're willing to put aside the partisanship, stop worrying about the next elections, and, say, you know what we've got to fix the country fast.
BOB SCHIEFFER: When we come back, more with Mitt Romney from his campaign bus.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let's talk a little politics. Why-- why the bus tour? What's this about?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, it's really a chance to get across the country, not just do the fund-raisers, which are part of everyday otherwise. But to see people across America, particularly in some of the small towns that don't typically get presidential politics.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Why these six states, these are six states that Barack Obama won last time out, right?
MITT ROMNEY: These are-- these are all states they I look forward to winning in the general election. And so I'm-- I'm making sure I-- I plant the flag, if you will.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You know this is Father's Day weekend. I know you were very close to your-- your father.
MITT ROMNEY: Yeah.
BOB SCHIEFFER: What does Father's Day mean to you?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, every time I think of my dad, it tugs at my heart strings. I mean, my dad was such an extraordinary person, born poor, raised poor, never graduated from college. Never-- never worried about the past, always looked forward, had such confidence in America that he went on to achieve great things in business and in government. I mean I look at my dad as one of a kind, spoke the truth, suffered for it politically from time to time, but didn't care about the politics of-- of truth. He said what he believed and-- and moved on.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You know somebody told me that during those primary debates when you would often write things down, they said, "you'll never guess what he wrote down." Share that with me. What did you write down?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, of course different notes in different circumstances but each time I wrote, dad, at the top of my page, reminding myself of-- of the sacrifice that he made in-- in his life, for his family, for us, and of his passion for America. So, yeah, dad was just three letters at the top of the page.
BOB SCHIEFFER: So I here you've got an Olympic athlete in the family.
MITT ROMNEY: Isn't that something. Yeah, it's not me. It's my wife, of course. She's the athlete. But in this case, it's not her personally. But she along with two other people purchased a horse and have trained it up and it's done so well that-- that the trainer and that horse are going on to represent the United States in the Olympics in London. So she's quite thrilled and I'm sure she'll be watching. I have a campaign to attend to, so I won't be able to see it perform but I'm-- I'm very pleased for her--
BOB SCHIEFFER: This is dressage.
MITT ROMNEY: --and for-- and for her training. Yes, it's the sport of dressage, not many people are familiar with it. But something for which she has a passion and frankly, her getting back on a horse after she was diagnosed with MS, was able-- she is convinced to help her regenerate her strength and renew that-- that vigor. And so she cares very deeply about-- about this sport and about-- and about horses. She's-- she's a real-- I-- I joke that I'm going to have to send her to Betty Ford for addiction to horses.
BOB SCHIEFFER: How is she doing with the MS? We heard she had a little flare-up around Super Tuesday.
MITT ROMNEY: And she didn't tell me about that.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Really?
MITT ROMNEY: You don't know, she didn't mention it. She knew that if I had heard a thing about it I would have shut her down and said you got to go home, you got to take some rest and see the people who give you care and get you tuned back up again. But she-- she knew it was important for her to keep working, so she kept it from me and kept on working. And-- but-- but she has been almost symptom-free ever since 2002, so almost ten years.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Mm-Hm.
MITT ROMNEY: And she has great-- a-- a great doctor and others who help her stay strong--
BOB SCHIEFFER: Good for her.
MITT ROMNEY: --including the horses.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Thank you very much, Governor.
MITT ROMNEY: Thanks, Bob.
BOB SCHIEFFER: It's always fun to get back on the campaign trail because you always find something you didn't expect. Like on this Father's Day weekend, a reminder of that old saying that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
GEORGE ROMNEY: I have decided to fight for and win the Republican nomination.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Back when Romney's dad, George, was running for President, he struck a theme that would sound familiar to Romney supporters today. He said the problem was an incumbent President--Lyndon Johnson in those days--who had made too many promises he couldn't keep.
GEORGE ROMNEY: Big promises and little performance that barely scratched the surface, raising the hopes of people and then letting them be dashed.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Sound familiar? Well, like his son, George Romney also campaigned by bus and delivered a message that sounded a lot like what his son is saying today.
GEORGE ROMNEY: You know we've got to get this country straightened out and deal with this financial mess and inflation and crime and get it straightened out.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Then as now, of course, voters sometimes had other ideas of what the campaign should be about.
WOMAN: I'm here to humbly beg you to stop the killing of does and fawns in Michigan, and you are the only one that can save our Michigan deer herd.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Romney's dad did not get the nomination, Nixon did. And as far as we know, there are still deer in Michigan. But it just goes to show that no matter who is running, campaigns usually wind up being about most of the same things--the important and the unimportant--and in the end, the economy.
One other thing, happy Father's Day to all of you dads out there.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Some of our stations are leaving us now. Most of you, we'll be right back.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And through the magic of television and video tape, if you've noticed we have travelled by time machine from Pennsylvania, where we take the top of today's show yesterday, and now we're back to the here and now, back in Washington with the former Vermont governor, Howard Dean and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham who is with us this morning from South Carolina.
Well, Governor Dean let's start with you. What's your take here on what you heard from?
HOWARD DEAN (Former Democratic National Committee Chairman): It's pretty much the same old-- same although, I mean, we're-- they're asking essentially the American people to elect Mitt Romney without him telling the people anything about what he's going to do. This is a guy, who wants to be President. He doesn't say why, but he says he wants to be President. I-- I think he's a nice man. I don't think he's going to be a good President because I don't think he's going to get elected President.
BOB SCHIEFFER: He seems to agree with a principal, in principle at least with the President on the action he took on immigration, about trying to do something for these children who were brought into the country.
HOWARD DEAN: This is a brilliant move on the President's part because the President-- Governor Romney is on record as saying he would veto the Dream Act. President Obama just put in what he could of the Dream Act by executive orders since the Congress refused to pass it and now Romney is left holding the bag. If he says anything in favor of what the President wants to do, he alienates the right wing, which has been his problem all along, and if he denies what the President says. He says it's a terrible idea. He digs himself in even deeper hole with Latinos. So I-- I think this is the end of the road for Governor Romney on the Latino front. He can't win that, unless, he puts somebody on the ticket who is a Latino. I think he's going to lose that by a lot, and I think that's a bad thing because most people believe that if you can't get forty percent of the Latino vote and you're a Republican you can't win. He's not going to get anywhere as close to forty percent.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Senator Graham, what's your-- what's your take on that, what the President did last week, and now the response we get from Governor Romney, who seems to say, yes, this is a problem. We got to do something about it, but what the President did was just done for political reasons.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-South Carolina): Well, I think it's pretty clear that that there are ten million illegal immigrants not affected by this. What about them? I don't think it's a brilliant move when the President of the United States tells a federal agency stop enforcing the law. I can't ever remember that happening, and that's what they're doing. They're just "stop enforcing the law." You're going to have eight hundred thousand work permits issued by a stroke of a pen. You're going around Congress and the American people, and you're doing nothing about a broken immigration system. What about employer verification? What about border security? What about visa reform? So we can get the workers we need in the hi-tech and agricultural community. The real moving parts of immigration were left unaddressed. He promised immigration reform in his first year, 2008. He had sixty Democratic senators, a big majority in the House, and he did nothing, and the reason he's doing this is because he's got a big speech next week. So I think President Obama's decision here is political, hasn't fixed immigration, is breathtakingly getting around the law, and I think well seen by most Hispanics as too little, too late. He had a chance to do something on immigration, and he's doing it right before the election in a very transparent, political fashion--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Senator, what is the--
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --which is consistent with who he is as a politician.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Just-- just from the standpoint of straight old politics, did the President help his party and hurt yours? Did Governor Romney, taking the stance he has, help or hurt the Republican Party?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I don't think you're helping your party when you're hurting the country. He had a chance to help the country. He made a promise to-- to the country and to the Hispanic community. He would solve immigration completely and comprehensively in his first year. He had a huge Democratic majority in both Houses. He did nothing. I don't think you're helping the Hispanic community who has high unemployment, higher than any other group in the country quite frankly, by doing something here a few months before the election that doesn't really solve the problem. Immigration is not fixed because of this. This is a policy change that's designed to help his reelection, not designed to fix a broken immigration system. And I do believe it is breathtaking that a President of the United States would say stop enforcing the law.
HOWARD DEAN: What's breathtaking is that Republican senator who had a hand in killing all the immigration legislation is now complaining that the President couldn't get a immigration reform through. I think people like to see what the President did. First of all, these are children we're talking about. This has a ninety percent approval rating among the Hispanic community doing what the President did. So this-- these are kids. These are not people who snuck across the border. These are people who were dragged across the border, went to American high schools, served in the American--in many cases in the American armed forces. Secondly, the idea that a President who is faced with an obstructionist Congress, where Republicans won't let judges or any other people come before and have a fair straight up-and-down vote, the idea that he's going to stand up to obstructionist Congress, which has about a nine percent favorability rating that's people want to see that. They want strong leadership. They got strong leadership this week and they're going to get strong leadership in the future. The President is not going to put up with this obstructionist Congress.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, you are talking about the senator I'm looking at right now on the screen?
HOWARD DEAN: No, actually I admire this senator because he-- he crossed Grover Norquist on his ridiculous tax pledge and actually admitted that we are going to have to raise both revenues and cut spending. So this senator is an exception to the rule. But the fact is, the other forty-four Republican senators--
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (overlapping): You're killing me, Howard, you're killing me.
HOWARD DEAN: Yeah, probably not going to help you in South Carolina in any way, Lindsey, right?
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me-- Senator Graham, since he brought up Grover Norquist, let me just ask you about that. What about this idea? Governor Romney you heard him say he would not accept even one dollar in increased revenues for ten dollars in-- in spending cuts, if that could be found. I know both you and Jeb Bush said-- said this week that maybe Republicans ought to kind of be thinking about this idea of this pledge of no new taxes under any circumstances. What about that?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, good question. What Governor Romney said is he would look at Simpson-Bowles as the model. And Simpson-Bowles, the Gang of Six, the Supercommittee--even though it failed--there's a formula that I think will take hold eventually. Nobody wants to raise tax rates. Not one person who has looked at this problem we have as a nation suggested raising tax rates. But Tom Coburn, Pat Toomey, the Gang of Six, Simpson-Bowles Commission--all said let's flatten and broaden the tax base. Let's eliminate deductions and when you ask him how many deductions? I think we should eliminate all deductions except interest on your home and charitable giving with a cap, take that money back into the Treasury--it's a trillion dollars a year we give away in deductions--and use most of it to pay down tax rates and about one-fourth of it to pay down the debt. That's what Simpson-Bowles, the Gang of Six, the Supercommittee tried to do. And I'm confident that's what Governor Romney would embrace.
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): You know--
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: And here's the bottom-- here's the bottom-line, Bob, we're not going to get entitlement reform from Democrats unless we put revenue on the table as Republicans. And I'm not going to put revenue on the table as I described without entitlement reform. We know what to do, what we should do it. And we're not going to do it without presidential leadership. So I hope Governor Romney and President Obama will do something before the election to show this leadership.
HOWARD DEAN: I agree with that. You know, I think Senator Graham and I were in the room, we'd probably come to an agreement fairly quickly. He's right. We do have to have entitlement reform. I do not agree that only one-quarter of the tax savings-- and I agree with him on exactly the deductions that should be kept, too. What I don't agree with him on is I believe three-quarters of it ought to go towards paying down the deficit, not one-quarter because the deficit is a huge problem, but I didn't think that was a particularly unreasonable suggestion that he just made.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, gentlemen, I want to thank both of you.
We'll be back in one minute with our round table for some analysis.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And back now with Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal. Rich Lowry is the editor of the National Review. He's a TIME magazine columnist. He's also a Fox News contributor. What do you do in your spare time? And also our own John Dickerson and our-- who is our political director; and Jan Crawford, our chief political correspondent who also looks after the Supreme Court for us.
John, let me go to you first. This whole thing what exactly did Mitt Romney say here on immigration?
JOHN DICKERSON (CBS News Political Director): Well, you tried to pin him down four times and he wouldn't say it. He basically ducked. He-- he believes, it appears, in what the President did on the merits. He just doesn't like the way he did it. And this is-- we saw in his answers kind of the Romney approach, which is to basically point out what the President has done wrong, stay pretty nonspecific about what he would do. But in the primaries he talked about his position on immigration was-- was pretty hard line. He talked about self-deportation, the idea of making enforcing the immigrations law so strictly that immigrants would leave the-- that illegal immigrants would leave the country. He also said that provisions like this might create a magnet that brought in more illegal immigrants. But he's not talking about that kind of thing now. He, obviously, has admitted privately he has a problem with Hispanics. On other instances, he said he would sign executive orders to undo Obama works. He wouldn't do that. So he was in his answer being as political as the President was being political in putting this whole thing forward.
BOB SCHIEFFER: What's your take on it, Peggy?
PEGGY NOONAN (Wall Street Journal): Oh, I-- I think what John says is true. I think there's a bunch of ironies here. One is that in the Bush era and in the Obama era, both administrations kept their immigration bills as big, comprehensive, full of fourteen million moving pieces. That's why nothing has moved forward. Nobody wants the whole bill that either side has. In a way it is good that one part of a bill has been put forward discreetly. Do we think that-- that the young children of those who came here illegally might be treated in a different manner that makes their lives easier? I think a lot of people would say yes. However, it was so Obama-esque in that he did it in a way that was crassly political. And is-- it's also unclear on whether or not it's-- it's wholly legally justified and legally doable. So it's a bit of a mess and a bit of a step forward at the same time.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You know we have a sound bite here from Mario-- Marco Rubio. Norah O'Donnell interviewed him this week. And I-- it-- it played so much to what you just said, Peggy, I want-- I want you to listen to this.
MARCO RUBIO: We traveled being away from them during the week. I think a lot of people in American politics have benefitted, unfortunately, from the heated rhetoric of immigration on both sides of the equation. Because while there are voices on the right that have said things they shouldn't have said, there are plenty of voices on the left that have used this issue as a divisive point. There's a very strong case to be made for the idea that there are some in the Democratic Party that don't want to solve immigration because to them having it unsolved is more valuable on the campaign trail.
PEGGY NOONAN: Mm.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, there you have it, Jan.
JAN CRAWFORD (CBS News Political Correspondent): Well, I thought what was interesting on this is looking at Romney's answers. One of the things I didn't think he did particularly well, I'm going to turn a little bit and combine immigration and the economy, is as John said and you pressed him four or five times on this. He didn't give us this answer. But then he also didn't pivot back to the economy. Hispanics care about the economy just as much--
PEGGY NOONAN: Mm.
JAN CRAWFORD: --as all Americans do. That is the number one issue in the campaign. And I think he's got to be much clear about his economic plan and how he's going to change it. The President doesn't want to talk about the economy today.
PEGGY NOONAN: Mm.
JAN CRAWFORD: Romney's challenge is to keep the focus on today's economy. Just like Bill Clinton did very well back in 1992.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Rich.
RICH LOWRY (TIME Columnist): You know, I-- I expect, obviously, Romney has not stuck on an answer on this yet. I-- I suspect he'll have to say he will repeal this executive action but he'll endorse basically the Rubio plan which does it legislatively. I do think there's a danger here of this move by the President seeming overly political, just like his move on gay marriage, because he is on the record in detail saying he does not possess these powers as President of the United States, and all of a sudden, his view of that apparently changed because he has to win Colorado.
PEGGY NOONAN: Mm.
RICH LOWRY: And the Constitution says that the President has to take care that the laws are faithfully executed exactly so the President doesn't pick and choose. Now, there's some discretion there but not enough discretion to say in a wholesale manner, we are not going to apply the law to an entire category of people.
JAN CRAWFORD: Well, Bob, if this-- I mean if this were so popular, so widely popular with the American people, why would he do this on a Friday afternoon? I mean, on Washington, that's when you dump documents.
PEGGY NOONAN: Mm.
JAN CRAWFORD: That's when you try to bury the news that you really don't want people to know about a Friday afternoon. It seems to me he's trying to get his base to turn out, just like George W. Bush did in 2004, kind of play it both ways.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let's talk a little bit about this whole economic situation because if-- if I understood Governor Romney here, he doesn't see much that the United States can do. That basically we just, I mean, stand here and hope that everything comes out right?
PEGGY NOONAN: You mean with regard to Europe?
BOB SCHIEFFER: To Europe and this crisis that is going on there. Is he right about that, Peggy?
PEGGY NOONAN: Well, I-- I-- I don't know what's right, but if you are going for the American presidency right now, and Eu-- Europe itself is trying to get its house in order, you probably don't say, "don't worry, Europe, you can always look at us." You know what I mean? You probably have to say, "Good luck, Europe. We're awfully glad you're discussing this." So I think it's probably right that he not get involved at this point.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But there's a whole lot of American companies that are going to be in some bad trouble if-- if this whole thing falls in over there.
RICH LOWRY: True.
JOHN DICKERSON: Yeah, you-- you can't be in favor of-- of a bailout in his party, for sure. I thought it was interesting when you brought up what-- how are you going to pay for these budget promises you make. And he essentially said, "We'll work it out with Congress." You know in the last couple of presidential cycles, we've had candidates who've said I'm going to tackle the deficits and I'm going to make these hard choices. And then when you ask them the hard choices they're going to make, they say, well, and they change the-- the subject. Nobody wants to say anything that's difficult. But businessman Romney would never go in for a business deal that was as vague as the one he's offering.
PEGGY NOONAN: Mm.
JOHN DICKERSON: And what he is essentially saying is, "Trust me on where I'm going to find these loophole closures." And he's not alone in that. Everybody is doing that. The President does that, too, but the loophole closures he's talking about are a big deal. And they are, you know, the-- these are tax deductions that people have-- have cared about. And he mentioned the Simpson-Bowles plan as something where they came up with some loophole closures. And he said, see, it's not that hard to do. But he signed a tax pledge that would make the loophole closures in the Simpson-Bowles plan not available to him. Grover Norquist, the-- the author of that pledge, says this-- the-- the Simpson-Bowles plan is all tax hikes. So Governor Romney couldn't be for that. So it's kind of like saying I'm going to get married and I'll figure out who I'm going to marry when I get to the altar. There's a lot that's left unsaid here.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Rich, that-- that takes me back to-- to what-- what he-- he did-- the way he-- he-- he will not say where it is he thinks he's going to get this money. I mean isn't he going to have to at some point in here?
RICH LOWRY: Well, he has a great allergy to specifics and details. And he actually said in an interview a little while ago that he thinks one of the things that hurt him in his 1994 race against Ted Kennedy was that he was too specific so it creates these targets for the other side. So I do give him credit. He-- he has laid out a clear direction. We know what direction he's-- he's going and he's endorsed a version of the Ryan plan. He's endorsed tax reform, lower rates, less loopholes. He wants to enter market forces more into the education and health care systems, but it is extremely vague.
JAN CRAWFORD: I'm going to disagree with this just a little bit because I think one of the things in terms of communicating to the American people that Romney is going to have to do a much better job on, is not so much the specifics, which I agree that's true, but-- but boiling it down to a more simple economic plan that people can get their hands around. I mean, what is his plan. How is he going to help the American people directly, not just some, you know, rising tide lifts all boats kind of thing. Herman Cain had a 999 Plan. That-- that wasn't the right plan but people got it and they responded to it. And Romney is going to have to figure out a way that he can boil that down and explain this simply so people can get their hands around it.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, isn't Jan saying, Peggy, just what some people like Scott Walker out in Wisconsin are saying, and maybe the governor of Indiana--
PEGGY NOONAN: Mitch Daniels.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --Mitch Daniels is saying. He's got to go bold here. We got to see something bold here.
PEGGY NOONAN: He's got to go meaningful and graspable. I agree with you, so that people understand what it is, maybe not specifically, but in general, he wants to do, what his priorities are. There is a tendency when you are running for office to want to do constant, quick, bright, applause lines, and there's been a lot of that going on. But a series of applause lines is not a serious statement about this is the trouble we're in, and this is the direction we want to go in. To be fair, Mister Obama gave a fifty-four-minute stem-winder this week in which he, too, without the applause lines, had real trouble making the case for the reelection of Barack Obama. It's pretty unclear on that side, too.
JAN CRAWFORD: Romney would say, I mean, look, Romney would say, look I have got a fifty-something-point economic plan. It's on my website. Go look at it.
PEGGY NOONAN: Oh, yes.
JAN CRAWFORD: But, you know, you got to get it.
PEGGY NOONAN: A-- a forty-nine-point plan is almost not a plan. Do you know what I mean a speech about everything is a speech about nothing? Boil it down.
RICH LOWRY: I mean, this is the-- this is the key thing. I think Democrats are beginning to clue into this. It's one of the reasons you're beginning to see a little panic over the President's reelection prospects and I have an essay about this in TIME this week. He's really in a couple of binds on the economy. Because he can't say, oh, it's woefully inadequate without seeming to pass a negative judgment on his own time in office. He can't say it's terrific without seeming out of touch. So it's really difficult what to say. And his solution ultimately always comes back to more deficit spending. And he can't really be full throated about that, either. So that's why you get fifty-four-minute speeches that are a little bit mealy-mouthed.
BOB SCHIEFFER: One of the reasons that I didn't ask him who he is going to put on the ticket with him is because all of his aides assured me, you can ask him until tomorrow and he's not going to tell you. He's not going to give you a hint. Where do you think he is on that, Jan, and who do you-- what's the kind of person he's looking for?
JAN CRAWFORD: Well, look, I mean, in a close race, which this is a close, neck-and-neck race, you don't go risky. You don't do game change. You go with the safe choice, and that fits very uniquely with Romney's methodical, careful personality. So I think by all accounts and I'm hearing from the campaign it will be a safe choice. Someone like, we have all heard Senator Rob Portman, someone who can come in, be President and not make a mistake. Maybe even Governor Bobby Jindal, who is kind of exciting to some, but also would be seen as a safe choice, of two-term governor, someone very smart.
BOB SCHIEFFER: John.
JOHN DICKERSON: I think safe means competent. I talked to Governor Branstad of Iowa this week and he gave a short line for the Romney campaign which is, he knows how to fix things. So bring in a second person who says, this is the team to fix stuff and-- and that's why the folks who say don't get too detailed, say just keep it on the idea that you have a career in life in which you fix things, bring on somebody who has the same kind of executive experience, and you can say here's the team to kind of fix this engine.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Rich.
RICH LOWRY: My understanding is that he tells people privately how his campaign has exhaustively analyzed all the VP picks the last fifty years, typical kind of Romney data-dump style and concluded only once has a VP helped LBJ and a President win the election and you got to make a governing choice. A lot of people are excited about Marco Rubio, the most electrifying figure in the party right now I think. But does he automatically pass that, is he ready? Test. I'm not so sure of that. Portman probably has the inside track. I'd also look at Pawlenty has been absolute workhorse for Romney and has executive experience.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Yeah. Ten seconds.
PEGGY NOONAN: John Thune-- John Thune also. I think they're not going wide, but they're drilling deep.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right.
We'll be back in a moment with this week's Google Hangout.
BOB SCHIEFFER: John Dickerson hosted our Google Hangout this week. John, what can you tell us?
JOHN DICKERSON: Well, it was about young voters and Campaign 2012. And the participants, they were from both parties, and they had a lot to say.
HEATHER SMITH (President, Rock the Vote): About forty-six million eligible young voters who can cast a ballot this fall. That means that they're nearly a quarter of the entire electorate. As of the beginning of this year only about half of them were registered.
BIKO BAKER (Executive Director, The League of Young Voters): I always tell young people, if you're not at the table you're on the menu. And you're looking at some of the statistics that are impacting young people, such as thirty-eight percent unemployment rate, and you're seeing the young people are on the bottom of the socioeconomic scale.
KRISTEN SOLTS (Communications Advisor, Crossroads Generation): Well, I think we've got an incredible opportunity here because in 2008 I think Republicans weren't trying to speak directly to young voters. It's important I think for us not to concede the ground, not to give up on the youth vote, but instead to try to make sure we're at the table and having a conversation with these voters.
ROD SNYDER (President, Young Democrats of America): The President has shown a commitment to young people, not just during the 2008 campaign, but also over the course of the last four years. We've rarely seen a White House or an administration that has chosen to make young people such a central part of that.
LISA STICKAN (Chairman, Young Republican National Federation): The numbers don't lie, and the numbers we have are Barack Obama's performance record, and if you look at that record, and you look at those statistics, it's-- it's heartbreaking for younger voters.
BIKO BAKER: Well, in 1961 JFK went to Congress and said we're going to take-- we're going to go to the moon. Eight years later we were on the moon. What's our narrative for our generation? I think it's important for President Obama or Mitt Romney in their campaigns to dream big and explain to us what they're going to do that's going to change the problems that we're facing in our country.
BOB SCHIEFFER: What they are saying out there. John Dickerson, thank you for the Google Hangout.
We'll be back in a minute.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, that's it for us today. We hope you'll join us here next week. We'll be right back at the same time and the same place on FACE THE NATION. Thank you.
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