"Face the Nation" transcripts, June 24, 2012: Gov. Perry, Gov. Pawlenty, Mayor Villaraigosa
(CBS News) Below is a rush transcript of "Face the Nation" on June 24, 2012, hosted by CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer. Guests include:Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Ronmey adviser Eric Ferhnstrom, and President Obama campaign deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter. A roundtable on politics includes CBS News' Norah O'Donnell and John Dickerson, The Washington Post's Dan Balz and Time Magazine's Joe Klein.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on "Face the Nation," we're having a heat wave and it's not just about the weather. Immigration, the Obama agenda, or lack thereof and Romney's business record sent the campaign temperatures soaring. Mitt Romney looked for a new recipe to counter the President's promise not to deport the children of some illegal immigrants.
MITT ROMNEY: I don't want to rush this. This is so much fun.
BOB SCHIEFFER: After a brief stumble, the President got his mojo back as the two candidates went hard after the Hispanic vote.
(President Barack Obama speaking foreign language)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Was providing these young people with the opportunity for a temporary measure of relieve the right thing to do? I think it was.
BOB SCHIEFFER: "Then why did you wait till now?" asked Romney.
MITT ROMNEY: He did nothing to advance a permanent fix for our broken immigration system, nothing. Instead, he failed to act until facing a tough reelection and trying to secure your vote.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, why did your company put all those people out of work, shot back the Obama side, in a withering new ad.
MAN (Political Ad): Mitt Romney made over a hundred million dollars by shutting down our plant and devastated our lives.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Which gives us plenty to talk about with Texas governor Rick Perry, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, the man many say is on Romney's short list for running mate. The chairman of the Democratic Convention, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Romney's senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, and Obama's deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter. Plus, analysis from TIME Magazine's Joe Klein, Dan Balz of the Washington Post, and our own Norah O'Donnell and John Dickerson. We'll wade into all of it, but don't hold your breath waiting for things to cool down because this is FACE THE NATION.
ANNOUNCER: And now from CBS News in Washington, FACE THE NATION with Bob Schieffer.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And good morning again and welcome to FACE THE NATION.
Texas Governor Rick Perry is in Austin with us this morning. Governor, thank you for joining us. You said some pretty tough things.
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY (R-Texas/Former Republican Presidential Candidate): Good morning, Mister Schieffer.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You said some tough things about Mitt Romney back during the primaries but now you're a Romney man. How do you think he's doing?
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY: Well, we all said some tough things about each other. That's what competition is about in contests, but I think Governor Romney is very focused on the issues that are important to the vast majority of the people out there, and that's the economy. This President has overseen the loss of 1.4 million jobs. We're now into the greatest deficit position this country has ever been in because of the uncontrolled spending that has gone on with the stimulus program. So Mitt Romney is very steady, job-creating focused on allowing the private sector to create those jobs, is spot on. Most Americans understand that. They're ready to have a change in Washington, DC--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Let me ask you--
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY: --in 2015.
BOB SCHIEFFER: The thing that was at the top of the news this week, of course, was immigration. We heard the President make his announcement that he's not going to deport the children of some of the illegal's children who were brought in here when they were-- when they were very young. During the primary Governor Romney accused you of giving a subsidy to-- to some of the illegals because you were going to let them go to school at the University of Texas and the other state schools at the in-student rate. And here's what you said about it.
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY (September 22, 2011): If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they've been brought there by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart.
BOB SCHIEFFER: So that's pretty tough thing, Governor. How can you come off saying that and now say you think he's the man?
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY: Well, what we were talking about there is the economic impact that it has on the states. And-- and these two issues, of which President Obama and what we as governors have to deal with, are completely and absolutely different. President Obama is going around the Congress and, frankly, a-- a very lawless way of doing it. He's basically-- he couldn't get it done through Congress, so he's just basically, during a election year, using this as a political wedge issue. Very, very different. What Governor Romney has strongly talked about was securing the border. And that's what all of us governors have to deal with is the reality of a federal government that has absolutely failed when it comes to the issue of securing the border. If this President over the last three and a half years had made any effort to secure the border instead of running operations like Fast and Furious where-- I mean, Bob, you got to admit, this is almost Nixonian, if not absolutely Nixonian in the cover-up that's going on with this Fast and Furious. Don't you agree with that?
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I would-- I would ask you what do you think should be done on that? Do you think Congress should hold the attorney general in contempt? It's-- it's coming down to that. Give me your thoughts on what should happen here.
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY: Well, when you think about it, we've had over three hundred Mexican nationals killed directly attributable to this Fast and Furious operation where they brought those guns into Mexico, and a former Marine and a Border Patrol agent by the name of Brian Terry lost his life. I mean, with Watergate, you had a second-rate burglary. And now you have a President who is using his executive privilege to keep that information from Congress. If that's not Nixonian, then I don't know what is, Bob.
BOB SCHIEFFER: So but-- but you're saying-- would you favor the Congress holding him in contempt because it looks like that's what may be about to happen here?
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY: What I would favor is the President of the United States being transparent with what is going on. I mean what is so important-- I mean what are they hiding? What has gone on that is so important that I'm going to use executive privilege to keep the United States Congress from having documents? This is really troubling.
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): What-- what--
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY: Very troubling to the American people.
BOB SCHIEFFER: What exactly are you accusing the President of here, Governor?
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY: I don't know. I mean that's the issue. If-- if-- if he will be transparent, if he will be open with Congress and the American people then we will know what went on with Fast and Furious. Why were those guns being transported and-- and then totally lost control of, and ending up in the hands of cartels who used them for criminal activities up to and including murder of United States Border Patrol Agent.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me shift just a little bit and get back to talking about Governor Romney. During the primaries, you accused him of being a vulture capitalist. Well, now the Obama campaign is making a lot out of the fact that some of the businesses that went bankrupt that Bain Capital had an investment is-- newspaper reports say that Governor Romney made millions of dollars as those companies went bankrupt and people were put out of work. Have you rethought your feelings about his business background?
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY: Well, I'd say this that attack didn't work during the primary. It's not going to work during the general election either. As a matter of fact you had a number of major Democrat operatives and office holders scold the President rather strongly for going after Mitt Romney with that same exact attack. I'll give the President some advice, it didn't work back in 2012, and it's-- or the early part of 2012 and it's not going to work in the last months of this campaign either.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I-- I don't-- I'm not quite sure I understand or I follow your logic there. It was your attack. Are you saying you were wrong? Or are you saying you somehow had it wrong or--
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY: That's exact--
BOB SCHIEFFER: --or what?
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY: That's exactly what I'm saying. I'm saying that is a-- a wrong attack that's not going to work politically. So if you want to spend your time trying to deflect off of the miserable economy that this country is in. You know, we talk about immigration and we talk about the Hispanic vote. The Hispanic population is three percentage points higher in unemployment. There are two million more Hispanics not working today. This President's going to pitch everything at the wall that he can to deflect off the sour economy that we have in this country, particularly, in the Hispanic population. So, yeah, I'd go talk about everything else in the world to try to deflect the--
BOB SCHIEFFER: Okay.
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY: --American people off of the most important issue and that is how are we going to get Americans working again?
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, Governor, are you going to get out and campaign for Governor Romney?
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY: Oh, already am. We're-- we're working for him every day. I'm going to be out in California doing some events and wherever he needs me, I will be.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, thank you so much, Governor. Tim Pawlenty--
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY: You're welcome, Bob.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --is the--
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY: It's good to see you.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Thank you so much.
Tim Pawlenty is the former Governor of Minnesota. He was a candidate for the Republican nomination himself before he left the race fairly early and endorsed Mitt Romney. He's in Salt Lake City this morning, and let me just start off with a question that you're probably not going to answer. If the President asked you to be his running mate, would you accept because I know you're on the short list?
TIM PAWLENTY (Former Minnesota Governor/Former Republican Presidential Candidate): Well, Bob, if the President asked me like your question in the case--
BOB SCHIEFFER: I'm sorry. (INDISTINCT)
TIM PAWLENTY: --to Barack Obama, I would say no.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Point well taken. If-- if Governor Romney asked, what would you say?
TIM PAWLENTY: I have indicated that I think I can best serve Governor Romney in other ways in particular as a volunteer and surrogate speaker in places where he can't go. I've encouraged people who've asked this question to-- in the campaign to look at other prospects, but, obviously, anybody who would be asked to serve in a position like that would be honored to be asked. But I-- I really encourage folks to look at other prospects and to suggest I think I can help him best in other ways.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. You are one of what may be six, seven hundred maybe eight hundred Republicans that were out there in-- in Utah this weekend for a big retreat. They were all invited out by Governor Romney. What-- what is that about? Is it a fund-raising thing or what's that about?
TIM PAWLENTY: Well, what's it's about is this: when you're running for President of the United States you need a team of friends and family, supporters, donors, and as the campaign unfolds those people need to be informed and motivated and encouraged in their work. And so this was a gathering of some-- of Governor Romney's and Ann Romney's best friends and supporters and family members to give them a campaign update and a briefing, not just on the campaign but on issues, so that they feel informed and also can share that information with their networks and colleagues to get out the vote and get other people to support. So it's a kind of a rally, if you will, of some of his best supporters and a-- and a briefing on the issues with some of his best supporters.
BOB SCHIEFFER: How-- who pays for something like that? Does Governor Romney pick up the tab for that or does everybody pay their own way? How does that work?
TIM PAWLENTY: Well, I don't know the details, but I think everybody came at their own expense and paid their own expenses. There are some overhead, I'm sure, in putting out an event like this, but I don't think the Romney campaign paid for people's lodging or airfare and the like to get here.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Did-- did you have to give a certain amount of money to the campaign to get invited?
TIM PAWLENTY: I think this was a group of his best donors, and so I think there were some requirements or donation levels that you had to have met to be invited to this but there are other similar campaign events in the form of rallies and other meetings all around the country all the time for donors and supporters. And it's-- Bob, it's a good thing. We want people on the team to be informed, motivated, encouraged, and to get out and try to do what they can to get Governor Romney elected President.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you one more question about it. It's my understanding that the Super PACs that we have now, these independent groups that raise money people can give unlimited sums. They, as I understand it, are supposed to, by law, required to operate independently from the campaigns themselves, or supposed to be no coordination, yet I notice that Karl Rove, who runs one of the biggest PACs, maybe the biggest one, was out there at your conference and-- and spoke. Is that proper?
TIM PAWLENTY: It-- it is, indeed, proper because the line between the campaigns and these independent groups is that you can't coordinate about the expenditure of money. So you can talk all day long about issues, policy, general things like that. You just can't cross the line to say, now, you're going to spend it-- your money this way and we're going to spend our money that way. It's a little bit of an over-simplification. But that's the line and certainly that wasn't crossed here, nor will it be during this campaign.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Governor, let me ask you this: Do you think somewhere down the line, Governor Romney's going to have to get a little more specific? You know, for example, on--on-- on taxes, he-- he's pretty open about, he's ready to cut taxes, but he has not yet told us which of the deductions he'll eliminate, which of the loopholes he'll eliminate to pay for these tax cuts. When are we going to hear that?
TIM PAWLENTY: Well, I think we have. He's been very specific about this. He called for a twenty percent reduction across the board on individual income tax rates and for small businesses. He's been specific about his tax cut for corporate tax rates, now in America some of the highest in the world. He's talked about eliminating interest and capital gains-- dedu-- excuse me, taxation for people in the middle-income categories, and he's talked about paying for it by reducing government spending, returning federal government spending as a percent of GDP to no more than twenty percent. He's also outlined a series of spending reductions that would put us on a pathway towards a balanced budget. So for those who, you know, dive into the details of this, I think you'd see Governor Romney has been quite specific.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Just last week when I talked to him, when he granted us an interview, and I asked him, "Which deductions are you going to eliminate and for who?" He said, well, he's going to try to keep everybody paying the same proportion of the taxes in all brackets but he wouldn't say which deductions. He said that will come later.
TIM PAWLENTY: That's right. So he hasn't put out a specific plan to eliminate any of the particular deductions within the tax code but he has talked pretty specifically about how he would reform, reduce, and slow down government spending overall and that would help put the country on a pathway towards a balanced budget.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Scott Walker out in Wisconsin, the governor out there, and several other Republicans have said the-- the-- that Governor Romney needs to go bold. He needs to put something out there that people can get their arms around. When do you think we'll hear that?
TIM PAWLENTY: Well, I-- I do want to jump back that and make one important point, Bob. We have in the White House now the President of the United States, the leader of our nation, who has not put out any specific proposals on some of the most pressing issues of the day. For example, where is President Obama's specific proposal on reforming Medicaid and Medicare? Anyone who understands the budget crisis facing this country understands that entitlements have to be talked about, and we need a leader to address that in detail. I'll come to your house, Bob Schieffer, and mow your lawn if you can find President Obama's specific proposals on reforming entitlements in this country. Nearly four years into his presidency, we have a leader of the country who is absent on some of the most pressing financial issues of the day. So let's hold him accountable as well. And then as to being bold, your question about Governor Romney, the number one issue on the minds of most Americans is the economy. And the abysmal economy under President Obama and Governor Romney, of course, has been very aggressive and very bold about what it will take to get this economy moving-- moving again, tax reform, using American energy not foreign energy--
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right.
TIM PAWLENTY: --loosening it up the-- the ability to get after that, reforming health care through market principles, easing up on regulations to stimulate job growth, and a number of other things. So that's the number one issue--
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right.
TIM PAWLENTY: --and he's been extremely direct and-- and bold on those.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Thank you very much, Governor, and I'll let you off the hook there because I live in an apartment. You don't have to worry about mowing my lawn. We'll--
TIM PAWLENTY: Very well.
BOB SCHIEFFER: We'll be back in one minute with the key supporter of President Obama, the Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And we're back now with one of the Obama campaign stop supporters, the mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa. Mister Mayor, thank you so much for being with us.
I-- I want to start with this, after the President announced he would no longer deport young illegals brought here as children by their parents, Governor Romney really unloaded on him. Listen to this:
GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: Despite his promises, President Obama has failed to address immigration reform. For two years this President had huge majorities in the House and Senate. He was free to pursue any policy he pleased but he did nothing to advance a permanent fix for our broken immigration system, nothing. Instead, he failed to act until facing a tough reelection and trying to secure your vote.
BOB SCHIEFFER: So there is a grain of truth in that, Governor. I mean nothing got done. You have to say that.
MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA (D-Los Angeles/Democratic National Convention Chairman): Well, let me just say, I'm not governor, I'm a mayor. But, look, I think it's pretty clear that he has amnesia, and this is why two hundred and eight Democrats passed the Dream Act in the Congress with the President's support. Fifty-one Democrats in the Senate supported it. There were only eight Republicans in the House and four Republicans in the Senate. In fact, they worked to prevent cloture in the Senate so that we couldn't pass the Dream Act. The fact is the President has done what we should do, and that is addressed the fact that these kids have been living here for most of their lives. They know no other country but this one. They want to contribute mightily to the nation. They want to serve in the military. The President's deferring action on deportation. If Mister Romney wants to come clean with what he's going to do, he ought to do it. But you gave him last week multiple opportunities to say whether or not he would veto this. He wouldn't answer it. He asked the question rhetorically at the NALEO Conference, wouldn't answer it again. The fact is the New York Times has said he was evasive and so was political. Everybody who has watched him over the last week knows this: he hasn't changed his core policy. He supports the self-deportation of eleven million people. That means dividing children from their families. He support-- he would veto the Dream Act. And very importantly, he thinks that the Arizona and Alabama laws should be a model for the nation. I don't think that's where we want to go. If he wants to take this out of the debate in the campaign, he ought to call on Speaker Boehner, the Republicans in the House and the Senate, to work with President Obama and the-- and the Democrats to pass not only the Dream Act but comprehensive immigration reform. Let's get it off the campaign trail and off the campaign back and forth.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You know your point is well taken. I promoted you to Governor, maybe that's not a promotion. But don't forget earlier in the broadcast I asked Tim Pawlenty what he would do if the President asked him to be his running mate. He pointed out that he would say no if President Obama asked him. The Romney people think if they could get forty percent of the Hispanic vote that that-- that might be enough to tilt this. Right now he's running at about twenty-something percent. Do you think that they can do that?
MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA: I don't, not because there aren't Latinos who want to support Republicans. You know, the-- we're not a monolithic community, any more than any other community is. The reason is-- is simple their policies whether-- their policies on immigration that I just spoke about or the economy. You know, it was Governor Perry that called Mister Romney's policies, you know, I think he called them-- well, no, I'm sorry, it was-- he called them predatory capitalism-- vulture capitalism. It was Gingrich who called it predatory capitalism, excuse me. But we know this about his record. He didn't create a hundred thousand jobs like he said for most of the campaign. Fact-checked has proved that that is not true. We know that he piled on a lot of debt on companies, fired a lot of workers, and made a lot of money. That to me doesn't qualify him to be President of the United States. We know that when he was governor, he was forty-seventh out of fiftieth when it comes to job creation. And that he added more debt on the people of Massachusetts per capita than any other state. So I don't think those things are going to qualify him to be President of the United States. And I don't think that Latinos are going to vote for him whether it's because of the economy, immigration, or the fact that he has a five million-- he's proposed a five-trillion-dollar tax cut that, as you said, he has given us no understanding of how he's going to pay for it.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me-- let me ask you this, what if he put Marco Rubio on the ticket as his running mate?
MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA: I think--
BOB SCHIEFFER: What impact it's going to have?
MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA: --historically-- I think historically VP, you know, selections give you a little bit of a bump, maybe in the state, but they don't give you much else. I think the fact of the matter is this election is going to be about the issues. It's going to be about the future. It's not going to be about who he picks as his running mate.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Mister Mayor, it's always a pleasure to have you and we really appreciate you coming by this morning. Thank you so much.
MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA: It's always great to be with you, Bob.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Back in a moment with some thoughts about picking a running mate.
BOB SCHIEFFER: With the speculation over who Governor Romney will pick as his running mate, now moving into high gear--who has been vetted, who hasn't. Scott Conroy, a RealClearPolitics, injected a small dose of advice. Don't get too nervous about it. The speculation is almost always wrong. He remembers how in 1996, Jack Kemp was trashing Republican nominee Bob Dole's strategy less than a month before Dole picked Kemp as his running mate. It made me remember that in 2000 when George Bush asked Dick Cheney to scour the world and find a running mate for him, not many of us thought Cheney would find himself. I also remember how surprised everyone was when Bush's father picked Dan Quayle in 1988. I'll never forget Bush's campaign manager Jim Bakker coming to the convention floor to make sure everyone knew it wasn't his idea. In 1980, Henry Kissinger and a group of influential friends were urging Ronald Reagan to make former President Ford his running mate. But when Nancy Reagan saw Ford on TV telling Walter Cronkite his idea of a co-presidency she wanted no part of that and the decision was made to put Bush on the ticket. Talk about surprise. Bush had already checked out of his hotel when he got the call. So all the speculation about who Romney will pick is fun, but I wouldn't take any of it too seriously. My guess is he won't pick Sarah Palin, but otherwise, who knows? Back in a minute.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Some of our stations are leaving us now.
For most of you we'll be back with two top advisers to the candidates, Stephanie Cutter, the deputy campaign manager for President Obama; and Eric Fehrnstrom, who's the senior adviser to Mitt Romney. We'll talk about the Obama campaign's attacks on Mitt Romney's Bain Capital record, plus how the Obama camp--
BOB SCHIEFFER: And welcome back now to FACE THE NATION. Joining me this morning from Salt Lake City, Utah Mitt Romney's senior adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom and here in the studio, Stephanie Cutter, who is the deputy campaign manager for the Obama team. I want to start with a question to both of you. Politico reported this week that your campaigns "have spent all week, every week strafing each other on Twitter. Given the opportunity to go big," Politico says, "you go small." They say, "Romney won't give details. The President won't lay out an agenda." Republican strategist Mark McKinnon is quoted as saying, "We're in the era of bitter-twitter." I guess I would ask you, both and Eric, I will start with you don't you think a presidential campaign should be on higher level than that?
ERIC FEHRNSTROM (Romney Campaign Senior Advisor): Well, I'll tell you, Bob, it's amazing when you think that in the last presidential election, there was no Twitter. We just view it as another means of communicating. I don't think that it sets the tone for the race like the mainstream press does. But what we have noticed is that stories can incubate there and then propel themselves into the daily conversation of the campaign. So we want to be part of that. We want to shape the conversation to the extent that we can. I believe the Obama campaign feels the same way. But it's simply another way of communicating with voters.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, Stephanie, do you think it's a little silly.
STEPHANIE CUTTER (Obama 2012 Deputy Campaign Manager): Well, Bob, you know, I agree with Eric that it is another mode of communication that we have now that we didn't have four years ago. I mean in four years-- eight years ago we didn't have Facebook. So this is a continue building of new communications tools as we move through presidential elections, you know, it's not a replacement for a candidate laying out his agenda or his vision of where he wants to take the country, absolutely not. It is a simple mode of communication. The big users of it, in addition to the campaigns, are actually the media, that's where I see where the news is breaking and where trends are going. So I think it's an effective tool, but it's not a replacement for, yeah, laying out the larger debate that we're having in this country about which direction we want to go in.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But-- but what about-- what about the criticism that I hear from people on both sides.
STEPHANIE CUTTER: Mm-Hm.
BOB SCHIEFFER: That, you know, that Mitt Romney won't give details. He won't lay out details of what he wants to do, and President Obama won't lay out his agenda for the second term.
STEPHANIE CUTTER: Mm-Hm.
BOB SCHIEFFER: I think people are looking for big ideas here, and so far, this campaign seems to be about Twitter--
STEPHANIE CUTTER: Mm-Hm.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --and about strategy and about tactics.
STEPHANIE CUTTER: Well, I'm sure Eric has something that he wants to say about this, too, but I'll go first. I think that I disagree with you. The President has laid out his agenda. In a speech just over a week ago in Cleveland he gave a pretty compelling speech where he laid out the choice in this election of how we're going to build this economy, continue the recovery, we're going to build it from the middle out or the top town. He laid out that choice and told voters that it's up to them to break that stalemate. And for Mitt Romney, I don't think his lack of details and his policies has anything to do with Twitter. But I'll let Eric answer that.
ERIC FEHRNSTROM: Yeah, Bob, you know, I-- I merely say that not too long ago the campaign published a one hundred and forty page book that contained fifty-nine specific proposals from Mitt Romney to get this economy moving again. That can be found on Mitt Romney's website at MittRomney.com. Look, this election does come down to the economy. If people are satisfied with the way things are going, then I'm sure that will improve the reelection prospects of the President. But if they believe, as we do, that things could be better, that too many Americans are being left behind, that they're struggling to get by in this bad economy, then I think that improves the election prospects of-- of Mitt Romney.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You know I-- I will agree with you. You did publish that. There are fifty-nine steps, but people like Peggy Noonan, who is no Obama supporter--I think it is fair to say--says that Mitt Romney has to do is put something out there about the economy that people can put their arms around, that they can understand what he's talking about and she and a lot of conservatives don't see that happening yet.
ERIC FEHRNSTROM: Well, let's talk about two specific proposals that Mitt Romney has brought forward with respect to creating a more attractive place for-- for job creators, and that is to get is this corporate tax rate lower. We have the highest corporate tax rate of any developed nation in the world. We need to get that down. We have companies that do business overseas and yet they get double taxed. They get taxed by the foreign country in which they're doing business and then when they try to bring those profits backs to the United States, they get taxed again. That's something that Mitt Romney would address and it's something that this President has not taken on, and as a result, this economy, as you can see, is sort of bumping along. There's very little growth. GDP in the first quarter has been revised downward to less than two percent. Job gains, monthly job gains since the beginning of the year have been shrinking and shrinking and shrinking. Bob, you need time-lapse photography to detect any movement at all in this economy. And I think that's where people going to be voting on, how they feel about how they're doing, how their neighbors are doing, how their companies are doing. And we think that bodes well for Mitt Romney because he has a bold plan to get this economy moving again.
STEPHANIE CUTTER: Well, I want to make a couple of points based on what Eric said. First, on the point that you made, Bob, about Mitt Romney's fifty-nine-point economic plan, not one of those-- one of the fifty-nine pieces of that plan would create jobs. Okay, so that's number one. Number two, the corporate tax plan, you know the President has a plan to reduce the corporate tax rate, too. The difference is, he pays for it, and he closes loopholes that send jobs overseas, Mitt Romney doesn't. His corporate tax plan actually protects the loopholes that have been sending jobs overseas for decades and actually creates new incentives for jobs overseas by not taxing any for-- foreign income of U.S. companies. So, you know, that is not a prescription of how we can grow the American economy here and create American jobs. And I think the American people are-- are waking up to that.
STEPHANIE CUTTER: You know we saw over the weekend actually on Friday a story in the Washington Post about Mitt Romney and his partners being pioneers in outsourcing. And I think that for people in Ohio and Virginia and North Carolina, who have been watching as outsourcing have-- has destroyed their local economies and their local communities, that's really startling when this person who wants to be the President of the United States actually created the practice of outsourcing American jobs overseas to places like China and India, and that's a problem. It is a problem not only because that's his record but it's a problem because he's protecting those proposals now.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Eric, let me-- Eric Fehrnstrom, let me ask you this question, we heard reports this week from some governors, Republican governors, who say the-- the Romney campaign has asked them to tone down the good news about their economies doing better. Did-- did you in fact tell them to do that?
ERIC FEHRNSTROM: Well, Bob, before I address that, and-- and I will answer that question, I-- I want to just go back to what Stephanie said, because no American jobs were shipped overseas in any of the Washington Post examples that were cited by the Obama campaign. In fact this was a shoddy piece of journalism. I hope that the Post will correct the record if they're interested in protecting their reputation, they will do so. The-- the-- the jobs that were cited by the Washington Post and which the Obama administration is now attacking were created to support exports overseas. When companies like Coca-Cola, for example, build a bottling plant in China so they can sell more soft drinks to the Chinese, we should be applauding that, because that type of entrance into new markets is what makes our companies stronger, more profitable, and more successful. I don't think we've ever had a President who has been as anti-business as Barack Obama. And frankly, it's alarming that he would be attacking American companies by name simply because they want to expand into new markets.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me-- let Stephanie Cutter respond to that.
STEPHANIE CUTTER: Sure. Eric, I-- I think that it would be interesting for you to explain the difference between outsourcing and offshoring to the people in Ohio because I don't think that they see a difference because it's not actually creating a job in Ohio. And in many ways, it's taking jobs away from them. And are you really saying that in none of the dozens of Bain deals that Mitt Romney was involved in, not one American job got sent overseas.
ERIC FEHRNSTROM: Well, I'll tell you this, there's a very simple difference between outsourcing and offshoring. Outsourcing is what the Obama campaign does when they hire a outside telemarketing vendor to provide telemarketing services. This is done by companies every day. They take functions and they allow vendors to do it instead of handling it in house. Offshoring is the shipment of American jobs overseas and in that Washington Post story, which the President is using now to attack American companies by name, there are no examples of jobs being taken from the United States and shipped overseas. What you have are companies that are expanding into new markets. We should be encouraging that not attacking it and this is just another assault on free enterprise by--
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let--
ERIC FEHRNSTROM: --President Obama. It's one of the reasons why this economy is not moving at the pace that it should be--
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me--
ERIC FEHRNSTROM: --and it's why millions of Americans have been left behind.
BOB SCHIEFFER: We're running out of time. But quickly, Mister Fehrnstrom, did your campaign tell these Republican governors not to be talking about how good their economy is doing, how much better it's doing?
ERIC FEHRNSTROM: No, of course not. That was a story that concerned Governor Scott down in Florida, and Governor Scott's administration came out, they denied it. Look, there is no doubt that there are Republican governors who have unemployment rates that are doing better than the national average, but I don't think any of them, whether it's Governor Walker up in Wisconsin or Governor Kasich in Ohio or Governor Rick Scott in Florida are happy with the level of unemployment.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Uh-Huh.
ERIC FEHRNSTROM: What they're looking for is a partner in the White House who can work with them to drive that unemployment rate down even further.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, I'm sorry we have to end it there. Thanks to both of you. We'll be right back with our political round table.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And we're back now with our political round table. Four weary travelers have been out on the campaign trail. Joe Klein of TIME magazine back from a twenty-one-day road trip through eight battleground states. He logged over four thousand miles held about forty meetings talked to everyone from banjo players to geographers, we're told. Another campaign road warrior joining us today Dan Balz, the chief correspondent of the Washington Post. Plus, our own campaign dream team, chief White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell and political director John Dickerson. Well, the question is being begged here, Joe. What did the banjo players say about the campaign?
JOE KLEIN (TIME): Well, it was actually a fiddler. It was a retired meter reader who supposedly is the great American fiddler. But what people were saying on the camp-- you know, this is the third year that I've done this-- this sort of trip, and when I went out two years ago, people were scared to death. Last year they were kind of frustrated. They wanted to see Washington make some deals.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Playing a slightly different--
JOE KLEIN: Yeah.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --tune as they were.
JOE KLEIN: This year playing slightly different tune.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Yeah.
JOE KLEIN: This year they are really screeching to-- to fulfill your metaphor there, they're-- they're just really angry that nothing has gotten done. They have-- you know, they're-- they're pretty angry at both the candidates and, you know, there's a real mood of frustration out there this time.
BOB SCHIEFFER: What are you finding, Dan?
DAN BALZ (The Washington Post): Very similar. There's clearly a great deal of frustration with Washington and in its inability to get anything of consequence done, particularly in any timely way. There is clearly disappointment in President Obama that what he promised to do he's not been able to do. And there's-- actually there's a lot of lack of knowledge about Governor Romney. I mean people still don't know him very well. The Obama campaign is working furiously to try to disqualify him in this period before he can define himself. And the Romney campaign thinks that economic issues are the paramount issue of this campaign and that, as Eric Fehrnstrom said, if conditions are not getting any better then they have a very good chance of winning the election.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Uh, you two have been traveling, too, Norah and John, but there's some news going on back here in Washington, DC, and there maybe a whole lot more this week because the Supreme Court could rule as early as tomorrow on whether to throw out the President's health care plan. What happens, John, if-- if the court throws this thing out?
JOHN DICKERSON (CBS News Political Director): Well, I-- I don't think we know. I think it's bad for the President. I think, you know, this was his signature plan. This was the thing he banked everything on. I think Romney is able to say, look, he-- his priorities were out of whack. He should have stayed focused on jobs. Here he was off doing this thing and he's kind of gotten a big thumbs-down for-- for voters out there who weren't paying attention to every detail, it looks like a kind of anti-seal of approval.
On the other hand for Romney, this creates-- he's not been too specific about much of anything. This creates an instant moment where he now has to get specifics. So what are you going to do is the question. And that gets him into a tricky place. He was for the individual mandate in Massachusetts. He talked about the uninsured as if he were a bleeding-heart liberal. So, what are you going to do about that group now, governor. And gets into a fight where it's now a choice between his plan for the future and the President's plan for the future and that's a fight the President wants to have so if he can get through this bad news, the President gets into a debate with Mitt Romney that might actually not be so great for Mitt Romney.
NORAH O'DONNELL (CBS News Chief White House Correspondent): One of the main rationales for conservatives, for businessmen, we saw it was a rallying point during the Republican primary debate was to repeal and replace Obamacare. If the Supreme Court strikes down the individual and employer mandate and also takes out the coverage for those with preexisting conditions, you could make the argument that it neutralizes the issue in some ways for Republicans. Politically, it might be better for the President because then he can put the onus back on the Republicans to say, okay, Mitt Romney, you've said, you wanted to repeal it and replace it. What are you going to replace it with? Or you in Congress are you going to move forward to protect those who have preexisting conditions who can't get coverage. And then I think what you're going to see too is with the-- if there's a repealing of the mandate and if the preexisting conditions are taken out, you're probably going to see a spike in health care premiums, because the coverage of preventive care stays in there, the allowing of children under twenty-six stays in there. This is still a really interesting debate whichever way this turns out by the Supreme Court.
JOE KLEIN: First of all, we're kind of jumping the gun here. I think, you know, as I watched the news-- news coverage today everybody seems to assume that it's going to be overturned--- be overturned, it may not. But if it is, if it is, that's not a good thing for the President. I think people will say he tried to do something that was unconstitutional and, as for the premiums, people already are getting huge premium spikes this year because the health insurance companies have been wanting to blame that on Obamacare. The most amazing thing about this bill is that nobody knows what's in it. When you actually talk to regulation human beings out in the country, nobody knows what's in it. I blame the President for that, by the way.
DAN BALZ: I-- I think that public opinion on this is a little bit like we had in Iraq back in say 2006. People made up their minds what they think about this bill almost irrespective of what the court decides on it. I think also that the energy on this issue has always been on the side of the opponents. And I suspect that almost no matter what happens this week, that's likely to be the case going into November.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you about something else that might happen here in Washington. The House may vote to hold the attorney general in contempt. What happens? Is that likely, John, do you think?
JOHN DICKERSON: well, the House could do it. The question is, you know, what does it-- what does it matter in terms of politics? The House-- the trick for the House is both to--- to their base loves this issue here and--- and also if you talk about this plan here, that the U.S. Government allowed guns to go over-- over into Mexico and then U.S., then there was a murder committed with one of these guns, that just sounds like incompetence. Then the Justice Department said that, well, the ATF didn't know about it--Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms didn't know about it. Well, they did and it just looks like bungling. So, they've got a case to go after the administration here. On the other hand, as John Boehner knows very well, you can't spend too much time on this because the number one issue is jobs. You don't want to look like you're just too fixated on this. You got to hit it--- hit it and move on.
NORAH O'DONNELL: Chairman Issa was asked twice this morning whether he believes there was any White House involvement in a cover-up. He said twice, no. So, that's an interesting bit of news this morning--
DAN BALZ: It is.
NORAH O'DONNELL: --as they're about to take the unprecedented step of holding the attorney general in contempt of Congress.
JOHN DICKERSON: And the reason they are--
NORAH O'DONNELL: There's no doubt it's very popular with the base. There's a lot of people that think there should be a message sent to the Department Of Justice on this but there's also a political case to be made that the Democrats could really hit the Republicans for not tackling the transportation bill, student loan bill. There's a lot of still other things on the agenda that have to be taken care of.
DAN BALZ: You know one--
BOB SCHIEFFER: But do you all really think that you do have a Republican majority in the House. And do you think they will actually vote on holding the attorney general--
NORAH O'DONNELL: I think it's an open question. I think it's an open question.
JOE KLEIN: They-- they-- they might well. They've, you know, this was a boneheaded program on the part of the department-- on the part of the Department of Justice. But, what we've seen time and again from the Clinton impeachment on through the Wisconsin recall to now is that the public really doesn't like this kind of games playing. It's a waste of time.
BOB SCHIEFFER: What-- but what happens if they do vote-- do the Capitol cops go over to the Justice Department--
DAN BALZ (overlapping): What my guess, Bob, is that this is-- this is--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): --and arrest the attorney general? Does the FBI--
DAN BALZ (overlapping): --that this is-- my guess is that this is going to be an argument that will go on for a number of weeks if not months without any clear resolution. That-- that's where I would predict that this is going?
BOB SCHIEFFER: Where do you guys think this campaign is right now? I think it's so close-- it may be as close as any campaign I have ever seen.
JOHN DICKERSON: Having been in Virginia, Iowa, Florida and Ohio recently, it is right down the middle there. It doesn't feel like you can find swing voters anywhere. There-- it feels like there are about a dozen of them in each of these states. But it's all about turning out the base. But it-- it feels so close in all of those states.
JOE KLEIN: I found some swing voters in-- in-- in Ohio and Michigan. One of the interesting-- John's right. It's a very, very close election. It's going to stay within the forty-nine-yard lines of polling. But in Ohio and Michigan, the auto bailout has meant an awful lot. It meant that the economies didn't collapse. In Ohio, the-- you know, the unemployment rate is lower than the national rate. The President's getting credit for that. There are people who really don't like the President and his leadership. There are people who kind of like him, but I haven't been able to find one person who is ra-- madly ecstatic about Mitt Romney.
NORAH O'DONNELL: We're-- I think we're in the defining stage right now, the defining of the candidates, and in some ways, Mitt Romney is now beginning to get the scrutiny that he hasn't so far, and certainly, the Obama team is-- is-- is hoping that that becomes the case because very few people still know-- I think the lack of specificity of Mitt Romney's policy proposal is something that was evidenced on the program last week. His failure still to talk about what exactly is his long-term solution on immigration, will require scrutiny and that will continue to be part of the story. And then, it will be after the conventions and the debates where the-- the debate is joined about their visions for the country, about the-- the issues, but right now it's-- it's a lot about what Romney's past record be and Obama's too, in terms of his failure on the economy.
JOE KLEIN: But yeah-- but Eric Feh-- Fehrnstrom was right. You hear it an awful lot, even among Obama supporters, about his failure to lead, his failure to lay out the exact proposals, you know, for-- for deficit cutting and-- and other things.
DAN BALZ: I think the electoral map still looks at this point as though it's a little easier for the President and for Governor Romney. On the other hand, I-- I think the whole map could change significantly if you begin to see a rise in-- in Romney support. Ohio for Romney is a critical state because if he-- if he loses Ohio, a) he's lost the rest-- the rest of the Midwest, some of those states he'd like to put in play. And I think it-- it creates a path for-- for him that's almost impossible to get it to--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): We-- we all know it's going to be about the economy, but, Dan, what do you see and what could be the tipping point here?
DAN BALZ: Well, I-- Bob, I think the tipping point still is in a sense-- we-- we're in a-- we're in a structural election. Economic issues and economic statistics are going to guide people's perceptions over the next two or three months. And by Labor Day, I think, people will have a sense of where they really area. If these economic numbers next month and the month after are no better than we saw last month, then I think the President is very, very vulnerable.
BOB SCHIEFFER: I think the debates this year are going to be more crucial.
JOE KLEIN: But they always are.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But they always are, but this year, even more than they always--
JOE KLEIN (overlapping): Yeah.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --are. Stay with us. We'll be right back with our FACE THE NATION Flashback. Thanks to all you, guys. Thank you.
BOB SCHIEFFER: During the 1992 campaign, Democratic candidate Bill Clinton appeared on FACE THE NATION and tackled a familiar theme. How do you pass a huge and complicated program without raising taxes? Our FACE THE NATION Flashback.
ANNOUNCER: From CBS News Washington, FACE THE NATION, with CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer.
BOB SCHIEFFER (October 6, 1991): Well, you're talking about programs that cost billions of dollars, when you talk about a health program, health care. That's going to cost a lot of money. How can you do that without raising taxes?
BILL CLINTON (October 6, 1991): It is-- well, it is if you lead with the tax increase. We need insurance reforms. We need to-- to take on the hospital bureaucracies by first changing the insurance system, and then changing the way the rules are affecting them. There are billions and billions of dollars, enough to cover the uncovered Americans in this country, in insurance reforms and other cost controls. So I think that-- before we agree to spend one red cent on this, we need to know that we have squeezed every last penny out of a system that we know is the most wasteful in the world. We spend more money on health care and cover fewer people than any major country in the world. And the reason everybody assumes it's going to cost a lot more money to provide universal coverage is that nobody so far has been willing to take on the cost control issues. I will do that.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Clinton tried to tackle health care early, put his wife, Hillary, in-charge of the program, but it soon bogged down in a partisan standoff. And one year later, the Democratic leader in the Senate announced the legislation was dead.
Survey showed that after a year of intense debate, lobbying, and millions of dollars in advertising, that people knew less about the program than they had in the beginning. Our FACE THE NATION Flashback.
BOB SCHIEFFER: That's it for us today. I'll be away next week. Norah O'Donnell will be sitting right here, her big chance.
ANNOUNCER: This broadcast was produced by CBS News which is solely responsible for the selection of today's guests and topics. It originated in Washington, DC.
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