"Face the Nation" transcripts, September 2, 2012: O'Malley, Cutter, Richardson
(CBS News) Below is a transcript of "Face the Nation" on September 2, 2012, hosted by CBS News' Bob Schieffer. Guests include: Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Obama campaign aide Stephanie Cutter. Roundtable participants include: CBS News political director John Dickerson, Bloomberg's Trish Regan, Washington Post's Dan Balz and Georgetown Professor Michael Eric Dyson.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on FACE THE NATION from Charlotte, North Carolina, here come the Democrats.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: He calls my health care law Obamacare. I call his plan, Romney Doesn't Care.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: He's running on the Romney Doesn't Care platform.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Republicans turned it on in Tampa. Now, the Democrats will roll out their biggest stars to turn the page in Charlotte. The vice president was warming to the task even before he got here.
JOE BIDEN: Can I say hi?
JOE BIDEN: How are you? I've been waiting for (INDISTINCT).
WOMAN: Oh my God.
MAN (recording): Wow, look at that.
WOMAN (recording): Whoa.
BOB SCHIEFFER: We'll get a preview of the convention today from Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson; and Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter.
With sixty-five days to go, we'll analysis from the dean of the political press corps, Dan Balz of the Washington Post, Georgetown University's Michael Eric Dyson, Trish Regan; Bloomberg Television anchor and host of Street Smart, and our own John Dickerson. So, let's talk some politics because this is FACE THE NATION.
ANNOUNCER: And now from site of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, FACE THE NATION with Bob Schieffer.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And good morning, again. Welcome to FACE THE NATION. We are on the floor of the Time Warner Center in Charlotte. With us today, former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson; Stephanie Cutter; President Obama's deputy campaign manager, and Maryland governor Martin O'Malley. Well, Governor O'Malley, let me just start with you. So, we come out of the Republican Convention, and their theme seems to be everybody is disappointed in Barack Obama. They don't say he's a bad guy. It's like from the Wizard of Oz when he said, I'm-- I'm not a bad man. I'm just a bad wizard. That seems to be what they're saying about Barack Obama. How do you-- how do you handle that?
GOVERNOR MARTIN O'MALLEY (D-Maryland/Democratic Governors Association Chairman): Well, look, there were three things that you didn't see at the Republican Convention. You didn't see any new ideas for creating jobs. You didn't see George Bush. And you didn't see Mitt Romney's tax returns. And-- and the fact of the matter is, it was George Bush's policies that drove our country into the worst set of problems any president has inherited since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But facts are facts and we cannot deny that for twenty-nine months in a row now, we have seen positive private sector job growth, foreclosures are lower than they were before the President even took office. So, this is hard. These were deep problems. But what you're going to see in the next few days here in Charlotte is an agenda and a vision for America's future, where our middle class is actually growing, becoming stronger, where we create opportunity. Their only idea is ladling on bigger tax breaks for billionaires. We believe in greater security in our jobs, in our homes and in our golden years.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, Stephanie Cutter, do you see any openings here coming out of the Republican Convention? I mean, Paul Ryan established himself he is no longer the policy wonk, he is the attack dog.
STEPHANIE CUTTER (Obama 2012 Deputy Campaign Manager): Right.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Did he leave any openings for you?
STEPHANIE CUTTER: Well, I think the big opening that they left for the President is that they never said where they wanted to take the country or what they wanted to do. It was a week of personal attacks, empty platitudes, and where the one thing that you are left with is they really think that lying is a virtue, and I think the American people disagree with that. This week will be very different, you know, you'll get a sense-- at the end of this week, you'll have a real sense of how the-- how the President wants to move this country forward and we'll-- we'll look at the things that we've been able to do over the past four years to move the country forward, whether it saving the auto-- auto industry and a million jobs with it, helping kids afford college, passing Health Care Reform where millions of people are already benefitting from it across the country. So this will be a very different feel. We're going to be talking to all Americans, not just rallying our base like we saw last week.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, are you saying they're just a bunch of liars?
STEPHANIE CUTTER: No Bob, I didn't say that. I said--
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, you said, lying is a virtue.
STEPHANIE CUTTER: Oh, I heard a lot of things that weren't true last week. I think we can all agree with that. I think we can all agree that, you know, they-- they blamed the President for blaming-- for not-- for closing an auto plant in Janesville, Wisconsin that closed under President Bush. They blamed the President for cutting Medicare, when Paul Ryan included those same savings in his budget. The difference is, the President put that money back into Medicare, but Paul Ryan used it for tax cuts for the rich. There are a number of things like that. The twelve million jobs that they promised the American people. Bob, you know, those are already forecasted under the President's plan. Economic forecasters already said over the course of the next four years, if we stay on the President's plan, we'll create twelve million jobs.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Bill Richardson, you have become kind of a tradition on our pre-convention FACE THE NATION broadcast. I remember in 2004, we were out on the convention floor in Boston. And sitting there with us was Kathryn Granholm, the governor of Michigan, and a senator from Illinois that nobody knew too much about, Barack Obama. And-- and you were there with us. I want to ask you about this-- this-- this disappointment, though, that the-- that the Republicans are pushing. There's no question that there is not as much enthusiasm for Barack Obama as there was last time out, especially among some young people?
BILL RICHARDSON (Former New Mexico Governor): My sense is that, that coalition that elected the President, the young, minorities, independent voters, is going to be there. I think there's a view that the President is moving very much in the right direction, that the second term is going to show him I think go from a good President to a great President. I think what you're also seeing in this convention is a convention that's positive, that's going to show the contrast between where we want to go, the Democratic Party, and the President, help the middle class, the worker, not have trickle-down, warmongering foreign policy as the Republicans want to do. And, you know, I was struck. I've been through a lot of conventions. You mentioned '04. That's, by the way, when I was supposed to speak and Al Sharpton took my time away. I don't know if you remember that. I was supposed to be on prime-time. But my point is that--
BOB SCHIEFFER (Overlapping): But he was sort of the Clint Eastwood of that time.
BILL RICHARDSON: Yeah, right. No, but you mentioned Clint Eastwood, I mean, the lonely gunfighter. That's what the Republicans were projecting. It's all individual responsibility. Yes, but I think the Democratic Party is about family, about unity, about bringing people together. We're all in this together. We're all trying to rebuild the economy together. And I think you're going to see this convention not appeal to the base, not have a bunch of nasty attacks. You're going to see a convention filled with promising young Hispanic speakers, you're going to see diversity, you're going to see multiculturalism. You're going to see a real effort to engage the middle class, engage the American worker, and say that we want to be positive about this country. We're not going to be a bunch of negativists.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, let me ask you about this. So Bill Clinton turns out to be one of the bigs or maybe the big star, other than the President, of course, of this convention. Stephanie Cutter, what does that mean? I mean, Bill Clinton is a centrist. Is this mean that Barack Obama is trying to move the Democratic Party back to the center because, after all, Bill Clinton is called for extending at least temporarily the Bush tax cuts.
STEPHANIE CUTTER: Yeah. Well, Bob, I-- I don't agree that the party has moved left, right, or center. Bill Clinton is going to describe the type of economic policy that led to the greatest expansion, the greatest economic expansion in a century by investing in our people, investing in education, cut-- cutting taxes for the middle class, but asking the wealthy to pay their fair share. That's what built that Clinton expansion, and that's what the President's policies today are all about. And that's what-- where the President wants to take this country. So what President Clinton is going to say is if you're looking for a president who can grow the middle class, create that economic expansion, move away from the policies of the past that actually crashed our economy and punished the middle class, then Barack Obama is your guy. I've done it. He's doing it. That's the clear choice in this election. We know what not to do, what was done over the previous decade. And we know what to do under the Clinton administration in terms of how to build a balanced economy where everybody can get ahead.
BOB SCHIEFFER: What do you think-- what-- what do you think about having Bill Clinton here? I mean he does have good things and bad things in his past going.
GOVERNOR MARTIN O'MALLEY: Well, I-- I think for all of the reasons that Miss Cutter just outlined, I think it's-- it's going to electrify this place. I mean let's face it. Look, ideology doesn't move our country forward. We have to do the things that we know work, and what we did in President Clinton's years was to create jobs, was to make our middle class not only stronger and more secure in their own homes, but to give their children better opportunities. This is all about opportunities that grow our middle class. Bill Clinton did it. And you know what, Bob, at the same time he created a surplus when he had been left by Ronald Reagan a big deficit. And Ronald Reagan and-- and the first President Bush. And in the same way, though, I mean, he did not do that in one term. He did not do that in one term.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, let me--
GOVERNOR MARTIN O'MALLEY: And I think it's important to remember that.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --let me just ask you that. Can you honestly say that people are better off today than they were four years ago?
GOVERNOR MARTIN O'MALLEY: No, but that's not the question of this election. The question, without a doubt, we are not as well off as we were before George Bush brought us the Bush job losses, the Bush recession, the Bush deficits, the series of desert wars, charged for the first time to credit cards, the national credit card--
BOB SCHIEFFER: Yeah. But I mean, Governor Richardson and-- and Stephanie Cutter--
STEPHANIE CUTTER: Yeah.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --George Bush is not on the ballots.
GOVERNOR MARTIN O'MALLEY: Yeah. But we are making progress--
STEPHANIE CUTTER: Right. But I don't want to address one--
GOVERNOR MARTIN O'MALLEY: --out of the deep, deep hole.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right.
STEPHANIE CUTTER: You know, in terms of the question are people better off today than they were four years ago, I just want to remind you what was happening four year-- years ago at this time. In the quarter before the President took office, we lost three million jobs. Our country was bleeding. Our financial system was on the verge of collapse. We were passing bank bailouts to ensure that--
GOVERNOR MARTIN O'MALLEY: Right.
STEPHANIE CUTTER: --our system could stay afloat. That's what was happening before the President took office.
BILL RICHARDSON: And-- and, Bob, the best difference and the best progress has been made in the area of foreign policy. President has gotten us out of Iraq. We're getting us out of Afghanistan. We've got free trade agreements in Latin America. We've got a President that brilliantly dealt with the situation in Libya, with the Arab Spring. We have solid relations with China and Russia. We're competitive with both. But we're not going to be like Governor Romney who says on his first day he's going to start a trade war with China. And he's-- our biggest geopolitical foe is Russia. I mean, just those words is enervating and putting a lot of people nervous. I think what this President has done is restored our prestige abroad. We're leaders but we're collaborating with other nations. NATO, Europe, we're all tackling this economic crisis internationally together. Outreach to the third world, to Africa, Asia, Latin America. I think the President is not running overseas, but everywhere you go, all around the world--and I travel a lot--the international community wants to see this President re-elected. Obviously, we've got to do it here.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, I want to thank all of you.
GOVERNOR MARTIN O'MALLEY: And thank you, Bob.
BOB SCHIEFFER: We'll be back to you, and we'll be right back with more from the site of the Democratic Convention. So stay with us.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And we're back now in Charlotte with CBS News political director John Dickerson, Dan Balz of the Washington Post, Michael Eric Dyson, professor of sociology at Georgetown, and Trish Regan, Bloomberg television anchor and host of Street Smart. Trish, I'm going to start with you, because I continue to believe this election is going to be about the economy. What are we going to see from the economy between now and Election Day?
TRISH REGAN (Bloomberg Television): Well, it's not looking good, Bob. I mean, you look at the jobs' report. Jobs' reports that have been coming out, none of them have been very good, and the expectation is between now and November, we're going to see more of the same. Next Friday, we'll get a critical jobs' report. The expectation is unemployment will hold steady around 8.3 percent. We're adding about a hundred and twenty eight thousand jobs to the economy each month. That's not enough to keep pace, even with population growth. So you need to be looking at three hundred, four hundred thousand jobs a month on a consistent basis if you're really going to chip away at that unemployment rate. We're not there. You add Europe and its mess into the mix. You add slow growth in China and none of this is good news for us.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And you mean-- and it's not-- also not good news for Barack Obama.
TRISH REGAN: Absolutely right. I mean, this is an election at the end of the day that's going to come down to the economy. People tend to vote their pocketbooks. We've seen this time and time again.
BOB SCHIEFFER: So, Michael Eric Dyson, let me go to you next. You had minorities last time out. Young people very enthusiastic about the President. This election is so close. I'm not sensing the enthusiasm that we saw the last time out from those groups.
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON (Georgetown University): Well, I think, that first of all, you had a historic campaign. You had a figure of incredible value articulating a vision that united America in a unique fashion. So it's hard to repeat that magic. You know, you want to go back to the-- to the hat and try to pull out the rabbit again, but you realize--and I think the Obama campaign has deftly deployed its resources in realizing that you can't create that magic again. But you've got to speak, as Trish just indicated, to the fundamental economic realities that people confront, because if it looks bad now, I think the Obama campaign says imagine what's going to-- what it's going to look like under Romney and Ryan, you know, cutting all of these jobs, women's jobs. It looked like it was a love fest for women last week, except where it counts, in the pocketbook, in the home. Women still make seventy-seven cents on a dollar as to what a man makes. As a result of cutting nutrition programs that stand between many poor women and being able to survive, I think the Obama campaign is reaching out to those minorities, women included, to suggest to them that, yeah, it's been tough; look, we had a horrible condition that we inherited. Give us a little bit more, you know, time to fix this because it doesn't take just three or four years. But at the same time, they are selling a vision and a value that I think appeals to those people. We'll see how-- how successful that is.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Dan, you had s big, long piece in The Washington Post today. What do you think that President Obama has to do here?
DAN BALZ (Washington Post): Well, I mean, one of the-- one of the issues is-- and it was-- it was-- it was set up at the Tampa convention with the notion that people are disappointed with the president. They went hard on the idea he's not a bad person, but he's not been a successful president. The key, I think, is whether they can turn disappointment into rejection. And I think what he's got to do here is two things. One, as Eric suggested, something has to be done to energize or reenergize the coalition he put together. It's not 2008 again, but they need to do more work on that. I think equally important is to come in here and give a clearer sense of what a second-term agenda is really about. They've done a good job this summer in attacking Governor Romney. I think here they have to-- he-- and he in particular has to be more forward looking in a more precise way about what that second term looks like.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And Bill Clinton, John, what about having Bill Clinton here? What does that amount to?
JOHN DICKERSON (CBS News Political Director): Well, you know, the first thing is that Bill Clinton adds some excitement. In talking to Democratic strategists in the last few days they said one of the problems for you--and they meant us in the media--is finding something exciting that's going to happen in Charlotte because the energy in the Republican Party you had, you had Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, you had Chris Christie, you had Paul Ryan, these are exciting figures, even if you don't agree with their ideology. In the Democratic convention here, it lacks that excitement, in part of the because of the hangover of the economy and the fact the president has to wriggle his way out of getting stuck with a tough economy. So Bill Clinton adds excitement. He also adds a frame and a-- and a way of explaining this election to people. He is better than most politicians alive today at connecting policies with people's lives. And that's what Barack Obama ultimately has to do. But Bill Clinton gets to kind of plow the field and prepare it for President Obama when he comes and talks Thursday night by saying, I understand, we understand the difficulties of the-- of the life you lead now, and here are specific ways that we are trying to help you. And that's where the Democrats think Governor Romney missed a step in-- in his convention was saying, I understand you, and here's a specific way in which the way I understand you is going to make your life better.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Dan, where do you think this race is right now?
DAN BALZ: I think it's very close. I would assume that the Romney campaign got a small bump that will disappear pretty quickly. The President may get a small bump at the end of this week. But everything we've seen over the last four, five, six months is that this race will settle back to where it has been, which is an almost dead-even race, and neither-- neither candidate quite at the fifty percent level you need. And so the debates are obviously going to be critical when we get to October. The jobs reports that we get will be a factor. But this race looks like it could be close right to the end.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Trish, I want to ask you, because you're a working mom.
TRISH REGAN: Mm-Hm.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Ann Romney made-- I thought a really, a very, very good speech.
TRISH REGAN: Mm-Hm.
BOB SCHIEFFER: She'd told us things about her husband that I think a lot of people didn't know. But you think she-- and it was obviously aimed directly at women.
TRISH REGAN: Sure.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you think she will change any minds? Will that be a factor?
TRISH REGAN: Well, I think it's a pretty tall order to expect Ann Romney to close this gender gap for her husband. For as many women that are going to relate to her you have single moms you have working moms that simply won't. And when she talks about gas prices and when she talks about grocery bills, they're thinking to themselves, you know, that's been a long time since you really had to feel that pain or-- or knew what that was if ever. So it's a little bit of a challenge for her. But without doubt Mitt Romney needs to get his message across to women because women are the CFOs of their families. They're the ones that are writing the checks and balancing the checkbook every week. And they care about this economy. They care about their children's future. So debt matters to them. And if he can-- if he can convey that he is the most competent man for the job I think he stands a shot. In other words, Barack Obama, without doubt certainly has the-- the popularity vote. But it could come down to competency, and-- and that's the issue. They're not marrying the guy, right? They're hiring him fair a job, and if he can prove he's the one then he's got a better shot.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Michael, I mean, most people in every poll, an overwhelming majority think the country is headed in the wrong direction.
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Yeah.
BOB SCHIEFFER: How does Barack Obama handle that? I mean, you can't just keep saying it's all George Bush's fault.
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Sure.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You've to go beyond that. What-- what does he need to do here?
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Well, I-- I think, look, first of all, just by the very statesman-like character of the President, that in the face of vicious opposition, think about Clint Eastwood's little, you know, montage of scenes there where he's speaking to an empty chair. I just, geez, I didn't know you read Ralph Ellison like that and understood the invisible man. And furthermore they're conjuring a Barack Obama who's a figment of their imagination which is already metaphor for how this Republican Party has seen him. I think when America sees that, look, you can talk about competency, but here's a guy, Mitt Romney, he won't release his taxes for several years. He doesn't talk about how Bain Capital ruined the lives of so many people--
BOB SCHIEFFER: But is that really a big deal that he won't release his taxes?
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Well-- well, yeah, because it's a big deal because it indicates something about character. He continues to make Obama the other, the significant person who's kind of outside our perspective here. And I think that's quite interesting and intriguing from a guy who comes from a religious perspective that has fought for significant inclusion in the lar-- mainstream of American culture. Here you've got Mike Huckabee saying, I don't care where he takes his family to church. I care where he takes his country. A great line. But wait a minute, you just said this guy, Obama, who's a Christian like you, is not a guy who can be trusted. So I'm saying about all of the trust factor here when it-- when it breaks down, Barack Obama is a cool character. He understands that he's got to talk about the bottom line, and that, yes, I can't keep blaming the other guy, but somebody else stole the furniture. I moved into the House. Now you're mad at me because the furniture is gone, give me a chance to buy something from a cheap place or maybe even IKEA. Let me put something together here that allows the American voter to believe that I'm the person. So I think it comes down to what Trish said, selling the belief that there is a person who can steady the economic shift in-- ship in the midst of rough waters. I've seen nothing from the Oba-- from-- from the Romney campaign to suggest that their suggestions will do something better, except cut the government and hate the size of the government, which is no kind of recommendation.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me ask Dan quickly, who has the best team out there right now, just from the standpoint of, you know, getting the word out and doing what needs to be done in a mechanical kind of way?
DAN BALZ: Well, I-- I think over the course of the summer the Obama campaign showed itself to be very aggressive and relentlessly negative in going after Governor Romney. And they've-- they've been very disciplined about that. What we will see about the Romney campaign is whether their willingness to let some of that happen and come to the sense if we can get to Labor Day with a dead-even race, we are really in this. They took a lot of pounding and they took criticism for allowing some of that to happen. They have a theory of this election, and we'll see whether they're right.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, I want to thank all of you. It was a lot of fun talking to you. We'll be back in a moment and I'll have some final thoughts.
BOB SCHIEFFER: So, another general election will soon be under way. And this time it's an unusual match-up--a President who doesn't much like politics and a challenger who's not all that good at it. To be sure, they are both qualified to hold the office--good men of high moral character, and both are lawyers, for whatever that's worth. But it is the little things that give me pause. It is well known in Washington that hanging out with other politicians is Barack Obama's least-favorite thing. And now we learn from the Wall Street Journal that he has finally begun to write thank you notes to his big donors. That's hard to believe. But it is no more surprising than Mitt Romney deciding to remodel the beach house, the one with the car elevators, with an election approaching, or going to London and wondering aloud whether the British were ready to host the Olympics. Old-time politicians would know better. I appreciate anyone willing to take the abuse that comes from getting into the arena and trying to make things better. But somehow our modern politicians seem to have forgotten the basics of politics. What I miss are the politicians who were not just good at it but had a real zest for the game--the Reagans and Dirksens and the LBJs and Tip O'Neills. Somehow their obvious love of politics gave me confidence they could work things out. Just a small thing, but I wish we could see more of that. Back in a minute.
BOB SCHIEFFER: That's all our time for today because of sports but we'll be back with our regular one-hour broadcast next week. Thank you for being with us here on FACE THE NATION.
ANNOUNCER: This broadcast was produced by CBS News which is solely responsible for the selection of today's guests and topics. It originated in Charlotte, North Carolina and Washington, DC.
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