"Face the Nation" transcripts, June 17, 2012: Gov. Romney, Senator Graham, Gov. Dean
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.
- Bob Schieffer: Edward Snowden is no hero
- Obama doesn't think NSA violated Americans' privacy, WH says
- Face the Nation transcripts June 16, 2013: McDonough and Rogers on NSA surveillance
- June 16: McDonough, Rogers & more
- Rep. Cummings: Proof clears WH of IRS targeting scandal
- Ayotte announces key support for Senate immigration bill
- Face the facts: A fact check on gas prices
- Roberts switched views to uphold health care law
- Face the Nation transcripts May 19, 2013: Pfeiffer, Cornyn, Chaffetz & Pruitt
- Congress not yet likely to approve Syrian arms aid, Rogers says
- Mary Hager
- About Us
- Gates knocks "cartoonish" Benghazi criticism
- Military sex assault "culture" needs new laws to change, lawmakers say
- Face the Nation transcripts May 5, 2013: Benghazi and gay athletes - Issa, Rogers, Ruppersberger
- Cummings: Issa "absolutely wrong" about D.C. involvement in IRS targeting