"Face the Nation" transcripts, September 2, 2012: O'Malley, Cutter, Richardson
Live from Charlotte, N.C. with key voices in the Democratic party Stephanie Cutter, Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Gov. Bill Richardson. Plus, Michael Eric Dyson, Dan Balz, Trish Regan and John Dickerson.
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.
- "Face the Nation" Sunday, May 19
- Gates knocks "cartoonish" Benghazi criticism
- Face the Nation: Local Listings
- Official: We knew Benghazi was a terrorist attack "from the get-go"
- Maya Angelou recalls her childhood on Mother's Day
- "The witch hunt continues" on Benghazi, Durbin says
- May 12: Gates, Pickering, Ayotte, Durbin & Angelou
- Attkisson discusses "allegations of a coverup" on Benghazi
- Face the facts: A fact check on gas prices
- Face the Nation transcripts May 5, 2013: Benghazi and gay athletes - Issa, Rogers, Ruppersberger
- Face the Nation transcripts May 12, 2013: Gates, Pickering, Ayotte, Durbin, and Angelou
- Noonan: Petraeus resignation "mysterious"
- Pickering: Wasn't "necessary" to question Clinton in Benghazi report
- Direct U.S. military involvement in Syria "would be a mistake," says Gates
- April 28: McCaskill, Chambliss, Graham