"Face the Nation" transcripts November 11, 2012: Sen. Graham, David Axelrod
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I-- I'm not-- I'm not-- I'm not entertaining, promoting anybody that I think was involved with the Benghazi debacle. We need to get to the bottom of it. The President has a lot of leeway with me and others when it comes to making appointments, but I'm not going to promote somebody who I think has misled the country or is either incompetent. That's my view of Susan Rice. There are other people out there. I don't want to fight with the President over something like this but there has to be an accountability. You just can't let this happen and act as if there are no consequences. And one of the consequences to me is that Susan Price needs-- Susan Rice needs to be held accountable.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let's talk a little bit about the election. A lot of talk about your party is going to have to kind of rethink some of its positions. A former chairman of your party--
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yeah.
BOB SCHIEFFER:--said to me the other day, it's the Latino stupid, meaning you're going to have to do something to find a better way to--
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Right.
BOB SCHIEFFER:--to appeal to Hispanics. What do you think the impact of the election was on your party, Senator, and what-- what needs to be done here?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, the one thing we do not need to do is abandon conservatism and the exit polls of the elections, fifty-one percent of Americans said the government does too much, not too little. Conservatism would sell with Hispanics. They're hard working, entrepreneurial, pro life, pro military. But the truth of the matter is the immigration debate that we engaged in in 2006 and '07, has built a wall between the Republican Party and the Hispanic community because of tone and rhetoric. President Bush received forty-four percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004. By 2008 we were down to thirty-one, and in 2012 we were down to twenty-seven. This is an odd formula for a party to adopt, the fastest growing demographic in the country and we're losing votes every election cycle and it has to stop. It's one thing to shoot yourself in the foot, just don't reload the gun. So, I intend not to reload this gun when it comes to Hispanics. I intend to tear this wall down and pass an immigration reform bill that's an American solution to American problem. But we have nobody to blame but ourselves when it comes to losing Hispanics. And we can't get them back with some effort on our part.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Would that mean finding some path to citizenship for the illegals that are in this country?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: It means securing our borders which every American agrees with. It means making sure that you stop, make it harder to hire illegal immigrants, verifying employment. We need to secure the borders. Make sure you can't hire an illegal immigrant because you'll have documents that can't be faked. We need guest workers to make it a win-win for American employers when they can't find workers here. And when it comes to the twelve million, we need to be firm and fair--self-deportation is not going to work. Sixty-five percent of the people in the exit poll this election supported a pathway to citizenship. Here's what I think we should do with the twelve million. Fix it in a way that we don't have a third wave of illegal immigration twenty years from now. That's what Americans want. They want more legal immigration and they want to fix illegal immigration once and for all. Have the twelve million, once you secure the border. And you do nothing until you secure the border. Come out of the shadows, get biometrically identified, start paying taxes, pay a fine for the law they broke. They can't stay unless they learn our language, and they have to get in the back of the line before they can become citizens. They can't cut in front of the line--
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --regarding people who are doing it right. And it could take over a decade to get their green card. I think that's the answer.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. We have just a very short time here. I want to ask you about the fiscal cliff. Can the Republicans find a way to get some kind of a compromise with Democrats, so we can avoid this horrendous situation that goes into effect if you don't act?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Fair is not an option for the country when it comes to the fiscal cliff. Say yes to Simpson-Bowles, Mister President. I'm willing to say yes to Simpson-Bowels. We need more revenue in Washington. We need more private sector jobs. We don't need to raise tax rates. We need to limit loopholes and deductions for the wealthy. Mister President, if you'll say yes to Simpson-Bowles when it comes to revenue, so will I and so will most Republicans. We can get revenue without destroying jobs and both of us need to control spending and fix entitlements. No Republican will vote for higher tax rates. We will generate revenue from eliminating deductions and loopholes. But we will insist our Democratic friends reform entitlements something we've never done and that's where the big money is at. Say yes to Simpson-Bowels. We'll get this behind us.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Senator, thank you so much. And now we're going to get the other side of this picture.
And joining us now one of the architects of the President's victory, his senior campaign adviser, David Axelrod, who is out in Chicago. Mister Axelrod, thank you so much for joining us.
DAVID AXELROD (Obama Campaign Senior Advisor): Thanks for having me, Bob.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me just start this right on. Friday the President said he was open to compromise, but he said he would not accept any approach to deficit reduction, that does not ask the wealthy to pay more taxes. Speaker Boehner--
DAVID AXELROD: Mm-Hm.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --the Republican Speaker of the House, has already said that's a nonstarter. So, aren't we right back where we were last year?
DAVID AXELROD: Well, I don't think so, Bob, for a couple of reasons. First of all I think the Speaker also said he wasn't going to get into details about what he would or wouldn't accept. He didn't want to foreclose discussions and that was a positive sign. His rhetoric has been encouraging. And I think we have also had an intervening election. And, in fact, the position of the President articulated Friday was the position that he's articulated throughout the campaign. You look at those exit polls, and a healthy majority of Americans agree with him. And that's certainly going to help him form these discussions.
BOB SCHIEFFER: The President won, but this was a very close victory. And it came down to those battleground states. And it was close even there. Does the President feel that he-- he won a mandate?
DAVID AXELROD: Well, Bob, on this particular issue, it wasn't close. As I said if you look at the exit polls-- I think it was somewhere around sixty percent of the American people agreed with the President's position on this issue of taxes. It is obvious that we can't resolve the challenge here simply by cutting the budget. We've cut by a trillion. One, there are more cuts to be made but you need new revenues and everyone-- every objective person who has looked at this agrees on that. So the question is where is that revenue going to come from? The President believes it's more equitable to-- to get that from the wealthiest Americans who have done very well, and frankly, don't need those tax cuts. And-- and who benefitted disproportionately from the tax cuts in the last decade and most Americans agree with that.
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