Face in the News: Battleground states panel, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, and more

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's recent allegation that Mitt Romney failed to pay taxes for a decade sparked debate during our battleground states panel on this week's Face the Nation.

With less than 100 days until the election, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, and Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart sat down to talk about Romney's tax return dilemma, the veepstakes, and how the campaign is shaping up in key battleground states.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, R-Va., referred to Reid's comments on Romney's tax returns as a "reckless and slanderous charge."This is Face the Nation: August 5

"This is a guy who hasn't released his own returns and for three years, can't get a budget passed in the United States Senate," McDonnell said."People don't care about Mitt Romney's tax returns. They care about their own tax returns and the taxes that are going to be increased under President Barack Obama."

Former Governor Ed Rendell, D-Pa., said that although Romney's tax returns are "not a central issue," Romney should "just go ahead and do it."

"It's a basic governmental thing you do. People--I agree with Governor McDonnell--it's not a central issue, but people want to know if American politicians pay their taxes fairly like everybody else," Rendell said.

Former Governor Ted Strickland, D-Ohio, sided with Reid and said that the public "deserved to know." "I'm not accusing him of anything, except what he is doing invites speculation, quite frankly," Strickland said.

(For more on tax return talk, check out coverage of the battleground state panel in Las Vegas Review-JournalThe Salt Lake Tribune,  SalonFactCheck.orgUSA TODAYPOLITICONewserTalking Points MemoThe Washington Times, and The Atlantic Wire)

When the conversation turned to potential vice president picks, McDonnell kept quiet on the possibility that he is being vetted. "You know, I'm not talking about it. That's up to Mitt Romney," McDonnell said. "He's going to make that announcement soon. But I'll tell you what, vice presidents don't win elections. Presidents and their candidates and their vision do."

Ed Rendell's vice presidential pick for Romney? "I just want to go on record: I'm for Michele Bachmann for vice president. I want everyone to be clear about that," Rendell quipped.

(For more on the veepstakes conversation, read The Charlottesville NewsplexHuffington PostThe Hill, and POLITICO)

Also, don't miss the politics panel ahead of the conventions with Julianna Goldman of Bloomberg, Michael Crowley of TIME, and CBS News' Nancy Cordes and Jan Crawford.

Later in the show, Bob Schieffer spoke with former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in a rare interview about the state of the Court today.

O'Connor commented on the declining approval rating of the Supreme Court."In the past, when the public is asked about three branches of government, the judicial branch has had the highest respect," she said. "Now it's the same for all, it's all down. It's a great disappointment to me."

She said that the decline in approval rating of the Supreme Court may be attributed to the Bush v. Gore decision of 2000.

"There's been some suggestion that the trend down began with the Bush v. Gore decision," O'Connor said. "That could be something that triggered public reexamination."

O'Connor said she does not regret the vote she cast in the Bush v. Gore case, one of the court's most controversial rulings. "It was a tough deal in a closely watched election," O'Connor said. "It's no fun to be part of a group of decision makers who have to decide which side the ball is going to fall on."

She defended Chief Justice John Roberts's deciding vote in the health care ruling and said that the case did not represent a liberal shift in the Court.

The 5-4 ruling, she said, indicates that "they don't always agree, and that's what it should be. For goodness sake, that's why you have a Court. And you have nine members, so it's uneven; you're not going to split evenly." O'Connor added, "I see it deciding a very sensitive case with political connotations."

(For more of the interview with Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, visit Orlando SentinelPOLITICO and The Hill.

Watch the full episode of this week's Face the Nation.

  • Lauren Hoenemeyer

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