Face in the News: Mitt Romney, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Penn State President, and more

This is Face the Nation: July 29
Mitt Romney joined CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford in Jerusalem where, in the midst of his overseas trip, he discussed foreign policy issues concerning Israel and Iran and reacted to the latest cover of Newsweek depicting him as a "wimp."

Hearing about Newsweek's "wimp" cover for the first time, Romney responded, "They tried that with George Herbert Walker Bush. He was a great president and anything but."

Crawford asked him if he worried about the implications of the "wimp" storyline and how he would counteract the portrayal. "If I worried about what the media said, I wouldn't be getting much sleep," Romney said. "But I'm able to sleep pretty well."

(Read more about Romney's response to Newsweek's "wimp" cover in Newsweek, National Journal, Orlando Sentinel, The Hill, Talking Points Memo, POLITICO, and Huffington Post)

Although a foreign policy aide suggested that Romney would respect Israel's right to strike Iran in order to prevent nuclear weapons capability, Romney declined to answer whether he would support this idea in the interview.

"Because I'm on foreign soil, I don't want to be creating new foreign policy for my country or in any way to distance myself from the foreign policy of our nation," Romney said. "But we respect the right of a nation to defend itself."

He also said that a nuclear-capable Iran is "the greatest single national security threat that America faces."

"A nuclear Iran is a dramatic and devastating potential threat to the world and to America," Romney said. "And all our efforts should be focused on making that our first priority."

(Read more about Jan Crawford's interview with Mitt Romney in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, POLITICO, The Hill, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, New York Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, Talking Points Memo, and Huffington Post)

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was in the studio moments later critiquing Romney's responses on foreign policy.

"If Mitt Romney believes that it's time to go to war to address Iran's quest to achieve a nuclear vision, then he should say it," Wasserman Schultz said.

"In fact, if Mitt Romney has any foreign policy positions at all -- which he has seemed to not indicate he has -- then he should say them,'' she said. "That's the very least that the American voters can expect, that when you're running for president, you would outline what you would do and what you would do differently from the President of the United States."

Noting Romney's recent gaffes during his visit in England, she also said that she believes his trip overseas has shown "that he lacks the experience, he lacks the preparation, and the diplomatic skills to be able to be the commander in chief."

(Read more about Debbie Wasserman Schultz's comments on Romney on RealClearPolitics, Boston Globe, and POLITICO)

Later, Penn State President Rodney Erickson discussed how the Penn State scandal has impacted the university community, especially with recent NCAA sanctions and upcoming civil lawsuits filed by the victims of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

When asked about the NCAA penalties imposed on the university, Erickson noted that the sanctions were the preferred option over the potential of losing the football program altogether through a "death penalty."

"There are aspects of the sanctions, certainly, that I think were certainly very heavy," Erickson said. "But we were given a choice and I continue to feel that that was the best choice that we could make under the circumstances."

The NCAA penalty included a four-year postseason ban, $60 million fine, loss of football scholarships, and vacating of all wins from 1998 to 2011.

In regards to the victims of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, Erickson hopes to settle their civil lawsuits filed against the university "as quickly as possible."

"We don't want to, if at all possible, drag victims through another round of court cases and litigation," he said. "If we can come to an agreement with them, with their attorneys, we believe that would be the best possible outcome in this whole very, very difficult, tragic situation."

Erickson also discussed his decision to remove football coach Joe Paterno's statue.

"I felt that it was a kind of open wound for the victims of child abuse across the nation," he said. "And in that respect I thought it should be removed."

(Read more about how the Penn State scandal impacted the university on ESPN, State College News, Centre Daily Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chronicle for Higher Education, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, New York Daily News, Reuters, and The Washington Times)

Also, don't miss the Penn State panel with Buzz Bissinger, Sara Ganim, Jim Rome, James Brown, and Bill Rhoden.

Note: Thank you to our viewers for making Face the Nation the top-rated Sunday morning public affairs show. Because of your support, Face the Nation will continue as an hour-long program permanently. Read more about the exciting announcement in New York Magazine, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, and AP.

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  • Lauren Hoenemeyer

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