A transcript from the August 23, 2015 edition of Face the Nation. Guests included: Donald Trump, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Julianna Goldman, Michael Scherer, Anne Gearan, Manu Raju, Ruth Marcus, and Ken Burns.
JOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Today, on FACE THE NATION, three Republican presidential candidates: Cruz, Christie, and Trump. The billionaire businessman continues to turn things upside down on the 2015 campaign trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would like to have the election tomorrow. I don't want to wait.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DICKERSON: While he's waiting, Trump is driving the policy conversation. This week, his plan to deport all undocumented immigrants, including some American-born citizens, rattled the Republican field. Texas Senator Ted Cruz and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Donald Trump himself all weigh in on the politics and the policies of immigration.
And on the Democratic side, there are new signs Joe Biden is thinking about taking on Hillary Clinton. We will have reporters to analyze it all, plus a conversation with documentary filmmaker Ken Burns on the re-release of "The Civil War" next month. It's all coming up on FACE THE NATION.
Good morning. And welcome to FACE THE NATION. I'm John Dickerson.
Donald Trump joins us by phone from New York.
Mr. Trump, I want to start with the immigration plan you put forward this week. It got a lot of coverage, a lot of conversation from your rivals. The biggest criticism of that plan is that it will be so expensive. It's not just the wall, which you say you want Mexico to pay for. But it's also the job of deporting 11 to 12 million people. How are you going to pay for the whole thing?
TRUMP: Well, John, right now, we're spending $130 billion a year. And that's a very low number by comparison to what it really is. We're having tremendous trouble. You know, when you look at Ferguson and you look at Saint Louis, like the other night, and you look at, let's say, Baltimore and Chicago, the gangs, you know, many of these gang members are illegal and they're tough dudes. They will be out of there so fast, your head will spin.
Those numbers aren't calculated in the $130 billion. We're a nation of laws. We have to do what we have to do. And, actually, it will be a lot less expensive to do it properly. And you know the good people are going to be expedited to come back. But you have to do this, John. We are nation based on laws. And we're based on borders.
We don't have a border. We don't have laws. People are walking in past these really fantastic Border Patrol. We have Border Patrol people that are fantastic. They can do their job. But they are told not to. And people are walking into the country right past these people and they're told to stand back. It's absolutely disgraceful.
DICKERSON: I want to ask you. You say the good people will be expedited. Who are the good people?
TRUMP: Well, the people that have done a good job, they have been here a long time, they have worked hard, they have recommendations from people. And we're going to get wonderful people coming back into this country.
And I'm not only talking about from that standpoint. And, you know, we're building a wall. And it's going to be a great wall. OK? And, by the way, Mexico will pay for it. It's going to be a great wall, because I do -- I know how to build. And it's not going to cost nearly as much as what they are saying for a crummy wall, but this will be a wall with a very big, very beautiful door, because we want the legals to come back into the country.
We also want people of talent to come into the country. We want people to go to our colleges. You to go Harvard, you go to Wharton, you go to Stanford, and you are immediately thrown out as soon as you're finished getting a degree. You can be number one in your class at Princeton and be thrown out of the country, and you have -- you're forced to go to work in China, where you want -- and you want to be in this -- you want to be in our country.
I will have that changed and changed quickly. We want people of talent.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you about the good people. So, they're here now, undocumented now. They will leave the country, and then you would have them come back through that beautiful door.
Isn't that rewarding people who jumped the line in the first place?
TRUMP: Well, you could say that.
But we have lot of good people that have been here. They have done a good job. It's a tough situation, but they have lived here sometimes for 10, 15, 20 years. And, in some cases, they haven't been good people and there have been problems.
And we know -- now, I will say this. Our country doesn't even know how many people we have in it. We have no idea how many illegals are here. I have heard the number for five years and longer of 11 -- 11 million people.
Every once in a while, you will hear 30. We have no idea, John. They're coming in. They're pouring in. We have no idea how many people are here. But we have to get them back. We have to get them back where they came from. And the good ones, we will expedite. We will work on it and we will expedite.
And you know what it's called? It's called management. Right now, we have political hacks running the system. We have people that have no clue how to manage things. With good management, we can do this very, very well.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you a question about your campaign. You have made -- you have talked about how no one owns you, you're paying for it yourself.
If you got into the general election, where Democrats are maybe going to spend upwards of a billion dollars, are you going to foot the bill for that, too?
TRUMP: I think what would happen is people -- I don't want lobbyists.
Look, I know people that want something. I have been doing this all my life. I have been a very big contributor to many, many people of all size for many, many years. I don't want lobbyists. I don't want special interests, but certainly people -- we have lot of money coming in.
A woman sends in $7.23 the other day. It was cute. She writes this beautiful little letter. That's what she had. But we have lot of small contributors. I would even take big contributors, as long as they don't expect anything, because the only people that can expect something from me is going to be the people that want to see our country be great again.
Those are the only people. So, certainly, I would take -- I actually like the idea of investing in a campaign, but it has to be no strings attached. I don't want any strings attached. You know, these lobbyists come in. I turned down $5 million last week from a very important lobbyist, because there are total strings attached to a thing like that.
He's going to come to me in a year or two years and he's going to want something for a country that he represents or for a company that he represents. That's the kind of money I won't take.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you about a constituency that may have -- be interested in you.
You told "TIME" magazine -- you said, "I have hedge fund guys that are making a lot of money that aren't paying anything."
DICKERSON: Would you change that? And how would you do it?
TRUMP: I would change it. They're paying nothing. And it's ridiculous.
I want to save the middle class. You know, the middle class -- the hedge fund guys didn't build this country. These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky. And, by the way, when the market collapses, like it is now, the market is going down, they're losing a fortune.
Half of them, look, they're energetic, they're very smart, but a lot of them, it's like they're paper pushers. They make a fortune, they pay no tax. It's ridiculous, OK? This -- and some of them are friends of mine. Some of them, I couldn't care less about. It's the wrong thing.
The hedge fund guys are getting away with murder. They're making a tremendous amount of money. They have to pay taxes. I want to lower the rates for the middle class. The middle class is the one, they're getting absolutely destroyed. This country doesn't have -- won't have a middle class very soon.
DICKERSON: I want to ask you about this question about your conservatism. There's been some people who wondered what you are. And Jeb Bush has basically spent the week saying you're not a conservative. So, prove him wrong.
TRUMP: Well, you know, you could say that about Ronald Reagan, because Ronald Reagan was a Democrat with a very, very liberal lean. And he actually became Republican who was fairly conservative. I wouldn't say he was the most conservative, but fairly.
And he talked about he evolved as he got older. And I have also. And don't forget, I -- when you label me -- I was never a politician. So, it never really mattered what people called me. It didn't make any difference. Also, I was in Manhattan, where everybody is Democrat. If you get the Democratic nomination for city council or anything, that means you won the election, even though the election hasn't taken place. It was like automatic.
So, I was from an area that was all Democrat. And, frankly, over the years, I have -- and especially as I have gotten more and more involved, I have evolved. And I have taken positions that are different than the past. And I feel strongly about them.
But I have also taken the position of common sense. When I look at what's happening to our country, our country is going down. We're going down, John. And I'm going to make this country great again. I'm going to do the right thing for the country.
DICKERSON: All right.
Well, we will look forward to catching up with you out on the campaign trail.
Mr. Trump, thanks so much for joining us.
TRUMP: Thank you very much, John.
DICKERSON: Friday, we traveled to Iowa and caught up with two other Republican presidential candidates.
We begin with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his thoughts on Donald Trump's plan to fix illegal immigration.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In many ways, it's just too simplistic.
The idea of building a wall, kicking everybody out, and ending birthright citizenship, you know, all sounds appealing in some respects to some folks. But I just think it's a very complicated problem and it needs someone who understands how to do a complicated and nuanced solution to that problem.
And the fact is, we can do this the right way and we should do it the right way.
DICKERSON: Is that the larger question about Mr. Trump's policies, that they're too simplistic?
CHRISTIE: You know, listen, I haven't listened to every one of his proposals that he's put out there, but I will say this.
I understand why the American people are frustrated. They're frustrated because they feel like the government can't do anything right. They can't execute on anything. And I think the difference here in my approach is, they know that I'm a guy who knows how to enforce the law.
I did it as U.S. attorney. I'm doing it as governor of New Jersey in very difficult circumstances, with a Democratic legislature. What they want is to have a detailed plan that they know someone can execute on and enforce. And I have had the history of doing that.
DICKERSON: You mentioned birthright citizenship. Your position is what on it?
CHRISTIE: It's in the Constitution. And I don't think that we should be looking to change it.
Now, what I said was, if we wanted to have comprehensive immigration reform, I would be willing to listen to anything. But the truth of the matter is that that is not something we should be being focused on. That's an applause line. The fact is, it's in the Constitution. Let's talk about the things that we can fix and fix simply, without having to amend the Constitution, where we will need, you know, two-thirds of the Congress and 38 states to agree.
DICKERSON: And after the last election, the Republican Party had a bit of a soul-searching moment. The Republican National Committee put together a report and said Republicans have to get behind comprehensive immigration reform.
That is closer to your position on immigration, but it seems that the party -- that the passion in the party is moving towards a more restrictive view on immigration. How do you see it?
CHRISTIE: I don't agree.
I think the passion in the party is towards getting it right and getting it fixed. And I think that the frustration that people feel is to a Congress and a president, this president, who refuses to enforce the law. I think the problem, John, is that people are just absolutely fed up with lawlessness in this country. They see the president only enforcing the laws he likes, not enforcing the laws that he doesn't like, not working with the states in way that would make sure the laws are enforced.
I would be really clear on this. I think the frustration is that government is not working and not getting the job done. And the fact is, in New Jersey, we have been able to do this the right way. And that's why I won 51 percent of the Hispanic vote when I was reelected in 2013. Republicans can do this and can work with the Hispanic community to get things done and to get them to vote for us as well.
DICKERSON: Hillary Clinton has had lot of challenges with her e- mail server. In those -- in responding to those attacks, she's blamed the press. She has blamed partisans. And she said, you know, trust me on this, and when it's all through, you will find out I was exonerated.
A lot that sounds like what you said during Bridgegate.
CHRISTIE: Yes, except that I'm telling the truth and she's not.
So, the fact is that this is a person who won't even answer the questions. Remember something. When Hillary Clinton goes out and gives an hour-and-15-minute press conference with the national press corps where she takes every question, then she can talk to me, because that's what I did the day after, right, the day after.
And everything I said that day has proven to be true. Here is the problem with Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton won't answer any questions. Why did she have a private e-mail server to begin with? And why was she doing all of her business over a private e-mail server?
John, I worked for the federal government for seven years as the U.S. attorney. One of the rules they told you right in the beginning was, do your business over the government server. That's what they told you to do, so they could have record of all that. She didn't do that.
DICKERSON: She would say the other previous secretaries of state had their -- had private accounts.
CHRISTIE: Well, they had private accounts, in addition to their public accounts. She didn't have a public account. She never used it. And this is what the Clintons do all the time, John. They try to divert attention. So, you don't want to answer the question as to why you had a private e-mail server. We know, John. You and I both know why. She wanted to keep what she was doing secret. She wanted to keep it from the public.
She didn't want any record of it. And you know why the proof is she didn't want to have any record of it? Because, as soon as she was out of office, she wiped the server clean. This is the kind of stuff...
DICKERSON: Well, that's your interpretation. She says she only wiped the personal stuff.
CHRISTIE: Why else would you -- why else would you delete thousands and thousands of e-mails, John? Because you didn't want anybody to see it.
Well, the fact is that Mrs. Clinton never wants to answer the question. And so she tries to divert it to all kinds of other things. Here is going to be the problem come next fall, when I'm her opponent. She's never been cross-examined by a prosecutor like me. And she will be cross-examined by a prosecutor like me on the other side of the stage. And she won't be able to stand up to the scrutiny.
DICKERSON: And Democrats and those supporting her have said, but Governor Christie had some missing texts.
CHRISTIE: Let me say this. We had 12 missing text messages that was sent to me by someone when we weren't under investigation and didn't even know what was going on.
Mrs. Clinton deleted e-mails when she was under subpoena. In my neck of the woods, we call that obstruction of justice.
DICKERSON: You have been talking about entitlement reform. What has it been like trying to get that in the conversation? What has the reception been?
CHRISTIE: People understand it, and they get it. They want to be told the truth. They don't like it. They don't like fact that the government promised them they would keep money in a trust fund, then stole all the money and lied to them and told them there's a trust fund still there.
But they are happy that there is finally a leader who willing to stand up and say that government lied to you and stole from you. Now we have to fix it. The media is just not that interested in it because it's complicated. It's more than like a five-second answer.
So, they get a little -- there's one question about entitlements in the entire debate two weeks ago, yet it's 71 percent of federal spending, along with debt service. How could it be that we have one question in two hours on something that's consuming nearly 71 percent of the federal budget?
But I'm going to keep talking about it, because you're going to be a leader, you got to do that.
DICKERSON: Thanks so much.
CHRISTIE: Thanks, John. Appreciate it.
DICKERSON: We also sat down with Texas Senator Ted Cruz before an event at the Iowa Hall of Pride. We began by asking about granting automatic citizenship to the children of undocumented workers.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think birthright citizenship, as a policy matter, doesn't make sense.
We have right now upwards of 12 million people living here illegally. It doesn't make any sense that our law automatically grants citizenship to their children, because what it does is, it incentivizes additional illegal immigration.
But the heart of what Donald proposed, and indeed what I have introduced, is we have got to get serious about securing the borders.
And if you go and you talk with law enforcement -- as you know, I represent Texas. We have got 1,200 miles of border with Mexico.
When you go visit with law enforcement, when you visit with Border Patrol agents about what works, the number one most effective tool that works is boots on the ground. That's why I filed legislation to triple the Border Patrol. I was very glad to see that Donald Trump agrees with that proposal.
The legislation I filed would also increase four-fold the fixed- wing and rotary-wing aircraft, so we use technology to monitor the border to supplement the boots on the ground. But then, beyond that, 40 percent of illegal immigration doesn't come across the border at all. It's visa overstays.
So, the legislation I introduced would put in place a strong biometric exit-entry system, so we can stop visa overstays. And, finally, we should put in place a robust E-Verify system, so you can't get a job without demonstrating you're here illegally (sic).
It's not that we don't know how to solve illegal immigration. What is missing is the political will to get it done. And, as president, I will get it done. We will secure the borders.
DICKERSON: In 2011, you mentioned that basically -- there's quote here -- you said: "14th Amendment provides for birthright citizenship. I have looked at the legal arguments against it. And I will tell you, as a Supreme Court litigator, those arguments are not very good."
So, as a legal matter, though, it can't be touched, right?
CRUZ: Well, no, that's not true.
So, there are two different pieces. There's the policy matter and the legal matter. As a policy matter, I think now, and I thought then, we should end birthright citizenship. And in 2011, in that same conversation, I publicly said we should end birthright citizenship. Indeed, I said so in writing.
Now, there's a second question, how does one do it? And constitutional scholars differ in terms of the way that it can be effectively done. Some constitutional scholars argue Congress could pass a law defining what the words in the 14th Amendment "subject to the jurisdiction" mean.
Others argue, no, it couldn't be done by statute. It must be done by constitutional amendment. In my view, there's good-faith argument on both sides. We should pursue whichever one is effective. But, as a policy matter, we should change the law. But what I also said in that interview -- and I think this is important, John -- is we're facing a crisis with the illegal immigration, a law enforcement crisis, a national security crisis. Any change in birthright citizenship, be it a statute or a constitutional amendment, will take many, many years.
So, the first priority should be securing the border. And we can do that with a president, unlike President Obama, who will actually enforce the laws and get the job done.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you about religious liberty. You're hosting a gathering here in protection of religious liberty. In your speech announcing your presidency, you talked about it. You have talked about it ever since.
CRUZ: Yes. Yes.
DICKERSON: We know that that would be a part of your presidency. What in a Cruz presidency would same-sex marriage look like?
CRUZ: Well, when it comes to religious liberty, religious liberty has been a foundational passion of mine for decades. And I have a long record of standing and defending religious liberty and winning successfully, whether it was defending the Ten Commandments monument on the state capitol grounds, winning 5-4 before the U.S. Supreme Court, defending the Pledge of Allegiance, the words "one nation under God," winning unanimously in front of the Supreme Court, or defending the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial, a loam-white Latin cross, where I represented three million veterans defending that memorial.
We won 5-4 in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. This is a deep passion. And today we're pre-taping at this rally here in Iowa that has thousands of people in support of religious liberty. And what this rally is doing is, it's telling the stories of ordinary people across the country who are here today who stood up for their faith and who were persecuted.
And a lot of folks in the media that -- they belittle the threats to religious liberty. They say they're not real, they're made up. This rally is all about putting names and faces and people to the persecution.
For example, one couple who is here is Iowa's own Dick and Betty Odgaard. They're a wonderful couple, an older couple. They own an historic Lutheran church. For many years, the Odgaards hosted wedding in their church. A couple of years ago, two men came to them and wanted to have a same-sex wedding in their church.
And the Odgaards, who are devout Mennonites, they very politely, very respectfully said that hosting a homosexual wedding ceremony in their church was contrary to their faith. They couldn't do it. They were sued. They went through protracted litigation. They paid $5,000 to settle the case. And they promised never again to host another wedding.
They have gone out of business. They have laid off all their employees. Why? Simply because they stood up for their faith and religious beliefs. We're a nation that was founded on religious liberty. And the liberal intolerance we see, trying to persecute those who, as a matter of faith, follow a biblical definition of marriage is fundamentally wrong.
DICKERSON: All right, Senator Cruz, thanks so much.
CRUZ: Thank you, John.
DICKERSON: We will be back in one minute.
JOHN DICKERSON: There's been a lot of chatter about whether Vice President Joe Biden will join the presidential race. Yesterday we got actual news, Biden met with Senator Elizabeth Warren, Julianna Goldman has some fresh details about that meeting and Biden's deliberations, why does Warren matter?
JULIANNA GOLDMAN: Because it really does signify just how serious these deliberations are right now. If she were to support Joe Biden it would be a game changer. For one she would bring about a more diverse coalition of progressives and liberals because she is an icon in the liberal progressive community. She also is one of the most visible women in the Democratic Party and with Joe Biden, we're talking about Joe from Scranton he prides himself on being a champion for the middle class and so a progressive economic platform is something he could run on.
DICKERSON: I talked to a Democratic Strategist yesterday, he said this was a sign of the attack in-roads that Biden would be making against Hilary Clinton, where is she vulnerable for him?
GOLDMAN: On the money front, there are scores of top Democratic donors that are still on the sidelines and there are donors who have signed on to Hilary Clinton who would be ready to jump if Joe Biden got in and I spoke to one of those donors who's raised tens of thousands of dollars for Hilary Clinton and what they say is that there is real concern right now about where this email server, the fall out over her email server. There's concern that they don't know where the story is going, and they're disappointed in how the campaign has handled it.
DICKERSON: You'll need that money to actually make wishes into an actual campaign. We'll be back in a minute.
DICKERSON: In politics and presidencies, we measure things at the speed of Twitter.
A new poll, a new gaffe, a new outrage, it washes through in a flash: Oh, hey, look, Donald Trump flew by the stadium in a big plane.
But, last week, former President Jimmy Carter announced his cancer diagnosis and interrupted the quick and momentary cycle with talk of eternity and final judgment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had an MRI of my head and neck, and it showed up that it was already in four places in my brain. So, I would say that night and the next day, until I came back up to Emory, I just thought I had a few weeks left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DICKERSON: Facing the end of his life, the former president said he was not troubled.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARTER: I have had wonderful life. I have had thousands of friends. And I have had an exciting and adventurous and gratifying existence. So, I was surprisingly at ease.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARTER: My name is Jimmy Carter, and I'm running for president.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DICKERSON: In politics, it has become a custom in both parties to knock a politician by comparing them to Carter, a one-term president besieged by economic and foreign policy woes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARTER: It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DICKERSON: But it's hard to imagine anyone who would mind being compared to the man at that press conference, who could look over his life and the 35 years since he has been president and face its end at peace and with a smile.
DICKERSON: Some of our CBS stations are leaving us now, but, for most of you, we will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION, including our political panel, plus a conversation with PBS documentary filmmaker Ken Burns on the new version of "The Civil War."
Stay with us.
DICKERSON: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. I'm John Dickerson. We're back with our panel. Ruth Marcus is a columnist for "The Washington Post." Michael Shearer is the Washington bureau chief for "Time" magazine and wrote the cover story on Donald Trump for this week's magazine. Anne Gearan covers the Hillary Clinton campaign for "The Post." And Manu Raju covers the campaign for "Politico."
Manu, I want to start with you; you covered immigration wars on the Hill when Donald Trump talked about the good people who were here illegally coming back in.
Won't that be seen as amnesty in some...?
MANU RAJU, "POLITICO": I think that will give an opening to some of the folks who are pushing, who are trying to regain their -- get noticed in this debate.
What was interesting, too, was how Ted Cruz is trying to show himself as the immigration hardliner in this as Donald Trump has dominated the debate on immigration.
You heard Ted Cruz talk about his legislation that he introduced, things that actually sounded a lot like the Donald Trump plan. But Donald Trump has been dominating the narrative on immigration. And it shows just how much Ted Cruz has been hurt by Donald Trump in this debate, in this race.
And a lot of those key party supporters, those folks who are evangelicals, who support -- who should support Ted Cruz are flocking to Donald Trump. So you're seeing all these candidates recalibrate their positions based on what Donald Trump has been saying on the campaign trail. And immigration is one of those issues.
DICKERSON: It does seem like Trump is trying to catch those supporters on the rebound potentially.
In that recalibration, Michael, that Manu talks about, who is taking advantage of the Trump immigration moment?
Was there another candidate who grabbed it and said, here, I can seize the limelight?
MICHAEL SHEARER, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Rick Santorum did. But it's hard to say he's really taking advantage much. He's at 1 percent of the polls.
We're at a stage right now in this race where almost the pose, the posture matters more than the substance of what you're putting out, and clearly on immigration Trump is winning it. He's coming across as the toughest -- he's saying things like, we're going to move them all out, a totally unrealistic plan.
I mean, if you go back to 2012, Trump was actually quoted, saying that Mitt Romney's plan to self-deport America's undocumented immigrants was crazy. Now he's saying we're going to do it and I'll handle it because I can manage things.
It's all a pose and it's winning for him because he's selling something to the Republican Party right now, which isn't as much about policy or ideology; it's about I am the guy who actually gets stuff done. I'm not corrupted like the rest of the political elite. And I'm a fighter.
DICKERSON: And Jeb Bush tried to get in the conversation this week a little bit. He's the one, he got a little testy when he was asked about this notion of "anchor babies" and him using that term for people born to the parents of undocumented immigrants. Where is Jeb Bush in this conversation now?
ANNE GEARAN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, Jeb Bush appeared to me to be trying very hard to attack Donald Trump in a way that he hasn't done, really, until now because he didn't think he had to. He didn't think that Trump was going to last past the summer and be the kind of force that he is now, dragging -- certainly immigration is maybe the most salient example right now -- but dragging the whole field either to the Right or along with him.
And Jeb Bush appeared to think that that was demagoguery and he didn't want to have to engage in it. But you saw him do it this week, which suggests that he's a good bit more worried as his poll numbers would suggest that he should be about the Trump factor.
DICKERSON: What is your sense how -- go ahead, jump in.
RUTH MARCUS, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, he did it this week but he did it without rejecting the use of the term "anchor babies." And let me just say, that a week in which the Republican Party is talking about "anchor babies" and what to do about them and talking about repealing birthright citizenship is not long-term a good week for the Republican Party.
And one other really quick point: I think that this -- there's a really -- it's dangerous for the Republican Party, but there's a very interesting opening for Trump's would-be competitors on the Right with this argument about the good people. Because now it seems like we're going to have "the nice door" but it's a kind of Trump revolving door where you spend an enormous amount of money to get the good people -- to get everybody out and break up families. Then you get the good people back in, which is entirely inconsistent with his argument that we need everybody out because they're taking wages and jobs away from the good people already here, who are American citizens.
GEARAN: -- workable, right, yes.
MARCUS: Opening on the Right; long-term problem for the Republican Party.
RAJU: And Jeb is really trying to become the Trump alternative in this race. He's clearly -- that's why he's taking that tougher line to Trump. And they realize that -- the Jeb people realize that Trump is probably here to stay, so maybe to show some variance between him and Trump and so that he can be an electable alternative.
DICKERSON: Michael, you were in his office; he brought a bald eagle along. He seems to be -- he here to stay, as Manu says, but he's also having fun. I mean, he's here to stay because he's having fun.
SHEARER: He is. And you remember Jeb Bush came into this race saying I would be the joyful candidate? There's no joy in Jeb Bush right now. And what Trump has shown is that the other candidates have yet to find their voice. Jeb is struggling to be tough, to stand up to Trump without being angry.
Scott Walker, you saw, over the last week, really struggling to come up with any answer on immigration that had details in it that made sense. He's running as the bold, courageous conservative who took on the unions but he can't answer basic questions on the trail. So it's hurting his message.
I think you can say a lot of things about Trump and many of them are true. But you can't say that he doesn't know who he is and what his act is. And so when he goes on TV, when he gives an off-the-cuff hour-long speech before 20,000 people, he knows exactly who he is. And voters pick up on that.
MARCUS: And he's not going anyplace while his ratings are as good as they are. He's all about the ratings and they're terrific. So like a lot of people -- and I'm here to say I was wrong; I thought Donald Trump was going to self-destruct. He is not going to self destruct. Somebody like Jeb Bush or somebody is going to have to help destroy him.
But the interesting piece that shows that he is, in fact, destroyable was in -- I think it was a CNN poll; 58 percent thought someone -- of voters -- and I think it was Republican voters -- thought Donald Trump didn't -- the Republican Party did not have as good a chance with Donald Trump to take back the White House. Only 30 percent thought he represented the best chance to take back the White House.
So the question is this infatuation is going to last past the summer but when voters really have to get serious and start thinking about a third Democratic term, is Donald Trump really going to be where they -- ?
RAJU: And when other -- when other Republican candidates drop out of the race, like later in the primary season, that's when some -- we'll be questioning, will those voters flock to Trump or will they have flocked to Walker or Jeb or whoever else is in the race?
GEARAN: We haven't seen attack ads against Republicans. We haven't -- Republican attack ads against Donald Trump. We haven't seen them really start to say, we got to get rid of this guy because it's messing up the race. That could happen.
MARCUS: With super PACs, that winnowing process could take a lot longer that we're used to.
SHEARER: And with the election calendar.
I would just say that if you look at the last month and a half, Trump -- we're in an age of free media right now. No one's spending a lot of money on TV. And Trump dominates. He's just on TV, all day, every day. You can't miss him. And the other candidates have been pushed aside.
And that will change. Jeb has $100 million to start to spend on TV in these early states. A lot of other candidates -- Cruz has $50 million. I mean, this is significant money. Even Perry has millions of dollars in the bank.
RAJU: And that shows just how long of a race this is going to be. It's not just going to be Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina. It'll go past Super Tuesday.
MARCUS: When people can write you $5 million checks or $10 million checks, Trump at 25 percent could be beaten by someone else who was at a greater percent but when you've got this fractured field and the capacity to stay there for a long time, that's where the party could really have a problem. And I'm, for the first time, I can imagine Trump winning the nomination.
DICKERSON: Winning the nomination.
And I want to switch to the other party and talk about Hillary Clinton, who you cover.
Not another good week for her on the e-mail and server question.
Walk us through why that was the case.
GEARAN: Well, they have been trying to put this to rest as much as is possible. The campaign does know that this is an issue that is going to stick with her. For months, well into the 2016 calendar, the way the e-mails are being released by the State Department and the way the Republicans are using it, guarantees that.
What they have been trying to do is not get in the way. They would -- and this was another week in which what she said herself seemed to get in the way. She had a short press conference which didn't really win her a lot of great reviews the other day, where she got quite angry, visibly irritated at questions about the e-mail issue.
And then the campaign spent the rest of the week trying to put out their version of events, which continued all the way into Saturday. The campaign had had a press conference for beat reporters on Friday afternoon by telephone, anything you want to know and ask before the weekend, we're here to clear it up.
Helpful, maybe. But they clearly didn't think they got the job done because all day yesterday, there was just a tweet barrage of giving their version.
DICKERSON: When I was calling around about the Biden question, whether he's going to get into the race, yesterday somebody talked to him, sort of felt like the mishandling for another week from Hillary Clinton created a new opportunity for Joe Biden. Do you see it that way?
MARCUS: Absolutely. That's why we are reading all of this Biden chatter, hearing all the Biden chatter. He's clearly trying to let this play out as long as possible to watch what happens to Hillary Clinton.
Look, Joe Biden has wanted to be president and has been running for president since Hillary Clinton was first lady of Arkansas. Does he want to run? Yes. He's looking at whether -- not whether he thinks he can win the general election but whether he thinks at this point he can win the nomination. I think in the end that he will conclude that he can't at this point.
DICKERSON: That he cannot?
MARCUS: And won't run. And I'm not imagining that Senator Warren is going to go endorse Joe Biden right now, who voted for the bankruptcy bill that was her bete noir back when she was a Harvard Law professor.
DICKERSON: Michael, do you think he runs?
SHEARER: I think we know right now he's doing everything he would be doing if he intended to run. So he can always --
SHEARER: -- he can pull the plug. And we also know about Joe Biden that he has never stopped swimming forward. It's like I say about a shark. He always goes forward. And it would be a huge decision for him. I mean, it's a decision not just about not running but basically stepping out with many years left in his life from the game that has been his life. And I think it would be a very difficult decision.
And I think the cost for him of getting in the race, seeing how it goes, maybe he takes off, maybe he doesn't take off, is not that great, considering the alternative. So I'm not as confident as you that he'll --
(CROSSTALK) RAJU: I think the question's going to be where the -- what is Joe Biden's lane in the Democratic primary?
I mean, you have Bernie Sanders getting a lot of support from the Left. And Hillary Clinton has her own lane, trying to have a more diverse coalition.
Can Biden pull enough support from the Hillary faction as well as the Bernie faction --
DICKERSON: Got to wrap here.
We'll be back in a minute.
DICKERSON: Ken Burns may be the most renowned documentary filmmaker of his time and his 1990 PBS documentary, "The Civil War," was seen by almost 39 million viewers.
Twenty-five years later the film has been converted to ultra-high definition and will air on PBS for five nights starting September 7th. We sat down earlier with Ken Burns and talked about the new version of the film and how the Civil War is still affecting American's conversation on race.
KEN BURNS, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: I went in as we were beginning the process and literally burst into tears, because archives that I've known ad sort of in my bloodstream all of a sudden were -- I had new details. I hadn't noticed that musket. I hadn't noticed the way the hand was resting on a pistol. The grain had interrupted that.
And it also reminded me of the centrality of this event. I mean, it's OK to tie pretty bows, it's OK go to in terms of makeup and get yourself camera-ready, as what we have done for a new age of this.
It's another thing to understand and come to terms with the centrality of this event. And it's occupying all the films that I'm working on now and yet it stays there.
You know, when the Constitutional Convention happened, there was a man named John J. Chapman, who said slavery was like a sleeping serpent. It lay coiled under the table during the deliberations; thereafter, slavery was on everyone's mind, if not always on his tongue.
And so we pundit in 1789 and 1776. And fourscore and five years later we went to war, the most important event in our history.
DICKERSON: Are you surprised that polls show that more people think that the Civil War was about states' rights, about encroachment of the federal government than think it was about slavery?
BURNS: You know, we've grown up as country with a lot of powerful symbols of the Civil War in popular culture that would be "Birth of a Nation," D.W. Griffiths' classic, and "Gone with the Wind," of course.
And in that, it postulates, among other things, both films, that the Ku Klux Klan, which is a homegrown terrorist organization, was actually a heroic force in the story of the Civil War. So it's no wonder that Americans have permitted themselves to be sold a bill of goods about what happened, oh, it's about states' rights, it's about nullification, it's about differences between cultural and political and economic forces that shaped the North and the South.
If you read South Carolina's Articles of Secession, the first state to secede, the birthdays of secession, the home of the original Fire Eaters, as they were called, in reaction to Abraham Lincoln, a moderates' election, they do not mention states' rights. They mention slavery. Slavery. Slavery.
And that we have to remember. It is much more complicated than that, but essentially the reason why we murdered each other -- more than 2 percent of our population, 750,000 Americans died; that's more than all the wars from the Revolution through Afghanistan combined -- was over essentially the issue of slavery.
DICKERSON: And you mentioned these themes that you worked on 25 years ago in this film had been running through your work ever since then.
BURNS: Yes. The main American theme, I think, is freedom. It's about individual freedom in opposition or intention with collective freedom. It's about states' rights versus a strong federal government. All of these tensions have been in place since the very beginning, even before the beginning.
But we also notice that race is always there. Always there. When Thomas Jefferson says all men are created equal, he owns a couple hundred human beings and he doesn't see the contradiction or the hypocrisy and doesn't free anybody in his lifetime and sets in motion an American narrative that is bedeviled by a question of race.
And we struggle with it. We try to ignore it. We pretend, with the election of Barack Obama, that we're in some post-racial society. And of course, you know, we're not. "The Onion" magazine got it right when he was inaugurated, said "Black man given worst job in the world."
And what we have seen is a kind of reaction to this. The birther movement, of which Donald Trump is one of the authors of, is another politer way of saying the N word. It's just more sophisticated and a little bit more clever. He's "other," he's different.
What's actually "other" and different about him? It turns out it's the same old thing. It's the color of his skin.
DICKERSON: Tell me about the pattern of forgetting. What are the -- in the 25 years, the ears of your audience, when they listen -- I mean, there's a lot that's happened since the Civil War documentary, I mean, there is Facebook and e-mail and Snapchat. And is there the attention span for these lessons to be heard again or are we more in the business of forgetting than ever?
BURNS: You know, it was interesting: 25 years ago the critics said, oh, this is terrific but no one is going to watch it, Ken. There's MTV and the fast-paced cutting; people have the attention span of a gnat. And essentially we're saying the same things now.
We live in world in which we are being buried in an avalanche of information that comes from this near-constant present moment. And if you live in the present in a disposable present, nothing else matters. We are desperate, though, for meaning. We're desperate for curation. So when somebody stops says, here is 11.5 hours about the most important event in American history, you might go, ha, ha. But they watched back then and they watch now. The Roosevelts or the National Parks, our film on World War II or jazz or baseball. And I think it's because all of that information comes to us sort of unregulated, unmediated. And we do want that curation. We do want somebody to say, let me tell you how -- so when we talk about binge watching, that's essentially people saying, I wish to be the author of my own time.
We all know what it's like to be at some website which is aggregating news and a half an hour later, you have no idea what you just read. Maybe you'll be glib and articulate at the next cocktail party, but you can't even remember what it was.
But you don't forget a Civil War. You don't forget a "Downton Abbey." You don't forget a "House of Cards." You don't forget whatever it is that has your attention span.
And in the end, all real meaning accrues in duration. The work that you care about the most, the relationships you care about the most, have benefited from your sustained attention. And that is true for every human being.
DICKERSON: You've studied Jefferson, the Roosevelts, Lincoln; you've spent time thinking about presidents and the long scope of history.
Give me your reflections on the presidency now, what we tolerate -- Left, Right, center, whatever -- in our leaders now and whether our lack of patience, whether there's a problem with that or whether it's always been us.
BURNS: It's the best question and really the only question there is about contemporary elections and I think that -- let me lead with the good news.
The election of 1800 between Thomas Jefferson, arguably the man of the millennium, despite all his faults, and John Adams, one of the most important and interesting figures in all of American history, was as low and dirty as you could possibly get.
If you were going to vote for Jefferson that meant your wife and your daughter were subject to rape by those Jacobeans. And if you were voting for John Adams, you were voting for next king of America. That didn't happen.
And so we can sit back and exhale a little bit and go, OK, the kind of circus that we see has kind of always gone on.
We do have a problem in which we have a media that is bigger than the ideas and the talk itself. If Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, which is only two minutes, C-SPAN would cover it, but there would be standup and saying that the president came to Gettysburg to try to distract attention from his disastrous military campaign out West, meaning Tennessee.
And that was partly true. That's what he was -- he was not trying to distract attention; he was trying to honor the dead. But that would have been the news story and we might have missed the greatest speech, even though somebody saw it on C-SPAN and say that was -- oh, I don't have time to do that, sending me a YouTube of it.
And that's the problem. We want -- we can see in the long scope of history that there's something really elegant, there's something really complicated and subtle about history, about leadership and that we have a mechanism right now that doesn't always select for that.
DICKERSON: Do you think we're too disposable the way we treat leaders?
BURNS: Very much so. Very much so. And I find the way we throw them out and make instantaneous judgments -- the notion that Abraham Lincoln or even George Washington or Thomas Jefferson didn't have a misstep or didn't have a sort of slow second term or didn't do something, now it's, you know, that's it. This presidency is over. It's done.
And we tend -- I mean, I think the good thing about history -- Harry Truman said the only thing that's really new is the history you don't know. And I think in some ways, that's sort of saying that it gives you, it arms you with a kind of distance that permits you to not make those rash judgments about somebody or some idea.
When the meltdown happened, friends would say oh, we're in a depression. I said, in the Depression, in most American cities, the animals in the zoo were shot and the meat distributed to the poor. When that happens, I'll agree we're in a depression.
And then all of a sudden, you get to exhale again and maybe that's history's greatest gift. I mean, Faulkner knew it. It wasn't then, it's now. It's not was, it's is. And I think that's what the Civil War is talking to us, as if it happened not 150 years ago, but right now, right now.
DICKERSON: To see more of our interview with Ken Burns, including a look at what he's working on next, please visit our website at facethenation.com. We'll be right back.
DICKERSON: Some exciting news on the panda beat out of Washington. The National Zoo's giant panda, Mei Xiang, gave birth to two healthy cubs on Saturday, a rarity in captivity.
The first cub was born in the late afternoon and the second was born just after 10:00 pm. Zoo officials have not yet determined what sex the cubs are. The cubs may have been born in the United States, but the 14th Amendment does not apply to pandas. The issue is black and white. Since Mei Xiang is on loan to the National Zoo from China, her cubs will return there after spending their first few years stateside.
We'll be right back.
DICKERSON: That's all the time we have today. Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I'm John Dickerson.