Face the Nation Transcripts February 16, 2014: McCrory, Shepherd, DeMint

(CBS News) --  Below is a transcript of "Face the Nation" from February 16, 2014. Guests included Pat McCrory, Jim DeMint, J. Marshall Shepherd, Bob Woodward, Jennifer Rubin, Neera Tanden, John Harris, David Sanger, Michael Bragman, Cyd Zeigler, Donte Stallworth, and Jarrett Bell.

SCHIEFFER: And good morning again. Well, the snow is still falling in the Northeast. Some parts of Massachusetts and Maine received a foot or more overnight, and that could go higher. And that is on top of what fell as part of the Nor'easter that paralyzed most of the East Coast last week. That storms is now blamed for at least 25 deaths. More than a million people lost power at some point during the storm, and tens of thousands remain without power this morning. One of the hardest-hit states was North Carolina, where Governor Pat McCrory joins us now from Charlotte. And, Governor, I've got to say it looks pretty good down there this morning.

MCCRORY: Well, the snow is melting now. We still have a good bit about it, but the Carolina sunshine's finally coming back. But it's been a rough two weeks. We've had two major storms hit six major metropolitan areas in the tenth most populated state in the nation, all the way from Asheville to Nags Head. And it's been quite a challenge for our emergency operation workers. But we've had tales of heroism from citizens helping citizens, and our snow removal workers have done an outstanding job. And I'm very proud of our team. And I'm also glad to report not one person that we know of was stranded overnight in any of the major metropolitan areas.

SCHIEFFER: That is really good news. How about the power situation? I know you had a lot of people that lost power.

MCCRORY: We had over about 100,000 people lost power, but we were very fortunate with that regards, and now almost all of them are back at this point in time. There's still several thousand out, but we've had good news. And it just -- we've never seen storms go in such a massive, widespread area of the state, two times in two weeks. And it's about depleted our budget. And it's also going to have an impact on our economy here in North Carolina because people were stuck inside and not spending money. And also, sadly, we had at least six fatalities, including two good Samaritans who were trying to help another driver and sadly a drunk driver or someone under the influence hit them and killed them. So we're very saddened about the loss of life in our state, also.

SCHIEFFER: Governor, it seems to me that a lot of people in North Carolina -- I know you all got the warnings out pretty early, but, frankly, a lot of people didn't seem to pay any attention. Did you -- did you learn anything from this?

MCCRORY: Yeah, we know some people don't pay attention. (LAUGHTER) But we gave -- we gave plenty of early warning. We -- we signed emergency orders both times, during both storms. The problem is some people just don't believe it because Carolinas don't get that quick a snowfall. But the weather people were right on this storm. And they were extremely accurate. So we can't blame the weather forecasters, and I'm not going to do that. But people responded very quickly. But we did have too many people get on the street too late in response to the storm.

SCHIEFFER: Governor, a couple of years ago, you made a remark that caught a lot of people's attention. You said that global warming is in God's hands. After going through this thing, do you still feel that way? And is there something we ought to be doing about it in the meantime?

MCCRORY: I think someone took a -- chopped off the total sentence there, But I will say this, that, you know, I feel there has always been climate change. The debate is really how much of it is manmade and how much will it cost to have any impact on climate change. My main argument is let's clean up the environment. And as a mayor and now as a governor, I'm spending my time cleaning our air, cleaning our water and cleaning the ground. And I think that's where the argument should be on both the left and the right. And if that has an impact on climate change, good. But I think that's where the real argument should be, is doing what we can to clean up our environment. But we also have to look for cost-effective ways to do it because, as a governor, we're walking that fine line of keeping our environment clean but also continuing the economic recovery and making sure things like power are affordable for the consumer.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, Governor, we want to wish you and the folks down there in North Carolina the very best. Glad you're coming out of this thing, and thanks for joining us this morning.

MCCRORY: Thank you very much, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: And with spring officially just 32 days away now -- that is official -- one question being asked everywhere is when is this going to end? Well, the former head of the American Meteorological Society, Marshall Shepherd, joins us from Atlanta this morning. Dr. Shepherd, last time we had you on, we asked you how long is this heat wave going to last? That's a couple years ago. But can you answer that question for us, how much more of this are we going to see?

SHEPHERD: Well, Bob, I think even people in the West and in Alaska may still be asking about that heat wave because the drought we're seeing in the West and the heat we're seeing up in Alaska -- they're related to these snowstorms. We've been in a pattern that's stuck. If you think about a see-saw, one part of that see-saw is up and one part is down. In the United States, we've been under extreme high pressure and we've seen record drought. I'm really concerned about that. The snow pack is low out there. But here in the East, that has allowed cold air to ooze down into the country, and we see this succession of winter storms. And so we've really got to break this persistent pattern we see in our high and low pressure systems and the pattern of our jet stream.

SCHIEFFER: Well, is this something that has happened naturally? Is this something that's a result of things that are happening here on earth? What is this all about?

SHEPHERD: Yeah, yeah, a couple of things, let me say about that. When we get winter weather, cold conditions, you know, you've got some that will say, "Well, what are you guys worried about climate change or global warming? I mean, it's -- it's cold and snowing." And I'll say, "You know, it's winter. It's January or February. We get snowstorms." That's important. That's like saying, because it's night time, the sun doesn't exist anymore. On the other hand, though, there is evidence -- there's some scientific literature that suggests that jet stream patterns can be affected by the amplified warming that we're seeing up in the Arctic because of climate change or global warming. Now, that's real. We know that climate change is happening and humans are contributing. I'm not quite ready to say that this snowstorm we saw this week or last week is caused by global warming or climate change, but one thing I will emphasize, I think we're forgotten how to be cold or deal with snowstorms because we're seeing so few of these big storms like we've seen, and that probably is because of climate warming.

SCHIEFFER: Well, is there anything that can be done here or have we just got to ride them out?

SHEPHERD: We've got to ride it out. I mean, I think there -- you know, the politicians and those that make policy will decide on how to deal with these issues. As a scientist, you know, we try to report the peer-reviewed literature. I tell my students at the University of Georgia, you know, as scientists, we have to report the science based on what the peer- reviewed literature says, not what Twitter Tech says what or the Blog State Universities say. We've got to go with what the facts are. And we clearly know our climate is changing and there are aspects to that change that are related to human activities. But we do have to be careful not to try to blame every single event -- I think there's a bigger picture context. So we've got to ride it out. I think people have to listen to warnings. In the weather field, we -- our science is pretty good now, but are people consuming the information and making the right decisions, and even as the meteorology community, are we giving them that information in a manner that they can use effectively?

SCHIEFFER: Well, I almost hate to ask this question. But we've got spring coming on, tornado season, and then there will be hurricane season. What should we expect for the rest of the year?

SHEPHERD: Yeah, well, I'm still keeping my eye on the West right now, Bob. This drought -- the snow pack is critical out there. If you've seen satellite images from NASA, there's not nearly as much snow pack. And that's the water supply for many of these people later in the warm season. So hopefully, we can get a break in this pattern so that the water supply situation can ease some. Of course we move into the severe weather season, as we saw with El Reno and Moore last year, the tornadoes our in Oklahoma. Again, well-forecasted events, but people made decisions, communication challenges that jeopardized lives. And so I think we have to continue to be prepared. The National Weather Service's Weather-Ready Nation Initiative is a good way to people -- for people to learn how to become more prepared and make the right decisions. And let's see what the hurricane season brings. We predicted, as a community, a fairly active Atlantic hurricane season and it was quiet last year. But if we looked around the world, in the Indian Ocean and in the Pacific, we saw things like Typhoon Haiyan. So we can't get too tunnel vision on what's going on in -- here in the United States. As I always say, weather is your mood, climate is your personality, so you have to look beyond what's happening right outside your window.

SCHIEFFER: All right, well, Dr. Shepherd, it's always fun to talk to you, even when you don't have good news. Thanks so much for being with us this morning.

SHEPHERD: Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: Well, we're going to turn now to the indoor news. While most of the news this past week did focus on the weather, one big story that didn't get much play, Congress raised the debt limit and they did it without a big fight. House Speaker John Boehner cleared the way for passage in the House. Republican leader Mitch McConnell maneuvered around a potential filibuster led by Ted Cruz and got it through the Senate. Well, we're joined now by former Republican senator, Jim DeMint, who heads up the Heritage Foundation. He's also the author of an upcoming book, "Falling in Love with America Again." Well, Senator, the good thing for us about this storm is you were going back to South Carolina...

JIM DEMINT, PRESIDENT, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: That's right.

SCHIEFFER: You couldn't get there. So you're... DEMINT: I'm glad to be here in person.

SCHIEFFER: Well, you're here with us. Well, let's talk about this. Now, you know, what are you and the Tea Party folks going to do now? John Boehner cleared the way...

DEMINT: Yes.

SCHIEFFER: -- for getting this done. This was not something Tea Party folks were looking to do. And are you going to try to topple John Boehner now, the speaker of the House?

DEMINT: I'm amused when folks talk about the Tea Party. This is just millions of Americans who are concerned about spending and debt and thousands of little groups. So they're -- they're not a political party and they don't speak with one voice. But I think a lot of folks who believe in limited government, less spending and debt, are concerned that under this president, we've had more debt than any president in history. It's very possible that by the end of his term, that he would have allowed more debt than all the presidents before him combined. So a lot of us are wondering how long can this go on? It was a defining vote this week. I think it showed that all the Democrats in the Congress were completely willing to give the president a blank check to borrow whatever he wanted. Most of the Republicans weren't. But the Republican leadership, Bob, has figured out either they give the president all the money and debt he wants or he's going to close the government down and blame it on them. So I think they did what they thought was the only thing they could do. And, frankly, the way it's been reported about the vote in the Senate, actually, the normal rule is it takes 60 votes to move to a final vote, what they call cloture. And I think several members, including Ted Cruz, were -- were simply asking let's keep the normal rules here. And that didn't suit some folks.

SCHIEFFER: Well, it didn't suit Mitch McConnell...

DEMINT: Right.

SCHIEFFER: -- who was the leader, because what -- by forcing that to a 60 vote vote, it meant that a lot of Republicans, who maybe didn't want to vote for this, had to vote for it, to get the filibuster broken...

DEMINT: Yes.

SCHIEFFER: -- including Mitch McConnell. So Ted Cruz put his Republican colleagues in a tough spot there...

DEMINT: Well, he...

SCHIEFFER: Now, over in the House, John Boehner, some people said, really did his members a favor...

DEMINT: Yes.

SCHIEFFER: -- because he let the Democrats pass this and a lot of Republicans that knew it was going to happen didn't have to vote for it.

DEMINT: He still had to get 20 some odd Republicans...

SCHIEFFER: Yes.

 

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