The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App

Face the Nation transcripts January 3, 2016: Trump, Morell & Donilon

Donald Trump sits down for an interview with John Dickerson on CBS' "Face the Nation." The broadcast airs January 3, 2016.

This is the transcript for the January 3, 2016 edition of Face the Nation. Guests included Donald Trump, Michael Morell, Thomas Donilon, Molly Ball, Reihan Salam, Jonathan Martin, and Ruth Marcus.

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: With just under 30 days until the Iowa caucuses, we go one on one with front- runner Donald Trump.

As the candidates got back on the campaign trail after the holidays, we sat down with Donald Trump to talk about his prospects in the hotly contested Iowa caucus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would love to win Iowa. And I could have said it differently. I could have said, well, I would be OK. No, I want to win Iowa.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DICKERSON: Plus, we will hear his thoughts about a new terror video featuring his controversial position on Muslims.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: Does it concern you at all that you're being used in essentially a recruitment video by a terrorist organization?

TRUMP: They use other people, too. What am I going to do? I have to say what I have to say.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DICKERSON: Trump also weighs in on Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz and talks about his priorities and style as president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I would be a much different person, I think, as president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DICKERSON: And we will look ahead at what 2016 will hold for the war against ISIS, U.S. foreign policy, and President Obama's last year in office.

It's all coming up on FACE THE NATION. Good morning. And welcome to FACE THE NATION. I'm John Dickerson.

We begin the new year with campaign 2016 and one of the people who continues to shake up the political world, Donald Trump. We caught up with him at his home in Palm Beach on New Year's Day and started our conversation with President Obama's expected plan for new executive actions on guns, including expanding background checks to purchases at gun shows.

We asked Mr. Trump what he thought about the president's plan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRUMP: Well, I don't like it. I don't like anything having to do with changing our Second Amendment.

We have plenty of rules and regulations. There's plenty of things that they can do right now that are already there. They don't do them. We have a tremendous mental health problem. We're closing places all over the world. All over the country, they're closing. Nobody is doing anything about that.

All they want to do is blame the guns. And it's not the gun that pulls the trigger. So, I don't like it. I don't like what he's doing. I think that he's looking to do executive orders to do something having to do with guns.

DICKERSON: Background checks happen for normal gun purchases at a normal store. So, his argument would be, just do it here. It's this loophole. You want to make it the same everywhere.

TRUMP: John, I'm going to have to take a look at it, but I don't like changing anything. Right now, they have plenty of rules and regulations.

And they should be looking at mental health. We should be build, like, institutions for people that are sickos. We have sickos all over the place. And that's the problem.

DICKERSON: So, you would spend some more money on that, maybe?

TRUMP: Look, here's the problem. I would definitely spend more money on that.

Here is the problem. The bad guys are always going to get the guns. You can have all the restrictions you want. But the bad guys are always going to have the guns.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about executive orders in general. Like them, don't like them, that the president uses them to go around Congress?

TRUMP: Well, I don't like them. And our country wasn't based on executive orders. Nobody really knew that we even had an executive order, such a thing. It's supposed to be you get along with Congress, and you cajole, and you go back and forth, and everybody gets in a room and we end up with deals. And there's compromise on lots of other things, but you end up with deals. Here's a guy just goes -- he's given up on the process and he just goes and signs executive orders on everything.

DICKERSON: So, if you were president -- you seem like kind of guy if you were president you might use an executive order or two, though.

TRUMP: Well, I will say this. There's lot of precedent, based on what he's doing. Now, some have been -- his executive order on the border, amazingly, the courts actually took that back a step and did something that was very surprising, which is, they did the right thing, so that maybe that one -- but I would be rescinding a lot of executive orders that he's done.

He just -- the one good about executive order, the new president, if he comes in, boom, first day, first hour, first minute, you can rescind them.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about a video that has been put out by Al-Shabaab. This is an ISIS-affiliated terror group.

And in the video, they use you, Donald Trump, a clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States...

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: ... until our country's representatives can figure out what the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is going on.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DICKERSON: And then the video goes on says, "The West will eventually turn against its Muslim citizens."

They are saying to Muslims, either you join jihad or leave the United States because of what Mr. Trump is proposing.

TRUMP: Look, there is a problem. I bring it up. Other people have called me. And they say, you have guts to bring it up, because, frankly, it's true. But nobody wants to get involved.

Now people are getting involved. People that are on different persuasions than me right now, John, are saying, you know, maybe Trump isn't wrong. We want to examine it. There's a lot of bad stuff going on.

I'm watching the news tonight, actually, CBS, and so many of the elements -- you look at Germany, you look at Brussels, you look all over the world. They're shutting down cities that never had a problem before. They're shutting down countries that never had a problem before.

You look at Paris, what happened. You look at California, what happened. John, maybe it's not politically correct. There's a big problem out there. And we have to solve off the problem.

DICKERSON: Does it concern you at all that you're being used in essentially a recruitment video by a terrorist organization?

TRUMP: They use other people, too. What am I going to do? I have to say what I have to say.

And you know what I have to say? There's a problem. We have to find out what is the problem and we have to solve that problem.

DICKERSON: Do you think the problem is a -- that the West is on a collision course with radical Islam, or is this just, ISIS is a problem? Is this a clash of civilizations?

TRUMP: Well, I think that radical Islam may be on a collision course with us. You could change it around a little bit.

But it is a very, very deep-seated hatred that's going on. I mean, you have a hatred, like people, where they're willing to give their lives, they're willing to walk in -- I have to tell you, it is so big. It is the biggest thing there is right now. When I watch President Obama say global warming is our biggest problem, it's just so sad to watch.

And he doesn't want to use the words radical Islam. He doesn't want to use anything having to do with radical and Islam. So, until he's willing to admit the problem -- how can you not at least talk about the problem?

And one of the things I have done is, I brought the problem out. The world is talking about what I have said. And now big parts of the world are saying, Trump is really right at least identifying what's going on. And we have to solve it. But you're not going to solve the problem unless you identify it.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you some questions about the presidency and a Trump presidency.

TRUMP: OK.

DICKERSON: Will you talk as much as a president as you do as a candidate? Will you be -- will you be on TV all the time, giving rallies, that kind of thing?

TRUMP: Well, I think I would be giving rallies. I want to rally this country, because our country has no spirit. I would certainly probably not talk as much.

Look, right now, I'm going to -- originally, we had 17 people. Now we're 14 people and 13 people. A lot of people are going to be dropping out.

DICKERSON: You mean other candidates in the race.

TRUMP: Other candidates. And so, obviously, I have to do a lot of talking. I'm getting hit from 15 different sides. I like to defend myself. Right?

But, no, I would be a much different person, I think, as president. But I would be very enthusiastic, like I am right now, toward the country. We need spirit. We need a cheerleader. President Obama is a bad cheerleader. I thought he would be a good cheerleader. I thought he would be a great cheerleader, actually.

That's the one thing I thought, is that he was going to be a great cheerleader. He was really a big divider. We need cheerleading.

DICKERSON: We talked to some of our supporters, and a few of them said, when Donald Trump gets in to be president, he will have people to coach him and kind of take off these rough edges of the things he says.

Are they right?

TRUMP: I don't think I have rough edges. I will be honest with you.

I went to an Ivy League school. I was a good student. I went to the Wharton School of Finance, the best business school in the world probably, certainly, I mean, one of the great schools of the world.

And I can be more politically correct than any coach that they can get me. I can be the most politically correct person with you. I could say something, at the end of this interview, you would say, wow, was that boring.

DICKERSON: Give us a perfectly political correct thing.

TRUMP: No, I just -- here is the problem with political correctness. It takes too long. We don't have time. We don't have time.

I talked about anchor babies at one news conference. And one of the reporters, actually from ABC, said, that's a derogatory term. I said, why? He said, well, it's stronger. He didn't know why. And then I said, well, what would you call them? The babies of undocumented immigrants. He gave me like a seven- or eight-word definition. I said, we don't have time for that. I'm sorry. We don't have time for that.

Now, look, I can be the most politically correct person that you have ever interviewed. It takes too much time.

DICKERSON: Isn't there a cost? People -- think of all the names they call you because of the things you say.

TRUMP: Well, think of the fact that I'm leading in the poll by tremendous margins.

And I think that's part of is, too. People don't want political correctness. They're tired of it today. And I think that's one of the things that has resonated with me. I don't go out of my way to be politically incorrect.

DICKERSON: When you think of the presidency, the day-to-day, not the show part, not the -- what is it going to be like? What do you -- do you think about that, the operation?

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: I don't think about it, because, look, here is the thing. What I think is the process, we have a lot of things to solve. We have a health care problem that's incredible. Obamacare is going up 25, 35, 45 percent. You see the deductible, what is happening? It's going up so high, you're never going to be able to use it.

You look at ISIS, you look at our militaries in shatters. When you have General Odierno saying it's not prepared, we're not prepared, as a military, we're not prepared, it's been one of the worst -- he said -- and he actually said from the beginning. I watched him on an interview. He was talking about lack of preparedness from the beginning.

You look at our vets, how badly they have been treated. You look at our borders, how people are just pouring across our borders. There's plenty to do.

DICKERSON: They talk about the presidency and who has the finger on the button. The United States has not used nuclear weapons since 1945. When should it?

TRUMP: Well, it is an absolute last stance. And, you know, I use the word unpredictable. You want to be unpredictable.

And somebody recently said -- I made a great business deal. And the person on the other side was interviewed by a newspaper. And how did Trump do this? And they said, he's so unpredictable. And I didn't know if he meant it positively or negative. It turned out he meant it positively.

We have to be somewhat unpredictable in this whole thing. Nuclear, though, has to be absolute last stance. Don't forget, I was against the war in Iraq. I'm not a fast trigger. You have guys that you would think are very low-key. They would be faster than me. I would be a very slow trigger with nuclear.

Nuclear is a major problem. And we have major problems, because you have other people that would be very fast on that. You look at North Korea, you look at some of these countries, I don't think they would hesitate to use it if they really had it in a proper manner.

DICKERSON: So, only if the United States is attacked...

(CROSSTALK) TRUMP: It's really a last resort, as far as I'm concerned.

DICKERSON: President Obama signed a -- or said no more spying on our allies. But there's a report in "The Wall Street Journal" that there was spying on top Israeli officials. Would you say no spying on Israeli officials at all?

TRUMP: I would certainly not want to do it. But I have to say this. We're being spied on by everybody. And it's terrible what is going on in that whole thing. We find out that we're being spied on by them. And they're being spied -- everything is out.

The one bad thing about the computer generation -- I have a son. He's 9 years old, and he can virtually take apart any computer. These people are so brilliant with computers. In the old days, when you're fighting a war, you give somebody an armed guard, and he has an envelope in his pocket. And he hands it to the general.

Now it's going through so many channels, you don't know who is getting it. It's a real problem.

DICKERSON: So, you think...

TRUMP: You don't -- the problem with the computer age is, I don't think you have secrecy anymore.

DICKERSON: So, you would leave open the possibility of spying on anybody, even allies?

TRUMP: I would say that I would leave open possibilities of doing whatever it takes to make our country very, very strong and to make our country great again.

DICKERSON: Let's talk politics for a minute.

TRUMP: OK.

DICKERSON: You said that Senator Cruz appeared to be kind of copying your immigration plan. Your plan, as I understand it, is deportations, and then you will let the good ones back in once they have left the country. His plan...

TRUMP: Yes. Well, they have to go through a process.

DICKERSON: They go through a process.

His plan is just deportation.

TRUMP: OK.

DICKERSON: So, is he stricter on undocumented...

TRUMP: No. Well, first of all, his plan just happened, OK?

In fact, I was watching the other day, and I was watching Ted talk, and he said, we will build a wall, the first time I have ever heard him say it.

And my wife, who was sitting next to me, said, "Oh, look, he's copying what you have been saying for a long period of time."

No, no. I'm talking about deportation. And people can come back into the country, not just that group, but other people can come back. But everybody has to come into our country legally. And I want a strong border. And I'm the one that came up with it.

Look, when I announced that I was running, I brought up illegal immigration. It wasn't even a subject that would have been discussed in this debate. And now it's one of the very big subjects.

Ted Cruz is trying to step up his whole game on amnesty and on illegal immigration, because it was actually quite weak. And you listen to him and Marco Rubio, they're trying to solve the problems that they have had in the past, because they were both weak on it. And I have been very strong on it. So they're trying to get stronger.

But, look, nobody has that position like I have that position. I want the wall. I want strong borders. I want everybody out. Now people are coming to me. But nobody has that issue like me. And nobody is going to be able to do it like me.

Nobody -- as an example, on the wall, nobody is getting Mexico to pay for the wall, the cost of the wall, but me. They don't even know about that. They -- it's not even in their vocabulary.

DICKERSON: But nobody thinks you're going to get Mexico to pay for the wall.

TRUMP: Oh, I will. You know why? They make a fortune with us, so much more money than what you're talking about.

They're making a fortune. We have trade deficits. We have -- if you look at the kind of numbers that Mexico makes with us, the wall is peanuts. Only a businessperson would say that. The politicians don't understand it. They're all talk and no action.

DICKERSON: You said that the good ones would come back on an expedited basis. Wouldn't Senator Cruz say, well, that's amnesty?

TRUMP: I think that the good ones will be coming back. And I would say that we want to have them back. But we want to have lot of other people.

We have one problem. We have millions of people waiting on lists that have gone through a legal process and they can't get into the country. We have to take care of them. I want people to come in. They just have to come back legally.

DICKERSON: When you say about Senator Cruz not too many evangelicals come out of the Cuba, what does that mean?

TRUMP: Well, it just means that Cuba, generally speaking, is a Catholic country. And you don't equate evangelicals with Cuba. I don't.

I think of evangelicals, and I have a -- I guess I am. I'm Presbyterian. I'm Protestant. But I don't see it as coming out of Cuba.

DICKERSON: But you're not questioning whether -- as far as you know, he could be more devout than you are.

TRUMP: It's possible. Certainly, it's possible. I'm not questioning. And I say it in a somewhat smiling manner, but there's a little truth to it.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DICKERSON: When we come back in one minute, Donald Trump talks about Hillary Clinton, women in the workplace, and about winning Iowa.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: We're back with more of our interview with Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DICKERSON: Hillary Clinton, what does it mean when you say she's playing the women card?

TRUMP: Oh, she's constantly playing the woman card.

It's the only way she may get elected, I mean, frankly. I don't think anybody -- personally, I'm not sure that anybody else other than me is going to beat her. And I think she's a flawed candidate.

And you see what has happened recently, and it hasn't been a very pretty picture for her or for Bill, because I'm the only one that is willing to talk about his problems. I mean, what he did and what he has gone through, I think, is, frankly, terrible, especially if she wants to play the woman card.

DICKERSON: What does it mean, though, to play the woman card, in your view?

TRUMP: Well, she's playing it. She is just -- she is pandering. She's pandering to the public and she's pandering to women.

And when she did it with me -- she talked about sexist -- and I said, me, I have more respect for women by far than Hillary Clinton has. And I will do more for women than Hillary Clinton will. I will do far more, including the protection of our country. She caused a lot of the problems that we have right now. You could say she caused the migration. Look at the problems in Syria.

DICKERSON: You mean as secretary of state.

TRUMP: As secretary of state.

I mean, the entire world has been upset. The entire world is -- it's a different place. During Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's term, she's done horrible job. She's caused so many of the problems.

And let me tell you something. She's caused death. She's caused tremendous death with incompetent decisions. I was against the war in Iraq. I wasn't a politician, but I was against the war in Iraq. She voted for the war in Iraq.

DICKERSON: You said she caused death. How?

TRUMP: Well, absolutely.

Look at Libya. That was her baby. Look -- I'm not even talking about the ambassador and the people with the ambassador, young, wonderful people, with messages coming in by the hundreds, and she's not even responding. I'm not talking about that.

I'm talking about all of the death that's been caused, and not only on our side, on the other side.

DICKERSON: Their pushback would be that there were people saved by going in and taking action in Libya.

TRUMP: There's nothing saved. If we would have never done anything in the Middle East, we would have much safer world right now.

Getting rid of Saddam Hussein -- I'm not saying he was a good person. He was a bad person. But what we have now is far worse. OK? And all of this has led to ISIS. All of this has led to the migration. All of this has led to tremendous death and destruction. And she, for the most part, was in charge of it, along with Obama.

DICKERSON: You say you will do more for women than Hillary Clinton. How do you think a woman's experience in daily life is different than -- in the modern world -- than a man's?

TRUMP: Well, I think they have a different life. It's a different life.

But, at the same time, I don't think women want to be pandered to. I think women don't like Hillary Clinton, to be honest with you, John. I think that women -- and I see it all the time -- and they tell me: "You have to beat her. You have to win. She's a terrible person. She's a terrible person."

Women are telling me that. I think, frankly, that women do not like Hillary Clinton.

DICKERSON: But are women -- do they have the same advantages of men in today's world? Do they...

TRUMP: Well, I think they have come a long way.

And I think I have, certainly within my company, done things that were very different, because, 30 years ago, I had a woman in charge of building a massive building on Fifth Avenue, more than 30 years ago. And nobody would have done that in terms of construction. It was unheard of.

I was way ahead. And even to this day, I have so many women executives. And they're incredible. But I have been great to women in terms of the world of business. And I have been given great credit for that.

DICKERSON: You are going to spend $2 million on ads. What...

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: No. Oh, no. I'm going to spend $2 million on ads per week, at least.

DICKERSON: What do people not know about you that they need to see in an ad?

TRUMP: Honestly, I don't know. I think I'm probably wasting the money. But I'm $35 million under budget.

Look, I was going to have $35 million or $40 million spent by now. I haven't spent anything. I almost feel guilty. I think, if you want to know the truth, I'm doing the ads. I'm leading by, as you will say, a lot. You can take the CBS poll. You can take any poll, and I'm winning by a lot.

I don't think I need the ads. But I'm doing them. I almost feel guilty. And I'm $35 million to $40 million under budget. I was going to have at least $35 million spent as of January 1, which is now.

I have spent almost nothing. I feel guilty. So, what I'm going to do is, I'm going to spend a little money. I want to be certain. I want to be sure. And I think I'm going to do very well in Iowa. I think I'm going to do really well in New Hampshire. New Hampshire, the polls are very, very powerful, very strong.

And in Iowa, I'm leading. Nobody says it. In Iowa, the CNN poll, it's 33-20 that I'm leading. Ted Cruz is second. Nobody ever talks about that poll. That was is very major poll, probably the most expensive poll taken. But I'm at 33 to 20.

I think I'm going to do very well in Iowa. And I would love to win Iowa. And I could have said it differently. I could have said, well, I would be OK. No, I want to win Iowa.

I do great with evangelicals and I do great with Tea Party. And I'm doing great. I have real, real good feeling with Iowa.

DICKERSON: Last question. Any New Year's resolution?

TRUMP: Make our country great again.

DICKERSON: All right, Mr. Trump, thanks so much.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DICKERSON: We will be right back with our political panel. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: We're back now with some analysis from our political panel.

Ruth Marcus is a columnist with "The Washington Post." Reihan Salam is executive editor of "The National Review." Molly Ball is a politics writer for "The Atlantic." And Jonathan Martin is national political correspondent for "The New York Times."

Reihan, I want to start with you.

Donald Trump, is it essentially now his nomination to lose on the Republican side?

REIHAN SALAM, "THE NATIONAL REVIEW": He has big structural disadvantages.

But I would say the biggest advantage that he has is this. You just saw him talking about all kinds of subjects. But it really is the kind of gut-level message. If you look at his support, it is heavily concentrated in parts of the country where, over the last 20 years, manufacturing jobs have disappeared in large numbers.

And if you look at, over the last 20 years, which industry is it that Washington has fought to support, they were really desperate to make sure that our big banks could compete with the banks in London, and Tokyo and elsewhere. And so they passed series of laws to ensure that they were in the best shape to compete globally, whereas, if you look at our industries, if you look at the Rust Belt, if you look at these parts of the country, these are parts of the country where they don't really feel like they have had friends and allies.

And Donald Trump doesn't actually talk about de-industrialization or whatever else, but what he does say is that the people in charge are not listening to you, they are fundamentally untrustworthy, whereas I am plainspoken and can be trusted.

And whichever candidate is going to win the Republican nomination is someone who can channel that anger and that feeling of being left out and not listened to.

DICKERSON: Jonathan, Donald Trump says he's going to win Iowa.

JONATHAN MARTIN, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I was so struck by that there at the end, John, because so much of the expectation of these primaries is driven by what the candidates say going in, how they set up their own assumptions about what states they're can go to perform well and where they're going to win, whether they're only going to do well. And by saying that, he basically has raised the bar on his own campaign in Iowa, to point where, if Cruz does beat him, it's going to be even more of a blow for Trump than it otherwise would have. So, Trump is so Trumpian, he can't help himself, but in doing so, he has unwittingly sort of raised the bar on himself.

DICKERSON: Well, that's a winner has to win.

RUTH MARCUS, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, he will just deny that he said it if he ends up losing.

DICKERSON: No, because -- but a winner has to win. And that's his -- that's the challenge for him, isn't it, right?

MARTIN: When the votes are cast.

DICKERSON: When the votes are cast.

What do you think?

MARCUS: That is his challenge.

But I think, to answer your question to Reihan, it is his to lose right now. He may well not win Iowa. And we really still do have questions about whether these Trump voters are actually Trump voters, as opposed to Trump supporters.

But it is -- I think the only word that comes to mind here, watching your interview with him, which was terrific, is appalling in terms of his lack of substance, his lack of deep thinking, his failure to answer really serious questions, like the one that you asked him about, what is the implication of your turning up in this ISIS video, because you said very hurtful things that really can encourage people to join ISIS? And how do you deal with that?

He doesn't have answers to these questions or any serious questions. And I really am just, by myself, thunderstruck that we're at 2016 and at this point.

DICKERSON: All right, we're going to talk about more of this, Molly, when we get back.

All of you, sit tight.

You sit tight out there. We will be back with more analysis from our panel.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. I'm John Dickerson.

To talk more about all things politics, we are joined by Ruth Marcus of "The Washington Post," The "National Reviews" Reihan Salam, Molly Ball of "The Atlantic" and Jonathan Martin of "The New York Times."

Molly, I want to pick up where we left off with Donald Trump. There is this theory that we're a month -- less than a month away from Iowa voting. That voters are going to start thinking about these candidates as president. It will get more substantive. They'll start thinking about them in the Oval Office. Do you think that's right in this case?

MOLLY BALL, "THE ATLANTIC": It sound like wishful thinking to me, on the part mostly of the Republican establishment, which has, you know, been chasing itself -- chasing its own tail for months about this Trump phenomenon, first thinking that somebody had to take him out but it had to be the other guy, and then thinking, well, that we've all got to get together and do it and that didn't work and -- and there's this sort of collective action problem on the part of the other candidates.

But now we seem to have moved to this wishful thinking phase where, well, the voters will just wake up from this bad dream we've all been having. And, you know, I'll believe it when I see it. But most, actually all productions about the inevitable decline of Trump have fallen short. So I will say that I don't know if anyone actually pointed this out. When he says he's leading in Iowa, that's not true right now. All of the more recent polls actually do have Ted Cruz up in Iowa. So there's sort of a corollary to the wishful thinking that says when he loses a state, as you sort of alluded to before, he won't seem like a winner any more. It will sort of deflate the balloon and everybody will just peel away. So that's a possibility. But what I heard in that interview that was new to me was, he was going after Ted Cruz.

DICKERSON: On immigration.

BALL: They've had -- yes, they've had this --

DICKERSON: (INAUDIBLE) the economy (INAUDIBLE) --

BALL: They've had this very ostentatious love fest, the two of them, so far. And then on -- in the last debate practically hugging. And now you hear Trump actually finding (ph) a lot of attack. And, interestingly, we're ending the year where he started his campaign, with immigration. And he has a point. (INAUDIBLE).

MARCUS: Which never would have come up if it weren't for Donald Trump.

BALL: Right, he evented the issue of immigration, haven't you heard?

MARTIN: But will Trump do it consistently, and that's been his challenge because he did -- DICKERSON: Will he take on Cruz specifically?

MARTIN: He did go after Cruz in Iowa in December. And he actually started going down that road, but he couldn't keep it up because the problem is that Cruz is nice to him. He's killing him with kindness. And it's --

MARCUS: And that talk radio loves Cruz.

MARTIN: It's so hard -- yes.

DICKERSON: That's right. That's right. They're going for the same voters.

MARCUS: Don't make -- don't (INAUDIBLE).

MARTIN: It's so hard for Trump to target somebody who is nice to him and Cruz figured that out long ago and so his approach has been very shrewd, Cruz has, which is, you hug him. You hug him really close.

MARCUS: (INAUDIBLE).

SALAM: Well, the genius of -- the genius of Ted Cruz is also the fact that if you look at the Republican Party, if you're looking at the elite side, fundamentally you have these libertarian instincts. And what Donald Trump has demonstrated is that this libertarianism does not run very deep with actual Republican voters. Not very deep at all. So what Ted Cruz has done, and you see this actually in his fundraising, what he's done is he's managed to get some of that kind of libertarian, business class, Wall Street Republican support, while also getting that kind of populist, national support, a bit of that, and that also means that you get small donors, as well as big donors.

Trump, however, to me, what he's done, whether or not he wins, I have no idea, honestly.

DICKERSON: Right.

SALAM: But whether or not he wins, he's demonstrated that that libertarianism, you know, cutting top rates, cutting tax -- gains taxes, all of this stuff doesn't actually matter to real life Republican voters. Forty percent of Republican voters say that they want upper income taxpayers to pay higher taxes. Whoever do you see in a Republican primary come out and say, you know what, I'm going to leave the top rate alone and I'm going to focus on middle class tax cuts. Something like that.

Marco Rubio has flirted with this idea --

MARTIN: Right.

SALAM: Without really pursuing it as aggressively as he might have because he, too, has that straddle. He has to keep both sides of the party happy.

MARTIN: Right.

SALAM: But I think what Trump is demonstrating is that there's this whole other lane for Republicans to pursue. This populous, nationalist lane that is very potent.

(CROSS TALK)

DICKERSON: But that level rather than --

MARTIN: But isn't that more (INAUDIBLE) policy, though?

SALAM: With Trump, it is.

MARTIN: Yes.

SALAM: But he's demonstrating that there's a market for that, if someone can actually sell that message. And Cruz fundamentally is a libertarian. He's fundamentally a guy --

(CROSS TALK)

MARCUS: While we're -- while we're talking about --

BALL: (INAUDIBLE) social conservative and that's the -- and that's the portion of Cruz's support that I don't think Trump gets.

MARTIN: Yes.

BALL: Because Cruz is -- is and you heard Trump actually sort of going after Cruz on the religion thing, which was very weird and -- and a little bit race baity, almost, saying that because he's Cuban, we can't be sure he's really an evangelical. But that is the portion, especially the Iowa electorate, that I don't think is accessible to Trump for multiple reasons. And you don't hear him really trying to -- even trying to speak to. And so that's an advantage for Cruz, I think.

DICKERSON: Ruth, let me ask you about this fracas between Hillary Clinton/Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. They got into a back and forth. Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump was sexist. He said, if you want to have a full and frank conversation about how do you think that works out, you were quoted favorably by some people as having said this was fair game.

MARCUS: I do think it's fair game. And let me make --

DICKERSON: To talk about Bill Clinton?

MARCUS: To talk about Bill Clinton, for two reasons. One is, Hillary Clinton attacked Donald Trump, appropriately and correctly, for sexist remarks, of which there are many. Bill Clinton's record with women then becomes fair game. She also has designated him as her surrogate in chief. He will be out on the campaign trail this week. When she does both of those things, attacks Trump for sexism, picks Bill Clinton as her surrogate, his record becomes fair game. And when I say record, I'm not talking about extramarital affairs. I'm talking about his conduct, predatory, offensive, inappropriate with women, including in the Oval Office. That becomes fair for Trump to raise. Whether it affects any voters, that's a different question. I think it's smart for Trump to raise in a primary campaign. There are no Republican voters who are going to be offended by this.

MARTIN: Right.

MARCUS: In the general election campaign, it's a much dicier topic.

DICKERSON: Yes. Does this work in the general election, Jonathan, or is this just a brush-back pitch. In other words, a signal to Hillary Clinton that if she doesn't want this to be talked about, she should stop attacking?

MARTIN: I'd be very surprised if the nominee is not Trump if they went down that road in a general election because history has proven that it's not effective politically.

DICKERSON: In 1998 Republicans --

MARCUS: Correct.

DICKERSON: Went after Bill Clinton on this and they had a bad year electorally.

MARTIN: A huge blow back.

BALL: But -- but he does have point with -- when he talks about how she's pandering to women. We do see Hillary Clinton very much leaning into sort of feminism as identity politics this time in a way she didn't in 2008, in a way that was seen as damaging and dangerous in 2008. She had to be Margaret Thatcher. She had to be tough. She had to be genderless. And this time around it's a very different campaign that she's running. She's talking very openly about being the first woman president as an asset of her campaign, as something she wants to accomplish.

MARTIN: Right.

BALL: So I do think that like -- that, number one, he has a point in pointing that out. Some people may be offended by it, some may not. And -- and -- and, number two, I think Ruth is exactly right, that if -- if Hillary is going to say that the things that Bill Clinton did that are regarded positively accrue to her credit, but the things that are negative she had nothing to do with, well that's ridiculous and it is fair game.

DICKERSON: Reihan, let's broaden this out now and talk about the larger Republican field. We've got Donald Trump. We've talked a lot about him. What do the other candidates do to make some inroads, to make a claim to win the nomination?

SALAM: It's going to be very regionally specific at this point I imagine. And, you know, as you guys all know, I mean in New Hampshire you have a particular quirky kind of race in which Chris Christie is doing very well. He's completely invisible in the rest of the country but he's doing quite well there.

You know, and it's all this jockeying for third place. You know, this idea that Jeb Bush needs to get into third in Iowa to be viable going forward. And I would say that over the kind of medium term, what matters is, you know, who is accessible to everyone. As guys get knocked out, you know, kind of if someone finally said something sufficiently outrageous, and that's why Marco Rubio, who's been pretty underwhelming in early state polling, that's why he's still lurking and people still think of him as one of the big three, let's say, Trump, Cruz, and Rubio, because people still more or less finding this -- him accessible. People who are, you know, let's say Jeb or Christie fans certainly do. But then also people who are otherwise Cruz fans, you know, see him as -- you know, he's basically conservative, made this one huge mistake on immigration from their perspective, but that, I think, is going to matter more. And also, this could be a race in which actually one can preserve one's liability after not having done well in the first two or three primaries. It seems likely to me.

DICKERSON: Ruth, let me ask you about this terrorist video and Donald Trump's role in it. It seems to me that if we go back to this notion, Molly called it wishful thinking, that voters start to look at the candidates as president. This is a case somebody would say where Donald Trump's mouth had real consequences. Do you think there's any strength in that argument that anybody's going to be able to use this against Trump, this video, the fact he was used in a terrorist video, that that has anything or is this just another instance in which Trump supporters won't mind and it will be fine.

MARCUS: Well, I'm tempted to engage in some wishful thinking. The consequences of Trump's outrageous statements, of which we could go on for three more hours, don't seem to be affecting his support among voters.

MARTIN: Right.

MARCUS: So it's hard for me to see that this one does. At the same time, I have been waiting to see -- kind of hoping to see the electability moment happen among voters. You certainly hear that in past cycles from voters, particularly in New Hampshire, where they, you know, Republican voters ought to be saying, it's our turn, we need the White House back.

DICKERSON: Right.

MARCUS: And they ought to be looking at Donald Trump and saying --

MARTIN: How (INAUDIBLE) --

MARCUS: He is not going to get us there.

MARTIN: How do the candidates raise that against Trump? What you haven't heard yet, but I think you will hear in the coming weeks, it's remarkable that on January 3rd we are looking at a -- a primary where it's entirely plausible that Donald Trump rolls and becomes the nominee and it's also plausible that he does not win a single state. We just don't --

DICKERSON: In the general election or in the -- in the primary?

MARTIN: No, in the primary.

DICKERSON: OK.

MARTIN: We just don't know what's going to happen. We just don't know what's going to happen. And I think we have to basically acknowledge that, that this is a very uncertain territory that we're entering. But what is striking is the degree to which nobody is even confronting the front runner. If you believe its Trump, and Molly mentioned this, you know, where is the money against him? He has not been touched at all.

MARCUS: But --

MARTIN: Howard Dean, in 2004, was widely seen as a disaster against George W. Bush. The Democratic establishment rallied and targeted him. You do not see anything like that this time around, which makes this a entirely different kind of race. And I think that's in part because, as Molly pointed out, a lot of folks in the establishment are skeptical that his folks will actually show up. But it's also because they don't want to get in a tit for tat with him --

DICKERSON: Yes.

MARTIN: Because they know that he hits back hard. So the end result of that is to have this guy, less than a month before Iowa, completely untouched. It's remarkable.

MARCUS: I -- I think, Jonathan talked about something important, which is the dog that hasn't barked this campaign. It was supposed to be all about money. It was supposed to be all about super PACs. Jeb Bush has spent -- Jeb Bush's super PAC has spent something like $50 million on ads --

MARTIN: On positive ads. On positive.

MARCUS: That have (INAUDIBLE) --

MARTIN: But we haven't --

DICKERSON: But we haven't gotten (INAUDIBLE) --

(CROSS TALK)

MARCUS: (INAUDIBLE) nothing.

MARTIN: We haven't seen --

DICKERSON: (INAUDIBLE) scorched earth.

MARTIN: Yes.

DICKERSON: But there's a little bit -- MARCUS: But it's been really remarkable how little impact money has had so far in this race.

MARTIN: But we haven't seen negative ads yet, though. Right.

DICKERSON: And we've seen a little negative on the non-Trump. In other words, it's everybody else attacking each other, not going after the big dog.

Speaking of money, we've got to talk about the Democrats in our remaining minutes here. Bernie Sanders put out this interesting quote, Molly, when he released this fundraising numbers. He had a very good, strong number. And at the end he says, he's talking about -- he says, quote, "incredibly the vast majority of all the money we have raised comes from small-dollar contributions. You won't see that from our opponent. I don't go around asking handful of million areas and billionaires for big checks and call it a day." Boom, that's right at Hillary Clinton.

BALL: Oh, absolutely.

DICKERSON: That's about money. Is that effective?

BALL: I think it's very effective. I mean if you're on the trail with Bernie Sanders and he starts to rail against Citizens United, it is very much at the heart of his candidacy, this complaint about money and politics. And, interestingly, Trump echoes him a little bit there, because I do think this is a completely bipartisan phenomenon, the anger at money and politics. So -- so, yes, you know, it's very -- $33 million for Bernie Sanders in the fourth quarter versus $55 million for Hillary Clinton and this is her, you know, holding fundraisers multiple times a day and he has held, I believe one.

DICKERSON: Right.

BALL: So that is really remarkable. And it tells you that, you know, look, I don't think Bernie Sanders is likely to win this Democratic primary, but he will have made a huge impact and had a huge voice by proving that there is this liberal ground swell out there. Proving that there is a segment of the Democratic Party that wants to hear the things that he is saying. He's already forced Hillary to the left on issues. But more than that, I think he's telling us something about this national mood and what voters are concerned about.

SALAM: Well, but imagine if Bernie were more charismatic. I mean when you think about that amount of money relative to the amount of money that Americans spend on, you know, tight pants, for example, I mean it's just not that impressive. I actually am surprised that he didn't raise more money. And this whole idea that it's, you know, it's all small donors, how amazing is that, but that also is why he's so weak. You know, go back to Ted Cruz. Here's a guy raising from big donors and small donors.

MARTIN: Yes.

SALAM: He's got the balance. DICKERSON: Yes.

SALAM: Jeb Bush, only from big guys. So you want to have that balance. And even if Hillary Clinton is underwhelming, she at least is able to connect with let's say some unmarried, white, lower-middle class women who might be willing to write her a $20 check, as well as the rich guys in D.C. and L.A. So I think that that's why Bernie, you know, ultimately, you know, you're -- any candidate in that lane was going to raise a fair bit of money but --

(CROSS TALK)

BALL: I don't -- I don't think that's accurate at all.

MARCUS: I was not a (INAUDIBLE) of Bernie Sanders. I was not (INAUDIBLE).

DICKERSON: I'm afraid we're going to have to cut you off there. So thanks all very much to our panel. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: Joining us now is former White House National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and former Deputy CIA Director and CBS News National Security Contributor Michael Morell.

Tom, I want to start with the news with you. The Saudi embassy in Tehran was ransacked after the -- after Saudi Arabia executed a cleric who had been critical of the Sunni kingdom's treatment of Shiites. What's the significance of this?

THOMAS DONILON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Well, I think a couple of things. One, the reaction was predicted and predictable. Two, at the same time that the United States is seeking to lower tensions in the region in pursuit of an effort against ISIS and a political process in Syria, this raises tension. And, three, I think it reflects a couple of things. It's one of the key conflict dynamics in the Middle East, the Sunni/Shia dynamic. It reflects, I think, how Saudi Arabia sees the threat both internally in Saudi Arabia, in the kingdom, but also externally. And it needs to be said that Iran is a principle force for destabilization in the region. And Iran looks around at what Saudi Arabia -- Saudi Arabia looks around and sees what Iran's doing in Beirut and in Damascus and in Sinna (ph) and in Baghdad and feels, I think, a -- a threat. And it also reflects this competition for influence in the region between Saudi Arabia and -- and Iran. So it's a -- it's a -- it's an increase in intentions at a time when the United States is trying to decrease tensions in pursuit of major policy objectives.

MICHAEL MORELL, CBS NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: I just wanted to add that I think the Iranians, in this case, acted responsibly. The police showed up very quickly. They made a number of arrests. I hope the Iraqi government acts as responsibly. The Saudis, just last week, opened up an embassy in Baghdad for the first time in 25 years. I hope this doesn't reverse that. DICKERSON: Let's stay in Iraq. Ramadi has been retaken or partially retaken by Iraqi forces. Why is that so important? Retaken from ISIS, which -- which took it in May. Why is that important?

MORELL: It's important for two reasons, John. The first is, what was taken from ISIS and the second is who took it. And the what was taken, all right, this is a strategically significant city. The largest city in Anbar province, the capital of Anbar province, where the Sunnis in Iraq live. On the strategic road to Syria, on the strategic highway to Jordan, 70 miles from Baghdad, an embarrassment to the Iraqi government when they lost it seven months ago. So what was taken is of significance. And then the who took it, right? All of the gains to date in Iraq have been by the -- the Kurds or by Shia militia. In this case, it was Iraqi security forces.

DICKERSON: Yes.

Tom, we look back on this and say this was a turning point for the reasons Mike outlines?

DONILON: Well, I think it's -- it's important progress, no doubt about that. And in part a continuing progress against ISIS where they've lost about 30 percent of their territory that they had at the height of their sweep across Iraq. But I think this also needs to be put in some perspective as well.

Number one, we have a long way to go. This operation took eight months, 630 or so U.S. airstrikes. A tremendous amount of support for the Iraqi security forces in pulling this off. Second, it's a smaller city. It's an important city. As Michael said, it's the capital or prudential capital in Anbar. But the next phase is Mosul perhaps as the Iraqi prime minister said. And Mosul's five times as big as Ramadi.

And, third, there are challenges in Ramadi. We'll have to provide security. The Iraqis have to provide security. People need to know if they come back there, they're going to be secure. We'll need to see reconstruction. The United States and other countries have pledged $50 million for reconstruction. And most importantly, we need to see progress towards inclusion of Sunnis in Anbar politically in Iraq.

DICKERSON: Mike, there was a story by Karen Deyoung (ph) in "The Washington Post" this week about the president being frustrated that his ISIS strategies, the countering of ISIS strategy, was not getting the kind of public relations explanation that -- that he wanted and he was getting a bad rap for things. What do you make of that argument, that this is a communication failure more than an actual failure on combating ISIS? And, secondarily, how is the fight against ISIS picked up since, you know, in the last two months?

MORELL: So I think what -- what you're likely to see, John, over the next year is -- is a -- without a -- without a diplomatic settlement in Syria, I think what you're likely to see is a growing gap between success in Iraq militarily. It looks like thee Iraq security forces are beginning to get their act together. That's very important. You do face challenges, as Tom has said. So a growing gap between success in Iraq and a lack of success in Syria. So I think that's where the diplomatic focus needs to be, the military focus needs to be in Syria going forward.

DICKERSON: Tom.

DONILON: You know, there's no doubt that the -- that the Iraqi security forces are being -- are improving in terms of the capability. And we saw that in -- in Ramadi. And I think progress can be made against ISIS militarily. And indeed I think it's critical in 2016 that the United States and the coalition of some 60 countries who are facing off against ISIS break the narrative of success. That's the key recruiting tool that this group has around the world. And that's important because this group, and I do think we'll make serious progress against them in 2016, they have metastasized. They're kind of indiscriminate franchises, right --

DICKERSON: Yes.

DONILON: And we've seen them present real challenges around the world, including in places like Libya, which I think will end up being challenges for us going into 2016.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you, Tom, about that metastization (ph) question.

DONILON: Yes.

DICKERSON: People have had some difficulty putting ISIS in context. You know, Marco Rubio calls it a clash of civilizations between radical Islam and the west. Others have said, no, this is just a fight against a big group, ISIS, which needs to be taken care of, but it doesn't have that kind of cultural breadth. Help us put this into some (INAUDIBLE).

DONILON: well, it's unique challenge, I think, in some ways an unprecedented challenge. It has controlled territories. It's an insurgency in Iraq. It threatened the Iraqi state. It is well financed from a variety of means. It is -- has a top down control structure. It has also been the recipient some 30,000 foreign fighters. That's the largest kind of compilation of aggregation of fighters we've ever seen in a circumstance like. So it's a unique -- it's a unique challenge.

But two other things make it unique in addition to the foreign fighters who ultimately could come home. It has taken advantage of technology and really ISIS and a number of the other groups we see in the world have come to a nexus with technology, which has allowed them to recruit more broadly than just in the theater in Syria and Iraq. And that's what we've seen. We've seen that sort of through the establishment of these provincial or other franchises, if you will, around the world, and we've also seen it in their ability to radicalize individuals and groups around the world to take action. That is the unique and new challenge.

DICKERSON: Let me just, in our last couple of minutes we have here, we've got a year ahead of us. Mike, what should we be keeping our eye on in terms of big challenges in this next year, say outside of ISIS, which we've talked about?

MORELL: So I think one big challenge is going to be the re- emergence of Afghanistan as an issue. The Taliban have made major gains over the last year. I would expect similar gains going forward. They control more territory now than they have in a number of years. I think the debate on how many troops we keep in Afghanistan is going to reopen. General Campbell already last week said we need upwards of 10,000 troops, which is double the number the president is currently looking at.

DICKERSON: Yes. Tom, your thoughts about that?

DONILON: Well, I think that we have a continuing challenge with respect to ISIS and I think that's the principle security challenge. I think Michael is right about Afghanistan. I think also you'll see in the final year of President Obama's term a big emphasis on foreign policy and national security. If you look at the calendar between now and the end of President Obama's term, there's a major event or foreign policy trip every month during the course but it's -- and that's -- presidents typically go in this direction because they have much more freedom to act in foreign policy than they do in domestically and legislatively in a last year. And I think you'll see that and they'll be -- there will be challenges to deal with. There will be consolidation and implementation of things that the president's already put in place, and some opportunity. You know, for example, he'll be in Asia twice. He'll have Asia-related events four times. He's seen President Xi three times in order to try to consolidate the Asia rebalance (ph).

DICKERSON: Mike, quickly, last 30 seconds, reports the U.S. spying on Israeli officials, put that into context or explain that to us.

MORELL: So, can't comment about specific intelligence activities, of course, and in this case I don't know what exactly what's happening, right? It's been three years since I've been in government. But I'd say a couple of things. One is, we're looking at two different issues here. One issue is a decision to spy perhaps on a leader of an ally, right? That's a decision that's made at the highest levels of our government. That's where it should be made. And I would say that we should always keep open the option of being able to spy on anybody when it's in our national security interest.

The second issue is how information with regard to Netanyahu's discussions about his relationship with the U.S. Congress are handled by the intelligence community. There are very specific rules about that. And the -- and the Congress is looking into whether those rules were followed in this case.

DICKERSON: All right, Mike Morell, thanks so much, Tom Donilon. We'll be back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: Be sure to tune in next week. We'll be talking with the new speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. Until then, for FACE THE NATION, I'm John Dickerson.