SCHIEFFER: But I mean, it's Governor Romney who brought up binders and brought up Big Bird.
MADDEN: But I just think that trying to make that the central argument here in the last 16 days is really very small for their campaign. And they've conducted themselves like this over the last six months. I think a lot of people right now, we have 23 million people that are struggling to find work. We have a national debt that's over $16 trillion.
$4 trillion -- this president has added trillion-dollar deficits every year for the last four years. And this is the president's closing argument.
I think one of the contrasts that has emerged in these debates, one that has worked to Governor Romney's favor is that Governor Romney has plans for the future on everything from energy -- bringing down energy prices, to lowering health care costs, to lowering the deficit, to rejuvenating the economy, putting people back to work. And that contrast has worked in our favor because Governor Romney has a plan for the future whereas over the next four years, we don't know what President Obama would do.
And the American people right now I think are judging the president very harshly because they know that we just simply cannot afford another four years like the last four years.
SCHIEFFER: Too much Big Bird?
CUTTER: well, you're right, Bob. We are not the one that brought up Big Bird. Big Bird is important because that's the only thing that Mitt Romney could point to as to how he's going to reduce the deficit. Deficits are a big issue in this campaign, I think you would agree with me.
MADDEN: They're a big issue because of the president.
CUTTER: And the only thing that you can point to is - no, that's actually not true, Kevin. Your -- the governor's running mate actually voted for two wars, two tax cuts that created these deficits, that turned a record surplus into deficits. The president has a detailed plan on the table to reduce those deficits -- binders.
Now Mitt Romney could only point to binders for an accomplishment towards women. He had a binder full of women. Now that's important because it's really symbolic of the governor's policies. You know, he wouldn't say whether or not he believes in equal pay for women, the Lilly Ledbetter Act. He wasn't honest about contraception. He supports the Rubio bill which puts bosses in charge of whether women have access to contraception on their employer plan.
He wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which means insurance companies can go back to the days of charging women more than men just for health care.
Now, that is not a women security, economic security, or health security agenda. And that binder is just symbolic of that.
And I want to bring up Romnesia. Now Romnesia is a playful term to describe what Mitt Romney is actually doing in the closing days of this race. Mitt Romney has run as the ideal Tea Party candidate, severely conservative for the last six years running for president and in the last two weeks of this campaign, he's suddenly moving to the middle.
What about all those policies that he declared? He's going to repeal Roe v. Wade, sign that into law. The tax cut for those at the top that he's no pretending doesn't exist, that's going to either increase our deficit or increase taxes on increase taxes on the -- on the middle class.
Endless war in Afghanistan, these are policies -- positions that he's taken over the last six years of running for president and they don't simply disappear.
MADDEN: We have a very, very big challenges in this country and I don't think that's a message...
CUTTER: Absolutely, we need to be honest about that.
MADDEN: ... I don't think the message to -- to voters right now ought to be playing Scrabble with your opponent's name when you have 23 million people struggling to find work.
MADDEN: Look, as far as the deficit -- the president started out his term there was about -- we had about a $12 million federal debt...
CUTTER: Twelve million?
MADDEN: ... nation debt. Now we -- I'm sorry, $12 billion -- $12 trillion. Now he has $16 trillion. All right?
We have trillion-dollar deficits every year that this president was in office, and I think people are very -- find it very troubling that the president doesn't really have a plan. And if we reelect President Obama, we're going to be -- we're going to be at $20 trillion.
I mean, these are serious challenges that -- that -- that President Obama...
CUTTER: Because what is -- what exactly is Governor Romney's plan to reduce the deficit? What exactly -- what are the details of that plan?
MADDEN: Look, the way you look at the -- the -- the federal deficit is you can either grow your way out of it, you can tax your out of it or you can -- you can cut your way out of it.
What's happening right now is that President Obama has only offered a way to tax (inaudible).
CUTTER: No, I asked you about Governor Romney's plan. What's Governor Romney's plan?
MADDEN: I'm sorry -- what -- what's the -- the only way that President Obama has -- and I'll get to that -- President Obama has only said that he wants to tax his way out of it.
CUTTER: But that's actually not true.
MADDEN: Governor Romney has said well, if we take care of the growth side, the lower tax rates and whittle away a lot of the efficiencies -- find some efficiencies in the federal government and the federal -- in the federal budget, that's how we bring down the deficit and that's how we get the economy back on track.
CUTTER: That sounds incredibly detailed.
MADDEN: And then...
CUTTER: And that's what the problem is in this election. The -- the governor is traveling around this country either being dishonest about his policies or not giving details about his policies, promising to kick it past the election. That's not an honest way for the American people -- to give to the American people what your -- your agenda is for the next four years.
SCHIEFFER: We've got to stop. Back with some personal thoughts in a second.
SCHIEFFER: For the past month, I've been preparing to moderate Monday night's debate by studying up on foreign policy and it has just reminded me how dangerous the world is in which we live.
Well in the midst of all that, I ran across a front page story in the New York Times about the shame a Los Angeles woman is feeling because she has a Blackberry phone and all her friends have iPhones. She is so ashamed, she told the Times, she no longer takes her Blackberry out at cocktail parties. Personally, I think that's a good thing. But she said she hides her Blackberry behind her iPad at business conferences for fear her clients will see it and judge her.
Other Blackberry owners told the Times they too suffer shame and humiliation as they watch their friends noodle on social networks, unavailable to them.
Now this is not a commercial for any phone, for the record, I have a Blackberry, but I still read paper newspapers, so maybe I don't count.
But here's the part I wonder about, if the Americans who headed West in covered wagons had cell phones, do you supposed they were embarrassed by the brand they owned? I doubt it. My guess is they had to worry about finding something to eat before dark and whether there were Indians hiding close by.
The more I thought about that, the more I realized I really had no words to comfort those who feel the world is closing in on them because they have the wrong phone. Maybe they could just take deep breaths or something.
SCHIEFFER: Some stations are leaving us now, for most of you, we'll be back with our all-star political panel with Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal, David Sanger of the New York Times, Joe Klein with Times and our own John Dickerson.
SCHIEFFER: And to clarify something I said earlier, there are reports that--
SCHIEFFER: And welcome back to FACE THE NATION in Boca Raton, Florida, where the candidates are squaring off for their final debate tomorrow night. We have got some of the best journalists in the business here today to talk about it. Peggy Noonan, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal; David Sanger, who is the chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times; Joe Klein is TIME's political columnist; and last but not least, our own John Dickerson.
But before we begin this discussion, I do want to take note that former South Dakota Senator George McGovern, who was the Democratic presidential candidate in 1972, died this morning. He was 90. He had remained active in public service and interested in politics and public affairs until the very end.
Last spring, I moderated a panel at Hunter College in New York that included Senator McGovern, former Vice President Walter Mondale, among others, and he was energetic, engaging, and very witty.
He was a World War II bomber pilot before going into politics. And even those who disagreed with him thought of him as a very nice man. George McGovern has passed on at 90.
And now to the news of the day. Peggy Noonan, let's start with you. What do you think the stakes are for this debate tomorrow night?
PEGGY NOONAN, COLUMNIST, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Oh, I think the stakes are pretty high for both candidates. It is the last of three debates. It is the last time I think the American people are going to see these two men together before voting day on November 6th. There is a lot that we know they disagree about, about foreign affairs, but in an hour-and-a-half they're going to get a little time to lay it out.
The election is close, so it seems to me this debate cycle we have been in has been truly consequential in a way I've never seen of debates -- presidential debates before. I think that will likely continue tomorrow. And if we are lucky, we, the voters, we will come out of it at the end thinking, I actually know something of Mitt Romney's philosophy as he looks at the world and America's place in it. I understand better what President Obama wants to do and how he sees things. SCHIEFFER: Well, do you think -- most American elections and so far this one has been exactly the same, they're generally about economic policy, about pocketbook issues. Does foreign policy -- could it actually make a difference? Could it be a tipping point in this election?
NOONAN: Oh, you never know. You know? We've got, as I said, 16 days before election, but as Kevin Madden said, no, 15 days and 20 hours. You know what I mean? Things are going very quickly. Any number of things can happen. The world is at a boil in various places, such as the Mideast, where both candidates really fight it out.