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Face the Nation Transcripts September 20: Clinton and Paul

Hillary Clinton appears on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sept. 20, 2015

CBS News

(CBS News) -- A transcript from the September 20 edition of Face the Nation.Guests included Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul, Michael Gerson, Peggy Noonan, Ron Brownstein, and Jamelle Bouie.

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton joins us to talk about campaign 2016.

It's been almost four years since Hillary Clinton came on a Sunday show. She's here with us today, and we will ask her how she thinks her campaign is going. Plus, we will get her take on news of the day and who she would like to run against in the general election if she wins the nomination.

We will also hear from Republican candidate and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

And we will have analysis on the latest from the campaign trail.

Finally, we will take a look at the politics of the pope and what Washington can learn from him while he's in town this week.

It's all coming up on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION. I'm John Dickerson.

We're joined by Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Welcome, Secretary Clinton. We're glad to have you.

Let's start in the news, Syrian refugees.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Right.

DICKERSON: President Obama has said he will increase the number allowed into 10,000. Is that enough?

CLINTON: Now, look, we're facing the worst refugee crisis since the end of World War II.

And I think United States has to do more. And I would like to see us move from what is a good start with 10,000 to 65,000, and begin immediately to put into place the mechanisms for vetting the people that we would take in, looking to really emphasize some of those who are most vulnerable, a lot of the persecuted religious minorities, including Christians, and some who have been brutalized, like the Yazidi women.

But I also want the United States to lead the world. And I have recommended that, at the upcoming U.N. General Assembly, there be an international meeting called by the secretary-general and literally get people to commit, putting money in, helping the front-line states, like Jordan and Turkey and Lebanon, who have absorbed a lot of refugees, working with the E.U. and the European countries, but getting everybody to make a contribution.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about the underlying condition creating this refugee crisis.

You advocated for arming the Syrian rebels.

CLINTON: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

DICKERSON: That was then ultimately put in place. We now hear that that is not going well at all. Out of 12,000 Syrians that have been trained, there are only handful that can actually fight.

Was this a bad idea, or was this a bad idea -- or was this a good idea poorly executed?

CLINTON: Well, John, I did recommend that, at the beginning of this conflict, we do more to help train those who were in the forefront of leading the opposition against Assad, looking to try to bring the moderates together.

A lot of these rebels, originally, they were -- they were businesspeople, they were professional people, they were students. They had no training in going up against the Syrian army, which Assad clearly was going to use to the ultimate effect. That was not the decision taken at that time.

A lot of what I worried about has happened. There are now big ungoverned territories within Syria that are dominated by terrorist groups, ISIS being the best known, but not the only one. You have Iran and Russia increasingly moving in to support Assad and his constant bombardment against his own people.

And then you have these millions of refugees. So, where we are today is not where we were. And where we are today is that we have a failed program. You heard the testimony, five people trained for half -- $500, half-a-billion dollars.

But I think we still have to keep working with the Turks, with the Jordanians, with others of our partners. We also have to do more to support the Kurds, something that I have also advocated.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about Russia.

So, it looks like U.S. policy now is, we're not going to -- train and equip has failed, so now we're going to turn to the Russians for help. These are the same Russians who are busy in Ukraine doing things we don't like them to do. The Israelis think that the Russians are involved with Hezbollah. Why are we turning to the Russians?

CLINTON: Well, I hope we're not turning to the Russians.

Let me just quickly say that I wouldn't give up on train and equip, but I sure would push the Pentagon to take hard look why what has been done has been such a failure and what more we could do to support, like, Kurdish fighters who are on the front lines. And one of the difficulties we had in the train and equip is that we basically were trying to train people to only take on ISIS and terrorist networks. We were not training and equipping them to take on Assad or his military or his proxies, which include Hezbollah, by the way.

I hope we are not turning to the Russians in that way. I hope what we're doing -- and this is what I support -- and I heard Secretary Kerry say this is what we will be doing. And I think Secretary Carter has begun these conversations.

First of all, we have to figure out what they are doing. Russia has a long interest in Syria. They have had a base in -- a naval base in Syria for a long time. They have a connection because a lot of Syrians were educated in the Cold War in Moscow and a lot of Russians actually moved to Syria.

So, they have not only deep links to Syria and Syrians, but they intend to support Assad for their own reasons. And we need to really unpeel what it is they're trying to accomplish and work with others to try to contain them.

And I want to just end by saying, if they are providing any equipment to Hezbollah, if they are supporting Hezbollah, which is the main fighting force on behalf of the Iranians to support Assad, but also a deadly threat to Israel, then we have got to take action, whether there are tougher sanctions or other kinds of actions to try to prevent that from happening.

DICKERSON: I want to ask you about something that came up in the Republican debate. Jeb Bush said, one thing was true about his brother. He kept America safe.

Do you agree with that?

CLINTON: I think it's a complicated question, because, of course, 9/11 happened.

I was a senator from New York. And I was basically consumed by my responsibility to help the people directly affected in my state and in the city.

So, it did happen. And then I do give President Bush credit for trying to bring the country together around the threats that we did face. I have said the war in Iraq was a mistake. I supported what happened in Afghanistan. So, if you sort it all out, you know, it's a mixed -- it's a mixed picture.

DICKERSON: Let me take you back to the 2008 campaign, where Iraq was a conversation and U.S. security was a conversation.

You ran an ad, the 3:00 a.m. ad...

CLINTON: Yes.

DICKERSON: ... which became quite famous. Let's play that for our -- our viewers.

CLINTON: My gosh. I haven't seen that in a long time.

(LAUGHTER)

DICKERSON: Well, it's a throwback Sunday here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: It's 3:00 a.m., and your children are safe and asleep. Who do you want answering the phone?

CLINTON: I'm Hillary Clinton. And I approve this message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

DICKERSON: So, the question for you is, now you have been secretary of state.

CLINTON: Right.

DICKERSON: Benghazi.

CLINTON: Right.

DICKERSON: Was that your 3:00 a.m. phone call? And how well did you handle that crisis, by the standard you raised in that ad?

CLINTON: Well, of course it was a crisis. And we lost four brave Americans, including the person that I asked the president to send as ambassador, Chris Stevens.

But we live in a dangerous world. And even our diplomats are at threat. And that goes all the way back to, for goodness' sake, taking over our embassy in Tehran or the bombings of our embassy in Beirut, when President Reagan was in charge.

This is a dangerous world. And I think what we had to do during that period of time, in trying to protect our people after the attack on the consulate, getting them evacuated, not only working on what was going on in Libya, because, remember, we had embassies that were under attack or threatened to attack by terrorist groups across North Africa, indeed, across a much larger swathe of the world.

So, I think it was terribly tragic, what happened. I immediately asked for an independent review, just like former secretaries of state did. And I made that public. And the only other person who did that was Secretary Albright after our embassies were bombed in Africa.

So, my view on this is, we have to learn things. And we are always learning. We learned after Beirut. We learned after Tanzania and Kenya. We have learned after Benghazi, but we're not going to be able to represent the United States working out of hermetically sealed tanks. We are going to have to be out in the world. DICKERSON: One more question on Benghazi. The charge is, in this campaign, that after it happened, there was a report inside the State Department and inside the government that this was a terrorist attack.

But in what we heard from the government at the time and from you was an emphasis on this video, that that had created the attack. And so the charge is that there was a political pressure to make the case more about the video than to talk about terrorism.

CLINTON: Well, I just don't think that's fair. And I'm going to testify about this at the end of October before the committee looking into this. I think it's the eighth investigation that the Congress has conducted.

There were two things going on simultaneously. I and others said that we were attacked. There was no doubt about that. That video, which was still spinning through the world, was being mentioned on social media. We had people climbing the walls at our embassy in Cairo even before the attack in Benghazi.

And we had a lot of other attacks. I had to call the president of one of our neighboring countries, Tunis, to try to get -- in Tunis -- to get them to help protect our embassy. So, I was worried about everything that was going on and how people were responding to that from North Africa to Pakistan, all the way to Indonesia.

DICKERSON: So, no political pressure to keep the story kind of a little more favorable to the administration?

CLINTON: Well, all I can tell you, I never felt any political pressure or did I feel any political reason to do anything other than what we tried to do, which was to immediately deal with the problems that were coming at us.

DICKERSON: So, questions about Benghazi have led to discovery of your personal server.

If we use this episode as a way to think about the way would you run your presidency, let's say there's a meeting at Clinton headquarters, and you're with your staff. And you're saying, looking at the e-mail situation from the day you decided, yes, to have the server, all the way to where we all now...

CLINTON: Right.

DICKERSON: ... what went well, what didn't go so well?

CLINTON: Well, look, I have said that I didn't make the best choice.

I should have used two separate e-mail accounts, one personal, one work-related. What I did was allowed. It was fully above board. People in the government certainly knew that I was using a personal e- mail. But I have tried to be transparent. And that includes releasing 55,000 pages, which is unprecedented -- nobody else that I'm aware of has ever done that -- plus turning over the server, plus testifying at the end of October.

So, I think that people have questions. I want to try to answer them.

DICKERSON: Was it a failure in judgment on your part?

CLINTON: Well, look, it was permitted. It was allowed. I did it.

And I think that people can make their own judgments about that. But I have tried to be as transparent as I can.

DICKERSON: You talked a lot about transparency, that -- when we think about trust -- and there's been a lot of talk about that in your campaign and voters having questions. They have questions maybe related to this.

Trust and transparency are related. You have been transparent in the release of these e-mails, but what about before? Because there was a period where you held on to the whole kit and caboodle before any investigators were asking for it, long after you were out of the State Department.

CLINTON: Well, it wasn't that long. What I did was to send e- mails to people at their government accounts, which I had every reason to believe would be captured on the government systems.

And when we were asked to help the State Department make sure they had everything from other secretaries of state, not just me, I'm the one who said, OK, great, I will go through them again. And we provided all of them. And more than 90 percent were already in the system.

And, in fact, I gave so many that were not work-related, just to be as comprehensive as possible, they are already sending back about 1,200 of them.

So, look, I did what was, as I said, allowed. I said it wasn't the best choice. And it turned out to be a mistake, in retrospect. But, at the time, and given the fact that most of them were in the government systems, people are going to get a chance to see all kinds of behind-the-scenes conversations, most of which, I'm embarrassed to say, are kind of boring.

(LAUGHTER)

DICKERSON: Just to button this up here, you have said you were sorry.

CLINTON: Yes.

DICKERSON: What exactly are you sorry for and to whom? CLINTON: Well, you know, I'm sorry that I made a choice that has raised all of these questions, because I don't like reading that people have questions about what I did and how I did it.

I'm proud of the work we did at the State Department. And I'm really proud of all the career professionals I worked with. I'm proud of the people who came in with me. And we got sanctions on Iran, put together that international coalition. We got a new arms treaty with Russia. We did a lot of really important work.

And I want that to be the focus of what people know about my tenure at the State Department.

DICKERSON: Some people who know you and have worked with you say what this e-mail situation suggests is that there's nobody around you who can say, Secretary Clinton, this is a bad idea, don't do this.

Do you have such a person?

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: I have too many, actually. Look, this -- this was...

DICKERSON: No, before the fact, not after. After, everybody is giving you advice.

CLINTON: I know.

No, but, John this was done by prior government officials, including...

DICKERSON: But not at this level, not solely a server just for you.

CLINTON: You know, look, let's -- it was done by others.

And let me just say that, yes, when I did it, it was allowed, it was above board. And now I'm being as transparent as possible, more than anybody else ever has been.

DICKERSON: All right.

Secretary Clinton, we are going to pause right there.

CLINTON: OK.

DICKERSON: We will be back in one more minute with more from Secretary Clinton.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DICKERSON: We're back now with Secretary Clinton. Secretary Clinton, Donald Trump had a supporter at one of his rallies suggest the president was Muslim and not an American. Donald Trump stayed mute and continues to say nothing about that.

Are politicians on the hook for every crazy thing one of their supporters stands up and says?

CLINTON: Well, of course not, because we all have supporters who may say things that we don't agree with.

But when you are at an event and someone stands up and says something like that in front of you, then I do think you have a responsibility to respond.

John McCain did back in the '08 campaign when somebody in one of his events said something similarly untrue and insulting about the president. And McCain stopped that person. That's what Donald Trump should have done.

And I said the other day he is fueling a level of paranoia and prejudice against all kinds of people. And when you light those fires, you better recognize that they can get out of control. And he should start dampening them down and putting them out.

He wants to talk about what he would do as president. That's obviously fair game. But to play into some of the worst impulses that people have these days that are really being lit up by the Internet and other conspiracy-minded theories is just irresponsible. It's appalling.

(CROSSTALK)

DICKERSON: Which Republican would you like to run against the most?

CLINTON: Oh, John, I have no -- I have no vote in that. I'm going to run against whoever they put up against me.

DICKERSON: Are you doing anything to prepare for Joe Biden potentially entering the race? Is your campaign doing anything?

CLINTON: No, we're not, because this is such a personal decision.

And the vice president has to sort this out. He's been so open in talking about how difficult this time is for him and his family. And he's obviously considering what he wants to do, including whether he wants to run. And I just have the greatest respect and affection for him. And I think everybody just ought to give him the space to decide what is best for him and his family.

DICKERSON: Bernie Sanders has made quite a point of not attacking you. He said he's not going to run any negative ads.

Would you pledge to do the same thing with respect to him, not attack him, and also tell your supporters, hey, lay off? CLINTON: Look, I want this to be about ideas and about policies.

I know Bernie. I respect his enthusiastic and intense advocacy of his ideas. That's what I want this campaign to be about. And I hope people who support me respect that, because this is a serious election. I obviously am running because I think it's better for the country if a Democrat who has the kind of approaches and values that my husband had and Barack Obama has follows this presidency.

DICKERSON: So, can I mark that down as a yes?

CLINTON: Yes.

DICKERSON: You will pledge not to?

CLINTON: Well, I have no -- no interest in doing that.

DICKERSON: And you're going to talk about Obamacare this week, support it.

CLINTON: Yes, I am.

DICKERSON: What is the big new proposal you're going to offer?

CLINTON: Well, first, let me say that it's time that we say that the debate over the Affordable Care Act is over. The Supreme Court has twice upheld it, yet the Congress has voted more than 50 times to repeal it.

Let's get beyond that. Enough is enough. And we need to strengthen it, not scrap it. It is the core of how we're going to provide health care to Americans going forward, the 16 million.

But there are other benefits to it that people who are not on the exchanges are being able to take advantage of. You know, 158 million American women are no longer charged more for health care because of our gender. Young people can stay on their parents' policies until they're 26.

If you have a preexisting condition, insurance companies can't shut you out. We have a lot of positives. But there are issues that need to be addressed. I'm going to address them this week, starting with how we're going to try to control the cost of skyrocketing prescription drugs. It's something that I hear about wherever I go. It's part of the plan I will be rolling out in the next few days.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about those Planned Parenthood videos. Have you watched them?

CLINTON: I have seen excerpts from them. And I have certainly read about them.

And what I am troubled by are the misleading, inaccurate allegations about them that we heard from Republicans at their debate. This is really an attack on Planned Parenthood, which provides a lot of health services, from cancer screenings , to contraceptive services, to so many other of the needs women have.

And to shut down the government, which some Republicans are advocating, over funding for Planned Parenthood, which takes care of millions of women's health needs, is just the height of irresponsibility.

DICKERSON: That's the policy debate this has turned into. But what was your reaction just when you watched them?

CLINTON: Well, look, as Planned Parenthood has said, these were misleadingly edited. They were intentionally taken out of context.

The fact is that, if we want to have a debate in this country about whether we should continue using -- or doing fetal research, then it's not only Planned Parenthood that should be involved in that debate. All of the experts, all of the scientists, all of the research institutions, everybody who is looking for cures to Parkinson's, for example, should be asked, should we continue this?

But so far as I am aware, what they did, despite the way it was portrayed, is within the laws that were set up for this.

DICKERSON: This week, the Senate is going to vote to impose a federal ban on late-term abortions. Do you support a federal limit on abortion at any stage of pregnancy?

CLINTON: This is one of those really painful questions that people raise. And, obviously, it's really emotional.

I think that the kind of late-term abortions that take place are because of medical necessity. And, therefore, I would hate to see the government interfering with that decision. I think that, again, this gets back to whether you respect a woman's right to choose or not. And I think that is what this whole argument once again is about.

DICKERSON: In the politics this year, it looks like everybody wants an outsider.

(LAUGHTER)

DICKERSON: Now, that puts you in a fix.

(CROSSTALK)

DICKERSON: Does it put you in a fix? Tell us why it doesn't put you in a fix.

CLINTON: I cannot imagine anyone being more of an outsider than the first woman president. I mean, really, let's think about that.

DICKERSON: Now, I agree, but your name -- we have not...

CLINTON: I mean, if you line up -- if you -- all these mothers and fathers bring me the place mats with all the presidents, and they bring their daughters, and they say, my daughter has a question for you. And the daughter says, how come there are no girls on this place mat?

DICKERSON: I agree that that is a difference.

CLINTON: I think that's a pretty big unconventional choice.

DICKERSON: Yes. But you know what I'm asking.

CLINTON: Well, I know you're asking, do we want people who have never been elected to anything, who have no political experience, who have never made any hard choices in the public arena? Well, voters are going to have to decide that.

DICKERSON: But they worry that people who are inside are too inside, that that's why the economic situation is tilted against the middle class. It's why they always feel like everybody can wiggle around the rules.

And that's something you have to deal with, right?

CLINTON: Of course it is.

And that's why I have an economic policy that is centered on raising incomes, because I think what we inherited from the Bush administration, what President Obama had to deal with had the potential of becoming a great depression, not just a great recession.

We have now recovered 13 million jobs, after losing 800,000 a month when he came into office. So, why would we go back to the same policies? Call them insider. Call them tilted toward the rich. Call them giving corporations a free pass to do whatever they want.

I'm against that. I have always been against that. I want to go back to economic policies where we create millions of new jobs and where people's incomes rise not just at the top, but in the middle and at the bottom, like they did under my husband.

So, you know, I'm not running for Bill's third term. I'm not running for President Obama's third term. But it would be really foolish of me not to say, you know, that worked better than what the Republicans offer.

DICKERSON: What role should Wall Street play in the economy?

CLINTON: Look, we need financial markets.

But they need to be put on notice that any of their behaviors that impact Main Street, that disrupt the kind of orderly processing of financial transactions because high-frequency trading is now going to be making decisions in nanoseconds, or fooling around, as they did in the '80s, in packaging mortgage securities in a way that really bombed us into the great resection, I don't think any financial institution, not just banks, because I think it's important to recognize there are a lot of financial institutions.

AIG was a problem. Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. They were not banks in the traditional sense. We need to rein in the risks posed by these financial institutions.

DICKERSON: Let me -- a final question.

Your friend the late Diane Blair wrote in her diary -- quote -- "On her deathbed, Clinton wants to be able to say she was true to herself and is not going to do phony makeovers to please others."

So, knowing you don't want to engage in phony makeovers, give us three words that is the real Hillary Clinton.

(LAUGHTER)

DICKERSON: Just three.

CLINTON: Just three? I can't possibly do that.

I mean, look, I am a real person, with all the pluses and minuses that go along with being that. And I have been in the public eye for so long that I think -- you know, it's like the feature that you see in some magazines sometimes. Real people actually go shopping, you know?

DICKERSON: All right. Well, I'm going to have to really interrupt you.

Thank you, Secretary Clinton.

CLINTON: Thanks, John.

DICKERSON: Democratic presidential -- Hillary Clinton, we hope to talk to you again soon. Thanks very much.

And we will be back in a moment.

CLINTON: Thank you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: There's a lot more ahead, including an interview with Republican presidential candidate and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DICKERSON: Some are our CBS stations are leaving us now.

But, for most of you, we will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Joining me now is Republican Presidential Candidate and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. So you heard Secretary Clinton. What did you think?

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I thought one of the most interesting parts of the discussion was about the refugee crisis. And I think, frankly, that Hillary Clinton bears some of the responsibility for the crisis. Thomas Freedman wrote an op-ed about a week ago, a couple weeks ago, saying that basically Iran and Saudi Arabia had been arsonists, throwing gasoline on the -- on the flames there. But in a way, so is Hillary Clinton's policy of putting arms into that situation. They say, oh, we're going to give them to the good people, but it really wasn't possible I think to find the good people and so many of the people were al Qaeda, al Nusra and some of these people became ISIS. So it was really a bad idea and continues to be a bad idea to arm the allies of ISIS, to arm the allies al Qaeda.

DICKERSON: So what do you -- what would you do in this situation?

PAUL: Well, you know, you had bad people on both sides. I mean Assad is a person who gassed his own people, but on the other side you have really the remnants of the people who attacked us or people with a similar ideology to al Qaeda who attacked us. So really arming either of the sides was a mistake.

But there are people caught in the middle. There are two million Christians in Syria and they're caught in the middle. And if you ask them who they would rather have, Assad or ISIS, they'd all tell you Assad. And even though as bad as he is, Christians feel a little safer under Assad than they do under ISIS. But we shouldn't do anything to push back Assad or to bomb Assad or to defeat Assad because really what that does is it opens a space for ISIS.

DICKERSON: What did you think about the secretary's idea of 65,000 Syrian refugees coming into the United States?

PAUL: You know, my first thought is that, you know, some of the arsonists should accept some of the refugees. Saudi Arabia doesn't appear to be willing to take any. Iran should be taking some. So if they're Shiite Muslims and Saudi Arabia won't take them, why would not Iran want to accept them? And these are the people who have been stoking the flames over there. Bahrain, Qatar, all the people pouring arms into there, all these rich sheikdoms, why aren't they taking refugees?

DICKERSON: What about the argument that the United States, when it does this kind of thing, takes in refugees and plays a leading role in the world, as it did after the Vietnam War with the Vietnam boat people, that that's a way in which, with soft power, the United States gets out of situations it finds it in than are more war-like, which is --

PAUL: Right. Well, I have a great deal of sympathy, obviously, for the people who are displaced and you can't see the pictures of that, you know, young boy that drowned over there and not have a great deal of sympathy. There are private groups trying to bring people over here. There's Project Nazarene, trying to bring Christians out of the Middle East and bring them to our country. But I think we do have to be a little bit weary. I mean we brought 65,000 from Iraq after the Iraq War and part of me says, well, we won the war, why wouldn't the people who were pro-west, why wouldn't we have wanted them to stay in Iraq and help rebuild the country? Why would we take out 65,000 of the best people.

In this situation, there's not really a choice. Those 65,000 people or the hundreds of thousands of people are stranded. But at the same time, I think we have to go to first causes as to what caused it in the first place and try not to -- I mean at least learn from the experience and not throw gasoline on these wars and try to -- but what to do in the immediate aftermath, I mean some of the 65,000 that came from Iraq actually were trying to buy stinger missiles in my hometown in Kentucky. So we do have to be weary of some of the threat that comes from mass migration.

DICKERSON: And that's what this gentleman who spoke at Trump's rally and talked about the president being Muslim and that's -- he -- you know, that's what he was talking about is the danger from that. Should Donald Trump have said anything?

PAUL: Well, I don't think -- not -- you know, we shouldn't question the president's faith and I think that's kind of crazy. And if someone does, we should, I think, rebuke that. But getting back to sort of this mass migration, there was an article about some of the people coming in and they listed a 19-year-old boy from Afghanistan. And his only paperwork was a Hungarian political asylum. He had no other paperwork, no passport. So I think we'd be foolish to say there's no danger, I mean, from mass migration. And so we need to be very weary of that and I think people who visit our country on student visas, I'm not for ending it, but I am for really understanding who's coming to visit our country before they come.

DICKERSON: You know this -- this issue has led to a -- a -- Ben Carson said on "Meet the Press" that it -- that he would not feel comfortable if a Muslim was president. What do you make that have?

PAUL: Well, I think, it's not so much what religion you are, it's what you stand for. But I don't think that we're really anywhere near that -- probably that happening because they're a small minority in our -- in our population. But I think we -- the hard part is, is while we are a very pluralistic society and we're open to all religions, more free than any other country, the problem we have is that people have been attacking us have been all of one religion and it's hard to separate that. And so I understand people saying, oh my goodness, you know, how could that happen?

DICKERSON: Would you have a problem -- would you have -- would you have a problem with a Muslim president though if --

PAUL: I -- I try to see that as a separate thing, someone's religion. But I just think that it's hard for us, we were attacked by people who were all Muslim. I think it's really incumbent. And this is what I've been saying all along, civilized Islam needs to step up in a bigger way and say this doesn't represent us. I know they do. But I don't hear enough of it. I need to hear more of it. And I frankly think that Saudi Arabia's often stoked the flames of radical Islam instead of trying to be helpful.

DICKERSON: So you wouldn't have a problem with that.

Let me ask you about this debate over Planned Parenthood and Carol Tobias, who's the president of the Nationality Right to Life, has said that while nobody wants to defund Planned Parenthood more than her organization, that threatening a government shutdown actually hurts the cause. What do you think of that argument?

PAUL: I think we're missing sort of the bigger picture on everything. Not just Planned Parenthood. We borrow a million dollars a minute. So if you do a continuing resolution, you're acknowledging that the government's broken but you're going to vote to continue spending money at a rate that is unsustainable. So it's not just Planned Parenthood. It's everything.

So I think we need to flip the tables. Everybody saying, oh, we have to have 60 votes to defund Planned Parenthood. We should be saying the opposite. We need 60 votes to fund Planned Parenthood. We need 60 votes to fund everything in government. And we need to start from scratch, which means, yes, we need to hold the line and I'm for saying, let's put hundreds if not thousands of restrictions on all the spending.

See, that's how Congress should assert themselves. We have a passive Congress that has basically advocated their role vis-a-vis the president, and that's a real problem. So I would hold the line. If I were in charge of Congress, I would put forward spending and I would say, this is what it is. And if Democrats don't vote for it, then Democrats would be shutting down government.

DICKERSON: Whose fault is it that Congress doesn't act in the -- particularly Republicans, act in the way you'd like?

PAUL: Congress has been abdicating its role for probably a hundred years. So it goes back probably to the time of Woodrow Wilson. It's gotten worse and it's twofold. One, President Obama is frustrated because he can't get anything passed because it's a Republican Congress so he grabs more and more power. But if Congress let's him do it, and it's because we don't pass any of the appropriation bills.

Now, it's been 40 years since we've passed all of the appropriation bills. That's our job. And the one reason I won't vote for any continuing resolution, period, I won't vote for any of them, it's not the way we should do business and nothing gets fixed. If you vote for a continuing resolution, you're voting for the status quo.

DICKERSON: What's your guess, do you think the government shuts down?

PAUL: I hope that it doesn't continue on without reform. And that's a -- a different way of putting it. But I would put forward spending bills and I would say to the Democrats, you either vote for them or you shut down government or you come and negotiate with us. Right now there's no negotiation because we just acknowledge, oh, we don't have 60 votes to stop any funding, but it's our job and the American people, particularly Republicans, you wonder why outsiders are doing well in the polls, it's because the Republicans in Washington are doing nothing to rein in spending on anything.

DICKERSON: Final question. As I talked about with Secretary Clinton, there's a big appetite for outsiders. That -- that used to be what they said about you when you came in, that you would -- that you're from the outside.

PAUL: Oh, they still do. You just have to listen, they still do.

DICKERSON: But the -- but the polls, at least at the moment for this snapshot in time, seem to like other kinds of outsiders. Is --

PAUL: Right.

DICKERSON: What -- what do you think accounts for that? Is senator a dirty word?

PAUL: Well, you know, I ran for office because I was unhappy about Washington and I still am. The more I see of Washington, the more unhappy I am of how thing are dysfunctional and don't work. I'm a huge proponent of term limits. I would throw everybody out, myself included. I'm serious. I think we need to start afresh periodically and I think 12 years is more than enough time in the Senate, 12 years is more than enough time in the House and I would think you would get more turnover. The status quo remains because the same people remain, decade after decade, and I think sometimes they harken back to an electorate that elected them in 1980 or in 1976. That's not today's electorate and they haven't kept up with the times. The people, the public are about a decade ahead of government, but you need more turnover in government and right now people are upset and unhappy and rightly so and I'm one of them.

DICKERSON: All right, Senator Rand Paul, thanks so much for being with us.

PAUL: Thank you.

DICKERSON: We'll be right back with our panel. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: We're back with our panel: Peggy Noonan is a columnist for "The Wall Street Journal" and a CBS News contribute; Jamelle Bouie is the chief political correspondent for "Slate" magazine; Ron Brownstein is the editorial director at the "National Journal" and Michael Gerson is a columnist for "The Washington Post."

Peggy, what did you think of Secretary Clinton's interview?

PEGGY NOONAN, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": I thought it was unusual for her. I thought it was quite composed, direct, quite collected.

It isn't that she changed, I think, too many of the things she's been saying for awhile but she seemed awfully comfortable. My own view was that she made mistakes on the issue of Planned Parenthood and late-term abortion when she didn't give an inch. She essentially said, Planned Parenthood, just fine; late-term abortion, very complicated but, no, she won't be opposing it.

These are issues that I think people are ready to be very thoughtful on, compromising on and not extreme on. So I think we'll be hearing something about that.

RON BROWNSTEIN, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": I was struck by how conversational she was. Often when she gets on a news interview, her shoulders kind of metaphorically clench, she had her daytime demeanor; she was very approachable, maybe a little overly dismissive, I think, of the questions on the e-mail.

But I was struck by how much she was trying to let people in, this idea that I'm a real person.

Her real challenge is the e-mail issue is not going away, the question is, is that the only thing on the ledger?

Can she fill the other side of the ledger?

There are people for whom this will disqualify her. But probably most of those are people who aren't going to vote for anyway.

The question is can she convince most Americans that there's more to her than what she is now admitting was a mistake? DICKERSON: Yes.

Jamelle, this comes at a time in strategy for the Clinton campaign, where they're trying to put her more out in front.

Assess where that strategy stands, where her campaign stands?

JAMELLE BOUIE, "SLATE" MAGAZINE: I think it was on Friday or on Thursday she did a town hall, not a town hall but some kind of event in New Hampshire on substance abuse. It was her and a relatively small group of people. It was very conversational and very sort of casual.

If those are the kinds of events and strategy it's focused on, I think it's going pretty well. She came across very well during the entire event. And obviously that's not reaching millions of people, but consistently, steadily, over the course of a couple of months, it reaches a lot of people. And it does show people a different side of Clinton than you see on an national interview or speech.

DICKERSON: Yes.

What do you think, Mike?

MICHAEL GERSON, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I do think that the Clinton campaign has often had the flaw of saying, we need to be more transparent and human.

Like, actually, you need to be more transparent. (LAUGHTER)

GERSON: I think she did some of that today. She was casual, maybe some bit a forced casual but she responded really well.

But I think Democrats are wondering, is she going to show appropriate urgency? Her approval numbers are the lowest they have ever been since -- lower than any time at the 2008 election. She's lost ground on women.

This is a serious problem here. And is Joe Biden gets into this race, it would be a very serious race.

BROWNSTEIN: The question is, what is the remedy to the problem?

When Bill Clinton was re-elected in 1996, on the day he was re- elected, in the exit poll, a majority of people said they did not consider him honest and trustworthy. So that by itself is not a disqualifying variable.

The reason he survived is because most people think he cared about people like them, was focused on their problems and was trying to make things better. And I think it is more likely that if she recovers from what Michael points out, is a very low point, she's going to recover more by improving on that front than radically changing the assessment of her honesty.

I think that you can make that somewhat better. That's never going to be ideal for her. I think the core question for her is whether she can convince most Americans that she understands their problems after being in powerful positions for 20 years, as you pointed out, and that she has solutions relevant to those problems.

I think that is where the work has to go. And I think it's an open question whether she can get there.

DICKERSON: Ron pointed out, when I said, people are looking for change, and there have been -- well, the first woman. That's fine. That's quite true. And that would be historic.

But we know that is not what the -- so what is your reaction to that?

NOONAN: She -- Ms. Clinton has been part of the American establishment operating at the part of American national political life for a quarter century now. Of course she is not an outsider. She -- you couldn't be more an insider.

Interestingly, if Joe Biden does decide to come up against her, that will be another insider, not an outsider, going up against her. But I think part of what she's doing now is simply thinking, I can't dodge the press on all of these issues that are besetting me; I look furtive and defensive.

So she's come out here, and I think she'll be coming out probably a great deal more as we see what happens with Mr. Biden and -- (CROSSTALK)

BROWNSTEIN: -- lowering poll numbers do.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWNSTEIN: -- Sunday shows are a lot more --

(CROSSTALK)

BROWNSTEIN: -- for all politicians.

BOUIE: -- outsider question of hers, I'm not actually sure the Democratic electorate is so alerted to in senators.

If you look at the people who are, who have the highest poll totals, they are Secretary Clinton and Joe Biden.

DICKERSON: Yes.

Mike Gerson, let's switch to the Republican side. There was a debate last week, Donald Trump, where does he stand coming out of that debate?

He's been leader at the top of the polls.

Where -- give us your assessment.

GERSON: It was really mixed because the Trump issues, to some extent, did dominate. Jeb Bush announced the tax plan since the last debate. Walker announced a health care plan; none of that was discussed. The 14th Amendment was discussed. Throwing illegal -- 11 million people out of the country was discussed.

So that still, I think, dominated the Republican discourse. But Trump himself was tired, repetitive, I think, not very impressive.

DICKERSON: You are not suggesting he was low energy?

GERSON: No, he was actually boring. And that's the worst thing that Donald Trump can be is boring. That is how he will eventually lose when people think, this is no longer an entertainment.

DICKERSON: Ron, you have often found creative ways to understand the coalition in these parties.

What is the shape of the Republican coalition, given that we have 16 candidates?

BROWNSTEIN: It's really interesting. I think one of the things this election is showing, this primary season, it's showing Republicans their coalition is different than many of them think. The fact is, over the past generation, really since the 1960s, much of the white working class has realigned from the Democratic Party, from the FDR coalition, into the Republican Party. And this has inexorably changed the nature of the Republican voting electorate. Half of the Republican voters, in both 2012 and 2008, in the primaries, were voters without a college education. And that is a clear fissure in preferences today. Donald Trump in that ABC "Washington Post" poll, right before the debate was at 40 percent in a 15-person field, it was at 40 percent among Republicans without a college education; only 20 percent among those with a college education.

If you look at those blue collar Republicans, they are probably the most alienated element of American society. In fact, they support an awful lot of what Donald Trump was talking about. A majority of non-college Republicans would deport all 11 million people; 60 percent of them say it bothers when they hear people speaking a foreign language.

So he has an audience there. The question is what he does to feed that audience, raises the barriers with the rest of the party and we already see in polling some resistance to him in that white collar part of the Republican Party.

GERSON: I agree -- the question here is not whether that group will win. I think that's unlikely. The question is whether the Republican coalition that includes that group can win national elections in an increasingly diverse country.

BOUIE: It's not just diversity because there is pressure on both sides. You have obviously that alienates African Americans and Latinos and Asian Americans but there are plenty of white Americans who don't like the idea of voting for a party that stands for that kind of stuff.

And they may not vote for Democrats but they may not just come out.

NOONAN: But you know what, Trump sort of reminds you, when you see him, even when he's stale, even when he's stalled, he somehow reminds you, just by his being, of how much you hate the current American political system and those who populate it.

I think the challenge for him now is to try to hold on what he's got and try to move forward by reminding people how much they hate what there is now.

DICKERSON: Michael, what about Carly Fiorina?

She seems to have done well out of this.

How does she capitalize on that?

GERSON: I think she won her debate, her first debate. She won the second debate. But if you want to win the presidency by debates we'd have president -- OK. She is a very strong candidate. She is the outsider who knows a lot, actually is conversive with issues, understands foreign policy, intervenes effectively in these debates.

So this is an outsider with clear campaign skills. She did, in California, lose pretty badly. She lost it on her business record, which looks too Romney-like perhaps. And so there's a real vulnerability here. She has not had the level of scrutiny before that she will have now.

NOONAN: She's about to get pounded.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWNSTEIN: With more visibility, comes more vulnerability, no question about that.

But look, I think the fact that the polls are moving so much after each of these debates is somewhat self-invalidating. The fact that they can move that much with one debate is a -- is a sign that they probably don't mean all that much to begin with.

But I would say...

DICKERSON: I'm sorry, what would we do if we didn't have...

(CROSSTALK)

DICKERSON: -- meaning?

BROWNSTEIN: Or another way of putting it is that they're going to move -- there are going to be a lot of intervening events...

DICKERSON: Right.

BROWNSTEIN: -- between now and when people vote and they're going to change a lot.

Look, there really are two races going on in the Republican Party. There are two distinct brackets, right?

I mean you have this kind of populist, more blue collar, more alienated bracket that has Trump, that has Carson, that has Huckabee, Santorum, Jindal, Walker, Ted Cruz, certainly, right at the top of that.

And then you have Bush, Kasich, Christie, probably Rubio, one more -- the first group more focused on Iowa and the second group more focused on New Hampshire.

History says that each of those brackets will produce, in all likelihood, one of the finalists and ultimately they will battle it out.

DICKERSON: Jamelle, quickly, who do you think, in that other group, who did -- who did poorly in this debate?

Did somebody -- did anybody slip, really?

BOUIE: I think Walker did very poorly. I joked while watching it that he spoke at something like two -- in the second hour of the debate. And I was like oh, Walker is alive. He's here. I think -- I think the post-debate polls are indicative of the fact that he kind of just disappeared.

I think Rubio and Kasich did extremely well. I think they both came across as very knowledgeable, very smart. I think Rubio, although some of his lines felt a bit rehearsed, but built -- delivered extremely well and kind of showing an ability to connect policy to biography to political message, that not really anyone else in that field has.

DICKERSON: Yes.

NOONAN: He does an interesting thing, Rubio, where he -- he doesn't put himself forward, he doesn't interrupt, but he waits for the game to come to him. And when it does, he gets a hit.

DICKERSON: Right.

NOONAN: You know, it's a funny thing to see.

(CROSSTALK)

DICKERSON: Or he (INAUDIBLE) to where the puck is going to be as...

(CROSSTALK)

NOONAN: Yes. Yes, yes, yes.

BROWNSTEIN: So, look, I mean, you know, the fact is, is that I think there -- you know, as I said, in all likelihood, you will have an -- you will have an outsider populist who will emerge and in the -- as it gets down to March and beyond, you will have someone more from kind of the center right establishment bracket.

And Rubio -- I think Rubio's big question for him is which bracket is he ultimately playing in?

BROWNSTEIN: Is he an Iowa outsider guy or is he a New Hampshire insider guy?

DICKERSON: Right.

Mr. Gerson, the last word goes to you.

GERSON: Well, I think, you know, the question here is whether the establishment bet is going to work. Well, Bush and -- and Clinton are taking the establishment bet, where you build organization, you build, you know, your -- your structure, you have money...

NOONAN: Money.

GERSON: -- you do all these things and it's usually been a good bet, except in 1964 and 1972.

The question is, is this year different? Will the establishment bet work?

DICKERSON: That's right.

All right, Michael Gerson gets the last word.

Thanks to all of you.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: The pope is coming to town, and Washington is going to come to a halt. The streets will close and crowds will greet him everywhere he goes.

He's going to interrupt the daily flow of things, at least logistically.

Politics is not likely to be interrupted, though. The pope will address a joint session of Congress on Thursday. One member is boycotting because he disagrees with the pope's position on climate change. Those wishing to defund Planned Parenthood will take comfort from the pope's message on families, which has no room for abortion.

But his emphasis on the excesses of capitalism will ruffle a lot of those same people. Same-sex marriage supporters have already been protesting the church's position in advance of his visit.

The pomp and ceremony will be enormous in Washington and then later in Philadelphia and New York. The pope will travel in his special car and receive the beaming faces of the most powerful people in America. Donald Trump might very well be jealous.

But as the leader of a fractured institution that is mending, his lesson for the leaders of broken political institutions doesn't come from the ceremony. It comes from the smaller visits he makes to prisons, where he washes the feet of inmates and into the crowds at mass, where he kissed the disfigured face of a man and prayed with him.

It's a message of humility and service to the poor, a hope that after the streets reopen and everyone is seen and passed, we'll all pay attention to the people we pass on the street every day and never see.

Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: That's it for us today.

Thanks for watching.

Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I'm John Dickerson.

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