Face in the News

Plouffe on defense cuts, lead in battleground states
White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe talks about news on the campaign trail, says the president has a small lead in some key states.

Following two weeks of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions on the center stage, this Sunday's Face the Nation previewed an excerpt from Scott Pelley's upcoming 60 Minutes interview with President Barack Obama where he discussed the looming fiscal cliff and how he plans to address the deficit.

"The problem is the math, or the arithmetic as President Clinton said, doesn't add up," Obama said about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's deficit reduction plan. "You can't reduce the deficit unless you take a balanced approach that says we have to make government leaner and more efficient but we also have to ask people like me or Governor Romney, who have done better than anybody else over the course of the last decade, and whose taxes are just about lower than they've been in the last 50 years, to do a little bit more."

When Pelley asked President Obama if he could achieve a grand bargain following the election, Obama said he is "more than happy to work with the Republicans" to reduce the deficit and avoid the fiscal cliff.

(Read more about Scott Pelley's interview with President Obama on Bloomberg Businessweek, The Boston Globe, The Hill, National Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, Politico, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, Bloomberg News)

Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan responded to Obama's budget comments when he was interviewed by Norah O'Donnell who filled in for Bob Schieffer this week.

"I have been more than happy to work with him, but he hasn't been acting like that," Ryan said. "You know, what we learned in this presidency, he says one thing and does another. He gave us four budgets, each of which had trillion-dollar deficits, none of which ever, ever proposed to actually balance the budget."

Ryan was then pressed on the fact that he voted for the Budget Control Act that supported defense cuts, a vote which Romney recently denounced Republicans for supporting. Ryan refuted the contradictory actions between himself and Romney on sequestration.

"I voted for a mechanism that says the sequester will occur if we don't cut $1.2 trillion in government," Ryan said. "We can get into this nomenclature; I voted for the Budget Control Act. But the Obama Administration proposed $478 billion in defense cuts. We don't agree with that, our budget rejected that, and then on top of that is another $500 billion in defense cuts in the sequester."

He continued to defend his positions and attacked Obama on the defense cuts. "We wanted to have a bipartisan agreement; we got that. And the president hasn't fulfilled his end of that bipartisan agreement," Ryan said. "The goal was never that these defense cuts actually occur, the goal is that we get to work and cut spending so that we prevent those defense cuts."

Later, Ryan defended his foreign policy knowledge by comparing himself to Obama's experience when he ran for president in 2008, despite the fact that Obama served as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"I've been in Congress for 14 years. He was in the Senate for far, far less time than that. I've voted - you know, Norah, I've voted to send men and women to war," Ryan said. "I've been to Iraq and Afghanistan. I've met with our troops to get their perspectives. I've been to the funerals, I've talked to the widows, I've talked to the wives, the moms and the dads. That's something. That matters."

(Read more about the conversation with Ryan in The New York Times, The Hill, The Atlantic, Los Angeles Times, Talking Points Memo, The Washington Post, Reuters, CNN, UPI, and Bloomberg Businessweek)

White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe took aim at Ryan's responses on sequestration, comparing them to a controversy last week where Ryan claimed to have a marathon time under three hours but was disproved by fact checkers who found his running time was actually over four hours.

"He voted for the sequester. He voted for the Budget Control Act. He was running away from them with the kind of pace I guess he ran in that fictional marathon you asked him about," Plouffe said. "They're acting as if they had nothing to do with this. They voted for this."

Fresh from the Democratic National Convention, Plouffe praised the speeches made by President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and former President Bill Clinton. Plouffe said while the convention energized voters, he did not expect to see a major boost in the polls.

"This is a close race, you're not going to see. Well, you're not going to see huge swings," Plouffe said. "But we think in the battleground states right now -- Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, in Florida -- where we are today, we've got a small but important lead, and we think that was enhanced coming out of both of our conventions."

(Read more about Plouffe in Politico, USA Today, and The Atlantic)

Also, don't miss the political roundtable with Michael Gerson of The Washington Post, David Sanger of The New York Times, Dee Dee Myers of Vanity Fair, and CBS News Political Director John Dickerson.

Watch the full episode of Face the Nation.