Face the Nation this Sunday: Ron Paul

This Sunday's guests on "Face the Nation" are Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul, Republican Senator Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (W.Va.).

With less than two months until the first votes are cast in Iowa, the Republican presidential field is as unsettled as ever. While former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney maintains his base of support, he's not breaking out. Meanwhile, businessman Herman Cain and former house speaker Newt Gingrich have each seen their poll numbers rise (and in Cain's case, fall), and now Representative Ron Paul joins them atop the latest Bloomberg News poll of Iowa voters.

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"Ron Paul is for real in Iowa," said Chris Cilizza of the Washington Post this week. Paul ran for president as a Republican in 2008, but his message of small government and limited foreign engagement is striking a chord with many Tea Party supporters.

Known for his staunch libertarianism and his plans to abolish the Federal Reserve, Paul's campaign has been surging, raising over $8 million in the third quarter of this year and winning numerous straw polls. He has a strong base of support and has been running television ads for months now in the first caucus state, Iowa.

Paul also has some tough words for most of Washington and has unveiled his own major budget cutting bill. While the congressional supercomittee tries to come up with a plan to cut more than $1 trillion from the federal budget over the next ten years, Paul has his own plan to cut $1 trillion - which he says can be done next year.

"I don't think there's any serious talk on the hill. I don't think the super committee is anywhere close," he said this week. His plan would eliminate five federal cabinet departments -- Education, Energy, Commerce, Interior and the Department of Housing and Urban Development -- thereby cutting the federal workforce by 10 percent.

"I think it would be a pretty good starter and gets back to living within our means," he said.

The super committee and cutting spending is again the key issue this week in Washington, but with its deadline of next Wednesday, fast approaching, failure looks like the most likely option as the two sides are again stuck on Washington's biggest sticking point - taxes.

"Tax Spat Stymies Debt Panel" says the Wall Street Journal. "Supercommitee on Brink of Collapse" screams the headline in Politico.

Usually the hang-up in Washington is that Democrats want tax increases and Republican want only spending cuts to help balance the budget.

But thanks to a proposal from freshman Republican Senator Pat Toomey, now the main question is how much will be raised from new revenues. Toomey has put for a plan to raise nearly $500 billion in variety of new revenues, including closing loopholes in an effort to reform the tax code, and yet plans to permanently extend all of the Bush era tax cuts, set to expire next year.

"If we can have the opportunity to generate the tremendous economic growth that has come from the tax reform, with simplifying the code, and avoid the biggest tax increase in American history, ... I think that's worth paying the price," Toomey said in an interview with Politico.

Because most Republicans are opposed to any effort to increase taxes, the fact that Toomey, the former head of the conservative Club for Growth, is behind the proposal, gives it more legitimacy among many in Washington.

Many democrats, though, are seeking more of a balance of tax increases, through eliminating deductions and loopholes, and spending cuts to reach the super committee's goal of cutting more than $1.2 trillion from the budget over the next ten years.

Joe Manchin, a freshman senator and former governor of West Virginia, has pushed the committee to "Go Big" - suggesting a goal of $4 trillion in cuts through reforms to the tax code and entitlement programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Manchin, who won the seat formerly held by longtime Democrat Robert Byrd, is one of 23 Democrat incumbents who are up for re-election next year, and key to the party's hopes to retaining control of the Senate.

He came to the Senate promising to he'd "take on Washington, and this administration to get the federal government off of our backs and out of our pockets," he said in his now famous television ad that showed him firing a bullet through, taking "dead aim" at, the cap and trade legislation passed to curb greenhouse emissions.

Since he's been in Washington, Manchin has done what he promised - taking on the partisan gridlock.

"To the tens of millions of American families who work hard to take care of their families, I can only imagine the anger and disgust they have at witnessing a broken government and a President and Members of Congress who can't seem to even agree sometimes on what day it is - let alone how to solve our nation's debt crisis.," he said during the debt ceiling debate in July. "The American people deserve better," he said in his sharp rebuke of the system and his colleagues.

He also argued for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, in part because the nation cannot afford the commitment any longer.

"I believe that if we are being honest with the American people about the depth of fiscal challenges we face at home, it is impossible to defend the mission in Afghanistan, in which we are building schools, training police, teaching people to read - in other words, building a country - even at the expense of our own," he said in June.

Can the super committee succeed? Can Democrats and Republican reach common ground on new tax revenues or entitlement reforms? Will failure lead to significant spending cuts? What would failure mean for the economy and will it affect President Obama's re-election campaign? Will failure give new energy to those in the electorate looking to change Washington? Will Republican voters soon turn to Ron Paul and can he win the Iowa Caucus?

All of those issues, plus the latest on the Republican campaign for the White House as Candidate and Rep. Ron Paul and Sen. Toomey and Manchin and join Bob Schieffer to Face the Nation.

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    Robert Hendin is senior producer for "Face the Nation" and a CBS News senior political producer.