Watch CBS News

Face the Nation transcipts March 30, 2013: Inslee, Emmert, Hayden, Morell

Below is a transcript of Face the Nation from March 30, 2013. Guests included: Gov. Jay Inslee, David Ignatius, Mark Emmert, Gen. Michael Hayden and Michael Morell. Panel: Gwen Ifill, David Ignatius, Carolyn Ryan and David Gergen.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on Face the Nation...some good news overnight on that devastating mudslide in Washington state...some of the latest have turned up alive. We'll get the latest from Washington Governor Jay Inslee. We'll go to Australia for the latest on the missing Malaysian airliner. As Russian troops continue to mass on the border of Ukraine and diplomatic talks resume we'll get analysis from former CIA official Michael Morrell and former NSA chief Michael Hayden. And should college athletes be allowed to unionize and what does that mean for the future of college athletics? We'll talk to Mark Emmert, the head of the NCAA. All that and an all-star panel of analysts. 60 years of news because this is Face the Nation.

Good morning again, we want to start with that devastating mudslide that wiped out the tiny town of Oso, Washington a week ago. Last night authorities raised the death toll to 18, but they've revised the number of missing from 90 to 30. John Blackstone is in nearby Darrington, John?

JOHN BLACKSONE: Good morning, Bob. Well, it was a dramatic change last night when they lowered that number of the missing from 90 to 30. There were some duplicates on the list, and some people thought to be missing were just somewhere else. Now it's a much smaller number. But for those who are waiting to learn the fate of their loved ones, it's pf course no less painful. Now, for searchers the work is as challenging as ever. They are slowly making their way through a muddy debris field that stretches across one square mile. It's littered with uprooted trees and the wreckage of homes and cars. National guardsman have been working in waist deep mud and water. More than 100 searches are picking through the mud and debris, shovel by shovel. It turns out the most effective search tool here comes on four legs. Rescue dogs have been an essential part of the hunt for bodies and for possible survivors. But even the dogs -- even for the dogs, working in the mud is proving demanding and difficult

The goods news here came mostly in the first hours after the landslide, when helicopter rescue crews saved those who managed to stay above the mud. Four year old Jacob Spillers was the youngest person who was saved His rescue gave people here a much needed reason to hope. But now, search leaders acknowledge it's unlikely that anyone could still be alive. When they're searching in collapsed buildings, there's a possibility of air pockets, voids where people could survive. But here, Bob, it seems that the mud and the water has filled any sort of air pocket or void.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Now Governor Jay Inslee is on the other side of the mudslide in Arlington, Washington. Governor, thank you so much for taking time to talk with us this morning. There are still 30 people missing. Do you think, at this point, there's any chance of finding them alive?

GOV. JAY INSLEE: Look, we are hoping for a miracle. And more importantly, we are working for a miracle. And we're doing everything humanly possible if that opportunity exists. These searchers, both professionals and volunteer, are really performing Herculean tasks right now. They're working beyond the point of exhaustion. And we intend to exhaust every possible avenue to look for that miracle. But we do know that these are going to be heavy days ahead for folks in the Stillaguamish Valley and for the State of Washington and for the nation. And we do feel the nation's compassion for this part of the world right now, which we appreciate.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you have any kind of estimate as to how long this search is going to go on?

GOV. JAY INSLEE: Well, we don't know exactly the dimensions. But we are going to be in an active rescue mode, as long as there's any possibility of hope for these survivors. But the task before our state is really quite monumental. This has severed an arterial highway to the town of Darrington. We've got sort of a temporary road set up. But we're going to have to restore this highway and restore this town.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you have any need for anything that you're not getting now? Is there any kind of help you would like to have that you're not getting?

GOV. JAY INSLEE: Well, no, we're fully resourced on the rescue. But we are appreciative of the state and the nation are pouring out their hearts and their donations to the Red Cross and United Good Way. Those things are welcome. We feel that warmth. And I guess what we'd like for the nation is to recognize the depths of the grief of Darrington and Oso and Arlington.

But also they recognize that these are resilient independent people. And I have seen acts of courage and inspiration from the rescuers to the kids who are serving meals to the rescuers. This is a place of inspiration, as well. And I hope people are proud of what's going on in this area right now.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, back in 1999, I guess the Corps of Engineers issued a report that there was the potential for a large, catastrophic failure out there. Do you feel the state missed the warning signs that something might happen?

GOV. JAY INSLEE: Well, we live in a state that was carved by glaciers. And it's a supremely beautiful state. But it left large hills and mountains of sort of unconsolidated soils on top of clay. So there are quite a number of areas that do present some geological instability. We are going to get to the bottom of the question you asked. It's going to take a lot of works, months of geological research.

But right now, (UNINTEL PHRASE), look we are focused like a laser beam on rescuing anyone who could be subject to a miracle. And also taking care of these families. These families are in great stress right now. We want to wrap them in our arms, make sure we take care of their housing. Things as simple as getting I.D. and driver's license. That's got to be our focus right now. That's what we're going to get done.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, Governor, we're all thinking about you. And we appreciate what you're doing out there. And we wish you the very best in this--


GOV. JAY INSLEE: Thank you. Thanks to your heart, Bob, and the whole country. Thank you.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Now to the ongoing mystery of the missing Malaysian jetliner which vanished from radar over three weeks ago. CBS News correspondent Holly Williams is in Perth, Australia. Holly?

HOLLY WILLIAMS: Good morning Bob, we are now eleven days into this search in the southern Indian Ocean for the wreckage of flight 370 and so far nothing has been found. For the first time yesterday ships were able to retrieve objects sighted from the air but everything they dragged up was just flotsam and jetsam, just ordinary garbage you'd find in any ocean. Now we flew yesterday on an Australian OrionP3 search craft and saw how difficult the crew's job is. They flew as low as 250 feet over the water and they were able to spot fishing buoys, ropes and even a pot of dolphins but again no wreckage. The fact that no debris has been found really adds to the frustration felt by the families of the 239 people who were on board. Around two thirds of the passengers were from China and some of their families arrived in Kuala Lumpur today to press Malaysia Airlines to give them more and clearer information about the investigation. Now what the search teams here are racing to find are the planes black boxes or flight recorders because they could finally explain what went wrong and perhaps also offer some comfort to the family members. The US Navy has flown in a black box locator which can find flight recorders in waters up to 20,000 feet deep. Now I was loaded onto a ship here today and should reach the search area in the next 48 hours but, Bob ,the batteries on those black boxes may only have around 8 days of life left.

BOB SCHIEFFER: The United States, of course, is one of six countries involved in the search and rescue. Commander William Marks is the spokesman for the Seventh Fleet of our Navy and he joins us by phone this morning from the Seventh Fleet's command ship, the USS Blue Ridge. Commander, anything new at all from overnight?

COMMANDER MARKS: We have our P8 Poseidon just landed from it's mission today. No reports of any debris associated with an aircraft. And although, that's somewhat discouraging not to find debris, it does bring up a good point in that the satellite imagery that we have seen - it is helpful, however, we've got to have conclusive visual evidence of debris. and that is the most important thing. So we have to keep flying these missions out of Perth...And until we can determine that original location, we can't get our pinger locator out there, and we can't use our Side-Scan sonar to search.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Commander, some are saying that this search may well go on for year. Can we continue at the level we're now operating?

COMMANDER MARKS: ...If we don't get a location on that pinger, we then have to very slowly use sonar to get an image, a digital image of the bottom of the ocean and that is incredibly, a long process to go through. But It is possible, but yes it could take quite a while

BOB SCHIEFFER: Commander, is there anything that could be done that is not being done at this point?

COMMANDER MARKS: ...We have about as many assets out there as we can. The last count was about 60 or so between the ships and the aircraft. You know, you have to wonder if the debris is even out there...if we fly over something, we will see it.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Alright, well Commander, thank you so much and all the best of luck to you

COMMANDER MARKS: You're welcome. Thank you.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And now to the situation in Ukraine. Russian troops continue to amass along the border of Ukraine. U.S. officials now say there are close to 50,000 of them there. They say those troops show all the elements of combat power. On Friday, Russian President Putin called President Obama and said he wanted to work to reduce tensions. Yesterday, the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said that the Russians had, in his words, "no intention of invading Ukraine."

But he and Secretary of State Kerry are going to meet later today in Paris. David Ignatius of The Washington Post is with us this morning. David, I can't remember a Sunday morning when we started out covering so many different stories, such different stories, but all of them of great significance. Let me ask you first, what do you make of this phone call that Putin-- he called the president on Friday and said he (UNINTEL) wanted to talk about this situation in Ukraine? I know you've been on this story all weekend. What do U.S. officials make of this?

DAVID IGNATIUS: It's tempting to see this as a blink on Putin's part. Putin is poised on the border of Eastern Ukraine. But the idea of actually attacking is pretty risky for Putin. He would encounter resistance from Ukrainian troops this time, which he did not in Crimea. There's the prospect of having to fight a long, partisan battle against Ukrainians, who feel strongly about their nation.

So it appears, from what Putin has said, that he (UNINTEL) a time to at least begin a round of diplomatic talks to see if there's some balanced, middle-ground solution. President Obama has a very delicate task here. He wants to invite that conversation, but maintain the position that what Russia has done in seizing Crimea is unacceptable, is a violation of the international order.

There are formulas that have been floated the last three days about what the talks later today in Paris between Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov might involve. There are things like federalization of Ukraine. There are things like perhaps implicit promises from Ukraine, maybe explicit, that it doesn't seek to join NATO. And if the U.S. would like to keep the door open for Ukraine joining the European Union, but maybe not NATO.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you think he's dialing back a little or wants to dial back a little?

DAVID IGNATIUS: You can't say that he's dialing back as long as all those troops are on the border threatening to come across and really destabilize this situation. But Putin's come right up to the edge of a very volatile conflict in Europe. And I think he's wondering whether it's time to step back a little bit and see if he can gain diplomatically enough that he can deescalate the crisis.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, Scott Pelley had what I thought was a very interesting interview with the president when he was in Rome. And the president speculated on what he thought was motivating Putin. Here's part of what he said.

BOB SCHIEFFER: What did you make of the president's comment?

DAVID IGNATIUS: I thought it was a first-rate interview. It's worth seeing in its entirety. But in the clip that you showed, President Obama, I thought, was trying to do something that I just heard Henry Kissinger at a private gathering at Yale say, which is that it's crucial for statesmen to try to see the world as their adversaries see it.

And in that comment about the deeply-held grievance that motivates Putin, I thought Obama was trying to do that. And the trick is to understand your adversary, but maintain your demands that your adversary behave in a responsible way. So I think that little piece, if Putin watched it, he would say, "Here's an American president who's at least trying to understand the way I see the world."

BOB SCHIEFFER: If he reacts to things the way we in the West--


BOB SCHIEFFER: --we don't know what. At least they're talking. And so we'll see what comes from that. We'll come back to this, David. And we're going to be back in one minute on a totally different subject. Mark Emmert, the president of the NCAA, the ruling body of college athletics is going to be here to talk about what could be a groundbreaking rule for college sports.


BOB SCHIEFFER: We're back now with the president of the NCAA, Dr. Mark Emmert. And Dr. Emmert, I think it's fair to say this was a surprise, it was a bombshell when the National Labor Relations Board ruled last week that college football players at Northwestern had the right to unionize. Now it's my understanding you think this would basically be a disaster for college sports.

MARK EMMERT: Well, I certainly, like I think many people, understand the need for people to pay attention to and be concerned about the welfare of student athletes. That's what the NCAA was created for a hundred years ago. And that's what we keep our attention on. But I don't think that unionizing the student athletes and turning them into unionized employees of universities is a way to improve their success. So no we're not particularly--


BOB SCHIEFFER: What would happen if they declared them to be employees? I guess that would mean their scholarships would be considered wages? They would be taxed?

MARK EMMERT: Yes, I assume so, as well. So if you look at Northwestern, for example, the value of scholarship, tuition fees, room and board, books and supplies that they get is around $75,000 a year. So we assume that becomes taxable. But more importantly, it completely changes the relationship from a student who's there to get an education and enjoy all the benefits of being a student at a place like Northwestern to being an employee. We don't even know what that looks like. If they drop a ball, do they get fired? How do you recruit them? Do you hire them? Do you trade them? I mean, what does that relationship look like is anyone's guess now.

BOB SCHIEFFER: But aren't you going to have to do something? I mean, this has now become a multi-billion dollar industry. And people say, "Look, everybody's making money out of this but the students themselves. And they're being used. They're not being treated fairly."

MARK EMMERT: Yes. To me, at least, and I'm sure this is true for our more than 1,100 member universities and colleges, the game changer for a young person in life is that they get an education. We know that means they'll make a million dollars more than they would have otherwise. So if we're making sure that the focus is on students getting an education, graduating from a university without debt, without any burdens on them. And they go on into the world. And they're successful, because of what they learned as a student athlete and what they gained in the classroom. That's the real game-changer for them.

The billions of dollars that come in (and it is a very large amount of money that universities receive for intercollegiate athletics in two sports, football and basketball) that also is what drives and pays for all of the other expenses in intercollegiate athletics. So track and field, soccer, women's volleyball, women's basketball, all of those sports are paid for by the revenue that comes in from two sports that drive all of that activity. So the notion that somehow universities are taking that money and putting it in the bank is utterly erroneous. They're using it to pay for nearly a half a million student athletes.

BOB SCHIEFFER: But what happens to those other sports? Would they continue on if these people are declared to be employees rather than athletes?

MARK EMMERT: Well, they'd be deeply threatened, to say the least, because of the change in that relationship. And I'm not sure how you can rule that a student athlete who spends as much time as our student athletes do in women's basketball is different than one in men's basketball. The time commitment's the same. The work's the same. Their dedication's the same. If one's a unionized athlete and an employee, then I suspect the other is, as well.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Where do you think this is going? Do you think it finally winds up in the Supreme Court?

MARK EMMERT: Yes, I think it does. It so fundamentally changes the nature of what college sport is about. And it blows up what is one of America's iconic activities. I think it winds up in the Supreme Court.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Are these students really student athletes? Because after all, some of them are working. Then you add up your practice times, 50 hours a week. They are different than the other students who go to school. There's no question about that.

MARK EMMERT: You're right. There is no question about it. And I think one of the things that the NCAA and our member universities have to address is how much time demands are being placed on successful student athletes. Across the board, they commit an enormous amount of time. And unfortunately, it begins in the sixth grade these days. We have kids playing sports 12 months out of the year. And I think we as a society need to rebalance that a lot.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, can you think of any solutions, any reforms, any way that maybe these kids could share in what's happening here in college sports?

MARK EMMERT: Sure, there's a lot of things that we need to do and the members are actively engaged in looking for changes. One, we've been talking about increasing the size of the scholarship to cover, in our jargon, full cost of attendance, which would add several thousand dollars worth of resources to all those scholarships. We're talking about those time constraints and can we get them to be more reasonable? Because again, the game changer for life is getting that degree and that education.

Three, we need to make sure that we're doing everything humanly possibly around health and wellness and the support of student athletes around their wellbeing. Those things and a handful of others, I think, are critical changes that are well in the works right now. And we'll see that happen in the next few months.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right, well, Doctor, thank you so much.

MARK EMMERT: Thank you.

BOB SCHIEFFER: This is a very interesting situation. We'll be coming back to this story as it continues to develop and get in some other (UNINTEL) down the road. For now, I'll be right back with some personal thoughts.


BOB SCHIEFFER: James Schlesinger died last week after a long life of public service. I came to know him when he was Secretary of Defense during Watergate and I was a young Pentagon reporter. Before coming to the Pentagon he headed both the Atomic Energy Commission and the CIA and later served as Democrat Jimmy Carter's secretary of energy. What set him apart from today's Washington crowd was that he actually knew something about something other than politics and fund raising. Truth to tell he was one of the worst politicians I ever knew. After Nixon left and Gerald Ford became president, the joke was that Secretary of State Kissinger would begin his briefings to the new president by saying, "Mr, President, as I'm sure you're aware..." Schlesinger would just blurt out," Mr. President you probably don't know this but.." What he lacked in finesse, he more than made up for in character and courage. When Nixon operatives told him to remove Watergate files from the Justice Department and bury them at the CIA, he told them in so many words, "make me." In the final days of Watergate, he became so concerned with Richard Nixon's stability that he ordered safeguards to prevent the White House from issuing direct orders to the military. It was years before any of that became known but in one of the country's darkest hours he was one of those who held the government together. Back in a minute.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Some of our stations are leaving us now, but for most of you we'll be right back with a lot more Face the Nation, including the former head of the CIA and NSA, General Michael Hayden, CBS News Consultant Michael Morell and our panel. Stay with us.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, welcome back to Face the Nation. We are joined now by retired Air Force General Michael Hayden, who served as the head of both the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency and Michael Morell, who was the number-two man at the C.I.A. until last year, now a CBS News consultant. Michael Morell also served on the panel that made recommendations to President Obama about what type of reform should be made at the National Security Agency after the revelations by Edward Snowden. Gentlemen, let me ask you both (and I'll just start with you, Mike) this situation on the border of Ukraine right now, what's your take on what Putin is up to?

MICHAEL MORELL: So I think you have to, Bob, make a distinction between capability of the troops there and then Putin's intentions. The capabilities of our troops would be to take perhaps a third of Ukraine if Putin wanted to. But it would be very difficult for him to hold it. Because what would happen very quickly is an insurgency would grow up. And those troops would be attacked. It would be a very nasty situation. I don't think Putin wants that. That brings us to the intentions. I think what he's trying to do is maximize what he gets out of this diplomatically. He thinks he's in a strong position. He wants to come to the negotiating table.

BOB SCHIEFFER: So do you think he's ready to dial back?

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: Yes, I think so. I agree with Michael's analysis. But I would point out one thing that we would both be cautious of. Capabilities change slowly. Intentions can change quickly. You know, we need to be concerned about this. But frankly, I think he wants to pocket the Crimean victory. I think he wants to make that a fact beyond contradiction.

I think the talks between Lavrov and Secretary Kerry will not talk about Crimea. That'll be locked in and will not change. Also, Bob, you have to understand, what tools of influence does he have? I mean, is it the magnetic attraction of the Russian political system or the Russian economy? No. His tool is that threat, that danger, that presence of forces along the Ukrainian border. So I think we'll see them there for a long time, which will be troubling and potentially destabilizing. But I agree with Michael--


BOB SCHIEFFER: That has certainly helped his position politically at home, has it not?

MICHAEL MORELL: It has. You know, what he wants ultimately is he wants to make sure that Ukraine does not become part of NATO. And probably not part of the E.U. either. And that's what he wants out of it.

BOB SCHIEFFER: But the talks that Kerry and Lavrov are having, you both see this as a good thing, as it were?

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: A good thing with one caution. We cannot be negotiating over the heads of the Ukrainian people. What fundamentally matters here is what the Ukrainians will for the nature of their state. So we need to be careful not even to project the appearances that we're negotiating beyond that.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you about what's going on. The president makes this recommendation now that he wants to, basically as I understand it, stop the National Security Agency from collecting these large banks of data, telephone numbers of Americans. You were on the panel that recommended this, Mike. I assume you're in favor of what he's done here. This is one of the recommendations. But what difference is this going to make? How will people (UNINTEL)?

MICHAEL MORELL: So this is exactly what the review group recommended, which is that the government will no longer hold the data. And that any time N.S.A. wants to query that data that they will require a court order. There is a competing proposal from the House Intelligence Committee, which is that the phone companies will also hold the data. But that that court review will not happen before, it will happen later.

I'm comfortable with that. I think we're headed in the right direction here. And I think there'll be some sort of compromise between the president's proposal, which again is consistent with the review group, and the House Intelligence Committee's proposal. They're very, very close to each other.

BOB SCHIEFFER: General, you ran the National Security Agency. Are you comfortable with this?

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: I am. And as Michael suggests, there's powerful convergence between what the president's suggesting and what the House Intelligence Committee has actually embodied--


BOB SCHIEFFER: --explain to me what difference they're working with.

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: Well, here's what's happening, all right? N.S.A. would get billing records on a daily basis from the American telecom providers. But over time, the percentage of overall billing records the N.S.A. was retrieving got smaller and smaller. Michael's panel pointed out that they're only getting about a third, if that, just because of changes in technology.

But N.S.A. held them. And a lot of civil libertarians were concerned about that. Not because that had been abused, but because of the potential for abuse. So what we get now is N.S.A. doesn't hold it. The telephone companies hold it. And the N.S.A. gets to query the data. And here it gets to query the data in an exhaustive way, not that one third they've formerly gotten.

And beyond that, if you look at the language in the House bill, it actually talks about all communications. So in this sense, N.S.A.'s able to query not just telephone metadata, but digital or email metadata, too. I think we've arrived at a solution that actually makes us more safe, but gives people higher comfort that the government would not potentially abuse it.

BOB SCHIEFFER: But how can the telephone company do a better job of keeping it safe than the United States Government, Michael?

MICHAEL MORELL: There is a difference between the government holding the data, which creates the possibility of abuse out of government. And the government not holding the data, which obviously doesn't create that possibility. The phone companies have held this data all along. So there's no additional risk in them taking this on.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you know the part that worries me is not so much that the government is spying on me, but that all these commercial enterprises are spying on me. Should I be worried about that?

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: Well, you know, that line between our public self and our private self is shifting. So much more our individual knowledge/data is out there in the public domain for retrieval. It's a broad cultural question that we're going to have to come to grips with. And Bob, you and I have talked about this before. It's generational, too. Different people of different ages think differently about it.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I think we are redefining our whole idea of what privacy is. I mean, people now talk about things at the dinner table that they used to not talk about behind the barn. You're seeing stuff on Facebook. We all know what we're talking about now.

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: But an important window, we are (UNINTEL) in the intelligence community about the reasonable expectation of privacy. That's what the Fourth Amendment guarantees. And now that definition of reasonable is shifting. That makes this work very hard.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You're absolutely right about that. Well, thanks to both of you. And we'll be back with our panel in just a second.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, we're back now with our panel. And I can't think of a Sunday when we had more to talk about. We're joined by Gwen Ifill, who hosts PBS News Hour and Washington Week, David Ignatius, of course, columnist for the Washington Post who was reporting for us earlier this morning, Dave Gergen, who is with Harvard. And we want to welcome Carolyn Ryan to Face the Nation. She's the new Washington bureau chief of the New York Times. My, I don't know how I got invited to this (UNINTEL PHRASE). Well, David, what's your take right now on where we are on this situation in Ukraine?

DAVID GERGEN: Well, I think the president in going to Europe this week did make some advances. He gave a good speech. I think he has bolstered things he's done more than George W. Bush did way back when with Georgia. Having said that, as much as I detest Vladimir Putin, he's a thug, you have to acknowledge he's played his cards pretty shrewdly and pretty successfully from his point of view.

Syria, you know, we were on the verge of going in with military action. He offers a deal that we accept and to keep us out, allows Assad to expand his power, not shrink his power. He goes into Crimea. Everybody says, "There are going to be consequences." The consequences are he's nearly pocketed it. You know, basically, it's sort of in his hands. Then we said, "Well, he paid a big price for this. He's diplomatically isolated." And today, you know, we've got the secretary of state turning around to go back and engage in negotiations with the Russians. That's some diplomatic isolation.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, I mean, the parallels between this and the beginnings of World War I and also World War II are just striking. Yet, we find the attitude in the United States right now is very much like it was before World War II. People don't want anything to do with this, according to the polls. They're not sure we should become even involved in it, Gwen.

GWEN IFILL: One of the most interesting stories I read about this week was written by Robert (UNINTEL) at the Brookings Institution, which he pointed out that Americans in every poll show they want a light footprint. This is what they want. We're not isolations exactly. But we don't really want to be boots on the ground anywhere.

At the same time, the president's foreign policy ratings are going down. People look at him and they don't approve of his handling of foreign policy, even though he is carrying through that very ethos which is we should be pulling back. So that now the question is what is the script? Is the script the Kerry/Lavlov script in Paris? Is it the Obama/Putin phone call script and Friday in the Oval Office? Who's making the phone call? Who's not? Who's blinking? Who's not? And either way, I don't think that public opinion, especially in your second term, is going to be what drives the outcome.

CAROLYN RYAN: I do think when you talk to people (I was reporting this through the weekend), if you talk to 20 different people within the U.S. government, you get 20 different interpretations of what Putin is really ultimately up to. And I think one of the problems just in terms of reading the situation is that he is relying on fewer and fewer advisors and aides and sort of a shrunken circle of royal advisors.

And I think it was Reuters who said he just listens to his own inner voice. So as much as there's some hope or glimmers of hope given the Lavrov/Kerry meeting, I do think there's such unpredictability and volatility in that situation that it's made it very difficult for the West to read it.

BOB SCHIEFFER: David, I wanted to ask you about something you said earlier. You said you spent the last couple of days with Henry Kissinger. What was that like? And how does he feel?

DAVID IGNATIUS: Well, this was at a convocation at Yale University where Dr. Kissinger's given his papers. So there was an evening and then a day of discussion about Europe, principally about Ukraine. And Henry Kissinger's now over 90, but is the person I find most useful to listen to on crises like this, because he's actually been there. I think he knows Vladimir Putin probably better than any American.

And he kept coming back to the point that if you want to conduct diplomacy, you need to be able to see what your adversary's thinking, so as to craft a response that asserts your interests, but also listens to his. And we'll see tonight as Secretary Kerry meets with Lavrov and tomorrow as we kind of try to understand what happened, whether this is one of those moments where we went from a very tense crisis with 50,000 troops on the border into a period of diplomacy where people tried to serve out the equities. But that's kind of thing Kissinger was telling this audience we need to do more of.

GWEN IFILL: Isn't it also Henry Kissinger who said we should not engage in any kind of intervention until we know how we want it to end, not how we want it to begin? And that's exactly where we are.

DAVID GERGEN: I would just suggest that (I'm a big admirer of Henry Kissinger) but there's another view out there represented by Bob Gates, who was secretary of defense for two presidents in a row, including President Obama. And he feels that what we have to do is not only understand them, but we have to make them understand us. And that comes to action not just speeches. We need a strategic long game that shows Putin over the long term Russia will suffer.

And he may be there for ten more years under the Russian Constitution. Putin could be there for another ten years. That he will suffer. And the Gates view is you've got to stand up to him now. But my personal view is I thought the president would make a surprise visit to Kiev this week. It just seemed to me that would rally the people of Ukraine, know that the Americans were with them, just as John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan did that in Berlin. But it also shows Putin, "Hey, look, we're not just patsies in this thing. We're not here just to negotiate a way for you to get an off ramp and keep Crimea."

CAROLYN RYAN:But wouldn't that be a risk given that Putin has suggested it's the West and the U.S. that has inspired what happened in Ukraine? If the president shows up there, would it be--



DAVID GERGEN: I think it's really important to understand the mind of dictators. But you've also got to show them what you've got, what you're holding, what you're willing to do. That will influence what he thinks.

DAVID IGNATIUS: I do think Putin looking at what lies ahead if he were to invade Eastern Ukraine, if he were to move elsewhere, was looking at a pretty unappetizing set of choices. So I think the point that may be better to consolidate this limited gain in Crimea, that leaves Ukraine as a whole moving West, which is a big change. I mean, I'd say, David, this is not as if Putin's walked off with the prize. Putin's walked off with a consolation prize.

DAVID GERGEN: How would you feel if, at the end of the day, he has Crimea and Ukraine's basically neutralized--


DAVID IGNATIUS: --neutralized, but can become a member of the Europe Union? In other words--


DAVID GERGEN: --what if you don't get either one of those things?

DAVID IGNATIUS: Well, then I'd say Ukrainians would be unhappy.

GWEN IFILL: Michael Hayden made an important point, which is this has got to be the Ukrainian position. They have elections coming up in May. They have a very vibrant competition going on right now. And if it looks like the U.S. is getting in the way or even if Europe and getting in line ahead of Europe on this, I don't quite see what the gain is just to say that we stared down Vladimir Putin.


GWEN IFILL: Who, by the way, has bedeviled three U.S. presidents.

BOB SCHIEFFER: I want to talk about what's going to happen here in Washington for the rest of the year. Because it looks to me like they've basically closed up for serious business until after the election. I mean, the Senate in its wisdom has managed to they're now pretty close to passing that billion dollar aide package for Ukraine, which they started in on when the president asked them to do that urgently and they chose instead to go on vacation, which I can't imagine that generally helped things very much. What's going to happen here, Carolyn, between now and the election? Do you think--


BOB SCHIEFFER: --anything's going to happen?

CAROLYN RYAN: --nothing. The midterms are beckoning. You saw the story about the Democrats have sort of laid out an agenda, not that they expect to pass, but the issue they intend to trumpet during the midterm elections. And it looks like hopes of immigration reform are all but dead. And it just seems like everybody has sort of expected, "Maybe this is the new normal that they do very little."

BOB SCHIEFFER: No tax reform, also no entitlement reform. We've already gotten word on that. I mean, is that why we pay people (UNINTEL) Congress and representatives in Washington to spend a year--


BOB SCHIEFFER: --the next election?

GWEN IFILL: Are midterm elections ever a fruitful time for getting things done--


BOB SCHIEFFER: But it just seems to me like this is not--

DAVID GERGEN: We had tax reform done in 1986--


DAVID IGNATIUS: --some people want to show that they've been legislating on behalf of the public interest. And what's sad is that people seem to think sitting on your hands is a better approach.

DAVID GERGEN: Well, when you asked what's going to happen between now and the elections, I thought you might be meaning 2016. I'm really worried we're not going to get much done for the next three years. I mean, I don't know about you. You're closer to this than I am.

CAROLYN RYAN: Right. And also the sort of interest in the 2016 narrative, to use that overused word, is sort of already overtaking this year. Will Hillary run? And what's going on with the Republicans going down to Vegas? And there is a way that it's kind of started to eclipse everything else. So that is a little distressing, too. And also, you know, even the number of retirements and people announcing they're not going to run again, even in the middle of this very important discussion of intelligence, you know, Mike Rodgers, you saw this week, is going to step down.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, what's happening over and over again is the serious people are saying, "I just don't think it's worth my time anymore." Which is an awful and to me the worst indictment you can make of our political system right now that people think they can get more done outside the United States Senate or when they're not the chairman of a congressional committee. That's the part that I find--


DAVID IGNATIUS: --that he's been a pretty successful legislator. He's made this committee work. It's a rare one in Congress that does. The bipartisan bill he just came out with on surveillance metadata is an example. I suspect Mike Rodgers is looking for a way to get to a higher level. And he sees this as preferable for the moment to running for governor--


CAROLYN RYAN: Well, I sat down with people who recruit candidates to run for Congress, to run for the House and the Senate. And usually prospective candidates will ask things like, "How do you raise money? Or how do you deal with negative attacks?" And now they ask questions like, "Why do you do this? Is there any joy?" I mean, the whole notion of going to Washington and making a difference--


GWEN IFILL: Let me offer a counterintuitive, Pollyannaish world view, which is that the narrative of 2016 is racing ahead among us. We are very interesting in what Jeb Bush some going to do. We're terribly interested in what Hillary Clinton's going to do. I don't think it's racing ahead among the American people.

I would also say that in order to speak to the American people, the autopsy (?) that the Republicans did a year ago still holds. Something, not much, perhaps something at least talk has to happen on immigration reform, some conversation has to happen. There's a reason why the White House is dancing so carefully about the continuing rollout of the health care exchanges. When they have good news, they run a lap. When they don't have good news, they put it off or delay it or put it down the road.

Because it matters. Because this actually resonates with people. And people think this may affect their lives and their pocketbooks. So I don't really think the politics of the thing can overwhelm everything for the next three years. I think bit by bit by bit perhaps. I do agree that people are depressed about running for Congress. (LAUGH)

DAVID GERGEN: Yes, but I mean I'm much more optimistic about the long term, that, Bob, it's not just serious people are leaving. There are a lot of people coming up in the younger generation who in days past would have gone to Washington. They're (UNINTEL) disinterested now if they want to become social entrepreneurs who want to work in cities, where they think they can get things done. And frankly, they're right.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Have you run into any grandmothers (UNINTEL) who hope their grandchild is going to be president someday? My grandmother thought that, because all grandmothers in my day thought their grandson was going to grow up to be president. I don't hear anybody anymore saying, "Well, my kid's this into politics."

GWEN IFILL: Probably somewhere Bill Clinton is saying it.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me talk to you about Chris Christie. So he hired some lawyers to investigate him. And they've exonerated him. Is that the end of this?

CAROLYN RYAN: I don't think it's the end. I think this week you saw something very encouraging and something very discouraging about Chris Christie, who I do think is an unusually gifted politician. But this week you saw this report, despite its limitations (and they are many), give him sort of a clean bill of health. But then you saw him come out and talk to reporters and suddenly the bombastic, belittling Chris Christie was back. And the more penitent, thoughtful, self-reflective Chris Christie had vaporized. And it really made you wonder about to what degree did he learn anything here? And those who support him thought this would be a moment where he would kind of come through and be a different--

GWEN IFILL: But those who supported him liked the bombastic Chris Christie. They liked the guy who told reporters off. I mean, he comes out and gets this exonerating report, then he immediately sits down with Diane Sawyer. He immediately sits down with Megyn Kelly. He immediately goes to the Republican Jewish Coalition and talks tough. And then said something about occupied territories, which kind of gets him in trouble. But that's always been his talk and trade. "I am the tough talker. I'm going to tell you the truth." And I don't know that anybody who was going to write him a check before is going to be turned off by it suddenly now.

DAVID GERGEN: Gwen, you just talked about Jeb Bush. I sense the (UNINTEL) about Jeb Bush is all about Chris Christie. Because people thought they were going to ride a Chris Christie horse. And they now think that horse may be lame. And they're looking for somebody else. But what surprised me this week was the way this paid group went after the (UNINTEL PHRASE). They really threw her totally under the bus and treated her to sexist kind of attacks that you have to wonder, if she's sitting here. And her lawyer has been very tough about in response. If she's sitting on anything, she's going to go after him.

GWEN IFILL: There are two more investigations--


DAVID GERGEN: And I think that's the uncertain question. What does she know?

BOB SCHIEFFER: So what about Jeb Bush? Every report was that he was not going to do it. He'd made up his mind. But my sense is he's rethinking.

DAVID IGNATIUS: If enough people ask you to do something, your firm no becomes, "Well, gosh, let me think about it." I still think with Christie, Christie did what a big powerful corporation does. Hired a bunch of lawyers. The lawyers issue a report. And then he says in this sort of sharp encounter with reporters, "Let's move on." If he can make that work (and that's what we'll see over the next month or two) that's really a significant, I would say, achievement. He had a huge scandal that people said was the end. And if it proves not to be the end, I would suspect you begin to see some kind of--


CAROLYN RYAN: But there are two other investigations underway, pretty serious ones, the legislature. There's a federal investigation. So it's not clear where those might go. And those seem more expansive than just looking more narrowly at the administration.

BOB SCHIEFFER: We've got to end it here. Thank you all so much, a lot of fun to talk to you. And we'll be right back.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Well that's it for today, we hope you'll tune into CBS This Morning tomorrow for all the overnight developments on all the things we've talked about this morning. We'll be back here next Sunday on Face the Nation.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.