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"Face the Nation" transcript: April 1, 2012

(CBS News) Below is a rush transcript of "Face the Nation" on April 1, 2012, hosted by CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer. The guests are Vice President Joe Biden; Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul; and a roundtable featuring Romney strategist Kevin Madden, PBS's Gwen Ifill, and CBS News' legal analyst Jan Crawford and political director John Dickerson.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on FACE THE NATION, the Republicans may not have their nominee yet, at least not officially, but the general election campaign is already underway and we'll devote the next hour to it.

JOE BIDEN: This is not your father's Republican Party. This is a different party that I'm used to.

BOB SCHIEFFER: The vice president took the fight directly to the Republicans this week and set the tone for the coming campaign in an interview with us.

JOE BIDEN: Speaking of flexible-- Governor Romney is a pretty flexible guy.

BOB SCHIEFFER: The vice president was on the stump with his sight set on Romney because the White House is convinced that Romney will be their opponent this fall.

JOE BIDEN: It just seems to be uninformed or stuck in a cold war mentality.

BOB SCHIEFFER: But what do the Republicans think about that? We'll talk to two of the candidates, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. Will they and Rick Santorum hang in until the convention or is it time for them to go? Romney himself is taking nothing for granted.

MITT ROMNEY: I've got ways to go before I get eleven hundred and forty-four delegates, so I'm not counting the delegates before they hatch.

BOB SCHIEFFER: We'll get analysis on that. And this week, Supreme Court arguments on health care from our political round table, Romney advisor, Kevin Madden; PBS's Gwen Ifill; our political and legal correspondent, Jan Crawford; and political director, John Dickerson.


ANNOUNCER: From CBS News in Washington FACE THE NATION with Bob Schieffer.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Good morning again. And welcome as we begin the new one-hour edition of FACE THE NATION and we start with the Vice President Joe Biden who sat down with us for an interview earlier this week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Well, good morning, Mister Vice President--

JOE BIDEN (voice overlapping): Good morning.

BOB SCHIEFFER: --and welcome to FACE THE NATION. We did some checking. This is your third appearance as vice president, your fifty-fifth appearance on FACE THE NATION, that's more than any other Democrat. You still haven't caught up with John McCain--


BOB SCHIEFFER: --who-- who's the leader right now. Well, let's get right to it.


BOB SCHIEFFER: You really laid into Governor Romney this week. You said he was consistently wrong about everything. Does this mean that you and the President have decided that Mitt Romney is the nominee, that he's who you're going to be facing come fall?

JOE BIDEN: Bob, I can never figure out who the Democratic nominee is going to be in the primary. I don't-- that-- that's not the-- he seems like the front-runner. But what he's saying is not fundamentally different than-- than Santorum have said.

BOB SCHIEFFER: But would you be really surprised if he was not the nominee, right?

JOE BIDEN: Well, yeah, I guess I would, but, you know, look, I really-- it's really amazing. I've been-- I'm not being facetious. I've been surprised by this whole Republican primary process.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Why do you think he has had such a hard time closing the deal?

JOE BIDEN: I really don't know, Bob. I mean, look, this is not your father's Republican Party. This is a different party that I'm used to. And I've been around for a while, both in the House and the Senate. It's a different party. And my guess is, the electorate is-- the Republican electorate is different than it's been the last ten to twelve years. And so, you know, that's the change that I'm most fascinated with watching is how much has it changed? How far right has it gone or how anti-government has it become? I-- I mean, it's just a different-- it seems there's almost a different language.

BOB SCHIEFFER: It is very clear how Mitt Romney, if he is the nominee, is going to try to frame this election. He's going to try it make it a referendum on Barack Obama. Here's what he has been saying.

MITT ROMNEY (March 23): People are unhappy with the results that they've seen so far under this President. Gasoline prices have doubled. The deficit is massively larger. The President said he was going to cut it in a half. He has doubled it. The national debt, he-- the-- the President, by the end of his four years, will have put in almost as much debt on this country as all of the prior presidents combined, and of course, you have twenty-four million people out of work, or underemployed, and-- and so, this presidency has been a failure, and-- and at the-- at the centerpiece of this failure is this-- this piece of legislation back here, Obamacare.

BOB SCHIEFFER: So, what's your take on that?

JOE BIDEN: I think that-- I think Governor Romney is a little out of touch. Look, you know everything that he said that the American people don't think the policies have worked. Romney argued about-- let to-- not an exact quote, but let Detroit go bankrupt. Wasn't a very popular action the President took? Now they're hiring people, you know, hundreds of thousands of new people instead of losing four hundred thousand jobs. General Motors is the largest corporation in the world again, twenty-four straight months of economic growth. Americans going back to work, the unemployment rate dropping by a percent. I-- I understand the Republicans talking about Obamacare. I get that. They have been against it from the beginning, but you know, you go out there and take a look, Bob. Everywhere I go in the country, there's millions of people out there that are benefiting now. There are-- there are those people with chronic diseases like cancer that don't have to worry about getting a phone call saying you're cut off, your insurance has run out. There are tens of thousands of several million kids who are on their parents' insurance policies that wouldn't be there before. And what is-- what is the Romney answer? There's nothing. All they argue is cut. Get rid of that. Get rid of that. I-- I just think that-- look, this is about the middle class, and what affects middle class people, their jobs, being able to own a home, being able to live in a safe neighborhood, being able to send their kid to college. It's about their dignity. This is about the middle class and none of what he is offering, does anything. It's just returning to the old policy.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I take your points, but the fact is unemployment did go up after the President took office and so did gas prices.

JOE BIDEN: Gas prices, look. We're pumping six hundred and fifty thousand barrels of oil a day more than we did when we took office. There are more oil rigs and gas rigs running in the United States today than all of the rest of the world combined. We are importing less foreign oil than we did the last time it was this slow was sixteen years ago. And these guys, what-- what were do they offering, two dollars and fifty cents gas that-- that I think at least one of them is offering that, that's what's going to happen and what's their policy? Continue a four billion dollar tax cut from their old companies. Drill more? Where are they going to drill more now? This can produce something now and they're going out there and they're emasculating all the efforts to deal with renewable energy and so they have no policy.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me go back to health care.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Governor Romney continues to say that the centerpiece of President Obama's failure is health care. We are seeing these arguments in the Supreme Court this week. What do you think the impact would be if the court decides to throw this thing out, or if it just decides to throw out the part about the mandate that you have to buy insurance?

JOE BIDEN: Well, first, I think we should bring the temperature down. You and I have watched the Supreme Court for a lot of years. No one has made any money betting an outcome of cases based on the oral arguments and the questions asked. We think-- we think the mandate and the law is constitutional. We think the court will rule that way. And what this is really about is the Republican alternative, which is what-- they-- they are going to continue, no matter what the Supreme Court does, to go after trying to eliminate or-- or-- or strangle this law. In the meantime, all those folks I mentioned before, all those folks that are benefitting now. All those people that are about to benefit as more kicks in 2014, they're in real trouble. This is about them. And-- and I don't know what is the alternative these guys are offering. The Ryan plan, the further go in there and take on Medicare and social-- I mean I-- I-- I just-- I don't-- I don't get their position.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, what would happen, though? I mean, if-- if this whole thing was thrown out?


BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you have to start over?

JOE BIDEN: I-- I'm not going to speculate about something I don't believe will happen. I don't believe it will happen. And-- and so, I-- I just think we should focus on what is the law doing for people now, and what would happen if in fact the Republicans were able to repeal it.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You called Mitt Romney. You really called him out the other day for saying the President was out of touch. Here's what you said. I want to play a little what you said.

JOE BIDEN (Wednesday): Governor Romney has called the President of the United States, "Out of touch," that's a quote, "Out of touch," for encouraging young people to try to get manufacturing jobs. Out of touch? Romney? I mean, pretty remarkable, pretty remarkable. As an old friend of mine says, that's chutzpah.

BOB SCHIEFFER: What did you mean by that?

JOE BIDEN: When you have-- I can't remember a presidential candidate in the recent past who seems not to understand by what he says what ordinary middle class people are thinking about and are concerned about. Whether it's his comment of saying, well, we ought to just let the foreclosures just hit bottom, just let them go. I don't know if he understands that there is-- there are millions of-- there're twelve million people out there paying their mortgage payments. They have done it on time, and all we want to do is give them a chance to refinance at a lower rate. And he says, no, that's-- that's not a good idea. We talk about kids going to college, and being able to get an opportunity to get a tax break to send your kid to college, or increasing the number of kids with Pell Grants from six to nine million. Here's what I don't think Governor Romney seems to understand. It's not just about the kid that doesn't get to go to college because we're not willing to help him. It's about that parent, that proud parent looks at his kid, and knows there's nothing I can do to help this kid. We're stripping people of their dignity. It's not just the kid that doesn't go, it's the family. I don't know that he understands that there are-- there are people like my dad who were-- felt ashamed that he wasn't able to borrow the money and apologizing to me. The worst thing in the world for a parent is to know they can't help their child, whether they're sick, because they can't get insurance for them, because they have a pre-existing condition, or they can't help him go to college, I mean, and that's the part that seems to me to be missing. I don't think they understand that piece of it. It's about dignity. These things are about people's dignity.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Are you enjoying this Republican primary? I-- I know you said one day, "God love them, I hope they have another twenty debates."

JOE BIDEN: Well, look, I find it-- look, the one thing, Bob, and by the way, it remind myself of my grandfather's admonition, he said, "Joey, any team can beat any other team on any given day." So this is not because I'm so sure that we're going to win. But what I do find is of all of the times I've run for office, Bob, this is the first time the Republicans aren't hiding the ball. They're saying exactly what they think. They're not talking about compassionate conservatives. And they're not talking about the need for health care in America, but we have a different way. They're not talking public education being the key to economic growth and stability in the country. They're just saying straight up-- straight up what they believe. And so, in that sense, I think this is going to be an incredibly stark choice, the American people are going to have--not just on the economy, but on social policy, as well as educational policy. I think across the board, they have been very straightforward about where they are, and-- and so, in that sense, God love them, they're not hiding the ball. They're just saying exactly what they believe.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you about-- we now know about the President's now famous unguarded moment before the microphone when he told the Russian president, look, I'll have more flexibility after the election to deal with missile defenses and so forth. Governor Romney really hit him hard on that. He said it was alarming. And he said, what else is he going to be flexible about. What do you-- what do you make of all of that?

JOE BIDEN: Speaking of flexible, Governor Romney is a pretty flexible guy on his positions, but look, and by the way, I know a little bit about unguarded moments with microphones. And-- but look, here's the-- the President just stated the obvious. The idea that in this election year, we're going to be able to deal with an agreement with the Russians on further reducing our nuclear arsenals and the environment that we have in the United States Congress now is difficult. And what the President was doing is stating the obvious, that it's going to be difficult. We're going to have-- we're not going to the flexibility to sit down and talk with people in this Congress that are going to be able to listen and be able to work with this probably between now and Election Day. So-- and the second thing is, Governor Romney's answer I thought was incredibly revealing. He acts like he thinks the Cold War is still on. Russia is still our major adversary. I don't know where he has been. I mean, we have disagreements with Russia, but they're united with us on Iran. The only way we're getting one of only two ways we're getting material into Afghanistan to our troops is through Russia. They're working closely with us. They have just said to Europe, if there is an oil shutdown in any way in the Gulf, they'll consider increasing oil supplies to Europe. That's not-- this is not 1956.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, but didn't-- doesn't it play to the Republican allegations, because I hear this from conservatives all the time, if you don't like Barack Obama now, wait until he gets re-elected because if he's-- he's free to do whatever he wants to do, he is going to raise our taxes. He is going to put in gun control. He is going to do everything from-- you know, authorized gay marriage to-- to whatever, just once he gets past that election.

JOE BIDEN: Well, look, every opportunity they get to try to seed that argument, they do. So I agree with you that anything that is said that allows them even-- you know, the patina of saying that's what he is doing, they use it. But what I think is most revealing about it is the Governor's response. The Governor talking about this hurts Israel. He either hasn't been informed yet or doesn't know that this missile defense system we put in, and I was responsible as you remember for going to Europe and selling the new system which better protects them, also better protects Israel and in terms of the early warning capability. I mean, he just seems to be uninformed, or stuck in a Cold War mentality. So, I think what the-- the exchange did, it exposes how little the Governor knows about foreign policy.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Mister Vice President, we'll continue this in just a minute.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Mister Vice President, I want to ask you about this whole thing, that's blown up about contraception. My sources tell me that when the President decided the Catholics would have to buy birth control insurance for their employees at their universities and-- and colleges and so forth, that you and Bill Daley were among those who told him this is not a good thing. This is-- this is going to cost you votes, but you were on that side of the issue. But since this thing has happened, and the way it's kind of shaken down, it seems to have sort of gotten Republicans off talking about the economy, and sort of campaigning for against birth control in some funny kind of way. What's your take on that?

JOE BIDEN: Well, first of all, on the substance, the President ended up exactly where he intended, and where he began, which was that one, every woman in America should be able to have insurance coverage for birth control, if she so chooses. And that the Catholic Church and other churches should not have to pay for it, or provide it. That's exactly where we--

BOB SCHIEFFER: For the record, is that what you advised the President?

JOE BIDEN: Yes, but that's also where the President was on the front end that, a) the Catholic Church, Catholic hospitals, should not have to provide or pay for this coverage as a matter of conscience for them. That's exactly where this thing ended up. They're saying that the-- we should-- women should be prescribed or states can prescribe or individuals can proscribe. Women say, you can't use birth control? I mean, I-- I-- I-- I think it's totally out of touch with reality, and totally out of touch with what the independents and the right of women to decide for themselves whether or not they want to use contraception, and I-- I just find it remarkable that the argument is even taking place.

BOB SCHIEFFER: What was your-- just your personal reaction when you heard about the-- the Robert Bales case, this sergeant, this American sergeant, who killed all of those people in Afghanistan?

JOE BIDEN: It was-- it was just one of a sense of-- you know, my God, what a tragedy, you know, I had a-- and I immediately thought to be-- about those kids, those children, and then I thought how many of our troops who are incredible, incredible troops are going to be put further in harm's way because of this-- this lone act and I got to admit to you, I-- I thought little bit about when my son was in Afghanistan-- I mean, when he was in Iraq for a year. Incidents like this actually increase the danger for every American troop out there, and 99.9 percent of these kids, most remarkable generation of the world, are doing-- doing their job, they're doing it well, they're doing it for people, and it's just-- I just have this sinking feeling like, oh, my God, this is--

BOB SCHIEFFER: What is our mission now in Afghanistan? How long are we going to be there? And I mean, it seems to me and ever poll suggests, the American people's patience is kind of going thin here.

JOE BIDEN: Well, you can understand why it is. I mean, it's been over ten years. That's why we came to office, we set on a policy that set the course for ending our participation-- military participation, in Iraq, and-- and I know we're criticized heavily by Governor Romney and others for setting dates. We've done the same thing we did in-- as I say, Iraq, Afghanistan. We've done the same thing we did in Iraq. This is winding down, not kicking up. We've withdrawn ten thousand troops of the surge so far. Twenty-three thousand more will be drawn by the end of September. The pace will continue apace until we get to the end of the process which will be out of this-- this-- our mission will have ended as we know it now by 2014.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You and I have both been in Washington for a long time. What's happened to our politics, Mister Vice President? It's just not the way it used to be. Things always looked better in the rear view mirror but--

JOE BIDEN: No, I know that. I wonder myself, you know, do I sound like the guys I used to serve with, the guys when I got there at thirty who were sixty-five. I mean-- and but, you know, it-- it really is different, but it wasn't sort of this personalized--you're good, you're bad, you're evil, or you're-- you know, you're-- you're this,-- it's just a different place. I-- I think the leadership in the Republican Party is prepared to actually work with us, but I think it's kind of the tale wagging the dog here. And--

BOB SCHIEFFER: But you don't think it's all the Republicans, do you because--

JOE BIDEN: No, no, no, no, no. Well, let me put this way. I-- here's what I do think. I do think the idea of compromise is still alive and well with the Democrats and the Congress. They're prepared to compromise. They're prepared to make difficult decisions. But with a-- enough of a minority in the Republican Party, controlling the majority, there is no-- no room for compromise. I mean, none. None. And it's never been like that before, at least not in my experience. And I've been there for a long time, and-- but I think we'll change, Bob. The American people, you know, we-- we-- we-- we go through phases like this, everybody says, you know, the politics is broken. It's always the case we've been broken, it comes back. And-- and I think that that's one of the issues in this election, and I think the American people are going to send a message to all the parties. Guys, you-- you got to at least start to talk about broad compromises on problems that we know are real, and they're going to continue.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Mister Vice President, thank you.

JOE BIDEN: Thanks.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Hope to see you again before the election.

JOE BIDEN: I hope so, too.

BOB SCHIEFFER: I'll be back in a minute with this week's commentary. Then we'll get the Republican take on all of this.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Remember, when the general election campaign started around Labor Day, well, no more. The White House concluded a couple of weeks ago that Mitt Romney was going to be the Republican nominee and that's why you saw Vice President Biden on FACE THE NATION. Baseball season hasn't even started yet, and Republicans haven't officially selected their nominee, but what we used to call the fall campaign is up and running, which means we're finding out earlier than ever how the two sides will frame the contest. Republicans will try to make it a referendum on Barack Obama, who they will picture as a failed President, who couldn't keep his promises but is determined to raise taxes. Democrats will say it's about fairness and they will paint Romney as an out of touch rich guy determined to keep taxes low for his friends at the country club. Voters will listen to all of this for a while and then about the time of the World Series, they'll begin to think about more serious things, the economy, mostly, and who in the White House they'd feel most comfortable with in times of crisis, and then as they always do, they'll pick the next President. Back with the Republicans 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 new page two of FACE THE NATION.


BOB SCHIEFFER: And welcome back now to FACE THE NATION and our new page two. At the top of the page today, the Republican side to all of this, and we begin with Newt Gingrich, who's been a frequent visitor to FACE THE NATION during this campaign. Thank you for coming again, Mister Gingrich.

NEWT GINGRICH (Republican Presidential Candidate/Former House Speaker): (INDISTINCT).

BOB SCHIEFFER: You have the awesome responsibility of being the responder to the Vice President this morning. He-- he talked about your proposal to get gas to two dollars and fifty cents a gallon. He said, though, that Republicans are emasculating all efforts to deal with renewable energy, and that in fact, you have no policy.

NEWT GINGRICH: Well, our policy is pretty straightforward. If you look at natural gas, where we have in fact pumped a lot more, volume's gone up eleven percent, the price has dropped so dramatically since 2008, that if the same thing happened to gasoline, it would be at dollar thirteen a gallon. Now, I've argued that we ought to have an American independence energy policy, so no future President will bow to a Saudi King. And I've argued that if the President would open up the federal government's land, open up offshore drilling, and sign the Keystone Pipeline which will bring seven hundred thousand barrels a day to Houston from Canada that those-- that combined series of things would bring down the price of gasoline dramatically.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I mean-- but isn't it very difficult for this President or any President to bring down gas prices because the big factor here is the fact that the Chinese now need so much oil. You have turmoil in the Middle East. You have this situation going on with Iran. Some of these things the President can't control.

NEWT GINGRICH: No, but-- but that would mean you don't-- you'd want even more American energy because you want a margin of error for the things you can't control. In World War II, we pumped eighty-three percent of the world's oil. We were enormously powerful as an oil producer. The new technologies allow us in North Dakota to jump from a hundred and fifty million barrels in reserve to twenty-four billion barrels in reserve. Nobody in Washington has noticed the revolution in technology which should make America the leading oil producing country in the world if President Obama weren't so anti-American energy. He spends money on Solyndra which fails, while attacking the oil companies who could bring down the price of gasoline. That's an-- that's an irrational policy if you care about the pocketbook of the American people.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let's talk a little bit about what Mitt Romney said about the open-mic where Barack Obama told the Russian president, look, give me space here, I'll have more flexibility after the election. The Vice President says, look, he is just stating reality.

NEWT GINGRICH: First of all, I thought you getting Biden to explain Obama's open-mic was such a nice shift of direction from Obama having to explain Biden's open-mic that it was almost worth watching just for that. What people have to worry about is when-- when a President who has already proven he is a radical says to a Russian president, give me some space so I can get re-elected because then I'll have real flexibility--you have to wonder, real flexibility for what, and you also have to ask yourself how many foreign leaders has he said that to without an open-mic. How many other countries are counting on Barack Obama to be, quote, "flexible" after the election and what kind of flexibility is it that he doesn't want to share with the American people right now?

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, but I mean, when he says that, I mean just-- just to be the devil's advocate here, I mean, it's-- nobody ever gets much done in an election year, in Washington. I mean, that's-- that's pretty much a true fact. It wasn't that really just stating the obvious, I mean, it's embarrassing.


BOB SCHIEFFER: I mean, I think--

NEWT GINGRICH: Look, I-- I don't know. The-- the last time we had an open-mic incident with a foreign leader, it was Sarkozy complaining about Prime Mister Netanyahu of Israel, and Obama actually sort of trumping him and saying it's even worse I have to deal with him every day. And it was a very derogatory reference to Israel. And if I were the Israelis, and I was watching this President wander around the planet, I'd be a little worried and I would want to know, what-- what he's going to be like after the re-election. I-- I also think, if you look at his policies, he will be more radical. And this by the way, is-- is a President whose environmental protection agency declared war on coal this week, and-- and despite Vice President Biden's effort to-- to apologize for it, his attack on the Catholic Church is certainly seen by the Catholic bishops as a direct frontal assault on their religious liberty and they do not agree with the Vice President's interpretation of that kind of a radical assault.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you think it's-- it's good politics so for Republicans to be sort of campaigning against birth control, I mean, I take your points on the Catholic side of it.

NEWT GINGRICH: Nobody is campaigning. This is-- this is a canard. Nobody is campaigning against birth control. And nobody is blocking the young lady who testified from having access to birth control. The question is, first of all, the Obama rule includes abortifications, things that lead to abortions, not just birth control. And second you can have total freedom as an individual without having to coerce a church or a synagogue into doing something against its religious beliefs. I mean, the real question is does the government of the United States--just as in Obamacare generally, does the government of the United States have the power to coerce religious institutions against their religious beliefs? That's a pretty fundamental question.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, I-- I want to talk a little politics and personal politics about you.


BOB SCHIEFFER: You-- and I'm going to say in the beginning, I have learned my lesson about counting you out in this campaign. I-- I think I declared you dead about twice, and-- and both times you-- you came back alive and were still in there. But right now, it looks to me like it's going to be very difficult for you. I mean, Sheldon Adelson, who gave you ten million dollars or gave your Super PAC ten million said the other day, he thinks you have reached the end of the line, I mean, where do you go from here?

NEWT GINGRICH: Well I think we keep campaigning and-- and Governor Romney, as he himself said in the clip that you used, had says he has to earn the eleven hundred and forty-four. We're not going to concede it to him. You know, Kansas last night set the second record for coming from behind. They were down nine points at the half. That is the second biggest margin to come back from in the final four series. So, I'm going to take Kansas as a model. St. Louis last year was ten-and-a-half games out with twenty-eight games going against as an Atlanta Braves fan that was a very painful lesson. If Governor Romney gets to eleven forty-four not counting by the way disputed delegates in Arizona, Florida and Idaho, but if he gets to eleven forty-four, he will be the nominee.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Will you then endorse him at that point.

NEWT GINGRICH: Absolutely. I will do everything I can to help elect him. If Rick Santorum becomes the nominee, I'll help him. And I believe both of them would tell you, if I became the nominee they'd help me. We are all committed to defeating Barak Obama. We think his re-election would be a disaster for the country.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Having said that this has been a very personal and a very tough campaign. You yourself have said some hard and harsh things. I mean, one of the most arresting moments in this campaign came when you were on the CBS Morning Show with Norah O'Donnell and I and-- and let me just show you what you said. You will remember.

NORAH O'DONNELL (January 2, 2012): Are you calling Mitt Romney a liar?


NORAH O'DONNELL: You're calling Mitt Romney a liar?

NEWT GINGRICH: Well, you seem shock by it, but, yes. I mean, what-- what else could we say.

NORAH O'DONNELL: Why are you saying he's a liar?

NEWT GINGRICH: Because this is a man whose staff created the PAC? His millionaire friends fund the PAC. He pretends he has nothing to do with the PAC. It's baloney. He's not telling the American people the truth. It's just like his pretense that he is a Conservative.

BOB SCHIEFFER: So-- so, how do you do that, Mister Speaker, you-- you call someone a liar and-- and then you said, oh, yeah, I can endorse him.

NEWT GINGRICH: Because there's an alternative. I mean, you didn't say to me in an ideal world is Mitt Romney the person I'd like to have as President, first of all, that person is Newt Gingrich. But second-- but second and is a realistic thing, Barak Obama, in my judgment, as-- and I mean this is not just as a partisan. I believe he is so radical, and I believe his policies are so dangerous to the United States that I am determined to do everything I can to help defeat Barak Obama, and there's no question in my mind that Mitt Romney would be a dramatically better President, as would Rick Santorum, than Barak Obama in terms of the values I hold dear. So-- so it comes down to a question if-- if you end up with those as your two choices, I would do everything I could do to defeat Barack Obama.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Mister Speaker, I want to thank you for being with us this morning.


BOB SCHIEFFER: You have been very forthcoming and direct as we just saw in this campaign and we appreciate your coming by.

NEWT GINGRICH: And good to be with you.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Thank you. We're going to go now to Clute, Texas, to hear from another Republican contender, Congressman Ron Paul. Mister Paul, welcome to FACE THE NATION. Let me talk to you first little bit about what the Vice President said about Afghanistan, because basically what he said is-- we're going to stay the course there. Now, I know a lot of people in your party don't particularly agree with you on foreign policy, but has Afghanistan been worth our time and treasure?

REPRESENTATIVE RON PAUL (Republican Presidential Candidate/R-Texas): No, ab-- absolutely not. We went in there improperly. It was a waste. There's not going to be a happy ending. And I think the Republicans have dug a hole for themselves because they're trying to out militarize. The President says we should do more. He has seventy-five percent of the American people said, we have had enough. It's cost us too much money. It's time to come home, but-- but this was Obama's cherished position. He says, this is the good war, and now we have been there ten years. It's a sad state of affairs. And I think it's when you see innocent people dying. When you see all of the collateral damage, you see sixteen people getting murdered. That's a tragedy. But with thousands of innocent people are dying and they just call them collateral damage because we endlessly drop these bombs around and all of the people who died in Iraq. Now, it-- it's time to change the policy and this is my argument, is the American people want it changed. They're tired of it. It's costing us too much money, but we're not offering anything differently. And so, if this is to be an issue, the other Republican candidates offer nothing more than a continuation of the status quo, or actually, increasing the militarism that we have around the world. So, I think that's a losing position.

BOB SCHIEFFER: What are your plans now-- I mean, it seems clear to me and you can tell me I'm wrong. But it seems clear to me that there's no way you're going to get the nomination now. Do you intend to continue hanging around?

REPRESENTATIVE RON PAUL: Obviously, yes. You know, the conventional wisdom is there's no guarantee. And those you were talking earlier on about Romney being the-- the-- the candidate but that's the conventional wisdom and I would admit that, but, no, the votes haven't been counted. There's quite a few states right now, there are six or seven states that we're doing quite well through the delegate process that we don't even know who-- who is getting what so far and who knows what will happen on the first vote at-- at the convention. So, I-- I would say that it's very encouraging, because I am talking to a whole generation, which is expanding, you know, as far as age goes, but when I can get fifty-two hundred people out on a college campus as wildly enthusiastic to hear the message of liberty and freedom and less wars and cu-- and curtailing the Federal Reserve, there's no way I'm going to quit speaking out on this. And there's no way I'm going to give up on the effort to get the Republican back to their roots. You know, in some-- probably, in some ways they say, well, why don't you give up and-- and this will help the Republican Party. The truth is, I'm trying to save the Republican Party from themselves, because they want perpetual wars. They-- they don't care about Presidents who assassinate American citizens. They don't care about searching our houses without search warrants, and these are the kind of things that people care with about, and if the Republicans would take a different position, they may save themselves, but right now, I-- I-- I see they're going to be in big trouble. What about the deficit? Sure the Democrats spend too much money, but the Republicans said, well, our proposal was to balance the budget in thirty years. I mean, people are laughing at that, so I say cut the budget by a trillion dollars. This idea that you have a debt crisis the worst in the history of the world and we won't cut spending, we have a problem.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, I must say, hearing you this morning, you sound like somebody that might not support even the Republican candidate come the fall. Is there any way or any chance, are you thinking about maybe heading up a third party effort after the Republican convention?

REPRESENTATIVE RON PAUL: No, no, I don't have any plans for that. I didn't-- I didn't hear Gingrich mention that he was thinking about it either. But, no, no, I have no plans to do that. I'm-- I'm trying to win the nomination. The votes haven't been counted. I think that the views I hold are very, very popular. I think we're in the-- we represent the future. The other candidates represent the past, the President represents the past. We represent the future about what freedom really brings us, free markets and sound money and civil liberties and a sensible foreign policy and this idea-- they're living with their head in the sand to think that there's not a debt crisis. There is a debt crisis and have to cut spending. This idea that you need to spend more money and print more money when you get into trouble, I mean, is absolutely bizarre. And I think common sense tells us that you just can't keep spending. This is why you talked a little bit about this discord between a Republican and Democrat. It's because they refuse to admit there's nothing left in the treasury and they're fighting before we were very rich. The middle class was rich and the revenues came in. But there-- there's nothing there, and that's why this is why this conflict is going to get much worse until we admit the truth.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you this quickly. Some-- I-- I think I heard somebody say, you-- you have publicly said that you'd like to be on the ticket with Mitt Romney if he gets it. Would you?

REPRESENTATIVE RON PAUL: I haven't said anything like that, and I don't see how that would happen. There's too many disagreements. I like Mitt Romney as a person. I think he is a dignified person and I-- I-- I-- you know, I-- I have no common ground on e-- on economics. I mean, he doesn't-- he isn't worried about the Federal Reserve. And he isn't worried about the foreign policy. He doesn't talk about civil liberties.


REPRESENTATIVE RON PAUL: So I have a hard time to expect him ever to invite me to campaign with him.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Would you vote for him or would you support him?

REPRESENTATIVE RON PAUL: Well, I-- I haven't made that decision yet. I'm still campaigning.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You haven't made the decision on whether you would support Mitt Romney if he gets the nomination?


BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, Mister Paul, thank you very much for being with us this morning. Always a pleasure.


BOB SCHIEFFER: And we'll be back in one minute with our political roundtable.


BOB SCHIEFFER: And we're back now with our political roundtable, Kevin Madden is a strategist for Mitt Romney's campaign, Gwen Ifill is the moderator of PBS's Washington Week. And on my other side, Jan Crawford, our legal and political correspondent, and of course, our political director, John Dickerson.

Jan, I want to talk to you, because you were off the campaign trail this last week and up at your old haunts, the Supreme Court. I think Vice President said it exactly right, you can never tell how the court's going to rule based on their-- on their oral arguments, because sometimes the justices just play devil's advocate, and sometimes I think they just play around with the lawyers if they're-- they're talking to there. But it was very hard to come away from this thinking that they had much enthusiasm for the mandate, the requirement in the health care law that would require people to buy insurance. What-- what was your take on that?

JAN CRAWFORD (CBS News Chief Legal Correspondent): No, that's exactly right. And, of course, like you just said, I mean, Justice Kennedy, the key swing vote, the human jump ball, you know, who will go with the conservatives sometimes and the liberals sometimes looked like he was quite hostile to the requirement that all Americans buy health insurance and at times the entire law itself. But, again, you can never predict what the court is going to do because sometimes they do change their mind. That said, it does appear right now that there is a majority, a five to four majority, the four conservatives with Justice Kennedy to strike down that individual mandate and possibly the entire law. Now, we heard the Vice President in your interview say, he doesn't think that's going to happen. That he thinks that the court will still uphold the health care law, but people who are close to the President and some of my sources over the weekend I was talking to, said the President doesn't see it that way. He never thought this was a slam dunk. He thinks it's constitutional but he always knew going in there's a chance the court would strike this down, and if it does, and it's five-four, they will characterize it as an ideological partisan exercise.

BOB SCHIEFFER: What's your take, Gwen? I know you have spent a lot of time on this-- this week.

GWEN IFILL (PBS NewsHour/PBS Washington Week): I spent endless hours listening to the tapes. The nerd side of me really came out. The-- the thing that we know about this court, I-- I think Jan would agree is that Justice Roberts is always trying-- Chief Justice Roberts is always trying to find that middle ground. He's trying to rule as narrowly as possible. And so the idea of striking down the entire law would be judicial activism at its most extensive and that's something that I think Justice Kennedy worried about a little bit aloud. On the other hand, the-- the political side of it, I don't know anything, I've seen in President Obama which indicates he's the kind of person he wants to declare war on the Supreme Court and to run on that. I-- I know that-- that's-- that's one theory that's going around in the White House, but these are two men who like to find middle ground when it's possible.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You said, ooh.



JAN CRAWFORD: --let me think about--

GWEN IFILL: She did.

JAN CRAWFORD: --these days, day of the union--


JAN CRAWFORD: --when for the first time the President with six justices sitting in that chamber, took on the Supreme Court with Justice Kennedy who wrote that campaign finance decision sitting there, that's when he really and many-- you could argue that he kind of kicked off this war, I think, working against the administration's interests by picking up fight with the Supreme Court, and now we're seeing it play out. I don't think the justices are going to base their decision based on a fight the Obama administration picked with them over campaign finance reform, but I do think that they have shown a willingness to stick it to the Supreme Court and based on what senior administration officials are telling me, that is how they will characterize this decision, if it's five-four against the administration's striking on this health care law.

BOB SCHIEFFER (voice overlapping): Gentlemen, I'll get to you in a minute, but--

GWEN IFILL: I just want to say one more thing.


GWEN IFILL: Democrats really like the idea of running on the court. They-- they say, you know, if you vote for this person, you-- this is what you will get in a Supreme Court nominee and it never works that way. That's not how people vote. They vote on health care issues. They vote on what's important to them and to the degree that they want to run on what the court does or doesn't do, it will be on that I think, not on the Supreme Court itself.

KEVIN MADDEN (Romney Campaign Advisor): Yeah.

GWEN IFILL: That was like the--


BOB SCHIEFFER: You're-- you're-- you're a Romney man?


BOB SCHIEFFER: Plain and simple, what do you--

KEVIN MADDEN: Look I think that the health care bill is going to be on the ballot in the court of public opinion regardless of what happens at the Supreme Court, whether it strikes it down or not. And I think any re-litigation of this particular piece of legislation is not favorable political terrain for the President. There's going to be a very important debate in the campaign tr-- on the campaign trail about the size and the cost of this bill and that is really what-- really is-- is made it very unfavorable on the eyes of many voters. A 1.7 trillion dollars when we feel-- when we feel like we didn't have that type-- type of money and then when it did to small businesses and the taxes that came along with it. So, I think it-- it puts us in-- in a very good position in this 2012 framework.

BOB SCHIEFFER: John, talk about the impact on the two campaigns and on the candidates.

JOHN DICKERSON (CBS News Political Director): If-- the-- the President has shown a willingness to kick the Supreme Court in the shins. But that was kind of a one-off. If he continues to fight, if this goes down in some way and the Supreme Court and President talks about it a lot, independent voters are going to look at that and say, the Supreme Court which they'll look like has given the kind of thumbs down on the law, why is the President going on, this is more of the kind of obsession with health care that turned us off on him in the first place. But if there is some sense that the Supreme Court gives a positive seal of approval, I-- I think Kevin is right, this will-- the Republicans will feel energized. They'll say the only way we can kill this beast is if we get rid of Barack Obama, but independent voters will say, well, this thing President Obama was so concerned about, if the Supreme Court gives it a kind of thumbs up, they'll-- they'll see that as-- as an approval of the law. And yes, it might be a talk about size of spending and so forth and so on, but I think that would again be good--

KEVIN MADDEN (overlapping): I think in 2010, that's what really hurt him with independent voters was that, the size of the bill, the cost of the bill and the fact that it hadn't done anything to control health care cost.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Kevin, let me-- let me just change the subject just a little bit. And we're about out of time, but why is-- Governor Romney continues to pick up delegates slowly and surely, but why is he having such a hard time connecting with the right side of his party?

KEVIN MADDEN: I-- first of all, I disagree with the premise of the question. I think that the Governor has-- don't-- I think he--

BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Well, why that-- in most of these primaries more people have voted against him (INDISTINCT).

KEVIN MADDEN (overlapping): Primaries are always-- primaries are always about the differences within a party. And when you have a battle like we've had in this party between the purists and the pragmatists. I think that those type of divisions start to-- they come out in the primary process. But I think the reason that the Governor has gotten endorsements from people who're respected by the Tea Party like Marco Rubio and others is because he has focused very cutely on the issues of spending and deficits and reforming government. And because of that, I believe that he's going to be able to coalesce and bring the party behind him and that as we go through this process, we'll see more and more support from the Republicans.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Thank you. Time flies when you're having fun. We'll be back in a moment with our FACE THE NATION flashbacks. Stay with us.


BOB SCHIEFFER: From the beginning of this campaign, we've been trying to get Mitt Romney on FACE THE NATION. His people keep saying maybe but so far no go. Well, not to worry, it turns out we've already got him on camera and on the record and that is our FACE THE NATION flashback. The year was 1994, it was a beautiful New England autumn and a high-stepping Mitt Romney was running literally to topple Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. It was eighteen years ago, but what he told me that day may have a familiar ring to those following this year's campaign.

MITT ROMNEY (recording): In my profession, in business, that if-- if-- if a chief executive says look, I did this and this and this and this and this--

BOB SCHIEFFER (recording): Mm-Hm.

MITT ROMNEY: --but, oh, yeah, the bottom line is a mess, at some point, you know, you get away with that for a while, then at some point you say, okay, let's change that, you know, I can't tell you how to run your company better, but I can tell you I'm going to vote you out as the chief executive and vote a new guy.


MITT ROMNEY: And-- and that's what happening.

BOB SCHIEFFER: It didn't work that time, Kennedy won handily but eight years later, Romney ran again and was elected Massachusetts Governor. Now, he's trying for the second time to see if it will work at the national level. This week's FACE THE NATION flashback. Stay with us. We'll be right back.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, thank you for watching our first hour long FACE THE NATION. We'll be back next Sunday, of course, and our guests will include Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention. Meantime, check out our new website at This week we're also kicking off our Campaign 2012 Google hangout series. You can follow that live on the FACE THE NATION Google Plus page Thursday at 1:00 PM and we'll show you some of it on Sunday's broadcast. See you.

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