"Face the Nation" transcript, June 3: Axelrod, Priebus and more

DAVID AXELROD: No. Let-- let-- first of all it is part of a piece which is, is Mitt Romney's background, are his ideas the ones that can move our economy forward? And, you know, the-- the particular-- some of the instances we raised, take the one about the steel company in-- in Kansas City, they-- they-- Mitt Romney and his group bought that company, they put eight million of their own dollars in a-- for a seventy-five-million-dollar company, immediately borrowed a hundred and twenty-five million dollars and the next year took thirty-six million back out of that money for dividend. The-- the company ultimately went bankrupt, workers lost their benefits, creditors lost out, and they walked away with millions of dollars. That may be a successful business strategy for them and it made money for them and their investors. But that's not an economic strategy that's going to rebuild the middle class in this country, that's going to grow our economy in the long run and that's the point we're making.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me change the subject just a little bit. You were mentioned in two new books about foreign policy. In fact the authors of both those books are coming up later in this show.

DAVID AXELROD: Mm-Hm.

BOB SCHIEFFER: In one account, it says that you were present at a national security meeting when the President was making decisions on which terrorist we were going to track down--

DAVID AXELROD: That's not true.

BOB SCHIEFFER: --and kill.

DAVID AXELROD: That's not true.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And it's you-- you're just simply saying it isn't true.

DAVID AXELROD: I'm flat-out asserting that that is not true. There were meetings-- I know there were weekly meetings dealing with terrorist threats and planning around it but I did not attend those meeting.

BOB SCHIEFFER: So because the chairman of this-- of the House Intelligence Committee, who is a Republican, I know is concerned that you were there.

DAVID AXELROD: Well, let me allay--

BOB SCHIEFFER: And you're just saying flat out--

DAVID AXELROD: Let-- let me-- let me allay his--

BOB SCHIEFFER: --you weren't there.

DAVID AXELROD: --concerns, Bob--

BOB SCHIEFFER: Okay.

DAVID AXELROD: --because that's not true.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Okay. One other thing it's in one of these books and that is that you and the-- the attorney general had a chest-to-chest shouting match because he thought you were interfering in things that his department was doing, and that Valerie Jarrett of all people came up and said you need to take this out of the hole here. What about that?

DAVID AXELROD: Well, first of all, let me say, Eric-- Eric Holder is great friend of mine. We actually went to the same high school. So we may have gone chest to chest back in the day. But we-- you know, we have a strong relationship and I'm not going to get into the details of that other than to say I respect him. I obviously never tried to interfere in anything that he did, never talked to him about a governmental matter or a Justice Department matter in all the years I was in the White House.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right, David Axelrod, thank you for coming. And for--

DAVID AXELROD: Thank you for having me.

BOB SCHIEFFER: --answering the questions.

DAVID AXELROD: Okay.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Joining me now is Reince Priebus. He is the chairman of the Republican Party. He is in Milwaukee this morning, and, Mister Chairman, welcome to you. We want to get your reaction to some of the things that David Axelrod said.

But, first, you are out there to campaign for Republican governor Scott Walker, who faces a recall election this week. I just wanted to get your sense of how you think it's going.

REINCE PRIEBUS (Republican National Committee Chairman): Well, I think it's going pretty well, Bob. But, you know, here in Wisconsin, we know as Republicans, we've got to keep our foot on the pedal, see this thing through the end. And, you know the-- the difference between Scott Walker and the President is pretty stark. You know, you-- you mentioned it earlier, but Scott Walker is talking about his record. He's talking about the fact that his reforms are working, that people are getting back to work, that businesses are coming in. You know, people's property taxes have gone down. And, you know, you can't keep operating a government that spends more money than it takes in. So Scott Walker is one of these special people that have made promises and kept promises. You contrast that to David Axelrod's boss, he's a-- he's a president who is in love with the sound of his own voice but hasn't been able to follow through on too many promises. And so that's really David's problem and the President's problem. But fortunately for Scott Walker, he's got a record of keeping a promise and that's special here. People appreciate folks that are strong and make promises and keep them.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, you say a President who is in love with his own voice, but I mean, that leads me to what you all were doing last week, and that is organizing a rally to try to drown out David Axelrod when he goes up to Boston at the same time that out on the West Coast, Governor Romney was loading up reporters in a bus and taking them on a secret mission to the Solyndra Plant because he said he couldn't reveal where they were going, but he was fearful that Democrats would try to-- to try break that up. Isn't that kind of silly and petty when you look at it? This campaign should be, it seems to me, about very serious things and serious issues.

REINCE PRIEBUS: Well, I think Solyndra is a serious thing. And I think highlighting Solyndra, highlighting this President's foray into venture capitalism, using taxpayer money to send to Solyndra of which the Solyndra executives were donors to Barack Obama. I mean, this is political cronyism in its worst form. Now as far as David Axelrod and-- and going to Boston I mean that's the height of a political stunt. I mean, what-- what's the purpose of the Chicago clan going to Boston to hold some sort of political stunt. And-- and for-- for these tough guys from Boston now-- I mean, excuse me, these tough guys from Chicago to, you know, to-- to cry about it, I just find it laughable.

BOB SCHIEFFER: So should we expect more of that?

REINCE PRIEBUS: Well, I mean, this is politics and I think that, you know, rallies and protests and-- and people getting out there and voicing their First Amendment rights is something that's pretty normal. And I-- I-- I just find it-- I think it's amusing. I-- I think that for-- for David Axelrod, more importantly, to be somehow holding a public event over Mitt Romney's job record in Massachusetts when if this President had Mitt Romney's job record they'd be holding a carnival celebrating their successes. But they failed so badly that they want us to believe that we're not living on earth and that the President isn't the President and all of these things that are going wrong have nothing to do with Barack Obama.

BOB SCHIEFFER: What about Governor Romney's plan to get people back to work? Will we ever hear him say anything beyond we've just got to make it more comfortable for business and-- and-- and getting rid of Barack Obama? Is he going to ever present--

REINCE PRIEBUS: Well--

BOB SCHIEFFER: --anything really specific on how to get people back to work?