(CBS News) -- Below is a transcript of the April 6, 2014 edition of "Face the Nation". Guests included Seth Doane, Mark Ronsenker, Rep. Michael McCaul, Dan Pfeiffer, Heidi Cullen, Tom Friedman, Todd Purdum, John Dickerson and Amy Walter.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on Face the Nation: Overnight developments on the missing plane. The Australian government says it could be the first real break in the month long search...
AUSTRALIAN PRESSER (Chief Coordinator of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston): This is an important and encouraging lead but one in which I urge you to continue to treat carefully.
BOB SCHIEFFER: He's referring to another set of electronic pings detected in the search area in the Indian Ocean. We'll have the latest on that. On the Fort Hood story, we'll talk to the Head of the House Homeland Security Committee, Texas Republican Michael McCaul. Has the White House finally overcome the problems with Obamacare? We'll check in with White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer. And what about this wacky weather? We'll preview our partner Showtime's new series, "Years of Living Dangerously," with the bestselling author of Hot, Flat and Crowded, Tom Friedman, and Climate Central's Heidi Cullen. Plus a look at Todd Purdum's new book An Idea Whose Time Has Come, as we approach the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. 60 years of news because this is Face the Nation.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, good morning again. All sides are urging caution, but finally there may be a break in the case of missing Malaysian Airliner 370. The first reports of pings in the search area came from the Chinese, so we're starting there this morning with Seth Doane in Beijing, Seth.
SETH DOANE: Good morning to you Bob. Yes, officially they are calling it an acoustic event. But today, for the third day in a row, people involved in the search report hearing signals coming from deep inside the southern Indian Ocean. Today, it was an Australian ship, the Ocean Shield, that's carrying some high-frequency listening devices that reported hearing these signals. And the location of those signals is about 300 nautical miles from where those signals on board that Chinese ship were heard on Friday and Saturday. State media here in China was reporting that the frequency of those signals matched the frequency that would have been emitted from those black boxes on board flight 370. But so far, officials involved in the search have been very cautious to say that no confirmed connection has been made between these signals and this missing jetliner. The black box battery life is only about 30 days - about a month on that black box. And today is day 30 of the search, so searchers are certainly racing against time. Officials have said they are following all of these leads, but they have really urged caution, saying in this deep ocean, a number of sounds can come from any number of different sources. Also, we've spoken with a number of family members over the last four-plus weeks who have reminded us that leads in the past have only proven to be disappointing, Bob.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Alright. Well, thank you so much Seth.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And here in the studio with us, Mark Rosenker, who's the former head of the National Transportation and Safety Board. He is now a CBS News aviation and safety analyst. Well, what about it, Mark? Is this for real?
MARK ROSENKER: Well, we don't know yet, Bob. It certainly is hopeful news. But I the know we have to temper that hopeful news with a good dose of reality. Just don't know what it is yet.
BOB SCHIEFFER: What they are hearing is pulses. The Chinese reported it yesterday. Then overnight the Australians hear the same pulse. If it is not coming from those black boxes, what could the be coming from?
MARK ROSENKER: Unfortunately, there are lots of things that could give you false alarms. And I'm hoping that we are not dealing with one of those. Well, the good news is is we have the H.M.S. Echo underway. She should be there in the next few hours to be able to give us a good sense of and perhaps even validate and confirm what the Chinese might have seen. Let us wait for that before we begin to move to the next step.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, if it is confirmed that that's what this is, what happens next?
MARK ROSENKER: Well, then we really have to begin the process of narrowing down the search nodes. Where we would really begin to bring in the equipment that we have and really go down below and begin to document and search where the boxes actually are. And at the same time, take a look to see if we've got a large debris field.
BOB SCHIEFFER: How much time do you think we have? Because these black boxes, that battery's going to finally give out in them, isn't it?
MARK ROSENKER: We're about at its edge. 30 days is what they are supposed to be. We've seen them go another 10 to 12 days if we really got lucky. It's about time we get some luck in this investigation. Because it certainly has not been one for us during this first 30 days.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Okay, well, Mark, thank you so much for being with us. We want to turn now to the other big story of the week. And that is four days now after Army Specialist Ivan Lopez went on a shooting rampage in Fort Hood, Texas, and killed three people, injured 16 more, authorities are still trying to figure out what set him off. The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Michael McCaul joins us now from Austin. Mr. Chairman, is there anything new on this investigation? What do we think caused this now? What's the latest thinking?
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL: Well, if I could just first say as a Texan like yourself, this tragedy really hits home. Our hearts go out to the families and the victims. And this Fort Hood community has been resilient. I'm very proud of what they've done. The great place and standing up. But this is the second time we've seen this now at Ford Hood. I did attend the commemoration service when Major Hasan had killed 12 soldiers and one civilian.
So it's very difficult to see this happen again. In terms of new information coming in, we do know that Mr. Lopez had applied for a leave of absence. He appeared to be a disgruntled employee. But I think at the end of the day, you're dealing with a mental health illness issue here, not unlike what we saw at the Navy Yard shooting.
I'm very disturbed about the uptick in shootings and violence at our military installations across the nation. And one last bit of information with respect to Mr. Lopez's state of mind, he did put on his Facebook comments about he'd lost his inner piety, that filled with hatred, and that he thought the devil would take him. So we're obviously dealing with not a rational person.
And we need to look at how we can better fortify our force protection at military installations. But also, how can we deal with these mental health issues with our returning veterans? And our suicide rate in the military is twice as high as the average population. We do a very good job at fixing broken bodies, but not such a great job at healing broken minds with our returning veterans.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You said earlier this week we might have to allow our military people to be armed on these military bases. What exactly are you talking about?
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL: Well, I think we need to have a discussion. I think a lot of people don't realize that our military that defends our freedoms abroad, when they come home from the military base are not allowed to carry weapons. Now I think we need to have a discussion. We need to talk to the commanders about whether it would make sense to have not all but maybe some of our senior leadership officers, enlisted men on the base, carrying weapons for protection.
I think ideally what you'd want to have are more military police officers. But in the current budget climate, that's not as realistic. So it seems to me a force multiplier of officers and enlisted men that we can trust the senior leadership to have them carry. Because, you know, it only takes a few minutes to wound and kill a large number of soldiers. Any time we see soldier on soldier, it's one of the most tragic things we can conceive. And if we had senior leadership armed, just maybe they could have stopped it before it got worse.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right, well, Congressman, we want to thank you for joining us. It's not a happy subject to talk about. Thanks for coming in and being with us this morning. For all the bad news this week, the White House is feeling pretty good about one development. The number of people signing up for Obamacare finally topped seven million people. Joining us to talk about it is White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer. But Dan, before we go into that, you heard what the congressman said. Do you think that the White House, are they considering the idea of arming some of the soldiers that are on these bases?
DAN PFEIFFER: No, Bob, the Pentagon's looking at proposals like the one that Congressman McCaul talked about. They don't think it's a good idea.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And why would that be?
DAN PFEIFFER: Well, I think it's clear from what happened at Ford Hood, we have to do a lot more to ensure that our men and women feel safe when they come home. It's a terrible tragedy that happened in Ford Hood. The president and the first lady send their thoughts and prayers out to the victims and families and everyone on the base. And they're going to actually travel down on Wednesday to the memorials they're running.
BOB SCHIEFFER: The president is going--
BOB SCHIEFFER: --to the Memorial Service?
DAN PFEIFFER: Yes, sir.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And that's going to be on Wednesday?
DAN PFEIFFER: Yes.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me also ask you about getting back to Obamacare, which is why we invited you here. So you finally got past seven million. And a lot of people thought that was not going to happen after this disastrous rollout. Do you think now that the problems are behind you? Or what's ahead here?
DAN PFEIFFER: Well, I think that we have a lot more work to do here. We have to ensure that the seven million folks who signed up have a good transition into health care. We have a number of people who were in the queue when the deadline hit, who we have to get signed up. We don't have complete data yet. But 200,000 additional have signed up this week. So that's progress.
We have to continue implementing the law. It was a celebratory moment. We all felt pretty good when we hit the mark that no one thought we were gonna hit. But it's not a victory lap. And the president has told us to keep our eye on the ball every day to make sure this law is implemented as well as possible.
BOB SCHIEFFER: So you have had 200,000 more that have signed up since you announced the 7.1?
DAN PFEIFFER: Yeah, with more data coming in. We're still working. Because everyone who had started the process, who wants access to affordable health care, has a chance to do that.
BOB SCHIEFFER: What about the composition of the people who have signed up? Do you have any indication yet, can you tell yet whether you have enough young people? Because that's what you need. You need healthy people in the system to make it viable for the insurance company.
DAN PFEIFFER: Well, we'll have more demographic data on the last group of people here (UNINTEL) in a few weeks. What we have thus far through February is perfectly in line with what the insurance companies say they need to have a good mix. And all indications are, particularly if we follow the same example that Massachusetts did, more young and healthy people come in at the end. So we feel good about the mix thus far.
BOB SCHIEFFER: What do you think the lessons were on this?
DAN PFEIFFER: Well, I think that we learned a lot about how the government handles big I.T. projects, about decision making around these sorts of projects with contractors. We learned you can absolutely never take your eye off the ball. And I think, you know, everyone from the president, Secretary Sebelius on down, got a lot of deserved blame and took responsibility for the mistakes that happened. I think the same group of people deserve a lot of credit for how they've rescued this and brought it to a level of success that people thought was impossible just a few months ago.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you think the president was well briefed on this plan? Did he know all the ins and outs of it? You know, he said at one point, "If you like you'll plan, you'll be able to keep it. If you like your doctor, you'll be able to keep it." Then he had to backtrack on that.
DAN PFEIFFER: Well, I think as relates particularly to the website, we have said we did not get the information we needed. We made changes to ensure that never happens again and sure we got the website fixed. Where there have been problems, we have sought to fix them right away. Implementing a big piece of legislation like this is very challenging. We've seen this before with Medicare and Social Security and other similar pieces. And what we're going to do is make sure that going forward, we hit all of the marks and do everything we can if everyone is focused every day on doing it right.
BOB SCHIEFFER: What about the politics of this? Some people are saying that this may, in fact, wind up with a Republican-controlled Senate. And it will be the cause of Obamacare. It is still by every poll still unpopular.
DAN PFEIFFER: Well, first I'd say we believe we're going to keep the Senate. But look, health care is a divisive issue. It's been that way for a very long time. That's where it took 15 years to get health reform passed. I do think that the Republican argument for repeal is a political loser. What they're arguing now is that the seven million people who signed up through the exchanges and the millions more who got it from Medicaid and other ways, they're going to take health care away from all of those people.
And then what they're going to do for the 85% of Americans who had health care before the Affordable Care Act is that they're going to take away their protections. Because embedded in the Affordable Care Act is the patient's bill of rights. So we'll go back to the days where women paid more than men for the same health care, seniors paid more for prescription drugs, and insurance companies had all the power. That's not a good argument to make.
BOB SCHIEFFER: I want to ask you about the big Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance which came down this week. It just means that more money is going to be pouring into the system. Does the president want to do anything about this? He's out spending a good part of his time raising money now. Does he propose any changes in our finance laws? Or is he contemplating anything like that?
DAN PFEIFFER: Well, this is a real challenge. And the decision in the McCutcheon case, just like the one in Citizen's United a few years ago are devastating to the public campaign system. It's Justice Breyer said the McCutcheon system essentially eviscerated campaign finance in this country. And so the problem we have is that the Supreme Court has struck down duly passed laws.
And so in the long run, it may be the only option is a constitutional amendment, which is something the president's talked about in the past. In the short term, the only way to combat the influence of big money is the way the president got elected in 2008 and 2012, which is millions of Americans investing $5, $10, $15. You know, we had hundreds of millions of dollars of big money spent against the president in 2012. But we won, because we had 4.4 million Americans who donated to the campaign at an average (UNINTEL) less than $60.
BOB SCHIEFFER: One other question. David Ortiz took a selfie with the president. When the Red Sox visited the White House everybody thought that was kind of cute. And then it turns out that he has apparently signed some sort of a deal with Samsung. And this was all part of a promo. Did the president get caught here? Did he appreciate that?
DAN PFEIFFER: Well, he obviously didn't know anything about Samsung's connection to this. And perhaps maybe this will be the end of all selfies. But in general, whenever someone tries to use the president's likeness to promote a product, that's a problem with the White House--
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, are you going to take any kind of legal action? Or--
DAN PFEIFFER: Well, we've had conversations with Samsung about this and expressed our concerns.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And what did they say?
DAN PFEIFFER: We've (UNINTEL PHRASE) conversation (UNINTEL) lawyers.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Okay. Dan Pfeiffer, thanks for being with us this morning.
DAN PFEIFFER: Thank you, Bob.
BOB SCHIEFFER: We'll be back in one minute to talk about one of the most serious problems facing the world today, climate change. Stay with us.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, last week marked yet another round of whacky weather throughout the United States. There were giant lightning strikes near the St. Louis arcs. There were huge snowstorms in parts of Montana and Minnesota. And enormous hail stones fell in Kansas. The unusual seems to be the norm these days with the weather, which bring us to the best-selling author of Hot, Flat, and Crowded, our friend, New York Timescolumnist Tom Friedman and Heidi Cullen, who is the chief climatologist at Climate Central. And they are here today because they're both involved in our partner Showtime's new documentary on climate change. It is called Years of Living Dangerously. Tom, this is a multipart series. You take part in one of the episodes. What's the bottom line here? What did you all find out?
THOMAS FRIEDMAN: Well, Bob, it's actually a nine part series. And people can watch the first one tomorrow, actually, on YouTube, YearsOfLivingDangerously.com, get it for free. For me, it's been really the most remarkable documentary project I've ever been involved with. I'm looking at the environmental and climate stresses in the Middle East.
So I actually go to Syria and show how the drought in Syria is connected to the revolution. Get to go to Yemen, look at the first city in the world that may run out of water. And then Egypt to look how climate stresses were involved in the revolution there. Participating in the series, you know, we have Arnold Schwarzenegger, Matt Damon, Harrison Ford, Don Cheadle, Mark Bittman. Lesley Stahl from CBS. Remarkable group of people. The whole idea is to bring this home to personal stories. And it does amazingly effectively.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, Heidi, what is the conclusion of this series? You were their chief science advisor for the series. What do you say to those who question whether global warming exists (UNINTEL)?
HEIDI CULLEN: Well, you know, I think the series meshes very nicely with the I.P.C.C. reports, which have just come out. They basically show conclusively that climate change is very real. We're experiencing it right now. And that it is manmade, that is primarily caused by the burning of fossil fuels, oil, coal, natural gas. And we're already feeling the pain from it, right?
So, you know, the title we use of Living Dangerously I think it really hits home that these are important years that we're living right now. We're beginning to see the effects. The effects will only get worse. And if we do nothing to stop it, we're going to look back and ask ourselves, "Why didn't we do something when we had the opportunity?" The I.P.C.C. report made very clear that now is the time to act.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, help me with this. For example, the recent storms we've had, the thing that hit New Jersey, with Sandy and all of that. Is that the cause of global warming, the cause of climate change?
HEIDI CULLEN: There is no doubt in my mind that Hurricane Sandy was made worse as a result of global warming, specifically the sea level rise component. So you think about that massive storm surge during Hurricane Sandy. There's an additional foot of sea level rise that we can tie directly to additional flooding. We look at New Jersey, for example, an additional 25 square miles were flooded.
That's about 40,000 people that were impacted who wouldn't have been. And then look at how bad Sandy was. $60 billion in damage, more than 125 dead. And then fast forward to a point where sea level is now four feet higher. And we're talking about a Sandy level flooding event in a place like New Jersey happening every year. So we've got to think about the fact that if we don't do anything now, our grandchildren are going to be dealing with risks they cannot cope with--
BOB SCHIEFFER: Tom, let me just ask you this question. In our politics now, everything breaks on these ideological lines. It just breaks. Is there such a break in the scientific community? How does the scientific community come down on this whole idea of climate change?
THOMAS FRIEDMAN: Let me put it in personal terms. So your son or daughter has a disease. And you go to a hundred doctors. 97% of them, 97 of a 100 say, "This is the cause and this is the cure." And 3% say, "This is the cause. This is the cure." That's what it is on the climate science. 97% of experts say this. 3% say that. And conservatives are saying, "I'm gonna go with the 3%." That's not conservative. That's Trotskyite radical, okay? That you would go with the 3% not the 97%.
To pick up on something that Heidi said, I actually don't like to use the term "global warming." Because that sounds so cuddly. To a Minnesota, Bob, that sounds like golf in February. I much prefer the term "global wierding", okay? Because that's actually what happens. The hots get hotter. The wets get wetter. The dries get dryer. And the more violent storms for the reasons Heidi outlined are most likely to become more severe. And that's what we saw in Syria. We saw a four-year drought, worst in Syria's modern history, that preceded the revolution there and produced a million refugees that basically laid the predicate for that revolution.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, we're going to continue this on part two of the broadcast. And we'll be back in a moment with a look at a very important (UNINTEL).
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, welcome back to Face the Nation. We are back now with Tom Friedman and Heidi Cullen of Climate Central to continue our conversation on climate change. The World Health Organization put out a report last month saying that seven million people worldwide were killed by air pollution. One in eight deaths tied to dirty air, which is twice that previously estimated. How can that be?
THOMAS FRIEDMAN: Well, it can be because while we're cutting back on coal use here, Bob, we're like an addict who's given up heroine, but we've decided to go into the business of being a pusher. Because we're sending that coal all over the world. And other people are still burning it. And it gets back to a central point. Some people say, you know, "Climate change is a hoax."
Which I say, you know, if it's a hoax, it'll be the greatest hoax that ever happened to us. Because if we do everything we need to do (UNINTEL) prevent climate change and it doesn't happen, we will be like someone who trains for the Olympic triathlon and the triathlon never came. We'll be stronger. We'll have cleaner air. We'll have healthier society. We'll have more innovative industry. We'll have a stronger dollar. We'll be less dependent on the worst petro dictators in the world starting with Vladimir Putin and the likes of him. So to me, I don't think it's a hoax in the least. But if it were and we did everything we could to prevent it, we'd only be stronger. By the way, if it's not a hoax and we don't do anything, we will be a bad biological experiment.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Heidi, what do we need to do?
HEIDI CULLEN: I think that these reports from the scientific community make clear that strong sustained leadership is so important. (UNINTEL) report came out, second year in a row, China, who we've all seen these awful pictures of pollution in China. China is the world's leader in investment in renewables. $54 billion for China. About $37 billion for the U.S.
We need to really move towards making this a nonpartisan issue here in the States. And there's a great scene, actually, in the Years project, where Bob Inglas, former Republican congressman fro South Carolina, sits down with Michael Grimm, a Republican from Staten Island, where I grew up. Grimm has been dealing with the awful impacts of Sandy. And Inglas says to him, "You know what? I'm Republican. And I believe in climate change. You've just been through a terrible experience, where you've seen your community ravaged by, in part, climate change. Maybe it's time to rethink this. You know, the Chinese certainly didn't treat this as a partisan issue." And I think that's really the direction that we need to move in.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Tom, tell me about your part of this, where you went into Syria of all places.
THOMAS FRIEDMAN: So between 2006 and 2010, Syria actually experienced the worst drought in its modern history. And as a result, about a million Syrian farmers and herders left the countryside, flocked to the cities, where they completely overstressed, already stressed in part by Iraqi refugees as well. And it basically, when the (UNINTEL PHRASE) starting all these Arab Springs. So climate change didn't cause Assad to kill Syrians and be an oppressive dictator. But it was what Hayden said. It was a stressor that when the revolution came, you had a million climate change refugees who the Syrian regime had completely ignored, a million environmental refugees. And so when the revolution came, they couldn't wait to join.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right, well thank you all very, very much. This sounds like just a fascinating series. We're going to ask both of you to stick around for our panel. And we'll be right back.
BOB SCHIEFFER: We're back now with Tom Friedman of the New York Times, Todd Purdum, who writes for both Politico and Vanity Fair. He has a new book out called An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We're also joined by the national editor for the Cook Political Report, Amy Walter, and our own John Dickerson. And Todd, let me talk to you first about your book. Why did you decide this was the time to do this book?
TODD PURDUM: Well, obviously, the anniversary's coming up, Bob. And it also seemed the more I researched it, a wonderful story that contrasts to our dysfunctional Washington today. It really was a time when people of both races, both parties could manage to work together in a time that was certainly as divided if not more so than our own on the most controversial issue of the day. And we tend to forget just what a bipartisan achievement this was. It passed the Senate 73 to 27, with 27 out of 33 Republican votes. They couldn't agree on the shape of a table today by that margin.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, and, you know, some people say, "Well, yes, but Lyndon Johnson had a Democratic Congress. He was able to push his will." Most of the people in his caucus started out against him. It was the Southern Democrats who posed the real obstacle to getting these laws passed.
TODD PURDUM: Exactly. And so the size of those majorities were (UNINTEL). And he really had to depend first in the House and then in the Senate on the Republicans. And Republicans at that point in time still took very seriously their heritage as the party of Lincoln and worked to an extraordinary degree, in an election year remember, 1964, willing to work with the president to basically neutralize the hottest political issue of the day, instead of sticking it to him and saying, "Why can't you get your own party to pass it?"
BOB SCHIEFFER: You know what I find? That is very interesting, because this went on deep into the year into summer--
TODD PURDUM: Exactly.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --before they actually got this thing passed. For all practical purposes, our Congress has already put out the "gone for the election" sign. And both parties have served notice they're not going to do anything for the rest of the year.
TODD PURDUM: And that's another difference, too. They weren't here just three days a week. They were here much longer periods of time. And they knew each other. And it's a terribly hard thing to call somebody a dirty name in the morning, if you've had dinner at his house the night before. And we've got to be careful about not over-romanticizing that era. There were plenty of things wrong with Washington in those days. But people really did know each other as human beings. And they respected each other.
BOB SCHIEFFER: John Dickerson, do you think there are things that the Obama administration could take away from those days? And I suppose you could ask the same question of the Republicans.
JOHN DICKERSON: There are things that they could take away. The question is whether they would really change the situation in Washington. Todd is talking about the Republicans who felt a deep need, a moral need to pass the civil rights legislation. And if you look at some of the things the president has tried to pass, there is no group of Republicans who felt a deep moral need to have universal health care.
So there was not a group that he could go grab to create a new kind of coalition. But the things he could learn is LBJ, his hobby was politics and getting to know the members on the Hill. And he talked to Democrats and Republicans in the House and the Senate. And they say the president and his team just are not engaged.
Now would that change anything? Well, who knows? But Lyndon Johnson was either getting information or cajoling or flattering or pushing. It was just his constant occupation. He said you had to court Congress like you do your wife. And I think that that would help in some way. We don't know exactly what would pass (UNINTEL), but clearly it's the consensus among pretty much everybody on the Hill that there needs to be more of that from a president than they've seen from this administration.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, Tom Friedman, and you've been around here not as long as I have, but you've been around here a long time. I think the whole talent pool has changed. The people from the pool from which our elected officials are now drawn. Because when you come right down to it, if you want to be in politics today, you have to say up front, "Okay, I'm willing to spend five or six hours a day begging people for money. And then get up the next morning and ask the same group of people to give you some money." And the result is some of those people are elected. They're not bad people. For the most part, they're good people. But it is a very different group of people it seems to me than the people who used to be involved in our politics.
TOM FRIEDMAN: Right. I think of the quality of the senators and congress people I dealt with when I came here 20 years ago on foreign affairs how different it is. You know, Bob, I was thinking the other day that when archeologists a thousand years from now dig down to this layer, they're going to puzzle over something, the way we did when we dug down to the Roman layer.
They're gonna (UNINTEL PHRASE) the president's chief of staff, arguably the second most powerful man in America, quit his job to go run (not get the job) run for office in a Midwestern city. That's Rahm Emmanuel who went to run for mayor of Chicago. Can you imagine someone who was an advisor to Caesar quitting his job to go run for Mayor of Carthage, okay? So why did he do that?
I think one reason he did it is, well, obviously, we've got the gerrymandering of political districts, which is a huge problem, over and above all the things that have already been said. I think there's something else going on. That you can be in public life today, in the world of Twitter, Facebook, (UNINTEL) whatnot is so unpleasant. And we've got now instant polling. So our politics has become like American Idol. We no longer have representative democracy. We're going to direct democracy now. And as a result, that's having a huge, I think, perverting effect on the decisions people make and what we can accomplish.
BOB SCHIEFFER: So what will this latest Supreme Court ruling, what impact is that going to have, Amy? Where you now are pouring more fuel--
AMY WALTER: You're pouring more money into the system.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --overflowing.
AMY WALTER: You are. But it's the Citizens United case, the one that came down in 2010 and gave us the super PAC, if that were the fire hose, okay? Putting all of that money. I think this decision's more like a garden hose. Which is it's certainly adding water to the system, but nobody can compete when billionaires who have an unlimited source of money can go and run ads and put up as much money as they want into the system. And that's the difference here, which is, yes, the number of donors continue to get smaller. They give more money. But when billionaires are really putting all of their assets into these, nobody can compete. Not even the parties.
I mean, this is what seems to me to be different now is that you have people giving hundreds--
BOB SCHIEFFER: --$93 million?
TODD PURDUM: Well, and, you know--
BOB SCHIEFFER: --when he snapped his finger, they all ran, the Republicans ran out there to show off for it.
TODD PURDUM: A crucial figure in passing the civil rights bill was in the House, was Congressman Bill McCulloch from West Central Ohio. And he was proud to say that he never spent more on a campaign than his congressional salary. And he never intended to do so. And that's--
AMY WALTER: The great irony is that most of these guys do sit in safe seats, right? So they're red on red or blue on blue. Very few House members have competitive districts. So you're taking all of this money and you're putting it into fewer and fewer seats. So very few people actually have to be on the phone five or six hours, because--
BOB SCHIEFFER: --let me also just run this in. And that is this is not just Republicans. I mean--
BOB SCHIEFFER: --every time he goes out of town, he goes to a fundraiser. You know, when he was notified of the Camp Hood, the Fort Hood situation, they had to interrupt him at a fundraiser. He spends an enormous amount of his time. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't remember (UNINTEL) doing that to the extent they do it now. Am I wrong about that?
JOHN DICKERSON: Well, he's the biggest money raiser in-- you know, he's the best tin cup shaker they've got on the Democratic side. And they need money to compete with these outside groups. But, you know, that old line about you either run unopposed or you run scared. Even people in these safe districts are running scared. So they think they need the money. It's cost double potentially what it cost to win a House race or to win a Senate race in about the last ten years.
And this goes back to the civil rights question and whether they are willing partners for a president, any president. If you buck your party and sign up with a president of the opposite party, there's a big pool of money out there waiting to attach to somebody who's gonna take your job away from you. And with that kind of an environment out there, the cost of bravery, of siding with the president of the other party to get anything done like a Civil Rights Act or anything even--
TOM FRIEDMAN: --cover technology a lot, okay? So (UNINTEL) Britain and America were two countries divided by a common language. We're now two coasts divided by a common language. When you're in Silicon Valley and you call someone, a collaborator, that's someone you're building a great (UNINTEL) of technology and software with. You come to Washington and you call someone a collaborator, it's (UNINTEL) John Dickerson (UNINTEL). You're someone who dared to work with the other party. You're a collaborator (UNINTEL) French (UNINTEL) term. Same word, two coasts means something totally different.
AMY WALTER: (UNINTEL) all this money, too, you know, we don't necessarily know that it's actually doing much. I mean, there's a law of diminishing returns, right? How many millions of dollars can you put on television before people just completely tune it out? And so I think that on immigration reform this is a perfect example of the civil rights of our time.
If you quietly took the Republican conference, put them in the room, (UNINTEL) all off the record, you'd get 60% of the people in that room saying, "I would vote for an immigration bill." But they're either worried about a primary or they're worried that somehow, some way, they will be called out for being not (UNINTEL).
BOB SCHIEFFER: I think the amazing thing is that the big money has not completely taken over our politics. And it hasn't. I mean, it is this enormous force. But, you know, if Sheldon Adelson was going to prevail, Newt Gingrich would have been elected as president--
TOM FRIEDMAN: If you look at it, though, on a micro scale, why is it hedge fund managers pay a different tax on (UNINTEL) interest than you and me? Why was it that General Motors was able to actually block the study of mileage improvement standards for many years? Now why is it we can't import sugar ethanol from Brazil? You can go down the list and look at a lot of things that were just bought and paid for. I think Bill (UNINTEL) got it right. The Supreme Court justice (UNINTEL) said, "This doesn't lead to corruption." We're like the Little Mermaid. These are people who have never run for office.
BOB SCHIEFFER: (UNINTEL). (LAUGH) What's happening on the Republican side? I think most people think right now Hillary Clinton is going to get the Democratic nomination, which may be (UNINTEL) when she doesn't get it. We're all assuming that that's what's going to happen. And what we always assume somehow never seems to happen in politics. What is happening on the Republican side?
AMY WALTER: If the Democratic side is a very strong frontrunner, but a pretty weak bench underneath that. On the Republican side, you have a really deep bench and no frontrunner. And that's what Republicans are trying to figure out. Who do they want to be that standard bearer for them? And if you talk to the establishment folks, they would like somebody who they think matches up best against Hillary Clinton. So that's why Jeb Bush's name gets raised, especially as Chris Christie's star has dimmed a bit. But Jeb Bush brings his own set of baggage to this race. You know, the last poll that we saw from the Washington Post showed that 49% of Americans said they definitely would not vote for him. It's not because they know Jeb Bush. They just know the Bush last name.
TODD PURDUM: And the problem the Republicans face is that all the factors that are helping this year in the midterm in individual districts and Senate races are the same factors that will hurt them as a national brand (UNINTEL) just as they suffered in 2008 and 2012 against Barack Obama.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And what is the impact of Obamacare on all this? We had Dan Pfeiffer on this morning. You've got to give them credit. Most people thought this was not going other happen. And they did get over seven million finally signed up after this disastrous rollout. But is that going to help or is it going to hurt Democrats?
JOHN DICKERSON: Well, they haven't had a good news day for six months since (UNINTEL PHRASE). And then they had basically two months of bad news days. It was the first time they could claim something was going well. We still don't know what that number means, as we've all discussed, how many people actually paid versus enrolled where. How are they healthy and all of that.
But the best thing for Democrats is this may sort of neutralize the issue a little bit, so they can change the topic. They're never going to be able to use Obamacare as a weapon against Republicans. But if it's not front and center something they're constantly having to hold the shield up and cower behind, they can perhaps go on the offense about something else, whether it's equal pay or the minimum wage or unemployment insurance or whatever local thing they want these races that are going to be tight in red states to be very local, about local issues.
So they can maybe start that conversation. But Republicans are not going to change their approach, which is to talk about that it's not just that the law that had bad stumbles in October, but that one that represents a grab of 18% of the economy and represents a kind of mindset on the part of the Democrats. And that works very well with their base, which is the base that turns out in these midterm election and that gets energized about this as a values proposition. Which is to say, "This is against my values about the way a government should work." And that still has plenty of energy despite the 7.1 million--
AMY WALTER: And as long as Americans don't think that the economy's getting better, the message on equal pay and we're working for the middle class is just not really going to resonate. And that's the bigger problem for Democrats right now. It's that yes Obamacare is a drag. It motivates the other side. Their side is not as motivated by the fact that this passed that the other side is motivated by the fact that it passed. And when you're talking about the people that need to turn out for Democrats to succeed, there are people who are making less than $50,000 a year, those people are not feeling like this economy's roaring back to life.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But the economy is getting better--
AMY WALTER: For some people.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --by some numbers--
AMY WALTER: --are coming back.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --is now up beyond where it was before the Great Recession.
AMY WALTER: But the percentage of people that say, "We think the country's headed in the wrong direction. Or we don't feel that much better about where the country is economically," that's still a bigger problem. If by November, people are truly feeling better about where the economy's going, that's what's going to help to offset the Obamacare stumble.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you think that the Republicans could take the Senate? They have to run--
AMY WALTER: They have a lot of opportunity. Well, they'd maybe 60. But there are seven seats up this year that Democrats hold that Mitt Romney carried. So that's a tough map for Democrats. But they've also expanded it into battleground states like Iowa, Michigan, Colorado, places that Democrats win, but not by big margins. So they definitely have the best opportunity they've had.
The bigger problem, John raised this, is what kind of candidates are Republicans going to get? Can Democrats localize these races by making it not so much about how great Democrats are, but how terrible the Republican candidates, how terrible they've been on the issues that matter in those individual states.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, look, Todd, you've just done this book. So let me ask you this question. I mean, when I go out and talk to people and I sometimes say I'm pretty discouraged about the way our politics is. Because I think the whole system is totally broken. And, of course, the first question you get is, "What can we do about it?" What do you see? Do you see anything that changes the situation in which we find ourselves now?
TODD PURDUM: Well, I mean, as Tom said, the problem with the red and blue districts, we don't have competitive seats. But I think I've pondered that question a lot during my research. And really the crucial key to passing the Civil Rights Act was this enormous grassroots lobbying effort by the religious community, interfaith community all over the country. And they targeted their efforts specifically in the Midwest and Great Plains, where people didn't have large Black constituents, either liberal or labor groups, but they had a lot of Methodists and Catholics and Baptists.
And I've often wondered what would happen on an issue like immigration if somehow the Conference of Catholic Bishops got together with the strain of the Evangelical Movement for whom economic justice is an important issue? And I wonder could they put pressure to bear on some of these even safe districts. And I wonder, but short of that, I don't--
BOB SCHIEFFER: You're sort of suggesting divine intervention here.
TOM FRIEDMAN: --on climate, which is that Todd said what made the Civil Rights Act, it was (UNINTEL) a million people on the Mall. What made (UNINTEL) massive turnout of women. It's really hard to get people to turn out for a carbon tax.
JOHN DICKERSON: You know, they've tried that. We tried to get faith leaders to (UNINTEL) some Republican members. And what ends up happening, though, or has happened in this case is Republican leaders have said, "We don't want to have this fight in the Republican Party over immigration in an election year where we're likely to win back the Senate." So--
TODD PURDUM: --the issue not the bill.
JOHN DICKERSON: That's right. And they're not feeling enough pressure to bring it to the floor for a big, nice open messy debate in the year when they'd like to keep the big, nice, open, messy debate about Obamacare.
AMY WALTER: Well, so let's see what happens. If they lose the presidential race one more time, if they lose in 2016, because they once again lose minority voters, that's the time when you will see immigration. And it may take up to that point of, "Well, we've lost a third presidential election in a row."
(BOB SCHIEFFER: UNINTEL)
JOHN DICKERSON: That is part of what's fueling the Jeb Bush conversation. They think he has a special conversation with Hispanic voters. Although it's gotten so interesting in the Republican field. A big money donor in the Republican field was raising Bob Gates' name as somebody to try and draft into the 2016, the former defense secretary. They're looking for them high and low--
BOB SCHIEFFER: Thank you all very much. We'll be back in a minute with (UNINTEL) former presidents are up to these days.
BOB SCHIEFFER: There's been a lot of "former presidents in the news" lately. In addition to the civil rights summit that will bring three former presidents to the LBJ library in Austin this week--this weekend former President George H.W. Bush and 800 friends and supporters gathered at his library at Texas A&M to mark the 25th anniversary of the beginning of his administration,--on Thursday here in Washington former President Carter attended a new play called Camp David about his efforts to get a middle east peace treaty, --a new play about Lyndon Johnson is getting rave reviews on Broadway. And in Dallas, George W. Bush made his public debut as a painter with an exhibition of paintings that he has done since his presidency--portraits of everyone from his Dad and the Dalai Lama to Russian president Putin and dozens of others. The paintings are on display at his library in Dallas. A little history and culture on Face the Nation. Back in a moment.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, that's it for us today. We'll be back next Sunday, of course. And be sure to tune into CBS This Morning for the latest on all the news tomorrow. Thank you for watching Face the Nation.
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