Face the Nation transcripts April 7, 2013: Schumer, McCain, Albright

Open: This is Face the Nation, April 7
Crisis in North Korea and immigration and guns in the Senate: Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Blaine Harden, Gerald Seib, Major Garrett, Nancy Cordes and Margaret Brennan.

(CBS News) Below is a transcript of "Face the Nation" on April 7, 2013, hosted by CBS News' Bob Schieffer. Guests include: Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; plus, "Escape from Camp 14" author Blaine Harden, Wall Street Journal's Gerald Seib and CBS news correspondents Major Garrett, Nancy Cordes and Margaret Brennan.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on FACE THE NATION, is Congress any closer to a deal on immigration, gun control, or the budget? And what does North Korea want?

Whatever it is Kim Jung-un is up to, Washington is taking it seriously.

CHUCK HAGEL: Some of the actions they've taken over the last few weeks present a-- a real and clear danger.

BOB SCHIEFFER: We'll get perspective on that from former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, the only secretary of state who has ever been to North Korea.

But, first, we'll turn to the gridlock back home. With Republican Senator John McCain and Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, who are actually working together to get a bill passed in one area, immigration.

On Page Two, we'll get analysis from longtime Washington Post correspondent turned author, Blaine Harden. The Wall Street Journal's Gerald Seib, and our own Major Garrett and Nancy Cordes.

Then we'll talk to Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times' correspondent Mark Mazzetti about his new book on the CIA, The Way of the Knife.

There's a lot of news, but this is FACE THE NATION.

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

BOB SCHIEFFER: Good morning again. There have been some significant overnight developments on this situation with North Korea, so we're going to start there this morning. Our State Department correspondent Margaret Brennan joins us from Seoul.

MARGARET BRENNAN (CBS News State Department Correspondent): Good morning, Bob. Well, it appears that diplomatic efforts to convince North Korea to stop plans for a missile launch are failing, but we are hearing that South Korea's national security adviser does expect a missile launch to happen around April tenth, and the commander of U.S. Forces, General Thurman, is taking that threat seriously. He has canceled plans to visit Washington this week and will remain in Seoul as a, quote, "prudent" measure. Now, we hear that the South Korean Navy has moved destroyers with interceptor missiles into position to take out any incoming fire and Japan, reportedly, has plans to do the same. Now, a senior U.S. diplomat tells us that China's relationship with North Korea is at a historic low. That is significant because China has the most deep relationship with North Korea in terms of economic and military ties and the U.S. strategy has been to push Beijing to control North Korea's new, young president, Kim Jong-un. Now, the Obama administration wants to shift the focus from military preparedness to diplomacy. Secretary of state John Kerry still plans to come here to Seoul this week despite these plans for a missile launch. He will meet with South Korea's president to discuss how to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear program because that is the precondition for any kind of negotiation with Pyongyang.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, thank you very much, Margaret.

And joining us now two key senators both of whom appear regularly on this broadcast, but never together. Well, this morning they are here as allies trying to broker a deal on immigration reform. Arizona Senator John McCain and New York Democrat Chuck Schumer.

But before we get to immigration, Senator McCain, you are, of course, the senior Republican on the Armed Services Committee, resumption is that if North Korea is going to fire this missile, they would call it a test, but nobody is really sure, and that is why people are taking this so seriously. What-- what do you think is going on here? And what do we need to be doing?

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R-Arizona/Armed Services Committee): Well, first of all, it's obvious as it was reported that this is a more serious situation and have no doubt about it. South-- South Korea would win. We would win if there was a-- an all-out conflict, but the fact is that North Korea could set Seoul on fire, and that, obviously, would be a-- a catastrophe of enormous proportions. I don't know what kind of game this young man is playing. It's obviously of brinksmanship. We are-- but in the past we have seen this-- this repetitious confrontation, negotiation, incentives to North Korea to better behave, hopes that they will abandon their nuclear quest--which they never will, otherwise they'd be totally irrelevant, and so we've seen the cycle over and over and over again for the last twenty or thirty years. They confront. There's crisis. Then we offer them incentives, food, money. While meanwhile, the most repressive and oppressive regime on Earth continues to function. Finally, China does hold the key to this problem. China can cut off their economy if they want to. Chinese behavior has been very disappointing, whether it'd be on cyber security, whether it'd be on confrontation in the South China Sea, or whether their failure to rein in what could be a-- a-- a catastrophic situation which more than once wars have started by accident. And this is-- this is a very serious situation.

BOB SCHIEFFER: I-- I think that's probably what the thing that people fear most, that somehow or another this rhetoric would get to the point that they do something, and, accidentally, they trigger something that no one knows where it goes, Senator Schumer.

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER (D-New York): Especially with such an erratic leader. And I agree with John, you know, the Chinese hold a lot of the cards here. They are by nature cautious, but they're carrying it to an extreme. It's about time they stepped up to the plate and put a little pressure on this North Korean regime.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let's switch to the reason that you all are here, and I don't want to call this historic, but--


BOB SCHIEFFER: --but John McCain and Chuck Schumer on the same side of the table, working together. You're part of this bipartisan group in the Senate trying to cobble together some kind of a plan for immigration reform. How close are you, Senator?

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER: Yeah, I think we're doing very well. I think that we hope that we can have a bipartisan agreement among the eight of us on comprehensive immigration reform by the end of this week. Over the last two weeks we've made great progress. There have been kerfuffles all along the way, but each one of those thus far has been settled. And what's happening, actually, Bob, is the staffs of the eight of us are in a room working twelve hours a day taking all the agreements that we've come to over the last three months and turning them into legislative language, specific legislative language. That's a tedious, arduous process. Every so often, one or more of the aides says, well, that language isn't quite what we agreed to, you have to go back. But thus far, we're on track. All of us have said that there will be no agreement until the eight of us agree to a big, specific bill but, hopefully, we can get that done by the end of the week.

BOB SCHIEFFER: By the end of week.


BOB SCHIEFFER: That seems to be the news here.

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER: That's are-- that's what we're on track to do.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, let me ask you, Senator McCain, Marco Rubio, senator--