"Face the Nation" transcripts, August 19, 2012: Giuliani, Durbin, Norquist, Tanden


(CBS News) Below is a rush transcript of "Face the Nation" on August 19, 2012, hosted by CBS News' Bob Schieffer. Guests include: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist, Neera Tanden with Center for American Progress. A roundtable with a roundtable with CBS News' John Dickerson, The Washington Post's Nia-Malika Henderson, historian Niall Ferguson and The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny. ProPublica's Kim Barker also joined the show.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on FACE THE NATION, how low can it go? If this campaign was headed to the high road, somebody gave it bad directions.

JOE BIDEN: He said in the first hundred days he was going to let the big banks once again write their own rules--unchain Wall Street. They're going to put y'all back in chains.

RUDY GIULIANI: I've never seen a vice president that has made as many mistakes, said as many stupid things. I mean there's a real fear if God forbid he ever had to be entrusted with the presidency whether he really has the mental capacity to handle.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Rudy Giuliani is a big Romney supporter and we'll talk to him about that and other criticisms he's leveled at the Obama campaign.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Their plan makes seniors pay more so they can give another tax cut to millionaires and billionaires.

BOB SCHIEFFER: The President unleashed his own broadside at the Republican plans for Medicare. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois has the President's side of that story in a week when the White House tried to explain the need to raise taxes on the rich and Romney looked for ways not to talk about his own tax bill.

MITT ROMNEY: The fascination with taxes I paid I find to be very small minded compared to the broad issues we face.

BOB SCHIEFFER: We'll get into that too and the whole idea of taxes in general with the anti-tax leader Grover Norquist, and Neera Tanden of the Center for American Progress. Analysis on all of it from Newsweek contributor Niall Ferguson, Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times, Nia-Malika Henderson of the Washington Post, and our own John Dickerson. Plus a new report from the watchdog group ProPublica about the impact of these new Super PACs and one of the very first negative campaign ads.


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

BOB SCHIEFFER: And good morning again and welcome to FACE THE NATION.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the number two Democrat in the Senate Dick Durbin join us from their home states this morning, to talk about this campaign.

And, Mister Mayor, I want to start with you. I want to ask you about your remarks about the vice president. Did you really say at some place along the way-- I mean I heard you in the sound bite at the top of this broadcast that you were worried--

RUDY GIULIANI (Former New York City Governor): Yeah. I really said it.


RUDY GIULIANI: I said I-- after not knowing what state he was in, not knowing what century he was in, in twenty-four hours, and making what I would consider to be an absolutely disgusting appeal to racial sentiment. I said I wonder if he's got the mental capacity to, you know be the President of the United States.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you really mean that--

RUDY GIULIANI: The reality is--

BOB SCHIEFFER: --or you're just using that as a metaphor? Is that just campaign talk or you really think he's nuts?

RUDY GIULIANI: I probably used-- oh, no, I don't think he's nuts. I've just-- I'm just saying I wonder if he has the kind of balance-- probably I should-- what I should have said was, you know, the balance to be President of the United States. I mean this guy is like one gaffe after another, and he's a-- he's a joke on late night television. I think they've also locked him in his room for the rest of the campaign. I think the President scolded him, and-- I mean it's been one-- one strange incident after another, telling a man in a wheelchair to stand up I-- I don't know what's going on with him, but somebody should explain it. And I guess there was also-- and excuse me for this because I know sometimes Republicans come across looking like we feel sorry for ourselves. But-- but I think we feel that if this was Cheney or Sarah Palin, or Dan Quayle, my goodness, all you guys on television would be going crazy about how could he say this and what's wrong with him? So, maybe I was just trying to even up the score a little bit. But, I do think there are some serious questions.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well I guess I better go to Dick Durbin and see what is your-- what is your reaction to what the Mayor just said?

SENATOR DICK DURBIN (D-Illinois/Assistant Majority Leader): Well, I can tell you, I served with Joe Biden for fourteen years in the Senate, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee. I've worked with him as vice president. I would just say to paraphrase an earlier debate, I know Joe Biden. Joe Biden is my friend and, Rudy Giuliani, that isn't fair. What you've said has gone too far. And if you're going to put yourself out as the arbiter and the judge of vice-presidential candidates, we're going to remember that four years ago you told America at the Republican Convention that Sarah Palin should be the vice president of the United States, she was ready to be commander-in-chief and President of the United States. That speaks for itself.