Watch CBS News

Face the Nation Transcripts August 24, 2014: Ayotte, Ryan, Clay, Sinise

(CBS News) -- A transcript from the August 24, 2014 edition of Face the Nation. Guests included Kelly Ayotte, Paul Ryan, Lacy Clay, Gary Sinise, Margaret Brennan, Mike Morell, Bob Orr, Susan Page, David Rohde and Juliette Goodrich.

BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST: I'm Bob Schieffer.

And today on FACE THE NATION: The horrific murder of an American journalist brings home the danger to America posed by the ISIS terrorists.

And breaking news this morning, as a 6.0 earthquake hits the San Francisco Bay area.

The secretary of defense says ISIS is the most serious terror threat ever seen to the United States.


CHUCK HAGEL, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, this is beyond anything that we have seen, so we must prepare for everything.


SCHIEFFER: And the president says the group must be destroyed, but how?

We will talk to New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte and former CIA official Mike Morell. Mitt Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, will be along to discuss his new book and the prospect that he or maybe Romney will run in 2016.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Third time is a charm.



SCHIEFFER: Plus, we will get the latest from Ferguson, Missouri, as the family and friends of Michael Brown prepare for his funeral. We will talk to Ferguson's congressman, William Lacy Clay, about what he thinks of the president's ordering a review of the program to supply military combat gear to local police.

And we will get a preview of Washington's newest memorial from actor Gary Sinise, who is working to armor American's disabled veterans.

Sixty years of news because this is FACE THE NATION.

Good morning again.

On that earthquake on the West Coast, it is a 6.0. It was reported north of San Francisco in the Napa Valley. The U.S. Geological Survey says it is the largest quake to shake the Bay Area since the 1989 6.9-magnitude quake, the Loma Prieta quake.

We want to go to KPIX, our San Francisco affiliate, and our reporter there, Juliette Goodrich. She is in Napa this morning.

Juliette, tell us about this. JULIETTE GOODRICH, KPIX REPORTER: Well, good morning to you, yes.

I wanted to show you some of the damage. We are in historic downtown Napa, Bob, and this is real close to the epicenter. This really shook us in the middle of the night, a 6.0-magnitude earthquake. They are calling this the South Napa earthquake.

This is one of the buildings you can see in this downtown area. This happens to be a law office and you can actually see structurally -- emergency personnel are telling me that this building could actually go at a moment's notice. There are fires in the area, some mobile home parks, reportedly now fire crews attending to them.

So this is a pretty devastating. And now at first light, we are really getting a look at all of the damage. A lot of people in the area are milling around, but, of course, emergency personnel are telling people just to clear away, because these buildings are collapsible, and it is very fragile right now. We will toss it back to you now.

SCHIEFFER: Thank you so much.

Well, we turn now to the story that hit America like a thunderbolt, the murder of American journalist James Foley by ISIS terrorists and the growing threat they now pose. The U.S. continued airstrikes on ISIS strongholds in Iraq and is now considering airstrikes in Syria.

Intelligence sources also report they have a good idea of the identity of the man who murdered American Foley.

We are beginning this morning with Michael Morell, the former number two at the CIA. He now is, of course, a senior contributor to CBS News. Our State Department correspondent, Margaret Brennan, is with us, and our CBS homeland security correspondent, Bob Orr.

Mike, British newspapers, some of them are saying this may actually be a British hip-hop artist may be the one who committed this heinous crime. Do you have any information on this?

MICHAEL MORELL, CBS NEWS SENIOR SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: My sense, Bob, is that we are getting closer to identifying who it is, but I don't think that has happened yet.

But I would like to emphasize that it doesn't really matter who the executioner was. This was the group that killed James Foley. And this order came from the very top of the group. And I think that is important for Americans to remember.

SCHIEFFER: What -- what is the latest that you are picking up, Bob?

BOB ORR, CBS NEWS HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bob, the FBI and international partners are looking for the identity of this particular person, what they are really more worried about is the threat posed by this group, because, make no mistake, over time, with enough space and planning, this could become the most significant terror threat we have ever faced in this country.

Short-term, the assessment is, maybe they can inspire somebody to do something, you know, kind of a one-off homegrown-type inspired attack, but over time, since they have Western recruit -- and that is a key point -- they could put together a big-time plot that would rival something like 9/11. That's what we are really trying to stop.

SCHIEFFER: And, Mike, talking about getting people into this country, because that seems to be what Chuck Hagel, the secretary of defense, was talking about. This is not so much about what is going on in Iraq. It is a lot about that, but the threat that it poses to the homeland.

MORELL: Right.

I think there's three things we have to worry about. Two are short-term and one is long-term. The two short-term pieces are, number one, will they inspire somebody here to conduct an attack? The second is, there's a number of Americans, a number of Canadians and a number of West Europeans who went to Syria to join ISIS to fight with them.

Any one of those could be directed back to the United States to conduct a small-scale attack. Over the long-term, 2.5, three years, we need to worry about a 9/11-style attack by ISIS.

SCHIEFFER: Margaret, you were at the Pentagon today -- last week and you were there when the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs both gave their new, I would say, assessments of the threat posed by ISIS. What is happening now? Are we planning to step up the attack on ISIS, perhaps going even into Syria?

MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS NEWS STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, it changed the calculus, certainly, this attack this week on James Foley, which is being filtered by the administration as a terrorist attack on the U.S.

But when I was at the Pentagon and asked the chairman of the Joint Chiefs about the need to sort of strike at the safe havens, he acknowledged what so many officials have been talking about privately for some time, which is, you can contain in the short-term ISIS, but in the long-term, it is actually not effective unless you really hit them at the place that their fighters can run to.

Airstrikes in Iraq, you can run right back over into the safe haven in Syria. And so, yes, the Pentagon officials are heading to the region today, tomorrow, and they are looking at what can be done now. The problem is, if you hit from the air, even if the U.S. was to be involved in airstrikes and even if they get a coalition to join in that, what do you do on the ground?

Because, really, the U.S. has chosen not to scale up this small program of training and equipping moderate rebels. It hasn't been industrial strength. They haven't built an army. And there's a big question, how do you back that up?

SCHIEFFER: Will the president -- at some point, won't he have to go to the Congress if he plans to step this up in a major kind of way? And what does the administration think? Do you think they will get Congress' approval?

BRENNAN: Well, you have this request for $500 million to train and equip the Syrian rebels that the chairman Joint Chiefs suggested a year ago. It is still sitting. It wouldn't even be funded fully until 2015, so there is no shoulder behind that to get that through right now on behalf of the administration.

When it comes to airstrikes, yes, you are right. You would have to consult or, at least in theory, speak about it with members of Congress, but it doesn't seem like much will happen in the next few weeks. There is that upcoming NATO meeting at the beginning of September and you can expect U.K., French, other officials to be speaking about this and participating as well.

ORR: Well, the other piece about this, Bob, is, you have to have intelligence. If you are going to decapitate a terror group like ISIS and you're going to take out the leadership -- we have seen Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader, go to a mosque and a give very brazen sermon.

If you are going to attack these people, you need to have a robust intelligence operation that gives you specific what is called actionable intelligence that would allow the president to launch some kind of raid or a drone strike. Right now -- I think Mike would agree -- the intelligence that we have on the ground in Syria is fairly spotty.

MORELL: Bob, this is the most complex terrorism problem that I have ever seen. There are no magic bullets. This is going to take a long time to get under control.

There are two things we have to do. We have to take away their safe haven, their territory. That requires a political solution in Iraq, which is going to require us to continue to press the Iraqis to do the right thing, our Gulf Arab allies to press the Iraqis to do the right thing, the Iranians to press the Iraqis to do the right thing, and then we need to get a solution in Syria to take that territory away.

And then the other thing we need to do is take the leadership off the battlefield. We have to identify them through intelligence and then capture or kill them. We have to remove them from the battlefield.

SCHIEFFER: Well, I want to thank you all for this insight and analysis.

We want to go now to Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte. She's a key member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. She joins us this morning from her home state of New Hampshire, also the home state of James Foley. Senator, what do you think of the administration's actions so far on this? What do they need to do? And what will Congress be in a mood to let the administration do if, in fact, the president decides to step up this situation?

SEN. KELLY AYOTTE (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Well, Bob, obviously, in New Hampshire, the brutal murder of James Foley really brought home this week the threat that it presents to us and our country.

And what I think is that a containment strategy is not going to cut it. We need a strategy to defeat ISIS. As the secretary of defense has described, it is an imminent threat to us. It's like nothing we have ever seen in terms of the sophistication of this group, the funding, the territory that they control.

And we need a strategy that is going to expand the airstrikes, going to support the Kurds further and the Iraqi forces, but in particular the Kurds, get them the military equipment that they are requesting, and also look at supporting more and more support and enhancement for the moderate opposition in Syria to deal with the sanctuaries in Syria.

We have to do that if we want to defeat ISIS, as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said this week. And then I would say also the political solution is important. We need an Iraqi government that is inclusive.

We also need Muslim leaders to condemn ISIS, to make sure that they are saying that ISIS has to go. And, finally, I think, Bob, we have to address as a Congress where the defense budget is right now, because there is a disconnect with sequester from the threats that we face around the world and the resources we are going to need to fight this threat.

SCHIEFFER: Well, Congress is on vacation. The president has been on vacation.

Let me just ask you first. The president has been under intense criticism for being on vacation while all of this happened. Do you think the criticism of him was justified?

AYOTTE: Well, I certainly don't begrudge the president taking time for vacation, but I think there was a perception disconnect when he gave the speech, obviously, which I appreciated, saying that we needed to be relentless and also addressing the horrific terrorist murder of Jim Foley, when that day -- after he was going golfing.

So I think he has to look at the perception, but I don't begrudge him going on vacation. What I want from him is a strategy to defeat ISIS. And that is what I think we need to work together on. And he needs to lead this, because the containment aspect of it is not going to defeat them. And we are going to have to defeat them because of the threat that they give to us and they present to us.

SCHIEFFER: Well, Congress, of course, has also has on vacation. Some people have said that perhaps it has been on vacation most of the year, certainly the least productive Congress that I can recall.

Do you think that Congress can be brought together and find a way to focus on this and to find a way to stage some sort of counterattack or do something in response to what is happening there? Because it looks like this whole thing is falling apart, and this threat, as the secretary of defense said, is greater than ever.

AYOTTE: Bob, I do think Congress can be brought together.

First of all, it starts with presidential leadership. But the Congress has to recognize and listen to what our defense officials are saying, that this is an imminent threat, that this is a threat to us. And I know from seeing my own constituents thinking about what happened to him, this terrorist act against our country, the threat it presents with those who have gone from America to fight in this jihad and other Western territory -- terrorists that could come and hit us, absolutely, the Congress has to come together.

And I think it starts with presidential leadership. But, as a member of Congress, I think we have a responsibility to say that we are going to put the protection of this nation first, beyond partisan divides.

SCHIEFFER: And you, I know, have been in contact with Mr. Foley's parents. You are going to the funeral, I guess, later on. How are they doing?

AYOTTE: Well, they are incredible people.

I mean, obviously, for any parent going through this, just the pain that they feel, no one can describe that, but I have been so impressed with the way that they have handed themselves, the strength that they show, the resilience. And most of all, we can't forget that Jim Foley was a brave journalist. He was on the front lines.

He had a passion for the truth. And I know that they are very proud of their son, as are all of us, for what he was doing to try to bring the truth to America about what was happening in Syria and other conflict regions. So that is really, I know, what they are focusing on.

And I think that we appreciate certainly their family and the way that they have conducted themselves. And our hearts go out to them and what they are going through. No family should have to experience what they have experienced.

SCHIEFFER: Well, thank you so much, Senator. Thank you.

And we are going to turn now to House Budget Committee Chairman and 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.

He is here this morning because he has a new book out, "The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea." He is joining us from Orlando

And we will get to the book and talk about it in some detail in a minute, Congressman, but I have to ask you first about this whole situation that has arisen with ISIS. Is the president doing enough? What should be done here? Will you support airstrikes into Syria if that becomes necessary?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Well, first of all, I don't think I am hearing enough from the president.

I get the sense that Secretary Hagel and General Dempsey understand the gravity of the situation. Candidly, Bob, I don't want to hear from the president how he is reacting to events like the Mosul dam. What I want to hear from our commander in chief is that he has a strategy to finish ISIS off, to defeat ISIS.

Let's not forget that there are reportedly thousands of terrorists with foreign passports. If we don't deal with this threat now, thoroughly and convincingly, it is going to come home to roost. And so, no, I don't think the president has given us the kind of strategy we need. That is number one.

Number two, I think we should let the generals determine the strategy, I don't want to be an armchair general and tell you how this needs to be done, but I would reference the fact that General Dempsey did say to do this correctly that Syria is going to have to be a part of this equation.

SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you about a couple of things in your book.

I want to read a quote that has picked up a lot of attention. It takes us back to last October, when the Republicans shut down the government in an attempt to defund Obamacare. You didn't say much at the time about the Ted Cruz strategy, that is, rallying key party conservatives on the House side to let the government shut down, but here is what you wrote in your book.

"In short, the strategy our colleagues have been promoting was flawed from beginning to end. It was a suicide mission, but a lot of members were more afraid of what would happen if they didn't jump off the cliff."

I guess I would ask you first, why didn't you say that back then?

RYAN: Because I want party unity.

I don't think it was constructive for conservatives to be carping at each other. At the same time, the purpose of that passage is to try and unify our party. I don't think we can succeed if all we do is criticize and define what we are against.

And the whole point of that was, you actually can't stop an entitlement with a government shutdown. Entitlements, like Medicare and Social Security and Obamacare, continue on as is. So I didn't think it was really legitimate to tell the country we could stop it unilaterally in the House, point one.

Point two, the purpose of this book is to show the country that we have better ideas. We need to define ourselves as what we are in favor of just as much as what we are opposed to. And, look, I don't like the track the country is on. I think we're on wrong track.

And, as an elected leader, I feel I have an obligation to say what principles and policies I would put in place instead to renew the American idea and get the country going.

SCHIEFFER: Well, you put in your book that you had repeatedly advised the Romney campaign before you were on the ticket to lay out what the Romney presidency alternative would be when you compared it to President Obama, and yet you seem to feel that just -- they were just running against President Obama's record.

Do you think that's why they lost?


I think there are a whole multitude of reasons why we didn't win. And there's not enough time in this hour to get into all of it. But I do believe -- and I mentioned it at the time and Mitt and I have discussed this -- that we need to give voters a meaningful choice.

Look, what I am trying to do with this book is to help design a unified conservative Republican movement that is principled, inclusive and aspirational, so that we can win a majority of Americans' votes to save this country from what I believe is going down the wrong track.

Taxpayers are not getting the government they deserve. People who are struggling are not getting the kinds of opportunities they need and they get in a healthy economy. And America is losing its standing in the world. And that makes us much less prosperous and less secure ultimately.

And so we need to articulate how we would apply the nation's founding principles to the problems of the day and how that those provide better solutions for the country going forward. That's the kind of an election I think people deserve. Give them a choice of two futures, so that they can see and determine what kind of country they want to have, so that if and when we win that kind of an election, we have the obligation, the moral authority and the mandate to fix this country's problems before they get out of control.

Our problems are real, they are urgent, but they are not insurmountable. We can turn things around. And we can get this country on the right track so that our kids have a better future, like our parents gave us.

SCHIEFFER: You had a joint appearance with Governor Romney the other day, and you teased him a little bit and said something about third time is the charm. You also suggested if he did decide to run again, you would support him.

Do you think there is any possibility that he might run? And, of course, we want to ask you, are you going to run?

RYAN: Well, I sure wish he would.

I think he would make a phenomenal president. He has the intelligent, the honor, the character, and the temperament to be a fantastic president. I wish everybody could see the guy that I know. I think with his -- with the Mitt documentary, people got to sense that. But he keeps saying that he is not going to run.

As far as myself and my family, this is a decision we are going to take very seriously and weigh in 2015. So I just don't know the answer to your question at this time.

SCHIEFFER: Would you support Ted Cruz if he got the nomination, or would you support Rand Paul, who has staked out kind of an isolationist position here? Either of them, would you be willing to support them?

RYAN: Look, I will support -- I would support either of those people if they become our Republican nominee.

I think there are going to be a lot of other people in this race. And what I am trying to articulate with this book is the kind of conservatism inspired by my mentor, Jack Kemp, people like Ronald Reagan, that is inclusive, that is aspirational, it's principled, that also has strong national defense and a foreign policy that keeps us prosperous and secure.

I have differences with different people in the party, but that's OK. I want to have a big Republican Party with a big tent that gives the country a better future that can win the majority of votes in this country.

We need to win the Electoral College. We need to win national elections, so we can get this country on the right track. And whoever our nominee is going to be is going to need everybody's help. And so what I'm trying to do here is get us all on the same team, on the same page, and unify our movement, so that we can go out and win converts to our cause.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, we hope you will come back and talk to us about it again.

And we will be back in one minute.

Thank you.


SCHIEFFER: When you have covered politics as long as I have, it is easy to believe you have heard it all, the excuses, the double- talk, the alibis.

But, even in modern politics, where there seems to be no shame, former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell took the blame game to a new low when he took the stand at his $170,000 corruption trial and basically threw his wife under the bus, that it was all her fault. What a stand-up guy.

How was he to know that the $6,000 watch she gave him had been paid for by a businessman trying to use the governor's office to promote his dietary supplements? Was he supposed to know the guy had taken her on a $20,000 shopping spree, arranged for him to have a spiffy sports car to drive on their vacation, arranged thousands of dollars in loans?

And, hey, a little credit here. Once it became known, the McDonnells did return the check for $15,000 that the businessman had sent over to pay for the governor's daughter's wedding.

As the governor told it Thursday, all this came about because of his wife's fragile emotional state. He told the jury the whole thing had left him in such despair, he has moved in with his parish priest for the duration of the trial. Friday, he reversed course and said he didn't mean she was to blame.

Now, I admit it, I thought I had heard it all, but this takes the cake. What I can't decide is what kind of cake.

Back in a minute.


SCHIEFFER: A lot more ahead, including an update on the earthquake, so stay with us.


SCHIEFFER: Well, some of our stations are leaving us now, but, for most of you, we will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION, including our panel, an update on the earthquake and the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, plus an interview with actor Gary Sinise.

So, stay with us.


SCHIEFFER: And welcome back now to FACE THE NATION. We want to first give you an update on that 6.0 earthquake out in Northern California that struck overnight there. And now reports of dozens of injuries, including two serious. These reports are coming in from the Associated Press.

There are also several significant fires and power outages in the region as well. We will keep you posted as the developments come in.

There were protests again last might in the city of Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by the white police officer, but the demonstrations were far smaller in scope than they had been earlier last week.

A funeral for Michael Brown will be held Monday, Congressman William Lacy Clay represents Ferguson and he will be among the speakers at the service. He joins us now from St. Louis.

Congressman, thank you so much for coming in this morning. We learned last night that the president has now ordered a review of this program that allows the Pentagon to sell and give military combat equipment, surplus equipment, of course, to various police forces around the country.

Do you think this program ought to be just flat ended?

REP. WILLIAM LACY CLAY (D), MISSOURI: Well, I applaud and appreciate the president's quick action on the 1033 program. As you know, earlier this week, Congressman Cleaver and myself met with Secretary of Defense Hagel about the program, because I was so alarmed when I went to Ferguson and walked with the demonstrators and saw this heavily armed police force, tactical unit pointing sniper rifles at my constituents, who were there exercising their constitutional rights.

And so that is what alarmed me. And I applaud and appreciate the president's quick response to our concerns.

SCHIEFFER: You, Congressman, are going to be speaking at the Brown funeral tomorrow. Are you concerned that the funeral might reignite the tensions there?

CLAY: I am not really concerned about the funeral reigniting the tensions. Well, I guess what I am most concerned about, and I made a promise to Michael Brown's parents that I would do everything to bring all of the resources of the federal government to this investigation so that it is transparent, so that it is a viable investigation, and we get to the truth.

Now, I am more concerned that if we do not get to the truth and get to what actually happened and bring justice to this situation, then there is going to be a problem in the streets.

SCHIEFFER: But what do you think the first thing that needs to be done down there right now?

CLAY: Right now is to improve police-community relations. There needs to be a frank discussion about how we change the way the African-American community is policed. These people were sworn to serve and protect. And apparently that is not happening here. And so we have to change that dynamic.

I think that police should be required to wear a body camera. I think that each car, each police car should be equipped with a camera, so that when incidents like this occur in the future, there is no dispute. It is on tape and then we can sort out the evidence in a clear way.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, Congressman, thank you so much, and we -- all of the nation will be thinking about you at this funeral tomorrow, and the Brown family, of course.

We want to talk about -- more about all of this, the news, both foreign and domestic, joined by our panel this morning, CBS State Department correspondent Margaret Brennan is back, along with David Rohde of Reuters, and USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page.

I would also say that we had hoped to have Washington Post reporter Nia-Malika Henderson with us this morning, but just a few minutes ago her office called and told her to come back to the newspaper to supervise their earthquake coverage. So I guess we are all in the news business, we all understand this.

Susan, how far has Ferguson set back race relations in this country? Or has it?

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, USA TODAY: You know, I think what it has done is reminded Americans about some of the racial problems that persist. And, boy, it spotlights once again the chasm between the way whites and blacks tend to see issues like this.

You know, only about a third of whites thought the police went too far. Two-thirds of blacks thought the police went too far in Ferguson. So maybe, you know, we think we have an African-American president, we have an African-American attorney general, a lot of us think we have made real progress in race relations, this is a reminder of how far we still have to go.

SCHIEFFER: Well, it brings back, to those of us a of a certain age, that would be me, of course, what we saw at the O.J. trial, the O.J. Simpson trial, where the perception just split right down the middle how it was viewed by one community and how it was viewed by another.

Well, let's talk about this situation in ISIS and all of that. Margaret, you were talking about there is -- there is planning at least under way at the Pentagon about striking back, maybe even into Syria.

I think it is going to be very, very difficult to get the Congress to agree on any kind of plan at this point. When you stop to think about it, when did the president send up this half million dollars request -- not half million, a half billion, wasn't it, $500 million?

MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Five hundred million, train and equip program for the Syrian rebels. That was just a few months ago.

SCHIEFFER: But, yes, it just sat there, nobody seemed to think that, well, we will get around to it when we get around to it.

BRENNAN: Right. And that wouldn't be funded until 2015, so there is not necessarily a quick reaction to the ISIS threat on that level, at least. There is a smaller covert program to train some rebels, but building up an army to fight ISIS doesn't happen overnight.

Certainly some programs could be launched, but one of the other challenges here beyond Congress is getting an Arab country in the region to agree to host such a train and equip program, because so many fear then becoming a target if they take in these fighters to make them actually be a standing quick reaction force there.

SCHIEFFER: Has anybody said, oh, let us do that? BRENNAN: The Jordanians are very reluctant. There is some training that they do allow for the U.S. to conduct, for special forces for Iraqis and others. But there is real reluctance to advertise that, because then it is seen as you are in the game.

But bigger picture, a strategy needs to be articulated before the president goes to Congress or speaks to the public here. And it is not clear that there is one that the president is comfortable taking, at least not a position yet publicly that would marry him to military action.

SCHIEFFER: David, I want to talk to you a little about something that you are uniquely qualified to discuss, and that is this idea of these captives, these enormous ransoms that these people are asking.

You know a little something about that because you were taken captive by the Taliban and held for how long, what, seven months?

DAVID ROHDE, REUTERS: Seven months, yes.

SCHIEFFER: Seven months in Afghanistan, later moved over to Pakistan. Is it time for the United States to review the strategy that we have of we flatly say we don't pay ransom to terrorists?

And I think reasons for that are understandable. But other countries are, and that is what is complicating this.

ROHDE: Yes. I definitely think it is the time, it is the time for the international community to talk about this lack of a strategy. I agree with the American approach, which is, to be fair to these other countries, the U.S. government doesn't pay ransoms, but if a family or an organization can pay a ransom, the U.S. will turn a blind eye to that.

The problem is that the European countries, France, we saw this in the Foley case, he was held with French hostages, Spanish hostages, a Danish hostage, they were all ransomed, Jim Foley is dead.

And when these governments pay very large ransoms in the millions of dollars, no family can compete with that, the Foley family couldn't compete with that. And it is not working.

There is one estimate that al Qaeda affiliates have got 125 million in ransom, primarily from European governments, just in the last five years.

SCHIEFFER: What do you think the impact of the Foley killing is going to be, Susan? My sense is that it was, in a macabre kind of way, a wakeup call. Certainly we saw the statements coming out of the Pentagon this week. They took a much sharper edge, as it were.

Is that reflecting what is going on at the Pentagon or do you -- I mean, at the White House, or do you think that the State Department and the Pentagon may be ahead of the White House on this?

PAGE: You know, I think this could be a real turning point. You had Mike Morell saying this is the most complex terrorism problem he has ever encountered. What kind of statement is that from someone who is a career CIA intelligence operative?

That is a terrifying statement from your previous guest. And I think it is really -- you know, the horrific scene there I think has really touched a lot of Americans.

Now the question is, what has been the impact on President Obama? Because we have seen in the past President Obama has at times talked pretty tough but he has been kind of allergic to military action, when it comes right down to it. Does this change his calculus of what to do? That, I think, is the question to watch.

SCHIEFFER: Presidents go on vacation, and I can't recall a one who went on vacation then didn't get some criticism for doing it. LBJ would go to his ranch. President -- first President Bush went to Kennebunkport. The other Bush went down to Crawford, Texas. But this president seems to be especially criticized for this vacation. What do you -- what do you suppose that is about?

PAGE: You know, I don't think anybody who is fair begrudges presidents vacation. We know how exhausting that job is.

I thought the White House could have shown a little more sensitivity after the statement following the president made following the execution of Jim Foley, to then immediately go to the golf course, you know, it is the I guess the word we use now all the time is the optics, the optics of that were a little jarring, and I thought possibly it would have been wise of the president to do something else in the period right after making that statement.

SCHIEFFER: Do you think it has anything to do, David, and Margaret, with just the fact that America is coming out of two very long wars? The country is really sick of war. I don't think there is any question about that. It is almost, we are seeing, a feeling almost as if it was before World War II, when the nation was sick of war and you had a strong isolationist atmosphere in this country, led by Lindbergh who says we have to stay out of wars.

In many ways, we are in kind of a situation like that right now, because this threat -- and I agree with these assessments -- this is a group of people unlike anything we have really dealt with, even on the terrorist front up until now.

BRENNAN: Well, I think one of the problems with the statements, you know, the American public is war weary they may very well be but the national security community can never afford to be and many policy makers -- I mean I remember sitting in briefings back in October of 2013 AT the State Department where they were warning about the high number of suicide bombings that were spiking in Iraq, about the lack of a border between Iraq and Syria, and certainly the intelligence community has been warning about this for some time.

So, when the national security establishment has said they have been worried, and there hasn't been a follow through on strategy in a more robust way I think there are legitimate questions to be asked there about why it would seem there is a degree of catch up being played.

I think -- I want to come back to one of the things that David was talking about with the prisoner question, there is a lot of frustration among some of these families of hostages that not enough was done and I think this question of what happened with the decision to swap Sergeant Bergdahl for some prisoners that were held at Guantanamo Bay has also brought to the forefront what precedent, if any, has been set there and should perhaps, if not money, should there be prisoner swaps or things considered.

I am not saying it is legitimate, but I am saying the question is now being raised.

SCHIEFFER: Let's take a break here and we'll come back and talk about this and some of the other news of the week when we come back.


SCHIEFFER: And back now to talk about the news of the week, David, we talk about the search for ISIS and trying to find these bases, there is another equally intense search going on, and Margaret touched on it, and that is the search for Arab allies to help us in this deal.

ROHDE: Yes. And I think that is a key issue and we were just talking about this, also, can the president sort of move American public opinion to get Americans to support a limited effort and can he also get an Arab state to back us? I think a lot of Americans are skeptical. They say, we don't have allies in this region.

There is good news, the Kurds have been fighting well, they retook that dam near Mosul. I think there are allies and I think we need to have a long-term strategy to arm and train local forces. Most people don't like the Islamic State, most Muslims are horrified and disgusted by the killing of Jim Foley, the president, though, needs to lead on that. He gave a much stronger statement and then he went golfing. But that was the first clear vision I've heard about him about the threat we face and we must respond. And he heeds to now describe a new strategy that is not boots on the ground George Bush style, but not, you know, just drones, you know, Barack Obama first term style.

BRENNAN: You saw today ISIS is out there taking credit and you have seen some Syrian activists also talking about the fact they have taken and air base in Syria that was controlled by the Syrian regime.

Where you saw the Assad regime sort of be complicit in the rise of ISIS, according to some diplomats, now you are seeing out right fighting between the two and this idea circulating out there maybe the U.S. should partner with someone they call a war criminal Bashar al- Assad, to take on ISIS.

The reason that question is even being raised is because of what David is talking about, not really having a clear ally in the region, in terms of Arab countries being willing to fight alongside the U.S. on this one, but also because while U.S. air strikes are backed up by movements on the ground, by Kurds and Iraqi army in Iraq, in Syria, there is no Syrian moderate opposition that's been trained to be an army. What backs up air strikes? And it's still not clear what that strategy is going to be if you get a coalition to hit through some coordinated action.

SCHIEFFER: Well, when was it -- it was not so long ago that there was a debate in the administration on whether we should give some sort of support to those -- to the good Syrian rebels that are fighting Assad. We famously know now that Secretary Clinton wanted to do that, the president vetoed it. And that was about a year ago, wasn't it?


Well it was almost exactly a year ago that the U.S. was having a conversation about strikes against the Syrian regime and those were called off and almost exactly a year later we are talking about hitting what the U.S. sees as a new enemy, ISIS here.

ISIS has been fighting the moderate rebels that we have been saying we have been supporting. They have been at war with each other. And so in the absence of alternatives, you are left with these two very dirty partners here, right? Do you go with ISIS or do you go with the Assad regime?

It is not clear what the U.S. can do if they can quickly train moderates to step up and fill that gap or whether they even want to.

SCHIEFFER: Susan, let's talk a little bit about Paul Ryan coming out with this book where it turns out he was very strongly against shutting down the government.

He didn't say much about it at the time when Republicans did that, but I suppose he is laying the groundwork to run for president. If it works out, he'll do it. But he is taking the first early steps. I think he is far from making that decision, though, wouldn't you?

PAGE: You know, Bob, I have a slightly different impression. I went to Janesville to interview him about his book about 10 days ago and I got the impression he is somebody we haven't seen in town for a long time and that is a legislator. He is taking over the House ways and means committee in the new congress. He wants to do a big tax overhaul. He wants to deal with entitlements.

And I got the impression that kind of in the tradition of Jack Kemp, he cares as much about instituting the policy as he does about getting the position. And that is not to say he wouldn't like to be president or he won't try to run for president but he is just 44 years old now. I really got the impression he might just focus on congress and how long has it been since we have had somebody who actually wants to pass legislation in congress?

SCHIEFFER: Well, and being the chairman of the house ways and means committee, which is where all tax bills originate in the congress, is no small chairmanship. That is probably the most powerful post I would say on Capitol Hill once you get past the leadership, the speaker and so forth.

PAGE: You know, we used to call it the powerful House ways and means committee, and we have stopped calling it that because so little gets done on Capitol Hill now.

But we saw Paul Ryan and Patty Murray, the Democratic chairman of the Senate budget committee make a deal on the budget in just a couple of months ago, so maybe there is some possibility foreseeing something happening on the Hill that puts to shame the last couple of years when everything has been gridlocked.

SCHIEFFER: And, you know, the other part, talking about Paul Ryan and whether or not he's going to run, this little joint appearance he made with Mitt Romney the other day, where he said -- when he sort of teased him about whether he was going to run again, I, in the back of my mind, think that if things break right and the Republicans can't kind of figure out where they want to go, Mitt Romney might be the nominee again.


SCHIEFFER: Nobody has told me that, but, again, this -- this just keeps popping up.

PAGE: You know, I interviewed Mitt Romney's wife after the election and I thought -- I asked her if he might run again, thinking she would say never again, we will never do it again. She didn't -- she did not rule it out.

I think it's possible that you could -- you know, people who run for president often find they kind of like it and want to run again and again. We saw that even with someone like George McGovern and -- and others who, even after they've been defeated want -- want to run again.

So I -- I agree. I think it is possible to see a scenario where Mitt Romney runs again, could even once again be the Republican nominee.

SCHIEFFER: All right, Susan Page, thank you.

Thank you, guys.

We'll be right back with a preview of a new memorial in Washington, so stay with us.


SCHIEFFER: Washington's great memorials and monuments are really an index of American values -- signs to the world of what we honor, what we consider important.

This fall, one more memorial will open and it is long overdue. It recognizes those who have been disabled for life defending their country. One of the driving forces behind the memorial is actor Gary Sinise, who became an activist for the disabled after playing a disabled vet in the movie, "Forrest Gump."


GARY SINISE, ACTOR: In the '90s, when I played Lieutenant Dan, that's when I got involved with our wounded, through the DAV, Disabled American Veterans Organization. They invited me to their national convention. You know, I really didn't know what to expect. And I walked out on that stage and I saw 2,000 injured service members applauding me for playing a role and it was very, very moving. And I stayed actively involved with the DAV now, for going on 20 years, and been involved with the -- the memorial here for about the last eight -- eight years or so.

SCHIEFFER (voice-over): Decades in the making, the memorial will occupy a prominent site at the foot of Capitol Hill. And once completed, will feature a huge fountain.

For Sinise, it comes not a minute too soon.

SINISE: There are over three -- three million who live on with amputations and traumatic brain injury and sever burns and blindness and mental illness because of their -- the things that they've seen. And to have them come here and to be able to feel that the nation has recognized their sacrifices and is honoring them with a special tribute is going to be very special, I think.

SCHIEFFER: Sinise has literally spent years holding benefits, visiting wounded vets and lobbying for their cause. The memorial he hopes will help America to better know and understand their story.

(on camera): What do you hope people get out of this?

SINISE: Well, I hope it heightens awareness. Awareness is so much a part of helping to heal and to support these folks. So many people aren't really aware, if you don't have a personal relationship with somebody in the service, most of the country is disconnected from the -- from the military, yet we're fighting wars all the time. We're always deploying somewhere.

We just want folks to remember the cost of war. These are our defenders. They're our freedom providers. They go out there and they serve their country and sometimes bad things happen. They get killed or they get injured and they have to live with their -- their injuries.

This place, I hope, will -- will just raise awareness, continue to keep awareness up. Somebody coming here who has no relationship with a wounded soldier may leave here and decide you know what, I'm going to look for the veterans in my community, in my home -- hometown and see if -- if they need assistance. That's an important thing.

If every community around this country took care of their veterans and just said, look, we appreciate your service, we know you've been going through a tough time, we're going to have -- we're here to help you, we'd have our problems solved.

SCHIEFFER (voice-over): Washington's newest memorial opens in October, a tribute to the millions who gave so much but a testament, as well, to the awful cost of war.



SCHIEFFER: Well, that's it for us today.

Be sure to tune into "THE CBS EVENING NEWS" tonight and "CBS THIS MORNING" tomorrow for the latest on the earthquake in California.

And I thank all of you for watching FACE THE NATION.



Jackie Berkowitz,

(202) 600-6407

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.