"Face the Nation" transcripts, August 5, 2012: McDonnell, Rendell, Strickland, Diaz-Balart


(CBS News) Below is a rush transcript of "Face the Nation" on August 5, 2012, hosted by CBS News Bob Schieffer. Guests include:  Gov. Bob McDonnell, R-Va., former Gov. Ted Strickland, D-Ohio, former Gov. Ed Rendell, D-Penn., and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla. Plus, an interview with Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. And, a roundtable with Michael Crowley, Julianna Goldman, Nancy Cordes and Jan Crawford.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on FACE THE NATION, it's all about the battleground states, and the Obama campaign likes the numbers they're seeing. New polls show the President leading now in Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania, and dead even in Virginia. But then there are those other numbers. Unemployment ticked up again and that brought Mitt Romney to the camp.

MITT ROMNEY: And-- and of course today we just got a new number from the unemployment report and it's another hammer blow to the struggling middle-class families of America.

BOB SCHIEFFER: The President had his own thoughts about what was bad for the middle class--the Romney economic plan.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Under my opponent's plan, who do you think gets the bill for these two-hundred-and-fifty-thousand-dollar tax cuts? You do.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Back and forth it went, but with the nation now so polarized that only five percent of the electorate is undecided, and eleven battleground states could decide the election, today we'll check in with politicians and four of them, Virginia Republican Governor Bob McDonnell.

GOVERNOR BOB MCDONNELL: And the United States of America needs Virginia to go Romney red this November.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Florida Republican Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, and former Democratic governors Ted Strickland of Ohio and Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania. For analysis we'll hear from Michael Crowley of TIME Magazine, Bloomberg White House correspondent Julianna Goldman, and our own Jan Crawford and Nancy Cordes. We'll close with a rare interview with Sandra Day O'Connor, long retired from the Supreme Court but still making a difference because this is FACE THE NATION.

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

BOB SCHIEFFER: And good morning again. Well, it's coming down to eleven states that are now basically ground zero for the candidates; Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. The nation is so polarized now that the undecided votes in these states represent about five percent and that is consistent with the rest of the country. Thirty-nine states lean so heavily to one candidate or another, both candidates are focusing their efforts now on those eleven states. So, to give us an update on what's going on out there in some of these key battlegrounds, we're joined today by two Republicans, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell; he's in Richmond. And Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, he is in Miami. On the Democratic side, former Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell, who has a new book out called A Nation of Wusses. And here in the studio, the former governor of Ohio, Ted Strickland.

Governor McDonnell, I want to start with you, because I think both sides in this campaign, strategists for both of these campaigns have told me that Virginia may well be the closest of all. It may turn out to be the one that decides who's going to win this election. So, let me just ask you, where do you think the race is now in Virginia?

GOVERNOR BOB MCDONNELL (R-Virginia): Bob, I think it's probably a dead heat right now, but that's a long way Mitt Romney has come in the last four months when he was down by eight points. But since he captured the nomination and the grassroots has organized on the ground, the enthusiasm gap clearly on the Republican side. But I think most importantly while it's a dead heat right now, the momentum is going to continue to go for-- for Mitt Romney because people are realizing this is a very serious election. It's about jobs and the economy. It's about debt and deficits. It's about who's got the vision and the leadership for the future of America. And when your unemployment rate is four point-- or 8.8 percent for no more than forty-two months and you're added five trillion to the national debt, and you have no plan on energy, that doesn't work well for the independent voters in Virginia. And I think Virginia goes for Romney. I think it will be close and competitive but Mitt Romney has got the best ideas for the citizens of Virginia.

BOB SCHIEFFER: I think as a matter of fact the-- the unemployment now is 8.2, if I'm correct, in the latest numbers that are out. But--


BOB SCHIEFFER: Yeah but, let me--

GOVERNOR BOB MCDONNELL:--it's 8.3 but it's been over eight for forty-one months is my point. That's not good enough.

BOB SCHIEFFER: I got you. Okay. Let me go to you, Governor Strickland. You have been pounding Mitt Romney for not releasing his tax returns and you have repeated what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been saying that Mitt Romney may have paid no taxes in all of-- in some of those years. You know this morning Reince Priebus, who is the chairman of the Republican Party, said I think over on Fox, that-- that Harry Reid is a dirty liar. And I have to say he has shown nothing, no evidence to substantiate that charge. He just says he heard it from somebody. Do you have any proof that-- that Mitt Romney paid no taxes in some years?

FORMER GOVERNOR TED STRICKLAND (D-Ohio): No, but Mister Romney could give us the proof that-- that he has paid taxes consistently. The fact is, Bob, Mitt Romney wants the American people to trust him with the presidency, but he won't trust us with his tax returns. All he has to do is release his tax returns. The question that I think is this: why is Mitt Romney refusing to give us his tax return?