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Face the Nation transcripts August 9, 2015: Trump, Fiorina, Carson, Sanders

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(CBS News) -- A transcript from the August 9, 2015 edition of Face the Nation. Guests included: Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Bernie Sanders, Ben Carson, Cornell William Brooks, Jonathan Martin, Susan Page, Ed O'Keefe and Michael Gerson.

JOHN DICKERSON, HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: The summer of Trump continues. But has Donald Trump gone too far this time? After sparring with FOX News host Megyn Kelly at the Republican date, Donald Trump continued his attack in an interview Friday.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions. And, you know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her whatever, but she was -- in my opinion, she was off-base.


DICKERSON: His Republican rivals say those comments are out of line and will alienate women voters. We will talk to Donald Trump and two other Republican candidates, Carly Fiorina and Dr. Ben Carson, plus Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, who stopped by to give us his thoughts on the Republican debate and more.

And we will talk about what's changed since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson a year ago with the head of the NAACP, Cornell William Brooks.

That's all ahead on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning and welcome to FACE THE NATION. I'm John Dickerson.

Donald Trump joins us by phone from New York.

Mr. Trump, I would like to ask you about FOX News host Megyn Kelly. You after the debate said she was a lightweight, she -- said she's zippo and that she bombed. But have you gone too far in your suggestion that she was hormonal in her questions?

TRUMP: Well, John, obviously I never said that.

She was very angry when I interrupted her first question, which was a very, I felt, unfair question. And I blurted out the name Rosie O'Donnell and the place went crazy. We had 5,000 people the there and they went totally crazy. And it really had a big impact on her questioning.

And I think it angered her. And I said, blood was -- essentially, blood was pouring from her eyes, blood was pouring -- and then I just wanted to get on with the rest to sentence -- blood was pouring -- and I was going to say nose or ears, and I just said, let's just get on, so I said whatever.

There was nothing obvious. Only a deviant would have thought otherwise. And this guy, Erick Erickson, whatever his name, who is a proven loser -- he -- everybody he backs, it seems, they do poorly. But he has had tremendous rate of failure. He brought it up.

And I didn't want to do his thing in the first place. I told my people, let's not do his thing. It's not worth it. And so he tried to view it as something other than -- and I'm telling you anybody that would view it that way has to be a little bit of a deviant.

And he -- so, essentially, that's how this whole thing got started. It's ridiculous. What I was referring to was nose or ears. And I just said, you know what? Let's just get on with it. I wanted to get off the thought, because what difference does it make?

DICKERSON: What was off-base about her underlying questions at the debate?

TRUMP: Well, because I start off -- first of all, Bret Baier gets up and asks me a question about third party, and raise your hand, which was obviously directed at me. We hadn't even been on the stage for 10 seconds. And that was it.

Then she starts off with a question that I thought was totally inappropriate, bringing up all sorts of things. And even the other candidates, I got to tell you, a number of the other candidates came up to me. They said, you were really said unfairly.

So, look, I'm fine with it. I think it's good. Most polls, every poll said I won the debate, which is fine. And I'm sure you have heard that, too. And I think I did win the debate. Some of the candidates told me I won the debate. But I had by far the toughest question. It was not even a contest.

And, John, if it wasn't for me -- you had 24 million people there, and if it wasn't for me, you would have had two million people.

DICKERSON: When you -- on that first...

TRUMP: I hope you agree. I hope you agree with that. Do you agree with that, by the way?

DICKERSON: That you wouldn't have had 24 million people?

TRUMP: You certainly wouldn't have.

DICKERSON: My reporting suggests there are a lot of Republicans who agree with that idea.

Let me ask you specifically about that. When there was that first question about you running as an independent, you said, "We have a lot of leverage."

Who do you have leverage over?

TRUMP: Well, I have leverage. I do have leverage. And I like having leverage. I'm a businessman. I'm a natural businessman. I have made over $10 billion in net worth.

I have some of the great assets of the world. And I do like leverage. But I'm not talking so much in terms. I am right now leading by a lot. It's not just by a little bit. I'm leading by a lot. I'm going against some people that I have great respect for. In many of the cases, I have great respect for them.

But I think I'm going to win. I think I have much better energy than they do and I have a much better ability to negotiate with the rest of the world and deal with the rest of the world than they do. So, I just think that having -- I'm leading as a Republican. I want to keep it that way. I would much rather run as a Republican. Running as a Republican is the best way to beat Hillary, who was a terrible secretary of state...

DICKERSON: Let me ask...

TRUMP: ... and has a terrible track record. And I don't even know if she's going to be able to be in, because what she's done with the e-mails is so ridiculous that it's probably criminal.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you, when I hear leverage, it sounds like you're saying, I got 24 million people to watch, and I have leverage over the Republican Party, so they better be nice to me.

TRUMP: Well, essentially, I want to be treated fairly. That's true. I do want to -- not nice. I want to be treated fairly. I want to be treated with respect.

I'm leading the polls by a lot. Georgia just came in and I'm in the 30s. You probably saw some of the others. The state -- if you look at Nevada, I won very handily with the Hispanics. I won the state in terms of the polls. I'm winning Iowa, which is amazing. I have an amazing team in Iowa. We have a great team in Iowa. And I'm winning Iowa by a lot. I'm winning New Hampshire by a lot. We have a great team up there with Corey and everybody else.

And South Carolina just came, and we're having -- we are doing phenomenally in the polls there.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you...

TRUMP: So, we're doing really well.

DICKERSON: You mentioned Hispanics. You had a conversation about them earlier in your campaign. Let me ask you about women voters. Why should they vote for you?

TRUMP: Because I'm very much into the whole thing of helping people and helping women.

Women's health issues are such a big thing to me and so important. And I have many women that work for me. I was one of the first persons -- people in the construction industry in New York to put women in charge of projects. I have it even today. And I have many women in high positions.

I have gotten a lot of credit for that. I have so many women working for me and so many women in high positions working for me. And I have gotten great credit for it.

DICKERSON: Is there specific women's issue you're thinking of? TRUMP: Well, no, I just heard Jeb Bush last week blow 53 percent of his vote. This is worse than what Romney did when he blew 47 percent of the vote with his ridiculous statements.

I watched Jeb Bush last week talking about women's health issues like they don't exist. I couldn't believe what he said.

DICKERSON: So, you think...

TRUMP: And I'm exactly the opposite. I will be phenomenal to the women.

I want to help women. What Jeb Bush said last week, I thought, was totally out of order. Then he came back a day later and he said, oh, I misspoke.

Well, that's an awfully bad thing to misspeak about. I just don't think you misspeak that way. So, I thought what he did was terrible. I heard that statement, and I thought it was terrible.

DICKERSON: So, you think he has a bigger problem with women voters than you do?

TRUMP: I think he has got a huge problem.

Look, I am going to be very much up on the whole issue of women's health. It's very important. It's -- to me, it's vital. And when I heard him say that, I thought it was -- I thought it was terrible. I couldn't believe he even said it.

Now, he corrected himself a day later, but I don't think that's acceptable. I think he -- I think this for Jeb is what happened to Romney with the 47 percent, which did have a huge impact on Romney's loss.

DICKERSON: All right, Donald Trump, we will have to leave it there.

Thanks so much for being with us.

TRUMP: Thank you very much. Great honor.

DICKERSON: We sat down with Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina earlier and asked her if she thought Donald Trump should apologize for his latest comments about FOX's Megyn Kelly.


CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, presidential campaigns are designed to reveal character under pressure and over time.

It's why people like you ask tough questions. And it's up to candidates to answer those questions. So, Mr. Trump got asked tough questions by a lot of people on Thursday night, but he chose to attack Megyn Kelly. And, so, on Friday night, I put out in a statement, Mr. Trump, there is no excuse. And I think that's true.

DICKERSON: What do you think is revealed about his character?

FIORINA: Well, I think voters are going to have to decide that.

But I think you cannot have a president who is thin-skinned. If you think a question is tough, imagine the pressure of actually being in the Oval Office. And that's why I think, as crazy as this presidential campaign process is, it does in fact give voters a window into how people respond under pressure over time.

DICKERSON: What -- do you think it has to do or effect it will have on women voters at all?

FIORINA: Well, I think women of all kinds are really sort of horrified by this, just like I think, by the way, women of virtually all kinds are horrified by the Planned Parenthood videos.

There are certain things that cut across political boundaries. And I think those are two examples of things that are cutting across political boundaries.

DICKERSON: Mr. Trump in his statement in the debate said, but I don't -- all this political correctness. There are a lot of people who think there is too much political correctness in politics.

FIORINA: I do, too, by the way. There is way too much political correctness in politics.

So, for example, I have been very open in saying Hillary Clinton lied about Benghazi. And I have been criticized. Oh, that's such a loaded term. Actually, no, it's a commonsense, factual term. She lied about Benghazi.

So, I agree there's too much political correctness. I agree as well that people are tired of sanitized sound bites and bumper sticker rhetoric. That is different from hurling personal insults at all kinds of people.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about something you said in your closing statement. You said that the Republican Party needed to nominate somebody who cannot stumble before he even gets into the ring.

A lot of people assumed you were talking about Jeb Bush. Were you?

FIORINA: You know, I think it's very frustrating to me and other conservatives when we have people on our side who play by the Democrats' songbook.

So, for example, the Democrats have been trying to paint Republicans as waging a war on women for a long time. I spent last year, for example, raising money and helping great candidates like Cory Gardner and Joni Ernst push back against that war on women mythology. And so I think when Democrats say the Planned Parent videos have something to do with women's health, when, demonstrably, they have nothing to do with women's health -- they have to do with the harvesting of human organs from what a Planned Parenthood employee called a baby -- we shouldn't be talking about women's health.

DICKERSON: So, it was Jeb Bush you were talking about?

The -- you got rave reviews in your debate performance. Why do you think you did, and do you think you will be on the main stage for the next debate?

FIORINA: Going into that debate, less than 40 percent of Republicans had ever heard my name. So, this was an opportunity for me to introduce myself. And I think a lot of people honestly discovered, wow, there's another woman running for president.

And then maybe they discovered, gee, maybe she could win this job, and she sounds like maybe she could do this job. And so it was a really important opportunity for me. We're seeing a lot of momentum. And I very much hope that momentum will carry me to the debate stage in Reagan Library.

DICKERSON: All right, we will see in a month.

FIORINA: See you there.

DICKERSON: Carly Fiorina, thanks for being with us.


DICKERSON: We sat down earlier with Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders.


DICKERSON: Senator Sanders, I want to start with the Republican debate, the big news in politics this week. Did you watch?


DICKERSON: And what did you think?

SANDERS: Not much.

I mean, what amazed is not just the answers that I heard. It's the answers that I did not hear. Scientific community is virtually unanimous that climate change is one of the great environmental crises facing this planet. Not one word. Massive level of income and wealth inequality in America. The rich are getting richer. Almost everybody else is getting poorer. No discussion.

Citizens United Supreme Court decision that allows billionaires to buy elections and buy candidates, huge issue, future of American democracy. No discussion at all. So, on some of the most important issue facing our people, there was almost no discussion. But I will tell you what there was and what concerns me very, very much. Apparently, most of the candidates up there do not remember the consequences of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the kind of easy feeling, the kind of nonconsequential talk about going to war or rejecting the president's effort to negotiate an agreement with Iran disturb me very much, because I think these people do not know what the war in Iraq did to our people, did to the people in Iraq, and that how many of our folks came back wounded and dead.

DICKERSON: I want to switch to a serious issue, which is that Iranian nuclear deal.

President Obama this week, in making his pitch for it, he said this:


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's those hard- liners chanting death to America who have been most opposed to the deal. They're making common cause with the Republican Caucus.



SANDERS: Well, let me just say this.

Clearly, our goal and what the president and Secretary Kerry have been working on is to do everything possible to see that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon, which would destabilize incredibly that entire region of the world. And it's something that should not happen.

I believe that we have got to go through every possible effort in order to make sure that we achieve that goal of Iran not having a nuclear weapon without going to war.

DICKERSON: So, do you support the agreement?

SANDERS: Yes, I do. I do.

DICKERSON: So, you're -- OK.

SANDERS: Look, I'm not going to tell that you this is a perfect agreement. And every agreement can be better.

But what the president has had to do is negotiate with the P5- plus-one and Iran, and I think that reaching an agreement, giving it a chance makes a lot more sense than the option.

DICKERSON: The president said, though -- this idea of the hard- liners chanting death to America in Iraq making common cause with the opponents of this deal, do you buy...

SANDERS: I wouldn't frame it that way. But this is the way I would frame it. And this is what I saw recently in the Republican debate, is, I -- it's so easy to be critical of an agreement which is not perfect.

But the United States has to negotiate with other countries. We have to negotiate with Iran. And the alternative, the alternative of not reaching an agreement, you know what it is? It's war. Do we really want another war, a war with Iran, an asymmetrical warfare that will take place all over this world, threatening American troops?

I think that -- so, I think we go as far as we possibly can in trying to give peace a chance, if you like, trying to see if this agreement will work. And I will support it.

DICKERSON: I want to ask you now, turning back to politics, with Hillary Clinton, we have seen in the polls some people question her trustworthiness, related perhaps to these e-mails. You have said repeatedly you're not going to get engaged in gossip and not bother with that.

Do those people, though, who are making a link between her e- mails and trustworthiness, are they mistaken? Are they giving into gossip?

SANDERS: Well, this is what I think.

I think, for a variety of reasons, Hillary Clinton has been under all kinds of attack for many, many years. In fact, I can't think of many personalities who have been attacked for more reasons than Hillary Clinton.

And, by the way, let me be frank. And I'm running against her. Some of it is sexist. I don't know that a man would be treated the same way that Hillary is.

So, all that I can say is, I have known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. I admire her. I respect her. I like her. She and I have very different points of view on a number of issues. We have differences of opinion on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We have differences on Keystone pipeline. She voted for the war in Iraq. I helped lead the opposition against that. She voted for the Patriot Act. I voted against it.

I think we have to take on the billionaire class and Wall Street. I'm not quite too sure that's her view.

DICKERSON: You mentioned the billionaire class. I would like to play a clip from Donald Trump about money in politics that you may agree with. Let's listen.



TRUMP: I'm not doing what's right for a man that gave me a million dollars to run for office and I owe him. And when Bush gets $100 million-plus, and when Hillary gets $50 million-plus, every one of those people that put up money will control Bush, control. I don't mean like a little bit. Bush is controlled by those people. Walker is controlled by those people. Hillary Clinton is controlled by those people.


DICKERSON: Do you agree with Donald Trump on that?

SANDERS: I think that the Citizens United decision, which allows billionaires, as Trump mentioned, to pour huge amounts of money into campaigns, to allow the Koch brothers to spend more money, an extreme right-wing family, to spend more money in this election cycle than either the Democrats or the Republicans is a disaster for American democracy.

And do I think that the people who make these contributions, the huge contributions, do it out of the goodness of their heart, or do they want something? Of course they want something. Now, the problem is, it's easy for Trump to say, I don't need their money.

Yes, because he's a billionaire. The logical consequences is that the only people who can run for office in America, who don't have to curry favors, are billionaires themselves. I am trying another way. We have gotten -- well over 300,000 people have made individual contributions. Do you know what the average contribution is? Thirty- one bucks.

We're running a people-oriented campaign. Can we actually prevail over a billionaire or the billionaire class? Time will tell. I think we can.

DICKERSON: All right, Bernie Sanders, thanks for much for being with us.

SANDERS: Thank you very much.


DICKERSON: We will be back in one minute with a look at how weird things have gotten in politics.


DICKERSON: In politics, you can usually see patterns.

The Republican debates of today between the establishment and grassroots echo Ronald Reagan's battles with Gerald Ford in 1976 and Robert Taft's battles with Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.

But right now, in this summer of Trump, we are in fresh, unplowed territory. The story in politics yesterday followed this trajectory. Erick Erickson, a conservative blogger and aspiring kingmaker, disinvited billionaire front-runner Donald Trump to his gathering of Republican candidates because the first-time candidate Trump, who is at the top of the polls, said a cable news host, Megyn Kelly, asked tough questions in Thursday night's debate because she was hormonal.

Trump denied the claim, which led to a parsing of the underlying statement, and discussion of topics that usually make people uncomfortable at the dinner table. Trump's rivals weighed in on the topic in press releases, public appearances and in 140-character bursts on Twitter.

If, at the beginning of this campaign, you had bet in your office pool on this scenario coming to pass, you should quit your job and turn your attention to the stock market.

We will be right back with our political panel.


DICKERSON: We're back now with Susan Page, Washington bureau chief for "USA Today," Michael Gerson, columnist for "The Washington Post," plus two of the busiest campaign reporters out there, Jonathan Martin of "The New York Times" and Ed O'Keefe of "The Washington Post."

Susan, I want to begin with you.

Some -- all of this Donald Trump business, what's the political fallout? Where do things stand for him now?

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "USA TODAY": If he were conventional candidate, he would be toast. It would be over, we would move on talk to who the real nominee is going to be.

But he has defied all that conventional analysis up to now. He has exceeded the expectations of everyone except himself. And I think that should make us humble about assuming that this is the end, that this is the peak of Donald Trump.

That said, here is the great dilemma he presents for the Republican Party. They need to figure out a way to distance himself from Donald Trump, while embracing the people who attracted by Donald Trump. And that is something Republicans have not yet figured how to do.

DICKERSON: Has to one foot on the gas, one foot on the brake.

Michael Gerson, challenge for the Republican Party?

MICHAEL GERSON, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, the plus side is 24 million people tuned and saw four or five candidates that could actually win an election. But Donald Trump was not one of them in this.

He -- on stage, he didn't even show a minimal knowledge of issues, while calling everyone else stupid. And so when you strip away all the bluster, there's more bluster underneath. I think that that really disqualifies him as a candidate. But this is not a typical season, and he made the biggest threat of that night, the political threat, which is to run as a third party. And that would be deeply destructive to Republican chances.

JONATHAN MARTIN, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": And, by the way, that is what is being talked about by some folks in the party as leverage to keep him out of future debates, that pledge to -- that he won't take. That's being talked about.

The downside of doing that is, if you do that, you probably ensure that he does run as a third-party candidate. There is this internal uncertainty of, how do we keep him sort of repressed, but at the same time, not push him to a third-party candidate any sooner than he actually might go.

What's fascinating is the lack of urgency from the campaigns themselves that I have heard since that debate. You don't hear the campaigns themselves saying, we have got to stop this guy, keep him off the debate stage. And the reason why, they got 24 million viewers, not just for Trump, but for their candidates, too.

DICKERSON: Yes. That's right.

Ed O'Keefe, who do you think benefited the most, quickly, from 24 million people getting a good look at them?

ED O'KEEFE, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I think three people. And one of them wasn't even on stage, Carly Fiorina.

John Kasich, the governor of Ohio, probably helped by the hometown crowd to some extent. And certainly Marco Rubio, the senator from Florida, reminded a lot of people why he's in this race and why he could emerge as a very effective party spokesman.

DICKERSON: All right, good. Well, that's our first round of conversation here. We will get back to all of this in a moment.

We're going to take a break right now. We will have lot more from our panel, so stay with us.


DICKERSON: Some of our stations are leaving us now, but, for most of you, we will be right back a lot more FACE THE NATION, including Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, more from our panel, and a look what's changed since the death of Michael Brown.

Stay with us.



I'm John Dickerson.

We want to go next to Des Moines, Iowa, where Dr. Ben Carson, another Republican contender, is standing by.

Dr. Carson, you kind of came on political scene with your speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in which you talked about the fact that we're too politically correct in American culture these days.

With respect to Donald Trump and his spat with Megyn Kelly, is everybody being too politically correct?

DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think there may be a difference between political correctness and, you know, courteous speech. There's a -- there is a difference.

And what bothers me is when people say, you know, you can't say this word, you can't say this phrase, you can't even think that, you can't express this. And it's very difficult for people to have an honest conversation if they can't express themselves.

But in no way do I advocate, you know, saying mean things about people. I -- that -- that has nothing to do with political correctness.

DICKERSON: And so do you think that's what Donald Trump did in this case?

CARSON: I haven't heard his specific comments, but I -- I've heard about them and they certainly would -- would not be the kinds of things that I would engage in.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about your debate performance and the aftermath of that. You were the second highest Googled person during the debate. And you've had a real outpouring of support on social media.

The first question is, what do you think people were looking up on Google during the debate about you?

CARSON: Well, about half the people didn't even know who I was, so I'm sure they were saying who is this guy?

He actually makes a little bit of sense, which is good. And, you know, we've had like 275,000 new Facebook likes and Twitter has gone crazy. And that's continuing to be the case. And that's good, because what I'm trying to get people to understand is that we, the American people, are not each other's enemies and this -- and the problems that face us are not Democrat or Republican problems.

They face all of us.

DICKERSON: How are you going to capitalize on that social media surge?

CARSON: Well, we're already capitalizing on it, and have been for several months. The reason that we're able to sustain ourselves is because of the small donations, hundreds of thousands of people donating.

I personally will never go after billionaires and special interest groups' money. If people want to donate, it will be because they love America and what we stand for.

DICKERSON: One of the things that's getting passed around a lot on social media are some remarks that you gave at the debate.

Let's listen to those remarks.


CARSON: When I take someone to the operating room, I'm actually operating on the thing that makes them who they are. The skin doesn't make them who they are. The hair doesn't make them who they are. And it's time for us to move beyond that.


DICKERSON: How do we move beyond that when so many blacks feel that they are targeted by police specifically because of the color of their skin?

CARSON: Well, I think we have to -- have to change the conversation and we have to look for real solutions. You know, what I have said for a long time is we need to introduce police into those communities early on, so that Little Johnny's first encounter with a policeman is somebody who's playing catch with him, not somebody who's chasing him down the alley with a gun.

When people know each other, it makes all the difference in the world.

DICKERSON: But some of your...

CARSON: We also need to concentrate on teaching values and principles to young men, because, you know, when you talk about things like black lives matter, I think absolutely they matter. But we need to be worried about the fact that the most likely cause of death for young black men in the inner city is homicide. And most of those homicides are not coming at the hands of the police.

So let's look at all the factors that are really infringing upon the longevity of our young people, of all races.

DICKERSON: All right, Dr. Ben Carson, thank you so much for being with us.

We'll be right back in a moment with more from our panel.


DICKERSON: We're back now with with more of our panel.

Susan Page is with "USA Today."

Michael Gerson is a columnist for "The Washington Post."

Jonathan Martin covers politics for "The New York Times."

And Ed O'Keefe is with "The Washington Post."

Jonathan, I want to pick up something that you saw -- on something you said when we were talking earlier. You talked about maybe keeping Donald Trump out of the future debates.

I want to read to you something that Lindsey Graham said in response to Trump's fight with Megyn Kelly. He said, "I think we've cost the -- crossed that Rubicon where his behavior becomes about us, not just him. I hope the party leadership will push hard. We've crossed a line here that can't be ignored. There's no more tip-toeing around this."

Who is the party leadership who's going to do this?

MARTIN: Well, that's the problem, is that the RNC could put out a statement, but they can't control what these networks do in terms of who is or is not invited. And if you think that the networks, after the amount of viewers who watched that debate on Thursday night are going to keep Trump out, then you don't understand how TV works.

And the fact is, he is going to keep showing up at these things as long as he wants to do so. And so the -- the party is handcuffed to him. And the long-term difficulty is that at some point, you can see a scenario where he says, I said if you guys didn't treat me with respect, I was going to go to third party and you haven't and I'm now running third party.

And therein lies the challenge. And then he does that for a few more months. So it's a long-term challenge for the GOP.

DICKERSON: Let's ask the other candidates at the moment.

Michael, you said, you know, that 24 million got to see some other people on the stage.

GERSON: Right.

DICKERSON: Who else looked good to you on this stage?

GERSON: Well, Rubio and Christie are low in the polls, but they've got first tier skills, you can tell. And candidate quality matters over time.

I think you'd have to give Christie some props for seriousness in the debate. He raised entitlement reform. He's actually put out policies on this. That could swamp everything, you know, people want to do in the future.

So I think he get -- he got serious, you know, intervention there.

And, you know, Bush had a B -- a B+ night, maybe. He answered all the right answers on the tough questions that related to him. And he had a good answer on immigration.

But he really only showed a flare, a passion, on school choice, and, you know, was flat in some of the other parts of the evening.

(CROSSTALK) PAGE: I would count Bush as the big loser of the night, actually, not because he made a mistake, because, as you say, he didn't make a mistake. But Peggy Noonan, who's often a friend of FACE THE NATION, described him as looking like a bespectacled man thinking about dinner. And that seemed to be pretty apt. You know, if you want to be president, you need to look like you want to be president. You need to have some energy. You need to have some passion, particularly if you're trying to be -- to prevail in a summer of Trump.

And I thought that he failed to do that and I think you're going to see some of these other candidates, who did show a little energy, doing better in the next couple of weeks.

O'KEEFE: And the Bush camp certainly concedes that, that guys like Rubio, Kasich, Walker might see a little bit of an increase. But they're still pretty comfortable with where they are.

They would say, look, this was the floor, that there are going to be several more of these debates to come. The mere fact that they were these sort of sober, mature guys standing next to Donald Trump as 24 million people watched, is enough to remind these Republicans, well, gosh, if I don't like that cantankerous guy, at least we have someone like him in the race.

He certainly is not a -- a flashy guy. Pizzazz is not his thing. But their goal was, don't make any mistakes, do this for the first time in 13 years, because he hasn't been on a debate stage since 2002, and over and over again remind people...

PAGE: But that's actually not...

O'KEEFE: -- of the record.

PAGE: -- not good enough, I -- I don't think, in a field like this and a -- the original frontrunner. You know, you looked at Kasich. Kasich looked like Bush was some...


PAGE: -- you know, another two term governor from a key state, the same age...


PAGE: -- lots of credentials. Now, Kasich has got his own problems and potential flaws as a candidate. But if you were looking for the -- an adult in the room, there was another adult in the room that was showing a little more passion.

MARTIN: But if you're a Republican, though, this is a sort of good night and a bad night. It's a good night because my goodness, we've got some presidents on that stage.


MARTIN: This is not the 2012 campaign all over again.

The more sort of nerve-wracking sight is, number one, what are we do to about Trump?

Oh, my gosh, this thing is really a sort of live wire, live ammo over here.

But the other issue is this race is really uncertain. And that can be kind of exciting and it can be energizing, but at the same time, it can also be a little bit nerve-wracking, because you just don't know what's going to happen.

To Susan's point, Jeb Bush didn't look like a frontrunner up there. That -- that debate night proved just how uncertain this race is. Nobody knows what's going to happen, even putting Trump aside, it's -- it's the most fluid campaign on the Republican side, I can recall in decades.

DICKERSON: And also being -- somebody used the word "fade" when talking about Jeb Bush. In other words, you don't have to have histrionics and get all excited and jumpy, but you have to show that you have a little blood pressure.

Michael Gerson, I want to ask you about Carly Fiorina. She got rave reviews for being crisp and sharp. But she has also, you know, number 11 or up -- there were 10 people on that first stage. She was on the second stage.

What has to happen for her to vault?

GERSON: She got a social media slingshot. And I think it's real -- it's real. That was the purpose of that, you know, kind of lower card. One person emerged...


GERSON: -- and I think got some serious attention. And I think she will be on the stage the next time. I think she plays an important role. She's really attacking Clinton in this, has tough attacks that I think Republicans are going to like. And she can do it with some standing.

MARTIN: But she's also uniquely perched to hit Jeb Bush for the stumble he made on women's health funding and then to hit Trump for going after Megyn Kelly.


MARTIN: Nobody else on stage can do that, which is why they should want her on that stage next time...


MARTIN: -- because it will remind viewers, look, we may have him, but we also have her.

DICKERSON: Though she wouldn't quite own up to the Bush name there when she made the -- the attack again on our show.

Susan, I want to switch now to you, to the Democratic side.

Bernie Sanders had a huge rally in Washington, Seattle, but he was interrupted again by Black Lives Matter protesters.

Why are they going after just Bernie Sanders?

PAGE: Well, Bernie Sanders had a misstep, in their view, by talking about black lives matter but all lives matter in the end. For the proponents of the Black Lives Matter movement, that reflects an -- a misunderstanding of exactly what kind of point they're trying to -- trying to make.

On the other hand, Bernie Sanders can't complain. He's a protest candidate, right?

So if he's attracting protesters is something that gives the -- and it shows that there's some energy and conflict in the Democratic side, as well as the Republican side.

DICKERSON: Right. I mean it might have been Bernie Sanders doing that kind of thing 40 years ago.

PAGE: Yes.


MARTIN: -- fascinating -- is this fascinating revelation, though, about the Democratic Party and where it was and where it is now. Bernie Sanders comes out of a sort of class-based, traditional social-democratic wing of the party.

The party is now much more shaped by gender and racial politics. And I think Bernie Sanders is having a hard time accommodating that.

He finally is now, but you can tell it's not really -- it's not really who he is.

When he spoke to an Hispanic group last week in Washington, he made a comment. He said, before I talk about your issues -- and I mean so he really comes out of that sort of class solidarity, liberal politics. And he's trying to put on the Democratic Party (INAUDIBLE) and it is a sight to see.

O'KEEFE: It is telling that he is on this West Coast swing, had a huge rally last night in Seattle. He has another big one today in Portland, will do Los Angeles tomorrow.

In Seattle, bad on the stage, notable, only his fourth campaign fundraiser of the year, the minimum was only $200, which should tell you something compared to everyone else.

So, you know, he may -- he may be this populist and he says he doesn't raise a lot of big money, telling that when others are raising $2,700 at these events, he's only asking for $200. DICKERSON: Michael, I want to ask you about Chuck Schumer, Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat, number three in leadership in the Senate, came out against President Obama's deal with -- or Iran nuclear deal.

How big a deal is that?

GERSON: Well, it was President Obama's plan to go into the recess, the Congressional recess, with momentum. And he did it with Senator Kaine, Senator Nelson. A bunch of people announced their support for the plan.

This interrupted that momentum and -- and I think the important -- and angered the administration. And they responded pretty angrily, talking about his future in Democratic politics, which, you know, was pretty severe.

The problem here is that Schumer did not just make a statement. He actually made an argument. He made a 1,500 word argument that when you compare that to the president's American University speech, it's pretty compelling.

And that will now marinate the debate, right, in Congress, going into four weeks, where the American public opposes the deal, in some of the polling, by 2-1. Where, you know, members are not going to hear reinforcement in their districts, in many ways.

So I, you know, I think this opened up the debate again.

PAGE: And I think a miscalculation on the part of the White House, it seems to me, because not a surprise Chuck Schumer is going to oppose this deal. It would have been a surprise if Chuck Schumer had come out...


PAGE: -- and endorsed this deal.

DICKERSON: Explain that...

PAGE: He...

DICKERSON: -- for people who may not...

PAGE: -- because he is one of the biggest advocates for Israel that there is...

DICKERSON: And Israel doesn't like this deal.

PAGE: -- in the United States. Israel is very much opposed to this. It says it reflects an existential threat to them. So -- so it would have been amazing if Chuck Schumer had not come out against this deal.

He came out against it, but he acknowledged you could be for the deal and still have a fair point of view, that there were arguments on both sides.

And he's also not whipping this vote.


PAGE: He's not trying to get...


PAGE: -- his colleagues...


PAGE: -- his Democratic colleagues, to go with him on this vote. That is a favor to the White House.


O'KEEFE: And that's a key point, because while these liberal groups are going to come out and say he isn't worthy of being the next Democratic leader in the Senate, the White House will raise concerns. If he sits on his hands, he's fine.

Also, remember, the only people that get to vote are Democratic senators themselves, for their next leader. Right now, he's got them all in the bag. He'll be fine.

MARTIN: Yes, the White House is overstating the possibility that Schumer is not going to be...


MARTIN: -- the next leader because of this. And, frankly, the opponents of the deal are overstating Chuck Schumer's impact on the rest of the caucus. I think both sides are a little bit off (INAUDIBLE)...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he doesn't need their money. He's from New York.

GERSON: Yes, but the president is over reaching in his rhetoric on everyone, not just the Democrats in Congress, but essentially accusing Republicans of being for war, accusing Republicans of being in common, you know, cause with the mullahs.

That is a tremendous overreach in his rhetoric. And, you know, it's hard to explain. I mean he, I think, is on -- will get the votes to sustain this deal.


PAGE: Yes.

GERSON: And he's had a hard time resisting a very divisive, polarizing language on this -- on this deal.


DICKERSON: And imagine if, during the Bush administration, President Bush had said, those people who are against our actions, I mean whether it be in Iraq or Afghanistan, are in common cause with the terrorists. Then people would have...

O'KEEFE: And some Democrats would suggest that's the kind of thing he did do back in the day. So I mean -- and a lot of people said this week he was taking a page from the George W. Bush playbook, whether you like it or not. And, you know, Republicans, you know, to some extent, justifiably, stood up this week and said that's not the right answer.

But look, Bernie Sanders made the same argument -- the only other alternative is potential war with Iran. If that's the argument they continue to make over the six weeks that Congress isn't in town, you know, that -- that argument might build favor.

MARTIN: But Michael's point that the pointed language does not match where he is in the process. Why, you would think, given that speech, that he was really back against the wall.

It seems pretty likely that he's going to be able to find the votes to -- to override, or to block a veto, you know?

DICKERSON: We'll see.

Susan, I'm going to pivot here, as we move to the end.

Hillary Clinton jumped on some remarks this week by Jeb Bush that Carly -- that Carly Fiorina mentioned. He was supposed to be talking about Planned Parenthood. He said he didn't think we needed to spend money on women's health issues.

What was Hillary Clinton's -- what was she up to there?

PAGE: Well, this is -- this is catnip for Democrats and for Hillary Clinton because the kind of offhand comment that Jeb Bush made feeds into the idea that Republicans are -- do not, in fact, have Republican women's interests -- do not have women's interests at heart, they can't be trusted to protect the interests of women.

And since there's a greater chance that Jeb Bush is going to be the nominee than Donald Trump, I think it does -- she's even more pleased to have Jeb Bush do this kind of misstep, which he then tried to backtrack on, than it is to have some of the outrageous comments that we've heard from Donald Trump.

GERSON: And it's a good distraction, too, she has problems. I mean she has an unfolding email scandal. It's hard to be transparent about something like this when you've got a server in your basement that you're not surrendering. I mean that is a long-term problem for her.

She is running a campaign that seems to be hemorrhaging money and losing support. Democrats are looking at this. So I think she needs diversion here and she does have some vulnerability on the populist left, which I think Bernie Sanders is showing. I don't think he can exploit it all the way, but I think he's showing that there's some room there on the left.


O'KEEFE: But bottom line, this is crass politics. You talk to Democrats privately, they are most petrified of the prospects of either a Jeb Bush or a Marco Rubio being their nominee...


O'KEEFE: -- because they know that can eat into Hispanic support.


O'KEEFE: The more they call it -- and Florida.

The more they call it out now, the more it will be reminding voters that in a year, if they're the nominee, they have said all these things (INAUDIBLE)...

DICKERSON: OK, thanks so much.

Thanks to all of you.

I want to thank our panel.

We'll be back in a moment with NAACP president Cornell William Brooks.


DICKERSON: One year ago today a young black man by the name of Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The incident sparked riots last summer and the debate over race and policing that is still going on today.

Cornell William Brooks is the president of the NAACP.

Welcome, Mr. Brooks.


DICKERSON: What's changed since Ferguson?

BROOKS: In the year since Michael Brown tragically lost his life, there's been a seismic shift in American attitude, but only a glacial shift in legislative action. So we have seen 60 percent of Americans assert that they believe that it's important for there to be fundamental change with respect to equal rights in this country.

But in terms of legislative action, 40 legislatures have taken up some measure of holding police departments accountable. They're only a tiny fraction of which have actually moved toward holding police departments accountable.

Congress: Congress has taken some action to count the number of tragic police-involved deaths in terms of Tamir Rices, Michael Browns, Sandy Blands.

But beyond counting the number of deaths to actually preventing those deaths, did not take any action.

DICKERSON: When you talk about holding police accountable, we're talking about body cameras, what else?

BROOKS: Body cameras, independent prosecutors, training, retraining our police departments to ensure that they use most effective techniques.

The point being here is we know that where communities are the subject of police protection, as opposed to objects of suspicion, police officers are sacred as are communities.

But we've not seen action, which is why the NAACP and so many others have engaged in this march from Selma, Alabama, to Washington, D.C., that we call America's Journey for Justice, in which we plan on bringing thousands of people into the nation's capital on September 15th, to call on Congress to do a couple of specific things: pass the End Racial Profiling Act; two, pass the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act.

In other words, we have to call on police departments to not engage in racial profiling, which we're to do now; two, we have to call on them to retrain their officers and, three, use evidence-based strategies for policing. These things that we're calling on Congress to do are in fact time-tested and work. But we've got to have action.

DICKERSON: What's your sense, you've given us a sense of the change in the police side of this equation.

What has changed in the last year in terms of communities, what evolution has taken place there?

BROOKS: What we've seen is a generation of young practitioners of democracy. Young people, who are taking the power of this democracy in their hands and taking it to the streets. We're seeing older people do the same.

So we're seeing this multi-generational army of activists. Think about it this way, Tamir Rice was 12 years old, Michael Brown was 18, Walter Scott was 40, Eric Garner was older. And so the point being here is that we have multi-generational victims; we need multi- generation advocates.

DICKERSON: And along those lines, advocates, we've been talking about Black Lives Matter and the protests at speeches.

What is your feeling about that tactic?

BROOKS: The point here is not how polite our activists are but how responsive our politicians are. When you have an 18-year old who is frustrated, who wants to see politicians step up and bring this tragedy to an end, you can call on them to be more polite or you can actually get something done. We're calling on Congress to get something done.

DICKERSON: And the debate seems to be whether it is a racial issue or an economic issue; Bernie Sanders says it's both, what's the answer?

BROOKS: It is in fact both. But here is the reality. When African American men are 21 times more likely to lose their lives at the hands of the police than their white counterparts, there is element of race here.

As we saw in Baltimore, when neighborhoods go up in flames, when young people lose their lives and they're surrounded by poverty and by economic desperation, it's a class issue as well as a race issue.

But more importantly, fundamentally, it is an American issue, because we don't have to have this conversation a year from now if we take action now.

And I'd like to note this. In the week in which we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, we have a badly broken Voting Rights Act. So, what we're doing at the NAACP on behalf of the nation is issuing a justice challenge.

We're saying to anybody running for president, if you want the people's vote, protect the right to vote and call on Congress to protect the right to vote by fixing the Voting Rights Act. That's our justice challenge. And we're issuing on behalf of the country.

DICKERSON: I have to end it there.

Cornell William Brooks, thanks so much for being with us.

We'll be back in a moment.


DICKERSON: That's all the time we have today; until next week for FACE THE NATION, I'm John Dickerson.

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