Face the Nation transcripts December 8, 2013: Angelou, Baker, Hagel

A look at Nelson Mandela's legacy, the latest in the world of politics, plus a panel
A look at Nelson Mandela's legacy, the latest... 46:41

(CBS News) Below is a transcript of "Face the Nation" on December 8, 2013, hosted by CBS News' Bob Schieffer. Guests include: Maya Angelou, James Baker, Randall Robinson, Colin Powell, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., Chuck Hagel, Gwen Ifill, Lorraine Miller, Michele Norris, Rick Stengel, and CBS News' Elizabeth Palmer, Gayle King and Margaret Brennan.

SCHIEFFER: Good morning again. The storm that left parts of the South and Midwest in an icy deep freeze has now moved east. It's expected to hit Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic states today, then move up the East Coast towards Boston and New York. But we begin this morning in South Africa, where Debora Patta begins our coverage of the day of national prayer for Nelson Mandela. Debora?

DEBORA PATTA, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Bob. Well, this being a multi-faith country, we saw many church services around the country today as part of the national day of prayer and reflection for Nelson Mandela. In Regina Mundi, the very famous Regina Mundi, which was a pivotal focus of the tension during the anti-Apartheid struggle, we saw a large service there this morning. The priest there compared Nelson Mandela to moonlight because he said he is "the guiding light of this country." There was also a prayer service at a Methodist church in Bryanston in Johannesburg that was attended by President Jacob Zuma and some members of the Mandela family. In attendance, Winnie Madikizela Mandela, Nelson Mandela's former wife, and his grandson, Mandla. But it really is the people of South Africa who are defining the mood here right now. At Mandela's house in Houghton, the wall of flowers and tributes continues to grow. People's song and dance, ever jubilant, is constant throughout the day and night. They are using the voice that Nelson Mandela gave them to celebrate his legacy as really a united, rainbow nation.

SCHIEFFER: And Debora, set the stage for us now. What happens through the rest of this week?

PATTA: Well, Bob, it really is a passing like no other. By far, the biggest public event will be on Tuesday at a soccer stadium in Soweto. There will be a national memorial service that will be attended, we know, by President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. Also there, President Clinton and President George W. Bush. U.N. Secretary General Ban-ki Moon will also attend; pop stars, actresses, actors, global dignitaries from around the world. South Africa is really gearing up for a period of mourning that I can't really think of having occurred in the world before now, all this for just one remarkable man.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Debora Patta, thank you so much. So many of us came to know Nelson Mandela during his long struggle to bring freedom to South Africa, but Maya Angelou came to know him at the very beginning of his crusade back in the 1960s. She is in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, this morning. Ms. Angelou, it is such a pleasure to have you. How did you come to know Nelson Mandela?

ANGELOU: Good morning, and how wonderful it is to speak with you. Mr. Mandela was an ANC member and actually one of the founders of the African National Union -- National Congress. And I was married to a South African freedom fighter and he was a member of the PAC, which was Pan-African congress. And they were arch-rivals. And Mr. Mandela came to Egypt, where I was living. And I had been so used to these rivals arguing and shouting in the living room and shouting in the street against each other. There was also SWANO, which was South West Africa National Organization, and so forth. They -- and but when Mr. Mandela came, he never had a cross word to say to anyone. I was amazed. I had never seen South Africans who were that kind. He's -- he had a compliment to give to everybody, including my housekeeper and the -- and the doorman. It was amazing. A gentle giant, he was.

SCHIEFFER: You know, you have written a wonderful poem celebrating his life and his passing. The State Department has put it out on a video. I want to ask you about it, how this came about. But let me play just a short clip of the beginning of this poem, if you'll listen with me.

ANGELOU: Thank you.

ANGELOU: The news came on the wings of a wind reluctant to carry its burden. Nelson Mandela's day is done. The news, expected and still unwelcome, reached us in the United States, and suddenly our world became somber. Our skies were leadened. His day is done.

SCHIEFFER: Now, we're going to close our broadcast this morning with your poem, Ms. Angelou, but I wanted to ask you, how did you come to write this? How did this come about and when did you do it?

ANGELOU: Thank you. The State Department -- a person from the State Department telephoned me when he was very sick about a year and a half ago, and they asked if I would write a poem -- write a tribute to him from my people, from the American people. And I said yes. I wrote it, but I also had to agree that I would not even speak about it or release it until 48 hours after he was actually dead, and I agreed. So I -- I did it and I sent it to them, to the State Department. The State Department sent a crew down, and I -- I recorded it. But then I never mentioned it again to anyone, including, I mean, close friends and family members. I just wouldn't do it.

SCHIEFFER: Well, you didn't -- you didn't mention it to us. We didn't know about it until it came out. I'd like to tell people you can find this on the State Department website. You can go to YouTube. You can find it on the CBS website. We will be posting it. It is called "His Day is Done," and we're going to close the broadcast, as I said just a second ago, with your poem. It is such a wonderful piece of work. What did Nelson Mandela mean to you?

ANGELOU: Well, Mr. Schieffer, I think that -- I know that, with the attitudes and the anger in South Africa after apartheid, had there been no Mandela, we would see the blood running in the street. Because apartheid was so brutal and the people were so angry, the black people were so angry, and white people felt so guilty, until Nelson Mandela, released from prison, came out smiling and holding hands with whites and holding white babies and saying, "This is a time for friendship. This is about South Africa, not about Orsa (ph) or Zulu or Shona or Boer. This is about South Africa." And, Mr. Schieffer, it amazes me that today there are people who actually go to South Africa for vacation.