Face the Nation Transcripts February 16, 2014: McCrory, Shepherd, DeMint

 DEMINT: -- to vote for it. But the reason there's a 60 vote rule in the Senate and the reason Republican leaders fought so hard to keep it for nominations is it requires some bipartisan working together to pass something. And the debt limit and just giving the president a blank check is an important vote. And to say we're going to waive the rules to make it easier if it -- if Ted Cruz hadn't have required a standard procedure, there were several others who would have.

SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you this, to get back to the question I asked you in the beginning. Were you and the folks that you represent and that you raise money from, what about John Boehner?

DEMINT: Um-hmm?

SCHIEFFER: Is -- has he served his purpose? Should somebody else head up the Republicans in the House?

DEMINT: Well, I got out of the Senate so I didn't have to make those kind of decisions. And, really, at the Heritage Foundation, we're not involved with candidates and elections and what goes on internally. So I'm not going to pretend to suggest who should (INAUDIBLE)...

SCHIEFFER: But I mean didn't you form the Senate Conservatives Fund, which has raised money that has used -- been used against some Republicans?

DEMINT: Well, I'm proud of what the Senate Conservatives Fund has done. But I haven't been involved with that in over two years. And so I'm -- I'm really not familiar with what they're doing in this election cycle and I've made it...

SCHIEFFER: But it's your people that are running it, aren't they?


SCHIEFFER: Didn't they all used to work for you?

DEMINT: They're not my people. They are -- they're their own people. And they're supported by folks all over the country. But at the Heritage Foundation, our job is to unite the country around a set of ideas. So we're less involved with, really, trying to cram anything down the throats of congressmen and senators, but we're on a campaign now, Bob, to unite the country around some core ideas that will make our country stronger and life better. And that's our whole emphasis. And so I'm not involved with any political group now.

SCHIEFFER: Well, are you satisfied with the Republican leadership in Washington right now?

DEMINT: Well, I will say that a lot of us, as conservatives, don't feel like we're well represented in Washington right now. And I think a lot of Americans, regardless of political labels, feel the same way. I hear it all over the country. And I think that's why you see a stirring around the country. Frankly, people are less interested in a label of Republican and Democrat and they're tired of that. But they will unite around some principles that will give us a stronger economy, a strong society, a strong America. And those are the things we want to talk about. America is not nearly as divided as it looks like they are in Washington.

SCHIEFFER: Well, it looks like, to me, that the Republican Party, there has been a split, though -- establishment Republicans on one side, Tea Party folks and a lot of rather conservative people on the other side, including you.

DEMINT: It's -- it's always been that way. Reagan was an insurgent. He was shaking up the party. And there's always that pull in Washington, the move toward the establishment, all of the K Street lobbyists and all the interests who want something and to respond to people outside who are saying, hey, we want a limited government, we want more decision-making ourselves. And that's really the key right now, is for Washington to let things go. You see many states, like you see in North Carolina, where you heard from the governor this morning, doing great things with their taxes and school choice. And that's the kind of thing we -- we're working on all around the country.

SCHIEFFER: All right, well, Senator, we thank you for coming by and sharing that.

DEMINT: Bob, it's good to see you again.

SCHIEFFER: And we'll look forward to see how this goes. I hope you get home.

DEMINT: Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: All right. We'll be back in one minute to talk to Bob Woodward, who's been doing some reporting this weekend, in a minute.

SCHIEFFER: Well, we're back now with the legendary Bob Woodward. And the reason he is Bob Woodward is that when we asked him to be on the broadcast this morning, lo and behold, he started picking up the phone and calling people to see what's happening and what all this raising the debt ceiling meant. Bob, what did -- what's your reaction to what you heard Senator DeMint say?

BOB WOODWARD, JOURNALIST: Well, one thing is just not factually correct. He said that was a vote to give President Obama a blank check. Raising the debt ceiling does not...


WOODWARD: -- give the president a blank check, it just says we're going to pay the bills for the...

SCHIEFFER: For things we've already bought.

WOODWARD: It -- that we already -- that's already in the legislation. I mean I think in calling around this weekend, what's very interesting is this is kind of a trifecta for Boehner. I talked to somebody, a key administration figure, who said what Boehner did was very gutsy. Now, you don't hear them talking like that in the Obama White House very often.

SCHIEFFER: This was somebody in the Obama White House said this?

WOODWARD: Yes, this is a key player saying John Boehner did the very gutsy thing. Now, it's what the president wanted. The second thing is the conservative press is praising Boehner, like "The National Review" had a long article saying well done, John Boehner. I haven't seen that for a long time. The third most interesting thing is the people who voted against Boehner, the Republicans who said I don't want to vote to raise the debt ceiling, people like Paul Ryan, are privately saying, and making it very clear, Boehner did the right thing. Now this is -- if you look at it a big victory for Obama, because he drew the line. He said, I'm not going to let you hold a gun to my head and blackmail me on this. And so he has -- he -- it's a rare and very important victory.

SCHIEFFER: You know, I thought it was also interesting that again we had Ted Cruz over in the senate, because what really happened here -- and I mean, I think you can make the case that John Boehner was really looking out for his members. They knew this was going to happen. Boehner let democrats pass this in the house, his members could vote against it and say, we voted against it. So he really kind of did them a favor. The exact opposite happened over in the Senate where Mitch McConnell had it worked out that they could pass this on a simple majority and Republicans faced a tough primary election or tough election could vote against it the thing would still pass. But when Cruz came out and forced them to -- said he was going to filibuster, they had to get 60 votes, and a lot of Republicans were not the least bit happy about that.

WOODWARD: Well, that's right. But remember in the House Boehner had to get 20-some Republicans to vote for this. And they did it and you're right, it's almost all Democrats. But if you look at the details, the chess moves all of this, it was rather skillfully done according to Democrats and Republicans. But you're right in the House, Cruz said, we've got to go to 60 votes -- in the Senate, I'm sorry, and made people really unhappy including Mitch McConnell who thinks that Cruz is literally the most selfish senator he's ever seen in his years there.

SCHIEFFER: How popular is he among his colleagues?

WOODWARD: Well, we're going to see what happens if he runs for president and goes out in the country. Among his colleagues they have that senate policy lunch every week and witnesses have told me he goes in there and he sits alone. People will only sit next to him when there is no other available seats. And you know when you sit alone for lunch that's not a sign of a lot of support. So he's isolated.

SCHIEFFER: And you're talking about just a Republican gathering, this is when the Republicans in the Senate have their weekly lunch.

WOODWARD: And the Democrats look on this they see a civil war, but the Republicans are arguing, no, it's just Ted Cruz all by himself. He really doesn't have anybody supporting him. So we'll see where this goes. But the real question here is what does Obama do? Does -- this is not a peace offering or really early Valentine to the president. But sometimes when something happens that you think should happen even not for those reasons you should embrace it and maybe they can actually get something done.

SCHIEFFER: So, it would be kind of next move, President Obama. We'll see what happens.


SCHIEFFER: All right. We will be back with our panel on part two. And we'll be back in a minute with some personal thoughts.

SCHIEFFER: We have been talking about weather and politics this morning. And if you are among the 100 million of us who found yourself in the middle of this storm, you had to love Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri's letter to winter in yesterday's paper. In what seemed to started out as love note she wrote, "it's been real, it's been lovely," but then she added, "I don't care what the groundhog said, you need to leave." Well, she got that right. Even here in Washington where people usually put politics before food and shelter, it was the weather that had our attention. And here is a news flash, winter so far is not a crowd pleaser. Still to be fair, it is not all bad. Every time there's a bad flood or a hurricane, someone remarks it just shows that no matter how our abilities, humans can never match the power generated by mother nature. Well, I never doubted that, but we got a new appreciation for mother nature's power last week. I'm not saying it's the only reason but I am convinced that one reason the House and Senate acted so quickly to raise the debt ceiling was they wanted to get out of town before the big storm hit. Think what you want of the debt ceiling, but anyone or anything with the power to get congress off its rump gets my deep respect and admiration. Back in a minute.

SCHIEFFER: Some stations are leaving us now, for most of us we'll be right back with our politics panel and discussion about NFL hopeful Michael Sam's admission that he is gay. Stay with us.