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Face the Nation transcripts February 7, 2016: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: It's Super Bowl Sunday, and just two days before the voters speak in New Hampshire.

It's fourth and long for some struggling Republican campaigns who might not make it past Tuesday's primary. And as the clock ticks down, we will talk to the two Democratic contenders, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Both are fighting furiously for every last vote.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a beautiful day in Manchester.


DICKERSON: We will also have preview of Super Bowl 50 and the showdown between Carolina's Cam Newton and Denver's Peyton Manning, and talk to the head of the NFL Players Union, DeMaurice Smith.

Politics and football on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION this Super Bowl Sunday. I'm John Dickerson.

We begin with campaign 2016 and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is fighting to close a double-digit gap in the polls behind Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire.

She joins us from Manchester.

Secretary Clinton, your name came up, not surprisingly, in the Republican debate.


DICKERSON: Senator Marco Rubio claimed that on the question of abortion that you support abortion on baby's due date. What do you say to that?

CLINTON: Well, I think it's pretty pathetic, John.

This is something that illustrates how Senator Rubio has been just going as far as he can to try to, I guess, buttress his credentials with certain parts of the Republican constituency. I have been on record for years about where I stand on making abortion safe and legal, the exceptions that are appropriate, that should be looked into, and the very difficult choices that very few women have to confront that lead to excruciating kinds of decisions.

And to begin to politicize this so early in the campaign season, to try to raise the false charges and look like he's going to try to make sure Roe v. Wade is overturned and Planned Parenthood is defunded is just a tried-and-true tactic by those on the right.

DICKERSON: His charge here, though, is in terms of late-term abortions, that you talk about medical issues, but there are nonmedical abortions, he would say, and others who share his view would say, and that you're not having any restrictions on those who would choose to have an abortion for nonmedical reasons puts you on the extreme side of this.

CLINTON: Well, it's just not true.

People should go back read Roe v. Wade. Reasonable kinds of restrictions can be imposed as long as the life and health of the mother are taken into account, and that is what the law is today. And I remember very well having a lot of incredibly difficult conversations listening to women who were told something devastating toward the end of their pregnancy, who were facing horrible kinds of consequences to their health and even potentially to their life.

That's why this has to be taken into account by each individual woman, by her physician and her family. But, of course, under Roe v. Wade, there are certain guidelines. And Senator Rubio should know that, or I hope he does now.

DICKERSON: In the town hall the other night, you said that the financial interests -- quote -- "are not giving me very much money now."

But according to "The Washington Post" analysis, donors of hedge funds, banks, insurance companies and other financial service firms have given you at least $21.4 million. That's about 10 percent of what you have raised. That seems like a lot of money.

CLINTON: Well, that's just not the calculation that we have done. But that's somebody's analysis. I'm not going to argue with it.

What's really going on here, John, is disturbing to me. I will be really frank with you. What the Sanders campaign is trying to do is link donations to my political campaign or really donations to anyone's political campaign with undue influence, with changing people's views and votes.

I have never, ever done that. And I really do resent the implication, or, as I said the other night, the insinuation. It would be like saying that President Obama, who took probably more money from Wall Street than any Democrat certainly had in 2008 with his successful campaign, was therefore automatically disqualified.

Well, in fact, we know that was not true. He signed the toughest financial regulations since the 1930s with the Dodd-Frank bill. This is a very artful smear. And I'm just not going to sit and take it anymore.

DICKERSON: Are you saying, though, on these questions that people from the financial services industry have no greater access to you than anybody else? CLINTON: I'm saying that I am available to and open to listening to people from all walks of life. I always have been. I always will be.

But talk to the -- if people want to donate to me from whatever industry, they know where I stand. They know that I called them out on the mortgage market mess back in -- before the great crash happened. And I always like to remind people, it was not me, it was Senator Sanders who voted to deregulate slots and derivatives, which gave Lehman Brothers a lot of extra leverage, which was one of the contributing factors to their collapse, which obviously contributed to what happened in the great recession.

So, we can take these step by step and try to unwind them, but it doesn't change the basic facts. People know where I stand. I rolled out the toughest, most effective effort to rein in financial abuse of anybody in this campaign. And it goes much further than Dodd-Frank. It goes much further than restoring Glass-Steagall, a 1930s efforts.

It goes into shadow banking. It goes after hedge funds. It goes after carried interest loophole. Now, that is full disclosure. I am on the record. If somebody in one of these firms wants to give me money, I hope they know they're giving money to someone who is going to make sure they never wreck the economy again.

DICKERSON: In the debate, you also said -- quote -- "Senator Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman president, as exemplifying the establishment."


DICKERSON: But isn't the experience you're -- the experience you're running on gained through years of working in Democratic politics, doesn't that put you in the establishment, all that experience?

CLINTON: Well, I don't know.

Senator Sanders has lot more time in elective office than I do. And I find that sort of an amusing contrast. He's been elected official for 25 years, far longer than I was. I think I bring a great mix of experience. And I think being a woman is a big part of how I see problems, how I think about solving problems, what I believe is absolutely foundational, starting with children and their lives and their opportunities.

On my way to Flint today to go and meet with the mayor, who asked me to come because she wants to keep the national spotlight on what happened to the children in her community. And I commend her for it. So, I think that the experiences I have had starting when I was in an advocate taking on the establishment, going on to be first lady, taking on the drug companies and the pharmacy companies, taking on the financial system, taking on a lot of big lobbies like the gun lobby, I think that I have shown that I have got a lot of experience taking on the establishment. And I'm proud of what I bring to the table to actually be able to solve problems and get results for people.

DICKERSON: All right, Secretary Clinton, we will have to leave it there. Thanks so much for joining us this morning.

CLINTON: Great to talk to you, John. Thanks.

DICKERSON: Our next guest took a few hours off the campaign trail last night for an appearance on "Saturday Night Live" with his doppelganger, Larry David. Let's take a look.


LARRY DAVID, ACTOR: My life is worth more than all of yours put together, especially these women and midgets.


DAVID: So, if it's all the same to you, I'm going to pop down in that lifeboat.



SANDERS: I am so sick of the 1 percent getting this preferential treatment.



SANDERS: Enough is enough. We need to unite and work together if we're all going to get through this.

DAVID: Sounds like socialism to me.


SANDERS: Democratic socialism.

DAVID: What's the difference?

SANDERS: Huge difference.



DICKERSON: And Bernie Sanders is back in New Hampshire.

Senator, while you were in New York, North Koreans launched a long-range missile. As president, you would face that kind of thing all the time, very often. And what Secretary Clinton is saying is that you don't have the experience to be ready for those kinds of challenges on day one.

SANDERS: Well, that's what she said about Barack Obama in 2008. And it turned out not to be true. I am impressed by the quality of his foreign policy.

Furthermore, on the most important foreign policy issue in modern history, the war in Iraq, I voted against the war. I led the opposition against the war. And if you to go my Web site,, you will see that much of what I feared would happen in fact did happen.

On the other hand, Secretary Clinton voted for the war. So, I think it is not just experience. Obviously, she's been a secretary of state for four years. But it is judgment as well. And I am confident that I can put together a strong team to provide great foreign policy for the people of the United States.

DICKERSON: When you're president and there is a crisis, you need to instill confidence in the country.

And in looking at these debates, it's clear you're confident talking about economic, income inequality, but when it comes to foreign policy, you are less confident. How would you show confidence as a president on these issues?

SANDERS: Well, John -- John, I think that's a media narrative that goes around and around and around. I don't accept that media narrative.

Again, on the most important issue of our time, I was right, Hillary Clinton was wrong. This is the same argument made against Barack Obama in 2008. I will assemble a top-notch foreign policy team and we will provide excellent and strong foreign policy for the people of the United States.

What I believe right now is that we have got to learn the lessons of Iraq. And that is that the United States of America cannot do it alone. We have to work in coalition. We have to work in coalition with major countries and with Muslim countries whose troops will be on the ground.

My main concern in terms of the Mideast is to make certain that the United States does not get involved in perpetual warfare in the quagmire of Iraq and Syria and Afghanistan.

DICKERSON: You have talked a lot about the donations Hillary Clinton receives from the financial service sector. In the most recent debate, she called that an artful smear. What is your response to that?

SANDERS: It's a fact. When in the last reporting period her super PAC received $25 million and $15 million came from Wall Street, what is the smear? That is the fact.

DICKERSON: Well, she says you can't point to a single vote that she changed or an opinion that she changed. Can you?

SANDERS: Yes, I know. Nobody who takes -- or has a super PAC, nobody who gets money, whether it's Republican or Democrat, from the pharmaceutical industry, from the fossil fuel industry, from Wall Street, there's never been a politician in history who said, that money influences me.

It's just people are throwing millions ever dollars into the campaign, but there's no reason why they're throwing that money into the campaign. I think, you know, the American people know better. So, I have never impugned a Secretary Clinton's integrity. I like Secretary Clinton. But we have a corrupt campaign finance system.

I am proud I do not have a super PAC. We have raised 3.5 million individual contributions averaging $27 apiece.

DICKERSON: Barack Obama received a lot of money from these same groups. Is he in the same fix as Hillary Clinton?

SANDERS: It is a corrupt -- it is a corrupt campaign finance system. And let me tell you something, John. At the very top of my list of goals that I want to accomplish as president of the United States is overturning this disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

Democracy does not mean that billionaires should be able to buy elections.

DICKERSON: CNN has a piece this week that the Clinton campaign is passing around that talks about the fund-raising did you for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and that you, in raising money and helping them to raise money from some of these people in the financial world, are basically contributing to the same system that you are now beating up.

SANDERS: Is that what the Clinton people are talking about?

DICKERSON: Well, CNN did the piece.

SANDERS: Yes, well, CNN is wrong.

DICKERSON: You never participated in any of these fund-raisers?


SANDERS: I went to events. But did I go and ask financial people for money? Absolutely not.

What I did do, because I absolutely did not want to see the Republicans gain control of the United States Senate, I wrote letters to a whole lot of people, letters that went out to I'm guessing millions of people through Democratic Senate Committee that raised millions of dollars for the Democratic Senate Committee.

On one hand, John, I'm criticized because I'm not a strong enough Democrat, and then I'm criticized because I'm raising money for the Democratic Senate Committee in order to make sure that they retain -- regain control of the Senate.

But, no, I do not go and raise money for the financial institutions.

DICKERSON: But, Senator, when you write letters for the senatorial campaigns, why do you think they're giving money, if not for the expectation that, by your thinking, by your reasoning, that they might have some influence over you?

SANDERS: John, the people I am writing to are contributing $25, $30, $40. And if anybody doesn't know the difference between a contribution of $30 or $40 or a super PAC which raises millions of dollars from Wall Street, then, frankly, we don't know what is going on in politics today.

My letter that I sent out to millions of people was designed to bring in low donations, low-dollar donations, very, very different from appealing to Wall Street or big money interests.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you, as the final question, you have dismissed some of the issues that the press has tried to raise about Hillary Clinton, her e-mails, for example. Where are you on this question of whether she should release transcripts of the speeches she gave to financial firms?

SANDERS: Well, a lot of people think -- that's ultimately her decision. Her point is that she's given these speeches. But my understanding now is, her campaign says she's not going to release those transcripts. That's her decision.

But I think it would be a positive thing for the American people to know what was said behind closed doors to Wall Street. But, ultimately, that is her decision.


Senator Bernie Sanders, thanks for being with you -- with us. We will see you out on the trail.

SANDERS: Thank you, John.

DICKERSON: We will be back in a minute with the other big story of this weekend, Super Bowl 50.


DICKERSON: We go now to the West Coast and DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, the union that represents NFL athletes. He is in San Francisco.

Mr. Smith, I want to start with the NFL concussions. They increased this season from 115 in 2014 to 182 in 2015. What should we make of those numbers?

DEMAURICE SMITH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE PLAYERS ASSOCIATION: Well, I think we make of the numbers that we're probably doing a better job capturing the injuries that are occurring.

And I think we probably have a better system where players feel better to report the injuries that they have. So, we look at the numbers not as a raw spike and whether that's -- quote -- "good" -- quote -- "bad." We look at it as something we have already known. This is a game that is inherently dangerous. We want to have a game that not only diagnoses treatment, but we also want to be on the back end and make sure that we do a better job treating our players.

DICKERSON: In his annual address Friday, commissioner Goodell didn't even mention concussions as an issue in his opening statement. Is the issue -- is the league taking this issue seriously enough?

SMITH: Well, like anything with the league, the league goes absolutely as far as the union pushes them.

So, if it's the issue of sideline concussion experts, the union had to fight for that. If it's workers' compensation for concussions, the union has to fight for that. So, the next really iteration of this fight is to make sure that we have health care for the injuries that our players suffer. And we're still battling that with a number of teams.

DICKERSON: So, let me -- two things. On the question of these brain injuries, these concussions, just on that, are you still having to fight to get the league to take that as seriously as they should be?

SMITH: Well, absolutely.

You saw earlier this year a quarterback clearly who had suffered a traumatic brain injury on the field. The trainer comes out on the field and actually left the player on the field. That is a violation of the collectively bargained protocols that the player wants.

We have yet to have a system where that team was even punished by the commissioner. So, we look at injuries, we look at the exposure of injuries as a comprehensive issue that we have to approach, approach from prevention, treatment and medical diagnosis.

DICKERSON: There was the news recently that Ken Stabler, who I grew up watching play for the Raiders, was found to have had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, very advanced version of that.

Are kids who watch today going to see their heroes 30 years from now face the same kind of diagnosis?

SMITH: Well, if the trend continues, probably, yes.

We're happy, of course, with our partnership with Harvard University. There's been recent technology using player money that's resulted in a very early and perhaps explosive treatment for CTE. It's in the early stages.

But we have to do a better job of identifying how CTE develops. We're thrilled about this new potential treatment. But the work that Harvard and the players are doing about studying brain movement, making sure that there's new ways to treat concussions, that's the comprehensive way that we have to look at it.

And while the stats are important, the dedication that the league and the league owners and the players have to have to treat injuries that we know are going to occur, that's the direction we have to go in.

DICKERSON: Now back to your point about health care. Should the league or teams commit to pay for health care for athletes all the way through their lives?

SMITH: Well, at the very least, the teams need to commit themselves to treating the injuries that players suffer at work.

I mean, workers' compensation was designed in this country to make sure that if employees got injured, they had lifetime medical for the injuries that they suffered. Last year, over the last five years, we have actually had to battle legislation in three states that was supported by team owners to take workers' compensation away from NFL players.

And just to cut through, that workers' compensation does not cost a taxpayer a dime. We cover it in our own collective bargaining agreement. But when we're fighting legislation in Carolina, when we're fighting legislation in Louisiana, fighting legislation in California to take away injury care for our players, that makes me question whether the NFL owners truly want to address the issue of injuries.

DICKERSON: All right, DeMaurice Smith, we thank you so much for being with us.

And we will be right back with preview of tonight's game.


DICKERSON: We're back with CBS News special correspondent and host of "Super Bowl Today" James Brown.

J.B., you sat down with Cam Newton earlier this week.

What's on his mind?

JAMES BROWN, CBS NEWS SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: John, it was a wide-ranging interview. And I found a very exuberant young man, excited about the stage that he's on.

But he's been on a big stage throughout his career. Spent most of the time answering the question that seemed to have created a firestorm, when he described himself, saying that most people haven't seen anything like him, that he's an African-American quarterback.

And, of course, that description there just created a firestorm of controversial about him. But he's a wonderfully transparent and honest young man. And there's no stage too big for him, even given the Super Bowl stage here.

DICKERSON: What about on the other side, the quarterback on the other side, Peyton Manning? This could be a historic game for him. What's at stake for him?

BROWN: Well, you know what? I think his legacy is pretty much cemented anyway. The ideal storybook ending would be for the guy they call the sheriff to ride off into the sunset with his second Super Bowl championship. That would be the ideal.

John, this guy has done everything the right way. Notwithstanding him being linked to HGH, if you will, with that story that the source has recanted on that Al-Jazeera story there, Peyton has been excellent ambassador for the NFL. He's not the same player today that he was a few years ago. He's got a great team, a great supporting cast around him, and there are legions of folks who would love to see him go out a winner.

DICKERSON: All right. So, now the big final question, J.B., who is going to win?

BROWN: You know what, John? I have always for years deferred to the guys who played and coached the game and not tried to muddy the waters that way.

From a broadcaster's perspective, selfishly, all I want is a competitive game that would certainly be in synch with this being an historic broadcast, being the 50th Super Bowl.

CBS has broadcast more Super Bowls than anyone, 19. So, we're thrilled to have this one. I just want a competitive game, John.

DICKERSON: Well, so do we. And we're so glad you're there telling us about it. And we appreciate you being with us. We will be watching.

And we will be back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DICKERSON: That's it for us today.

Be sure to join us Saturday night for our CBS News Republican debate in Greenville, South Carolina.

Then, we will be there the next day for FACE THE NATION.

Thanks for watching.

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