Face the Nation Transcripts July 24, 2016: President Obama

obama-final.jpg

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION, we will talk about what it takes to be president with the man who is one.

The Republicans have moved off-stage, and the Democrats are gearing up for their big show in Philadelphia. As the general election officially begins, we will talk to the president about the skills actually needed for the job Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are auditioning for. What should voters be looking for in the candidates seeking the nation's highest office?

We will have a preview of Scott Pelley's "60 Minutes" interview with the new Democratic team.

Plus, we will have analysis of last week's Republican Convention in Cleveland and look ahead to the challenges facing Democrats at their convention.

It's all ahead on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION.

Just hours after their formal announcement, Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, sat down with Scott Pelley for a wide- ranging interview that will air on tonight's "60 Minutes."

Here's a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT PELLEY, CBS NEWS: He calls you crooked Hillary. What do you call him?

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I don't call him anything. And I'm not going to engage in that kind of insult-fest that he seems to thrive on.

So, whatever he says about me, he's perfectly free to use up his own airtime and his own space to do. I'm going to talk about what he's done, how he has hurt people in business time after time after time, the small businesses, the contractors, the work men and women who he refused to pay after they rendered services, the total disregard that he has shown toward large groups of people in our country, his vicious language against immigrants, his insulting a distinguished federal judge of Mexican heritage, his mocking a person with a disability, his really inflammatory language about Muslims, about American Muslims, about Muslims all over the world, his demeaning comments about women.

I'm going to respond to what he has said that I think is so fundamentally at odds with who we are as a nation, where we need to be heading in the future, and the kind of dangerous, risky leadership that he's promising.

(CROSSTALK)

SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't want to -- she's done a good job of letting the water go off her back on this.

That's not the way I feel. When I see this, you know, "crooked Hillary" or I see the "Lock her up," it's just ridiculous. It is ridiculous. It is beneath the character of the kind of dialogue we should have, because we have real serious problems to solve, and most of us stopped the name-calling, I think, about fifth grade.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DICKERSON: Scott Pelley's interview with the Democratic ticket will air at 7:00 p.m. on tonight's "60 Minutes."

On Friday, we sat down with the man Hillary Clinton hopes to replace and talked about Donald Trump, race in America, and the skills either candidate will need to be an effective president.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DICKERSON: Mr. President, when Donald Trump spoke to his convention, he talked about the security threat. He talked -- he painted a very dark picture. Now there's been a terrorist attack in Germany.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right.

DICKERSON: Doesn't that suggest he's right about the darkness?

OBAMA: No, it doesn't.

Terrorism is a real threat. And nobody knows that better than me. I have been spending most of my days over the last seven-and-a- half years coordinating our intelligence, our military, our diplomatic efforts to crush organizations like al Qaeda and now ISIL.

It is going to be an ongoing threat for some time. But what we have been able to do, I think, is to build coalitions with other countries to make sure that, rather than have 180,000 troops overseas fighting a non-state actor, that we have got special forces and intelligence assets and local partners, and ISIL is being defeated in Syria and Iraq.

But we're going to have circumstances in which small cells, individuals are going to be able to do some harm to innocent people. And we have got to do everything we can to prevent it.

One of the best ways of preventing it is making sure that we don't divide our own country, that we don't succumb to fear, that we don't sacrifice our values, and that we send a very strong signal to the world and to every American citizen that we're in this together.

DICKERSON: Explain how we would sacrifice our values specifically by being divided. OBAMA: Well, look, if we start engaging in the kinds of proposals that we have heard from Mr. Trump or some of his surrogates, like Mr. Gingrich, where we start suggesting that we would apply religious tests to who could come in here, that we are screening Muslim-Americans differently than we would others, then we are betraying that very thing that makes America exceptional and that, by the way, has helped to insulate us from some of the worst, you know, patterns of terrorist attacks, because the Muslim-American here -- community here feels deeply American and deeply committed to upholding the rule of law and working with law enforcement and rejecting intolerance and extremism that's represented by the perversions of Islam that ISIL is sending out to the Internet or carrying out in the Middle East.

But that requires leaders, political leaders, religious leaders, business leaders, all of us, to send a very clear signal that we are not going to be divided in that fashion. And I think the kinds of rhetoric that we have heard too often from Mr. Trump and others is ultimately helping to do ISIL's work for us.

DICKERSON: He was the chief birther in America, questioning whether you -- what is it -- what's your reaction to fact that he's the nominee of the Republican Party?

OBAMA: Well, I think it says something about what's happened to the Republican Party over the course of the last eight, 10, 15 years.

If you think about what a Bob Dole or a Jim Baker or a Howard Baker or a Dick Lugar or a Colin Powell stood for, now, they were conservative. They were concerned about limited government and balancing budgets and making sure we had a strong defense, but they also understood that our system of government requires compromise, that Democrats weren't the enemy, that the way our government works requires us to listen to each other.

And that's not the kind of politics that we have seen practiced, I think, all too often.

DICKERSON: Do you think the majority of the American people feel safe, that the world is safer after...

OBAMA: Well, I think, right now, we have gone through a really tough month, and that happens sometimes.

We have had a terrorist attack in Orlando, although it does not appear externally motivated, but a deranged man killing scores of people. You have had the tragedies that happened in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, police officers targeted both in Dallas and Baton Rouge, and the senseless violence that took place in Nice.

And if that's what you're consuming, that's what you're seeing on a day-to-day basis for the last month, I think it's understandable that people are concerned.

What I think is important for leaders to do is to let the American people know they are right to be concerned. We have got to make sure that our police officers are protected in a very tough job, that our criminal justice system operates the way it should and without bias, that we're doing everything we can to go after terrorists.

But it's also important for the American people to remember that our crime rate in this country is much lower than it was in the '80s or the '90s or when I first took office, that immigration rates are substantially lower than they were when Ronald Reagan was president, that, as serious as these terrorist attacks are, the fact of the matter is, is that the American people are significantly more safe now than they were before all the work that we have done since 9/11.

And so maintaining that perspective, I think, is absolutely critical, and trying to fan fears simply to score political points, I think, is not in the best interests of the American people.

DICKERSON: You had a very strong reaction to Donald Trump's criticism of you for not using the phrase radical Islam.

But, in 2008, when you were a candidate for president, you did use the term radical Islam. Why did you stop?

OBAMA: You know, this is an interesting example of where something that shouldn't be an issue gets magnified.

The fact of the matter is, is that I have never been politically -- or particularly concerned with the phrase. What I have been more concerned about is, how do we stop violent extremists from killing us?

The reason that I haven't used the particular phrase "radical Islam" on a regular basis is because, in talking to Muslim allies, in talking to the Muslim-American community here, that was being heard as if we were ascribing to crazy groups like ISIL or al Qaeda the mantle of Islam.

And since we need them as allies, I think it's useful for us to listen to how the president of the United States' words and messages are being received, because, if we're going to defeat those organizations, we need help from the billion-plus Muslims in this world, so that they can help root out this perversion of Islam that's taking place.

DICKERSON: Speaking of allies, Donald Trump had a response and a view about NATO. He said, if one the Baltic nations were attacked, that he might not defend unless they were paying their dues.

Now, you have talked about free-riders...

OBAMA: Yes.

DICKERSON: ... countries that rely on U.S. defense without pulling their share.

So, why aren't those similar thoughts, if not playing out a little differently, but it's the same thought? OBAMA: Well, I think that anybody who has been paying attention knows there is a big difference between challenging our European allies to keep up their defense spending, particularly at a time when Russia has been more aggressive, and saying to them, you know what, we might not abide by the central tenet of the most important alliance in the history of the world, one that was built by Democrats and Republicans and has been a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy since the end of World War II.

And for Mr. Trump, who has in the past suggested that America is weak and not looking out for its allies, to then maybe not have enough information or understanding, to go out and say that America might not stand by its solemn commitment to protect those same allies who stood with us after 9/11 when we were attacked, I think, is an indication of the lack of preparedness that he's been displaying when it comes to foreign policy.

DICKERSON: Switching topics to talk about race in America, you wrote a book about race and identity in America.

If you were a young man now growing up in America, how would that book be different?

OBAMA: Well, you know, it's a great question.

In some ways, I'm able to see it through the eyes of my daughters. Now, obviously, they have got a unique circumstance, having grown up in the White House. So, they're in no way typical of black kids or Latino kids, or other ethnic minorities around the country.

But, in some ways, I would be more optimistic. I look at the way in which my daughters take for granted their right to aspire to anything. And I think about the way, in their interactions with their white friends, they have a common culture and a common language and common perspectives that were far more segregated even when I was growing up, and that wasn't that long ago.

So, in a lot of ways, I would feel more hopeful. Ironically, I think precisely because things have gotten better, what I have heard from younger African-Americans is more shock about the images and the videos from Minnesota or Baton Rouge.

And what I have had to say to them is that, you know, these issues are not new. They have been there and come up periodically for quite some time. What's new is smartphones and videos. And this actually gives us a greater opportunity to try to tackle these problems.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DICKERSON: President Obama discusses his relationship with Hillary Clinton when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DICKERSON: I want to talk to you about the skills that it takes to be president.

OBAMA: Yes.

DICKERSON: In about 72 hours recently, you had to grieve in Dallas with the families of the five police officers, you had to monitor a terrorist attack in Nice, you also had to monitor a coup attempt and then what people are calling a purge in Turkey.

Given that that's what a president has to deal with, what attributes should we be looking for in the candidates who are running for president to handle those kinds of days?

OBAMA: Well, let's start off with the fact that I'm biased.

DICKERSON: Sure.

OBAMA: Right?

DICKERSON: But you're a man of reason. So, you will be able to make the case...

(CROSSTALK)

OBAMA: So, I think I will try to be as objective as I can.

And I have thought about this. You know, the first thing I think the American people should be looking for is somebody that can build a team and create a culture that knows how to organize and move the ball down the field.

And the reason for that is, because no matter how good you are as president, you are overseeing two million people and a trillion dollar-plus budget, and the largest organization on Earth. And you can't do it all by yourself. And so you are reliant on really talented, hardworking, skilled people, and making sure they're all moving in the same direction, and doing it without drama, and not worrying as much about who is getting credit, and creating all those good habits inside of an organization that I think are critical.

The second thing I think a president needs is a sense of discipline, personal discipline, in terms of doing your homework and knowing your subject matter, and being able to stay focused, helping to make sure that the team in the White House is disciplined, because you are responding constantly to unexpected events. And you have got to be able to just work those through in rapid, effective fashion, but also not lose track of your overall goals.

The third is, you need vision about where you want to take the country, and you have got to know ahead of time enough about the economy and foreign policy and American history and, you know, our system of government, so that, when you stake out a vision that we need more economic equality in this country, you're just not making assertions. You're actually able to drive policy forward to achieve the vision.

And then the final thing is, you have to really care about the American people, not in the abstract, not as boilerplate, but you have to really every single day want to do your best for them, because, if you don't have that sense grounding you, you will be buffeted and blown back and forth by polls and interest groups and voices whispering in your heads, and you will lose your center of gravity. You will lose your moral compass.

But if you really are here because, man, that -- I want the make sure that woman who is working really hard is getting paid a decent wage, I rally want that family with a sick kid to make sure they're not losing their home, then, even when things go bad -- and there are going to be times in this job where things go bad -- you have a frame of reference. You know why you're doing it.

And that means also that you can push through and do some things that may not be politically popular initially.

DICKERSON: In 2008, a lot of your supporters said, look at the way he ran his campaign. If he runs the presidency like his campaign, he's going to be in good shape.

Why isn't that true for Donald Trump, who has run a pretty remarkable campaign, beating 16 other politicians?

OBAMA: Well, in 2008, I don't think they were referring merely to the fact that I had won.

I think they were referring to the fact that we built a really good team. We were really well-organized. We were -- we had a great culture that -- that there was no whiff of scandal to how we approached getting elected. We told the truth.

So, there were a bunch of things that hopefully showed the kind of White House I would run. And I think we have been pretty consistent in doing that.

I do think that the body of work of a person matters. And I would say that -- and I have said this before -- I will say again, since you opened this line of questioning -- I generally believe that there has never been a candidate better prepared for the presidency than Hillary Clinton.

DICKERSON: Not Eisenhower, not George Herbert Walker Bush? Those were pretty...

OBAMA: Well, I said more prepared. I didn't say that they were, you know, chopped liver.

I mean, you know, heading up the Allied forces is pretty good training for the presidency. And I'm huge admirers of both Eisenhower and Herbert Walker Bush. In fact, I think that George H.W. Bush is one of the most underrated presidents we have had. I think he was and is a really good man. But the skill sets that Hillary has are similar to many of the skill sets that they had, experience in government, experience in working with a wide range of people, solving big, difficult problems, familiarity with the world.

You know, the truth is, is that Hillary and I have become friends, but we're not bosom buddies. We don't go vacationing together. I think that I have got a pretty clear-eyed sense of both her strengths and her weaknesses.

And what I would say would be that this is somebody who knows as much about domestic and foreign policy as anybody, is tough as nails, is motivated by what's best for America and ordinary people, understands that, in this democracy that we have, things don't always happen as fast as we'd like, and it requires compromise and grinding it out.

She's not always flashy, and there are better speechmakers, but she knows her stuff. And more than anything, that is what is ultimately required to do a good job in this office.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DICKERSON: We will have more of our interview in our next half- hour.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DICKERSON: And be sure the tune into CBS News at 10:00 p.m. Eastern starting tomorrow night for our coverage of the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia.

And you can watch extended coverage on our digital network, CBSN, at CBSNews.com.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DICKERSON: Some of our CBS stations are leaving us now, but, for most of you, we will be back with more of our conversation with the president.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION.

We continue our conversation with President Obama, picking up where we left off, talking about Hillary Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DICKERSON: You built a team at the beginning. And you were really clear about transparency. OBAMA: Yes.

DICKERSON: You were going to change the White House and the...

OBAMA: Yes.

DICKERSON: -- to be transparent...

OBAMA: Right.

DICKERSON: -- to send a message to the country, who felt let down by people.

OBAMA: Right.

DICKERSON: She set up an email server that was neither in the spirt or the letter of that transparency. That's no small thing based on what you told everybody about transparency at the beginning?

OBAMA: Right. And I -- and I think that she would acknowledge she made a mistake. But what I also think is true is is that if you've been in the public eye for decades at the highest levels of scrutiny, folks are going to find some mistakes you make. I've made mistakes. I don't know any president or public official at her level who aren't going to look back and say I should have done something like that differently.

But what I would also say is that the consistency with which she has devoted her life to trying to make sure that kids get health care and a good education, and that, you know, families are getting a fair break if they're working hard and that America upholds its best traditions of foreign policy, on the big stuff, she's gotten it right.

DICKERSON: But if you make mistakes, you've got to admit them quick and be -- come clean.

OBAMA: Well...

DICKERSON: You -- you said that about the -- your -- the Reverend Wright. You gave -- you said afterwards, you said, you know what, we learned, you've got to get this done and you've got to...

OBAMA: Yes. Ultimately, government is a human enterprise. You know, none of us are perfect. And this job, by definition, leader of the free world, the president of the United States of America, the -- the most powerful country and wealthiest country and most influential country in the history of the world, it's a big job. And it -- it has gotten more and more complicated and the speed and the pace at which you're moving is different.

And if you think about now that we know our history, about the errors of even our greatest presidents, of FDR or JFK or Ronald Reagan or Harry Truman, then what you realize is that ultimately, each of us who occupy this office, including me, are going to, in some ways, in some areas, fall short of the ideal. And I promise you, if you occupy this job long enough, you're -- you're acutely aware of it. You're -- you're painfully aware. And there aren't -- there isn't a day where I don't say to myself I wish I could have done this just a little better. I -- I wish I could explain to the American people this issue just a -- a little bit more effectively. I wish that I had some perfect scheme that could bring about an end to the -- the crisis of Syria quicker so that -- be -- because I'm seeing the consequences of events that are unfolding all around the world.

But what keeps you going is the fact that you're doing your best, that you -- you are re--- you have put together a team of people that could not be working harder or be smarter or more effective and what you also know is is that, at the end of the day, our democracy works because it's not reliant just on one person, but it's a -- it's a process of self-government where we're all involved in making things a little bit better.

DICKERSON: FDR and Lincoln were both talented at letting both sides of an issue think that they agreed with both of them.

(LAUGHTER)

DICKERSON: Is honesty overrated as a presidential quality?

OBAMA: It's interesting. I actually think that honesty is not overrated. I think it is absolutely necessary, because the trust you have with the American people is a currency that can get depleted and it's hard to build back up.

What I also believe, though, is that the issues we deal with are so complicated and trying to move all the pieces together to -- to move this huge ocean liner that is the U.S. government means that sometimes holding your tongue, sometimes letting things play themselves out, knowing not just when to act, but also to -- when to hold back and -- and see how things are playing out so that you can pick and choose the time to do what needs to be done, because the moment may not be right yet.

You know, those -- those things, I think, are a matter of feel. You know, Lincoln and FDR were masters at it. You know, I'm not in -- in their league, but hopefully, after seven and a half years, I've gotten a little better at it.

DICKERSON: What's the one piece of advice that you're predecessor gave you that worked, that was really useful?

OBAMA: Well, first of all, George W. Bush, despite, you know, obviously, very different political philosophies, is a -- is a really good man and -- and has been very gracious to me, and Laura has been gracious to Michelle and the whole family has been terrific.

Probably two useful pieces of -- of advice.

The first piece of advice was trust yourself. And know that ultimately, regardless of the day to day news cycles and the noise, that the American people need their president to succeed, regardless of political party, which I thought was very generous of him.

The second piece of advice is always use Purell hand sanitizer, because if you don't, you're going to get a lot of -- a lot of colds, because you're shocking a lot of hands.

DICKERSON: And news you can use.

OBAMA: Absolutely.

DICKERSON: Thanks, Mr. President.

OBAMA: Thanks. I enjoyed it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DICKERSON: We also visited the Oval Office while we were at the White House Friday. That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: During our visit to the Oval Office, the president gave us his thoughts about leaving office.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DICKERSON: So you're ready to -- you're ready to go when it's time.

OBAMA: Yes. I -- you know, one of the things that I've -- I've come to realize is the wisdom of George Washington and the founders that, you know, for the health of our democracy, having some turnover, having some fresh legs come in, having -- are really important.

I feel as if I'm a better president than I've ever been, that the experience has made me sharper, clearer about how to get stuff done. My team is operating at a -- a peak level and, you know, we -- we're really proud of what we're going to do and we're going to run through the tape, but I also think it's really important for self-governance and democracy that we go through this -- this process and I'm able to turn over the keys.

DICKERSON: Do you walk in here and think like, OK, another day is gone off the calendar, the days are dwindling...

OBAMA: Yes.

DICKERSON: -- that we've got to -- we've got to move fast, because time is passing?

OBAMA: There is a strong sense of urgency and I have no doubt that on the last day, as I'm, you know, leaving this office for the final time, that there's going to be some melancholy and nostalgia, particularly about the people that I've -- I've worked with here.

But frankly, on a day to day basis, you're so busy you don't have a lot of time for that kind of reflection. I think that comes after you're -- you're gone.

DICKERSON: On the last day, what are you going to do?

Are you going to go look at the Remington?

Are you going to look at the hopper?

What are you going to -- what, for you, in this room, is -- "The Emancipation Proclamation" is no longer here...

OBAMA: Yes, that's not -- that's not here any longer. I will tell you that I'll probably look at the carpet, because I still remember, it took us a couple of years to actually get the thing in. We didn't want to remodel in the middle of a recession, even though that's the tradition.

But I still remember thinking about those quotes that we were quoting from Teddy Roosevelt and JFK and Martin Luther King and -- you know, I'll probably wonder whether -- whether I did everything I could to stay true to those quotes. And, hopefully, I'll be able to say yes.

DICKERSON: Do you feel that's true?

In the Martin Luther King quote, which you -- I believe was in your acceptance speech on election night...

OBAMA: Yes.

DICKERSON: -- in Chicago.

OBAMA: Yes.

DICKERSON: Is that quote true?

OBAMA: Yes.

DICKERSON: (INAUDIBLE) even remind...

OBAMA: Yes.

DICKERSON: -- people what that quote is.

OBAMA: Well, the -- that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. And I believe that it does.

One of the things I always tell my staff is that, you know, we're here for such a short time in history. And we never are going to get done everything we believe should get done. In that sense, we're relay runners. And we do our part. We run a good race.

But even during this eight year period, this eight year stretch, which, in human history, is the blink of an eye, 20 million people have health insurance that don't -- that didn't have it before. And same-sex couples can get married in all 50 states. You know, families who saw their loved ones struck down on 9/11 know that justice was delivered to bin Laden. Companies and families are a little more financially secure because we didn't go into a great re--- a depression.

And, you know, the accumulation of work that we've done moved the needle. It didn't revolutionize the country, but it bent that arc. And, you know, my job is to make sure that when I leave this place, America is a little bit better off and it will be up to the next person to continue that process and I'll have a role to play as citizen in making sure that that arc keeps bending toward justice, because it doesn't do it on its own.

DICKERSON: And we'll be right back with our political panel.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: For some political analysis, Jamelle Bouie is the chief political correspondent for "Slate" magazine. He's also a CBS News political analyst. Ramesh Ponnuru is the senior editor of "The National Review." Nancy Cordes covers the Democrats for us here at CBS. And Ron Brownstein is an editorial director at Atlantic Media.

Our new Battleground Tracker Poll shows a 2 point bounce for Donald Trump in the 11 battleground states following his Cleveland. The change comes almost entirely from a handful of those Republican voters who went in the convention as a -- into the convention as undecided, not from a conversion of voters who were previously with Clinton.

Clinton's support remains the same, despite so much of the convention's focus on her.

Ron, I want to start with you. What did Donald Trump get out of his convention? Who did he pick up? Who did he appeal to...

RON BROWNSTEIN, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, ATLANTIC MEDIA: I think those results make a lot of sense to those of us who were there. I think what they did best at the convention was burnish the image of him as a strong leader who gets things done. I think that was pretty effective over the course of the week.

But the tone and the message was ominous. It was confrontational. It was divisive.

If you look at pollage on this, actually, what -- what -- what he was talking about in that final speech, kind of the echo of Richard Nixon's sirens in the night, pretty much reflects the view of Trump voters, who are more likely to fear they are going to be the victims of violent crime or terrorism, more likely to say America was better 50 years ago.

But if you were a moderate, suburban, white collar, white voter who are worried that Donald Trump was too divisive going in, there was nothing in that that made you less worried and probably things that made you more worried. And if you look at polling today, the most conspicuous weakness for Donald Trump is that he is significantly underperforming relative to earlier Republicans among college-educated white suburban voters, the kind of voters, by the way, that Tim Kaine is most precisely aimed at.

DICKERSON: Nancy, there was a lot of talk of Hillary Clinton at this convention and there were a lot of attacks.

Was there a central theme that emerged or was it just a blast of anti-Clinton?

NANCY CORDES, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I think the central theme was that she's a criminal. I mean this is what you heard again and again from the stage.

(CROSSTALK)

DICKERSON: -- "Lock her up!" yes.

CORDES: I heard as many chants of "Lock her up!" as I heard of "USA! USA!" I mean that was clearly what got a huge response in the room.

The question, as Ron points out, is does that get a huge response?

You could see it going either way. You could see those Independent white suburban voters saying, you know, that goes too far. This woman has not been indicted of anything. And you could see others, you know, hearing that message over and over again and having it feed into a view that many people already have that perhaps she's not as honest as she could be. And that may burnish the case.

RAMESH PONNURU, SENIOR EDITOR, "THE NATIONAL REVIEW": The -- The Quicken Loans Arena did sometimes have the feel of a coliseum a little bit more...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

PONNURU: -- than an arena.

The thing that strikes me is, you know, people talk about how pessimistic Trump's speech was. But he's personally, of course, very optimistic. And it was not the speech of somebody who thinks he's an underdog. It was the speech of somebody who thinks he's structurally ahead.

There was no attempt to pivot, to moderate, to expand the message, to bring in new people. It was just an amplification of the existing message.

They think they're winning this thing.

Now the polls, I think, don't suggest that. If you are 1 point up after your convention... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

PONNURU: -- and before the other party's convention, I think that means that structurally, you're behind.

But evidently, they don't.

DICKERSON: Did we learn anything new, Jamelle, about Donald Trump?

JAMELLE BOUIE, CBS NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think we learned much of anything new. I -- I do think we got a bit of clarification about what is driving at least a good chunk of Trump's support.

The thing that struck me over the course of the convention, especially on Monday night and on Thursday night, were the extremely heated denunciations of illegal immigrants, of, you know, radical Islam, and the extent to which those messages are the ones that got people excited. People were not excited about a new policy proposal. People were not excited about when, you know, during his speech, Trump mentioned trying to help people in the inner cities. That didn't get very much applause.

But we don't want them here got, you know, people stomped the floor.

And so I think if anything, it -- this convention has, for me, at least, clarified that what we are looking at is a -- an ethno- nationalist movement. It is -- it is a campaign explicitly centered on the idea that certain categories of people that you can identify by sight are threatening to Americans.

BROWNSTEIN: You know, I -- I was on CNN yesterday with a Trump supporter who, you know, complained about Tim Kaine talking in Spanish and said I didn't need a translator for anything...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

BROWNSTEIN: -- at the Republican Convention.

And then Ann Coulter Tweeted this morning, "Interesting to hear Fareed Zakaria with his heavy Indian accent talk about what we Americans should be doing."

You know, in polling in June, 77 percent of Trump's supporters in the PRRI Poll at Brookings said they are bothered when they hear immigrants talking in other languages than English.

I agree. I think, you know, it was striking to me that the section on trade was greeted with almost silence...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

BROWNSTEIN: -- in his acceptance speech. And what was really more -- what you've got, really, I think, here is an -- is an election that's going to divide the country along cultural lines between a coalition of transformation, which is the Democratic coalition, essentially diverse America and the portions of white America who are most comfortable with that. They tend to be urban, they tend to be younger, they tend to be secular, and a coalition of restoration, where Trump is running really well, is in non-urban areas with blue collar white America, who are more deeply religious, who, in a lot of different ways, feel that the country is evolving away from what they believe the core of America is.

And that, I think, more than income, is going to be the lines that we're going to see in this election.

CORDES: And by the way, there are a lot of Republican leaders who -- who don't agree with the approach...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, right.

CORDES: -- that you've just outlined. And that's why you heard so much Hillary Clinton talk from the podium, because they couldn't really get behind that message that Donald Trump is putting out there. So they had to talk instead about her.

DICKERSON: And it was extraordinary to hear Mitch McConnell, the Senate leader, who delivered the Senate to Republicans, be booed and Paul Ryan, when he mentioned that he'd been vice president in 2012, it was very tepid applause...

CORDES: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

DICKERSON: -- to that. And Trump never mentioned that he was going to work with a con -- Congress.

Ramesh, Ted Cruz. He came on stage, he said vote your conscience. He was booed off the stage.

What's -- now that this is sorted out a few days, where are -- what did the -- did this matter?

Is this just about Ted Cruz?

Does this have any larger point about unity?

PONNURU: Well, I think it does matter. It certainly matters for the future of Senator Cruz, who -- who, I should note, is an old friend of mine.

But I think it also matters for the Trump campaign. And it's not so much that Senator Cruz made a blow against Republican unity, although he did. It's that Trump has compounded that blow by continuing to obsess about it.

He has an -- he has said more remarkable things about Ted Cruz in -- in attack on him than about Hillary Clinton since his convention. And the -- that's really an amazing thing. It is -- he is broadcasting his lack of self-control and his pettiness in a way that is unusual for a major party nominee.

(CROSSTALK)

DICKERSON: And Jamelle, let's act -- we should switch to the Democrats or we're going to run out of...

(CROSSTALK)

DICKERSON: -- so Tim Kaine is picked. Counter-programming yesterday to the Republican Convention, wasn't it?

BOUIE: Right, not just in terms of sort of Tim Kaine is a, you know, very -- the best you can say is he's a very professional kind of guy, right, very down the line, very -- no surprises with Tim Kaine. But, also, his -- his sort of coming out speech was very positive and very optimistic and very much sort of a statement, I think, of purpose from the Clinton campaign that we are going to run a campaign focused on unity, focused on sort of showcasing the best of the country and not trying to scare people.

I will say that there was some unhappiness on the left with the Kaine choice, in part because of Kaine's stance on abortion. He's personally anti-abortion, as governor of Virginia, supported some minor measures that were favored by pro-life Virginians, but otherwise is a -- is a pro-choice politician. And he would...

CORDES: And the -- the Clinton campaign pushed back at that immediately...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

CORDES: -- because they knew that that was going to be the criticism in this so they said -- they put out basically his report card from all of these progressive groups like Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign saying look, he's got 100 percent voting record with these people.

I think the biggest news to come out of that speech yesterday was that Tim Kaine is not boring. He did a masterful job of lowering expectations but that was one of the strongest speeches that we have seen...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

CORDES: -- on the campaign trail and I think, you know, he's got this smile on his face all the time. That's sort of what he's known for in the Senate. He's a pretty upbeat guy. And it kind of lent...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know...

CORDES: -- an air of sunniness to a campaign that has...

(CROSSTALK)

CORDES: -- really been missing it.

BROWNSTEIN: If you're a Sanders supporter, it's been like a -- a Bernie Sanders supporter, hard core, it's been a tough 72 hours. I mean Kaine is probably closer to the DLC side. The WikiLeaks showing the Democratic National Committee moving, you know, in -- in -- it probably didn't matter that much, but it was kind of awkward and -- and inappropriate.

But Kaine himself, I thought, did a very good job in two respects.

First, he human -- I think (INAUDIBLE) has helped very well, talking about his son in the military. I have a son in the military. I can, you know, say how, you know, unspeakably proud you are. And I thought that really, you know, brought -- brought that out.

But even more, I thought, he braided his personal story into the reality of the modern Democratic...

(CROSSTALK)

BROWNSTEIN: He tied himself to the civil rights movement, with -- with -- with his wife's role in if integrating Virginia's schools, tied himself to the Hispanic community by speaking in Spanish.

And a last point. He is urban. He is the first relatively big city mayor on a national ticket since 1968. And he is a candidate who, in 2012, right, even better than Obama, in the big suburban areas of Virginia, that is the future of the Democratic Party and that is what he represents.

DICKERSON: Ramesh, they're trying to make this a non-change ticket, the Republicans are. Donald Trump is saying...

PONNURU: Right.

DICKERSON: -- yes, well these are two politicians.

PONNURU: Yes. That's right. The Republicans want it to be a referendum on the status quo. And I think the Democrats want it to be a referendum on burn it down. And a -- and people may not like the status quo, but maybe they'll be even more against burning it down.

And I think that selecting Kaine, who, you know, Hillary Clinton was asked about his reputation as being boring and she said that's one of the things I love about him.

And I think that's a revealing remark, because you want a safe, steady pair of hands if the campaign you're running is going to be about the recklessness, impulsiveness and unfitness for office of your opponent.

BOUIE: I would add one more thing about Kaine, and this is a point of contrast because per -- particularly with Donald Trump. You know, Kaine's first sort of big thing in his career was fighting housing discrimination. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

BOUIE: He won one of the largest settlements against redlining in American history.

And this comes as Donald Trump's first appearance on the national scene, at least in the major newspapers, was as a defendant in a housing discrimination suit, being sued for blocking black tenants from his buildings.

And so I think here you see a sly kind of not just setting up a dispositional and temperamental contrast, but sort of very much this is what we have stood for and this is what he has stood for kind of contrast.

DICKERSON: All right, we're going to have to leave it there.

Thanks to all of you.

We'll figure out what's happening after the Democratic Convention happens.

We'll be back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: That's it for us today.

Thanks for watching.

Be sure to tune in tonight at 6:00 p.m. for a special hour long edition of "The Evening News" from the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia.

Then at 7:00 p.m., Scott Pelley sits down with the Democratic candidates on "60 Minutes."

Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I'm John Dickerson.