"Face the Nation" transcripts, July 29, 2012: Mitt Romney, Rep. Wasserman Schultz, Rodney Erickson


(CBS News) Below is a rush transcript of "Face the Nation" on July 29, 2012, hosted by CBS News Bob Schieffer. Guests include: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Penn State President Rodney Erickson, and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on FACE THE NATION, did Romney give Israel the green light to bomb Iran?

MITT ROMNEY: I look forward to chatting with you about further actions that we can take to dissuade Iran from their nuclear folly.

BOB SCHIEFFER: As Romney was talking tough about Iran in Jerusalem this morning, back home Newsweek was accusing him of being a wimp, in an issue that includes a surprising assessment of his foreign policy credentials from his fellow Republican John McCain. Our Jan Crawford is with Romney and will ask him about all of it. Democratic Party Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz will offer her party's side.

We'll also talk about the scandal at Penn State and the harsh sanctions imposed by the NCAA. I'll talk about that with Penn State's President Rodney Erickson who's catching it from both sides.

RODNEY ERICKSON: I was faced with a very, very difficult choice.

BOB SCHIEFFER: We'll explore what the scandal means for college sports across the country with Sara Ganim, a CNN contributor and Patriot-News reporter, who won the Pulitzer for breaking the story; Bill Rhoden of the New York Times; Buzz Bissinger who wrote Friday Night Lights; and our own James Brown and Jim Rome of CBS Sports.

We'll close with a rare interview with former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, long retired from the court, but still making a difference.


ANNOUNCER: From CBS News in Washington, FACE THE NATION with Bob Schieffer.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And good morning, again.

Well, after a visit to London that got him a lot of unwanted publicity in the British tabloids, Mitt Romney is in Jerusalem this morning, conferring with top Israeli officials and reaffirming the bond between United States and Israel. But when a top Romney foreign policy adviser Dan Senor told reporters there this morning, "If Israel has to take action on its own to prevent Iran from being able to make the materials that could be used in a bomb, we would respect that decision." Well, that has set off new questions. Has Romney given Israel the go-ahead to bomb Iran? Our Jan Crawford just talked to Governor Romney this morning. Here's her interview.

JAN CRAWFORD: Well, Governor, one of your aides said this morning that you would respect Israel's decision to take military action against Iran on its own. Does that mean you're giving the green light to Israel to bomb Iran?

MITT ROMNEY: Let me-- I'll use my own words, and-- and that is I respect the right of Israel to defend itself, and-- and we stand with-- with Israel. We're a-- a nation-- two nations that come together in-- in peace and that want to see Iran being dissuaded from its nuclear folly, so let me use my own words in that regard.

JAN CRAWFORD: But what does that mean to you, then, that you respect their decision? I mean can you explain that a little more?

MITT ROMNEY: Well, I think-- because I'm on foreign soil, I don't want to be creating new foreign policy for-- for my country or in any way to distance myself in the foreign policy of-- of our nation, but we respect the right of a nation to defend itself.

JAN CRAWFORD: But would you or would you not then support Israel's bombing of Iran?

MITT ROMNEY: Well, again, that would be a-- a statement which would be a-- of a different nature than what our nation has already expressed with regards to Iran. What we have said and-- and-- and with which I concur is that we should use every diplomatic and political vehicle that's available to us to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear capability state. Those actions should be executed with-- with the-- the greatest speed that we can-- that we can muster. If all those options fail and they've not all been executed, they've not all failed entirely at this stage, if all those option fail-- options fail, then we do have other options and we don't take those other options off the table. But that's as far as I'm-- I'm willing to go in-- in terms of discussing this matter while on foreign soil.

JAN CRAWFORD: Well, do you think the time for those diplomatic solutions is-- is running out or drawing to a close?

MITT ROMNEY: Well, there's no question, but when I spoke-- spoke at the Herzliya Conference five years ago and laid out the seven steps that I thought were necessary to dissuade Iran from their nuclear folly, that-- since that time not all of those steps have been put in place. And-- and we're five years closer. We're five years closer to a nuclear Iran. They have not--

JAN CRAWFORD (overlapping): Why is that?

MITT ROMNEY: --they have not-- they have not slowed their-- their process, all indications are they continue to-- to amass enriched material that ultimately would allow them to-- to have a-- a nuclear bomb, that is-- that is something which is dangerous to the world. It's a national security threat to America. And it-- it threatens the very existence of Israel.

JAN CRAWFORD: So you think that-- I mean, it's-- so, Iran is a much more dangerous threat now than it was four or five years ago? Why is that?

MITT ROMNEY: Well, Iran has-- has put in more centrifuges. It has now been able to enrich more uranium. It has more, therefore, capacity to build at-- at some point a-- a nuclear weapon. It's not there at this stage. They have further enrichment required, but they've had five years of enriching, and five years of construction--

JAN CRAWFORD (overlapping): And is that a--

MITT ROMNEY: --and five-- and five years with which to work on if they-- if they choose and if they have chosen, either missile capacity or bomb-making capacity, in addition to the enriched material. So, they're five years closer than they were when I spoke at Herzliya five years ago.

JAN CRAWFORD: And do you think that reflects a failure of the world's leaders who address some of these problems?

MITT ROMNEY: I-- I-- I would have hoped that the-- the posture I described in Herzliya five years ago would have been more fully implemented over the-- the previous five years and-- and think that-- had that been the case, we would-- we would not be as-- as close to nuclearization as we are today.