Watch CBS News

Face the Nation Transcripts June 14, 2015: Sanders, Graham, Mook

JOHN DICKERSON, HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: Hillary Clinton shifts her campaign into a higher gear, and Barack Obama takes a hit from Democrats on his trade bill.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I may not be the youngest candidate in this race. But I will be the youngest woman president in the history of the United States.



DICKERSON: Hillary Clinton promises she will make history, and she will do it by taking on billionaires and corporation. We will talk to her campaign manager and to one of her top rivals, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Then, the president made all-out push to pass a trade bill this week, but it was blocked by his own party. On the Republican side, South Carolina Lindsey Graham will join us to talk about his presidential campaign and the president's new plan to fight ISIS. Our reporters roundtable will wrap up the week in politics and preview Jeb Bush's official campaign launch Monday.

Finally, we will take look at this year's notable commencement speeches.

It's all coming up on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning. I'm John Dickerson. Welcome to FACE THE NATION.

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton was joined by her husband and family at a campaign rally in New York City. But on the campaign trail, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is drawing voters out of the woodwork in the Democratic contest. What is he saying that's so interesting? We are going to ask Senator Sanders, who joins us from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Senator, welcome.

I want to start with those big crowds you're getting. Any candidate would love those. But when I talk to Democratic strategists, they're pouring cold water on it. They say people aren't showing up because they think you can be president.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think those Democratic strategists who will be supporting Secretary Clinton are dead wrong.

Look, John, the people of this country are profoundly disgusted with reality that for 40 years the middle class of this country has been disappearing, that 99 percent of all new income today goes to the top 1 percent, that the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns almost as much wealth as bottom 90 percent.

And what the American people want is an economy and a government that starts standing up for the working families of this country, and not just large campaign contributors and the billionaire class. And that is why we're drawing large crowds.

People want us to stand up, fight back. Enough is enough. And they want a new direction in this country.

DICKERSON: One issue that you have been standing up on, Senator, has been on the question of trade. And you and your side had bit of victory, beating back the president's effort to expand trade.

What the president and supporters of that trade bill in Asia and also the one they're talking about in Europe is that expanding trade helps certain American companies. It helps service industries. It opens new markets. You talk about workers that would lose their job from trade. They say this will open up markets that will increase jobs.

SANDERS: John, I have been hearing that argument for the last 25 years. I heard it about NAFTA. I heard it about CAFTA. I heard it about permanent normal trade relations with China.

Here is the fact. Since 2001 in this country, we have lost almost 60,000 factories and millions of good-paying jobs. I'm not saying trade is the only reason, but it is a significant reason why Americans are working longer hours for low wages and why we are seeing our jobs go to China and other low-wage countries.

And, finally, what you're seeing in Congress are Democrats and some Republicans beginning to stand up and say, you know what, maybe we should have a trade policy which represents the working families of this country, that rebuilds our manufacturing base, not than just representing the CEOs of large multinational corporations.

And let me say this, John. Corporate America and Wall Street are going to bring that bill back to the House next week. I would hope very much that Secretary Clinton will side with every union in this country, virtually every environmental group, many religious groups, and say that this TPP policy is a disaster, that it must be defeated, and that we need to regroup and come up with a trade policy which demands that corporate America start investing in this country, rather than in countries all over the world.

So, I look forward to working with the secretary on this issue.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about Secretary Clinton, Senator.

Her position is, we haven't seen what is in that bill yet. And, therefore, isn't it prudent to wait, not just have a hot opinion, but wait to see what's in the bill, and then she will make her determination? That's her view. What do you say?

SANDERS: Well, John, don't you think it's a little bit silly for members of Congress to be voting yes on a bill that they haven't seen.

That is one of many reasons to be voting against this piece of legislation. There is no question in my mind, and I think the minds of most Americans, that what our trade policy has been for many years is to allow corporate America to shut down plants in this country, move abroad, hire people at pennies an hour, and then bring their products back into the United States.

It's a failed trade policy. And I would hope that the secretary joins Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, and the vast majority of Democrats in the Congress in saying, no, we have got to defeat this piece of legislation.

DICKERSON: You're drawing a strong distinction there between your view and Secretary Clinton's view on the question of trade.

For voters trying to figure out this Democratic primary, what are other issues would you say are ones that you have that kind of strong distinction between your position and Secretary Clinton's position?

SANDERS: Well, I am listening closely, as a member of the Environmental Committee, to what scientists throughout this country and throughout the world are saying about climate change.

And what they us, it is real, it is caused by human activity. And we have got to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. That is what almost all scientists that study the issue are telling us.

I helped lead the effort in the Senate against the Keystone pipeline, because I think, if we're serious about reversing climate change, you don't excavate and transport -- transport some of the dirtiest fossil fuel in the world. Secretary Clinton has been very quiet on this issue.

I voted against the war in Iraq, and I think history will record that vote as the right vote, because it led to the incredible destabilization we're seeing right now. Secretary Clinton voted for the war. I voted against the USA Patriot Act, not because I don't think that terrorism is a serious threat to this country. It is. But I think we can combat terrorism without undermining the constitutional rights and the privacy rights of the American people.

Secretary Clinton voted for it. But I think bottom line is, the American people want leadership to take on the billionaire class, represent the middle class. I have been doing that for the last 25 years. People will have to judge the secretary's role in that process.

DICKERSON: I want to talk about the role of campaign donations in campaigns.

Hillary Clinton in her speech yesterday talked about the unaccountable money that is distorting elections. You're only taking small donations. She has a super PAC. Is that one of those distinctions voters -- is that a big distinction or little distinction between you two?

SANDERS: I think it is, John.

Look, let me be very clear. This disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision is undermining American democracy. And when you have a family like the Koch brothers, second wealthiest family in America, going to be spending more money in this campaign than either the Democratic or Republican parties, I worry about us moving toward oligarchy, where our political system is controlled by the rich and the powerful.

I am raising money from small individual contributions. has raised now -- some 200,000 people have sent in small contributions. I don't have a super PAC. I don't want money from the billionaires. And that's the way we're going to run our campaign.

DICKERSON: Senator, one last question. We have just very little time here. If the system is corrupt, does that also mean that the lawmakers who are accepting money are also corrupt?

SANDERS: It means that you have a campaign finance system which is absolutely corrupt.

Look, American democracy does not mean that billionaires should be able to buy elections and buy candidates. We have got to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. And, in my view, John, we have got to move public funding of elections.

DICKERSON: But no -- you're not saying your colleagues are corrupt? Just final point on that.

SANDERS: I'm saying that the system is corrupt.

DICKERSON: All right. Thanks.

SANDERS: But people who take this money obey the law. You know, they're not doing something illegal.

DICKERSON: All right. Excellent. Thank you very much, Senator.

Joining us now is South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who is in Clemson this morning.

Good morning, Senator.


DICKERSON: I want to talk to you about a report in "The Washington Post" that says some of the resistance to putting more U.S. troops in Iraq, which the president has done, is actually coming from military leaders. You want to put even more troops into Iraq than this president. If the military is against it, that doesn't seem to make sense.

GRAHAM: Well, what I want to do is degrade and destroy ISIL.

The president has got two good goals, push Assad out, because you will never fix Syria in the Mideast as long as he's in power -- he's slaughtered 200,000 people -- degrade and destroy ISIL. I'm dying to hear from our military leadership of how we degrade and destroy ISIL with the current strategy.

So, now would be a good time to call Ash Carter and our military leaders to the Capitol Hill and say, if you have got a problem with what we're doing, let me know, but tell me how this is working, because if our military leadership thinks that we're on a path to degrading and destroying ISIL, they need to be fired.

DICKERSON: You have suggested 10,000 more troops to act as advisers to the Iraqi army. You mentioned the secretary of defense, Ash Carter.

GRAHAM: Right.

DICKERSON: The secretary of defense, in some blunt remarks, said Iraqi army is not really up to the task.

This has been a repeated story, so why, if you add 10,000 advisers, are you not just sending good after bad here?

GRAHAM: Well, the surge did work.

In 2011, we had security in Iraq, political progress. If you don't believe me, listen to President Obama in 2012. General Keane is the guy I have been listening to, who was the architect of the surge. If you have 10,000 Americans train and advise and assist at the battalion level, it would help Iraqi army be tougher.

It you had a couple of aviation battalions of American attack helicopters, you would have a distinct advantage over ISIL in Syria, in Iraq. But you have to look at Syria and Iraq as one battle space. We're not doing the. We have no strategy to deal with the Iraqi safe havens in Syria. You cannot win this war from the air.

Obama will go before Assad will go. So, this whole policy toward degrading and destroying ISIL is miserable failure. And when Secretary Clinton said that this country was well-positioned to deal with the threats from ISIL, Iran, Russia, and China, she is absolutely delusional.

We're in a bad position against all the threats we face, because Barack Obama has been a weak and indecisive commander in chief. And she would be the third term of a failed presidency. We better do something different.

DICKERSON: You mentioned the surge. But the surge, there were troops there in addition to the advisers.

I want to ask you. In your announcement speech, you said that you would be president where -- you were speaking now to the military -- where their sacrifices would not be wasted.

GRAHAM: Right.


DICKERSON: Are you suggesting their sacrifices are being wasted now?

GRAHAM: Absolutely.

I'm suggesting that Barack Obama turned down sound military advice by not leaving 10,000 troops behind, as advised in 2011. And the Iraqis would have accepted those troops, that he's wasted all the gains that we fought so hard for.


GRAHAM: Excuse me. Iraq and al Qaeda had been defeated. They were on their knees. And his decision to withdraw completely from Iraq, and not help the Free Syrian Army three years ago, when we could, has led to what you see here today. And I said it then, not just now.

DICKERSON: And I apologize for jumping on you there.

GRAHAM: I'm sorry.

DICKERSON: But you're talking about their sacrifices would be wasted. That's not just gains. That means the lives of U.S. service men and women have been wasted. That's what you're saying?

GRAHAM: Nobody fighting for our country when ordered to do so has ever wasted their life.

I'm not talking about those who fought and died wasting their lives. I'm talking about the sacrifices to make our country stronger by dying to keep radical Islam at bay. That has all been lost. Iraq and al Qaeda was on their knees. ISIL is stronger than ever. Our homeland is at risk. Everything we fought for and gained in Iraq has been wasted by Barack Obama's decision to ignore sound military advice.

I will be a commander in chief on day one who takes the fight to ISIL to literally degrade and destroy it. And Assad will go. And it's going to take more American troops to accomplish that goal. But we're not well-positioned. If Hillary Clinton thinks we're well-positioned as a nation, she's disqualified herself to be commander in chief. We're in a terrible spot.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about Hillary Clinton. You served with her on the Armed Services Committee.


DICKERSON: Would you say right now that any Republican running would be a better -- in terms of foreign policy, than Hillary Clinton?

GRAHAM: Yes, except for Rand Paul.

She said that you have to suspend disbelief to believe that the surge would work when it was being proposed by General Petraeus. You would have to suspend disbelief to believe that America is well-positioned against Iran, against Syria, against ISIL, against -- against Russia, against China.

We're in terrible position. So, you would have to suspend disbelief to believe her statement, we're well-positioned. No, she would be beat by all of us, except Rand Paul.

DICKERSON: You were just out with former candidate Mitt Romney, who made some remarks about his campaign and the issue of immigration.


DICKERSON: He said that -- self-deportation, he talked about that. What role do you think that had in his race and how would you as a candidate talk about immigration differently?

GRAHAM: Mitt Romney and Ann Romney did our party a great service by admitting that embracing self-deportation in 2012 was their biggest mistake.

They have given us a chance in 2016 to win. You're not going to self- deport 11 million people. You're not going to be able to do that. I'm not going to be a Republican nominee wanting to try to do that. If you pass a criminal background check, I will allow to you stay here legally and earn your way to citizenship. It will be hard-earned pathway.

But I hope every candidate on the Republican side will follow Mitt Romney's lead and admit it was a mistake to embrace self-deportation. And I hope self-deportation is in our rear-view mirror as a party, because if it is not, we will lose in 2016.

DICKERSON: But is there any candidate out there who is advocating self-deportation at that moment?

GRAHAM: Well, you need to talk to them.

I'm the only candidate advocating a comprehensive approach that includes a long, hard-earned pathway to citizenship requiring to learn the English language, getting in the back of the line, so you don't cut in front of the line. People in my party, I don't know exactly where they are.

There are some people saying we need to limit legal immigration. To me, they're just looking in a different world than I am. We will be down to two workers for every retiree in the next 20 years. We're going to need more legal immigration. And I hope we will embrace a comprehensive approach that is realistic and humane.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about the world as they see it.

Jeb Bush was overseas this week. Scott Walker and Chris Christie have taken trips overseas. They say, as governors, they can make decisions and they can study and learn about the other stuff. What is it that they need to know that they can't just learn from these foreign trips?

GRAHAM: You get -- you need to go over there and meet the Sunnis and the Shias and the Kurds and their leaders. Then you will know you can never partition Iraq.

The Sunni Arab world is not going to give southern part of Iraq, where most of the oil is at, to the Iranians. If you get in on the ground, you will understand the complexities. You will get to know the people. I don't know what they have been doing for the last 10 years, but for the last 10 years, I have been busting my butt. I have been to Iraq and Afghanistan over 30 times learning from Bush's mistakes, my mistakes and Obama's mistakes.

And there's nobody better prepared to deal with the chaos in the Mideast and the world at large than Lindsey Graham. I'm ready to go on day one as commander in chief. And to the American people, we're not well-positioned to deal with these threats, but we could be.

DICKERSON: As we head out the door here, Senator Graham, one final question. You said, because you're not married, you might have rotating first lady. Have you gotten any offers on that front?


GRAHAM: Yes. Yes, we have.

But here is what I'm going to do as president. Raise my right hand, promise to defend America from all foreign -- enemies foreign and domestic. And I think I'm the best prepared to protect this country. I am single, like many other people. If you have got a good marriage, God bless you.

If you single, there's nothing wrong with you. The last time I checked, there was nothing in the Constitution or at the White House said single people need not apply. I'm going to be a ready-to-go commander in chief, protect everybody, single people included.

DICKERSON: All right, Senator, thank you.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

DICKERSON: We will be back in a moment.


DICKERSON: We're back now with Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook, who joins us from New York.

We want to welcome you to the broadcast.

I want to start, what is Hillary Clinton's biggest challenge?

ROBBY MOOK, CAMPAIGN MANAGER, HILLARY FOR AMERICA: Well, honestly, as a campaign manager, I find the biggest challenge is just finding enough time every day to get Hillary in front of voters.

The most precious resource we have on this campaign, John, as you well know, is time. The response we have been getting in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, and all over the country has been absolutely phenomenal.

And so I just wish we had a lot more hours in the day to get her out there talking about her vision, which you heard yesterday. And that is that American families fought hard to get out of the economic mess of the great recession. They are standing, but they're not running yet. And this is their time. This is their campaign. And she is going to be that tenacious fighter who has a bold progressive agenda, which she laid out yesterday, to help families get ahead, first of all, closing that wage gap that is becoming an increasing problem for middle-class families. They need a raise.

Secondly, making sure our young people can go to college without the crushing burden of debt, and also helping families balance their responsibilities at work and at home, so affordable child care, paid family leave. And she also set up a very clear contrast that you heard with the Republicans. They want to take us back to the failed policies that caused the great recession, top-down, trickle-down economics.

DICKERSON: Here's the question that -- when I talk to Democratic strategist, people even are anxious for her to be president. They say she can list a lot of things. The biggest problem for her is trust. The voters in the polls have shown this. Voters do not trust her. How does she overcome that?

MOOK: Well, first of all, there -- no poll shows that voters don't trust Hillary Clinton.

DICKERSON: They don't find her honest and trustworthy.

MOOK: Well, no poll says that.

But, first of all, the central question in this race is whether voters can trust Hillary Clinton to be a tenacious fighter for them, to go to bat for them, to push back on the stacked deck that has kept the middle class behind. And the answer to that is overwhelmingly yes.

Anyone who watched her speech yesterday was abundantly clear, Hillary Clinton will be tenacious fighter for everyday Americans. That's the question in this election. And voters can trust her to be that fighter.

As she said, people call her a lot of things, but they don't call her a quitter. And right now, the middle class needs someone who will not quit and will keep fighting for them every single day.

DICKERSON: Fighter comes up a lot. You have used the word several times. She's talked about the four big fights she's going to take. There was a big fight on trade. People took sides. People had very clear positions. She was on the sidelines. Why?

MOOK: Well, Hillary not been on the sidelines.

Let me say, first and foremost, speaking of a fighter, there will no tougher fighter at the negotiating table for everyday Americans when these trade agreements are being negotiated. So, families can trust her to fight hard for them in any of these agreements.

But Hillary has been abundantly clear about where she stands on the issue of trade. She laid out three key principles and tests that any trade agreement needs to meet. First and foremost, it needs to protect American jobs. Second, it needs in to increase wages for workers here in the United States, and, third, it needs to be consistent with our national security interests.

We're waiting on -- there's obviously a trade bill that may be coming. We don't have the exact text, but when we do, she will take a clear position. And in the meantime, she's laid out clearly where she stands on trade.

DICKERSON: So, that's what I think maybe confuses people, is, on the one hand, is campaign officials -- and you said she's taking a clear position -- but then you said she will take clear position.

Bernie Sanders and others -- and she's taken clear positions on other things. She's chosen to give speeches to grab an issue of the moment. This is one where people -- if it was a clear position, it would be thumbs up, thumb down. So, it's more nuanced than that.

MOOK: Well, as Senator Sanders said, there's no bill. There's no bill.

And the back and forth that's happening right now is about procedures and parliamentary this and that. You can't take a position on a trade bill that you can't see. And so Hillary is trying to be responsible and wait until we have something to react to. But she's been abundantly clear, for any trade deal, she has a very clear set of tests that any trade bill will need to meet.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about questions on the campaign trail. We heard from Senator Sanders. He's out there mixing it up. In this new stage of the campaign, will Hillary Clinton be more acceptable to the press, answer questions, do town halls, participate in the way other candidates do?

MOOK: Well, Hillary was focused in the first two months of this campaign on being accessible to everyday Americans and spending time at small roundtables, face to face, workshopping her policies, answering questions, asking questions.

What you saw in her speech yesterday was the result of two months of hitting the ground, talking to everyday Americans, getting their input, so that she could reflect what they want to see in their next president, and offer and get reaction to what she believes we need to be doing.

So, this campaign is not about Hillary. It's not about the media. It's about everyday Americans. You will absolutely see her this week in states doing plenty of interviews. And we look forward to that.

DICKERSON: Yes. Final question.

MOOK: Yes.

DICKERSON: Hillary Clinton had a big health scare when she was secretary of state. Will she release her medical records as a part of this campaign?

MOOK: I will let Hillary decide that. But I can tell you she has been hitting the campaign trail hard.

I don't think anybody is doubting whether Hillary can be an outstanding president. She's a fighter. She doesn't quit. And she's going to do a phenomenal job. She will also be the youngest woman president in American history.


DICKERSON: All right, Robby Mook, thanks very much.

MOOK: Thank you.

DICKERSON: We will be back in a moment.

MOOK: Take care.


DICKERSON: We have got a lot more FACE THE NATION ahead including a look at all these campaign announcements and re- announcements.

Stay with us.


DICKERSON: Some of our stations are leaving us now, but, for most of you, we will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION.


DICKERSON: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. I'm John Dickerson.


DICKERSON (voice-over): Yesterday my producers and I spent the day in New York City's Roosevelt Island for Hillary Clinton's big campaign event.

But we found ourselves wondering, what exactly do we call this?

CLINTON: I am running for President of the United States.

DICKERSON (voice-over): The campaign calls it a launch. But we could have sworn she launched her campaign in April. There was a video...

CLINTON: I'm running for President.

DICKERSON (voice-over): -- then a trip to Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, New Hampshire again.

Well, you get the picture. So I asked Clinton campaign chair John Podesta what the last two months were about.

JOHN PODESTA, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIRPERSON: During that period, that ramp-up phase, we were out talking to voters, answering questions, asking them some questions. But this really is the beginning of the long run to the nomination and then to president.

DICKERSON: Will it look like -- you know, is this the difference between a pre-season and the regular season? Will it start to look like -- ?


PODESTA: I think that is a fair -- I might steal that.


DICKERSON (voice-over): Tomorrow Jeb Bush is officially announcing he's running for president, too. But he's actually been campaigning for so long, some 44 campaign events in 17 states already this year by our count, that we're now hearing about a staff shake-up in his campaign.

So Bush is in the middle of a do-over of something that hasn't even started. Officially, that is.

There have been more shenanigans with campaign launches in this campaign than ever before. And there are two reasons for that.

The first is stage management. Campaigns want to milk the exposure they get from multiple announcements so that they can create drama, excitement and bumps in the polls.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the poll flab child (ph), let's go get them.

DICKERSON (voice-over): The other reason is that candidates like Jeb Bush and Scott Walker and Chris Christie can raise money without the restrictions of campaign finance laws that come when they officially declare.

But it also means that by the time they do announce it's not an announcement so much as an admission of a long-established fact.

(END VIDEOTAPE) DICKERSON: Campaigns can call these events whatever they want but it's still true what our mothers taught us: you can never get a second chance to make a first impression.

I want to turn now to our reporter roundtable.

Peggy Noonan is a columnist for "The Wall Street Journal" and a CBS News contributor.

Robert Costa reports for "The Washington Post."

We're also joined by "Washington Post" columnist Ruth Marcus and Mark Halperin of Bloomberg Politics.

I want to start with you, Mark, what did you make of Hillary Clinton's event yesterday, whatever we may call it?

MARK HALPERIN, BLOOMBERG TV HOST: Well, in the Clinton family, they used to say the era of big government is over. That speech was about a lot of new big government and clearly is intended to lay down a platform that plays to her strength.

We heard -- I'd say the most positive thing you could say is when she talked about yesterday is what she believes and that's the kind of president she wants to be.

And it's certainly -- is to some extent with an eye towards Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley and what's going to be a bumpy nomination fight. I think the question is does she have an eye now on the general election, where Republicans see her as formidable. But I didn't hear a lot in there yesterday that I think is a clear general election platform. Our strongest presidential candidates, when they announce give a speech that they could give at their convention and in their inauguration. I'm not sure that speech is going to carry over for her.

DICKERSON: Ruth, put this speech in context for us.

RUTH MARCUS, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, a couple of things, first, I actually -- I rarely disagree with Mark but I'm going to disagree with him here because I don't think that Hillary Clinton said very much yesterday that would not go over well with the general election electorate. And I thought she accomplished a lot of things in this speech.

She set out a grand vision of why she wants to run to be the tenacious fighter that we heard from Robby Mook. She put some specific policy pieces with that, she showed she could take it to the Republicans, she played the gender card, and I mean that in a positive way, talking about her prospect as the first woman president.

And she added a piece of biography that I think could be appealing to --


DICKERSON: Talking about --


HALPERIN: It polls well. It polls -- the thing she talked about that poll well with the general election, I don't think that overarching message is one that is a bunch of new programs. Most of what she talked about is a bunch of old programs.

MARCUS: Old programs that poll well might do well. And actually I think we will see some new things, you know, we're talking about, for example, policy. I just want to make one quickie point which is that where I would fault the speech is that it didn't happen two months ago. And it let -- there was a lot of opportunity cost in those last two months. You talked to Robby about the trust issue. I'll let others talk. But I think that there was really some cost in the last few months.

DICKERSON: But, Peggy, if Hillary Clinton had started with that kind of a grand attempt to lift off, wouldn't people have said, well, this is -- she thinks it's going to be a coronation. So this is a coronation-like event.

I mean that's what they were worried about.

PEGGY NOONAN, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": I don't think so. I thought the speech yesterday was a concession in a way that she understood that she can't run as perhaps she had hoped.

As the lady on the floral print couch in the room with important lighting, saying, I want to be your champion and I'm going to listen to you and I'm going to nod. This was a listening tour. That was a campaign speech. That sort of conceded, oh, I guess I got to go out. I guess I got to hit the Hustings. Guess I got to make the points.

I think it -- probably the whole speech did no harm for Ms. Clinton. I'm not sure it did deep good. It seemed to me to highlight some of her weaknesses as a campaigner; there was a rote quality to her speeches, a certain leaden quality, even the audience to me looked a little bit rote. They applauded at the right moment after the line that was delivered with perhaps an incorrect emphasis.

Do you know what I mean? Some kind of funny.

DICKERSON: There was something -- Robert, what did you see? In terms of Republicans looking at this speech, are they worried, is there anything there that puts them on the defensive?

ROBERT COSTA, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, Mark and I were out at the Mitt Romney retreat in Utah. And our sense from talking to Republicans there is they look at Clinton, they think she's sending the right cues to progressives and that she has a strong economic message. And they're going to have to combat that if she's the nominee.

But at the same time, they still think she's vulnerable on the e-mail server, on the foundation and they don't think she yet has a counter to their attacks, which they assure us, are coming. And they also said a challenge for her is she had a big speech. It was a scene at Roosevelt Island that was impressive, but they think her strength actually in the last two months was having meetings with voters, was going to coffee shops, toning down her status as a global celebrity.

HALPERIN: She's so formidable, because a Democrat is going to start up a lot of electoral votes. A lot of the speech's high points yesterday were appealing to the coalition of the ascendant, that Republicans have not cracked the code on. Out in Utah and talking to Republicans around the country, that is what they need. They need a way to find out an economic message that appeals to the coalition, the ascendant.

Hillary Clinton, as Ruth suggested, so strong on that point, until they crack the code on that and find the nominee who can take her on, she's formidable.

DICKERSON: Ruth, on the question of trust, Robby Mook challenged the idea that voters have trust questions about Hillary Clinton. The polling seems to shows that they question whether she's honest and trustworthy.

Does that matter? Is he right? Is it more important that she be a fighter for regular people and trust is an esoteric question?

MARCUS: Well, all of it matters. And because there's -- and there's two things that matter for voters, in addition to whether they agree with candidates' policy positions.

One is whether they can trust you to -- I mean, the Clinton campaign wants to reframe the trust question as not trust you -- trustworthy says but trust you to fight for them.

But they have to also trust you that you are who you say you are. They also need to be convinced, and this is why she did the biography yesterday, that they can live with you for four years or eight years, that they can tolerate you.

I think that when you see the campaign, reframing the trust issue to trust that you will fight for them, you see the toll that the last few months has taken as she has been quietly listening to voters. That's been taken up by two things. It's been taken up by seemingly incessant stories about speeches and the foundation and it has been -- and the air has been occupied by mostly Bernie Sanders, and -- who has done a very good job of prodding her to take clearer positions on things.

DICKERSON: And he was prodding today.

Peggy, I want to ask you about this biography, talking about the mother with Hillary Clinton, it's an attempt to make a three- dimensional candidate here.

Is that possible with somebody who has been in our public life so much?

Does one get a second act that you can introduce with a big speech like this, having been a speech writer?

NOONAN: Let me just pick up on something that you said, Ruth.

One of the -- I agree with everything you said and I'd only add man, this part about meeting with the press, it's been, I think, very difficult for her and a loss to her and she ought to be meeting -- should have met with them yesterday, I think.

I'm sorry; I lost your question.

DICKERSON: No, it's the biography.

How much does biography help a candidate --


NOONAN: Oh, I think it's just fine. There was a sense that a lot of the speech was going to be taken up on the story of -- a very pained and yet triumphant story of her mother. It wasn't a lot of the speech; it was some of the speech. I kind of read that as Ms. Clinton subtly saying, I know you all think I'm rich and I'm successful and I came from success, but actually I came from a background that may have been somewhat like yours, with parents who had real problems.

I thought that's what she was trying to do. I thought it worked fine. There was nothing bad about that.

DICKERSON: Robert, what do you make of Bernie sanders making those clear distinctions with Hillary Clinton today, he'd been shy about that before.

COSTA: We saw Secretary Clinton reference her mother. But we -- on that stage was former President Bill Clinton. I met with students this week from the University of Pennsylvania and University of Southern California and they tell me there is real energy for Senator Sanders on college campuses because they see Sanders speaks for somebody who is anti-establishment and they want to see that kind of metrics from Hillary Clinton.

Robby Mook says Clinton is ready to be that fighter. But they see in Sanders someone who is a natural in that role.

HALPERIN: The Clinton is always focused on the next election. That's like what they do because it's smart. The next election for her is not the general election, it's defeating Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley.

And I thought -- I -- Bernie Sanders, with you, did what he's been doing lately, which is, he's become an optimistic candidate. And being a progressive with an optimistic candidate -- an optimistic message is powerful against her because she sometimes struggles to be optimistic and obviously these progressive issues, like trade, like Keystone, are bedeviling her right now.

MARCUS: And I think that I wanted to pick up on trade because this is a very fascinating thing we I think need to just call the campaign to task a little bit. The notion that this week's -- last week's vote and the coming revote, if it happens this week, on trade adjustment assistance and the fast track, which is help for workers, and on the fast track authority, that would give not just this president but the next president the ability to do trade negotiations. Notice -- the notion that this is some kind of very minor procedural inside the beltway, inside Congress, why would she ever weigh in on that step, I think the technical trade term for that is, it's a crock. It's a really important question. Certainly unions know enough about the agreement to know how they feel about it. Other members of Congress know. She -- Bernie Sanders is appropriately calling on her to take a position and so should we.

HALPERIN: The Clinton -- if Clinton --

MARCUS: It may be smart for her not to.

HALPERIN: The Clinton campaign is making a big bet, which they have -- have, I believe, total consensus on, which is, shows like this can talk about her not taking a position, shows like this can talk about her e-mails, (INAUDIBLE) the foundation. Their bet is, the press will eventually lose some interest, voters don't care, Republicans will waste their time going after these issues. That's their bet. Against the right Republican, it's a good bet.

DICKERSON: We're going to switch and talk about those Republicans in a moment. We'll be right back with our panel.


DICKERSON: Now we're back with our panel. Let's switch to the Republicans.

Robert, you spent a lot of time interviewing folks about the Bush campaign. He's making it official on Monday. What is the state of Bush world right now?

COSTA: Bush world is trying to kick-start its campaign on Monday. Bush has been in this almost super PAC phase of his presidential process, raising a ton of money, and he's edged some rivals like Mitt Romney out of the race early. But they need to see some energy. And he wasn't out at the Romney retreat in Utah and so a lot of the donors were pretty candid to reports. And they want to see Jeb Bush, who's been in the political wind (ph) for so long, who has a little rust on him, to shake it off and say that he can be the nominee, that he can have a vision for the party and be a general election contender.

DICKERSON: Mark, there were reports of shake-ups in the Bush campaign. Were those real? Where -- you know, how's he -- what foot is he on as he starts this new stage?

HALPERIN: Yes, Haley Barbour likes to say in politics (ph), good gets better and bad gets worse. Jeb Bush is in a period now where bad is getting worse and he's lucky that he's got this announcement if he executes it to try to turn things around. Right now I think there's pretty broad consensus in the party that his two main rivals are Marco Rubio and Scott Walker. Both the Rubio camp and the Walker camp like the hands they have. They are positioned now to be finalists in this. And you wouldn't have necessarily said that at the beginning of the year.

When Jeb Bush signaled he was going to run, everybody agreed, he will be a finalist in this. But he needs now to show, to use Hillary Clinton's words, that he will fight for this nomination. This is not going to be easy. We've not seen him fight. If he fights successfully, I still think he's the favorite.


MARCUS: I -- I think, John, this is actually maybe one moment where your mom's adage may not be proved true. I think he does have a second chance to make a first impression for a few reasons. First of all, unlike the rest of us, real people, every day voters out there have not been really paying attention. They are open I think to a number of candidates.

Number two, really important, Jeb Bush is going to have, when you put all the pots of money together, $100 million. And that is a boat load of money. It's a bigger boat, I'm not making a Marco Rubio illusion here, than anybody else --

DICKERSON: No, he's lost people already here --

MARCUS: Than anybody else has. Marco Rubio spent some money on a boat.

DICKERSON: And we're going to -- we're going to stay on dry land here.

Peggy, on the $100 million question, if that's the first thing people are hearing about Jeb Bush, is that wonderful for a campaign?

NOONAN: No. It's like, oh, his name is Bush. He's part of a dynasty. He bought up all the consultants and he gets the most money and so he's going to win. I don't like that.

I think, at the end of the day, money can't buy you love. It's still true, I think, that Jeb Bush does not have a clear and obvious and hungry and naturally ardent part of the base. And he's got to get that.

I think on Monday there's two things he has to do. One is, he has to stop this sort of slump shouldered, shrugging, slightly defeated look and sort of stand up and look like a leader and talk like a leader and make your vibrancy sort of infectious for people. The other thing is, I think he's got to get one or two issues the people identify with him that the base of the party likes, as opposed to the two issues they identify with him that they don't like, Common Core and, I think, immigration.

HALPERIN: Scott Walker is seen as a fighter. People know that abut him.

NOONAN: Yes. HALPERIN: They like it about him.


HALPERIN: That he's in the arena. Marco Rubio is seen as someone a lot of Republicans, grass roots and elites say, that would be great to have the face of our party. That's future oriented. We'd like to go in. Jeb Bush needs something besides being a Bush, especially besides being a Bush, that says, this is why Jeb Bush is the right choice for the party in this time. Tomorrow he gets a chance to try to start making a case, but I agree with Ruth, he hasn't miss made the case, it's just this -- it's all been insight (ph). He's got to make him stand for something besides an exclamation point after his name and his logo.

COSTA: The problem is, he's been hobbled by immigration and education, his position on Common Core. And so, I think Peggy's right, the persona matters as well. And I think personnel, the campaign usually shrugs off process talk, but Jeb Bush shifted Danny Diaz, this aggressive consultant, into the role of campaign manager. I think that's an acknowledgment that they need some kind of momentum as they restart this campaign.

NOONAN: Well, can Danny Diaz tell him, stand up straight. Feel joy in this. Go forward.

MARCUS: There's a really interesting contrast between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton in terms of biography because Hillary Clinton is using her family to -- wrapping herself in her family to make her biography and show that she understands the issues of ordinary Americans. Jeb has the challenge of, you know, you see -- we see the new logo, "Jeb!". What last name? Of figuring out ways to de- biographize himself, but yet come across as somebody that people like -- as I was saying before, want to live with.

I do want to say something about the money. No, Jeb Bush should not be going out there and saying, I can buy this election. But it sure helps to have the fuel in the bank when you've got fuel in the gas tank for this really long campaign ahead.

HALPERIN: Particularly because all the campaigns now are talking not about Iowa and New Hampshire, they're not discrediting (ph) them, they're talking about March and maybe April. And if you're going to be a finalist in this, you've got to win some early states, but you also have the money -- impact of the money in the bank and the ability to accumulate delegates into March. If Jeb Bush has that money and they doesn't waste it this year, he can be a finalist even if he stumbles (INAUDIBLE).

DICKERSON: More to Ruth's point, which is, there's a long time here. Maybe he can even make a third first impression.

COSTA: Real quick, keep an eye on Ohio Governor John Kasich. I have never -- you talk about wanting to run joyfully. I have never seen someone more comfortable out at that Romney retreat. He was mingling with the press for an hour and a half. This is someone, who if he like -- runs, as we expect him to do so, is going to cut into Jeb from the center right, not from the hard right. That's going to present more of a threat.

HALPERIN: And a new nature (ph).

DICKERSON: Robert makes a point, though, about, Kasich is a show candidate. He shows that he's joyous and buoyant. George -- excuse me, pardon me, Jeb Bush says, I want to be authentic and genuine. When you say you have to -- you want to be authentic and genuine, aren't you in tricky territory?

HALPERIN: Yes. And when you have to put an exclamation point after your name in your logo to say this is exciting, that's not the best way to do it. Jeb Bush is underrated as a retail campaigner. I agree that Kasich right now is the guy who could, if he launches well, can raise enough money and introduce himself to the country. A lot of the people out in Utah don't know he was chairman of the budget committee, which is, for him, a big credential. He can make this a four way race at the top tier with Walker and Rubio and Bush.

But he's got to define himself, too. The ironic thing is the two older guys who have been around a long time, Jeb Bush and Kasich, are ill- defined for voters. The two new guys, Rubio and Walker, have done a great job in the first half of this year defining themselves for Republicans.

NOONAN: I -- he won re-election, John Kasich, in Ohio by 31 points. So if I were him, that's where I'd started.

MARCUS: And he --

NOONAN: That important state, re-election, 31 points. That tells you something about understanding where the middle of America is...

HALPERIN: And a quarter of the black vote.

NOONAN: ... right now.

MARCUS: And expanded Medicaid under Obamacare, how interesting is that?

DICKERSON: That is interesting. But, Robert, that's not going to win him a lot of fans in the Republican Party.

COSTA: No. I mean, Kasich has a long, difficult path to the nomination. But his interest at this point is really commentary on Jeb Bush. And you have Chris Christie waiting in the wings. He said to the donors in Utah he believes debates can re-launch his own chance for the presidency because his personality can perhaps overwhelm on that stage.

So you have a lot of people throughout the party thinking the nomination is within reach. And that wasn't the case earlier this year when Jeb entered.

HALPERIN: Don't forget, under the top tier of the people we've talked about, and then Bob mentioned Christie, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, there are a lot of other candidates in here.

So when we're trying to game out how this is going to flow into the beginning of next year, you cannot discount the fact that with no front-runner, and vulnerabilities on the top tier, there is going to be a lot of people with a chance to impact who the nominee is.

DICKERSON: A lot of chance to impact. And also we've got to find, and we'll have to talk about this on another panel, but some kind of sorting technique to figure out how to get through all of these names.

Thanks, all of you, very much, for a good discussion. We'll be right back with a look at some of this year's commencement speeches.


DICKERSON: Every year FACE THE NATION takes note of commencement speeches across the country that we think are important. This year we're focusing on a set of speeches by first lady Michelle Obama.

Her reflections on race in three different graduation speeches are a departure for her and come at time when the country is struggling to understand and find solutions in the conflicts between the police and African-American communities.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: The world won't always see you in those caps and gowns. They won't know how hard you worked and how much you've sacrificed to make it to this day.

Instead they will make assumptions about who they think you are based on their limited notion of the world. And my husband and I know how frustrating that experience can be.

We have both felt the sting of those daily slights throughout our entire lives: the folks who cross the street in fear of their safety; the clerks who kept a close eye on us in all those department stores; the people at formal events who assumed we were the help; and those who have questioned our intelligence, our honesty, even our love of this country.

I know you all can dig deep and keep on fighting to fulfill your own dreams because, graduates, in the end you all are the ones responsible for changing the narrative about our communities.

And with every word you speak, with every choice you make, with the way you carry yourself each day, you are re-writing the story of our communities. And that is a burden that President Obama and I proudly carry every single day in the White House.


M. OBAMA: Because we know that everything we do and say can either confirm the myths about folks like us or it can change those myths.


M. OBAMA: Today it is no longer remarkable to see two beautiful black girls walking their dogs on the South Lawn of the White House, that's just the way things are now.


M. OBAMA: See, graduates, this is what happens when you turn your attention outward, and decide to brave the noise and engage yourself in the struggles of our time.



DICKERSON: That's it for us today. We hope you'll tune in to "CBS THIS MORNING," tomorrow. And keep an eye out for 24-hour digital network, CBSN. Until next week for FACE THE NATION, I'm John Dickerson.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.