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Face the Nation Transcripts June 15, 2014: Graham, Donilon, Priebus

The latest on the continued violence in Iraq and the fallout from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's defeat by a tea party-backed primary challenger
June 15: Graham, Donilon, Priebus 46:38

(CBS News) -- Below is a transcript of Face the Nation from June 15, 2014. Guests included Sen. Lindsey Graham, Reince Priebus, Tom Donilon, Ted Olson, David Boies, Lara Logan, Clarissa Ward, Holly Williams, Gwen Ifill, Robert Costa and Nancy Cordes.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Good morning. I'm Bob Schieffer and this is FACE THE NATION. The news from Iraq overnight worse than ever. And back home, the Republican Party is in shock after one of its top leaders is defeated in his primary. We're going to start with Iraq where a suicide bombing attack has killed at least nine and injured twenty in central Baghdad. Possibly, the first in a wave of attacks that have been announced by ISIS, the al Qaeda splinter group that is leading the movement against the Iraqi government. In other regions in Iraq yesterday, Shiites marched in the streets to show they were ready to defend their homeland against the invaders. And what's left of the Iraqi government forces now seem to be preparing to stand and fight setting up for a showdown in Baghdad. The President has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq but the United States has moved the aircraft carrier, the USS George Bush into the region and the President says he is weighing options but only if Iraq institutes immediate reforms. We have two reports now from Iraq and we're starting with Clarissa Ward in Baghdad. Clarissa.

CLARISSA WARD (CBS News Foreign Correspondent): Good morning, Bob. Well, the situation here continues to get worse and worse. This morning a suicide bomber attacked a location where Iraqi soldiers go to buy their uniforms. We are hearing reports that at least twelve people were killed in that attack. Meanwhile, the Iraqi security forces do appear to be preparing some type of a counteroffensive. The Iraqi army and Shiite militias are assembling now in the city of Samara, north of Baghdad which is home to one of the holiest Shiite shrines. And while the U.S. is reluctant to get involved militarily here, Iran has no such qualms. They are throwing their support solidly behind the Shiite-dominated government of Nouri al-Maliki. CBS News can't confirm that the head of the Quds Iranian paramilitary force, Qassem Suleimani is here in Baghdad along with a contingent of Iranian fighters.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Clarissa, do you get any indication that Prime Minister Maliki heard what the President said on Friday about instituting reforms immediately? Do you get any sense that he is taking the President's words seriously?

CLARISSA WARD: Well, actually quite to the contrary, Bob, what we're seeing here in terms of strategy is remobilizing Shiite militias, flying in Iranian paramilitary forces, actions that really only fan the flames of the sectarian divisions that already exist here. And what was so striking about when ISIS went into those towns, those cities, Mosul and Tikrit, many moderate Sunnis even, who don't espouse their radical ideology welcomed them. And that's because over the past few years while the rest of the world has, essentially, forgotten about Iraq, Maliki's government has been systematically disenfranchising both the Sunni population and its leaders and it's not clear whether he has either the political acumen or frankly the motivation to try to bridge that gap.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you get any sense that Iraq can actually be put back together?

CLARISSA WARD: That is what's so desperately scary and when you talk to Iraqis and to politicians here, all of them have the same fears whether they're Sunnis or Shiites. They fear that this country is breaking apart in a way that is irretrievable and, of course, that is particularly frightening because it's a conflict that really threatens to consume the entire region. We could literally see all of the borders of this region be redrawn around sectarian lines.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Clarissa Ward. Clarissa, thanks so much. Be careful now.

Now, we want to go to Kalak, Iraq, and CBS correspondent Holly Williams. Holly, you have been in northern Iraq all week. What's the latest up there?

HOLLY WILLIAMS (CBS News Foreign Correspondent): Good morning, Bob. Well, the Islamic militants have swept through Northern Iraq and the sheer speed at which they captured towns and cities here especially earlier this week seems to have taken everyone by surprise. Iraq's military which cost the U.S. billions of dollars to train and equip has not put up much of a fight. In fact, many soldiers simply laid down their weapons and deserted. We saw some of them lining up at an airline office to buy tickets back to Baghdad. But the armed Islamic extremists have also been helped by sympathetic locals. In this part of Iraq, many people, like the militants, are Sunni Muslims and they are angry with and resentful of Iraq's government in Baghdad which is dominated by Shiite Muslims. Just twenty-five miles from here in Mosul, Iraq's second biggest city which was seized on Tuesday, we've seen internet videos of the militants parading through the streets to a rapturous welcome from local people. Now, hundreds of thousands have fled. And most of them have come through this checkpoint where I am now in Iraqi Kurdistan which has been relatively peaceful since the U.S. invasion in 2003. But most of the refugees have told us they're not running away from the extremists. In fact, they like them and say they're doing a good job. Instead, they say that they are fleeing because they're fearful that Iraq's government will bomb their towns and cities to try to force out the militants. Bob.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, Holly, you be careful now. Thank you so much.

And we're joined in Washington now by Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. He's been to Iraq many times. He's been a critic of administration policy. Senator, what happened here? This just seems like it just came out of nowhere. Was the administration asleep at the wheel? Was there an intelligence failure? Was this the fault of Maliki in Iraq? How did this happen?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (Armed Services Committee/R-South Carolina): Kind of all of the above. Really, you go back to 2010 and 2011, the perfect storm. We withdraw our forces in 2011 so the security environment falls apart. Maliki without hand holding being pushed by Petraeus and Crocker, the Obama administration had a hands-off approach to the political problems in Baghdad and Syria, got al-Qaeda and Iraq back into the game. We had al-Qaeda and Iraq which is the predecessor to ISIS, owned their backs and when Syria went bad, they got reinforcements from Syria. So all this came together and Maliki is a flawed leader, Bob. He-- he has to go. There's no way that Maliki can bring this country back together.

BOB SCHIEFFER: So you think he has to resign?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Absolutely. I've been there so many times I can't count. And after we basically detached ourselves from Iraq, you know, Petraeus and Crocker would go into his office almost every day. I was there with them a lot, pushing all three parties. What's so heartbreaking is that we had this place in a good spot. They were playing politics rather than killing each other. The decision to withdraw U.S. forces created a vacuum. Syria is a launching pad and it's all come together. We need air power immediately to stop the advance toward Baghdad. If the central government in Iraq collapses, and that's the goal of ISIS, Iran will own the southern part of Iraq, that's where the Shiaas live. They can operate ISIS from Baghdad to Kurdistan, all the way into Syria. They will eventually march on Jordan and Lebanon. Our best ally in the region is the king of Jordan and they will attack us from that part of Iraq and Syria. According to our own national-- director of National Intelligence, FBI director, the next 9/11 is coming from here.

BOB SCHIEFFER: That's a very-- that's a very serious--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: That's what they say and I agree with them.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You think that we could have another 9/11.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Oh, I think it's inevitable. The seeds of 9/11s are being planted all over Iraq and Syria. You don't have to believe me. This is what they're telling you they're going to do. They're not hiding their agenda. They want Islamic caliphate that runs through Syria and Iraq. They're going to take the king of Jordan down because he's an infidel in their eyes as much as we are and they plan to drive us out of the Mideast by attacking us here at home.

BOB SCHIEFFER: The President says Maliki has to put in reforms, in other words bring Sunnis into the government. Do you think our aid should or whatever we do should depend on what he does on this?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: All bad options for the President. If you use air power you could kill civilians, but if Baghdad gets infected with these guys and the government collapses that's the worst case scenario. Any assistance we provide needs to be coordinated with the political solution. You got an acute military problem, you got a chronic political problem. There is no way in my view that Maliki can pull this off. But there are people. Your reporter mentioned something about the Iraqi people. The average Shia doesn't want to be dominated by Iran. And the average Sunni has no desire to live their life under ISIS rules. The good news is the average Iraqi wants to move forward, they have no infrastructure to move forward. The Iraqi Air Force is basically grounded. Without American air power it's going to be hard to turn the tide.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You heard the-- the reports from there. The Iranians say they want to help, should we encourage them to help of all things. I mean should we even be talking to them.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Is that a good thing?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, we'll currently, probably, need their help to hold Baghdad. Their goal is to create a sectarian Iraq. To have a puppet in Baghdad, This is Shia-dominated government where they control the outcome. They want the southern part of Iraq. Our goal is to have an inclusive Iraq. But in the short term, why didn't we deal with Stalin because he was not as bad as Hitler in our eyes. We're going to have to have some dialogue with Iranians that say, let's coordinate our efforts, but put a redline to the Iranians. Don't use this crisis to take territory from the Iraqi people. Put them on notice that we will not accept their intervening into Iraq for the purpose of creating a satellite state for Iran.

BOB SCHIEFFER: But again, you're saying you could see a situation where we have Iranian forces fighting on the ground--


BOB SCHIEFFER: --and U.S. air power serving as their air--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: It makes me sick to say it, but Turkey needs to get involved to convince the Sunni Arabs to get back in the game politically and to keep the Kurds from bolting. If the Kurds break away then you have another front between Turkey and the Kurds. The Iranians have an interest. They have their Shia populations to protect. We need to all make sure Baghdad doesn't fall so, yes, we need a dialogue of some kind with the Iranians, but we also need to put them on notice don't use this crisis as a way to create a satellite state of Iraq controlled by Iran.

BOB SCHIEFFER: I can't let you leave without asking you about Republican politics right now, while the big story was Eric Cantor, the majority leader in the House getting beat last week in a primary.


BOB SCHIEFFER: You had stronger Tea Party force, you had an army, you had four or five of them running against you--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Say exactly, but who's counting, yeah.

BOB SCHIEFFER: (INDISTINCT) six and-- and you won.


BOB SCHIEFFER: --and you won by stressing that the Republican Party has to have some kind of path to citizenship for Hispanics, which was one of the big issues in his race.


BOB SCHIEFFER: What as a winner, what is your advice to your party this morning, Senator?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Number one, I don't think Eric got beat because of his stand on immigration. I think he got beat because of his lack of defining himself on immigration. I told the Republican Party at home that we're doing well because the Democrats are doing poorly. This ultra liberal agenda of President Obama has blown up in their face. We're going to win in 2014. Conservative values will connect with Hispanics and African-Americans, but don't be delusional about where we stand. If we become the party except deportation, if that again is our opposition in 2016, we're going to drive a deeper wedge between us and Hispanics, have pathway to citizenship after you secure the border, control who gets the job, more legal immigration where they have to pass a criminal background check, learn the English language, wait ten years before you can apply for a green card, is sixty-five percent. Republicans nationally will accept an earned pathway to citizenship if you secure the border for our party to let the thirty-five-percent tell us how to engage with immigration. We will lose a natural ally in the Hispanic community. Bush was at forty-four; we're down to twenty-seven. You'll never convince me it's not because of the rhetoric around immigration. If you solve the immigration problem in a good American responsible way, our party is back in the game and we can dominate the twenty-first century. If we keep playing this game, that self-deportation is the only answer for the Republican Party, we will have destroyed our chances in 2016 and dealt a death blow to our party, because by 2015 majority of this country is going to be African-American, Hispanic, and Asian. Conservatism is the best hope for African-American children in failing school. Conservatism alliance with Hispanics, they're hard working, they're entrepreneurial, they're prolife, they're pro military. It will break my heart for my party to go down a road that we did not go. Embrace rational, comprehensive immigration reform that prevents a third wave of illegal immigration and we're back in the ballgame. If we don't adjust on this issue, our chances for survival as a party are very bleak and the country needs a vibrant Republican Party and our Democratic friends have put us back in the game. Let's take advantage of it.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Lindsey Graham, thank you so much.

We'll be talking more about politics and the Republican Party in part two of our broadcast. I want to go back now to this news from overnight in Iraq. Perhaps nobody at CBS News has spent more time in Iraq over the years since the first Gulf War than CBS News correspondent Lara Logan who joins us now this morning. Lara, this thing seems to be working all too well. I mean it seems to be as these invaders came down in-- on this march toward Baghdad, everything seems to be clicking on all cylinders. It seems well coordinated. Who is running this thing?

LARA LOGAN (60 MINUTES Correspondent): It's a very good question, Bob, because the leader of ISIS is seen as the-- the poet and the philosopher and the spiritual man. He's the one driving the vision of the states and governance that they want to institute. But on the other side of that, the military masterminds, and there are a number of them. But among them there's the-- the war minister who's believed to be a Moroccan, who we hear very little from, who is believed to be very powerful. And then one of the others is-- is a man known as Abu Ayman al-Iraqi, who was held by the Americans in Camp Bucca in Iraq. And when he was released, went over to Syria with the blessing of Assad. But in Syria has become a powerful force for ISIS. He's known as the prince of Latakia over there. And he's believed to be recruiting people from Syrian intelligence, Syrian military officers, they have done that on the Iraqi side of the border as well, and they've created a structure that truly understands military movement on the battlefield, and not only how to take territory but how to hold it and defend it.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And-- and-- and he's a member-- a former member of Saddam Hussein's army.

LARA LOGAN: And many of his under links are former members. There are commanders, generals, intelligence officers, that's-- that's why the U.S.-- U.S. military, both civilian and military intelligence sources regard this as so troubling because once you put people in the fight, who know, you know, for example, the weapons that they have been seizing. If you're just using them tactically or here and there, randomly, that gives you something of an edge but not much. What happens now if you know how to use them strategically, how to employ them across, both in Syria and in Iraq? Use those assets to-- to change the outcome of the war.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, we'll talk a little bit about that, because I think what they've gotten over a hundred tanks now?

LARA LOGAN: Well, you know, in its official list the U.S. didn't leave behind any tanks, they left behind armored personnel carriers, they-- they left behind fifty Stryker assault vehicles, but what they left behind as well, Bob, which is particularly significant is Stinger missiles. And that's the best that we have to bring down aircraft in the skies. All of these other assets, heavy weapons, armored vehicles, they increase the capability of what your ground forces can do. But the U.S. has maintained dominance because of its dominance of the skies. If you now remove your dominance of the skies or you make it much more difficult to fight, you've taken away significant advantage that the U.S. has and you've-- you've significantly changed the dynamics of what we face. So, if you have got hundreds of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, plus, you have Apache helicopters, the Iraqis have got some. They've asked for more that haven't arrived yet.


LARA LOGAN: And F-16s, they already have some from before and they've asked for anothers (sic), you know, batch that is-- that is still on its way. But those are the kind of weapons that that we must be hoping the Iraqis have still held on to. We don't know exactly how much these-- these guys have taken. There are reports this morning that the military base in Baquba was taken, well that wouldn't be good at all. But you have to think that the most significant weapons we have to hope are in Baghdad and still in Iraqi government hands.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Lara, thank you so much. It's always good to have you.

And we'll be back in one minute.


BOB SCHIEFFER: We're back now with Thomas Donilon. He served in the Obama administration as national security advisor until last summer. Well, Tom, what happened?

THOMAS DONILON (Former White House National Security Advisor/Council on Foreign Relations): Well, with respect to Iraq what happened is that you have had really a failure by the Maliki government to really follow on a number of promises that he made both to the United States, to the international community, and, more importantly, to the political-- political leadership in Iraq and he's failed to really integrate the Sunni political leadership into his government. He's engaged in really, kind of, putting together a sectarian and authoritarian state. And we're seeing the results of that at this point. It also by the way, as Senator Graham was saying, is a result of the breakdown of the border, complete breakdown of the border between Syria and Iraq and the infusion of a large number of foreign-- foreign fighters into-- into the situation.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know I must say that a lot of people, including Senator Graham, who a couple of years ago said that if we leave there without leaving a residual force, this is exactly what's going to happen. Well, what they said seems to have happened.

THOMAS DONILON: Well, I think, no, I think what happened is this, and think back, all right. At the end of December 2011, the United States withdrew its forces. That had been, though, after eight and a half years of working in Iraq. We tried to get a Status of Forces Agreement that is an agreement by the Iraqi government to provide the protections to our soldiers needed if we were going to stay and they wouldn't provide it. And, indeed, if you think about the situation at that point, what they were telling us is is they politically couldn't provide it after eight and a half years.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just interrupt you there so people will understand--


BOB SCHIEFFER: --the Status of Forces Agreement is something that says, well, for example, if an American soldier is arrested or becomes captive of the Israeli government they can take him into court. They can try him, that we have no jurisdiction. We have never left troops in a country without that kind of agreement at least not in modern times as far as--

THOMAS DONILON: That's exactly right.

BOB SCHIEFFER: --as far as I can remember but--

THOMAS DONILON: That's exactly right, Bob. That's important.

BOB SCHIEFFER: --I guess, what some people are saying should we have tried harder the get that Status Of Forces Agreement, because some are saying as you well know, the President is just looking for an excuse to get out of here.

THOMAS DONILON: No. We offered the Status of Forces Agreement. And you're exactly right, our Presidents, our military leadership are not going to allow our armed forces to operate in an environment like that anywhere in the world without having the appropriate protections and that wasn't forthcoming. And, indeed, the politics in Iraq at that point wouldn't allow it to be forthcoming is my-- is my own personal judgment. Now, it's also by the way, been two and a half years since December 31--


THOMAS DONILON: --2011, when the Iraqi government was given the space and time to put together the kind of inclusive government and to deal with a number of these issues and it failed-- it failed to do so. So you have had eight and a half years up until that point, two and a half years since then, we've been engaged in trying to support the Iraqis in this kind of terrorism fight against this ISIS group. They resisted, by the way, our getting involved deeply in their security issues up until about a year ago when this problem, obviously, stared them in the face and they saw that they needed help.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Should the President order airstrikes now? We know he is obviously contemplating that.

THOMAS DONILON: I think we should do a number of things. Let me-- I'll get to the air strikes. We should support the Iraqi government counterterrorism efforts. We should provide intelligence. We should provide more intelligence. We should provide material and do it in accelerated-- in accelerated basis. We should provide advice and planners I think with respect to making sure that the Iraqis can get an Iraqi ground force together. With respect to direct American action such as air strikes, I think a couple of things. First of all, it's not a panacea, number one. And number two, it has to be done in coordination with things on the ground. There has to be a military purpose. Number three that need to be target and this is I think what the White House is going through right now is asking those questions. But I've been through a number of these things, Bob, as you know, right? You need to have targets. You need to have a military plan and it needs to be coordinated with the rest of your efforts. Most importantly, though, any direct military action by the United States needs to be done when we see that the Iraqi government has actually pulled itself together politically. You know, when you have a situation where you have in Mosul where eight hundred fighters come in and can run off thirty thousand troops that's a bigger problem than just supply issues, right, logistical issues. That's a morale issue, that's a management, military issue, that's a political issue. There is a reason that the Sunnis in the Western part of Iraq have allowed this to happen. I think, as Senator Graham said over time, this is not how the Iraqi people want to live but this really is a-- it really is a-- is a testament to the fact that you haven't had the kind of political inclusiveness that you need. So any direct military action that I would recommend to the President will need to be contingent upon us seeing the Iraqi government have an inclu-- steps towards inclusive government, bringing in some of the confident military leaders that have been pushed out for political reasons and working to get a confident Iraqi ground force.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you think, and we have about twenty seconds here, do you think that Maliki, it'd be just better if he resigned?

THOMAS DONILON: Well, it's not clear that he can-- that he can-- that he can pull this off at this point, you know. And we'll have to see. They have a government formation under way and we need to see what the Iraqi people can do. Last thing I'll say is we have a real problem here brewing in terms of foreign fighters coming back into Europe and maybe even to the United States.


THOMAS DONILON: That we should talk about another time.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. I'm sorry we have to end it there.

Back in a moment with some personal thoughts.


BOB SCHIEFFER: The political world was stunned last week when little known college professor David Brat beat House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, but Brat knew exactly why it happened?

DAVID BRAT: This is a miracle from God.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Who am I to say he's wrong? But here's my question. Whether or not it was a miracle, why do congressional leaders get beat in years that end in four? It was in 1994 that revered long-time House Speaker Tom Foley got beat by a Republican thought early on to have no chance. It was in 2004 that popular Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle lost his seat in a stunning upset. And now, right on schedule, ten years later in 2014 the folks back home took down Eric Cantor. Number two in the House Republican leadership and the odds-on favorite to be the next House speaker.

Every parent knows about the terrible twos but if I held a congressional leadership post what I'd worry about are the fearsome fours.

Back in a minute.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Some of our stations are leaving us now. For most of you we'll be right back.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. And we're going to turn from Iraq to politics back home. Reince Priebus is the chairman of the Republican National Committee. Mister Chairman, thank you for coming.

REINCE PRIEBUS (Republican National Committee Chairman): Happy Father's Day, by the way.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Thank you very much. Eric Cantor got beat. Lindsey Graham won. How divided is the Republican Party right now?

REINCE PRIEBUS: Yeah, I don't think it's divided at all. I mean I think you have-- you have districts that are eighty-five percent Republican and more than one Republican wants to be congressman and in some cases more than one person wants to be a senator. And so, you know, I think in the regard to the Cantor issue. I think Tom Price had it right this past week when he said, look, when-- when you're trying to be a majority leader and-- and Eric did a great job of it. But it takes you all over this country, takes you out of your district. And pretty soon that good work you're doing nationally becomes a liability locally. And I think it's a local issue. I mean we all know what Tip O'Neill had to say about local politics.


REINCE PRIEBUS: And that's what this is.

BOB SCHIEFFER: I hear you and with respect to your answer, if the Republican Party is not divided, then do I take it you're all for immigration reform or you're all against immigration reform?

REINCE PRIEBUS: But the Democrats don't agree on everything either.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, of course--

REINCE PRIEBUS: I mean the fact that--

BOB SCHIEFFER: --I'm asking about your party?

REINCE PRIEBUS: Yeah, but no. I don't think so. I think that if you look at-- you google Ted Cruz, you google Rand Paul and immigration, you-- what you'll find is that even Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have been out there publicly calling for serious immigration reform. And so, in fact, Rand Paul on March nineteenth went to the Hispanic Chamber and said we need comprehensive immigration reform. Those are his words, not mine. I think there is consensus that the immigration system is broken, but how to fix it is another issue.


REINCE PRIEBUS: And if Harry Reid says it's my way or the highway, well, guess what? It's not going to happen.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, people like Lindsey Graham say there ought to be a path to citizenship for the immigrants who are in this country right now. Would most Republicans agree with that?

REINCE PRIEBUS: I'm not sure about that. But, you know, as chairman of this party I think that what we have to do is more fundamental than just argue about policy. I mean-- and we've been on-- we've been talked about this before. You get the policy right all day long but if you don't have a conduit in the community, on a long-term basis, if you don't have Republicans and Hispanic and African-American, and Asian communities talking about the Republican Party or nominee, et cetera, for four years, not just four months, you're not going to improve in national elections. But, you know, we're heading into a midterm, Bob, and I think we all know this. We can keep-- we can keep discussing the Republican Party, we're going to add seats to the House, so majority is going to grow. And I think most people out there believe that we've got better than fifty-fifty chance of winning the U.S. Senate. We're doing about everything you need to do to keep winning. I mean the fact is we didn't beat an incumbent president in 2012. We're winning everywhere else. The future is very solid and I think this year is going to be a great year for our party.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know so much of it reminds me of 1964, maybe I'm the oldest person around, and I probably am and maybe the only one old enough to remember that. But I remember a Republican Party where you had republican moderates mostly in the east headed by Nelson Rockefeller and then you had western conservatives headed by Barry Goldwater. Those two factions never came together and Goldwater lost the election in a historic landslide.

REINCE PRIEBUS: And-- and look--

BOB SCHIEFFER: How do you prevent that from happening, Reince Priebus?

REINCE PRIEBUS: Well, you do-- you do what we're doing at the national level. You-- you become a four-year party. You get in communities nonstop. But the fact is where are we not winning, Bob? I mean what-- what state governor's races are we not winning? What-- what House races are we not winning? I mean we're-- we're talking about--

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, you're not winning--

REINCE PRIEBUS: --what's taking the--

BOB SCHIEFFER: --at the last presidential election.

REINCE PRIEBUS: Okay. That's right. One-- one incumbent President with-- with a-- with a country that said fifty-fifty right track, wrong track. I mean that is not shocking that an incumbent President didn't win. The fact is we're-- we're now running with a lot of great people that have a vision for this country like Bobby Jindal, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, and others, in my own state of Wisconsin, that are very dynamic. And it looks like Hillary Clinton is getting ready. She went from a seventy-percent approval rating down to about fifty-eight in eighteen-- fifty-two in eighteen months.

BOB SCHIEFFER: She just opened her book tour. She has her book out. Some said she kind of stumbled a bit when she started talking about being dead broke when she and her husband left the White House. What's your-- give me your review of her book tour so far.

REINCE PRIEBUS: Well, I mean, if you just take a step back for a minute, you know, the Hillary Clinton folks wanted just to be sort of a campaign rollout. And when communications people do a rollout, they try to pick their-- you know, really great interview to do so they picked Diane Sawyer. Diane Sawyer ended up picking her apart. You know she said she was dead broke, she didn't have any answers on Benghazi. Just said a day earlier, the White House said Hillary Clinton's top accom-- accomplishment is that they decimated al-Qaeda as if they didn't know what the next day's newspapers were going to say. I mean, I-- I just don't think she is very good at it. I mean they-- they've staged this thing. They've planned this book. It's a book of mushes, I think, Mark Halperin called it. And-- and she went out of the gate with one gaffe after the next. This is my point. We're going to do great in this mid-term. And I think people expect us to do well and then we're going to move into the presidential election. The Democrats have nobody behind Hillary Clinton and if she keeps freefalling--


REINCE PRIEBUS: --she's not going to be the nominee.

BOB SCHIEFFER: But will you be united in the presidential election?

REINCE PRIEBUS: We will be united in the presidential election. And if-- if you just take one race of Eric Cantor, a Republican district that remains Republican, and you want to talk about Mississippi, another Republican state that's going to be Republican, you know, you're taking two races out of the entire country and extrapolating that into some big division.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, what-- what will be your appeal to Hispanics because right now, what did Mitt Romney get, thirteen percent?

REINCE PRIEBUS: He got twenty-seven percent.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Twenty-seven?

REINCE PRIEBUS: Twenty-seven percent. But, look, you can't talk about, you know, some of the things that-- that were done in that race. Number one, you know, the word self-deportation certainly didn't help Mitt Romney's chances with-- with Hispanics. But the-- but the bigger problem, Bob, is that if you're not in the community but for three months before an election, you're not going to win over those voters. And what we've said at the Republican National Committee is we need to have a four-year program in Hispanic communities and black communities and Asian communities and that's what we have done. And I think we're going to have a better chance. And you know what economy, jobs, it's still number one. And right now, the President hasn't delivered and Hillary Clinton's been a part of it.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Reince Priebus, always good to have you.


BOB SCHIEFFER: We hope you'll come back.


BOB SCHIEFFER: And we'll be right back with our political panel so stay with us.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Back now with our panel. Gwen Ifill, of course, is the co-anchor of the PBS NewsHour, moderator of Washington Week. We want to welcome Robert Costa, covers Congress for the Washington Post, spends a lot of time chasing down news on Capitol Hill along with our congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes. But, I must say, Robert, you're getting all the-- the congratulations this week because you are the one reporter that went down to Richmond and reported that there was real trouble brewing down there for Eric Cantor. And I went back and read your story and it reads better today than it did even back then. You-- you really nailed this. You heard Reince Priebus just now. He says that Republicans are united. He's trying to-- kind of say this was just local politics down there and-- and was-- there was not really a lesson for Republicans there, if I understood it. What's your take?

ROBERT COSTA (Washington Post): What I heard from the chairman was a party that's still reeling from the defeat of Eric Cantor and they're trying to project confidence ahead of the mid-term elections. Yet, right now, the loss of Eric Cantor means much more than just the defeat of someone in their own Richmond district. Eric Cantor was the-- the standard bearer, the chief messenger for the party ahead of November. With him out, the party is unstable. They're trying to find a path ahead on immigration. And right now, I'm-- I'm not-- I'm not sure they know where to go. They're still grappling with the strategy and a message.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Gwen-- Gwen, do you think this was good news or bad news for Democrats? I mean there were some loud cheers from the Democratic side of the aisle.

GWEN IFILL (PBS Newshour): At first.

BOB SCHIEFFER: At first, but then people began to think well maybe-- maybe this is not so good for us.

GWEN IFILL: I talked to somebody at the White House yesterday who said it kind of went from shock, they were speechless to-- kind of schadenfreude our enemy goes down and then to, well, wait a second, what did we lose here? We lost a guy who was never on either side in the immigration. He tried to have it both ways. So it doesn't neceassa-- and they still wanted to get something done on immigration this year, so after getting over the immediate, ah, our enemy has fallen. They began to realize this wasn't really good news for Democrats and is not great news for incumbents because if you are in Washington, and America is voting against Washington your party identification matters-- matters a whole lot less. So there is some uncertainty about what this means among Democrats.

BOB SCHIEFFER: What does this going to mean to Republicans up on the Hill Nancy?

NANCY CORDES (CBS News Congressional Correspondent): Well, I think they're all, as Gwen said, a little bit nervous right now. Initially, there was this excitement among Tea Party members, oh wow, look David has sleighed Goliath. But, very quickly, I think they realized wait a minute, Goliath sided with us almost all the time, not always, but a lot. And there is some uncertainty about what the new leadership team will look like and whether it will be as favorable to them as the past leadership.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Does this help Speaker Boehner? Or does it hurt him? Do you see the Republicans becoming more conservative in their outlook on Capitol Hill or less so?

NANCY CORDES: Well, the ironic thing is that given all the bellyaching that conservatives had expressed over the past several years about the fact that there wasn't a true red state conservative in leadership, when this vacuum suddenly appeared, your standard bearers among conservatives didn't jump in and say, okay, I want to be the next majority leader. Most of them decided to stay away. And, partly, that reflects the fact that the challenge of being a Republican leader right now is that the conservatives demand purity from you, but you still have to work with the other side from time to time. So it's hard to hang on to that mental of a pure conservative once you're a member of leadership.

BOB SCHIEFFER: What about immigration Robert? Do you see any chance of any kind of immigration bill coming out of the House this year?

ROBERT COSTA: I stayed outside of the Republican study committees Wednesday meeting at the Capitol and every single member I asked on the conservative side of things said no chance for immigration this year. I think this was really a lost opportunity for the Tea Party as well. They had the power to take down Eric Cantor, but they were powerless to replace him. Kevin McCarthy, currently the whip, is looking to easily ascend now to become the next majority leader. Where are the Tea Party leaders in Congress, they seem disorganized right now to try to walk into that vacuum and take power.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, Gwen, listening to-- to Reince Priebus and having listened to Lindsey Graham earlier in the broadcast, Priebus says they are all united in everything--


BOB SCHIEFFER: --but if you listen to what Lindsey Graham said and you listen to what Priebus said, there's a great divide here.

GWEN IFILL: And there is even a divide among Tea Party conservatives because as we know there's not really a leader of the Tea Party, there's-- or else they would have been able to seize some sort of leadership role in Congress. They're all over the place. But if you are a good candidate, like Lindsey Graham was in South Carolina who saw his challenge coming, if you are a good candidate like Mitch McConnell was in Missouri who's-- in Kentucky who saw his candidate-- his challenge coming, you position yourself so that you don't get taken down by the random Tea Party candidate. Unfortunately, if you are that Thad Cochran in Mississippi or you are Eric Cantor in Virginia and you don't see it coming, you are not positioned to take it out. So it's not-- so the Tea Party is strengthened, but they're not-- they don't want to do with the strength and the-- and the middle of the road establishment is shaken and they don't quite know how to get it. I mean we saw stocks tumble for Boeing this week when Eric Cantor lost. So they obviously understood they lost an ally. There is a-- there is a-- anybody who says that there is not a lot of soul searching going on is not listening here.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, I think we have several Republican Parties right now. I think we have a House Republican Party. And these are people most of whom do not have very many Hispanics in their district, and voting against immigration reform is an easy vote for a House Republican right now.


BOB SCHIEFFER: But then you have people like Lindsey Graham, people are looking at it from the national level who say, look, the demographics in this country are changing. There is no way we're ever going to elect a President if you can only get twenty-seven percent of this fast growing demographic here.

NANCY CORDES: And it's amusing how many press releases I've gotten from people running for Congress this week who are claiming to be the next Dave Brat, everyone is trying to claim the mantle of Dave Brat who brought down--

GWEN IFILL: And they could be. Who knows, we didn't see this coming.

NANCY CORDES: Yeah, you know it could be. And immigration was his big issue. But I think the bigger challenge for Eric Cantor was not the fact that he was for immigration reform or against it, but that people didn't really know where he stood. First, he came out very forcefully against immigration, then he said he was for it for the kids, and then he backed away from that when it looked like that was unpopular. So I think the challenge for people in his district are not just that issue but a number of issues whether they weren't really quite sure where he stood.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, Robert, you-- you probably know more about this than the rest of us because you have spent time in that district. But this is going to bring new meaning to faculty politics because here's Brat who is an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College. And it turns out the Democrat in this race is also a professor at Randolph-Macon College, this little school of, what, fifteen hundred people.

ROBERT COSTA: It's better they did in the final four.

BOB SCHIEFFER: But does he have any chance at all or is this just such a heavily Republican district?

ROBERT COSTA: I spoke with Tom Bliley, Cantor's predecessor there. And he said this is mainly a Republican district. It-- it will stay that way. And I think the point about immigration is an important one. Who now has the political capital inside the House GOP to actually move immigration forward? When I talked to members on Friday night, they said only two people, John Boehner and Paul Ryan. And among-- with all this unrest, will they move forward? Doubtful.

GWEN IFILL: Here's the good news, though, for Republicans and John Boehner has ceased on it. Sometimes we stop listening to him because he says it all the time, he's very consistent. And that's that Republicans may disagree with each other about things within the party, but they agree that they're unhappy about Barack Obama. They agree that they believe that Democrats are taking the country on a very bad path. You look at this new Pew poll that came out this week which showed polarization. There is such anger and such division that the Republicans know that they can focus on what they agree on and that's what John Boehner did. He pivoted to me talking about what was wrong with the President.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you quickly about Iraq.


BOB SCHIEFFER: If the President does decide to go to Congress to ask if-- if he decides he wants air strikes--


BOB SCHIEFFER --will he-- will they approve that?

NANCY CORDES: You know there is no consensus in Iraq right now about what the U.S. should do. I asked Speaker Boehner this week, does he think that the U.S. should launch air strikes. He says he doesn't have enough information to make that decision, but all he knows is that the President is taking a nap. If the President does ask for Congress's approval, he's going to have to do a better job than a year ago when he asked for approval to launch air strikes in Syria. He was resoundingly defeated that time. He's going to have to make a very strong case of what he wants to do and what it will accomplish.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, I want to thank all of you. And we'll stay tuned, as it were and what a week we've had. We'll be back in a moment.


BOB SCHIEFFER: And we welcome now two of the most well-known and respected lawyers in America, David Boies and former U.S. solicitor General Ted Olson. They've gone against each other many times in big lawsuits, most famously in 2000 when they argued the case Gore v. Bush, which decided the presidential election for George W. Bush. But they joined forces some ten years later when they convinced the Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8 which cleared the way for same sex marriage in California. They have a new book out, Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality and we welcome them now to the broadcast.

THEODORE OLSON (Redeeming the Dream): Thank you, Bob.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Ted, you're a famous conservative, David you're a liberal. But, Ted, tell us how this partnership came about because, surprisingly, you were the first one to sign on on this case. How did that happen and how did you recruit David?

THEODORE OLSON: When people approached me about whether I would take this case to challenge the constitutionality of that law, I was happy to do it. I felt that it was something that needed to be done. I felt it was wrong. And I felt we needed to vindicate the rights of gay and lesbian citizens. But I also knew that I was a conservative and I had a reputation as a conservative. And I wasn't so sure that people would trust me. And we also wanted to make this case to be understood by the American people as not about conservatives or liberals, but about American values and I wanted a partner in that endeavor and I reached out to David, who I have great respect for. He's a fantastic lawyer. And I ask him whether he could be a partner with me in this case. And he agreed.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, were you surprised when he calls you, David?

DAVID BOIES (Redeeming the Dream): Not really. We've been looking for something to do together for a long time. This was obviously a very important case. I don't think it took me more than a second or two to say yes. This was-- for those of us of this generation, I mean, who have grown up in the Civil Rights struggle for racial equality that was the defining Civil Rights battle when we were young. And I think this is the defining Civil Rights issue of the current decade. This is the last area where the government actually discriminates against its own citizens. We have a lot of room to improve in terms of social discrimination. There's a lot of discrimination out there that still has to be ended.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Some of your close friends were really troubled by your decision to do this, what did you say to them?

THEODORE OLSON: Well, I said to them, listen to us, listen to David and I. We're talking about our fellow American citizens, our brothers and our sisters and our neighbors and our co-workers and our doctors and our lawyers. Gay and lesbian citizens are all around us. They are just like us. They have the same aspirations. They have the same dreams. They have the same fallacies as the rest of us. What is the matter with this country if we can't treat them equally? Marriage is a coming together of two individuals who love one another, who want to form a part of the community and have a stable family and a stable relationship. What is more conservative than that?

BOB SCHIEFFER: And David, one of the most surprising things to me in this book was that you say that some gays were really worried about going this route. They thought the risk was too high. What did you say to them?

DAVID BOIES: Yes. Well, when we got in to it, what we found was that people who had spent decades fighting for equal rights and fighting for the right to have equality in marriage really didn't think this was the right time to bring this lawsuit.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, what was it that they were worried about?

DAVID BOIES: And I think people were concerned that if we went in to federal court at a time that we couldn't win, if we lost this case, not only would we lose this case but we would get an opinion from the court that would be hostile to gay and lesbian rights generally. We didn't think that was going to happen. And we also thought that we didn't have a choice in a sense, this case was going to be brought. Somebody was going to bring it. And we thought that with the experience that we had, and with the resources that our firms could devote to this, we could really prepare this case well. And it was important that when the case got to the Supreme Court it got to the Supreme Court perfectly prepared. And while nobody can ever do a perfect job, we thought we could as good a job as anybody in doing that and a better job perhaps than some people that didn't have the resources.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Both of you, are you surprised at how quickly Americans seem to be changing their minds about same sex marriage?

THEODORE OLSON: I-- I think extraordinary. There's a huge tide running in favor of not just same sex marriage but equality and respect for the dignity of gay and lesbian individuals. We're talking about what it is to be a gay and lesbian individual in our society. What is the impact of discrimination? The more we talk about it, the more people understand that and the more people are changing the way they regard civil rights with respect to sexual orientation.

DAVID BOIES: I think that's-- I think that's exactly right. I mean what you had was a topic that lot of people didn't talk about. And one of the things that this case did is it made people talk about it and it gave us an opportunity to get people to focus on it. And when you focus on it, I really don't think there're two sides to this case. Okay. We-- we proved that marriage was a fundamental right, everybody agrees with that. The only question is should you extend that right to loving couples of the same sex. And what we proved is that depriving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry seriously harms them and seriously harms the children that they're raising. And we also proved that depriving gay and lesbian citizens of the right to marry doesn't help anybody, doesn't help heterosexual couples, doesn't help their marriages. Their marriages are going to succeed or fail on their own merits. So there wasn't any legitimate reason for it and I think as people begin to talk about it they begin to realize that.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, it's a pleasure to have you.

DAVID BOIES: Great to be here.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And congratulations to you on the book. I found it fascinating. Thank you so much.

THEODORE OLSON: Thank you, Bob.

DAVID BOIES: Thank you very much.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And we'll be back in a minute.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, that's it for us today. One sad note to report, legendary radio personality Casey Kasem died this morning at the age of eighty-two after a long illness.

We want to thank you for watching FACE THE NATION. We also want to wish all those dads and granddads and papas and pops and all those other names that they call you guys out there a very happy Father's Day. You know who you are. Happy day.

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