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Face the Nation transcripts March 20, 2016: Kasich, Sanders, Graham

This is the March 20, 2016 edition of Face the Nation. Guests included John Kasich, Bernie Sanders, Lindsey Graham, Frank Luntz, Susan Page, Reihan Salam, Ruth Marcus, Jonathan Martin, Miguel Estrada and Jan Crawford.

JOHN DICKERSON, HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: Campaign 2016 rumbles on, and as the front-runners pick up more wins and delegates, can anything or anyone stop them?




DICKERSON: Those who want to stop Donald Trump from winning the Republican nomination are running out of options. It's down to a three-man race, but is there realistic chance of winning for either John Kasich or Ted Cruz?


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You have the establishment. They don't know what they're doing. They have no clue. They don't know how to win.


DICKERSON: We will talk to the only candidate who beat Donald Trump last week, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and talk to a brand-new Ted Cruz supporter, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.

We will ask Bernie Sanders if his revolution has slowed now that Hillary Clinton is campaign back on track.

Plus, we will have some insights from Florida voters' disappointment in the prospect of matchup between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is supposed to be the greatest country on earth, and, right now, we're being forced to pick the lesser of two evils.


DICKERSON: It's all ahead on FACE THE NATION. Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION. I'm John Dickerson.

There was more violence and protests this weekend on the campaign trail. Outside Phoenix, Arizona, protesters blockaded the road leading to a Trump rally for several hours. Three were arrested. Later in Tucson, a man who was with woman wearing a KKK hood was punched in the face by a Trump supporter.

And about 1,000 anti-Trump protesters in New York City marched from Central Park to Trump Tower. All of this activity has picked up as Donald Trump seems headed towards his party's nomination.

Trying to stop that in a more peaceful way is Governor John Kasich of Ohio. We spoke with him earlier.


DICKERSON: Governor, in order for to you get the nomination, you would have to win more than 100 percent of the remaining delegates. So how are you going to do it?

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, first of all, nobody is going to have the delegates they need going to the convention. Everyone will fall short.

And the convention, by the way, is an extension of the political process. So, what will happen is people will go there with a certain number of delegates. We will go in to Cleveland with momentum. And then delegates are going to consider two things, number one, who can win in the fall? And I'm the only one that can. That's what the polls indicate.

And, number two, John, a really crazy consideration, like, who could actually be president of the United States? I think when they take a look at my record, both in Washington and in Ohio, with the job growth, the wage growth, reforming the Pentagon, and they can understand that I have the crossover appeal, I think I will be picked.

So, I don't think anybody is going to get there with the delegates that they need to win.

DICKERSON: Why shouldn't the person who goes in to the convention, if they don't have majority of delegates, but if they're well ahead, why shouldn't they get the nomination?


KASICH: You know what, it's like one of my daughters said. Well, I had an 86 my other friends had less than that, so I should get an A.

I said: "We got rules, you know, sweetie. You have got to make a 90 to get an A."

In other words, we have got rules as to how many delegates you ought to get. And if you go in way ahead, you're likely to be picked. But what's interesting is in the 10 contested Republican Conventions, you know that the leader going in only got picked three times?

And, again, John, I have to tell you that who is going to win in the fall? Who is going to beat Hillary? These other folks can't win. They can't win Ohio. I can tell you that. And -- but, in addition, look at the resume. Look at the record. Who actually can fix this country? Who can get us moving again both domestically and with foreign policy?

So, that should be a consideration now. It's not much of one, to be honest with you. But when we get to a convention -- see, because I was there when Ronald Reagan actually challenged Gerald Ford. Can you imagine how many people were mad at Reagan? But his message mattered. He came close. He ultimately became one of the greatest presidents we have ever had.

So, the convention is a very interesting thing and delegates take things extremely seriously.

DICKERSON: Has anybody...

KASICH: But let me also tell you, John, if somebody can get the numbers, they would win. They're not going to get the numbers. So, let's just everybody chill out.

DICKERSON: Some people have suggested you should drop out so somebody can get the numbers, because Ted Cruz is closer to that number than you are.

KASICH: He needs 80 percent of the votes in order to -- of the vote to get it. That's not going to happen, John. You know it and I know it.


DICKERSON: Has anyone asked you to drop out, though?

KASICH: Nobody is calling me directly and asking me to drop out.

DICKERSON: Have they called your campaign?

KASICH: And, by the way, why don't they drop out?

Wait a minute, John, why don't they drop out? I'm the one that can win in the fall. You know another interesting thing? This party has run around for seven years saying, how is it that we elected a one-term United States senator to be president who has never had the experience? Whatever happened to that? Remember that?

So, here is what I would say. I can win in the fall. They cannot.

DICKERSON: You say you're delivering positive message. You have stayed away from some of the back and forth. Would you not in the purpose -- in the pursuit of your nomination not want the help of the stop Trump forces, the organized efforts to stop Donald Trump?

KASICH: You know, John, I'm not -- I am not in this for some political science game or some calculation.

Let me just tell you, the people are nervous about their work, their wages, their kids' future. That's what I focus on, responding to that legitimate concern that they have. And I tell them exactly how in Washington we had great success and balanced the budget and grew jobs.

And I tell them about the 417,000 people who are now working in Ohio who didn't have a job when I became governor. I have people that come to my rallies and thank me for the fact that I have focused on the issue of mental illness and drug addition. I don't have time to sit around thinking about this anti-Trump group or that group.

Let me just do my job, OK? Let me just continue to communicate to the public, and we will see where it all ends up. But I think this is a very, very constructive message to the American people, because I want you, the American people, you in your living rooms, to believe that you can change the world, and we need you to do it, because you will revive the spirit of our country.

DICKERSON: But, Governor, then people who are trying to stop Donald Trump believe that many of the things you have just described are imperiled by his candidacy, and that gets them a little exercised in the same way you're exercised.

So, I'm just wondering whether you think that they're wrong, they're crazy, they have missed something?

KASICH: No, let them go and do -- look, you know what is interesting?

Some of those very same people wanted me to get out of the race and they wanted to get behind Rubio. What happened? Rubio's out, I'm in. OK? If I don't win Ohio, guess what? Trump is the nominee. I win Ohio, now they want me to get out? What do you -- listen, these are the same establishment people that have been fighting me my entire political career.

And you know what? I'll tell what is in my mind's eye, the people I grew up with in McKees Rocks, the people that walk door to door for me. We had people from 22 states manning phone banks in Ohio. They came from all over the country to help, because they're hopeful that, together, we can raise this country.

I don't have time to think about all this political calculation in some backroom somewhere, OK, John? I'm just not doing it. You have known me long enough to know that what you see with me is what you get, period, end of story.

DICKERSON: But you have in fact brought on people to help you with the calculation, people with experience in previous contested...


DICKERSON: So, you are, in fact, thinking about the calculation. You just don't want to talk about it.

KASICH: Well, John, look, wait a minute, first of all, the convention is an extension of this process.

Of course I want Stu Spencer. Of course I want Charlie black. Of course I want Vin Weber. Of course I want Tom Ridge. These are -- of course I want the former governor of Utah. I want them all to help me.

And what do we think, the convention is some sort of subterfuge? It's nothing more than an extension of what we're doing now. And if nobody gets delegates, which they won't, then we will have to work -- we will have to work at the convention.

And I will spend my time convincing them about my electability and my record. And if they buy it, great. And if they don't, I will have done my best. John, I'm perfectly comfortable with this.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you a presidential question about Merrick Garland put forward by the president for the Supreme Court. This could be a decision you have to handle.

What is your sense of -- what is your feeling about the way that your Republican colleagues have responded to that nomination from the president?

KASICH: Well, look, I never thought the president should send it, because I knew something was going to happen. I mean, frankly, they probably ought to all sit down and meet with the guy.

And my feeling is, at the end of the day, whoever gets elected president should be in a position to be able to pick who they want. And the American people will decide by either voting for a Republican or Democrat what the makeup of the court is.

I just think that is a process that can unite us, rather than a process that right now continues to divide us.

DICKERSON: As someone who has talked about unity, would you take a look at Mr. Garland when you -- if you were elected president?

KASICH: Well, you know, he received overwhelming support, I think even from Senator Hatch. So, of course we'd think about it.

The way we do it, John, is, we look at a person's record. I want a conservative who is not going to make the law, but who will interpret the law, and somebody of high standing. I don't care about their peccadillos 30 years ago.

But, yes, we have a process. I have appointed over 100 judges in Ohio, including a woman that, fortunately, I was able to appoint to the Ohio Supreme Court, and we have had good success with our selections.

DICKERSON: All right, Governor John Kasich of Ohio, thanks so much for being with us.

KASICH: Thank you.


DICKERSON: After we taped that interview yesterday, Governor Kasich said that he would not appoint Judge Garland to the Supreme Court and that his comments were an effort to be polite.

Joining us now from the campaign trail is Senator Bernie Sanders, who is in Tucson, Arizona.

Senator, we have looked at the math here for the contests going forward, and it looks like you would have to win almost 60 percent of the remaining delegates. So, what is your path to the nomination? That's a big number.


But I think that the states that are coming up -- just on Tuesday, we got Idaho, we got Utah, we got Arizona. We're heading out West to Washington. We got Alaska. We have Hawaii. We're then heading to New York.

We think that the path forward is a pretty good path for us. Clearly, Secretary Clinton did very, very well in the Deep South, not a strong area for us. But I think, as we go forward, you're going to see us doing better and better.

And, by the way, I think people are also going to appreciate when they look at the polls that Bernie Sanders does better against Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton does. In fact, in the last NBC poll, we were 18 points ahead of Donald Trump, far more so than Secretary Clinton. I think that will play a factor in the coming states.

DICKERSON: And Secretary Clinton won in Ohio and Illinois. Those -- that's not the Deep South.

SANDERS: Well, but here is the point, as you well know. She did. And we won in Michigan.

But, at the end of the day, if you look at Michigan, if you look at Illinois, if you look at Missouri, we come out almost the same in terms of delegates.

DICKERSON: Hillary Clinton has got about two million more votes than you have.

The theory of your campaign and of your presidency has been to create a movement, to create momentum, to gather people. But she seems to be able to gather more people behind her message than you. Isn't that a threat to the theory of the Sanders campaign?

SANDERS: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, John, not at all.

I mean, what you're really talking about is, she did very well in the Deep South. She creamed us in Mississippi and Alabama and South Carolina. I wish I didn't have to say this, but everything being equal, no Democrat right now -- I hope that changes, and I think it will -- is going to win those elections, those states in the general election.

We have now won nine states. I think, in a couple of weeks, you're going to see us win more states. I think, as we head to the West Coast, which is probably the most progressive part of America, the ideas that we're fighting for, dealing with the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality, a national health care system through Medicare for all, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, I think the people in those states really are not going to be voting for establishment politics and establishment economics.

They want real change. I think we're going to do well there.

DICKERSON: You have over the last month or so been drawing greater contrasts with Hillary Clinton. Should we continue to see that all the way up through the convention?

There have been people who have said, fine, let the race continue, but every sharp attack or distinction that Senator Sanders draws has the potential of unsettling things if Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee.

SANDERS: Well, trust me, there is nothing that I am ever going to say about Secretary Clinton -- and I have never run a negative ad. And you should see some of the attacks that are coming against us from the Clinton campaign.

Nothing that I will say will compare in any way to what the Republicans will say. And what an election is about, John, is a contrast in ideas. It is differences of opinion. And, yes, Hillary Clinton has moved over the last 10 months much closer to the positions that I have been advocating for 20 or 30 years.

But the differences remain. Our history in politics is very different. And I think the people of this country deserve to know that. And I think the central issue is, if you are Secretary Clinton and you are taking many millions of dollars through your super PAC from Wall Street, from the drug companies, from the fossil fuel industry, are you really going to be the agent of change in taking on the billionaire class, taking on Wall Street, taking on the big money interests, which we need in my view right now?

And that is an issue that the voters will have to decide.

DICKERSON: One last tactical question, Senator. There's been a report that you might go to the convention and if you're behind in delegates try to flip those superdelegates to win through using the superdelegates. Is that a strategy you are looking at?

SANDERS: The whole concept of superdelegates is problematic.

But I would say that, in states where we have won by 20, 25 points, you know what? I think it might be good idea for superdelegates to listen to the people in their home state. I just talked to a person the other day who said, you know what, I am going to listen to my state, and if my state votes for you, Bernie, you're going to have my vote.

I think that -- I would hope that a lot of the superdelegates will take that factor into consideration.

DICKERSON: So, yes, that is a strategy you're pursuing?

SANDERS: Well, to say to a superdelegate, Bernie Sanders won your state by 20 or 30 points, you might want to listen to your state, I think that that is common sense and I think superdelegates should do that.

DICKERSON: But if they didn't -- if they didn't come from a state that you won, they shouldn't feel compelled to go for you?

SANDERS: Well, that's -- legally, they have their own decision to be made. They have their own right to make that decision.

But I would argue that many of these superdelegates, for them, what is most important, as it is for me and Secretary Clinton, by the way, is making sure that no Republican occupies the White House. And if people conclude by the end of this campaign, if we have the energy -- and it's an if -- if we win a number of states -- that's also an if -- but if that is the factor, and it appears that I am the stronger candidate against Trump, I think you're going to see some superdelegates saying, you know what? I like Hillary Clinton, but I want to win this thing. Bernie is our guy.

DICKERSON: All right. Senator Sanders, thanks so much for being with us.

SANDERS: Thank you, John.

DICKERSON: And we will be back in a moment.


DICKERSON: We're back with former Republican presidential candidate and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who is now supporting Senator Cruz.




DICKERSON: We didn't want to rub that in, Senator.


DICKERSON: You once said that choosing between Trump and Cruz is like the difference between being shot or poisoned. So, how is your health?

GRAHAM: Well, you can -- maybe they will find an antidote to poisoning. It's hard once you're shot to get over it.

The bottom line is that I believe Donald Trump would be an absolute, utter disaster for the Republican Party, destroy conservatism as we know it. We'd get wiped out, and it would take generations to overcome a Trump candidacy.

Ronald Reagan had the three-legged stool of conservative, fiscal, social, and strong national security. Donald Trump has a four-legged stool because he's the Donald. It's got to be bigger.

Economic populism, xenophobia, race-baiting, and religious bigotry are the stool that he has formed. That is his campaign. That is not conservatism. Ted Cruz, in my view, is a real Republican who I often disagree with. I'm supporting Ted because I think he's the best alternative to Donald Trump.

John Kasich is the most electable Republican. I don't know he has a chance to win at the convention, because it's an outsider year, and John Kasich is an insider, and most of the delegates are looking for an outsider. I love John Kasich, but if he stays in this race, or they don't coordinate the efforts between Cruz and Kasich, we're going to wind up giving the nomination to Trump.

DICKERSON: You say it's an outsider year. And your description of Trump's campaign, it's a very popular campaign. People are turning up to his rallies. He's getting the votes.

GRAHAM: Yes, 35 to 40 percent is probably where he's going to be.

A lot of people believe that illegal immigration is a real problem. He's playing on their fears. He says most of them are rapists and drug dealers. They're not.

Here is why we're losing the Hispanic vote. Nobody is going to listen to you about your economic plan or your ability to defend the nation if you're going to deport their grandmother.

I'm in the party of family values. And I like that. There are 11 million illegal immigrants; 60 percent have been here a decade. Many of them have American children, American citizen children and grandchildren. What do you think is going to happen to my Republican friends if our position is that we're going to take the grandmother of an American citizen, member of the military who is illegal?

How do we get that person to vote for us if we're going to deport their grandmother, when all she's done is violate the immigration laws?

This is why we're getting killed with Hispanics. And Mr. Trump has taken every problem we have had with Hispanics and poured gasoline on it. DICKERSON: What do you think? What is the gap between the Republicans who share your view, or some of them, and would like to stop Donald Trump...

GRAHAM: Right.

DICKERSON: ... and say that privately -- what is the gap between what they say privately and what they're willing to do publicly?

GRAHAM: We're a divided party. We have got a lot of angry people in our base who have been told things by Senator Cruz and others that we could more than we actually could do.

The country is in a mess. I can understand being frustrated with illegal immigration. But you're not going to fix it by having a position like Mr. Trump that has no chance of getting through the Senate.

DICKERSON: But what I'm asking is, how many people do you have behind you to really stop Donald Trump? Because, right now, he's rolling on past all these efforts to try and stop...

GRAHAM: Sixty-five percent of the Republican Party would like to vote for somebody other than Donald Trump.

We're about to nominate the one person that not only would lose in 2016, but would destroy the party for decades to come. I would rather lose without Trump than try to win with him. And if he wants to lead the party, lead.

DICKERSON: So, you won't vote for him if he's the nominee?

GRAHAM: Ask me after the convention that question.

But I'm making it pretty clear to you that I think Mr. Trump destroys the party that I love. As much as I disagree with Ted Cruz, I think he's a real Republican. He would nominate conservative judges. He will not sell Israel out. He's a reliable Republican conservative. Mr. Trump is an interloper and what -- a demagogue of the greatest proportion.

DICKERSON: You signed a pledge, though, so you would be willing to break that pledge?

GRAHAM: Well, I'm out of the race now.


GRAHAM: And here's what I want Republicans to do.

We can lose an election, but I don't want us to lose our heart and soul. If we nominate Donald Trump, and he carries the banner of the Republican Party, given who he is and what he said about immigrants, about Muslims and young women, we will not just lose the election. We have lost the heart and soul of the conservative movement. That's what is at stake. And I hope John Kasich is listening.

John, if I thought you could win, I would be behind you, because you are the most electable candidate. Work with Ted to deny Trump 1,237 or 1,239, or whatever the number is. And if you're not willing to work with Ted, then you're hurting the cause. By Kasich going to Utah, you're making it harder for Ted to get 50 percent.

DICKERSON: You have got to speak later today about the future of the Middle East. Which is more complicated, future of the Middle East or the Republican Party?

GRAHAM: There's a pathway forward in the Mideast. I don't see one right now for the Republican Party.

In all seriousness, there are lot of issues that the country will be dealing with in the future. How do you bring the broken and divided country together? Is Mr. Trump the answer to the problems in the Mideast? His foreign policy is gibberish. The Mideast is a mess. The Republican Party is at a tipping point here.

We're going down one of two roads, the Trump road, which is the destruction of conservatism. We're going to reevaluate and go down a road a little more optimistic. And I think Ted Cruz and John Kasich represent that path. But the Mideast politics to me seem to be less of mess right now than Republican Party. And that is saying a hell of a lot.

DICKERSON: Very, very quickly, at the end here, where in the law or the Constitution does -- is there support for blocking the president's nominee on the Supreme Court?

GRAHAM: You need to ask President Obama that, because that's what he did.

DICKERSON: So, you -- all right, Senator, we're going to have to end it there.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

DICKERSON: We're running out of time.

We will have to figure out that question later. Thanks so much for being here, Senator Cruz (sic).

GRAHAM: Thank you.

DICKERSON: And we will be right back.


DICKERSON: It could be months before either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump officially clinches their party's nomination.

But voters across America are already thinking about the prospect of a contest between the two of them in the fall. Last week, CBS News contributor and Republican strategist Frank Luntz talked to a group of Florida voters who are more likely to support none of the above than either Clinton for Trump.


FRANK LUNTZ, CBS NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: So, let's set the tone for everybody at home.

How many of you have a positive impression of Donald Trump. Raise your hands. None of you. How many of you have a positive impression of Hillary Clinton? Raise your hands. None of you. So, you must not be pretty happy about this election so far. What is going on? Explain it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we're just losing sight -- or the candidates are losing sight about what is really important to the American people. They're thinking more about each other, instead of us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the office is more important than these people that are running. And they're losing track of what they're trying to achieve.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm most troubled by the fact that so many people support Hillary and Trump. It's shocking to me. I mean, none of them are people that I know in my life. They don't like him. And they don't like Hillary. And they are so emotionally driven. They act like kids a lot of times when they're talking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I think that Donald Trump is treating this like a reality show kind of like a midlife crisis.

He's already got the car, he's already got the plane. Now he wants to buy the presidency, buy the country. And Hillary Clinton, she's -- that's all she's got is government service life, and she's been banking on it and making money off of it this entire time.


DICKERSON: We will hear more from these Florida voters and Frank Luntz in our next half-hour.


DICKERSON: Some of our CBS stations are leaving us now, but, for most of you, we will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION, including our political panel and a discussion of the Supreme Court.

Stay with us.


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

CBS News contributor and Republican strategist Frank Luntz spoke with a group of Florida Republicans and Democratic voters who oppose both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Let's listen to some of their conversation.


FRANK LUNTZ, CBS NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: You don't trust Hillary Clinton?



LUNTZ: You don't trust Donald Trump?



LUNTZ: How could he be more qualified than Hillary Clinton?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean Hillary Clinton hasn't done anything that has made her qualified. The only thing -

LUNTZ: United States senator. Secretary of state. First lady.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry to say she's a flip flopper. That's just the way it is. She's a - for me, I - I see character because people stand - people's stance on issues can change, as we have all seen. Character defines who you are, not what you do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And titles aren't accomplishments.

LUNTZ: So I'm going to play for viewers at home that clip that you reacted to and then I want to understand why you resented it so much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You talk about leveling with the American people. Have you always told the truth?

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've always tried to. Always. Always.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some people are going to call that wiggle room that you just gave yourself -

CLINTON: Well, no, I -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Always, always tried to.

CLINTON: No, I've always tried to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, you know, Jimmy Carter said, I will never lie to you.

CLINTON: Well, but that's a - but, you know, you're asking me to say, have I ever - I don't believe I ever have. LUNTZ: What was wrong?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She just - you could turn off the sound and still see on her face that she was lying. She was the worst liar I think I've ever seen in my life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She lied about lying. I mean hard is it -


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For me it comes down to - to literally a - a bottom line decision to what length am I willing to go to keep Trump out of the White House.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do I have to pick the lesser of two evils to - for someone to run the free world? This is supposed to be the greatest country on earth and right now we're being forced to pick the lesser of two evils.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All these people keep saying that there's two Donald Trumps. Well, first off, I'd like a president with one personality. But if that other personality is better, can we see that, please?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That he already said he's going to - he's a chameleon and that he'll be totally different when he takes office. So even if he changed, would we even know if that's the real Donald Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm 46. I have every single - I have voted in every single election, always for a Republican, and I will not vote if it's Donald Trump.

LUNTZ: How can you not?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I don't - I'm not bound to my party. I am bound to my country and to my God and to myself.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The country's more important.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because neither candidate is acceptable. And there are going to be a lot of Republicans like me who are going to hope for a brokered convention. That somebody's going to emerge from the convention and have an acceptable, conservative real Republican as our nominee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what I hear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is great opportunity -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: that's what I hear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is what we're demonstrating. There is a great opportunity for someone. And that person had better come forward fast because if the Republican put Donald Trump up and if the Democrats put Hillary Clinton, it will be the worst turnout election ever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have been voting straight Republican for over 30 years and at this point in time I need to be able to look my grandson in the eye and tell him that I voted with principle. I supported a candidate of principle.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And right now we don't have one.


DICKERSON: And Frank Luntz is with us now.

Frank, this was a bipartisan group. How hard was it to find the none-of-the-above voters?

LUNTZ: Instantaneous. We recruited that in less than 24 hours. There are so many of them. If you ask - asked me, I'd say about 15 percent of the electorate right now is none of the above. It's never been this high this early in the campaign.

DICKERSON: What about the Democrats versus the Republicans? I mean there is a - some people say a false equivalence by saying, yes, people are unhappy in the Democratic Party with Hillary Clinton, perhaps, but there is absolute terror in the Republican Party.

LUNTZ: The difference is that it's trust. It's integrity with Hillary Clinton and with Trump it's unpredictability and both of them are poisonous. And you can see it in the electorate right now. The fact is that with each week the demonstrations get worse. The rejection of the other side gets worse. The unwillingness to listen and try to decide who's telling the truth and whose best to lead us, it becomes more and more difficult. I've never seen so many Republicans rejecting the likely nominee. I've never seen so many Democrats saying that, I will not vote for her. This is significant.

DICKERSON: You know, I remember in - in '08 there were a lot of Clinton supporters who said, we're never going to vote for Barack Obama. In Indiana one exit poll had that number close to 50 percent. So give me a sense of how these voters, can they be changed? Is there anything Trump or Clinton could do to change their minds or -

LUNTZ: It is - it is so much easier to take someone who's got a positive image and make it negative than it is to take someone with a negative image and make it positive. In Donald Trump's case, his language, his tone, his demeanor has brought so many people into the Republican Party that don't consider themselves Republican but they're voting for him because they believe that he appreciates their anger. But he's losing a greater number of people in the general election. And, in fact, these protests work for him in the primary. They make him more likely to win because Republicans are gathering around him to protect him from the attacks on the left. But in the general election, undecided, independent, moderate voters don't like this at all.

And in Hillary Clinton's case, she's got to be careful because these Bernie Sanders voters are so devoted to him, and so committed to him, not because of policy but also because of persona that they think he's honest and direct and sincere. This campaign is not going to be about policy between now and November. It's going to be about who they are.

DICKERSON: So on the Republican side, just quickly, so, Senator Cruz versus Hillary Clinton does better in a general election than Donald Trump?

LUNTZ: Oh, boy. I think Cruz does better because it's not just about who they are, it's also about how they think and their plans for the future. On economic policy, he'd have the advantage. On social issues, she'd have the advantage. And on foreign policy it's a wash. With Donald Trump, I don't know what he's going to say. You don't know what he's going to say. I don't think Donald Trump knows what he's going to say.

DICKERSON: Yes. All right, Frank Luntz, thanks so much.

LUNTZ: Thank you.

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


DICKERSON: We're back now with our politics panel. Susan Page is Washington bureau chief at "USA Today." Reihan Salam is the executive editor of "The National Review." Ruth Marcus is a columnist at "The Washington Post." And Jonathan Martin is national political correspondent for "The New York Times."

Susan, I want to start with you. Where is the Republican race now as you see it?

SUSAN PAGE, "USA TODAY": You know, John Kasich told you in your interview that there had been ten contested conventions and that only three of them went with the frontrunner. But there's been one contested convention since we went to the modern primary system and it went with the frontrunner going into the convention, that was Gerald Ford in 1976.

Like it or not, Donald Trump is likely to be the Republican nominee for president. And that can be a really messy convention or it can be a relatively smooth convention. But the fact is, he is by far the most likely nominee going at this moment.

JONATHAN MARTIN, "NEW YORK TIMES": But we're not going to know until California, probably, which is the last day of voting, June 7th, when California and New Jersey, two large states, will cast their ballot. And California is district by district, which means - with the possibility of a - the GOP race, John, coming down to a Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Donald Trump battle. The heartland of Santa Monica, Marin County. We - we are red America -

DICKERSON: Yes, right.

MARTIN: Could decide who the next GOP nominee is.


Reihan, what - if you are - if you are not certain about Donald Trump, or you're actively trying to work against him, where does the smart activity go? Do you get behind Kasich? Do you ask Kasich to drop out? What's your -

REIHAN SALAM, NATIONAL REVIEW: Look, Kasich has a lot of decent qualities. He is someone who would fare well in a general election. He's from the Midwest. He's from a big swing state. It's also true that it is impossible for him to win. And the idea that he is going to be the one coming out of a brokered convention is just - it just defies comprehension. You know, it speaks to level of self-dilution that - I mean there have been a lot of delusional candidates in this race. Ted Cruz is very flawed, but what is also true is that he has a very strong, consistent position on immigration. One can imagine some of the voters that Donald Trump has energized going behind - going along with Ted Cruz. It is very hard to imagine many other Republicans pulling that off.

And the other difficulty is that conservatives have to move on a parallel track, which is thinking hard about a minor party race as well. And doing both of those things at once -


SALAM: Trying to deny Trump the nomination while also trying to organize outside of the party if necessary to give conservatives a place to vote, is going to be really challenging.

DICKERSON: So you need a third party creation.


DICKERSON: Ruth, Donald Trump's meeting with some Washington Republicans this week. He's talking about phone calls with Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and unity. What about those Republicans who are getting to yes with Donald Trump?

RUTH MARCUS, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, there are some Republicans getting to yes with Donald Trump, but there are a lot of Republicans getting to, OMG with Donald Trump. And I think we need to sort of pause and appreciate the pigs flying moment that we're in right now, to have Lindsey Graham to - endorsing Ted Cruz on the -

DICKERSON: Because of all the things he's said that have not been complementary to Senator Cruz.

MARCUS: Because of - yes, to have the Republican establishment, which Ted Cruz has spent his entire time in Washington and before kicking in the teeth, now trying to coalesce around Ted Cruz is pretty remarkable. The - the Trump outreach to the establishment is interesting, but what we see with Trump is, there's kind of one part outreach and then two steps of, oh, there will be riots and, you know, just behavior and comments that are just not acceptable to the Republican establishment.

One really quick thing. I find the third party piece, and I know you guys wrote about it, very far-fetched. The ballot access rules make it very difficult to mount a serious third party challenge.

MARTIN: But let me just add one fast point there. It is very difficult to get somebody on the balance to run as an independent, which is why what they're looking at doing is basically piggybacking on one of the - the minor parties, libertarians, constitution, that already have valid access. And in doing that it makes it a little bit easier. It's still certainly a long ball, perhaps even a Hail Mary, but if you do it with a party that already exists, it's a little bit easier.

DICKERSON: Would the parties that already exist allow themselves to be the host?

MARTIN: Well -

MARCUS: And - and -

MARTIN: And that's the other -

DICKERSON: (INAUDIBLE) Republican Party?

MARTIN: That's the other challenge, too, is you have to - you have to convince them that that's what you're doing.

But this is sort of -

MARCUS: And to what end? What's the goal?

MARTIN: To stop Trump from winning the presidency.

MARCUS: Stop - and then what happens?

MARTIN: Well, you deny him the presidency -

SALAM: (INAUDIBLE). There are - there - it's about a fifth to a quarter of Republicans.

MARTIN: And possibly throw (ph) (INAUDIBLE) the House.

SALAM: About a fifth to a quarter of Republicans who will not vote for Donald Trump. MARTIN: Right.

SALAM: Who are simply not going to turn out for him. When you think about down ballot races, when you think about the party apparatus going forward -

MARTIN: Right.

SALAM: It is not obvious that this third party bid would not actually be a vessel for the party to succumb (ph).


SALAM: Because another thing, you know, that Frank pointed out earlier, is that if you look at young people, 18-29 voters, they choose Bernie Sanders by a wide margin of the Republican field.


SALAM: The Republican Party needs to think around the bend.


SALAM: Donald Trump is - he's energized a lot of voters who are, frankly, not going to be the voters of the future.

PAGE: You - you know this discussion, though, underscores why the stop Trump movement has gone nowhere. There's not a candidate that's acceptable.


PAGE: There's not a strategy that works. The Republicans I've talked to off the record, Republican officials here in town, think they're going to lose in November. And the strategy, is there a way to lose the presidency but hold the Senate.

MARTIN: Right.

PAGE: Is there a way to lose the White House and the Senate but not have the party destroyed? And that is the discussion going on. And they are not of one mind of whether Ted Cruz or Donald Trump is the smarter bet.


PAGE: If what you're thinking about is post-2016.

MARTIN: This is -

DICKERSON: Well, you know, --

MARTIN: The state of - yes.

DICKERSON: I asked Senator Graham this question, the gap between what they say privately and what they're willing to do public, and the gap is vast.

MARTIN: Yes. But there is a way to stop Donald Trump. The problem is that they are divided between two candidates trying to stop him. And it's a very familiar divide. It's the pre-Trump divide. It's almost quaint now, establishment and conservative. And they can't figure out who should stop him. And it's hard for these folks in the party to get behind Ted Cruz. Mitt Romney and Lindsey Graham are trying to make it easier, but it's - it's still very difficult.

PAGE: Neither one of them would say the word "endorse" within they talked about Ted Cruz.

MARTIN: But this is - this is - the state of the GOP in March of 2016 is, we have to lose with Cruz, it's important. That's astonishing, right, that they are trying to save their party by nominating somebody that they assume will lose the presidency.

MARCUS: And - you know, at the same time, I think that the notion - I - I kind of disagree with Frank, that Donald Trump would be a less strong candidate against Hillary Clinton than Ted Cruz. I think that the Clinton campaign is quite nervous about the prospect of running against Donald Trump.

DICKERSON: Because why?

MARCUS: Because who knows.

MARTIN: The unknowns. Yes.

MARCUS: Be - because the rustbelt. Because all those down scale white guys, who knows what - you know with Ted Cruz sort of where he's going and what he's going to say. You don't know that with Donald Trump and you don't know what voters he can energize.

SALAM: I was shocked to see Lindsey Graham, by the way, willing to die on The Hill of gang of eight style comprehensive immigration reform. I mean, so, you know, to his credit, he's willing to get behind someone like Ted Cruz. But it is incredible to see that a position that is rejected by a large majority of Republicans, he is still willing to die on that hill. And, again, it's not just about illegal immigration. It's also larger concerns, about, what is the right immigration strategy for the future of this country? And that is something that, you know, if - if - the whole effort to stop Trump becomes associated with what you might call Grahammism or Ryanism, that's going to be a problem and that's an opportunity for Ted Cruz.

DICKERSON: Well, that's right, you're pointing out the contradiction here between here you have somebody who believes in comprehensive immigration reform, which Ted Cruz adamantly does not, nevertheless being a person who's saying Ted Cruz should be the nominee.

SALAM: Yes, and it's a mixed message.


MARCUS: Pigs - pigs are still in the air here.

MARTIN: More to come.

DICKERSON: Susan - yes, right.

MARTIN: They're launching right now.

DICKERSON: Susan, let me ask you this question. Donald Trump said there would be riots if he was - if the nomination were taken from him, and that was seen as a way to - as a kind of incendiary things, but isn't he right?

PAGE: Both - both things are right. It's an incendiary thing to say. Not something we've heard our political leaders say before. And he is right. I mean we - if - if Donald Trump goes to the convention just shy of 1,237, but having won the most states, having won by far the most delegates, by getting the most votes, do you think - that they're going to go away quietly saying, oh, well, OK, a Cruz-Kasich ticket, that makes a lot of sense for the GOP? No, there's going to be trouble.

And I think one of the most disheartening things that we've seen is the continuing and escalating violence at Trump rallies by protesters and by the Trump forces against the protesters. And - and I - I think Donald Trump should think twice about continuing to fuel that particular fight.

DICKERSON: Ruth, let me - switching to the Democrats - ask you this question. If people blocked the road to an Obama event in 2008, what would the Democratic reaction have been to that, the way they blocked it - the road to the Trump event?

MARCUS: I think you know the answer to your question. And I'm not - and I'd like to say that I -

DICKERSON: Which is what? Sorry, I hate - people at home don't -

MARCUS: What - which - which - which is - which is, people - people would - Democrats would have been outraged at the notion of people blocking access to Obama events. And I think that actually there is a role for protests, but there also needs to be space. And we've talked about it before with respect to the Black Lives Matter movement and stopping Sanders from speaking. There has to be space for Trump to relay his message, as odious as it is, and there is appropriate space and time for protesters to disagree with that message without squelching it entirely.

DICKERSON: Jon, then what's the role for Bernie Sanders going forward now on the Democratic side?

MARTIN: Getting a lot of media attention, pushing his message, winning delegates where he can and trying to basically go into the convention with the ability to leverage the party towards a more populous orientation and sort of keeping the pressure on her ideologically more than he is in term - an actual threat to win the race. The math is very difficult. DICKERSON: I was struck when - when Senator Sanders said, well, she may have gotten two million more votes, but they're mostly in the south. Isn't the argument of his campaign that he has such a message that will break through and that that's why he would do well as a president because even in precincts that -

MARTIN: Revolution.

MARCUS: Yes, revolution turns out to be hard.


PAGE: The - but more successful than any of us would have predicted six months ago -



PAGE: To be - to be clear. I think you're right, the math is hard. It's hard to see how he gets the nomination. But you know what, Hillary Clinton needs Bernie Sanders on her side. Once he finally gets out of the race after the convention, she needs Bernie Sanders to make her case with energizing especially younger voters -

MARTIN: Right.

PAGE: Because he continues to crush her in that demographic. And she needs him not only to support her, but to care enough about her candidacy to come out and vote in November.

MARCUS: And watch for Bernie Sanders in the next bit to sharpen his message against Donald Trump and not as much against Hillary Clinton because he' kind of looking down the road as well.

DICKERSON: Last question to you, Reihan. How much can the Democrats use what's happening in the Republican race right now in the general election against whoever the nominee is?

SALAM: Oh, they can absolutely use it, particularly Hillary Clinton, to great effect. The trouble is that when you have tremendous succession, when you have the kind of catastrophic success like Hillary Clinton might have in a race against Donald Trump, then the Democratic coalition becomes so big, so broad, so expansive that you start having more civil wars within that coalition. And the Bernie Sanders challenge represents the future. This party that now seems unified against Trump is going to have a lot of fractiousness, as it has in previous eras, and that's going to become something that's going to be very, very interesting to watch.

MARCUS: You kind of prefer to be the Democrats right now.

MARTIN: Oh, sure.

DICKERSON: But it's not a - but - but it's a - it's an unsettled - MARTIN: On both sides.

DICKERSON: Seat (ph) at the moment.

All right, we're going to have to end it there. We'll be back in a moment with a look at the fight over President Obama's Supreme Court nominee.


DICKERSON: We're back with CBS News chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford and attorney Miguel Estrada, who knows what it's like to be at the center of a congressional fight over a president's judicial nomination. His nomination to the D.C. Court of Appeals was blocked by the Senate Democrats in 2002.

Jan, I'm going to start with you, though. What - what kind of jurist is Merrick Garland has his - we know the Senate Republicans were going to block whoever the president nominate - nominated. Has it changed now that he's actually nominated someone?

JAN CRAWFORD, CBS NEWS CHIEF LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: The - not in the short term it hasn't changed the calculus. They were going to block whoever the president, as Senator McConnell said, early on would come up. That said, I think this pick puts Senate Republicans in perhaps the - the smallest possible corner because he really is the best pick that a Republican Senate could hope for from a Democratic president. I mean as a justice, I think we have to assume that he would be much like he is as a judge. And on that DC-based federal appeals court, now in his 19th year, he's been pretty restrained, cautious, not someone who's going to swing for the fences and try to remake the law as a justice. But nonetheless, a solid liberal vote. And that's why Republicans are dug in for now because his nomination still would change the balance of the court.


CRAWFORD: By replacing Justice Scalia. That Supreme Court would be 5-4 liberal potentially, you know, for a generation.

DICKERSON: Miguel, what do you make of the Republican strategy to just block?

MIGUEL ESTRADA, FORMER BUSH JUDICIAL NOMINEE: Well, look, let me get started with my view, which is to say, when the president puts somebody who is a qualified person, the Senate should give him a hearing and get him through. And I think that Garland is astronomically qualified and should be confirmed.

The strategy is a - a political strategy.


ESTRADA: And it made enormous sense for Leader McConnell to do before the announcement because it forced the White House to come to the table and put on the table the best qualified person that is the most attractive to the Republican Party. If - if the party were 20 points ahead in the polls, and we were united behind a Republican nominee who was clearly conservative, this strategy might continue to make sense. Everybody knows that that's not the case. And when we come to the primaries in June, and it's clear that at best we're going to have a messy contested convention, I think there will be a number of Republican senators who will take a second look at this and say, you know, it's a high quality person, we should give him a hearing and confirm him.

CRAWFORD: You know, I mean, I think you can't assume that - that say President Clinton, if she's going into the Oval Office, would even re-nominate Merrick Garland. He's a 63-year-old white guy. You know, not the kind of home run that these liberal groups had hoped for. And so the argument to Miguel's point is that Republicans could well realize that they're going to get a liberal flame thrower come January and they better confirm this now. I think that's why the calculus could very well change in the months ahead.

DICKERSON: Miguel, is there any - you mentioned distinction (ph), a crucial one between law and politics. Is there any legal or constitutional basis, though, in saying the president can't nominate somebody or if they nominate them we're not going to listen to him?

ESTRADA: Well, I think the latter. I mean, you know, the latter is clearly OK under the Constitution. All Article Two says is that the president may nominate and needs the affirmative consent of the Senate to appoint. And if the Senate fails to do anything whatsoever, that is not the consent of the Constitution (INAUDIBLE) and therefore the person cannot be appointed. There is nothing in the Constitution that says that the Senate has to have hearings or a vote. And if there were, then the filibuster, which we have had for years and years, would have been unconstitutional.

Now we all know -

CRAWFORD: And this man would have been a federal appeals court judge right now because Democrats filibustered his, you know, nomination to the DC-based federal appeals court. And President Obama, if you remember, for Justice Alito, voted to block. So, you know, it's the Senate gets to advise and consent.

DICKERSON: Where do you think this put us, Jan, in the - in the politicization of Supreme Court picks? Is this in keeping with or a big break from? I mean -

CRAWFORD: No, I mean I think that this has long been politicized. I mean the Judiciary Committee is like the Hatfields and the McCoys. I mean you look back for the last 30, 40 years and this has been a bitter battle. These are the most senior members of the United States Senate and they are dug in. I mean this is a separate point, but I think you have to give Republicans in some ways a lot of credit for being honest about what they're doing. Instead of putting the nominee through this charade of a hearing and trying to dig up personal attacks to vote them down, they're saying, no, you know, this is not about Merrick Garland, this is about the process. You know, say, for example, when Miguel Estrada was nominated by President Bush, you know, they went through this kind of charade, Democrats did, of personal attacks, instead of saying, we're not going to confirm President Bush's nominees. We don't want them to be on the Supreme Court some day. So at least in this sense Republicans are being honest.

DICKERSON: We have about 20 seconds. The notion - go ahead, did you want to add -

ESTRADA: No. No. No. All that is ancient history. I mean it seems to me that as a people we need to focus on where we go to now. And when we have a bid from the president who is probably the best qualified person that a president of any party could have picked, that the - the party who rules the Senate ought to take it seriously, and as a political calculation, give this a fair hearing.

DICKERSON: All right. Wonderful. Thank you so much for both of you and we'll be right back in a moment.


DICKERSON: Thanks for watching. Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I'm John Dickerson.

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