Face the Nation transcripts May 26, 2013: Fallin, Coburn, and Schumer

CBS News

(CBS News) Below is a transcript of "Face the Nation" on May 26, 2013, hosted by CBS News' Bob Schieffer. Guests include: Gov. Mary Fallin, R-Okla., Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., along with the Washington Post's Michael Gerson and Harvard University's David Gergen. Plus, a weather panel with WFOR's Chief Meteorologist David Bernard, Climate Central's Chief Climatologist Heidi Cullen, TIME Magazine's Jeffrey Kluger and American Meteorological Society President Marshall Shepherd, and finally, author Joseph Persico on his new book about FDR and World War II.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And good morning again. We're going to start in Oklahoma. The tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma, last week we now know damaged as many as thirteen thousand homes, took two dozen lives, among them ten children. President Obama will tour the area today and Governor Mary Fallin is joining us this morning from Moore. Governor, thank you so much for finding time to talk to us this morning. How's it going down there this morning?

GOVERNOR MARY FALLIN (R-Oklahoma): It's going good. You know I can already see people out here early this morning working and what's been remarkable is I-- I've heard so many incredible stories of people helping people. I've heard stories of people who have come to help from either across the state or out of state and they come into these areas and they pick out a family at one of their homes and they actually have pitched some tents in their yard areas, so they could be ready twenty-four hours a day to-- to help the people, be able to go through whatever precious belongings might still be there. There were so many volunteers out here yesterday. The streets were packed. There were a lot of people that had trailers. They were moving things hand by hand. I saw one home where they had a line of people probably ten to fifteen people that had buckets, they were just moving debris and, you know, person to person to person getting it to the curbside and it's just been a really remarkable experience. It's uplifted the spirits of the people that have lost so much.

BOB SCHIEFFER: The President is coming down there later this morning. What will you tell him you need there?

GOVERNOR MARY FALLIN: Well, I'm going to tell him that we appreciate his visit first of all, but that we also need quick action as it relates to FEMA. And, so far FEMA has done a great job. They were here immediately on the spot. They have been throughout the different neighborhoods. I personally have met with them many times, but, you know, there's going to come a time where there's going to be a tremendous amount of need once we begin the debris clearing which we already have, but really get it cleared off to where we need to start rebuilding these homes, rebuilding these businesses and we know at different times in the past, money hasn't always come as quickly as it should, so I'm hoping that FEMA will be very prompt in getting the relief here. I know I have heard of families that have already received money from FEMA because-- as-- as you know, in a disaster like this, lot of people lose their-- their-- their checkbooks. They lose their credit cards. They lose their driver's license, their birth certificates, their insurance papers, they lose everything and they have no cash. And some of the banks were even hit, the ATM machines, so people need cash to get immediate needs. And the Red Cross, The Salvation Army takes care of those immediate-- needs, but then there comes a time, a-- a month from now or whenever it might be that people really start having to crank out the money to get their homes built and get the things they really need to replace things they lost.

BOB SCHIEFFER: We know about these-- these tragic deaths of-- of children in these schools. We know that a lot of these schools did not have a safe place where the children could go. Are you going to-- what are you going to do about that? Are you going to try to rethink how you build schools when you start to put these schools back?

GOVERNOR MARY FALLIN: Well, absolutely. And-- and let me just say that we do have a hundred schools in Oklahoma that do have safe rooms and schools that have been lost in the past, many of them have rebuilt rooms of some sort as a safe room in their school and we're certainly going to encourage that. But I do think it's important to have a very vigorous discussion as to what can we do within budgetary means to be able to provide a safe place and-- and certainly every school has drills. They have a plan. They have things that they are supposed to do. And-- and the teachers did follow those different plans. You know, any death is-- is very unfortunate, but it's truly incredible that we had only twenty-four deaths at this site because if you look at all the debris field and how wide it is, I don't-- I don't know how anybody survived this tornado. But people took the precautions they were supposed to take. But people took the precautions they were supposed to take, get into the inner central room, get into a bathroom, get into a closet or a hallway and there's some remarkable stories of teachers who did follow those procedures, who did get their children in those bathrooms and those hallways and they did survive.


GOVERNOR MARY FALLIN: And, you know, we're going to have that vigorous discussion.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, Governor, our hearts go out to all of you down there. Good luck to you and thanks so much for being with us this morning.

GOVERNOR MARY FALLIN: Thank you, Bob. We just can't tell the people of America how much we appreciate their thoughts and prayers, especially their help. Thank you very much.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And joining us now from their home states, Oklahoma's Republican Senator Tom Coburn and New York Democrat Chuck Schumer. Senator Coburn to you first, so far so good according to Governor Fallin in Oklahoma this morning. She seems to think FEMA is doing what's necessary. There seems to be enough financial aid in the pipeline to take care of what's happened down there, as-- as horrific as it is. But I want to ask you about this whole way that this emergency aid is being handled. You had this huge fight over aid to the people that were hurt by Superstorm Sandy. You were one of those who were highly critical. You call the fifty-billion-dollar-aid package, "all you can eat buffet." Do you think we need to take another look at how we get this financial aid to these places that are in trouble?