Face the Nation Transcripts November 2, 2014: Paul, Klobuchar, Power

(CBS News) -- Below is a transcript from the November 2, 2014 edition of Face the Nation. Guests include: Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Samantha Power, Nancy Cordes, Anthony Salvanto, Kim Strassel, Tavis Smiley, Peggy Noonan, Mark Halperin and Jonathan Martin.

BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST: I'm Bob Schieffer.

And today on FACE THE NATION: It's down the wire on campaign 2014. This weekend, the politicians are racing around the country, making last-minute campaign stops. What will the Obama effect be?


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This election is too important to stay home. Don't let somebody else choose your future for you.


SCHIEFFER: We will talk to two of this year's most in-demand surrogates, Kentucky Tea Party Republican Rand Paul.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: If you're a freedom-loving, liberty-loving, leave-me-the-hell-alone voter, I urge you to get out and vote for Scott Brown this Tuesday.


SCHIEFFER: And Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar.

U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power is just back from a visit to Ebola-ravaged West Africa. We will get her first assessment of the situation there.

Plus, we will hear from all-star panel of analysts, Peggy Noonan and Kimberley Strassel of "The Wall Street Journal," Tavis Smiley of PBS, Jonathan Martin of "The New York Times," and Mark Halperin of Bloomberg Politics.

Sixty years of news, because this is FACE THE NATION.

And good morning again on this last weekend before the election that will determine which party controls the House and Senate. It is looking like Republicans will continue their hold on the House, but polls suggest at least 10 Senate races are so close that they're within the polling margin of error. And six of those are within just a point or two.

Most of the analysis is that Democrats will lose their majority in the Senate and, for the first time during the Obama administration, Republicans will control both houses of Congress.

We're going to begin this morning with one of the Republican candidates' most popular surrogates, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who has campaigned, I'm told, Senator, in more than 30 states.

PAUL: I have been racking up some frequent flyer miles. That's for sure.

SCHIEFFER: Absolutely. You know, you had a somewhat surprising comment the other day. You said -- and this is your quote -- "The Republican brand sucks." That's a pretty unusual rallying cry in an election year. What do you mean by that?

PAUL: Well, you know, what I meant by that is that, if I were to go into a college campus today and I were to talk to a young person and say, hey, you want to be part of the Republican Party, or let's say I go and talk to a young African-American male or woman, do you want to be part of the Republican Party, the initial perception of our brand is, hmm.

Like, for example, I had a meeting with some conservative African-Americans recently. And I said, let's try to get something moving nationally. And they said, well, yes, but we may not want to put the word Republican in it.

So, that means essentially our brand is broken. I don't think what we stand for is bad. I believe in what the Republican Party values. But we have a wall or a barrier between us and African- American voters. So, I have spent last year trying to break down some of that wall and say, look, maybe what the Democrats have been doing for you or maybe you're being taken for granted. Maybe it's not working.

Maybe we could look at some of these Republican proposals for poverty, for long-term unemployment.

SCHIEFFER: Well, you say that, but yet, when you look at state after state that's trying to tighten these voter laws and put -- say people have to show I.D. and all that kind of stuff, it's generally the Republicans who are pushing that.

What can you really offer African-American voters?

PAUL: Well, what I have said is, I want more people to vote, not less. Harry Reid and I have a bill together to actually restore voting rights.

The number one impediment to voting in our country right now is having a previous felony conviction. So I have good friend of mine. His brother, 30 years ago grew marijuana plants, still can't vote in Kentucky. And when he applies for a job, he has to check a box saying he was a convicted felon.

I think nonviolent felonies from your youth and where you didn't hurt anybody but yourself, for goodness sakes, you ought to get your right to vote back. So, I spent a lot of time talking about this. I have a bill with Harry Reid to restore voting.

SCHIEFFER: But what about this business about tightening up the voter I.D. laws?

PAUL: I think...

SCHIEFFER: Should they be tighter? Should they have to show all this identification?

PAUL: Well, I have mixed feelings.

When I go in a government building or I want to meet Eric Holder, I have got to show my driver's license. So, I am not really opposed to it. I am opposed to it as a campaign them. If Republicans -- if you want to get the African-American vote, they think that this is suppression somehow and it's a terrible thing.

But I think if you can get beyond that and say, you know what, but I also really think that we should restore the voting rights of those who had a previous conviction, that that's where the real voting problem is -- I'm not against early voting. I grew in Texas. We voted early for a month or two before elections for probably 20 years, and Texas is still a Republican state.

But it's perception. The Republicans have to get beyond this perception that they don't want African-Americans to vote. Now, I don't think it's true. I'm not saying it's true. But by being for all these things, it reinforces a stereotype that we need to break down.

SCHIEFFER: Is this election a referendum on Barack Obama?

PAUL: Without question.

And even he admitted that his policies will be on the ballot, even though he isn't. And it's such a referendum on him that, in my state, the Democrat candidate won't even admit she voted for him for presidency. And so I think, really, it is. And I think ultimately the wind is blowing against him. People are unhappy with his leadership or lack of leadership in the country.

So, I think you're going to see -- I think the 10 seats that you say are close, you could see all 10 go Republican. I mean, really, you could see a wave here at the end, and I think people are sensing this, those who don't even want to admit that they voted for him for president.

SCHIEFFER: Let's say the Republicans do take control of the Senate. Is it enough for them to say, we're not Barack Obama, or are they going to have to come up with some sort of an agenda?

PAUL: No, I think we immediately should start passing bills.

The House passed 400 bills. They have all languished. Of the 400 bills they passed, about 50 of them are Democrat bills. I have a bill with Harry Reid I would like to pass. But the number one thing I want to pass in January is there's $2 trillion worth of American profit overseas.

I want to invite that and encourage that money to come home to create American jobs. We can have a stimulus in January. Barbara Boxer agrees with me on this. This is a bipartisan bill. People on the right and the left invite that corporate money, Google, Apple, Caterpillar. All these great companies have money overseas. They could bring it home and stimulate our economy and we could have a boom like we haven't seen in years, but we just have to vote on the issue. I say vote on it in January as one of our first things.

SCHIEFFER: Do you think that the gridlock will end? Because what I keep hearing people say, look, it really doesn't make any difference if Republicans control the Senate by one or two votes. Nothing is going to change. The gridlock will still be in place.

PAUL: I take Senator McConnell at his word.

As leader, He's going to allow Democrat amendments and we're going to come forward and we're going to vote on things, and we will put on the president's desk bills. I would like to put every appropriation bill. I would like to have 12 different appropriation bills, like we historical did, to put every one of them on his desk see if he will sign them. Then it's up to him.

SCHIEFFER: Tell me a couple of things that Republicans and Democrats could work together on.

PAUL: One of the things I have talked to the president about is criminal justice reform.

This means extending back the right to vote for people who made youthful nonviolent mistakes, expunging their records, trying to make it easier for them to find employment, shortening like -- I think put somebody in jail for 10 years for possession of marijuana or sale of marijuana is ridiculous.

Some people are in jail for life. So, I have called the president, and I have told him, I agree with commuting some of these sentences, lessening some of these sentences, treating it more as a health issue. So, I think people's opinions on criminal justice for nonviolent drug crimes has changed. That is something we could do together.

SCHIEFFER: One of the things hanging over this election is this Ebola outbreak. Is the government following the right policies here?

PAUL: I think the president's biggest mistake was like saying, oh, it's no big deal, you can't catch it if you're sitting on a bus with somebody.

Well, apparently, you can be intensive care unit gloved, gowned and masked and still get it. It's very contagious when someone is sick. So, I think it was a mistake for him to say, oh, it's not big deal. You can be riding on a bus. And we're not going to stop any travel.

American public sees people getting it who are fully masked and gowned and saying, my goodness, I don't think anybody should be riding on a bus or coming from Liberia to visit their aunt or uncle and when they could be contagious. So, I think a temporary stop of travel for elective travel, if you're coming to visit your relatives, couldn't that wait for a few months?

SCHIEFFER: You're a doctor. Samantha Power, who was the U.N. -- is the U.N. ambassador, will be talking to us later in the broadcast. She is just back. She went to all three of those countries.

You're a doctor. Would you feel safe going to one of those countries to administer to those...

PAUL: You know, the Doctors Without Borders and the nurses who are doing it I think are real heroes, because they do take a risk.

So, I think if someone said, oh, I'm going to be perfectly safe, they wouldn't be being honest. But I have a great deal of admiration for these doctors, because I think they do take their life in their own hands and they are doing something at their own peril.

So, I think we have to -- it's almost the same way we treat people who do service for our country in the military. People who would do that kind of service in the medical profession deserve a great deal of respect and admiration.

SCHIEFFER: Do you think we ought to tighten the restrictions on who can come to this country? Canada has just said citizens from those countries can't come into Canada.

PAUL: The interesting thing is I think, from the beginning of our country, we always had restrictions on infectious disease. In fact, that was one of the primary things we did at our border was to stop.

We have in most recent years stopped drug-resistant tuberculosis patients from coming into this country. When we had polio, we had restrictions on things with polio. So, I don't think it's out of the ordinary for government to be involved in this.

And what I'm looking at is not a stopping of sending humanitarian aid to them or workers to them. What I'm saying is, elective travel, commercial travel for people who just want to visit the United States, that really isn't a necessity, and we can wait few months on it. And it would make our problem a lot less if we were only thinking about health care workers coming back.

But then they need a consistent program for that, and they need to not be -- I think it was unsettling to a lot of us when they blamed nurse for getting Ebola. That -- I mean, I'm in the medical profession. So, I would never blame a nurse for getting an infectious disease.

And I have had friends who have had needle sticks taking care of AIDS patients. So, I understand what it's like to have accidents happen all the time, even when you're trying to do the best you can.

SCHIEFFER: You're obviously thinking about running for president in 2016. Someone else who is thinking about it is Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey. He was out on the campaign trail last week.

Here is a little cut of what he said.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: There's been 23 months since then when all you have been doing is flapping your mouth and not doing anything. So, listen, you want to have the conversation later, I'm happy to have it, buddy. But until that time, sit down and shut up.



SCHIEFFER: What do you think? Is that the right demeanor for somebody getting ready to run for president?

PAUL: I think this sort of bully demeanor may go over well in certain places. But I can't imagine that -- I grew up in the South. And we're, yes, ma'am, and, no, sir, and a little bit more polite.

So, I don't think that -- I think people want someone to be bold. And there was a time when I thought, you know what? When he stands up and he says things boldly, that's kind of good. He's not taking any flak. But there can be do much of that too.

We live in a world where we have so much cacophony of voices on TV sometimes of yelling back and forth. And I think there's a resurgence of people who want a little more civility and discourse.

SCHIEFFER: Well, are you going to run?


PAUL: Maybe. I don't know. We're thinking about it. And some time in the next six months, I will make a final decision, but some time in the spring.

SCHIEFFER: Well, I hope you will come right here and tell us when you make that decision.

PAUL: All right. Thanks, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: Thank you very much, Senator.

Now, from the other side of the aisle, Minnesota's Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, who has also been campaigning in a lot of key states. She's in Minneapolis this morning.

Senator Klobuchar, you just heard Rand Paul make the case for Republicans. What is your best case?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Well, I think, first of all -- and I respect the work Senator Paul has done on criminal justice reform, but this isn't just a brand issue.

These are actually major policy differences. When you have most of the candidates from their party are actually supporting budgets that, as you know, called for tax decreases for the most wealthy, when we have a budget problem in this country, and actually put more burden on the middle class with things like student loans, I don't think that's a branding issue.

I think that's a policy difference. Or immigration reform -- yes, a few brave Republicans in the Senate, like Marco Rubio and Senator McCain, were willing to work Democrats or a comprehensive immigration plan. But you see it just stopped in its tracks on the House side.

Or you look at the issue of the fact that most of these people who are running for president on the Republican side are -- in fact, they are not pro-choice. These are legitimate policy issues. And you can debate them. And I'm glad that Senator Paul has called for civility. But this isn't just, in his words, about a brand sucking. This is also about major policy differences.

And I do think that there should be more of a focus in how Democrats talk about issues going forward on the economy. I think our candidates have done best, candidates like Michelle Nunn, candidates like Kay Hagan, Mark Warner, Jeanne Shaheen, who have talked about issues that matter to their states when it comes to the economy.

SCHIEFFER: Do you agree with Senator Paul that Barack Obama is an issue in this campaign? And I guess the second part of that question is, why, in your view, is he so unpopular in so many parts of this country?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I think, first of all, we have to acknowledge here the president has helped these candidates in terms of fund- raising for the Senate Campaign Committee. He's been out there. He's done a lot of work.

But it's clear it varies state by state where people agree or disagree with the president on different issues. And, in fact, Bob, in 2012, in those red states that he lost, we won, the Democratic Senate candidates won nearly half of those Senate races. And I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we have candidates that are independent of whatever the administration's policies are.

You certainly see them disagreeing with him on a number of policy issues. These are moderate Democrats, for the most part, who have shown that kind of civility that we want in Washington, shown that ability to work across the aisle, understand that courage isn't just standing by yourself giving a speech on "Green Eggs and Ham." Courage is whether or not you're willing to stand next to someone you don't always agree with.

And that's Mark Begich and Mark Udall and so many of our candidates are about.

SCHIEFFER: Well, you know, I must say, Senator, then I take your point, but, last night, the president campaigned for the first Democratic Senate candidate. That's the only Senate race where he has appeared on the stage with a Senate Democratic candidate. But let me just ask you this. What would you advise the president to do after this election? Is it time to revisit working with Republicans? Is it time for a new strategy? Does he need to make some changes at the White House? What would you think would be his first priority after this election?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I believe that the Congress has to get back to the business of governing.

And there is a group much us -- Lamar Alexander is involved, Chuck Schumer, others -- who have been working on about 20 Democrats and Republicans meeting, talking how we can move forward, so we stop having people throw sand into the gears of government. We have so much opportunity right now.

The economy is stabilized, gas prices at the lowest in four years, 55 months of straight job growth. And we have this opportunity to compete even better on the international stage. And this is an opportunity we must seize.

So, I see Congress as having to come together, no matter what happens in this election. And then I see the president having to work with both sides and having to have Congress actually come to the president with some ideas. And I just haven't seen that as much in the past.

SCHIEFFER: Harry Reid's political action committee recently ran ads on black radio in North Carolina saying the Republican there Thom Tillis supported gun laws like the ones that caused the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

In other races, they are running ads that show black people being shot. Some people would even call it race-hating. Is that taking it a little far?

KLOBUCHAR: Look, I am not a fan of any of these independent expenditures. I don't care what side of the aisle they are. I would like to overturn that Citizens United case. I'm for putting a constitutional amendment on the ballot, passing the DISCLOSE Act.

I really think this outside money just keeps sending a message, both sides, that our democracy for sale. And I would like to get rid of that ruling and go back to how things were.

SCHIEFFER: All right.

KLOBUCHAR: But I do think, when you come to the race issues -- and I was listening to Senator Paul -- I hope he will join us in this work that we need to do on stopping these voter suppression amendments.

SCHIEFFER: Senator, I'm sorry. We have to stop it there. Thank you so much.


SCHIEFFER: We will be back in just a minute.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, it's been wonderful to be on. Thank you, Bob.


SCHIEFFER: The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has claimed nearly 5,000 lives.

Now, the human suffering has touched all of our hearts. And what to do about it has set off a debate that has become an issue in the campaign.

U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power is just returned from a tour of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, the three countries hardest hit. She joins us this morning from New York.

Madam Ambassador, thank you so much.

Are these countries getting anywhere close to getting a handle on this thing? And how do you see the situation this morning?


Well, first, to my surprise, there really are positive signs in all three countries. In Liberia, thanks to the presence of the CDC and the U.S. military, we see the rate of safe burial, which is a key part of the solution here, skyrocketing close to 90 percent in the capital, Monrovia. In Sierra Leone, the rate of safe burial within 24 hours is close to 100 percent.

And CDC thinks that around half to 70 percent of the infections may well come from unsafe burial. So, you can imagine what a difference that could start to make here just in a matter of days or weeks. And the rate of improvement in safe burial came over a four- or five-day period just because of the injection of command-and- control, frankly, by United States and by the British in Sierra Leone context.

More and more people are getting educated. There's social mobilization that is now stretching out into the countryside. And I just got off the phone this morning with the head of the U.N. operation in the region. And he has done a full tour into the countryside.

And he said, wherever we have an Ebola treatment unit, a lab and social mobilization, infection rates are coming way down. Where we don't, they're not. It's that simple.

SCHIEFFER: You went through screening to get back into the country. Are you monitoring, self-monitoring, or what are you doing now?

POWER: I am. In accordance with New York State guidelines, I am reporting my temperature twice a day to the New York State health authorities. SCHIEFFER: Were you in any way apprehensive about embarking on this mission?

POWER: I was not, because I had talked to the CDC. And I'm very, very familiar with how this disease is transmitted. And we had run our itinerary through the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services.

So, we felt good about the cost-benefit, about risk, and we felt we had turned the trip into something that was of almost no risk. My family, of course, even though they also know the science, the question looms in everyone's head. And you just can't help it. That's what makes us human.

So, of course, even in my own family, where I have educated everybody about what Ebola is and what it isn't, people have questions. And that's, again, very understandable.

SCHIEFFER: The Canadian government yesterday, I think it was, barred citizens from those countries from coming into Canada.

Should the United States think about something like that? And I guess the follow-up question will be, will this increase the traffic of people coming from those countries into the United States, now that they can't go into Canada?

POWER: Well, President Obama's message on this and his view on this has been clear, I think, from the start, which is that the -- his number one priority is keeping the American people safe.

And the best way to keep the American people safe is to deal with this problem aggressively at its source. And that is where our emphasis has been. I think we have no philosophical objection on the -- to dealing with visa issues or travel issues if we thought it would keep the American people safe.

But we think we -- the better way is to actually increase the traffic into these countries of health professionals and of people who can actually help with the response.

SCHIEFFER: And what about the fact that Canada's now barring those citizens? Will that cause more people to try to come to the United States?

POWER: I don't think we see evidence of that. I don't know that the flow into Canada from these three countries was all that high in the first instance.

But, again, we want to make sure that we don't do anything, given the long history particularly between the United States and Liberia and the friendship and the good that we're doing with these countries, we don't want to do anything to impede the response.

And I will say just one of the things I heard when I was there was marveling at President Obama hugging Nina Pham, the nurse who had been infected at Texas Presbyterian who was Ebola-free. And one of the messages I heard was, we need the whole world to hug us like Obama hugged Nina Pham. And, right now, it's the United States that's aggressively hugging us, but other countries need to step up.

SCHIEFFER: What more do you want to see coming from other countries? What kind of help is needed? What should be done?

POWER: The number one need, I would say, is health professionals, nurses.

Jim Kim from the World Bank came out a couple days ago and said as many as 5,000 would be needed in the coming months. That's a large number when you think about how many people have to take away from their practices, make themselves available for three or four weeks.

Right now, the Ebola treatment units that the United States is helping build in the countries in the region are staffed. Most of the NGOs you talk to can say, OK, we can see the next month getting covered in terms of health care workers, but we don't know what we're going to do for the month after that.

And this is where we need to make sure that we incentivize these extraordinary individuals to go into the region, and we welcome them and treat them with great respect and appreciation when they come home.

SCHIEFFER: Madam Ambassador, I want to thank you for being with us this morning.

And I also want to tell you that I admire you for embarking on this mission. We wish you the very best on this.

POWER: Thank you so much, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: Thank you.

And we will be right back with some personal thoughts.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SCHIEFFER: Here's something to think about as you to go to vote.

Congress hasn't done anything in years, yet these midterm elections will be the most expensive in history, just like the last one, $4 billion this time around. That's billion with a B.

A small question: Do you think you're getting your money's worth, better candidates, better government? I doubt that. But it does raise yet another question. Can you name a commodity or a product that gets worse and worse, that produces less and less of what it is supposed to produce, yet gets more expensive? Maybe you can name one, but the only thing I can think of is American politics.

I'm not blaming it on Republicans or Democrats. I'm blaming it on Republicans and Democrats, who have turned what used to be an amateur sport into a professional business, where the jobs that volunteers used to do for free have been outsourced to professionals. That's also unique to politics, outsourcing something you were getting free to someone who will charge you for it and in the process winding up with an inferior product, a government that remains in permanent gridlock.

The right to vote is our proudest possession, but the way it has become debased by money shames us all.

Back in a minute.


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


SCHIEFFER: Welcome back to Face the Nation.

We begin this half hour with our director of elections, the fount of all wisdom on elections, Anthony Salvanto. By the way Anthony, we'll have a final exam for you on Tuesday.

ANTHONY SALVANTO, CBS NEWS: I was going to say.

SCHIEFFER: And CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes who is just back from a lot of time out on the campaign trail. Well, take it away. How close are these elections? What's going to happen here on Tuesday night?

SALVANTO; Close enough that I think it's going to be a pretty late night before we know, Bob.

You know, we're going to come right out of the gate with a lot of really good races. You're going to see North Carolina, you're going to see Georgia. We can watch Georgia for awhile, because that one it's not just who is ahead, it's whether anybody can get to 50 percent or that goes to a runoff.

But then I think everything is really going to converge down on really Colorado and Iowa, which closes at 10:00. And I think by the time we get to 10:00, the Republicans might be getting close but not there yet, maybe 47, maybe 48 seats and those are two Democratic leaning states usually that if the Democrats can hold they have a good shot, but if the Republicans are up in those, then I think they're on their way to the majority.

SCHIEFFER: Well, what do you think -- if the Republicans wind up what do you think most is they'll wind up with, 51, 52 something along there.

SALVANTO; Right now the best estimates we have, have it at 51 or 52, but that seat number is so important because if they just turn out their conservative base, they win, they get to 51, that's a win, some might even call that a tactical win in a year that's very good for them. But if they can go beyond that, if they can flip some of these Democratic leaning states, suppose they get New Hampshire, I've mentioned Iowa and Colorado as well, then it's going to start to look a little bit more like -- they're not saying maybe a wave but certainly more like an electorate that has tilted in their direction beyond their usual conservative base.

SCHIEFFER: Nancy Cordes, you've been out there and covering a lot of these races on the ground, what are you finding out? Any single issue?

NANCY CORDES, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I'm sensing increasing confidence among Republicans in the two key states you mentioned, Iowa and Colorado. They're very heartened by early voting numbers. They are very heartened by new polls, a new Des Moines Register poll that just came out last night that shows Joni Ernst, the Republican in Iowa ahead by seven points.

So they're feeling good. Democrats haven't started the heavy drinking just yet, but they're definitely thinking about where they want to drown the sorrows on Tuesday night. It's looking like a tougher road for them.

SCHIEFFER: What's he issue? Is it the economy? Is it Barack Obama, any one issue?

CORDES: I think it's all of it. I think, you know, the economy may be improving, but people don't feel it in their wallet. And so there's sort of a glumness out there on the campaign trail, and that naturally makes people feel a little bit disheartened about the party that's in power. The president is incredibly unpopular in the battleground states. And even though the Democratic candidate for the most part are more popular than he is, they're distancing themselves from him and that makes a lot of their base electorate feel less excited about going to the polls.

SALVANTO: Well, that's exactly right.

You know, the two groups we've watched in the polls this year -- it's not just Democrats and Republicans, it's registered voters and it's likely voters. And every time we look just at the likely voters, the ones who say they're enthusiastic, the ones who say they're going to show up, that electorate gets not just more conservative, it gets older, it starts to look a Republican electorate.

That Democratic base, because they don't feel that this economy working for them, are much, much harder to motivate. And to that extent it is a motivation not as much as persuasion election. And the Democrats have so far had trouble getting them out to vote

SCHIEFFER: My question is it goes beyond this election, is that is is anything really going to change?

Nancy you talked to Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate the other day. Let's play a little of the interview here.


CORDES: Do you see your goal over the next two years as blocking the president's agenda or showing that Republicans can govern in advance of 2016.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY: The main goal is to see whether we can make progress for the country. And obviously the president is the only person who can sign something into law. So, whether we can make much progress the next two years depends upon him. I'd like to see him move to the middle and address issues that he says he wants to address like trade agreements, like comprehensive tax reform. My members want to do that too.

CORDES: And you said you're going to send him some bills that he doesn't like.

MCCONNELL: I'm sure -- well, that's an experience he hasn't had. You know, he's vetoed two little bills in six years, neither of which were of any magnitude. So he's not been confronted with anything that made him uncomfortable.

I don't think there's anything wrong with sending the president a bill that makes him uncomfortable. He doesn't own the place. Congress is a factor too. You know we are elected by our constitutes all across America. And we need to have an impact on policy as well.


SCHIEFFER: Nancy, does that mean that Mitch McConnell is going to move to the middle?

CORDES: That's right. He's calling on the president to move to the middle. The big question is whether he will. And whether he even can.

The few times that he has tried to move to the middle over the past six years, conservatives in his party have yanked him back. They think compromise is a dirty word.

But he knows he's looking towards 2016 and a presidential election. He knows he's got only two years to show, look, Republicans are not the party of no. We can things done. And that's why you should put a president in the White House.

SCHIEFFER: All right, well thank you both. And we're going to talk to our panel in just a minute about those very questions. Thank you all. Back in a minute.


SCHIEFFER: Well, we've got the best of the best to talk a little politics this morning.

Peggy Noonan, columnist for the "Wall Street Journal" and now officially a CBS News consultant. And we're happy to have you, Peggy.

And we're happy to also welcome New York Times national political correspondent Jonathan Martin, Mark Halperin the managing editor now of Bloomberg politics and also a very popular author, plus Kim Strassel, also a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Tavis Smiley, host of the Tavis Smiley show on PBS and author of a new book "Death of a King."

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we saw something last night we haven't seen during this campaign, the President of the United States went out and campaigned with a Democratic senate candidate.

I believe that's one in a row. That probably tells us a little something about what this election is about. What would you say about that Mark Halperin?

MARK HALPERIN, MANAGING EDITOR BLOOMBERG: First and foremost it's about the president. You know, they can say all they want. He's campaigned in some governor's races, but the Michigan Senate race is not why he was there. he was there for that governor's race, which is close.

The president is spending right now tomorrow, here, in Washington, Tuesday election day here in Washington, not doing political things.

Could you imagine if Bill Clinton or even George Bush were in the White House, two guys who -- one guy who loves politics, one who likes it a little bit less, they'd be out and about. The fact that the president isn't tells you what this election is about.

JONATHAN MARTIN, NEW TIME TIMES: Yeah, even George W. Bush in '06 was out there more campaigning for House candidates for example. You haven't seen President Obama do that at all this year.

So, look, there's question that he is the central problem for Democrats this year.

But what's interesting, Bob, is that while it's going to be a good night Tuesday for Republicans in the House and Senate, these governor's races are fascinating, because I think you're going to see some Democrats actually do well in the governor's races.

SCHIEFFER: You know, we say in all the analysis, right now is pointing to the Republicans taking control of the Senate, but that is based on the fact that there are ten senate races, some of which are within the margin of error, these -- each and every one of these races is very, very close.

I would agree with most of the analysis, that's what I think is going to happen. But I'm also not betting any money this year on anything, because -- and with the polling the way it is right now, I'm not sure how much confidence I have in any of it.

KIM STRASSEL, WALL STREET JOURNAL: We also have some big unknowns, which are Democrats are out there right now talking about how they are going to have the best ground game that they've ever had. They're going to build on what they did in 2012 when they got it out and they got President Obama elected.

But the Republicans have spent two years putting vast amounts of money into their own get out the vote operation. They brought in a bunch of guys from Silicon Valley. They redid and retooled all their data operations. And they're claiming they're going to have the best game that they have had ever in history.

So it's going to be a big test on Tuesday. That's a huge unknown as well. Whose ground game is actually better? And it's an experiment.

SCHIEFFER: Peggy, does this seem a little different than the normal midterm election?

PEGGY NOONAN, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Ooh, that's an interesting question. It feels to me like something is building, actually. It feels to me like there's sort of a fairly clear referendum on how people are feeling about maybe the past two years, maybe about the administration ever since the president was sworn in for the second time.

I feel like things are building towards a certain outcome. I do think it's going to be a good night for the Republicans. I feel in some vivid way that is a little like the year 2006 for George Bush, that this election will function as a rebuke of the president.

SCHIEFFER: Tavis Smiley, almost everybody you talk to says that in every race, in at least most of these races, a big black turnout is going to be key for the Democrats. But my sense is that President Obama may also have some problems with African Americans.

TAVIS SMILEY, PBS: Well, Bill Clinton, who Jonathan referenced earlier, once famously said, as we all know, that elections are always about the future. They are, but how you feel about the future is linked to how you feel about the way you're being treating or mistreated in the present.

I said a couple weeks ago on national television, I stand by it again today, two days in advance of these elections, that there is nothing to inspire African Americans to turn out in huge numbers, nothing to inspire Hispanics to turn out in huge numbers. But you have double the national unemployment average. You have double that inside the African American community, tripled in some sectors. There's the highway into poverty but barely a sidewalk out.

If you're Hispanic, you can't even one of your central issues on the table, immigration reform. And they come to you as if you're sort of -- how might I put this -- Election Day first responders. They send out the SOS, we need to you come us save us once again. I think that is disingenuous, I think it's disrespectful, I think it's demeaning.

In North Carolina, you say that we want to move beyond race. We're in a post-racial Americans and yet to played the race card in North Carolina. In Louisiana, in Georgia. You can't win lest the black vote turns out for you and in Kentucky, as was discussed earlier, you have a candidate there who four times in a matter of minutes wouldn't even admit to voting for Barack Obama. You want his loyal base to support you, you give the president the Heisman, but you want his constituents to vote for you.

I mean, Peter only denied Jesus three times. It's a four-time denial in a matter of minutes but you want the black vote to come save you again. You want Hispanics to save you again. I'm not saying that blacks and browns ought to abandon the Democratic Party.

I'm saying you've got to hold them accountable. And maybe the lessons about what happens this year ought to start being reviewed now in advance of 2016.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, but the hard part for Democrats is that the states are probably going to decide the majority happen to have a sizable amount of African Americans. Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, even Arkansas in that list. And those are also the states where President Obama's popularity is a fourth or even a third, he's statewide.

How do the Democrats there foursquare the circle of trying to get out their most ardent supporters but at same time, separating themselves from the president, who is deeply unpopular but who African Americans are very loyal to. It's a very --


SMILEY: The way you do that is to say, I supported this president, I voted for this president, but these are the things I disagree with him on; that's a genuine respectable answer. I supported him, but I disagreed with him on these issues.

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": : But the other think you have to do is you actually have to have an agenda you are running for. Yes, the president is deeply unpopular out there the country but what if the Democratic Party would come and say we're going to do in the final two terms of the Obama administration if we retain the Senate majority.

Some are talking about the minimum wage; that's not normally enough to inspire vast amounts of the electorate to do something. They are running attack campaigns against Republicans; most of them are failing. That's one of the problems, too.

SCHIEFFER: But, Peggy what are Republicans saying?

They're saying they're against Barack Obama.

NOONAN: I think what the Republicans have been trying to do is two things. One is capitalize on the anvil-like weight of the president. You know what I mean? He has a certain power to bring you down.

The other is to figure out individually day by day what their issues are and hope it will coalesce into a big national issue.

One thing that I find going on with the Republicans that is so interesting is the persons running for office have changed. The candidates are changing. There's a lot going on out there. Mia Love out in Utah, Elise Stefanik up New York, she may be -- she's poised at least to be the youngest woman member of Congress. Mia Love is poised to be the first African American Republican member of Congress.

You see little dots and cases of that going on all over the country. So I have a sense there's a bit of a quiet story of a Republican Party in transition that we're not fully noticing.

MARK HALPERIN, BLOOMBERG TV HOST: In transition, I think, without clear leaders, Rand Paul's probably be the one that stepped up the most and talking about branding -- broadening the base. They're going to win these midterm if they do, if they win control of the Senate without having figured out a way to appeal to African Americans or Hispanics, younger voters, female voters, because they're in states where they don't need to.

They also emerge, I think, without a clear path of that. If they do have the majority, what is Mitch McConnell's posture towards dealing with President Obama?

What mandate do they have at all on any issues?

I think it's a big problem for Republicans --


SMILEY: I think Mark is right. But I think it's only a short- term victory. So they win midterms, they win the battle, but you don't win the war in the most multicultural America ever. That strategy ain't going to work forever.


SCHIEFFER: -- congressional races without appealing to Hispanics, for example, because most Republicans don't have Hispanics in --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the story of American politics now --

SCHIEFFER: -- cannot win, I think, the presidency.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. And Republicans have this challenge ahead of them. This danger looms of becoming like Democrats were for a long time, which is they're a congressional party and the Democrats become the presidential party.

So that means Republicans have a bulwark in the House and maybe they can keep the Senate 50-50. But how can they gain back the White House as long as they have these demographic challenges?

So both parties had difficulties, Democrats have trouble in the House, but how can Republicans get back the White House with a country that every day is becoming less and less white?

SCHIEFFER: Let me play a clip of what Mary Landrieu, who's in that red-hot Senate race down in Louisiana, what she had to say to Chuck Todd of NBC the other day. I want to just get the panel's thoughts on this.


SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LA.: To be very, very honest with you, in the South, has not always been the friendliest place for African Americans, it's been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader. It's not always been a good place for women to be able to present ourselves, it's more of a conservative place.


SCHIEFFER: So what do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The state has a Republican -- a Democratic woman senator in Mary Landrieu and an Indian American governor and I think that was not a tactic, I think that was fatigue and frustration that she may be losing her job.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think there is something to that.

SMILEY: I take your point that politically, as George Bush would say, it wasn't good strategery (sic), but she told the truth. And it just sickens me in this town that the truth is just so subversive that it can't be told. And when it is told, we want to call it frustration and fatigue. It may have been that. But she told the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it was both things. It was a misstep because you can see in the statement, Bob, as she issued subsequently -- and by the way, if a keynote puts a statement out, after a quote on TV, usually it wasn't intentional. Clarifying what she meant to say.

But look, to Tavis' point, the fact is that there's still vestiges of racial discriminate in the South. Louisiana is a state that, in 1991, gave David Duke a lot of votes. That's not ancient history.

So race is still a challenge in the South.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I -- but what --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But to go to what Tavis said earlier, you were saying it's the timing of this that was notable. It sounds as though she's making an appeal for my face to come out, and that gets to what you were saying earlier, which is are you going to go to African Americans and women voters only when it really matters?

And that's one of the reasons --

SMILEY: It's always that political Hail Mary that you want the black and brown to save the day for.

SCHIEFFER: But you know one of the undercurrents in this election, and I think one of the ugliest parts of it, there are some Democratic ads running out there suggesting that if African Americans don't vote for the Democrat, that they're going to get shot like that poor kid in Missouri.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It shows the extent to which mathematically Democrats have to turn out African Americans in those targeted states and the extent to which, as has been said, they don't have much else to offer.

I will say about Mary Landrieu and Michelle Nunn in Georgia, people are writing them off in runoffs because the polls now, those are static snapshots. I actually think if the Senate is on the line, there's a chance that Mary Landrieu and Michelle Nunn can win in the runoffs.

SMILEY: I agree with that in part, because if those black and brown voters we talked about see that the country is shifting in the other direction, that the Senate is turning this way, then they will come to the rescue once again to be motivated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Bill Clinton will pick up residents --

SMILEY: Absolutely.


NOONAN: (INAUDIBLE) that I think the subtext of what we're talking about is there's a certain brain deadness that can be discerned on both parties as you look at what they stand for this year, how they've campaigned, even the artlessness of some of them. It's funny; you expect candidates for office to be very big on charm and cleverness, they're not all.

But both parties have to figure out, we saw it this year more than ever, what they stand for, where they stand, I'm hopeful they're evolving. But they don't look so good at the moment.

SCHIEFFER: Kimberley, you've done some reporting on the race in Colorado, which may well come down to be the deciding state. What's going on there?

STRASSEL: Well, I think what's interesting for Democrats out there, is remember you've got to think back to the history here. Democrats have put out Colorado as the model of how they were going to take a swing state in the country and make it permanently blue.

They had done a very good job. They poured tons of money into infrastructure out there. They had honed this strategy, where you go attack, attack your Republican candidates and they have done very well. They got both Senate seats, the state legislature, the governorship.

That seems to all be crumbling at the moment. And I think it's partly the fact that you had local issues that have interjected themselves. There was a gun control debate out there and there's a death penalty debate going off in the governor's race.

But also I think you're seeing the failure of some of these tried and true Democratic strategies, the war on women. The fact, when you get dubbed Mark Uterus by the national press, that's a real problem. It's turned off -- the focus on abortion and contraception has turned off women voters, who feel like they're being demeaned by not being addressed in a more fulsome way.

And also male voters, which is really Mark Udall's problem out in that race, he's losing them by double digits. They don't feel they have heard him talk about the issues that matter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bob, the two states that the parties care about the most for the purposes of a future are Colorado for Republicans. If they can win there, it shows it's still a purple state, it hasn't gone blue entirely. It can be in play for 2016 for the Republicans, which is crucial for them to get 270 electoral votes.

And for Democrats, it's Georgia. And this is why. If Michelle Nunn wins or narrowly loses there, it shows that Georgia has become a swing state sooner than they even thought that in 2016 it could be competitive for Hillary Clinton. And if Democrats can make inroads into a place like Georgia after already having done the same thing in Virginia and North Carolina, that's going to make it awfully hard for the GOP to win the White House going forward to have that kind of vulnerability in the South.

SCHIEFFER: What about these international issues, Ebola, ISIS, will they be factors in this election?

MARK HALPERIN, BLOOMBERG TV HOST: I think they have hurt the Democrats in three ways. First of all, they've hurt the president's general approval rating, they've played into the Republican theme of confidence -- can the president's gang shoot straight. And finally they've kept the president from talking about the economy.

Day-to-day the news is just dominated by Ebola, ISIS, et cetera. The Democrats have a story to tell on an improving economy, but voters haven't heard it and I don't think you'll see them buying it --

SMILEY: But it's sickening to say the way Ebola has become politicized as an issue. This is life or death issue, that's back to the point you made, Peggy, the brilliant point about how brain dead the way these campaigns have been run. And yet you see an issue like this, that gets politicized and this way it's pretty sickening to watch, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: What about this business, and now we're seeing that somehow or another some member of the president's staff is calling the prime minister of Israel a chicken?

How does that kind of thing get out?

And in an election, does that help -- does that help President Obama?

NOONAN: I think the president has a problem with competence, coherence and credibility as people look at the White House. Things like the chicken blank comment seem to fit into all of it. It look like it's disorganized there in the administration. It looks like it doesn't quite work. It looks like people pop off who shouldn't be popping off. So that doesn't help either. Obviously, there's been a whole cluster of these things that will make people think, well, I don't like this.

STRASSEL: But it also like you're saying something publicly and saying something very else privately.

SCHIEFFER: I would love to continue on with it. We'll have to do it after the break.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No more Chicken Little.

SCHIEFFER: Thank you all for being here today. We'll be right back.


SCHIEFFER: Be sure to tune CBS News Tuesday night for our Election Night coverage; we'll have updates throughout the evening and a one-hour CBS News wrap-up of all the races at 10:00 pm Eastern and on the West Coast 9 o'clock Central. And to get all the latest CBS News election projections, follow us on Twitter @CBSPolitics. We'll be right back.


SCHIEFFER: Be sure to join us next Sunday when we'll be marking our 60th year of FACE THE NATION with a special broadcast. We'll see you then. Thanks for watching FACE THE NATION.


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