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Face the Nation Transcripts November 23, 2014: Brooks, McCaul, Durbin

The latest on President Obama's executive action on immigration and the Ferguson grand jury
November 23: Durbin, McCaul and Brooks 46:38

(CBS News) -- A transcript from the November 23rd edition of Face the Nation. Guests included Cornell William Brooks, Michael McCaul, Dick Durbin, Luis Gutierrez, Raul Labrador, Margaret Brennan, Susan Page, Michael Gerson, Clarence Page, David Ignatius and Mark Leibovich.

BOB SCHIEFFER: I'm Bob Schieffer. Today on FACE THE NATION, Ferguson waits and Washington fumes. As a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, nears a decision on whether to issue an indictment in the death of Michael Brown, police are on alert and the community is tense. The latest from there and the president of the NAACP Cornell William Brooks. We'll get both sides in the wake of the President's decision to go it alone on immigration reform.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: To those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: pass a bill.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: The President has taken actions that he himself has said are those of a king or an emperor, not an American President.

BOB SCHIEFFER: We'll talk to the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Mike McCaul, the Senate's number two Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois, and two Hispanic members of Congress, Republican Raul Labrador and Democrat Luis Gutierrez. Plus, our all-star panel of analysts. Sixty years of news because this is FACE THE NATION.

And good morning, again. We are starting today with a situation in Ferguson, Missouri, where there have been a handful of arrests in the last few days as the community awaits that grand jury action. Brown's father and many others have appealed for calm and peaceful protests but the community is very much on edge. Mark Strassmann is outside the courthouse in Clayton, Missouri. Mark.

MARK STRASSMANN (CBS News Correspondent): Well, Bob, for the last three months this grand jury has been looking at police officer Darren Wilson and trying to decide whether he should be criminally charged for shooting Michael Brown on August ninth. The grand jury has been given a voluminous case, essentially, it's as though a criminal case has been presented to them and they have to decide should he be charged with murder, should he be charged with voluntary or involuntary manslaughter or should he not be charged at all. The stakes, of course, are enormous here. There's a great deal of apprehension throughout this community. Security has been ramped up over the last couple of days. The governor has declared a state of emergency, you have security barriers in all the potential hot spots where protesters might gather and you also have an increased police presence. As you look around you see police officers are guarding parking lots, guarding buildings, guarding this community, trying to give a sense of calm here. Everybody has pleaded for peace from Attorney General Eric Holder to Michael Brown's parents but depending what the grand jury decides, of course, anything could happen here and that is what has so put this community on edge.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Mark Strassmann in Clayton, Missouri. Thanks, Mark.

And joining me now in the studio, the president of the NAACP, Cornell Williams-- William Brooks. Thank you so much for coming, Mister Brooks.

CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS (NAACP President): Good morning.

BOB SCHIEFFER: What do you think is going to happen once this grand jury announces its decision?

CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS: I believe that the citizens of Missouri and Ferguson and the country will respond and in tunes of a call for systemic change. In other words, Michael Brown's death is more than an individual tragedy. It feels like a generational assault for many young people. And so where we have the-- the lowest crime rate in twenty years, we, yet, have a generation of young people who perceive themselves in the midst of a pandemic of police misconduct in terms of racial profiling. So-- so the people are going to call for systemic responses, legislation pass, reforms in policing. Police departments that are accountable and that engage the community and don't profile and prey upon the community.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, the governor has already declared a state of emergency, they're preparing really for the worst, I would suppose. Are you concerned about that?

CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS: I am very concerned. The governor's response to this as though it were a security crisis as opposed to a social justice crisis. And so I believe that his actions with respect to the guard and the state of emergency are presumptuous as to the intent of the demonstrators who are really young practitioners of democracy and presumptuous with respect to what may happen. We can go into this expecting nonviolence, civil disobedience. I believe that the government should respond systemically in terms of what he's going to do, what he's going to call upon his state to do. The task force is a great start but much more needs to be done.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I mean, as you well know, I mean, this grand jury may well not return an indictment here. They may take-- take no action and what I'm hearing, it's going to be a very hard case for the prosecutors probably to prove. Are you concerned about if that happens, what-- what the community, what the reaction of the community will be? Do you think it will be violent?

CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS: I am concerned. I am concerned because we have a prosecutor who has five complaints filed with the Justice Department concerning his police departments by the NAACP. He failed to take action. This was before Mike Brown. He then conducts a grand jury, a process where he, essentially, dumps evidence into the lapse of the grand jury with little direction. So are we concerned? Yes. But we're more concerned about the failure of the grand jury to be given the kind of direction as is typically the case and we are concerned about a grieving family and an outraged community. We want justice for them first and foremost but we want to prevent more Mike Browns, that's the issue here.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, are-- are you urging people in the community not to commit violence here, are you saying to them, look, this is not going to help? In fact, it could hurt our cause or what are you telling them?

CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS: Absolutely. The NAACP has always stood for civil disobedience, nonviolent protests. We've done that over the arch of our history and we do so now. We're calling upon our members, members of the community to respond to this decision in a nonviolent fashion. Everyone has a right to express their rights under the constitution. In fact, we have an obligation. But we need to be clear here. There is an asymmetry of responsibility. The police have the greatest responsibility to keep peace and order and to behave in a fashion that encourages nonviolence, not to-- not to agitate the situation. So we-- we believe that ninety-nine percent of the demonstrators and protesters will be nonviolent. Certainly, the Justice Department and others are responding to the possibility of violence and again it's just a possibility.

BOB SCHIEFFER: There's a huge media presence there. Does it concern you that so much attention is being focused here that this, in fact, could provoke something?

CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS: No, I believe the media in many ways helps because they are helping us focus on how to prevent future tragedies. I mean consider this Bob, over a hundred years ago, the NAACP, almost a hundred years ago stood for an anti-lynching law, which would-- would prevent the kind of racial profiling that we see today. So the point being here is we have long stood against this kind of violence, we don't want violence, we don't want violent protests done in the name of a violent act, we don't want that.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, let's hope that everything works out. We'll have an eye on it. Thank you so much, Mister Brooks.

CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS: Thank you. Appreciate it.


We're going to turn now to the week's other big story--the President's decision to take executive action on immigration on Friday. He signed orders that protect five million of the eleven million immigrants here illegally from deportation, and allows them work permits. They'll have to pay a registration fee and future taxes. To talk about this, we're going to talk first to Republican Mike McCaul. He's the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. He is in Austin this morning. Well, Mister McCaul, what now? It seems to me that the President has drawn a line in the sand or whatever you want to call it here, is that going to help or hurt the situation?

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL (Homeland Security Committee Chairman/R-Texas): I think it-- it hurts the situation. It poisons the well, going into a new Congress. The American people spoke in the elections and one of the first things out of the box is he grants amnesty to five million people. You know, in your clip, he says that members of Congress question why legal authority to do this. Well, he himself said twenty-two times that he did not have the legal authority to do this. That's not how democracy works, he said. So I think this is a bit of a threat to our democracy. And-- and, Bob, regardless of where you stand on this issue, and I understand it's an emotional issue, but there is a right way to do this and a wrong way to do it. And I think the right way to do it is to work with Congress to get real results and solutions.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, let's say he-- he has said what he has said. So what-- what will Republicans do? Are you planning on getting some legislation together and sending it to the White House or will you just try to block some people like Ted Cruz who are saying let's just hold up every nomination that he sends up to the Congress. I believe other people-- I mean there is even some talk, really not serious at this point, of maybe impeachment might-- might be something to think about. What do you think Republicans ought to do next?

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: Well, I think the impeachment-- and listen, the constitutionality issue will be determined by the courts. I know there're various lawsuits, my state, now governor-- attorney general, now governor, is filing a lawsuit against this. The courts will decide that issue. But I-- I-- I want to make one thing very clear--we are not going to shut the government down, but we are going to shut down this President and his actions as it pertains to granting amnesty to-- to five million people. And so we're looking at various options on the table right now, including the power of the purse, things that we can do to-- to stop this in the short term. In the long term, to your question, Bob, I think it's incumbent upon Republicans to come up with our own agenda a positive, constructive agenda which will lead, I believe, with my committee's bill and that will be the border security bill. We have to get that security piece done to have intelligent immigration reform. That's not being done right now. And, lastly, the biggest concern I have is, because of this talk of amnesty and reform, we're really inviting a whole other wave of illegal immigrants that we saw in 1986 when amnesty was granted, and also in docket, was that executive action. There is cause and effect. It did result in sixty thousand children crossing the Rio Grande Valley Sector in my state. So I think we want to do this methodically, smart, starting with border security and then looking at immigration reform measures.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you-- do you think anything can get done in this lame-duck session or will all this come next year?

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: I think the agenda comes next year. I think in the short term with the lame duck, we have to figure out how we're going to keep the government open and not shut it down. And at the same time deal with this executive action which I think, overwhelmingly, the American people are rejecting because-- because of the way it was done. Again, he circumvented the will of the American people, circumvented the Congress that has authority under the constitution to make laws. His is to faithfully execute the laws and I believe he's failed in that responsibility.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Is there unity, yet, among Republicans? I mean I hear what you're saying this morning, you sound very much taking the position that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, the leaders of the Congress and the Senate are taking. But you know as well as I do, there are others in your party that have different ideas here. How close are you to getting say the Republicans in the House together on-- on unified plan?

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: Well, again, this has to be done sequentially. And I think the more confidence our members have in the security piece being done because you can reform the laws but as long as people continue to flood to come into the country that's not very intelligent. We need a security-- border security bill first to secure it and then the immigration reform piece. I will tell you, yeah, we're going to have divisions in our conference but I think most of us understand that we have now been given a mandate to govern to pass things out of the Congress to deal with the challenges that are out there. And this is one of the biggest challenges and probably most difficult ones to fix but I think there are leaders in our conference who are willing to move forward to fix a broken system.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, Mister Chairman, thank you so much for being with us this morning. We're going to get the view from the other side of the aisle now, the number two Democrat in the Senate leadership, Dick Durbin of Illinois. Senator, you just heard the Congressman, why did the President take this tact?

SENATOR RICHARD DURBIN (Assistant Democratic Leader/D-Illinois): He had no choice, Bob. I've listened to the Republican response to the President's executive action. It is clear that they can complain, they can threaten, they can talk about lawsuits, cutting off funding, shutting down the government in the extreme even impeachment but the real question is, can they govern. Can they govern? It's been five hundred and thirteen days since we sent the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill from the Senate which passed with sixty-eight votes to the House of Representatives. They've never called the bill. They've never had a hearing on the bill. They've never taken up any part of it and now they complain because the President has stepped in and said we need accountability when it comes to immigration. They have to step up and govern. You asked the key question, do you among the Republicans, Mister McCaul, do you among the Republicans have your act together? Do you know what you want? And at this point it's not clear. Do they want to continue with the current broken down system which is de facto amnesty? Do they want to sponsor some sort of massive deportation? I hope not. Or do they want to work with us?

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you this, why and I'm just asking because I-- I'd be interested in what's your reaction to it. Why didn't the Presidents talk about that bill and say, look, you guys have been saying you want to do something, send me a bill up here. I'll-- I'll either sign it or I'll veto it or maybe once you send it up here I'll say there's a couple of things I don't like, can you change this. Why didn't he do that instead of what they say, what they say just sticking them in the eye with a stick?

SENATOR RICHARD DURBIN: Let me try to recall back in July when Speaker Boehner was promising the President he was going to send him a bill. And at that point the President waited, as he said strategic patience, let's wait for the Republicans, whatever they send me, I'll work with them. It never happened. And the President said I have no choice. What he's stepping forward to do now is I think what most Americans want to see, we want to make sure that if you're living in this country undocumented and you've been a drug dealer or a gang banger you're gone, no ifs, ands, or buts. That's why the President put this criminal background check in. We want to make sure that those who are working here are paying taxes into our government and we want to strengthen the border. The President wants to focus our resources to make sure we have even more security on the border, to make certain that we are deporting those who are truly a threat to our communities. When the Republicans talk about cutting the funding for the President's program, they're cutting funding for border enforcement and for deporting those who are dangerous to our country.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me just quote to you what some Republicans are saying to me, they're saying look, he's not trying to get anything done here, what he's trying to do is force us into doing something like, you know, shutting down the government which he thinks will hurt us and put Republicans in jeopardy for 2016. What would your explanation for that or what would your answer to that be?

SENATOR RICHARD DURBIN: I hope and I believe that the Republicans on Capitol Hill learned a lesson when Senator Ted Cruz of Texas shut down the government over the Affordable Care Act. It was a political disaster which they should never repeat. What the President is doing is basically saying I'm going to do what I can within my power to have accountability in immigration. And now it's your responsibility. And let me add, too, they have almost twenty days left this year to call the bipartisan bill from the Senate. They could do that instantly in the week after Thanksgiving and I hope that they will. That will really be an opportunity to see if the will is there in the House to pass it.

BOB SCHIEFFER: What-- you talk about the leadership amongst the Republicans and are they together, are Democrats together here? We know that in the Senate what was it-- we know of at least five Democrats--


BOB SCHIEFFER: --had voted against Harry Reid. We know that Harry Reid's top aide is sitting here making disparaging statements about the President, blaming him for losing the midterms. How does the President get along with Democrats these days?

SENATOR RICHARD DURBIN: Very well. But I think there's reality. In the states the President did not carry, some of the states where there were disastrous results, just a few weeks ago, it's pretty clear that some Democrats are putting some distance between themselves and the President. That's not unusual in American politics. But I believe that there is an overwhelming majority within the Senate Democratic caucus for what the President is doing. We stood up on a bipartisan basis and created a good bill to deal with immigration. We know now that the House has that same responsibility. And I think all Democratic senators stand behind the President in trying to make this a safer nation with this accountability and also to make certain that those who are working here with a temporary work permit are going to pay their fair share of taxes.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Why do you think Democrats did so poorly in these midterm elections?

SENATOR RICHARD DURBIN: It's a variety of things. Historically, off-year elections are not kind to the President's party. Secondly, there isn't a lot of happiness with Washington, DC. And, as consequence, a lot of people have given up on the front that Washington can even improve their lives. I think that accounts for the falloff and turnout in many states. So I think we have to restore some hope and confidence.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you see anything changing?

SENATOR RICHARD DURBIN: I think it can. Your earlier guest from the NAACP talked about some of the issues facing us with race and crime. I'm working on a bill with Cory Booker as well as Mike Lee and Rand Paul and also Ted Cruz to deal with the smarter sentencing guidelines. There's an opportunity here. And I hope that we seize it to do some bipartisan activities to move this country forward.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I think most people would say they hope you succeed in that.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Thank you so much, Senator.


BOB SCHIEFFER: We'll be back in a minute.


BOB SCHIEFFER: We're going to turn now to the intense negotiations happening in Vienna where Secretary of State John Kerry and other world powers are negotiating with the government of Iran over that country's nuclear weapons program. Deadline for a new deal is Monday. So far little progress has been reported. Now both sides are expecting there to be no deal. Margaret Brennan joins us now from Vienna. Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN (CBS News State Department Correspondent): Well, Bob, the U.S. and other world powers are making what they think is a generous offer to Iran which is they'll gradually lift sanctions if that country agrees to further slow its nuclear program. But Iran is rejecting that at least so far. They want an immediate suspension of all sanctions which badly damage their economy and they haven't agreed to completely give up all of the components that could be used to build a weapon. Secretary Kerry and Iran's top negotiator met again today and they have until midnight tomorrow to find some common ground.

BOB SCHIEFFER: So what happens if there's no deal by tomorrow, Margaret?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, the most likely outcome is an extension of the current agreement which was reached last November and temporarily freezes Iran's nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief. That would at least let the negotiators keep on talking but it's hardly a victory. Iranian hardliners are likely to say that talking is a waste of time and President Obama, who really wanted this as a major foreign policy win, is going to face increased pressure from the newly Republican-led Congress and skeptical Mid East allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, thank you, Margaret. And let us know if that changes. We will be back in a minute with some personal thoughts.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Several weeks ago, I noted that the recent election cost nearly four billions. And I posed the question, what did you, the voter and the citizen, get for that? My answer was, not much. Well, I've done a little more digging and now I can answer another question, what did the politicians get? Well, it turns out same answer. Not much. For all the effort by all those experts who charged the candidates these astronomical sums for all these half-baked schemes to get out the vote, for all the commercials cranked out by the strategists who take a percentage of the money spent on TV commercials, for all of that voter turnout may have been the lowest since World War II. Only thirty-seven percent of the eligible voters thought what happened on Election Day was important enough to vote. That at a time when every poll shows a majority of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track. Republican turnout was low but not as low as the Democrats. So they can legitimately call it a wave. And I take away nothing from their wins. But my sense is most Americans just felt a wave of disgust with the entire process. The only good news was learning the politicians got no more bang for their buck than the rest of us.

Back in a minute.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Some of our stations are leaving us now. But for most of you, we'll be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION. And we'll be talking more about the President's immigration reform actions with two members of the House, Republican Raul Labrador and Democrat Luis Gutierrez. Plus, our panel. Stay with us.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. Well, we're going to pick up on the discussion about the President's decisions on immigration reform. And we're joined by two Hispanic members of the House--Republican Raul Labrador. He joins us from Boise in his home state of Idaho and in the studio, Illinois Democrat Luis Gutierrez. Congressman Labrador, it seems to me the President has put the ball in the Republican court. What do you think what he did or was illegal or legal, whatever you think about it, what are Republicans going to do about it or just what are you going to do now?

REPRESENTATIVE RAUL LABRADOR (Judiciary Committee/R-Idaho): Well, there's several things that we need to do. Number one, it was illegal for the President to do this. He has been saying it for the last three years that he did not have the authority to do it and now he changed his mind. I think it's also unfortunate because right after the election he looked into the camera and he disagreed that his policies were rejected. He looked into the camera and he told the American people that this election was about working together with Congress, specifically, working together with the Republican Party. And this is what he does right after the elections, so, instead, of uniting us like he promised seven years ago that he was going to do he's dividing the nation in every single area. But what we should do is a lot of different things. Number one, I think we should censure the President of the United States. I think it's unfortunate that he did this. I think we need to lay out clearly why this is unlawful. I think we need to pass a funding bill that separate homeland security from that funding bill. And I think we also should require the President of the United States to go through a comment period, just like we have to do for regulations under the Administrative Procedures Act. And finally, and I think this is the most important part, we can't take the bait from-- from the Democrats. We can't say we're not going to do immigration reform. We need to tell the American people what we're for. And we need to show them the step-by-step approach that we have been doing in the House. It's unfortunate to hear the President and other Democrats say that we haven't done anything. We have passed legislation out of the House and the Democrats have refused to work with us on that legislation.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, are you going to try to pass some sort of legislation during this lame duck or are you going to let it go till next year?

REPRESENTATIVE RAUL LABRADOR: You know if it was my-- my decision I would start passing legislation. In fact, I asked our leadership to start passing legislation two weeks ago. I think we need to start with the Border Security Bill. I think we need to show the American people that we're serious about border security. I think we can do something like we already passed out of the House of Representatives--

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, what did--

REPRESENTATIVE RAUL LABRADOR: --that we pass the hi-tech immigration.

BOB SCHIEFFER: What did your leaders say when you said we ought to do this? Did they give you any indication that they are going to?

REPRESENTATIVE RAUL LABRADOR: I think we're going to start doing things. As you know I serve on the House Judiciary Committee and the immigration subcommittee. And I think we're going to pass legislation. But it's not going to be the legislation that the President is asking for. We have rejected the legislation the President has been asking for. We, as Republicans, do not think you should give amnesty first and-- and talk about security later, which is what the Senate bill did. We think security, border security, is foremost in-- in our minds and in the minds of the American people. We need to do that first and then we need to do a step-by-step approach where we'd reform the entire immigration system that is completely broken.


REPRESENTATIVE RAUL LABRADOR: And we can then do what the American people want us to do.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. But let me go to Luis Gutierrez from the Democratic side of the aisle. So what is your response to that and where do you think this is going to happen--

REPRESENTATIVE LUIS GUTIERREZ (Judiciary Committee/D-Illinois): A couple of things--surprise, surprise, surprise. The President of the United States, I mean to listen to my friend from Idaho, anybody would think that the President of the United States when he gave the State of the Union address last January kind of took the gavel away from the Speaker of the House after he finished his State of the Union address. He said to the nation, if you do not act, I will use the powers that I have, as President of the United States, to begin to fix the broken immigration system. He repeated that. Speaker Boehner called him at the end of June and said, "Mister President, notwithstanding all your good efforts, notwithstanding all my good efforts, the House will not act on immigration reform." And what did he say? I have called my cabinet together and I will act on the immigration thing. So it seems to me that the argument is now we're going to start legislating. Well, it's twenty-three months into the legislative session. They control the House of Representatives. They don't need a single vote from the Democrats. We could have been in conference right now. I am not saying to my friend Raul Labrador, that they needed and he knows that I did-- I never said this. I said let's pass a House bill. I just want to make sure, Bob, when they said, no gay families, we didn't walk away from it. When they said there was no path to citizenship. We didn't walk away. When they said we needed to do it in parts and pieces, we didn't walk away. When we gave them thirty thousand more border patrol agents, we found the way to finance that. I think the problem here, if you listen to Mister McCaul and you listen to my friend Raul Labrador. They mix things up. They want border security, border security, border security. Comprehensive immigration reform secures the border. You cannot secure the border and tell because they keep talking about a border, but you know which border they're talking about, the border between Mexico and the United States. Let me suggest to the American people that there are other borders, it's called LAX, it's called Kennedy, it's called right here Washington Dulles. It is called airports all over this country. Millions of undocumented workers are in the United States that came through those borders. If you want a bill and you truly want to secure our community the President, Bob, was forced to act. Last, think about it a moment, they want to censure the President. The President has said, I'm inviting millions of people to come forward, go through a background check, a criminal background check at their own expense, pay the taxes that they owe, go back and work and raise their American citizen children, Bob. I think children are special and they're special no matter what the immigration condition of the parents that they have.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you this. Some people are already saying that the President taking this action is just going to cause a flood of immigrants to come in now because they want to come in and get in on this deal.

REPRESENTATIVE LUIS GUTIERREZ: You want to know something, great question. Number one, let me say the following, there's no path to citizenship for the five million that the President is offering. They can't get a single benefit, welfare benefit from the government. They can pay all the taxes that you and I, I'm sure you feel better and I feel better that they're paying taxes. I'm sure, you and I feel better that they have gone through a background check. Now we can put the resources on criminals. So what the President has says, look, I want to go out to felons, I want to go out to criminals. I don't want to break up families and go out to children. But let's suggest this; we're going to put more border patrol agents on the border because now they don't have to do as much interior enforcement. Actually, here's a good thing do you know that under the President's program the border patrol is going to be able to go and get an increase in their pay. Why? Because commensurate with their new responsibility they should get paid. The President was very clear in his message. He said, if you're a criminal in the United States, things just got worse for you because we're coming after you. Because guess who we're not going after, we're not going after kids, we're not going after families, we're not deporting a thousand people every day who do not present a threat to America.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me-- I know both of you have come to this with considerable passion. Congressman Labrador, I'm going to let each of you thirty seconds, tell me what is the most important thing that the American people need to know about this right now. You go first.

REPRESENTATIVE RAUL LABRADOR: The most important thing they need to know is that we need to follow the law. If the President wasn't forcing the law, we wouldn't have the problem that we have right now at the border. We are going to have a flood of people coming to the border. I think it's the same thing that happened with the amnesty of 1986, it's the same thing that happened just a couple of years ago with the docket decision and I think that's unfortunate. And the last thing that we need to know is that we do need to pass immigration reform. It has to be conservative immigration reform. The American people would like to do something about the twelve million people that are here but the most important responsibility that we have as members of Congress is to protect both borders. I have the border at the North--Idaho. It has the border with Canada and we are concerned about that border as well not just the Southern Border.


REPRESENTATIVE LUIS GUTIERREZ: I said just to the American people, check the tape. It's the first time any border has ever been spoken about by a Republican. That isn't the border between Mexico and the United States. Now that's a step in the right direction. So I said to the American people, my friend Raul Labrador wasted the last twenty-three months. They could have acted. We could be in conference right now, passing a bill, benefitting the American people. Bob, they have a hundred and eighty days starting January first, before the first person applies for a work permit under the President's executive authority. When I would speak to them, toll up your sleeves, you were sent to Washington to govern. You have a majority in the Senate. You have a majority in the House. And I am ready to sit down with my colleague and fix the problems that America is confronting.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, I want to thank both of you.


BOB SCHIEFFER: And we'll be back in just a minute with our panel of analysts in a minute.


BOB SCHIEFFER: And now for some analysis on all of this, we're going to turn to our panel. Susan Page is the Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today. Michael Gerson, columnist for The Washington Post. He was a speechwriter for President George W. Bush. David Ignatius is also a Washington Post columnist. Clarence Page is a columnist for The Chicago Tribune. He's the author of a new collection of columns, Cultural Worrier: Reflections on Race, Politics, and Social Change. And last but not least, Mark Leibovich, the chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine. Well, I didn't know quite where to start. But I'll tell you this. There-- there was so much energy in this discussion about immigration I've got to start there. Susan, what's going to happen here?

SUSAN PAGE (USA Today): You know, I think that the President Obama has done an amazing thing. I think he-- I don't think this is part of some grand strategic plan, but I think he's really put Republicans on the spot. And you're hearing a different tone from the Republicans you interviewed this morning. No government shut down, right? We don't want to take the bait and overreact. And maybe they'll actually sit down and work on immigration legislation. I think that's an amazing thing. And I think what we heard from-- what we are hearing from Republicans reflects their concerns about how are they going to look at this moment and looking forward to 2016.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, Clarence, are they-- have Republicans come up with how they're going to react to this. We heard John Boehner--

CLARENCE PAGE (Chicago Tribune): Right. Mm-Hm.

BOB SCHIEFFER: --right after the morning after the President's speech. And, you know, he talked about him being an emperor or a king, but he didn't actually say what they plan to do.

CLARENCE PAGE: No, he-- no, he didn't. But what we do know is that House Republicans have been divided up until now on the immigration issue. What President Obama has done really is to-- is to pull-- pull them together as he-- as he often does in their mutual disdain for him. And he's-- he left a great opening for them, because he has taken action on the parts of reform that Democrats like, which is bringing people out of the shadows and keeping families unified. And-- and-- and-- and left the border security part which Congressman Labrador just brought up to the Republicans, which they-- they will bring up now and they-- they will push back with-- I predict push back with legislation of their own which calls for the stronger border security, etc., without disrupting too much the, you know, family unification and those types of-- of-- of issues that the Democrats really care about.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Mark, you-- you're kind of an-- become an expert on hypocrisy in Washington--

MARK LEIBOVICH (New York Times): Wow.

BOB SCHIEFFER: --after you wrote that in a book called--

MARK LEIBOVICH: --don't you?

BOB SCHIEFFER: --Our Town. And-- and seeing beneath the surface, seeing things that may look one way and somehow turn out to be another. Why-- what is your sense of why the President chose to go this route?

MARK LEIBOVICH: Well, I-- I think he's fed up. I mean, obviously, I-- I think people look at the political calculus. I actually think and from what people have told me inside or close to him, that he was-- he was upset that he didn't do anything before the election. I think he feels like he's been not played, but I think that he does not like doing things that are so nakedly political. And I think the timing of that was seen that way and I think he would probably admit to it now. I-- I think, look, I'm struck by the tone also in the Republicans, especially, you know, that we've seen in the last few days. I think what they're trying to do is let this play out in a non-grandstanding kind of way. That could be a-- a presidential context, you know, someone like Ted Cruz or Rand Paul or someone more conservative governors like Rick Perry or Bobby Jindal sort of taking this issue. But, no, I mean they have a strong legislative hand now and I think that I mean, I didn't think I'd say this a few months ago but I actually think that something could actually work between the two parties at this point in a way that might not have before.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you think so, Mike?

MICHAEL GERSON (Washington Post): Yeah. I think we're seeing that the leadership now has some leverage. We-- we had a conference that was controlled by people who were extreme in the past. Right now, the leaders are in charge of their strategy. They're trying to determine what they do. They don't want to do much in the midterm. They'd rather wait until they have both Houses of Congress. They do have a-- a continuing resolution. They're going to have to do something in order to prevent something worse from being proposed. So they're, you know, casting around what that's going to be but I think there is every likelihood that the Republicans will come back and, you know, pass something, put-- try to put the President on the spot. That's, I think, what Jeb Bush would want. That's the approach that both disagrees with the executive order but embraces some type of comprehensive reform which is what a Republican candidate in 2016 will have to do in order to maintain the viability of his party.

BOB SCHIEFFER: What do you think, David? I mean you've been watching Washington for a long time as I have. Do you see any chance that things are going to change around here?

DAVID IGNATIUS (Washington Post): I see a little more possibility of that after this morning's discussions, like Susan, I was struck by the two Republicans that you talked to, each saying they want legislation and talking about the parameters of it. We have a system that's broken. And-- and it's broken, and unable to deal with an issue immigration the public really cares about, President acted unilaterally to deal with that but he said, give me legislation and we heard today the Republicans are going to give him legislation then that will start a process of bargaining where they'll send something up and he'll have to decide, can I accept this, do I veto it? Do they have to come back with something closer to what I want to do? I mean I hate to say it but for broken system that may be the only way forward.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I mean it's not just the immigration system that's broken, it's our whole political system that's broken. I mean as far as I am concerned and I mean the fact that Congress is in gridlock, it seems to me it's just a symptom of the real cause and that's our whole political apparatus here is just sort of crashed. You know, as we saw in this election. I mean thirty-seven percent of the American people voted, that's the lowest voter turnout since World War II as I just remarked a while ago. I was stunned when I found that out.

SUSAN PAGE: And that's alarming for our system to have so few people vote and have-- people have so little faith in our system but not to be too pollyannaish about it, not only did you have some encouraging signs about immigration in the interview you did this morning, but when-- when-- when there-- there was talk also about a bipartisan effort on sentencing reform. You know that's the kind of issue on which there is actually some bipartisan agreement. There has been no willingness to step forward on things that you might agree on, maybe-- maybe there is now, maybe the incredible frustration that Americans have expressed which is reflected in the fact that so many people didn't turn out to vote. Maybe that is beginning to have some kind of affect here.

BOB SCHIEFFER: So do you all think that the midterms will actually have any impact on 2016? I-- I hear people say, you know, midterms are midterms. They-- they really don't affect what happens to you or have an impact.

CLARENCE PAGE: They're going to have an impact. Well-- still the landscape has already changed, President Obama's approach, already he's violated the Washington etiquette that says, you know let's all patch things up after the midterm. No, he's going out there confrontationally, provoking the system and as we heard this morning, it may actually produce some-- some legislation as a result. People like Ted Cruz and Dick Durbin that normally don't work together on a lot of issues are together on sentencing reform, have been for months, I've written about this, hardly anybody has paid attention to it that sentencing reform is an area where the right and the left are coming together. And we're going to see some kind of-- kind of new trade deal now, Republicans will give President Obama more trade authority because they want the President to have that, even if it is Obama. And so I think we're going to see things change after the first midterm.

MICHAEL LEIBOVICH: Well, I think, first of all, if you look at the three leaders, I mean, Speaker Boehner, and soon to be Majority Leader McConnell and the President, in a way they all have less to lose. The President, I mean you could say, you know, he's behaving politically now. But he's not running again. I think he's internalized that to a point where we can sort of see that at work in his actions. McConnell is not going to be up for reelection for four years and Speaker Boehner, you don't hear a lot about his position being precarious in his caucus anymore. So, look, I mean these are all institutional, or at least McConnell and Boehner are intuitionalists. They might be in much more of a position to deal on things like tax reform, immigration reform. So you know maybe we are being pollyannaish, but why not?

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know you-- you-- you just wrote a big piece on Chris Christie, I take it he's running?

MICHAEL LEIBOVICH: I think he is. Yeah. I think he is. He's doing everything he can, I mean, that would seem to be putting things in place. He-- what he's not doing is talking about anything of any substance. I mean I am shocked that he has been completely silent on immigration reform where as Governor Kasich, Governor Bush, you know, two people who might run against have been pretty vocal, especially in taking a more moderate position. But, yeah, he seems to be doing everything else politically that would suggest he would run.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know I think Kasich is the dark horse here. I think he might-- I think he might run and might do well, you know he's a--

MICHAEL LEIBOVICH: Well, he's got Ohio. I mean he's-- he's pretty well respected in the party. And he's, you know, look, he's had a great cycle. And so, you know, I think a lot of people are looking at him now.

MICHAEL GERSON: I think the serious money is still looking at Jeb Bush in the Republican--

BOB SCHIEFFER: Just what I was going to ask.

MICHAEL GERSON: Donor--donor class. And he's, you know, making some signals that this is a possibility. He hasn't ruled it out. I think if he doesn't get in the race there will be a serious look at the tier below him. And John Kasich is at the top of that tier. Blue-collar appeal, appeals to religious conservatives, won twenty-five percent of the African-American votes in Ohio in his re-elect against admittedly weak opponent but it was a serious win. And this was the swingiest of the swing states. So I think that, you know, he would get serious consideration.

CLARENCE PAGE: Being (INDISTINCT) Ohio, from John Boehner's district, I would agree. And I've been saying Jeb Bush for the last couple of years, if Jeb does not run then the rest have to scramble to-- for the top, but the Tea Party is still out there. And that's what gets in the way of John Kasich, Jeb Bush and other moderates.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, I did not think Jeb Bush was going to run myself until I went down and talked to his brother George W. Bush, and who he says well it's fifty-fifty. But I just sensed that the family is now beginning to think he is going to run.

SUSAN PAGE: Well, when I interviewed George W. Bush, as you did on his book, I said it sounds like there's a family campaign to get him to run and he said, yeah, I think there is. And I also wonder if the family would get out there as far as they have without thinking that Jeb Bush wants to be encouraged to get in this race.

BOB SCHIEFFER: We need to talk a little bit about what's going on in Vienna. It sounds from Margaret Brennan's report this morning, David, there's not going to be an agreement on--

DAVID IGNATIUS: It does sound that way twenty-four hours before a deadline, having covered labor negotiations I am almost reluctant to say that's it, it's over, you know, you never know about the eleventh hour, fifty-ninth minute, but right now both sides do seem to be positioning themselves for an inability to reach a comprehensive agreement. And then question is, will they seek to extend the bargaining that they have perhaps pocketing the-- the areas of-- of agreement that have emerged over the last year and kind of setting those aside and saying we've made enough progress in these areas, that we're going to work on these areas where we're still fairly wide apart. I've been struck by the way in which the Iranians are trying to signal, you know, this isn't our fault. We've been reasonable as if they're getting ready for the day after and they don't want to be blamed.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And we are talking, of course, about how to find a way to put limits and stop Iran from--

DAVID IGNATIUS: To stop Iran--

BOB SCHIEFFER: --stopping the components of nuclear weapons.

DAVID IGNATIUS: Stretch the time that Iran would-- would require to build a nuclear weapon. That's been President Obama's goal.

BOB SCHIEFFER: The Israelis say they should shut down everything and they won't be satisfied with any kind of a deal unless it just said, you know, everything stops. Is that possible?

DAVID IGNATIUS: It's-- it's probably not realistically possible. It would have been possible five years ago but series of hurdles have been crossed by the Iranians in-- in that time period. You know, I think the danger, Bob, is that-- is that if an agreement is reached that allows Iran to enrich uranium and have this threshold capability, other nations in the region starting with Saudi Arabia will insist on the same thing. And then the nightmare of proliferation of nuclear technology in that whole region will accelerate. And that's-- that should scare everyone.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Would the Israelis allow that to happen, a bad deal in their view?

DAVID IGNATIUS: The-- the-- I think there are lot of Israelis I talked to who say an ugly deal that still leaves us safer than we would be without one and that's the deal the U.S. was seeking, would be preferable than to taking military action. The problem for the Israelis is they probably don't have the weapons to be able to take out the Iranian nuclear program. The United States does so you'll see pressure on the U.S. to do the thing that Israel has to.

BOB SCHIEFFER: If-- if they launched it, they would want us to join hands.

DAVID IGNATIUS: They could start-- they could start-- start a conflict, they probably couldn't finish it.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. We have to end it there. Thanks all of you for being here this morning. And we'll be right back.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, that's it for us today. For the latest on the decision coming from the Ferguson grand jury, stay with CBS. Be sure to watch CBS THIS MORNING tomorrow. We'll be back next week. In the meantime, have a happy Thanksgiving.


Jackie Berkowitz,

(202) 600-6407

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