"Face the Nation" transcripts November 25, 2012: Presidential and fiction authors


(CBS News) Below is a transcript of "Face the Nation" on November 25, 2012, hosted by CBS News' Bob Schieffer. Thanksgiving Sunday's book panels include presidential historians Doris Kearns Goodwin, Evan Thomas, Bob Woodward and Jon Meacham; then, a conversation with fiction writers David Baldacci, Alex Stone, Gillian Flynn and Chris Pavone.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And good morning again. Well, just hours after helping negotiate the cease-fire between the Israelis and Hamas, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi declared more power for himself and said he was immune to judicial oversight. That has set off violent protests between Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, and the opposition parties. Police used tear gas in Cairo yesterday. More than five hundred have been injured and Egypt's judicial branch is joining with the opposition in protests. Both sides have announced plans for major protests in Cairo on Tuesday. CBS News correspondent Holly Williams is in Cairo this morning. Holly, what can you tell us?

HOLLY WILLIAMS (CBS News Correspondent): Well, Bob, what we're seeing here today in central Cairo is violent clashes between anti-Morsi protestors and the police. They're really fighting running street battles in the area around Tahrir Square. So the protesters throw stones and sometimes hurl obscenities at the police. They push their way down a street and then after a while the police fire back with tear gas canisters or they will drive an-- an armored car down the street, and-- and the street is then cleared. The numbers are actually fairly small. I would say there are between one thousand and two thousand protesters, and only some of them are violent. But, as you said just then, both sides are planning big protests on Tuesday. And given what we're seeing, I don't think it would be surprising if we see violent clashes between the two sides. But you get the sense that Egyptian liberals and opponents of President Morsi who are not out on the street today are really trying to work out how they should respond and-- and what they can do. The Egyptian Judges' Club has called on judges to go on strike. We don't know what kind of an impact that's going to have. Several people have launched legal challenges to President Morsi's decree, but given that he's now-- said that he's immune to the courts, that may be completely irrelevant. And then yesterday, we heard from Mohammed ElBaradei. He's a very prominent liberal here in Egypt, the former director general of the IAEA. He said first of all that there can be no dialogue with President Morsi. That gives you a sense of how polarized things are here. He went on to say that he's sure the military is worried and perhaps they will intervene to restore stability. Now, that's an extraordinary thing for a proponent of democracy to say and perhaps does not bode well for Egyptian democracy. Now, both President Morsi and his supporters are saying that this is temporary. That once Egypt has a new constitution and a new parliament next year that President will relinquish these powers. The problem is, of course, that history is littered with examples of political leaders who have given themselves special powers, they've said temporarily and then it's ended up being anything but temporary in the end.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, thank you so much, Holly, and be safe. And now to our first panel this morning. We're joined by Bob Woodward, who has written twelve books about Presidents, the latest The Price Of Politics. Doris Kearns Goodwin's best-selling Team Of Rivals, the basis for the new Lincoln movie. She was an adviser on that. She's also written about LBJ, and the Kennedys. Evan Thomas, latest book Ike's Bluff, all about President Eisenhower's years in the White House. And Jon Meacham's new book is Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power and it just debuted right up there at the top of the New York Times bestseller list. It's now at number two. Well, thank all of you for coming. You know, as I-- as I read these books--and, Evan, I've finished yours last night--it-- it something occurred to me. Lincoln, Jefferson, Eisenhower, they were all great negotiators. They were all compromisers. And then I read your book earlier this year, Bob Woodward, about President Obama and this stalemate over-- over trying to find some kind of way to keep the government running here in Washington and it occurs to me that what seems to be lacking these days is this-- this disability of modern politicians to compromise. I sometimes wonder if they-- if they've forgotten how to do it.

BOB WOODWARD (The Price of Politics): Well, one-- one theme is the President, no matter who is President, is the chief strategist. They set the tone. They say this is how we're going to do things and fix things. In the case of Obama in the first term, and the economic issues, he didn't fix them. And he didn't find a way to work his will. And you see Lincoln and Jefferson and Eisenhower did. Now, we're catching Obama midstream. He still has another four years. The interesting question is going to be how he takes victory. We know how Romney has taken defeat--not very well--and he is grousing. What is-- has Obama learned? How is he going to say, we're going to fix some of these things, not just play politics?

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, Doris, you lived with Lincoln for a long, long time when you wrote this book. You got to know a lot about him. Now you've been working with the folks who made this movie. What are the lessons for Barack Obama from Abraham Lincoln?

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN (Team of Rivals): Well, I think the most important lesson that the movie illustrates by getting the passage of the 13th Amendment through a really fractious Congress is you do everything you can, every means within your control. He says, "I am clothed with immense power. You get me those votes". And that means assignments, jobs, it means being sort of looking to the his-- history of the person making them want to feel better that they've done something important, low-level stuff. It's messy. It's compromising. It doesn't look pretty but it gets the job done. And I think that's the same thing that LBJ did. I mean I think you got to learn from these guys. You use the White House as a political asset. If LBJ were there now trying to get the fiscal cliff, they would be sleeping at the White House.


DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN: McConnell would be in one room, and Boehner would be in another and LBJ would be parading around in his robe. But if they remain obstructionist, then Teddy Roosevelt is another lesson for them because he knew that he couldn't get his conservative Republican Party just by being nice to them, by offering them things. He needed to mobilize pressure from the outside in. And that's where I think Obama has to also play an outside game. He's got that base now. That base is still mobilized and there's got to be a way. Maybe he should take a train trip around the country, the same way that Teddy Roosevelt did. Get them out there all the time. Get the immigration bill signed because people pressure you from the outside in.