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Face the Nation Transcripts October 11, 2015: Trump, Carson

(CBS News) -- Below is a transcript from the October 11, 2015 edition of "Face the Nation." Guests included Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, Tom Donilon, David Ignatius, Holly Williams, Ruth Marcus, Ben Domench, Robert Costa and Ron Fournier.

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: Donald Trump and Ben Carson are at he top of the Republican field in our new CBS News poll. We talk to both of them.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I love it. We're leading. I'm going -- I'm all the way, just so you understand, all the way, 100 percent.


DICKERSON: Trump mania continues out on the campaign trail. So, we sat down with Donald Trump to get his views on the chaos in Congress, his campaign and more.

We will also talk to Dr. Ben Carson about his provocative comments about guns and the Holocaust.

And, as Paul Ryan considers jumping into the speaker's race, we talk to a key conservative in the House, Congressman Mick Mulvaney.

A terror attack in Turkey kills 97 people. We will have the latest and talk about Russia's growing role in Syria, plus our political panel.

It's all ahead on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning. And welcome to FACE THE NATION. I'm John Dickerson.

We have got a brand-new CBS News poll. Donald Trump is in first place in the Republican field with 27 percent. That's the same as last month. Ben Carson is running second at 21 percent. Ted Cruz comes in next at 9 percent, followed by Marco Rubio at 8 percent. Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina are both at 6 percent, with the remaining candidates coming in at less than 5 percent support among Republican primary voters.

Among Democratic contenders, Hillary Clinton remains ahead of Vermont Bernie Sanders by a wide margin. If you include Vice President Joe Biden, who has not announced his plans yet, Clinton still has a considerable lead. The rest of the Democratic field comes in at 2 percent or less in either scenario.

It has been a tumultuous week for the Republican Party, as they scramble to find someone who can be speaker of the House.

That's where we began when we sat down with Donald Trump on Friday.


DICKERSON: Paul Ryan's name is mentioned as a possible speaker. What do you think of Paul Ryan?

TRUMP: Well, I think he's somebody that probably -- that could get good support. I think he's a very nice person. I think he doesn't want it very badly. But you never know. Maybe he's playing one of the great games of all time.

It's speaker of the House. I mean, it is a great position, but he doesn't seem to want it. But I will bet you that, if it was actually offered to him, he would take it.

DICKERSON: You said you want somebody strong. Is Paul Ryan strong?

TRUMP: I think he's strong. I disagree with some of the things.

I think that when Mitt Romney chose him last time, it was a tough choice, because he's been so anti-Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security in a sense. Now, he would say he hasn't been, but they certainly played that apart. And that was a disastrous campaign for a lot of reasons.

But Paul Ryan is a good man. I know him very little, but I think he's a very good person.

DICKERSON: So you would be OK with Speaker Paul Ryan?

TRUMP: I would be OK. I would be OK. It may not be him. They have a couple of people in there. I'm not going to mention names, but people I know that are really tough and really smart. And right now, that's what we need, because the Republicans never win.

John, they never win. Everything, whether it's on Obamacare, whether it's on the debt ceiling, whether -- no matter what we have, there's never, ever a victory. So we need a toughness that we just don't have there right now.

DICKERSON: You said that Republicans should do -- and I'm quoting from you here -- "something really, really significant" with the coming debt ceiling vote. That's the vote on whether the United States government can keep borrowing money.

What can Republicans do?

TRUMP: Well, John, if you go back and check, I have been saying this for three years. All right? That's a tremendously powerful weapon, if they knew how to use it. The problem is, you will have 70 percent of the Republicans saying, we're not closing government. Now, when you say that -- you know, I wrote "The Art of the Deal." When you say that, and the other side says, well, we got 70 percent of the people say it's not going to happen, the other 30 percent are -- essentially, they're rendered useless. It's really very unfair to them, because they're left out there hanging.

So you need somebody that can unify, can be tough and can win against the Democrats and against others, I mean, in all fairness, against the world, essentially. But they really do have a tremendously powerful weapon, but they don't use it and they don't use it properly. They're terrible negotiators.

DICKERSON: John Boehner, after he announced that he was resigning, said that there were false prophets in the Republican Party.

And I'm quoting. He said: "These false prophets are whipping people into a frenzy believing they can accomplish things that they know are never going to happen."

He's kind of talking about you.

TRUMP: I don't think so. But, first of all, I know. I like him on a personal basis. But I do think they should be tougher.

But here's the problem. When he says false prophets, you cannot win when you have a group of 25 or 30 percent on this side, and you have a group of 70 percent on this side saying, we're never going along with the 30 percenters who want more. That's what is happening.

And every time I watch it, I say, it's so sad, because if they were really unified and they took that 30 percent stance, assuming they wanted to really make changes and do it right, and cut the budget, cut the deficit, do things that they should be doing, if they took that group, and if everybody was unified, Obama would fold.

But there's no reason for him to ever fold, because he knows that a big proportion, a vast majority of the Republicans are on his side.

DICKERSON: I want to ask you about your view on the use of military power. You say, in personal relations, you're a counterpuncher. You don't hit until you are hit.

Is that a good way to think about the way you would use military force as a president?

TRUMP: I'm the most military-based and the most militaristic person on your show. I want to have a much stronger military. I want it to be so strong that nobody is going to mess with us.

I want to take care of our vets, who are treated terribly, like third-class citizens. We have illegal immigrants that are being treated better than our great vets. They're like third-class citizens. They're going to be taken care of. But we have to make our military strong and hopefully never have to use it.

DICKERSON: Well, let's take an example of some case where you may or may not use military force. It turns out Assad apparently used chemical weapons on his own people. Does President Trump use force or not in that case?

TRUMP: Well, you know, the time to have done it would have been when he drew the line in the sand.

DICKERSON: So, you would have done it in that case?

TRUMP: When I'm president -- I might have gone in. Yes, I think it's terrible. When you start using that, I think it's terrible.

Now it's such a mess over there, with everybody involved, and the airspace is very limited. It's not that big of an area. The airspace is very limited. So, now you have -- what, are we going to start World War III over Syria?

DICKERSON: Where you are on the question of a safe zone or a no- fly zone in Syria?

TRUMP: I love a safe zone for people. I do not like the migration. I do not like the people coming.

Frankly, look, Europe is going to have to handle -- but they're going to have riots in Germany. What's happening in Germany, I always thought Merkel was like this great leader. What she's done in Germany is insane. It is insane. They're having all sorts of attacks.


DICKERSON: You mean in letting in the refugees?

TRUMP: Letting in that many people.

What they should do is, the countries should all get together, including the Gulf states, who have nothing but money, they should all get together and they should take a big swathe of land in Syria and they do do a safe zone for people, so that they could have a safe -- where they could to live, and then ultimately go back to their country, go back to where they came from.

DICKERSON: Does the U.S. get involved in making that safe zone?

TRUMP: I would help them economically, even though we owe $19 trillion.

What I won't do is take in 200,000 Syrians who could be ISIS. John, I have been watching this migration. And I see the people. I mean, they're men. They're mostly men, and they're strong men. These are physically young, strong men. They look like prime-time soldiers.

Now, it's probably not true, but where are the women? You see some women. You see some children. But for the most part, I'm looking at these strong men. So, you ask two things. Number one, why aren't they fighting for their country? And, number two, I don't want these people coming over here.

And even on a humanitarian -- when I was first asked this question -- you asked it to me a long time ago -- when they were talking about 3,000 people, I begrudgingly would say, oh, maybe, I don't know. Maybe.

DICKERSON: Letting them into the United States.

TRUMP: A little bit. Then they said 10,000, I'm not thrilled, but maybe.

Two hundred thousand people? This could be the greatest Trojan horse. This could make the Trojan horse look like peanuts if these people turned out to be a lot of ISIS.

DICKERSON: Peggy Noonan writes that you and Vladimir Putin are showing strength. Do you have similarities with Vladimir Putin?

TRUMP: Well, I like her. I can tell you that. I think Peggy Noonan is fantastic, and she's been writing some nice things. Every once in a while, she will hit me, but that's OK. But I think she's fantastic.

No, I think the biggest thing we have is that we were on "60 Minutes" together, and we had fantastic ratings, one of your best rated shows in a long time. So, that was good, right? So, we were stable mates.

I think that we are very different. I think that I would at the same time get along very well with him. He does not like Obama at all. He doesn't respect Obama at all. And I'm sure that Obama doesn't like him very much.

But I think that I would probably get along with him very well, and I don't think you would be having the kind of problems that you're having right now. And as far as him attacking ISIS, I'm all for it. If he wants to be bombing the hell out of ISIS, which he's starting to do, if he wants to be bombing ISIS, let him bomb them, John. Let him bomb them.

DICKERSON: You have a concealed weapons permit.


DICKERSON: When did you get it?

TRUMP: Years ago.


TRUMP: Because I like to have myself protected.

DICKERSON: Do you carry on a...

TRUMP: Sometimes.

DICKERSON: Would you advise -- in the context of current gun violence, would you advise people to get that?

TRUMP: Well, I'm a big Second Amendment person, big, as you probably know.

Like, I'm coming out with a book in another three or four weeks called "Crippled America," tough words, "Crippled America." I talk a lot about the Second Amendment in the book.

Had they had -- as an example, for the horrible thing that just took place, OK, horrible, in Oregon, had they -- had somebody in that room had a gun, the result would have been better.

DICKERSON: So, should people get armed the way you are?

TRUMP: Well, that's up to them.

But I will tell you, I feel much better be armed.

DICKERSON: What about teachers?

TRUMP: I think that if you had the teacher, assuming they knew how use a weapon, which hopefully they would, you would have been a lot better when this maniac walked into class starting to shoot people.

DICKERSON: You love polls. You're at the head...

TRUMP: I don't love them. I only like them when I'm the number one.

By the way, if I wasn't number one, I wouldn't never mention it.

DICKERSON: You love polls at the moment.

Our latest CBS poll has you in the lead, and it also shows that two-thirds of registered voters, eight in 10 Republicans say you have the strong qualities of leadership. But here's the problem.

TRUMP: That's a very big statement.

DICKERSON: That's a big statement.

Here's another big statement; 60 percent of registered voters say you're not honest and trustworthy. That number has gone up since the last poll.

TRUMP: It's better than Hillary.

DICKERSON: If they think you're a leader, does it matter if they trust you?

TRUMP: I think the leadership is very important.

I think they know I'm a very smart guy. I think they know I'm going to fight for the country. I don't need any money. I'm all self-funding. I don't need money. I have turned down millions, tens of millions of dollars from rich lobbyists and rich special interests that want to give me $5 million, $10 million, $2 million.

I could have more money than Bush times 15. Now, I actually do have more money than Bush times -- but it's my own money. I'm spending my own money and people respect it. Now, I think I'm leading every poll. I'm leading every poll by a lot.

The leadership thing is very important. People are not -- I think, right now, what people want is they want competence. They're tired of other things.


DICKERSON: And trust doesn't matter?

TRUMP: I think trust is very important. In my opinion, it is very important.

And I happen to be an honorable guy. But one thing that is very important, when I go to New Hampshire and Iowa and South Carolina, where I have very good numbers in terms of favorability, you know why? Because I'm there a lot. I go there a lot

And, as you know -- in fact, you reported it -- I went up 60 points in terms of favorability. Somebody said it was a record. That's because when people get to know me, they get to like me.

DICKERSON: But you have been on center stage for three months. You have been around in center stage for a while.


TRUMP: I know, but, locally, those have been the states that I really have spent a lot of time in.

DICKERSON: But, again, on favorability in our poll, only 28 percent of voters overall -- and this is -- we're talking about a general election here -- in our poll have a favorable opinion of you.

TRUMP: But I win hands down on leadership. Right? By far. It's not even close, double and triple anybody else. That's very important to people now. They wanted leadership. They're tired of having weak and incompetent leaders, John.

DICKERSON: What will you do with the empire if you're made president? Will you cut all ties or...

TRUMP: Well, what I would do -- I would cut all ties.

Look, this is all beautiful. I built a great business. I have a tremendous, you saw it, over $600 million yearly cash flow and stuff. Look, I would cut -- I wouldn't care about it. My kids will run it. I wouldn't want to expand very much. It wouldn't matter to me.

I have a chance at making America great again. That's the whole focus. So, my children would run my business, and my executives. I have great executives. And they would do it well. They would run it well.

And I'm phasing out as we go along. When I do these interviews, all of a sudden, they take a lot of time. But I have wonderful children that are in business and I have wonderful executives. They would run it. I would not even think about this business. It would be so insignificant to me, compared to making our country great again.

DICKERSON: All right, Mr. Trump, thanks very much.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, John.


DICKERSON: You can watch the full interview on our Web site at

We now turn to the candidate who is running a close second to Donald Trump in our new CBS News poll, Dr. Ben Carson. That poll shows that a whopping 81 percent of Republicans find him honest and trustworthy, well above everyone else.

He has a new book out. It's called "A More Perfect Union."

Dr. Carson joins us from Gainesville, Georgia, this morning.

Dr. Carson, the big news in Washington here is about the vacant speakership in the House. What do you think about Paul Ryan for that job?


I think he would do a fine job. I hope that all of the people who are being considered will have an opportunity to put forth their philosophy on leadership, and that the members can make an intelligent decision.

DICKERSON: What do you think of what's happening in the House of Representatives among the Republicans right now?

CARSON: Well, over the last few elections, a lot of people have been sent to Washington with the thought that maybe some changes could be made, and I don't think anyone is seeing any changes.

And the electorate is getting pretty frustrated, and I think that's being reflected by what's going on in Congress right now.

DICKERSON: I want to talk to you a little bit about your book that you have got out now, and some comments you made this week. There's been a lot of talk about some comments you made where -- in which you said the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed.

I want to talk about the context of that statement. In your book, there's a passage in which you say confiscating the guns of American citizens would violate the Constitution, as well as rendering the citizenry vulnerable to criminals and tyrants. So, I want to ask you, who wants to confiscate all the guns of the American citizens?

CARSON: Well, what I'm talking about is the reason that we have a Second Amendment in there.

This is a book about the Constitution. And the Second Amendment is part of it. And it's there for the reasons that I stated in the book, specifically, in case of an invasion by a foreign power, the people will be able to aid the military, and also, if we have a time when we have the wrong people in office, and they want to dominate the people, the people will be able to defend themselves.

As Daniel Webster eloquently said, the people of America will never suffer under tyranny because they're armed.

DICKERSON: In the book, it suggests, though, that there is -- and I just want to make sure I read this right. When you talk about confiscating the guns of American citizens, do you think that's a present threat, the notion that guns would be confiscated from American citizens?


It is something -- many of the things that are in the Constitution are to help to prevent horrible things from happening. So they're in place to make sure that the people maintain their liberties, and that the government remains constrained. Those are the two purposes.

DICKERSON: I think a quote that speaks to what you're talking about, also, in your book, you say that you were once a supporter of a ban on assault weapons and armor-piercing bullets.

But then, as you say in your book, you realized, recognized the intent of the Second Amendment, which is to protect the freedom of the people from an overly aggressive government.

It sounds like you're saying that the idea of an overly aggressive government that would require that kind of a resistance is a clear and present danger. Do you see it that way?

CARSON: I didn't say that it was going on right now.

I think the implication is quite clear, that it is something that can happen. And I listed a number of countries where that kind of thing happened. The fact of the matter is, if you go to those countries well before it happened, and you had asked the people if that's going to happen in their country, they would have said, oh, no, no, no, it wouldn't happen here.

DICKERSON: Yes, that is what interests me, because so many people are distrustful of the government. They're angry at the government. And you mentioned some countries. But this is also the context in which you said the people in Germany didn't speak up when Nazism was on the rise. And I guess, what I wonder is, do you think it's that close here? Or is that just hyperbole, to use the Nazi analogies?

CARSON: It's not hyperbole at all.

Whether it's on our doorstep or whether it's 50 years away, it's still a concern, and it's something that we must guard against. That's one of the real purposes of having a Constitution. I think the founders were really quite insightful into looking at possibilities and understanding what has happened in other places and trying to put together something that would prevent that from happening here.

You know, there are a lot of people in the media who will take anything you say and try to make it into hyperbole and try to make it into controversy, but the fact of the matter is, when you talk to average American citizens, they know exactly what I'm talking about.

DICKERSON: But the extermination of an entire race, which was the Nazi goal, that's a pretty big thing to compare our current situation to. I guess that is what has people a little confused.

CARSON: You do not want to get there.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you a question about the debt limit. It's set to expire on the 5th of November. The government runs out of the ability to borrow.

There's been a little confusion about your position on that. What should Congress do about raising the debt limit in early November, when it's set to expire?

CARSON: Well, I don't have a problem with -- if I were in charge right now, I would not cause us to default on that.

But what I would say is, this is the last time that's happening. And we would tie the raising of that debt limit to some very significant actions, so that we're not here again next year, because, as you know, this is something that happens year after year after year.

We always get right up to the deadline. Now it's do or die, and you're forced to do it. And that's a stupid way to run the government.

DICKERSON: All right, Dr. Ben Carson, thanks so much.

We will be back in one moment.


DICKERSON: We're back with more on the chaos on Capitol Hill.

Joining us now is South Carolina Congressman Mick Mulvaney. He's one of the Republicans pushing for a more conservative speaker.

Congressman, let's start with Paul Ryan. He's talked about a lot. Would you consider supporting him?

REP. MICK MULVANEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I would consider it.

First, he has got to make a decision to run. And then I think he's got to convince me and some other folks that, if he were in charge, that the place would be different. We're supporting Dan Webster right now as the House Freedom Caucus, because Dan was able to convince us that, if he were the speaker, the House would run differently, that members would have a chance to participate in the process.

We don't have that now. The committees would have a chance to do work. They don't have that opportunity now. So, we're looking for more of a process and principles than we are a person. But Paul certainly has a lot of respect across the Republicans in the House and I think he could be a good speaker.

DICKERSON: We have here a list of the questions that you put forward, the Freedom Caucus has put forward to the speaker candidates. I think there's 21 on this set of sheets and then there's a reform of the conference rules that you're looking for.

Does Paul Ryan have to answer these sets of questions before you would think of him?

MULVANEY: I think Paul has probably answered all of those questions. I think Paul is a pretty conservative guy. He's not as conservative as some, more conservative than others. But we probably know where Paul stands on most of those issues.

DICKERSON: So, he wouldn't have to go through the business of...

MULVANEY: Well, I think he should come meet with us. I really do.

And I imagine that he would want to do that if he's going to run, just to have the opportunity to sit down and talk with him. Again, the issues on those lists deal primarily with rules changes, the way that our conference is run. And that's what we're trying to reform through this process.

DICKERSON: If Paul Ryan does think about running, it appears, based on the people I have talked to, that he would want to go forward with the full support, at least close to the 247 number of Republicans, rather than going to the floor -- this is what Mr. McCarthy was worried about -- going to the floor and not being able to get the 218 that is required to be speaker.

Do you see a scenario in which that happens, in which everybody can come together?

MULVANEY: I think we can get close. If Paul is able to convince us -- and I believe that Paul wants the same changes that we do.

By the way, we had a conference meeting this week about discussing rule changes. It was attended by more than a hundred members of our conference. This is not just a conservative complaint. I know that Paul is a committee guy. He likes when the committees are allowed to work. So, I think he's already sort of mentally committed to many of the same things that we want.

If he can convince us of that, I think we can deliver an overwhelming majority of the House. I don't think anybody is going to get 247. It's just not reasonable.

DICKERSON: Here's the thing about Paul Ryan. He doesn't want the job. So, why would he want to convince you of something that he doesn't want, a job he doesn't want?

MULVANEY: Sometimes, you have to -- sometimes, you just need to do it. Right? The country needs you. The party needs you. And if he decides he wants to do it, that's great.

If he doesn't, that's fine. There's probably other people in our conference who could unite us. But certainly, if we went down the list right now and said, OK, who could unite the party in the House, certainly Paul comes right to the head of the list?

DICKERSON: What do you say to people who -- some Republicans who look and some other members who say the country looks at the House of Representatives and the Republicans running it and say this is chaos, they can't run the place?

MULVANEY: It's not true.

I know it looks like that because it's a media circus and there was folks running up and down the hallways with cameras. But on Friday, I had a hearing on the World Bank, I had a hearing on school choice in Washington, D.C., I had a meeting with Rand Paul to go over how we might want to handle the debt ceiling, and we passed a bill out of the House to allow crude oil exports. It was a busy day. It wasn't chaos.

DICKERSON: But it's busy, but then there's that blockage, and so let's talk about an issue, say, the debt limit. It's coming November 5. The government runs out of its ability to borrow.

What is your opinion on that, this fight we have had again and again? What should...

MULVANEY: The debt ceiling has traditionally been used as a way to sort of sit back and say, OK, how are we supposed to pay for this?

I describe appropriations season as Christmas, and debt ceiling as sort of late January, early February, when the bills come in. And it's the right thing for us to do and stand back and say, OK, now, we have ran up this debt. What are we going to do to try and make sure it doesn't happen again? That's the right reasons to look at the debt ceiling, and we should do that.

We should raise it, but we should raise it as part and parcel of a larger package to solve some of the reasons that we have to raise the debt ceiling again. DICKERSON: OK, but you want it to be raised, just quickly?

MULVANEY: I want it to be raised as part of a package that actually fixes the reason that we have a debt ceiling problem.

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

MULVANEY: Thanks, John.

DICKERSON: We will be back in a moment.


DICKERSON: We have got a lot more FACE THE NATION ahead, including a report on that terror attack in Ankara, Turkey, yesterday, and our political panel.

Stay with us.


DICKERSON: Some are our stations are leaving us now.

But, for most of you, we will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION. Politics, foreign policy, it is all ahead.


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

Joining us now for political analyst is "Washington Post" columnist Ruth Marcus, Ron Fernier of "The National Journal," Ben Domenech is the publisher of "The Federalist," and "The Washington Post's" Robert Costa.

All right, Mr. Costa, what's -- what's Paul Ryan going to do?

ROBERT COSTA, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Paul Ryan, he's interested in doing it. He's moved from "no" to "maybe" to "possibly yes." I've been on the phone with people who have spoken to him this weekend. They believe he has his family's support. And he believes he can actually craft policy from the speaker's chair, which is something he's had to move to in his personal decision making. His main concern is the Freedom Caucus. Does Mulvaney, do all these conservatives, do they come with him? Does he have to have some kind of deal? At this point he has not reached out to them to try to cut a deal. He wants them to come to him.

DICKERSON: Because he doesn't want that embarrassing moment on the floor of the House where they have the vote and he doesn't get it or he barely gets it.

Ben, Paul Ryan has had conflicts with this ultra conservative movement before on various budget issues.


DICKERSON: How is this a solution?

DOMENECH: Well, I think that this is a little bit of a different situation. I mean let us all say a word of, you know, mourning for the passing of Kevin McCarthy's political career. Obviously, he's someone, though, who had a long career of misjudging the whip count when it came to various votes. Dave Weigel, your colleague at "The Washington Post," had a long litany of instances where he did not access accurately the number of -- of supporters he had for various measures. And I actually think the great irony of this situation is that the last whip count he got wrong may have been the one for himself. I think in this situation, had he pressed the issue, he might still have ended up with the speakership.

Paul Ryan's situation now, though, is one where I think he is going to be able to meet the Freedom Caucus, to a certain agree, to achieve a level of compromise with them because their priorities, as Congressman Mulvaney was making clear earlier on the show, are really more about the internal functioning of Congress and reform of the way that the institute acts, the way that the -- the chairman of various committees work, as opposed to an ideological issue where you would have to find compromise. I think this is a unique moment for Ryan and I actually think ultimately he will take it.

DICKERSON: But, Ron, isn't the debate sometimes these technical -- what one side says are technological issues or tactical issues, get raised to the level of ideology. And if you don't follow a tactic that the Freedom Caucus wants, then you're not a real conservative.

RON FOURNIER, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": That's the thing. Yes, sure, he could be speaker, but why in the world would you want to be House speaker right now? Why would you want to lead a party, lead a caucus that doesn't want to be led right ow? Why do you want to deal with a base that is, you know, everything's about hell no and we don't like government right now. It might make more sense for a guy like Paul Ryan to kind of let the House burn down. Let the Republican Party burn down. Let there be great disruption. Why be the caretaker of the status quo, of a broken status quo, when maybe you could be the guy a cycle or two from now who helps the party come back from the ashes.

RUTH MARCUS, "WASHINGTON POST": It's not even the caretaker. It's more like the kindergarten cop.

FOURNIER: Exactly. You bet.

MARCUS: And I think that what we're going to see play out over the next several days is a question of power struggle and who goes first. Congressman Mulvaney was here talking about how the Freedom Caucus wants some assurances and convincing from Paul Ryan about what he's willing to do for them and how strong he will be for them. I don't think that's Paul Ryan's place. His play is, I am the reluctant speaker. If you guys really desperately want me to be speaker, which, by the way, they should because the alternatives are not very evident for them, I am not going to go hat in hand to you. You're going to come to me. And I'm not going to give you these assurances you're looking for.

FOURNIER: But he can't -- he can't --

COSTA: But just to jump on Ron's point, though, so, you're right, it's an unmanageable conference in many ways, but I -- I can report that Reince Priebus, the chairman of the party, has come to Ryan personally over the last few days and said, you have to do this for the party. Speaker Boehner has come to him and said, you have to do this for the party. The party's in such a crisis. Ryan doesn't want the job. He may not be able to cut a favorable deal with the Freedom Caucus, but the GOP, at this fracture (ph) moment, needs him.

FOURNIER: I agree -- I agree with all that -- all of that, but Reince Priebus isn't the party.



COSTA: He is the chairman.

FOURNIER: McCarthy -- no, no, they're not the party. The party is -- are the people out in the states right now who think --

COSTA: Right.

FOURNIER: That the government is totally obnoxious. That we should do anything -- we should have -- we should blow away the debt limit. But he's doing to have to deal with this one (ph).

DOMENECH: But this is -- but this is why -- this is why it's not -- this is why it's not as much of a damage, I think, in the party to have this leadership crisis at this moment. They have not -- when Congress is as unpopular as it is, when its leadership is as unpopular as it is, what does it mean to be in array as opposed to disarray. This is a moment, I think, of upheaval because of these kinds of frustrations that have been coming up from the bottom for a long time. Ryan offers the opportunity for Republicans to have the next leadership be about something more than just small ball, moving things forward in the official Washington way.

DICKERSON: Let me -- let me move on to presidential politics.

Presidential politics and -- and what we've just been discussing, has people interested. In our new CBS poll, 71 percent of registered voters think this is an interesting campaign and more people are paying attention now than at this point in the campaign in the last two presidential cycles. Is that all Donald Trump's --

MARCUS: Ratings are good. It's all about the ratings.

DICKERSON: Yes, it's all about -- it's all about Donald Trump. Yes, but people are interested.

MARCUS: People are interested and they should be interested because it's very important for the future of the country. Whether they're getting to the right results with their interests is something else to answer.

I mean I think that if you look especially on the Republican side, at a few things that are very striking in this poll. First of all, Donald Trump's resilience. People like me keep telling themselves he's going to fade, he's going away. I saw these numbers going down. Not going to happen, or at least not happening any time soon.

The second thing that's really striking is Carson's incredible popularity, not just where he is in the polls, at 20 percent, but as a second choice for a lot of people, including these Trump supporters. He is another astonishing phenomenon that undergirds this number from Republican voters that's incredible. Fifty something percent want somebody with experience in the private sector, just 12 percent of these Republican voters want somebody with government or political experience.

FOURNIER: It's bigger than the Republican Party. You ask why people are so interested in it, it's because more Americans don't fit neatly into either party. Most Americans hate what -- the way the political system is now, ends justify the means, negative partisanship. They're looking for disruption. They're looking for a major upheaval. And they just love the idea of watching this reality TV star just really screw up the Republican Party. And, boy, I don't -- I don't think they have a bad -- I think they're enjoying watching what Hillary Clinton is going through, and a social Democrat having her on the run. It's fun to watch these guys they hate squirm.

DICKERSON: Well, Robert, the reality TV star to whom Ron was referring, Donald Trump, is he coming -- you talked to him this week. Is he moving to a second phase of becoming a different kind of candidate than the reality TV star who's just having a good moment?

COSTA: We sat down with him for an hour, my colleagues Phil Rucker and Dan Balz and I. And we said, you had an amazing summer politically. What's next? He said he has been reluctant to spend money on television ads. He has now hired a Florida based firm to produce ads. He says they're going to be unconventional. We'll see.

He also has committed to spending $20 million plus. That's going to be a test. How much money is Trump really willing to put into his campaign to sustain this momentum, go into January, February, and have that grass roots organization and the battle on the airwaves.

FOURNIER: Can I just say how good Donald Trump is as a politician. When you can go in an interview with -- with Bob Costas, Dan Balz and Rucker --

MARCUS: Phil Rucker.

FOURNIER: I'm sorry, Phil Rucker.


FOURNIER: The pope couldn't do an interview with those three people and have a relatively positive story (ph).

DICKERSON: I don't think yet that Trump is going for the papal seat, but he may.

Ben, let me ask you about Jeb Bush. All right, the finding are not good in our poll. Let's -- let's walk through some of them quickly. His favorability rating among Republicans has dropped 11 points since August. He now has the highest unfavorable rating among Republicans, even higher than Donald Trump. And only 10 percent of Republican primary voters think that he has the best chance of winning in the general election. Now, among all voters, only 20 percent view him favorably. Can Jeb Bush recoup? Where -- what's the state of the Jeb Bush?

DOMENECH: You know, I think that Jeb is definitely someone who built a campaign on the mind-set of winning in February and March. I think that that's still his aim. I think that though we've seen certainly a number of candidates come to this point and have problems with the level of campaign expenditures that they have in terms of the operation that they've built, I think that Jeb Bush is challenged in a certain way by having that sort of scenario.

You compare that to the experience of someone like Ben Carson, who is raising a ton of money, doesn't have a significant burn rate. You compare that to someone like Ted Cruz, who is also raising a significant amount of money, and you see campaigns that might actually be able to be more competitive than we might have anticipated because of that.

Jeb does have a real challenge to really turn around these numbers within Republican voters. I'm not sure he has an easy path to do so. And it's going to be a real test for him because he has to defend not just his own record, but his brother's, which is a real challenge for the current (ph) Republican voters.

DICKERSON: We have to take -- to take the other side of my question, we've seen people declare the death of John Kerry, John McCain, Mitt Romney, they all got the nomination. So --

MARCUS: But because -- because if you really -- if you -- Trump -- Donald Trump has attention fever. Everybody else -- well, the other kind of traditional candidates in the field have presidential fever. So they will be willing to slog it out and slog it out, go through humiliating moments in a campaign, and fire houses in New Hampshire where there's 20 people there, because, in the end, what -- it matters what happens on primary night and not what happens before that.

But I want to take the moment to say something about Ben Caron and your remarkable interview with ben Carson because you were talking to him about guns and he said, if we have a time when we have the wrong person in office and they want to dominate the people, the people would be able to defend themselves. I would like to say that the solution in America, when we have the wrong people in office, is called elections. We have a democracy. I thought you were pressing him, and appropriately so. I thought Ben Carson is a fascinating candidate because his demeanor, it seems so reasonable. He's a physician. We respect that. What comes out of his mouth --

DOMENECH: But, Ruth, that's what the -- but that's what the founding generation said about guns.

MARCUS: Let me just finish.

DICKERSON (ph): No, no, that's not what they said.

DOMENECH: That is what they said about guns.

MARCUS: Let me -- wait -- wait. But what comes out of his mouth about guns and about other things is remarkably radical.

DOMENECH: Sam Adams talked about the ability of Americans to defend themselves when their -- when their government was dominated by vain and aspiring men. How is that any different?

MARCUS: Well, what he --

FOURNIER: The difference is right now we have a whole Republican Party that is spending a lot of money and a lot of time convincing the American public that -- that this government is dominating them. So what he's basically doing is putting a target on government issues (ph).

DOMENECH: But is this government taking their guns? That's --

FOURNIER: And I think that's irresponsible for presidential candidates.

DOMENECH: That's -- I don't think that's irresponsible at all. If this government really was to rise up and say that they were going to every household in America and take their guns away, you don't think that that's an opportunity for (INAUDIBLE).

MARCUS: Well, that's not what he said.

FOURNIER: That's not what the government is doing.

DOMENECH: That's not what he said. That's right. He's saying he --

MARCUS: He said we have the wrong people in office.

FOURNIER: But he does -- but he does say that government is dominating us and in the next breathe he says we should be (INAUDIBLE) --

DICKERSON: Let me --

DOMENECH: I do not think that was a call for arms in there, insurrection.

FOURNIER: I do think the establishment is -- I don't know if it's this cycle or if it's the next cycle or the cycle after that, the establishment in both parties is about to get kicked in the teeth. The question is, what is the right candidate to do that? Is it somebody who's aspirational, can lead us to a new and a better century, or is it somebody who's negative and makes these kind of, I think, vail threat that Ben Carson's making.

DICKERSON: Let me -- let me -- Robert, let me ask you a question about honesty and trustworthiness, which I talked to Donald Trump about. In our poll we have -- among the voters, when you look at the candidate numbers, this is among the general election, the two candidates leading their parities, that is to say Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, their number are very bad on the honest and trustworthy. Only 35 percent say Hillary Clinton is honest and trustworthy. Only 33 percent say Trump is honest and trustworthy. Those who say -- and there's not much -- there are not many people who don't have a view on this. What does this tell us, if anything, about our politics now, that the two people leading the parties are not seen as honest and trustworthy?

COSTA: It -- it's a -- it's a problem for them perhaps in the general election and I've spoken with both campaigns about this, but they still believe, on the Trump side, he has the ground swell of support on the right. They see him as a tough leader in the GOP base. They think that is better than being seen as trustworthy. And with Secretary Clinton, regardless of her problems with the e-mail, she believes that the base Democratic voters are going to stick with her, an historic candidate. They believe she's a real leader coming out of the Obama administration. They think she'll survive that.

DICKERSON: Ruth, speaking of honest and trustworthy and Secretary Clinton, she changed her position essentially on trade with this Transpacific Partnership. What do you make of that decision?

MARCUS: Well, what I make is, it's going to be very interesting to see how she answers questions about that at the debate coming up. But, by the way, 70 percent of the Democratic primary voters find her to be honest and trustworthy. That's the number she has to worry about right now.

Look, everybody who has paid attention to Hillary Clinton knows where she really is on trade and the Transpacific Partnership.

DICKERSON: Which is to say the opposite of what she's now articulated.

MARCUS: She said it was -- she said it was the gold standard.


MARCUS: She now says that she can't support it, and she has identified two reasons, failures on currency manipulation and being too kind to pharmaceutical companies. When she said it was the gold standard, it was less good on both of those things than it is now. So, you know, in -- in law, they teach you to -- when you're cross- examining somebody to say, which time were you lying for Hillary Clinton, at the debate the question is, which time were you being disingenuous.

FOURNIER: Let me talk a little bit about -- about e-mails, if I could, which is her untrustworthy problem. And the Democrats are pointing at Republicans and McCarthy saying, we just want to bring her down as mitigating for her. We have two sets of facts. One is, we know that the Republican Party did everything they could to destroy Hillary Clinton with Benghazi. A hyper partisan Republican Party. And they caught Hillary Clinton red-handed creating an improper, covert server that undermined the Freedom of Information Act, that subverted legislative oversight and jeopardized U.S. secrets. Both of those things can be true. As a matter of fact, both of those things are true. But the Democrats try to use the one thing to mitigate them, and the Republicans try to use the other to mitigate them. And, meanwhile, both parties think that -- most voters think that the leaders of the parties are lying to them because -- because they are.

DOMENECH: (INAUDIBLE) Hillary -- Hillary -- Hillary Clinton is lying about this. She frequently lies about this. Her words are the cake she gives the people eat, OK, and they do eat it up. This is the situation that is entirely about her in politics and it has no reflection on what she would actually do as president.

DICKERSON: This is the trade position you're talking about?

DOMENECH: Yes, absolutely.

COSTA: And the unions. She's feeling heat from the union. I mean Bernie Sanders is really connecting with labor, and that's why you see Secretary Clinton navigating.

DICKERSON: All right, everyone, thanks. It's a purely political decision at the roundtable apparently.

We'll be right back to talk about news overseas.


DICKERSON: Yesterday, two suicide bombers launched attacks in Ankara, Turkey. The death toll now stands at at least 97, with close to 250 injured. CBS News foreign correspondent Holly Williams is in Istanbul this morning.

Holly, what can you tell us about the attack?


The target of this attack was a peace rally being held in the heart of Ankara, the Turkish capital. Suspected suicide bombers set off two explosions within seconds of each other. And the aftermath was horrific. Body parts scattered on a city street, a desperate attempts to resuscitate those hit by the blast, and people searching frantically for their loved ones.

Now, the peace rally was organized following an upsurge in violence between the Turkish state and militants from the country's Kurdish minority. The Turkish prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said last night that both Kurdish militants and ISIS are potential suspects in yesterday's bombing. But some here in Turkey hold the government responsible for the attack and today scuffles broke out with police as thousands of mourners gathered in Ankara and Kurdish politicians tried to lay flowers at the scene of the deadly explosion.

This comes just three weeks before Turkey is due to hold national elections in which Kurdish voters and the main Kurdish party could play a decisive role in the outcome. But Turkish democracy is fragile, and now looks shakier than ever.


DICKERSON: Holly Williams for us in Istanbul, Turkey. Thanks, Holly.

We are joined now by former Obama national security adviser Tom Donilon and "Washington Post" columnist David Ignatius.

David, what's your -- what's your reaction to what happened in Turkey?

DAVID IGNATIUS, "WASHINGTON POST": The -- the first thing to say is that watching that video of the bomb going off as the demonstrators are dancing is just -- it's just horrifying. It's haunting. The Obama -- Obama administration's initial sense is that it's too early to assign blame. The Turkish government believes this is the work of ISIS. Has not publically said that, but that's -- that's their belief. ISIS was responsible for the last big bombing in Turkey in July which killed 33 people.

The one thing you can say about this is, whoever did it was trying to deepen the wedge between the ruling AK party of President Erdogan, and the Kurdish activists who are part of Turkish politics, but are also key U.S. allies in the fight against ISIS inside Syria and Iraq. So, you know, this was an attempt to -- to create division, and it may well do just that.

DICKERSON: Yes, and what are the repercussions, do you think, Tom?

THOMAS DONILON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, I think that -- I think that we know this is the next nation in the region under great pressure right now. I think it's a -- we're into a period of significant instability for Turkey. It comes from a lot of different sources coming at the same time. There's a renewed battle going on between the Turkish government and Kurdish separatist forces. You had a peace process for a while that's falling apart. There's a real direct challenge from ISIS now after Turkey's now entered into the fight against ISIS. There's real political instability in the country right now and division leading up to the elections in November. Erdogan lost his majority last June and call snap (ph) elections in November. There's an economic slowdown, and there -- the U.N. has registered 1.9 million refugees from Syria. So President Erdogan has his work cut out for him, and I think the country's under significant pressure.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about Syria. The train and equip program from this administration has -- is basically now over. It's judged to be a failure. What happened? DONILON: Well, I think we -- I think we need to look very had at what happened and I think that the policy needs a refocus and needs to be reenergized across a number of dimensions. But this capacity building issue is a broader issue for the United States. How do we provide the help to countries to be able to do these -- do these projects on their own. And this was obviously a serious -- a serious failure. Reenergize and refocus, though. I think we -- we need -- we need to put together a serious campaign in the north against the ISIS so-called capital of Raqqa. I think we need to look at the safe haven issue. We need to reenergize a more effective air campaign. We need to cut off financing. There are a lot of things we need to have happen here. But this is a serious failure.

DICKERSON: And is this a failure that could have been foreseen, training and equipping didn't work exactly very well in Iraq in some ways in certain -- also if it had been started earlier when somebody like Secretary Clinton had pushed for it, would that have made more sense? What do you make of this?

IGNATIUS: I think the administration has got to face up to the reality that this is an intelligence and policy formulation disaster. This has been coming at us in slow motion since ISIS broke out in Iraq. That was over a year ago. Our director of national intelligence, James Clapper, said the administration underestimated the threat posed by these people. A year later, they rolled through Ramadi in Iraq. The same thing, underestimated.

We've had a program to train and equip Syrian rebels that ended up being a catastrophe. Why didn't we see that coming? So President Obama, this week, hit the reset button. OK, We're going to stop doing the things that don't work. We're going to try to do more of the things that do work. OK, fine, but you do need to look at why these mistakes kept happening the last two and three years before you're going to be able to get the policy right. And that's what I hope the White House will face up to. Why is this going wrong?

DICKERSON: Another apparent policy, or, excuse me, intelligence failure, is that the Russians are now much more heavily involved in Syria than -- I mean was it a policy failure? I'm sorry, I should ask you -- an intelligence failure that we -- that the U.S. missed, that the Russians would be actively militarily engaged in Syria.

DONILON: I don't know if it's an intelligence failure. I do think Russian intentions are quite clear though. And the Russian intention in Syria is to prop up the Assad regime and put Russia in a place to be able to -- be able to be a dominant force with respect to whatever political settlement emerges here. This is not Russia joining some anti-ISIS coalition, anti-terror coalition. This is all about Russian interests.

DICKERSON: Which is what they say it is out loud, right?

DONILON: Yes. And it's just the look at the geography of strikes --

DICKERSON: Yes. DONILON: And look and the weaponry. The geography is against almost all -- not ISIS targets, but opposition to Assad, and the weaponry has a lot more to do with kind of precluding western -- western options (ph).

Now, the Russians may live to regret this, but it is a more complicated and a more dangerous situation. You have U.S. and Russian military assets operating in military campaigns in very close proximity. That's exceedingly dangerous. And I think we'll see the Russian approach to these kinds of things is not -- is not subtle. If you look at what their approach was, David will remember this very clearly in Chechnya, for example, I think that can give you a picture of what you can see in terms of Russian effort here.

DICKERSON: David, do you -- what -- what do you make, two questions, on intelligence, but then also President Obama said, well, this is a sign of weakness for Vladimir Putin. His economy has collapsed. He's got to prop up his one state in the region. What do you make of that argument?

IGNATIUS: Frist, I think the intelligence was a problem. We didn't see the dimensions of the Russian military intervention in Syria coming.

The president does see this as a sign of Putin's weakness. And it's true that Putin is playing a weak hand. His key client, Bashar al Assad, is -- is just hanging by a thread. And that is a major reason I think the Russians have come in. What the administration has to see is that Putin, now in Syria, as in Ukraine, is playing a weak hand brilliantly, forcefully. And this is, to me, an illustration, as the U.S. steps back in these areas of conflict, others step forward and they begin to do things. They begin to create facts on the ground, as Russia is now doing with its military. That changed the situation for us. So, yes, Putin is weak, as the president says, but the U.S. response, I would say, is weaker still.

DICKERSON: All right, I've got to interrupt you. I'm sorry. We're out of time.

Tom, thanks so much. Thank you both. We'll be back in a moment.


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



Oct 11, 2015 12:57 ET .EOF

Source: CQ Transcriptions

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