Watch CBS News

Face the Nation Transcripts, September 14, 2014: Kerry, McDonough, Gillibrand

(CBS News) -- A transcript of September 14, 2014 edition of Face the Nation. Guests include: Charlie D'Agata, Denis McDonough, John Kerry, Michael McCaul, Kirsten Gillibrand, Ken Burns, Geoffrey Ward, Doris Kearns Goodwin.

BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST: I'm Bob Schieffer.

And today on FACE THE NATION: ISIS strikes again. Late yesterday, ISIS released another execution video. This time, the victim was 44-year-old British aid worker David Haines. We will get the latest from London, where Prime Minister David Cameron says:


DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We will hunt down those responsible and bring them to justice, no matter how long it takes.


SCHIEFFER: We will talk to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Secretary of State John Kerry, and the head of the House Homeland Security Committee Mike McCaul.

New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will be along to talk about her new book, "Off the Sidelines," and she has lot to say about the crisis in the NFL.

Finally, Ken Burns and his team will be here to preview the new PBS series "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History."

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

And good morning again.

This news from overnight is causing repulsion around the world, as you might expect.

We want to go first to CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata, who is at the British Parliament -- Charlie.


This morning, British Prime Minister David Cameron called an emergency meeting in 10 Downing Street to discuss the crisis. Afterward, he praised aid worker David Haines, calling him a British hero, and said that the British government wouldn't back down in its fight against ISIS.


CAMERON: We are a peaceful people. We do not seek out confrontation. But we need to understand we cannot ignore this threat to our security and that of our allies. There is no option of keeping our heads down that would make us safe.

The problem would merely get worse, as it has done over recent months, not just for us, but for Europe and for the world. We cannot just walk on by if we are to keep this country safe. We have to confront this menace. Step by step, we must drive back, dismantle and ultimately destroy ISIL and what it stands for. We will do so in a calm, deliberate way, but with an eye on determination.


D'AGATA: The crisis isn't over yet. There was a second British aid worker that was shown at the end of that ISIS video with the threat that he, too, would meet the same fate unless the British government stopped its support of the U.S. military in the region -- Bob.

SCHIEFFER: Thank you very much, Charlie.

And joining us now here in Washington, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.

Mr. McDonough, thank you so much for finding time to talk to us.

DENIS MCDONOUGH, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Bob, I'm happy to be here. Thank you for having me.

SCHIEFFER: Does this change anything?

MCDONOUGH: Boy, you know, we were obviously painfully aware of their barbarity and their nefariousness even before this video, but this obviously underscores it yet again.

Here's a development worker, an aid worker, after two journalists, all people who had only the search for truth and a better life for Syrians in mind. And this is what ISIL has done. It really shows their true colors.

SCHIEFFER: What was the president's reaction?

MCDONOUGH: Well, you saw what the president said last night, which is he obviously condemned this in the strongest possible terms, but also underscored our resolve to stand firm shoulder to shoulder with the United Kingdom, but also with this coalition, to include Muslim countries from the region, to take this fight to ISIL, to degrade and to ultimately destroy them.

SCHIEFFER: Can we expect a strong reaction soon?

MCDONOUGH: You can expect a continued, strong, steady reaction against this threat, so that we degrade it and ultimately destroy it.

But you can also expect a strong international coalition, to include our Muslim friends from the region. And, obviously, we have a very important vote coming this week in Congress on the Title X program that will allow us to train and to equip the Syrian opposition that is on the ground today fighting ISIL.

And that is exactly what we want to do, so that we can put Syrian boots on the ground to take this fight to ISIL, not have to rely on ours or somebody else's. Ultimately, the president has made his decision on that. We're going to provide our unique capability in airstrikes, in intelligence and in training.

And then it will be up to the Syrians on that side of the border to finish the job.

SCHIEFFER: You know, Henry Kissinger was on this broadcast last week. And he said that, had he been there, he would have recommended a very strong reaction for 72 hours, and then step back and say, what is our long-term strategy?

Do you feel that we have gotten these people's attention here?

MCDONOUGH: There's no question we have their attention and that here's -- let me remind you of why we -- the president chose the path he chose.

The reason the Iraqi security forces melted away in the face of the ISIL threat in places like Mosul earlier this year is because of longtime, perfidious erosion of politics in that country, where the prime minister focused on his ethnicity and his sect, rather than on the whole country.

We thought it was very important to get him out of that job, get a new prime minister, and get a multiethnic government shaped and ready to go. That's what we have in Baghdad. That's step one in a process that will allow us to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.

SCHIEFFER: Seeing this video yesterday leads me to believe that if we ever had any doubt about these people posing a threat to the United States, these videos would remove that. Are they a threat to our national security?

MCDONOUGH: There's no question that they -- no question that they are a threat to our national security. What we have said is that we are not aware of any credible threats to the homeland right now.

But we are concerned about two things in -- three things in particular, the fact that they now control territory, and that gives them a place to plot and plan, the fact that they are now getting not only new fighters, but increased money and followers and adherents.

And, third, and perhaps most importantly, we're worried about the number of foreign fighters that are going into Syria to fight. Some of them may then become even more extreme and want to return to their home countries, be that in Europe or even in the United States, God forbid, to carry out their terrible acts.

We are going to make sure that doesn't happen by sharing information with our partners, by keeping the pressure on our partners to not allow people in and out of Syria, and to make sure that, as the president will do later this month up in the United Nations, that we have the tools to stop that kind of travel.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. McDonough, thank you. We will let you get back to work.

MCDONOUGH: Thanks so much, Bob. I really appreciate the opportunity.

SCHIEFFER: We spoke with Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday in Cairo before this latest news broke. Here is part of what he said.


SCHIEFFER: Mr. Secretary, thank you so much.

Can I clear up one thing first? This week, you went to some lengths to say you wouldn't call this a war, but yet at the Pentagon and at the State Department, even, they were saying, we are at war with ISIS.

Are we at war?

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, Bob, I think there's, frankly, a kind of tortured debate going on about terminology.

What I'm focused on obviously is getting done what we need to get done to ISIL. But if people need find a place to land in terms of what we did in Iraq, originally, this is not a war. This is not combat troops on the ground. It's not hundreds of thousands of people. It's not that kind of mobilization.

But in terms of al Qaeda, which we have used the word war with, yes, we went -- we're at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates. And in same context, if you want to use it, yes, we're at war with ISIL in that sense.

But I think it's a waste of time to focus on that. Frankly, let's consider what we have to do to degrade and defeat ISIL. And that's what I'm frankly much more focused on.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. Secretary, let me ask you about your trip.

The Syrian foreign minister is being quoted here as saying that Syria has no problems with American airstrikes going after ISIS targets in Syria, as long as they are coordinated. And he said he was ready to talk. Will we be coordinating this campaign with Syria?

KERRY: No, we're not going to coordinate with it Syria. We will certainly want to deconflict to make certain that they're not about to do something that they might regret even more seriously.

But we're not going to coordinate. It's not a cooperative effort. We are going to do what they haven't done, what they had plenty of opportunity to do, which is to take on ISIL and to degrade it and eliminate as a threat.

And we will do that with allies. I think, with respect to this trip, I have been extremely encouraged to hear from all of the people that I have been meeting with about their readiness and willingness to participate. I can tell you right here and now that we have countries in this region, countries outside of this region, in addition to the United States, all of whom are prepared to engage in military assistance, in actual strikes, if that is what it requires.

And we also have a growing number of people who are prepared to do all the other things. People shouldn't think about this, this effort just in terms of strikes. In fact, as some have pointed out, that alone is not going to resolve this challenge.

SCHIEFFER: Well, Mr. Secretary, you have gotten any specific commitments for military help? For example, have you found anybody that is willing to put troops on the ground into this fight?

KERRY: Well, we're not looking to put troops on the ground.

There are some who have offered to do so. But we are not looking for that, at this moment anyway. The answer is, yes, there are some that have said that. There are some that are clearly prepared to take action in the air alongside the United States, and to do airstrikes, if that's what they're called on to do.

What we're doing right now, Bob, is putting together the whole package. And it's not appropriate to start announcing, well, this country will do this, this country will do that.

SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you this, to -- going back to what you said.

You said you're not looking for troops on the ground. Do you really think you can destroy ISIL without troops on the ground?

KERRY: Well, not...


SCHIEFFER: I mean, how does that work?

KERRY: Bob, there are troops on the ground that don't belong to us. They're called Syrian.

The Syrian opposition is on the ground. And one of the regrettable things is, it has been fighting ISIL by itself over the course of the last couple of years. And it's one of the reasons that they have had a difficult battle. And now with the air support and other effort from other countries, they will be augmented in their capacity.

One of the things the president put in the plan is the effort to increase the training, increase the equipping and advising to that -- to the Syrian opposition. And I can't tell you whether some other country in the neighborhood will or won't decide to put some people in there.

We know the United States is not going to do that. But, as I say, this is a strategy coming together as the coalition comes together and the countries declare what they're prepared to do. But I want it to be absolutely clear out of this discussion we're having that every single aspect of the president's strategy and what is needed to be done in order to accomplish our goal has been offered by one country or multiple countries, and all bases are covered.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. Secretary, we thank you so much for finding time to talk with us this morning.

KERRY: Delighted to be with you. Thank you very much, Bob.


SCHIEFFER: And joining us now is the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Texas Congressman Michael McCaul.

He -- the secretary of state says we're not looking for ground troops. What does that mean?

REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R), TEXAS: Well, I think that's unwise.

I do agree with the sort of strategy that we want the Sunni moderates, the Arabs to fight the Sunni extremists. I don't think we want to put our conventional combat troops in the middle of a lot of this, although we will need advisers and special forces to guide airstrikes into Syria, which we have not done to date.

Having said that, I met with the prince of Jordan just two days ago, who said he is ready today to put his troops into Syria to fight ISIS. So, I don't know why we wouldn't consider that option of all the Arab nations. And, also, I know he met in Cairo with Egypt. They have a very strong military that we could try to advance the argument to put them in that area.

SCHIEFFER: Well, there are people traveling with the secretary this morning that are saying on background that we also have some commitments from some Arab countries to furnish aircraft to join in the airstrikes. Do you know anything about that?

MCCAUL: I do. And I know UAE and other countries have stepped up to the plate.

I think that is a positive sign. I think the fact General Allen is leading this international coalition, who is the commander, he is the expert to do this. I think it is positive. Again, we want the Sunni moderates to fight the Sunni extremists here. And I think that is key.

But if I can just say, after these beheadings, once again, we're reminded of how brutal and barbarian they are. And with all the mixed messages coming out of the White House about we don't have strategy, we're managing this conflict, and finally saying they're going to destroy them, I think it's important to say there's a clear signal to our enemy, but also to our allies in the region that we will destroy and defeat ISIS wherever they exist, and wherever they exist.

And I think that is very, very important, by any means necessary.

SCHIEFFER: You know, your colleague Republican Senator Lindsey Graham showed extreme frustration this morning. Here is just a bit of what he said.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: There's no way in hell you can form an army on the ground to go into Syria to destroy ISIL without a substantial American component. This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.


SCHIEFFER: So, should there be more of sense of urgency about meeting this threat? We haven't had any airstrikes in it seems like a week. And there have been three of these beheadings.

MCCAUL: There's been no urgency. This threat has been out there for over a year.

And, finally, the White House started to pay attention to it after the beheadings, after the American people started to rally behind this. He finally comes out with an address to the nation.

But now it's catchup time, and it's catchup time trying to get a coalition together and a strategy together. And I think, Bob, the bottom line is, ISIS doesn't fit in this president's narrative. His narrative was, I am the president to end these wars.

And now, when he looks at his legacy, he can't get his head wrapped around the idea of what ISIS is and how to defeat it and what an imminent, urgent threat that it really is. I think now the American people are resolved to take on ISIS immediately and urgently.

SCHIEFFER: Would you like to see the Congress vote to authorize these airstrikes, to go to the world and say, we're united about this?

MCCAUL: I think it is important. And the president has said he's coming to Congress for support. I think the American people need to weigh in with their support.

And I do think, well, we're just -- we're going to vote on a limited authorization with respect to training and vetting of these moderate Syrian forces. I do think it's important for Congress to authorize these airstrikes, particularly into Syria. Remember, General Dempsey came out and said you can't win this unless you go into Syria.

And he was reined in very quickly by the administration. But General Dempsey was right. And we can't cut the head of the snake off unless we to go where it is. And the head of the snake is in Syria.

SCHIEFFER: Congressman, thank you so much for joining us.

We will be back in a minute with New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.


SCHIEFFER: Earlier, New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stopped by to talk about her new book, "Off the Sidelines." She had lot to say on this and the crisis in the NFL. And she definitely wants Congress to vote on airstrikes in this Syria.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: It is appropriate to ask for Congress' approval for certain military actions. And he's going to do that.

We will able to debate what that request is. Certain strategies, I don't support. I don't think arming the rebels in this instance is necessarily going to be productive. We spent years training the Iraqi forces, the Iraqi police forces, the Iraqi military forces, and ISIS was able to cut through them like butter.

But there are things that he is asking our support for that I do support. I do think this multilateral engagement is wise. It has to be participations by Sunnis, by Muslims, by Arabs all across the Middle East. And if he continues to form a coalition to deal with this serious terrorist threat, that is the right approach.

SCHIEFFER: Let me talk on something else.

You were one of 16 senators who have called on Roger Goodell to adopt a zero-tolerance policy on domestic violence in the National Football League.

GILLIBRAND: I think the way the NFL handled this was awful. It was outrageous. They had all the facts they needed.

They had a player who admitted to beating his wife. They had video of him dragging her out of an elevator. There as no left -- nothing left to determine. That player should have been fired immediately. So, we are now looking to the commissioner to enforce a zero-tolerance policy.

But the broader issue, Bob, is this institutional support, this chronic institutional support, whether it's the NFL, whether it's the U.S. military, whether it's the college campus, where the institution gathers and surrounds their star player, their golden boy, whomever it may be, without any regard for the victim and survivors, without any regard for women.

And as I talk about in my book, it's about this larger issue. Are women being valued? Are they being valued by these institutions, and are they being listened to?

SCHIEFFER: Well, do you think -- have you come to a conclusion yet about whether you think Roger Goodell ought to just step down?

GILLIBRAND: Well, initially, I want him to lead the reform to actually create and enforce a zero-tolerance policy.

But the given recent debate, if he has lied, if he lied to the American people, then he has to step down, because he won't have the force of authority to change how they address these issues.

SCHIEFFER: Let's talk about this in a broader sense, because this is what you talk about in your book. What's the problem here?

GILLIBRAND: Well, the reason why I wrote this book is because I'm asking women. I'm creating a call to action, for them to be heard on the issues that they find important, on the things they deeply compare about.

And I purposely include lots of details about my life, about my mentors, my mother being one of the three women in her law school class, who's filing the details of an adoption case on the phone while she's making dinner, and my grandma, who loved politics and got a whole generation of women to care about politics.

I cite those examples because I want to use them as a way to bring in the reader to understand that their voices matter. The way they see the world may be different. And if they're not being heard, whether it's the halls of Congress or at the PTA meeting, outcomes won't be as strong. And if they do speak up and are heard, they can make things better.

SCHIEFFER: Well, the problems at the NFL is having, we also know there are these kinds of things going on in some of the other leagues. Is it time for Congress to take some action, look into any of this?

GILLIBRAND: Well, if the NFL doesn't police themselves, then we will be looking more into it. We will -- I wouldn't be surprised if we have hearings.

But, for regular women, for the women watching your show, we should be heard on these issues. And that's the point of my book.

SCHIEFFER: I was stunned at some of the revelations in your book, because I have been covering Washington and the Congress and the Senate for a long, long time, and in this chapter about your struggle with your weight and some of the comments from some of your male colleagues about your weight.

GILLIBRAND: Yes, it's incredible.

SCHIEFFER: I was stunned.

GILLIBRAND: It's incredible.

But I have to say, for the woman reading the book, she is going not only see herself in some of these stories, but it tells her that she's not alone. And I added some stories, particularly when I was a young woman, a young lawyer, where I worked really hard on a case, and on the day we're celebrating years and months of hard work, my boss talks more about my great new haircut and how I look than all the work I did.

That, as a young lawyer, was devastating. I felt so unappreciated and I felt valueless. And I want that young reader to say, huh, well, that happened to me. And I want her to say, well, you know what, I'm going to push on. And not only am I going to make partner, but I'm going to change the way this company does business and change their climate.

I want women to feel empowered and to have that sense that they're not alone. These things happen everywhere. SCHIEFFER: Senator Gillibrand, always a pleasure. Thank you.

GILLIBRAND: Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: And we will be back in one minute.


SCHIEFFER: So, this is how it is going to be, another unspeakable act staged on video for all the world to see, and it is addressed those who side with us.

I hope you will never have to look at this video, but understand what has happened here. This British victim, like the two American journalists who were executed, was not a combatant. He was an aid worker who went to Syria to help war victims.

What kind of people kill the innocent, in the hope of impressing their enemies? These kind of people, barbarians, psychopaths. And who are they trying to impress? The video's title page leaves no doubt. It says, "A Message to the Allies of America."

A narrator says the British aid worker is being executed not for anything he did, but because British prime ministers can't find the courage to say no to the Americans.

There are still those who say all this has nothing to do with America, that ISIS does not really pose a threat to us. Sadly, ISIS does not seem to see it that way. And these videos make it clear. Yes, America is wary of war, but when fires break out, we fight them before they spread, not when it is convenient. We have no choice now.

Whatever it takes and, as the president said, however long it takes, this evil must be eradicated. These forces must be destroyed.

Back in a minute.


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

Ken Burns and his team are here to preview the new PBS series "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History."

Stay with us.


SCHIEFFER: And welcome back now to FACE THE NATION.

We are very excited today to welcome film and documentary filmmaker Ken Burns to FACE THE NATION. His new series is "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History". It airs tonight and every night this week on PBS, starting at 8:00 pm Eastern. Also joining us this morning, Geoff Ward, who wrote "The Roosevelts" and has worked with Ken on many projects and Doris Kearns Goodwin, the historian, who wrote both "The Bully Pulpit" and "No Ordinary Time" and contributed to "The Roosevelts".

You'll hear her many times throughout this series.

Ken, I'm going to start out by just making a flat statement. This is your best work yet.

I'm also told that you are in some way related to the Roosevelts. Does that have anything to do with you deciding -- ?

KEN BURNS, FILMMAKER: No, Geoff and I have been talking about doing "The Roosevelts" for as long as I've known Geoff. And whether it was going to be -- just be Franklin or Franklin's period or -- we suddenly decided to put them all three together, which had never been done before.

But in the midst, halfway through the New England Historic Genealogical Society gave me an award and presented me with this book and told me that, wow, Franklin and Theodore and Eleanor, they are fifth cousins. I am seventh cousins to Theodore and Eleanor once removed and eighth cousin once removed to Franklin.

So maybe this is the point at which we do full disclosure.


DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, HISTORIAN: And you know what is also true? I got that same award this last year. I always thought of myself as an Irish Catholic. I'm related to Sarah Delano Roosevelt.


GOODWIN: It's so odd.


GEOFF WARD, AUTHOR: No, I'm not. We were working on film on Vietnam. I fully expect him to be related to Ho Chi Minh.


SCHIEFFER: Well, this is story about three leaders, unique people in every sense of the word. This is not just about Teddy Roosevelt and about Franklin D. Roosevelt but it is also about Eleanor Roosevelt, who is a figure as remarkable in history as perhaps her husband.

But let's just talk about the similarities between Teddy and Franklin and the connection there. And let's just run this clip.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): They belonged to different parties. They overcame different obstacles. They had different temperaments and styles of leadership.

But it was the similarities and not the differences between the two that meant the most to history.

Both were children of privilege who came to see themselves as champions of the working man and earned the undying enmity of many of those among whom they had grown to manhood.

They shared a sense of stewardship of the American land and unfeigned love for people and politics and a firm belief that the United States had an important role to play in the wider world.


SCHIEFFER: And, Doris, the thing that struck me over and over again, and we find the same thing with Eleanor Roosevelt. These were rich people. These were rich boys and she, of course, she was an orphan, but she came from a family of means.

But what was it that caused these three people to be able to become the leaders that they were?

GOODWIN: You know, sometimes I think it's inside a person, that certain instinct for liking people and caring about people, and maybe an innate empathy. But all three of them were tested by adversity and having been children of privilege it put them in a different path.

Teddy Roosevelt had terrible asthma as a child so he had to work himself up into that manly man, hard work that connected him to other people for whom hard work was daily work.

And then when his wife and daughter died on the same day in the same house, his wife and mother, rather, the same day in the same house and he went to the badlands in a depression, he's with cowboys, he's with ranchers, he's with a lot of other people that a rich person normally wouldn't.

Similarly with FDR after the polio transformed in many ways himself and made him clearly more related to other people for whom fate had dealt an unkind hand. And he's in Warm Springs with a whole bunch of other people.

Also in the state senate, when they were young, they're with Irish guys, and at first they looked down on them and then realized, I have to get along with them.

Eleanor, too, the adversity of having that mother who called her Granny and a father who was an alcoholic. And yet she finds herself in Madam Sylvester's home and Boarding House and then wants to come back and serve other people. And through service, they got their sense of fulfillment and it was way removed from just an elite world.

SCHIEFFER: Well, let's just play this clip here about Eleanor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): The living link between them was Theodore Roosevelt's best loved niece and Franklin's wife, Eleanor. She had learned to face fear and master it long before her husband declared that the only thing Americans had to fear was fear itself.

Her own character and energy and devotion to principle would make her the most consequential first lady and one of the most consequential women in American history.


SCHIEFFER: Geoff, one of the most consequential women in American history, you convinced me, as I watched this documentary. And I had not really appreciated what a unique person she was and the contribution that she made.

WARD: She's an absolutely astonishing person. I really think, I say in the film and I still say, she is miracle of the human spirit. I mean, given the parched, arid emotional desert of her childhood, to come out of that and the difficulties with her husband and all the other things she dealt with, she became this extraordinary figure, who took on every cause imaginable and never stopped. She just -- absolutely relentless, just the way her Uncle Theodore was.

SCHIEFFER: And Ken, not only did she take on these causes, she was effective in causing change.

BURNS: That's exactly right. We did a film on the national parks, and Stuart Udall said that Theodore Roosevelt had distance in his eyes. I think all three Roosevelts had distance in their eyes. I think -- I understood that to mean that they could see beyond the horizon; they understood what the coming issues are.

And when you think about Eleanor Roosevelt, she's right on all of these things, about race, about poverty, about women, about children, about labor, about immigration, about health: all of these things that are going to be the agenda of today, she is already actively engaged in this, not in some sort of phony political make-an- appearance, but going down into the mines and then come back telling her husband what he needs to do.

I mean, it's really a remarkable achievement.

SCHIEFFER: And while she was doing it, what, writing five or six newspaper columns a week?

GOODWIN: It's unbelievable, and holding press conferences every week. Only women reporters could come to her press conferences. So suddenly an entire generation of female journalists get their start because of Eleanor. She's writing an autobiography, she's sending so many memos to Franklin Roosevelt that he has to say, "Only three memos a night, Eleanor. I can only read" -- she's talking to General Marshall about discrimination in the armed forces and he has to assign a separate general just to deal with Eleanor Roosevelt.

She was the agitator, the moral figure. She knew she had him as the pragmatic political figure, so that's why they work so together as a team.

SCHIEFFER: And we talked about the adversity that was overcome by both Teddy and Franklin. She was betrayed by her husband and she had to live through that.

GOODWIN: And not only did she live through it, she came out more resilient than ever before. She found that she could go outside the home to find her sense of fulfillment ,an independent path. She suddenly learned she had a whole range of talents she never knew she had before, for organizing, for speaking, for articulating her cause.

In some ways if that hadn't happened and she had just stayed within the family circle -- maybe she couldn't have, maybe that vibrancy was in her. I hope she would have broken free somehow. But it gave her the path to break free.

And thank God for the country and for Franklin, too. It made her the partner that, without her, he would never have been the president he was.

BURNS: All of these bad things that happened, these crucibles of adversity that Doris listed, all become the agencies of their transformation. They are able to escape the specific gravity of these tragedies, whether it's asthma and the death and suffering of Theodore Roosevelt in his early life or her betrayal by Franklin and her early life or Franklin's polio.

And they transform all of this stuff into something that serves their careers much better and themselves, but also more importantly the rest of us.

We all do well when we all do well, which is the very simple, distilled philosophy, I believe, of all three of these people. And that is the great legacy.

I mean, we struggle to define leadership today as we kind of figure out what is the working formula. What they had was just that galvanic thing. It wasn't the addition of their money, it was the addition of their times and their lives and their sacred honor to this process. And that's why we are the beneficiaries.

SCHIEFFER: And, Geoff, You yourself were a victim of polio; you were stricken with polio when you were 9 years old.

Could Franklin Roosevelt have been the leader he was had he not had polio?

WARD: That's a great question. I don't think he would have been that leader. I think it taught him a kind of -- it increased his empathy. And I think it also taught him patience. If you can't walk, you need to -- you have to wait for things. He learned that.

SCHIEFFER: Well, he never gave up. One of the things that I learned in this is that he had polio; there was no cure. He was going to be crippled, for want of a better word. And yet you came away feeling that he thought that, one of these days, if I just keep at it, I'll find a way to walk again.

WARD: Yes, he did. He did.

One of the things I'm proudest of in this show, and I thank Ken, because nobody has ever been able to give the whole story of that before. You really see, in this show, how he was crippled and the various ways he tried to deal with it and it a -- and how it affected the rest of his life. And that is usually skimmed over in -- in film.

SCHIEFFER: So let's just...


SCHIEFFER: -- look at this -- this next clip here.


WARD: It produces terror, unreasoning terror. You just can't believe that the legs that you depend on simply don't work. And I -- I don't know how to convey to people the sense that suddenly he could not go to the bathroom. He couldn't go for the telephone. He couldn't do anything on his own. And the limbs that, you know, he was a -- he was a great dancer. He was a great golfer. He loved to run.

None of that would ever happen again. He dreamed about it all his life, but he never could do it.


SCHIEFFER: Many people did not understand that he -- he really couldn't walk. He had developed this way the kind of throw his body with these braces locked into place, but he always had to have someone on either side of him.

Could he have kept that from the public today, Doris?

Obviously not.

KEARNS GOODWIN: Probably not. And hopefully the public today would be much more understanding and -- and glad to have somebody who would overcome this kind of problem and become so strong. But he made the decision at that time that the country probably wouldn't feel comfortable with a man who couldn't walk.

But, you know, you're right to say that he dreamed about it all the time. He had this way of going to sleep at night where he would imagine himself a young boy once more on the hills at Hyde Park taking his sled down the hill.

And then when he got to the bottom of the hill, bringing it up again like somebody counts sheep. But obviously in that dream, he's running. He's walking. He's sliding. And then he can finally go to sleep, because he dreams it.

SCHIEFFER: Right. KEARNS GOODWIN: But I think once you decide that you're going to use your talents in a different way, then he became the most active wheelchair man you could possibly imagine. Every other part of his body is so vitally alive.

SCHIEFFER: Well, here, we have one little clip here that is just what we're talking about here.

Let's take a look at this.


WARD: -- springs. He labored at mastering what his physiotherapists called a two point walk, the slow, rocking gait he would employ in public for the rest of his life.


SCHIEFFER: So he -- he really wasn't walking, Jeff.

WARD: No, he was not.

SCHIEFFER: He was just...


WARD: He never...

SCHIEFFER: -- kind of crawling...

WARD: -- he never walked again.

SCHIEFFER: (INAUDIBLE) back and forth.

WARD: That's right.


WARD: And I guess I differ with Doris a little. I think if he were running now, sadly, I think TV crews would compete with each other to see who could get the footage that -- that showed him at his most helpless. He had to be carried in and out of buildings. He had to be helped to move his braces and so on.

And I -- I think Fox News would have loved that.

KEARNS GOODWIN: Well, and, you know, to illustrate your point, sadly, in 1936, when he was coming down the aisle to give the acceptance speech, he went over to shake somebody's hand and he did fall. And his braces unlocked and his feet sprawled all around him.

But there was an honor code upon the press at that time...


KEARNS GOODWIN: -- not to show him that way. So he goes up, gives the speech, and that's all you hear. Today, you're probably right, yes! look at what we see.

BURNS: And we think that...


WARD: -- footage.

BURNS: -- we know more, we know more, we actually know more, but we know less. This is a man who had 998 press conferences. Those reporters and the people who were around him saw all this stuff, saw the huge effort, but also had a kind of intimate access to him as the chief executive.

And so I think, you know, we sort of think that it's really good that we know everything, it may not be really good that we know everything. And because we know everything, there is now a moat around the presidency and our great leaders that then removes us from the possibility of truly knowing them.

But he had access. He fancied himself a newspaperman and -- and knew them by name. And I think they not only saw the arduousness and the sacrifice and didn't write about it, but they had a much clearer idea of all the other things that were going on at the time, in a way that we don't now. We -- we're still talking about the bubble and how much the person gets isolated in the bubble and that we are unaware of what's really going on...


BURNS: -- inside these complicated interiors that we call our -- our -- our leaders.

KEARNS GOODWIN: Indeed, both Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt had such closer relationships to the press...


KEARNS GOODWIN: -- than anyone could conceive of today. I mean Theodore Roosevelt had them in there when he was doing the barber, the shave and he had them for lunch, dinner. FDR had two press conferences a week. And that's what kept them in close contact with sentiment of the people, which is so critical in a democracy, which I fear our presidents are not today.

SCHIEFFER: But, well, and also, this is where they were get -- as you say, this is where they were getting their information.


SCHIEFFER: The polls were not all that great in those days. But both Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt had this -- somehow had this innate ability to know where the country was, how much it could take...

WARD: That's right.

SCHIEFFER: -- how much it could swallow...

WARD: How fast it could move.

SCHIEFFER: And how fast it could move.


BURNS: Jeff said it really well when he said, about the emphases that Franklin was able to assume with the polio. I think all of them had a version of empathy. Whatever happened, Theodore's father's troublesome conscience. He inherits an empathy for other people, the suffering and the sacrifice, the need on the -- on the part of both Theodore and Eleanor to spend their lives in perpetual motion, outrunning the demons they think might overtake them also places them into the light among the Irish pols of -- of Albany in -- in the West, with the cowboys.

And that empathy is the essential missing ingredient or secret sauce of leadership, where it's not just the remove and the idealism from the -- from the Hill but really down with the people.

And -- and these are all people who speak in patrician accents.


BURNS: You know what I mean, this is -- this...


BURNS: -- these are not people who are putting on the phony airs where they adopt the Southern accent of the crowd that they're in. These are -- these are people who are resolutely themselves -- and they ought to be commended for remaining resolutely themselves.


SCHIEFFER: You know, but I think...

KEARNS GOODWIN: -- they know the words.

SCHIEFFER: -- people know. People know when a...


SCHIEFFER: -- when...



SCHIEFFER: -- they're being pandered to.


SCHIEFFER: People know when they...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The smell test.


SCHIEFFER: -- some local, you know, or local saying and it always...


SCHIEFFER: -- comes out right.


SCHIEFFER: It never pays.

We're going to take a break here and when we come back, we need to talk some more about Teddy Roosevelt.


BURNS: Indeed.


SCHIEFFER: And we're back now with more of "The Roosevelts."

I want to talk about Teddy.


SCHIEFFER: What an unbelievable -- I mean character he was. I mean he was almost, in a funny kind of way, like John McCain...


SCHIEFFER: -- I mean, you know what I mean?

He was on that bus and he never stopped talking and he was eating all those sugar donuts and drinking all that coffee.

There were a lot of those same attributes in -- in Teddy Roosevelt.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fueled by cup after cup of coffee served to him in the special mug his eldest son said was as big as a bathtub, Theodore Roosevelt raced through his day. Letters were answered upon receipt -- a lifetime total of 150,000, dictated to shifts of weary stenographers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He would not stop talking. And he was a one man gas bag. But it was so interesting that most people didn't mind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We love him because of the energy. His laugh was infectious. His son Ted said, my father had a dozen eggs for breakfast every morning, so he's a large man and he's larger than life.


SCHIEFFER: Well, he certainly -- he certainly was that.

KEARNS GOODWIN: I must say...


KEARNS GOODWIN: -- I loved every minute of living with him these last seven years. The vitality. I'd wake up in the morning and think, I've got get going because Teddy Roosevelt is going.

Everything he did -- I mean getting on those trains, on those whistle-stop trains, going around the country, waving to everybody, stopping at every station, getting gifts in from the people -- lizards, snakes, horn toads -- delighted, he'd say, you know, and waving to people.

And one time, there was a group that didn't wave back to him and he was so disappointed because he's so used to that connection. It was a herd of cows in his near-sightedness, he had mistaken it...


KEARNS GOODWIN: But that he never stopped. I mean he once said he was an extraordinary man, an ordinary man with extraordinary perseverance.


KEARNS GOODWIN: And ordinary man with extraordinary vitality, with a gift for leadership. He's one of the most interesting, colorful characters I've ever lived with. I'm not sure I don't want to be married to him.


KEARNS GOODWIN: But I loved living with him.

BURNS: No, no, no. You you want to go out to the bar and have a drink with him. You want to travel across the country with him. But I think all of this has to be understood with a little bit of clear eyes, that it comes from an essentially instability of character. You know, he is a dips. He's subject to those kinds of depressions. And he felt, as he said, black care, capital B, capital C, can rarely sit behind a rider whose pace is fast enough. That means, in 20th and 21st century parlance, that you can outrun your demons.

And he's spending all of his time, all of his life at high speed. If you think about the oldest picture you can imagine of Theodore Roosevelt, he looks 85.

He died at age 60. I'm 61. I mean, you realize what was spent in the course of this and this sort of belligerent love, the idea that war is sort of a good thing and it helps to clean the soul of a country. You know, after, as George Will says in our film, after the 20th century became what it became, you have to look at him with clear eyes.

SCHIEFFER: What are the lessons that today's leaders in the Congress, in the White House, in America, what are the lessons that they can draw from this, Geoff?

WARD: I just think they should look at people who are real leaders, at all three of them are the real authentic thing. They had an idea; they were going to go there; they were perfectly willing to engage in serious politics with people who didn't necessarily agree with them and get there.

SCHIEFFER: You know, what strikes me, Henry Kissinger was on this broadcast last Sunday; and he, in his new book, he says, "Leaders must be willing to go places not certain that they're going to succeed if they think their cause is right."

And that was certainly these three people.

GOODWIN: And I think we are looking ahead at the presidential election coming up in some years. That's what we should be looking for in our leaders, what kind of attributes do they have, what kind of strengths have they showed?

Do they surround themselves with people who can question them?

How have they gotten through adversity?

Do they have a certain kind of emotional intelligence?

Do they have that distance, the vision?

This is what we should be looking for instead of looking for who does well in a debate, who zings somebody in an ad.

Our whole presidential system, by looking at these three people, you can see, these were leaders. They had their failures. But basically they knew now to lead.

And if we could find some of these qualities in the characters that we are going to put before us in these next years, we would be far better off investigating them that way than the way we do.


BURNS: It's the infantile fantasy of filmmakers to think that a film might do something. But I think as you look at the example of these three extraordinary leaders, who had great adversity in their time, their willingness to compromise, their willingness to work and roll up their sleeves, this is what is not happening now. And that's -- you know, it's sort of self-fulfilling right now.

But I think these people might be a kind of inspiration of how you can get it done, because we're not getting anything done. And you have to get things done, that's the stuff of democracy. Nobody is going to get the whole loaf, it's the half loaf.

And I think all of these people understood it in their guts and was realizing that, Franklin Roosevelt wasn't going to get everything he wanted on Social Security. Neither Theodore Roosevelt or Franklin Roosevelt got the health care that they wanted. And it took -- I think if Peter was here, he's say, what? You took a century to get health care?

GOODWIN: I was arguing it before.

SCHIEFFER: You know, what strikes me as i sit here listening to you talking about this, is what is not in this 14 hours. I don't recall that you had anything about any of these people and their ability to raise money, which seems to be all that our politicians --


BURNS: And these are rich people and yet you do not see the application of that wealth in the political process. It permits them the time and the luxury to pursue it, but you're absolutely correct, Bob. There is not a whiff of money here in terms of what are the ingredients of leadership.

And I think that if we had the opportunity to sort of remove the money question, you know, the thumb on this scale, we would be in so much better shape and we'd probably get a lot more done.

SCHIEFFER: Well, thank you all so much.

And we'll be right back.


SCHIEFFER: Well, that's it for us today. We want to thank you for watching FACE THE NATION.

Be sure to tune in to "CBS THIS MORNING" tomorrow, when Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul will be a guest. We'll see you next week.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.