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Face the Nation Transcripts September 6: Fiorina, Gingrich, Aldrin

(CBS News) -- A transcript from the September 6 edition of Face the Nation. Guests included Carly Fiorina, Newt Gingrich, Buzz Aldrin, Charlie D'Agata, Ben Domenech, Gerald Seib, Jamelle Bouie, Nancy Cordes, Rachel Swaby, David McCullough and Walter Isaacson.

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: Will the summer of Trump become the autumn of Trump?


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Somehow, the party of Lincoln has become the party of Trump.


DICKERSON: The Donald has made it clear he's in for the Republican nomination for the long haul, at least until he changes his mind.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will be totally pledging my allegiance to the Republican Party and the conservative principles for which it stand.


DICKERSON: We will talk to Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina about her outsider campaign, what we should look for in a president, and Hillary Clinton's defense of her private e-mail server.

And we will hear from Newt Gingrich. How does he think the GOP race will play out?

On the Democratic side, Vice President Joe Biden is getting a lot of attention, but doesn't appear any closer on a decision to enter the race.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The honest-to- God answer is, I just don't know.


DICKERSON: We will talk about it all in our panel and get a report on the latest on the migrant crisis in Europe.

And our book panel on discovery and innovation. David McCullough looked at the pioneers of flight in "The Wright Brothers." Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin aims to go from the moon onwards in "Mission to Mars" and the newly released children's book "Welcome to Mars." Walter Isaacson writes about the hackers, geniuses and geeks who created the digital revolution in "The Innovators." And Rachel Swaby profiled the contribution of women in science in "Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science and the World."

It's all ahead on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning. I'm John Dickerson.

Earlier, I spoke with Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, who is in Manchester, New Hampshire.


DICKERSON: I want to talk to you about what voters should think about when they're thinking about nonpoliticians and being fit for the job. You had an interview just after Donald Trump spoke to radio host Hugh Hewitt. He asked some questions about Islamic terrorism and being commander in chief.

You answered those questions. You also said what you didn't know. Donald Trump had more difficulty. Let's listen to a little bit of what he said.


HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Do you know the players without a scorecard yet, Donald Trump?

TRUMP: No, I'll tell you, honestly, I think, by the time we get to office, they will all by changed. They will be all gone.

I know -- I knew you were going to ask me things like, and there is no reason, because, number one, I will find -- I will hopefully find General Douglas MacArthur in the pack.


DICKERSON: Donald Trump said that this kind of specific knowledge didn't matter. He would delegate. He would get up to speed in 24 hours. That's what people in business do.

You were a CEO. Is he right about that?

CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I disagree with him on that

I think it is very difficult to lead if you don't have the requisite knowledge. And I think it's perfectly acceptable that you don't know the name of every terrorist leader. I don't always either. I do think it's important to know who our enemies are. I think it's important to know the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah and to know as well that both of them, for example, are proxies of Iran. I do think we have come to a place, though, where people realize that running for political office all your life isn't necessarily the most qualifying set of experiences either.

We have a professional political class; 80 percent of the American people now think we have professional political class that is either unwilling or unable to challenge the status quo of Washington and get anything done. And we have festering problems in Washington, not to mention a lack of leadership around the world.

I understand how the economy works. I understand how the world works and who is in it, who are our friends and who are our enemies. I understand how big bureaucracies work, which is what Washington, D.C., has become. I understand technology and I understand leadership.

And I think those are the necessary experiences and qualifications to become president of the United States.

DICKERSON: So, in keeping with this business theme, if you were on the hiring committee, would Donald Trump be fit to be commander in chief?

FIORINA: Well, that's not a question for me. That's a question for the voters of this country.

I am most definitely fit to be commander in chief. And that's why I'm running for that office.

DICKERSON: I would like to ask you about Hillary Clinton's server.

In the interview she gave to Andrea Mitchell, she said it wasn't the best choice having her own private e-mail server, but she also made another case. And she said basically she came into office, there was a lot going on, a lot to be focused on, and she wasn't really paying super close attention to the formation of her e-mail server.

As somebody who also been in a top post, who has had to drink from that fire hose, do you find that explanation plausible?

FIORINA: I actually don't, because it takes a lot of work to install a private server system in your basement. It takes a lot of work to make sure that you are having the right connections to conduct both personal and professional business over that system.

We know, for example, that she hired into the State Department a political operative who had done I.T. work on her campaign and for her PAC, and that that I.T. operative was paid $5,000, not by taxpayers, but by Mrs. Clinton herself, to do I.T. work on that basement server.

So that actually takes a lot of work and lot of effort. And so I don't think it's plausible for her to say, oh, I wasn't paying any attention. She clearly was paying attention. DICKERSON: Other news from the week I would like to get your reaction to, which is this migrant crisis, the refugees, these pictures we have seen. What is the U.S. role in this humanitarian crisis?

FIORINA: Well, those pictures are unbelievably heartbreaking.

And, unfortunately, we have known this crisis was coming for a very long time. This is an example of what happens when the United States fails to lead. President Obama had options in Syria three years ago. And he failed to exercise any of those options.

And he has watched as this humanitarian crisis has grown and grown. It isn't surprising, actually, that these refugees are pouring out of Syria. We now have somewhere between 43 million and 60 million refugees on the move around the world because they are trying to escape conflict zones like Syria.

The United States, I believe, has done its fair share in terms of humanitarian aid. Certainly, the United States has not led, as I indicated earlier. I think the United States, honestly, sadly, cannot relax our entrance criteria. We are having to be very careful about who we let enter this country from these war-torn regions to ensure that terrorists are not coming here.

I think the Europeans need to continue to step up here both in terms of the amount of money they provide for humanitarian relief. They have not done as much as the United States has done on that front. And I also think they are beginning to step up and let some of these refugees cross into their borders. But, sadly, this is a crisis that everyone should have known was coming for at least three years now.

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

FIORINA: Thanks for being -- having me, John.


DICKERSON: We're joined now by former Republican presidential candidate and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

Mr. Speaker, I want to start with the Hugh Hewitt interview with Donald Trump. Did we learn anything meaningful about his capacity to be president from that interview?

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, I think it's a sign -- as David Gergen pointed out, it's probably a sign of good sense on Trump's part.

The truth is, no national leader knows anything about the head of Quds Force. So, when they say they may have memorized the name, they don't know what school he went, they don't know what faction he belongs to, they don't know whether or not he was in Moscow recently. This is not presidential stuff. He's going to hire a secretary of state. He's going to hire a national security adviser. He's going to have a chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He's going to have a secretary of defense. The question -- the real question is, so what would you do about them?

DICKERSON: So, when we're thinking about -- you thought when you campaigned a lot about how to actually do stuff in this bureaucracy that we have.


DICKERSON: So, talk to me a little bit about a businessperson comes in.

George Shultz used to say, former secretary of state, said -- in the private sector, he would say, do this, and then got into office and he'd say, do this, and nothing would happen.


DICKERSON: So, give us a realistic assessment of how a businessperson comes in and gets stuff done and...

GINGRICH: Well, I think Secretary Shultz put his finger on exactly the crisis of American government. And it's been true at least since he was secretary in the 1980s.

What will be fascinating if Trump does end up getting in, or for that matter Carson or Fiorina, all of whom represent outside experiences, are they prepared to go to the Congress and say, end the civil service system? You don't end -- and there is a bill. Jeff Miller has a bill that came out of the House that would allow the secretary of veterans affairs to fire any bureaucrat failing to serve veterans.

Now, that's the beginning of a revolution. But until we're prepared to say -- and 75 percent of the American people, according to Gallup, believe there is -- quote -- "widespread corruption."

Now, widespread corruption is a tough standard; 75 percent of the American people believe that government in America is now failing and that it needs to be radically changed.

DICKERSON: I want to ask you about Donald Trump's immigration policy, because when you ran, and subsequently, you said that the way that Republicans talked about immigration was harmful to the party.

Donald Trump is talking about deporting all undocumented workers here. What is that going to do for the party?

GINGRICH: Well, I think, first of all, we have no idea what the effect of Trump will be over six months or a year and how dramatically the messages will change.

And he's now met with the head of Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He's about to meet with their board.


DICKERSON: You think he's softening?

GINGRICH: Well, I think he's modulating. I think he's learning.

The one thing I have always found to be true with Trump is, I think he learns faster than any other political figure I have known except Bill Clinton. And I think it's a big mistake to assume that the Donald Trump you saw yesterday is the Donald Trump you are going to see a month from now.

DICKERSON: So, what -- where should he end up, by your lights?

GINGRICH: Well, first of all, if you actually read the details of his plan, it's a touchback plan, which was fairly popular in 19 -- in 2007, and basically says -- and most illegal immigrants would agree with this -- basically says, you go back home, you file, and you come back in, you have now obeyed the law.

And so he's not saying we're going to deport you permanently. I think -- look, I think there are lots of problems with it. I don't -- as we got off on in 2012, I don't believe in self-deportation. But I do think you could figure out ways to get much closer to that than people think.

The reason Trump is having an impact, and I think the reason that Carson and Fiorina and Cruz are having an impact -- and the four of them have to been seen as a team in a sense. They represent the, we're sick of all you regular guys.

And I think it's because the American public has now been told -- for example, Reagan's diary in 1986, he signs the immigration bill because we're going to control the border, writes in his diary, 1986. Here we are 29 years later. And so the average American is going, I just want somebody who is going to kick over the table, start a new game. And I don't care about the details.

DICKERSON: So, if there's a kick-over-the-table mentality, how does Jeb Bush operate in such a place?

GINGRICH: Look, I have number of very good friends who are running, and I have thought a lot about if I were in their shoes.

I don't know how you take this on, because everybody says, well, president, you get down to Trump and somebody else. Yes, right now, it has. In Iowa, for example, it's Trump and it's Carson. So, explain -- or South Carolina, it's Trump and Carson.

Now, Kasich, to his credit, has cleverly focused his energy and his advertising in New Hampshire. So in New Hampshire, it will be Trump and Kasich.

DICKERSON: How would you -- if you were running, how would you muscle in, as somebody who has got that Washington... GINGRICH: I don't have a clue. And I don't say this lightly. I think about this every day.

I think this there is a desire on the part of the American people, which I largely agree with, to profoundly change the current terms of American politics and government. And they want somebody -- and they want them in different formats -- they want calm, stable Dr. Carson. They want energetic CEO Carly Fiorina. They want aggressive, hard-charging Ted Cruz, or they want bombastic, loud.

But he's running on something nobody in this city understands. He's running on winning. That's the -- the heart of the Trump model is, I will make us a winner again. Do you want to be a winner? If you would like to be a winner, I will make us a winner. And then people come up with all these policy questions and he goes, eh, I would like to win.

And Americans out there go, I like winning. Winning sounds pretty good to me.


DICKERSON: All right, we will see if he actually does do it.

Speaker Gingrich, thanks so much for being with us.

GINGRICH: Good to be with you.

DICKERSON: We will be back in a minute.


DICKERSON: We turn now to the growing humanitarian crisis in Europe.

This morning, Pope Francis called on religious communities to welcome the hundreds of thousands of migrants, many of them refugees from war-torn Syria, who have tried to escape to a better life. After being stranded in Hungary for days, many have found safe passage to Germany and Austria.

CBS News foreign correspondent Charlie D'Agata joins us from Vienna with the latest.


Well, here is the scene in Vienna. They have been welcoming migrants off the train. These have come in from the border. They're not sticking around here, though. Most of them are headed to Germany. And the flow has been endless.


D'AGATA (voice-over): The mass exodus of mostly Syrian migrants had been going on for months. But this week, a surge of thousands quickly overwhelmed struggling European countries, with no clear plan on how to handle the sheer numbers.

Hungary's haste to erect a razor wire fence along its border with Serbia didn't do much to slow them down. But the Budapest train station became the flash point, as Hungary blocked desperate migrants from boarding trains to Germany and Austria, demanding they register for asylum first.

Haggard, but defiant, they mustered what energy they had left and set off to the border on foot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no other way. We stay in Budapest for eight days, no train, no taxi, no anything.

D'AGATA: The move forced Hungary's hand. The government deployed a fleet of buses to pick them up along the highway and the train station and drop them off at the border with Austria.

Having crossed into Austria and onward to Germany, the migrants were greeted with food and drinks, cheers and open arms.


D'AGATA: Now, it may seem that the situation is improving. And it certainly has for those migrants who have been able to get to places like Austria and Germany.

But it is much different story for the hundreds of migrants that are arriving by the day in Hungary. There's no guarantee that they will be allowed to travel onwards -- John.

DICKERSON: Charlie D'Agata for us in Vienna, thank you, Charlie.

We will be right back with our political panel. Stay with us.


DICKERSON: We turn now to our political panel.

Gerry Seib is the Washington bureau chief for "The Wall Street Journal." Jamelle Bouie is the chief political correspondent for "Slate" magazine. Nancy Cordes is our CBS News congressional correspondent. And we welcome Ben Domenech to the show. He is the publisher of "The Federalist."

Gerry, I want to start with you.

Donald Trump had a little trouble with Hugh Hewitt. Based on the way things have been going, his poll numbers will only increase.



SEIB: I think Newt Gingrich was right.

I don't think that sort of thing matters all that much. The Trump candidacy is about leadership, not about issues. But I do think there's bit of a problem there, which is that the sleeper issue in this campaign I think really is national security. It's a dangerous world. People are frightened.

The question then becomes, do you trust the person to lead in a dangerous world? And that's a question more of demeanor than issues or policy. Ronald Reagan would not have done well on that test, but he had the right demeanor. People trusted him. That is the question for Trump, not does he know the names.

DICKERSON: Right, temperament question.

Ben, in conservative circles, there have been opponents of Trump of who have tried to grab one of these moments and said, aha, you see, here is the -- but it hasn't worked. Is there an emerging case that -- or does this provide an opportunity with -- among conservatives to come at Trump?

BEN DOMENECH, PUBLISHER, "THE FEDERALIST": I really don't think that it does.

The fact is that condescension from political elites even within the Republican Party is actually now something that entirely accrues to Trump's benefit, because people who support him interpret it as condescension directed toward them.

And their general attitude, I think, is, to Jerry's point, not so much a sophisticated knowledge of the various names of people operating within foreign policy and national security, but just, will this person do the right thing when the moment calls for it?

And I think the that is something that Trump really stands up and delivers. He could actually stand on national television in front of a map of Iran and just make exploding noises for 15 minutes, and it would amount to more credible and I think sophisticated view of foreign policy and national security than Republicans have heard from many of their leaders for years.


DICKERSON: Jamelle, what do you make of this? Does any other candidate in the Republican field have a chance to take advantage of this foreign policy angle?

JAMELLE BOUIE, "SLATE": I think perhaps Rubio does, since this is an area of his expertise.

And I think, of all the candidates, Rubio is probably the one who is best positioned to be acceptable to everyone. And so if Trump declines over the next couple months, I think when Trump declines over the next couple months, Rubio will be...

SEIB: It is not inevitable.

(LAUGHTER) BOUIE: But I think that's going to happen. I think Rubio is well-positioned to sort of show himself as the person who can really capitalize on this underlying issue of national security.

DICKERSON: And that's his argument, which is you got to know some stuff. You can make decisions between option A and B, but if you don't know option C exists out there.

BOUIE: Right.

DICKERSON: Nancy, Hillary Clinton, who you have some spent some time thinking about, how do they see Donald Trump? I heard about a group of Clinton fund-raisers together at a party, and all they apparently were talking about was Donald Trump.

NANCY CORDES, CBS NEWS CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think her concern and the campaign's concern when it comes to Donald Trump is that he makes everyone else in the field look mainstream.

And they are trying to get the message out there that when it comes to issues like Planned Parenthood, immigration, that a lot of the Republican field is right there with Donald Trump when it comes to policy.

But they're afraid that to the average voter, they see Donald Trump's positions, and then they see someone like Jeb Bush, and they're going to say, oh, he's right down the middle, that's great. An independent voter might like that. And so they're really engaged in trying to show that when it comes to policy, the Republican candidates are more alike than different.

BOUIE: I this the RNC actually handed Democrats a tool with that pledge, right, the pledge asking all candidates to support the eventual nominee.

Now, next year -- Jeb Bush has signed it, I think. I think a few others signed it. Trump signed it, obviously. You can very easily say to any Republican who is the nominee next year, well, you said you would support Trump. Do you support these things that Trump said?

DICKERSON: What do you make of the pledge, Jerry?

SEIB: Look, I think Reince Priebus had a really good week, the Republican National Committee chairman.

First of all, he works behind the scenes to get Carly Fiorina, your previous guest, in the first -- in the second debate, which was a big deal. I think having her on outside would have looked bad.


DICKERSON: ... the main stage.

SEIB: On the main stage of the main debate.

I actually think that getting the pledge signed was a real plus because it takes an elephant out of the room for Republicans. This was a problem. It created lot of uncertainty. Donors were saying to the Republican National Committee, well, I'm not going to give you a bunch of money if somebody within the party is going to blow it up after that I do that.

DICKERSON: Blow it up by running at independent.

SEIB: By running at independent. And this creates a little bit more -- for the time being, until the next phase. But for now, I think that was a big deal.

CORDES: Although there's nothing binding about it.


CORDES: And Donald Trump can certainly, a couple months from now, say, well, they didn't live up to their end of the bargain, or I don't think that the person who is the nominee is going to go the distance, so I have got no choice but to become an independent.

DICKERSON: A good negotiator would never be so bound.

Ben, you wrote about the threat that Trump poses to the Republican Party. What did you mean?

DOMENECH: Well, I think that there is a real threat that Trump poses.

And that is, namely, that he has tapped into a group of Americans who feel that the large elites of both parties have ignored their priorities, that they are out of step with them, not just on immigration, but on trade, and certainly on the priorities that they have when it comes to politics.

This is a disaffected group of people. And what you see is typically when you look at these polls is that Trump performs the best among people who have not typically voted in primaries before. That to me is dangerous for a number of reasons, but particularly because we have seen the path in Europe that happens when parties turn towards populism, nativism, nationalism, xenophobia, things of that nature.

And I think that the danger for the Republican Party right now is that Trump is speaking for a group of people. He is their avatar in a way that I think a lot of other political candidates are not, in opposition to the priorities of the Republican leadership in Washington.

And I think that his effect on the Republican Party could be tangible, regardless of whether he wins the nomination or not. He really does speak for those people.

DICKERSON: Jerry, what do you make of -- Jeb Bush has tried to pick up a little bit on what Ben is talking about. This week, he amped up his attacks. Aides to Governor Bush said, we're going to fight for it now. How is that fight going? SEIB: Well, I think it's problematic, but I do think they are better off fighting than not fighting, because it's a two-way flow here.

Donald Trump is attacking Jeb Bush more than anybody else, which says to me that if you are in Donald Trump's world, you look at the establishment group -- and that's really what everybody else is outside of Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina -- they still think Jeb Bush is the most likely alternative to emerge from that establishment group, and, therefore, you have to take him down starting now.

So, I think it's a two-way street. I think Jeb Bush decides you look weak if you don't fight. And the Trump world looks at Jeb Bush and says, well, he's the most likely anti-Trump candidate, so we better go after him now.

DICKERSON: Jamelle, what do you make of the other non-Trump candidates and how that all sorts out?


BOUIE: I'm looking at the -- sort of the establishment group. And that's Jeb Bush. That's Rubio. That's Kasich. That's, I think, Scott Walker to a certain extent. It's Chris Christie to a certain extent.

And of those people, like I said earlier, I think Rubio's the one who is going to potentially do best. Scott Walker -- it's really striking to see how much Trump has completely demolished Scott Walker's standing in Iowa and New Hampshire and nationally.

Six months ago, we were all talking about Scott Walker as someone who was going to be the alternative to Bush or the alternative to Rubio, but it looks like he's diminished from the field.

DOMENECH: And I think that's in part because he's just not a compelling candidate when he's out there.

For people who have been -- who feel like system is rigged, who feel like people are ignoring their priorities, Donald Trump is -- he is their golden-haired Adonis who will turn winter into spring. He is their hero, their champion.

And they are perfectly having a champion who is inconsistent on all these different areas of policy, when it comes to entitlements, fiscal conservatism, anything else, as long as he is someone who speaks to their priorities. He fights. And that's what they compare about.

DICKERSON: And that's what Newt Gingrich was talking about, the winner, the golden hair winner.

DOMENECH: Exactly.

DICKERSON: So, maybe we will pick up on that.

All right, we will be right back with our political panel to discuss the Democrats and a new poll in New Hampshire. Stay with us.


DICKERSON: Some of our CBS stations are leaving us now, but, for most of you, we will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION, including our book panel.

Stay with us.


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

We're back with our political panel. Jerry Seib is the Washington bureau chief of "The Wall Street Journal." Jamelle Bouie is the chief political correspondent for "Slate Magazine." Nancy Cordes is our CBS News congressional correspondent. And Ben Domenech is the publisher of "The Federalist."

Nancy, I want to start with you. New news out of New Hampshire. An NBC Marris poll has Bernie Sanders nine points ahead of Hillary Clinton. Respond to that but also Hillary Clinton spent the week talking about her e-mails again.

CORDES: Huge reversal in this poll from just a couple of months ago. And so I reached out to both campaigns this morning to see what they think. So striking. Bernie Sanders' campaign says this just shows that the more people get to know Bernie Sanders, the more they like him. Hillary Clinton's campaign didn't address the poll numbers directly, but said we're very confident in the organization that we're building in New Hampshire, which is code for, OK, he may get a lot of enthusiasm. He's from neighboring Vermont. He's doing these feel-good rallies. But at the end of the day, we're going to have the operation to get people to the polls in New Hampshire and elsewhere.

DICKERSON: Jerry, on the e-mails this week, Hillary Clinton's camp, and she herself, seemed to take it more seriously. There were jokes about it in kind of the previous week. Now it seems to be more serious, even calling up some fundraisers to the headquarters to talk to them.

SEIB: Yes, I think they've decided that they needed to have a different approach. And I thought the interview with Andrea Mitchell was a sign of that. In other words, to sit down and have what they knew was going to be a prolonged conversation about this issue. And I actually thought it worked pretty well. I kind of wondered, well, why doesn't she do three or four of these a week because the best way to show that you're not being secretive and evasive is to act like you're not being secretive and evasive. And I thought that interview was a pretty effective way of doing it. So I -- I suspect we're in a new phase more broadly in their attempts to address this issue.

DICKERSON: Well, Chris Christie basically, once giving advice to Hillary Clinton, said basically she needed to do what he did, which is just stand up there and take questions until people have stopped being able to answer them. Jamelle, there's discontent in the Democratic -- there's always discontent, right? It's not just the Democratic --

BOUIE: It's right (ph).

DICKERSON: But, you know, where there's always, you can write a story, so-and-so is discontented. But do Democrats -- the discontent I hear is with the handling of this.


DICKERSON: Do -- do they have a case?

BOUIE: I think they do have a case. Obviously, I don't think Clinton knew if she was running for president in 2009, when this e- mail server was created. But I do think that Hillary Clinton should know that she is among the most watched people in American politics, if not the world, and that if she -- if she had an inkling of maybe she'll run for president in the future, to have not done this. It doesn't necessarily mean that the e-mail server is illegal or criminal or anything, it's just, I think, bad political judgment from someone who really should know better. And I think what grates Democrats is the "you should know better" back (ph) to all of this.

DOMENECH: I think the attitude among Republicans certainly in 2008, many Republicans, was that Hillary Clinton was someone who was a more responsible and more trusted person when it came to just the responsibility of governance and that that was something that they understood even within the context of the Democratic primary. I think now this is of revelatory element -- moment for a lot of people because you knew this was going to be an issue, yet you still continued to do this.

The questions being raised now about the staffer that she employed that may raise all sorts of ethical questions that the Congress is only just beginning to look into. I think this is going to continue to be a story and that she does need to engage in that kind of -- of open --

SEIB: And you know it's --

DOMENECH: Approach to answering questions.

SEIB: It's actually slightly worse because the cynics are now saying she did this precisely because she knew she was going to run for president.

BOUIE: Right. Right. Right.

SEIB: So that's a no win situation.

DICKERSON: Nancy, you were with Joe Biden this week. I want to talk about him quickly because we -- and he talked about whether he would run or not. Very emotional.

CORDES: Very emotional, raw, anguished. He did not look like someone who is ready to make a decision one way or the other any time soon. He said he's trying to figure out if he has the emotional energy to run. But I talked to someone very close to him this weekend who said, as far as they know, he is still on the same timetable, which is that he will make a decision by the end of the summer. And the autumnal equinox is now sixteen and a half days away. So whether he's ready to make that decision or not, you know, time's a ticking.

DICKERSON: Getting very Stonehengey, autumnal equinox.

Jerry, do you think he can -- what's your assessment (INAUDIBLE)?

SEIB: Well, what Joe Biden is selling is authenticity because he's not a polished guy. And this seems to be a cycle in which authenticity actually works. So that's going for him, I think. I think the problem he's got is that, you know, Iowa and New Hampshire, as Nancy was saying, are places where organization really matters. He's got nothing going there. And he gets to the south after that, and that's a place where the large minority African-American vote is very, very heavily favors Hillary Clinton, and that's a -- a bit of a problem. So he's got to find a path and it's not actually obvious what that path is.

BOUIE: It's not clear (ph) of a path can be on the issues either, because on economic -- on economic issues, he's not really that far from Hillary Clinton whatsoever. And on issues that might appeal to African-American voters in the south, he has this long history of being essentially a drug (ph) warrior and he's very vulnerable to that if it comes up in the context of a primary.

CORDES: He does have deep ties, though, in South Carolina. He vacations there. He knows a lot of people there.

DICKERSON: All right.

CORDES: Those -- in fact, those are some of his strongest supporters pushing him to run.

DICKERSON: All right. Sorry, we're going to have to leave it there, Nancy. Thanks so much to all of you. We'll be right back in a moment.


DICKERSON: We're back now to talk books. This weekend her in Washington, the Library of Congress celebrated its 15th national book festival. This one marking the 200th anniversary of the library's acquisition of Thomas Jefferson's personal collection. The event featured more than 170 authors and one of the big draws, delighting fans of all ages, was Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who left his footprints on the surface of the moon in 1969.

Buzz Aldrin is here with us now to talk about the next step for the U.S. space program in -- in the "Mission to Mars" and his newly released children's book, "Welcome to Mars." Also joining us is Pulitzer prize winner David McCullough who wrote "The Wright Brothers," about Wilbur and Orville's historic first flight. Rachel Swaby joins us. She's the author of "Head Strong: 52 Women Who Changed Science and the World." And Walter Isaacson is the author of "The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution."

Buzz, I want to start with you. You have a children's book.



ALDRIN: I've had a couple before, but this one, the other writer would understand, this is so fantastic, an explanation at the level of comprehension of middle schools. I learned something that Marianne taught me. She followed the vision of mine very, very closely.

DICKERSON: The vision to (ph) build Mars (ph).

ALDRIN: And I can build -- build off of this very nicely.

DICKERSON: David McCullough, I want to ask you, in "The Wright Brothers" you said it's an -- it's a truly American story. What is it about this that is so -- about the Wright brothers that's so American?

DAVID MCCULLOUGH, "THE WRIGHT BROTHERS": Well, the fact that they seem to come into the world with few advantages. They grew up in a house that had no running water, no indoor plumbing, no electricity, no telephone. And Orville, the younger brother, years later was asked if he agree that this was an example of how far someone with no advantages can go in an American life. And he said, well that's not true. He said, we grew up with the most important advantage anybody can have. We grew up in a home where intellectual curiosity was encouraged and simulated. And the fact that they never went to college seems also a burden for them. But the truth was that they also grew up in a house that was full of books. And their father and mother stressed that reading and learning to use the English language were essential to a full life and to have purpose in your life. I think that -- and the purpose of the country in those times, that era between let's say the late 19th century and 1910, or up to the time of the First World War, was progress on all levels.

And that's different from today. Today is more protection. And that's -- you have to understand the time in which people live as well as where they came from.

DICKERSON: Rachel Swaby, you said that your book started with beef Stroganoff.


RACHEL SWABY, AUTHOR, "HEADSTRONG": So you may remember, but in 2013 there was an obituary for Yvonne Brill in "The New York Times." And it started off she made a mean beef Stroganoff, followed her husband from town to town and was the world's best mom.

It wasn't until the second paragraph that it mentioned, oh, yes, she was the only woman, American woman working in rocket science in the 1940s and also she designed a propulsion system that keeps satellites in orbit.

So after that I thought, you know, we need better profiles of women in science. We really need to promote their work in science. So I wrote a book.


DICKERSON: Some of the characters are also in Walter's book.

Walter, in your book, you make a case for innovation that is collaborative. And so tell us a little bit about that argument that you make.

WALTER ISAACSON, AUTHOR, "THE INNOVATORS": Well, you know, we biographers have a dirty little secret. We try to make it seem like there's some lone inventor who goes to a garage or a garret and has a light bulb moment.

If you read David's magisterial book, you have a team that sort of a brilliant guy, Wilbur Wright, a great engineer, Orville Wright -- but then whole thing they put together to make engines.

Same way the computer was made. Same way the Internet was made.

And so to me, the women who got written out of the story, like Grace Harper, who is in your book, like Ada Lovelace, who begins and ends my book, they were all part of teams in which creativity becomes a collaborative effort.

DICKERSON: Buzz, you were a part of a big team that got you to the moon.

Tell us a little bit about that sense of teamwork that led to that.

ALDRIN: The critical decision that really made Apollo work was the decision by engineer from Langley to do a rendezvous around the moon to save weight, expense and to make this work much better than well-known people, who wanted to rendezvous around the Earth.

That person was John Hubolt (ph). It took him three and a half years to get the message across. It's taken me since 1985 working on that.

Now there's another person, Professor Richard Batten (ph) at MIT. And he and an engineer worked on a spacecraft that was going to go to Mars, take one picture, circle around it, land in the Gulf of Mexico. No contact with the Earth at all, navigating only self-contained autonomous navigating by measuring the angle between a star and the lit horizon, either on the top or the bottom over and over again.

That navigation system inspired many of us at MIT. But it was used in this proposal to send this spacecraft to Mars and back with one picture. That is without a doubt why MIT, together with other institutions and manufacturers, won the guidance and navigation contract for the Apollo mission. DICKERSON: Walter, I want to ask you about where do these ideas come from. Ada Levis (ph) writes about the combining faculty. And you start the book with this idea. I mean, she is the son of a great -- a daughter -- excuse me -- of a great poet.

WALTER: Yes, Lord Byron. And she connects poetry and processes, she connects arts and sciences. That's what we did when we created the space program. That's what Wilbur and Orville Wright, they were people of pure curiosity. And this connecting faculty to say it's the arts and the sciences, when they come together.

It's what Steve Jobs was driven by. He always ended his product presentations with that street sign of the arts and the sciences and said, that's where innovation lies. And it also comes from a time when we all used to aim high. That's what it means, going to the moon, going to Mars, going to do flight, inventing the Internet. I think as country we don't aim high any more. We're a little bit too protective.

DICKERSON: David, in --

DAVID: Big ideas. John Kennedy says we'll go to the moon.

And --

ALDRIN: I just told him --


ALDRIN: -- at the 100th anniversary of MIT --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- person on the moon.

ALDRIN: They said that President Kennedy went to NASA and said, I think we should go to Mars.

They were aghast. They spent one busy weekend putting charts together and then told the president, no, Mars is out of the question. Maybe we'll get to the moon in 15 days -- 15 years.

DICKERSON: In the case of the Wright Brothers, you know, Buzz talked about resistance to the idea of going to Mars, people said you couldn't fly, either.

ISAACSON: You couldn't fly. And furthermore, once they did fly, it took five years for them to convince people that -- come and see what we've done. Not the local newspapers. Not the government here in Washington would even bother to come and watch.

And one of the editors of the Dayton paper, where they were flying, eight miles outside of Dayton at Huffman Prairie (ph) -- still there -- was later asked, why in the world didn't you realize this was happening right under your noses?

He said, well, I guess we were plain stupid.


DICKERSON: So all the characters in your book have big hurdles against them because they've constantly got men saying, well, women don't do this.

What is your favorite story of a character who got around and they lengths they took to get around?

SWABY: Right. So a lot of favorites. But one, Rita Levi- Montalcini, who is a Nobel Prize winning scientist, she was Italian and she was practicing when Hitler was in power and so she was told she wasn't able to work anymore. And so that was a bummer.

So she decided to create her own bedroom lab, it was a secret lab, her brother made an incubator, got fertilized eggs from down the street, she filed down a knitting needle and started doing her experiments with her little scalpel.

And she was able to do really important work from her bedroom. And she published papers that were then seen by scientists in the U.S. And she went for a research trip for a couple of months and ended up being there for decades.

DICKERSON: My favorite is the trip she took with the two mice in her --


DICKERSON: All right. We'll be back in a moment with more from our book panel. Stay with us.



DICKERSON: We're back with more from our authors' panel.

Walter, I want to start with you, we were talking about perseverance in the face of opposition.

What about risk-taking in the entrepreneurs that you write about?

ISAACSON: Risk-taking is the key thing that separates America from the rest of the world. We allow people to fail and whether it's Orville Wright, when the plane crashes and he breaks legs and everything else, there's a consequence to it. But you still get back up and people still invest in you.

Steve Jobs, the movie of Steve Jobs is coming out, that Aaron Sorkin did. It's all about that period when he was in the wilderness and failed and then had to deal with his personal relationships and everything else. And he comes back as a better person.

And I think that whether it's Silicon Valley or everything we've done up until recently, we allow people to take risks and when they fail, we say, OK, fine, we'll invest in you again because you've learned something.

But here in Washington, I think that's a big problem, you know, because I think people are too risk-averse because it's easier to just be safe.

DICKERSON: Yes, you're never allowed to admit a mistake.


DICKERSON: Alice Hamilton took a few risks when she was doing her own experiment. I loved the story about the cocaine that she went -- tell us -- tell us that story.

SWABY: Right. So there was a problem at the turn of the century where drugstore workers were peddling cocaine to kids coming home from school. And so it became a bigger problem when the kids wanted more and they couldn't afford it. And so social reformers jumped in and when it went to court, she came in as somebody who was supposed to tell the difference between cocaine and some other powder.

But there were a number of problems and so she first tried testing the cocaine on bunnies' eyes, but the jury wasn't really into it because cocaine will dilate the eye and the other powder wouldn't.

So she decided to do it on herself.

DICKERSON: Did it on her own eyes?

SWABY: On her own eyes.


SWABY: And it was very effective.

DICKERSON: David, they say the difference between a risk and a gamble is that you can back out of a risk, that with a gamble, there's no going back.

Where were the Wright brothers?

They seemed -- they took risks, of course. But they also seemed to be quite calculated in the risks they took.

Is that right?

MCCULLOUGH: Yes, they were not daredevils. They looked into every conceivable possibility that could go wrong, which was mainly to make sure that their machine, whatever it was, was in the right order before taking off.

But most people, if you ask them who were the Wright brothers, they'll say well, they were -- they invented the airplane and they were bicycle mechanics and they came from Ohio. And that's about all most of us know. That's all, really, essentially, what I knew.

Yes, they did invent the airplane. But equally important, they invented how to fly the airplane. And that was where the risk came in. Now, they -- to even attempt to become pilots and have airplanes was running the risk of being caught up as a -- a crackpot, a weirdo. But every time they took off on a test flight, they knew they could be killed. And they consequently -- and they went off -- well, not two or three times, they'd go off 50 to 100 times in a year.

They would never fly together, because if one got killed, they wanted the other one still to be alive to carry on with the mission. So their courage, their -- they had both intellectual courage and physical courage, which I think is something absolutely to be remembered, because that's not easy. And -- and particularly when you have a lot of people who are worrying every single day because they love you so much that you're going to get killed.


Buzz, you know about risk. You've walked in space. You've walked on the moon. Tell us about the moment where you thought this is the riskiest thing I'm doing.

ALDRIN: I think the riskiest was being in combat in -- in Korea, really. There is great uncertainty. We felt there was great certainty. The engineer said 95 percent or -- or greater. We had no choice but to believe them.

But we, as a crew, were concerned about the most important thing on Apollo 11 was landing.

And we said what -- what's the chance of our being able to land and not have to come -- and come back and be safe about it?

Sixty percent. Six out of seven missions to the moon were successful. We are now very risk-averse in this company -- country. I believe that this nation is the nation that can begin to colonize. Now when you colonize something, you go there, you look it over and you come back, not necessarily -- if you can look over something from orbit like the moon, I mean like Mars, and build things there that are safe, then when you are ready, you can commit to permanence.

We want to build up a population on Mars and -- and I think we can do that, because we know what we can do from orbit, from the moon of Mars.

Now, we can commit to permanence. We can change our mind as to what the mission plan is. That is guts.


ALDRIN: That is what Americans have. And the crew members understand risk. They wouldn't have been test pilots. They wouldn't have gotten into combat.

DICKERSON: All right, Buzz Aldrin, David McCullough, Walter Isaacson, Rachel Swaby, thank you all very much for being with us.

ISAACSON: Thank you very much. DICKERSON: We'll be right back.


DICKERSON: That's it for us today.

Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I'm John Dickerson.

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