BOB SCHIEFFER, Chief Washington Correspondent: Today on Face the Nation, Secretary of State Colin Powell on the war with Iraq.
Last week the U.N. passed a resolution demanding that Iraq comply with a new inspection regime. Will Saddam Hussein go along? How will the U.S. know if he is hiding material? Are we closer now to war? We'll ask the secretary of state.
Then we'll turn to two of the new faces in Congress: Senators-elect John Sununu, Republican of New Hampshire, and Mark Pryor, Democrat of Arkansas. What do they want to do in the new Senate? Will it be time for gridlock or cooperation?
Gloria Borger will also be here. And then I'll have a final word on campaign commercials. But first, Secretary of State Powell on Face the Nation.
ANNOUNCER: Face the Nation with CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent, Bob Schieffer. And now from CBS News in Washington, Bob Schieffer.
SCHIEFFER: Good morning, again. And as advertised, here is the secretary of State.
Mr. Secretary, a big week for you. The U.N. passed a very strong resolution. I guess the first question, have you had any reaction from Iraq at this point?
COLIN POWELL, Secretary of State: Not yet. I understand that Saddam Hussein has called the national assembly into conference to begin the meeting to consider this. And the only quasi-official statement we've received is that they would look at this resolution calmly.
They should look at it calmly, they should look at it seriously, and they should comply.
SCHIEFFER: What do you now feel that the United States has a right to do? Do we need to go back to the United Nations at some point now if they don't comply with the various deadlines that you've set up?
POWELL: If they don't comply, the resolution provides for the Security Council to convene immediately and consider what should be done.
And the resolution also says Iraq can expect to face serious consequences.
Now, while the Security Council is meeting once again in the presence of this non-compliance, the United States will be participating in that debate in the Security Council.
But at no time have we given up our authority if we find that debate is going nowhere. If the U.N. chooses not to act, we have not given up our authority to act with like-minded nations who might wish to join us in such an action.
So we found a compromise where the United Nations gets the opportunity to consider this violation again, this new material breach, and to decide what the Security Council should do. But at the same time, the United States has not given up its ability to act if it believes it's necessary.
SCHIEFFER: So let me just make sure I understand what you are saying. And as I understand it, the last deadline they have to meet is sometime in late February, around the 21st or so. If sometime between now and then the United States feels that Iraq has violated this in some way, made what you call a material breach, we could believe we have the right to take military action at that point?
POWELL: We believe the first thing that would happen would be it would go to the Security Council. We would bring it to the Security Council if we saw that Iraq simply wasn't cooperating with the inspectors.
Say, they let the inspectors in, they provided us a declaration that seems to be, you know, something we can accept. It remains to be seen whether they'll do that or not in 30 days. The inspectors go back in but Iraq is not cooperating with them. They're playing the same game they played before.
Then we can say to the Security Council, you know, we need to get together and talk about this.
Or Dr. Blix or Dr. El Baradei of the IAEA, International Atomic Energy Commission, Dr. Blix of UNMOVIC, the inspectors, can report to the Security Council under the terms of the resolution that they're not doing what they're supposed to do, in which case the U.N. Security Council can decide whether or not action is required. At the same time we will participate in that debate, but also reserve our option of acting.
SCHIEFFER: Not necessarily be bound by what the Security Council might decide at that point?
POWELL: We are not bound, but clearly if the Security Council acts, it acts with the force of international law. We'll see whether it chooses to do so or not.
GLORIA BORGER, U.S. News & World Report: Mr. Secretary, there are reports today that there's going to be a first, early test, and that is that the weapons inspectors are going to say to Saddam Hussein, "Give us a comprehensive list of where these weapons are," and then they are going to compare that list with their own list.
How long would that take?
POWELL: The resolution requires Iraq to come forward with that declaration in 30 days. So 30 days from this past Friday, Iraq has to come forward with a declaration listing everything called for by the resolution.
BORGER: So if Saddam gives what you consider to be a false declaration, would you consider that to be a material breach?
POWELL: The resolution says that if the declaration is false and if they're not complying -- and if the declaration is false, they're not complying -- then that constitutes, in and of itself, the very fact of that non-compliance is a material breach under the terms of the resolution.
At which point, the material breach is reported to the Council for the Council to decide what to do. And at that point, the United States will participate in the Council discussions but also retains the ultimate right, if it chooses to do so at some point, to take action separately from the Council if the Council does not act.
BORGER: When you get down to these inspections, can you tell our viewers and us exactly how these inspections are going to work? Unannounced? No notice? Everywhere at the same time?
POWELL: We have gotten in this resolution a tough inspection regime, where Dr. Blix and Dr. El Baradei can go wherever they have to go, whenever they want to go, with little announcement. There has to be some announcement, but it will be very short that they're coming.
BORGER: How short?
POWELL: Well, we're talking just a matter of hours. We're not going to give them days to cook the books once again. But at the same time, you have to let someone know you're coming so that they're ready to receive you.
But it's not so much whether they catch somebody doing something as it is, are the Iraqis finally cooperating? If they're cooperating, the inspectors can do their job. If they're not cooperating, they can inspect for 12 years and not get anywhere.
And that's the big difference in this resolution. The resolution says we are expecting cooperation. And if there is no cooperation, that lack of cooperation will be reported to the Council because the inspectors can't get their jobs done.
We are going to give Dr. Blix and Dr. El Baradei all the support we can, all the information we can with respect to the things that they should be looking at.
And I'm confident after a number of meetings with both of these gentlemen that they're thorough professionals, they know what they have to do. They have to call it the way they see it, and then the judgment is up to somebody else -- the Security Council or the United States and like-minded nations -- as to whether or not, because the Iraqis are not complying, not cooperating, it is time to take military action and remove this regime.
SCHIEFFER: Mr. Secretary, what's your hunch right now? Do you think that Saddam Hussein is going to comply with these rules, or are you skeptical?
POWELL: You know, I think it is such a sensitive moment, Bob, that I'd rather not toss out hunches. We will know soon enough what he is going to do. His first opportunity to speak was between now and next Friday. By next Friday, he is expected to say he accepts the resolution.
Now, whether he accepts it or not, it became international law. It has the force of law. And frankly, he must accept it at the moment that it was voted. But in order to get an early indication of whether he plans to cooperate or he plans to play the same game he's played before, the resolution called for him to provide an acceptance by next Friday.
SCHIEFFER: Well, what if he doesn't?
POWELL: If he doesn't, then the Security Council will have to sit and make a judgment about this early indication of non-compliance.
SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you about two leaks mysteriously appear in the major newspapers of America this morning, the New York Times and The Washington Post, outlining the size of the force that the United States is putting together, talking about a quarter of a million men. Can you put that on the record for us?
POWELL: No, I never talk about military plans and especially now that I'm no longer in the Pentagon. But when I was in the Pentagon, I wouldn't talk about military plans.
There's a lot of speculation in the press about what a plan might look like. Some of it is informed speculation; some is not.
The one thing I would say is that, sure, the Pentagon is hard at work. My military colleagues and their civilian leaders are working on contingency plans.
And the one thing I'm absolutely sure of is that the plan they come up with will do the job. The president has made it clear that if we have to use military force, there will be no question about the outcome. And I know the kind of plan they're putting together. I can assure you, but it's not the kind of thing I can discuss in public.
SCHIEFFER: But if you were Saddam Hussein and you picked up The Washington Post and the New York Times this morning and you saw what was there, how would you take that if you were Saddam Hussein?
POWELL: Well, if I were Saddam Hussein, I would take it with a great deal of concern and seriousness and understand that this is not some idle threat that has been issued by the United States, and this is not some resolution to be ignored, as he has ignored all previous resolutions.
What makes this resolution different is the third element that I've spoken about many times and, I think, on this show. The first element, he is in breach. Second element, tough inspection regime to see whether or not he's willing to comply by cooperation. The third element, serious consequences. That's a nice term, but what it means is force to disarm him.
SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you also this. If you were Saddam Hussein and you saw the picture that mysteriously appeared last week of what happened when that drone aircraft pretty much obliterated those Al Qaida officials, would you take that as something to mean that this could happen to you, Saddam Hussein?
POWELL: If I were Saddam Hussein, I would look, one, at the resolution of Friday, which showed that nobody came to his assistance this time. It wasn't like last resolution four years ago where Russia, China and France abstained. Everybody was there this time, to include the only Arab member of the Security Council, Syria. That's the first thing you have to look at.
And secondly, he knows that the United States military has been planning. He knows what we're doing. He can see what's going on in the region. And he can see now that the whole international community is unified against him, not just with a resolution of words, but a resolution of purpose, a resolution of action, action that will come if he doesn't cooperate in the form of military force either under a U.N. umbrella or with the United States and like-minded nations acting together.
BORGER: Mr. Secretary, do you expect top military officials to defect and even help you discover where weapons may be stored?
POWELL: I don't know. I think it would be -- if it comes to this, if it comes to a military action, we think that top military officials of the Iraqi regime would be wise to defect and might have every incentive to defect.
Because if military action comes, the outcome is certain. Of this I am absolutely sure. The outcome is certain. The regime will be destroyed. The regime will be defeated. And these generals had better make a judgment as to which side of the wall they want to be on when it's all over.
BORGER: Do you expect that Saddam Hussein would fall from power very quickly if there were military action?
POWELL: Now, if there's one thing I've learned it's that military action has a dynamic of its own and it would be best not to predict what the enemy will do. You should make a judgment as to what you're going to do and make sure that we have the initiative, and we will have the initiative. What he may do or not do, that's up to him.
SCHIEFFER: Do you think the United States, the people of the United States, are ready to go to war?
POWELL: I think the people of United States have come to the understanding that this is a serious problem that has to be dealt with.
The polls last week were very instructive on this question. If you had U.N. support for it, if it was the international community speaking, then the American people are solidly in support of such action. If it was just us acting unilaterally, then the support dropped considerably.
And I hope that with the vote on Friday, this made it clear to the people of the world and to the people of the United States that we are not alone in this. The international community has come together.
This was a wonderful day for the United Nations. The Security Council demonstrated its relevance. The Security Council demonstrated that, faced with a challenge, they were able to meet it and not walk away.
And I'm very proud, not only of what our negotiating team did in New York under Ambassador Negroponte and Ambassador Cunningham's leadership, but the way all of my colleagues in the Security Council came together to deal with this problem.
SCHIEFFER: Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for joining us this morning.
POWELL: You're welcome, Bob.
SCHIEFFER: When we come back, we'll look back at the election and we'll see what it means for the future, in a minute.
SCHIEFFER: With us now from Manchester, New Hampshire, Senator-elect John Sununu, and from Little Rock, Arkansas, Senator-elect Mark Pryor, a Democrat from Arkansas, one of the few Democrats that got elected this time around.
Senator Pryor, let me just start with you. You just heard what the secretary of State said. If it becomes necessary for the United States to go to war, will you support that?
SEN.-ELECT MARK PRYOR, D-Arkansas: Yes, I will. During the course of this campaign, we talked about that many times, and there were three criteria that I thought President Bush should follow.
One is he needed to go to Congress and include Congress in the decision-making process. Second, he needed to go to the American people, which he has now done. And third, he needed to build an international coalition.
And I think he's doing all three of those, and it looks like America is doing everything it needs to do to win this war on terrorism.
SCHIEFFER: Senator Pryor, as you know, the debate now within the Democratic Party is, do you take it to the left and try to make more of a contrast with the Republicans in this administration, or do you try to move it back to the center? We saw that in the that race for House leadership, where it looks like Nancy Pelosi is going to be elected.
Where do you think the party ought to go from here?
PRYOR: Well, you know, given that choice, I'm much more of the center mind-set, but one of the great things about the Democratic Party in this country is it's so diverse. I mean, a Massachusetts Democrat is different than an Arkansas Democrat, and really our strength is our diversity.
Now, what that means when we get to Congress, and of course the House and the Senate, you have two different caucuses there, and exactly how they'll handle that, we'll work all that out as time goes on.
But, you know, the most important thing is that we stand by our principles and just continue to press the Democratic agenda. But more importantly than that, that we meet the needs of the people of this state and the people of this country that we're all sent here to represent.
BORGER: Senator-elect John Sununu, congratulations, first of all.
SEN.-ELECT JOHN SUNUNU, R-New Hampshire: Thank you very much.
BORGER: Was President Bush the deciding factor in your race, came out and campaigned for you? How important was that?
SUNUNU: Well, it certainly didn't hurt. It was great to have him in the district, in the state campaigning for me. Mrs. Bush came in on Saturday, the next day, and I pointed out to the president on election night, if anything tipped the scales, maybe Laura Bush did.
It was a tough, well-fought campaign. I think at the end of the day, some of the issues that Bob pointed out were deciding factors, being able to present a positive vision as Republicans on the economy and national security.
There's nothing wrong with differentiation. Republicans were focused on making the tax cuts permanent, passing a homeland security bill, passing a prescription drug benefit for Medicare, offering a pretty positive vision for where the country needed to go. And I think more than that anything, that made a difference in my race and across the country.
BORGER: If you were to give advice to Republicans trying to run in the Northeast and win right now, what would you say?
SUNUNU: If I was giving advice to any Republican running for office, I'd say don't be afraid to lead. Don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe on issues, whether it's modernizing Social Security and adding personal retirement accounts, reforming the tax code, passing a homeland security bill, adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare.
Those aren't easy issues to talk about on the stump, but they're important. And if you're willing to provide leadership on those issues, voters will respond. They might not agree with you on every single issue, but they want someone who's going to offer a strong voice, whether you're running for the House, whether you're running for the Senate or whether you're running for local office. It really does make a difference.
SCHIEFFER: Well, there, the homeland security bill is an interesting point. Let's go back to Mr. Pryor and ask him about that.
If that is still on the agenda, if it's not passed during the lame-duck session before you get there, Mr. Pryor, are you prepared to vote for the president's version of homeland security?
PRYOR: Well, you know, it does underscore one of the problems that you see in Washington, and that's just the highly partisan nature of the Congress and the politics between the Congress and the White House. And gosh, it seems like if there's ever a time to set aside your partisan differences, it ought to be on homeland security. I mean, what's more important than that?
But gosh, I'll look at the president's proposal, whatever it may be in January, if it's still on the table. I know last time it broke down over workers' rights and how these workers will be treated. And, you know honestly, sometimes I think the Democrats are a little bit too beholden to the labor unions, but sometimes I think the Republicans are so anti-labor that both can be counterproductive if you're not careful.
So what I want to do is go to Washington, set all that aside and just try do what's right and what's best.
SCHIEFFER: How much are you going to set aside, Mr. Sununu? Will you be a partisan Republican, or are you willing to work with what now looks like it's going to be a minority there? Because while the Republicans are going to control the Senate, as you well know, everybody needs 60 votes to stop a filibuster. So there's not going to be an age of miracles here.
SUNUNU: You're absolutely right. I'm certainly willing to work with anyone on any issue. And that's one of the hallmarks of the campaign that I ran, was to talk about listening and working with people on modernizing Social Security, adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare and the like.
But look, I'm a Republican. I'm proud to be a Republican. I'm a Republican because of our shared values of limited but effective government, low taxes, local control wherever possible in government and personal responsibility. And I tend to vote those principles, and that puts me on the side of Republican issues.
That doesn't mean we can't have bipartisan work. And we saw that over the past couple of years on education reform. Even on the tax relief bill that the president got through the Congress and signed into law, bipartisanship there. On welfare reform and reauthorization in 1996 and again in the House, most recently in this past session. So there are a lot of issues where you'll continue to see a very strong bipartisan coalition.
But on the homeland security bill, look, we need to be clear about this.
We're just looking for the same flexibility that the president already has in the Department of Defense, in the FBI, in the CIA where national security is concerned. He's asking for the same flexibility every president back to John Kennedy has had.
We just don't want to give in and take a step back where national security is concerned. And if someone wants to call that a partisan issue, that's fine, but I don't think that the labor interests should win out here.
SCHIEFFER: Do you see that as the number-one priority for Republicans, the homeland security bill?
SUNUNU: Well, yes, homeland security and making the tax cuts permanent, adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. I think those are going to be the three top agenda issues as we begin 2003.
BORGER: Well, Senator-elect Pryor, will you vote to make the tax cut permanent?
PRYOR: Well, it all depends on the circumstances as they exist at the time. We don't know how long the recession will last. We don't know how long the war on terrorism will last and what that will do to the federal budget.
I have a higher priority than that, and that is to balance the federal budget and pay off the national debt. I think that is something that really would be irresponsible for me to commit to right now, not knowing what the future holds.
But I'm always for trying to find ways to reduce taxes if possible. One thing that people know about me here in Arkansas is, you know, when I was in the state legislature, the other side accused me of voting for taxes 12 times, but I voted against tax increases 54 times when I was in the Arkansas House of Representatives.
So, I'm always looking for ways to cut taxes, but you have to be responsible with your fiscal policy. And, you know, that's my commitment, that's what I ran on during the campaign, and that's what I'll do in Washington.
SCHIEFFER: Gentlemen, I want to again say congratulations to both of you. I guess it's a function of age, but as I was interviewing you, I realized that I know both of your parents...
SCHIEFFER: ... which gives you some indication of how long I've been hanging around here.
All right, thanks so much, and we hope to see you up on Capitol Hill.
Back in a moment with a final word.
SCHIEFFER: Finally today, all last week I was thinking, what if someone from another planet came here and all he knew about our elections was what he learned from campaign commercials?
Well, first, the alien would conclude that only the dregs of our society run for office. The liars, the thieves, the adulterers, even the occasional murderer, as I learned from one ad. I even saw an ad that accused a candidate of favoring public urination.
The alien would also think that voter participation doesn't have much to do with voting but a lot to do with phoning candidates, as in call so-and-so and tell him to stop lying or cheating or selling dope or whatever. How many times did we hear that one this year?
And by the way, if you don't travel much, you will interested to know those ads on your hometown station are like McDonald's: Go to the next town and they are just the same. The same accusations, the same grainy photos, the same raspy, off-camera voice. Only the name of the person being attacked has been changed.
Campaign ads have been dumbed down now to the level of professional wrestling, the difference being that wrestling is occasionally funny.
Are the ads effective? I can't imagine anyone taking them seriously, but the candidates must think they work; they keep paying for them.
I guess we should also remember that wrestling does get high ratings on TV, and some people even believe it's on the up and up.
Well, here's the shame of it. Some won and some lost, but there was some fine people running this year. Too bad we couldn't tell it from their commercials.
That's it for us. We'll see you next week, right here on Face the Nation.