On this "Face the Nation" broadcast moderated by Margaret Brennan:
- Mohamed el-Erian, Allianz Chief Economic Advisor
- David M. Rubenstein, Author of The American Story and co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group
- Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Former FDA Commissioner
- Wes Lowery, "60 in 6" Quibi Correspondent
- Anthony Salvanto, CBS News Elections & Surveys Director
Click here to browse full transcripts of "Face the Nation."
JOHN DICKERSON: I'm John Dickerson. This week on FACE THE NATION: as the fall presidential campaign season kicks off, the country faces unprecedented challenges. And the candidates work to convince, distract, and excite voters.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: So I'm putting myself on the line, but I know what's going to happen. The numbers are going to be great.
JOHN DICKERSON: President Trump ended the week promising better days, claiming the economy is on the mend, and once again the coronavirus is losing steam.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We're rounding the corner. We're rounding the corner on the virus.
JOHN DICKERSON: Joe Biden countered with a dose of reality.
JOE BIDEN: You can't have an economic comeback when almost a thousand Americans die each day from COVID.
JOHN DICKERSON: Both men traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where a police officer shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back, spurring racial protests and violence that have devastated the city and left two dead. Three issues set to define the race for president and the next presidency. We'll get the latest on them all from our guests this week; former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and economist Mohamed El-Erian. We'll also be joined by 60 in 6 correspondent Wesley Lowery, who just returned from Kenosha.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It was a totally fake story.
JOHN DICKERSON: President Trump battled a fourth crisis this week after The Atlantic magazine reported he denigrated American troops who died in war, calling them "suckers" and "losers." Many of the allegations were confirmed by other media organizations, including Fox News. We'll take a look at how all of this affects the political landscape and where the presidential race stands with our CBS News Battleground Tracker.
DAVID RUBENSTEIN: Anybody that is really a successful leader I think has failed in life.
JOHN DICKERSON: Plus, as America holds a job interview for the next president, our conversation with investor and philanthropist, David Rubenstein, on what it takes to be a great leader.
It's all ahead on FACE THE NATION.
Good morning and welcome to FACE THE NATION. Margaret is off. On this Labor Day weekend, public health officials are warning Americans to follow social distancing guidelines, especially for those celebrating the holiday with groups of people. This comes as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the Midwest and there's concern of a new surge as the weather gets colder. We begin this morning with CBS News national correspondent Mark Strassmann in Atlanta.
MARK STRASSMANN (CBS News National Correspondent): America wants a holiday from COVID. But a lot's riding on this Labor Day weekend. South Dakota's State Fair opened, despite a startling positivity rate, twenty-two percent. New cases keep rising in twenty-seven states, more than triple the number two weeks ago. The Midwest has become America's new regional hot spot. Like this Florida crowd on Friday night. Labor Day weekend could unmask complacency toward the virus. Some governors are worried sick.
GOVERNOR J.B. PRITZKER (D-Illinois): --picnics, backyard barbecues, gatherings. And we know that much of the spread that's occurring in Illinois is actually happening in these settings.
MARK STRASSMANN: America's COVID caseload, nearly forty thousand more every day has nearly doubled since Memorial Day.
GOVERNOR JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-Louisiana): Please be very mindful of the fact that our last surge started on Memorial Day weekend when people let their guard down.
MARK STRASSMANN: Without a vaccine in sight, America's economic recovery sputters. The national unemployment rate finally dipped below ten percent, but twenty-nine million people now collect some form of unemployment. 3.4 million jobs have vanished. Eric Beltran (ph) last worked in mid-March. Ever since, the unemployed brewer has been hammered by rejection. One hundred fifty job applications: No luck.
ERIC BELTRAN: It almost feels like a suffocating amount of gravity just slowly pushing harder and harder on you.
MARK STRASSMANN: Finally, school starts on Tuesday in thirty states. Almost all learning will be virtual in cities like Chicago, Houston, Baltimore, and Detroit. New York City schools delayed their start until September 21st. America's larger school system will offer partial in-person learning to 1.1 million students.
RICHARD CARRANZA: This is unchartered territory for everyone.
MARK STRASSMANN: Richard Carranza, chancellor of New York City schools, says nimbleness is key. One super spreader could undo months of planning.
What are you going to do with them?
RICHARD CARRANZA (Chancellor of New York City Department of Education): If we hit that red line, then we go all remote until we're able to suppress it back down.
MARK STRASSMANN: Carranza's been studying lessons learned by other school systems, like Georgia's, which opened more than a month ago. COVID outbreaks forced some schools to shut down and return to all virtual teaching. But first, like school officials everywhere, he is hoping Labor Day weekend won't compound the challenge of keeping people healthy. John.
JOHN DICKERSON: Mark Strassmann, thank you.
The total number of COVID-19 cases worldwide stands at 26.9 million. And the World Health Organization now says it does not expect there to be widespread vaccinations until the middle of 2021. CBS News senior foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports from London.
ELIZABETH PALMER (CBS News Senior Foreign Correspondent/@CBSLizpalmer): At the moment, about three hundred thousand new cases of COVID are being confirmed every day in this world transformed by masks, social distancing and, of course, some protests.
MAN: Human rights matter.
ELIZABETH PALMER: In Australia, several hundred young, mostly male protesters, tasseled with police over the local lockdown and curfew, but the government didn't budge.
DANIEL ANDREWS (Premier of Victoria): It is not safe, it is not smart, it is not lawful. In fact, it is absolutely selfish.
ELIZABETH PALMER: Melbourne hit by a second wave of COVID will remain in lockdown until the end of the month. After a busy vacation season, parts of Europe, too, are facing a second wave--
WOMAN: Good morning.
ELIZABETH PALMER: --with schools back in session and universities about to follow. But fewer people are dying. And the medical system is coping well. Even in France, where infections have climbed sharply, the famous Tour de France bike race is going ahead, though, every cyclist is tested every day. It's the developing world that's still struggling with run-away infection rates, as well as testing and treatment. India tested a million people in twenty-four hours and found ninety thousand new cases, more than twice the U.S. rate. Clearly, a vaccine can't come soon enough. Though, Russia claims its version is already here. The defense minister showed up for a jab photo-op, but skeptics pointed out that while most vaccines will be safe to tested on tens of thousands of people, Russia has tested this one on a grand total of seventy-six.
ELIZABETH PALMER: Here in the U.K., there is growing confidence that COVID can be controlled until there is a vaccine. And the proof: fully half of employees are no longer working from home but have returned to the job physically. And the government, John, is urging many more to join them.
JOHN DICKERSON: Elizabeth Palmer in London. Thank you.
We now turn to former FDA Commissioner Doctor Scott Gottlieb. He is in Westport, Connecticut. Good morning, Scott. I want to jump right in. Give us an update on where things stand now here on Labor Day.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB, MD (Former FDA Commissioner/@ScottGottliebMD): Well, if you look at where we are heading into Labor Day, relative to where we were heading into Memorial Day, we have an equivalent amount, if not more infection heading into Labor Day right now. And we're heading into a more difficult season. We're heading into the fall in the winter when we would expect a respiratory pathogen like a coronavirus to start spreading more aggressively than it would in the summertime. Looking at Memorial Day, we had about forty thousand people hospitalized. We were diagnosing about twenty-one thousand new cases a day and had about eleven hundred deaths. Now notwithstanding the fact that we've made really significant gains in reducing in-hospital mortality and reducing length of stay in the hospitals for patients who are hospitalized for COVID right now, as of yesterday, we had about thirty-five thousand people hospitalized. We're diagnosing about forty thousand infections a day. And on a seven-day moving average, we have about eight hundred and fifty tragic deaths a day. So, that's a lot of infection to be taking into a season when we know a respiratory pathogen is going to want to spread more aggressively. And the other backdrop here is that people are exhausted. People have been social distancing and wearing masks and staying home for a long period of time right now. Small businesses are hurting. So, I think that people's willingness to comply with the simple things that we know can reduce spread is going to start to fray as we head into the fall and the winter. And that's another challenge, trying to keep up our vigilance at a time when we know that this can spread more aggressively.
JOHN DICKERSON: So, Doctor Gottlieb, just to remind us all why the fall and winter are considered worse than the summer? Why is it that we wanted to be in a better position going into the fall than, say, some other season?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Epidemiology of spread for a respiratory pathogen, changes in the wintertime-- in the fall and the winter. Typically in the summer, you see viruses spread that are spread through food, things that are ingested. In the wintertime, you see respiratory pathogens spread more aggressively, in part because people are indoors more. They're in congregate settings where respiratory pathogens can spread more efficiently, in part because there is some impact of the cold weather on your ability to protect your upper airway from respiratory pathogens. But we know that the epidemiology of spread changes, and that's when you see these respiratory pathogens like coronavirus or respiratory syncytial virus or flu, that's when you see these pathogens start to spread. Typically, a coronavirus isn't a summer pathogen. It's a seasonal pathogen that really manifests itself in the fall or the winter. There's a lot of circulating strains of coronavirus that cause nothing more than the common cold. And typically they only circulate in the fall and the wintertime.
JOHN DICKERSON: I want to pick up on that point you made about people just being fatigued and tired. Listening to public health officials, trying to sound the alarm yet again about Labor Day, you-- you really felt for them. So I want to ask you about vaccines in this context, which is we are hearing more about vaccines. Certainly the administration is talking about it. Is-- is there a way in which talk about vaccines, which is a little bit of a ways away, obscures what needs to be done today to stay on top of this?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB, M.D.: I think-- I think in terms of thinking about the vaccine, at least as far as this year is concerned, 2020, the fall and the winter, I think that if there is a vaccine made available, it's likely to be a very staged introduction of the vaccine under an emergency use authorization, where there's going to be a lot of data collection around the use of that vaccine. And it's just going to be for very select groups of people who are either at very high risk of contracting a coronavirus because of what they do, for example, health care workers or very high risk of a bad outcome. Think of people, for example, in a nursing home. So you can almost think of the vaccine being used in a therapeutic sense to try to protect very high risk populations and not in the way we traditionally think about a vaccine in terms of trying to provide broad based immunity in a population and really quell an epidemic. I think the likelihood that we're going to have a vaccine for widespread use in 2020 is extremely low. I think we need to think of that as largely a 2021 event. And if we do have a vaccine available in 2020, it is likely to be used in a much more targeted fashion, almost in a therapeutic sense, to protect very high-risk populations. You know, the reality is that if we continue to see spread at the rate that we're seeing it now or something higher than what we're seeing it now, by the end of the year, upwards of twenty percent of the population in the U.S. could have been exposed to this coronavirus. And we're likely to see the virus itself start to slow down just because of the natural progression of the epidemic and the fact that we're heading out of the winter into this-- into the spring and the summertime as we enter 2021. And so this could run its course in 2020. And as we get into 2021, start to slow down. I think the tragic consequence of that is that there's going to be a lot of death and disease along the way. But I think by the end of this year we're likely to be through at least the most acute phase of this epidemic, in part because it's going to end up infecting a lot more people between now and then.
JOHN DICKERSON: So it sounds like what you're saying is that all of the things everybody's heard of one hundred times about masks and social distancing and not gathering in large groups, everybody has to stay vigilant because a vaccine isn't coming racing to the rescue. If a vaccine does get this emergency use authorization, people are worried about politics. The CDC this week told states to be ready by the first of November. Help people understand how much politics could get in the way of speeding up the vaccine distribution.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB, M.D.: Well, I don't think politics should get in the way at all, and I don't think it will. There is a very rigorous process around the development and approval of a vaccine. And I'm on the board of Pfizer, which is one of the companies developing a vaccine, which is pretty far along. First, there's a data safety monitoring board overseeing that trial. And the data doesn't get unmasked to the drug developer and to the FDA until the data safety monitoring board is comfortable with the conduct of the trial in terms of letting it continue. Then the company needs to file that data with the agency and ask for permission, either for an authorization or approval. And then you have a very rigorous process inside the FDA. And I led that institution and worked there in three different iterations during both the Bush administration and the Trump administration, and I have absolute confidence in the scientific staff that's going to review this application. It's a very rigorous process. There's multiple layers of review among people who are-- who are expert in these areas. And so I don't think those people are going to be pushed around to make a decision that they're not absolutely confident in. In terms of the distribution of a vaccine, the government has said that they're going to take over the distribution of the vaccine. I think at least initially, the distribution is likely to be very limited because if there is a sort of authorization or an approval of the vaccine sometime this fall or winter, again, it's likely to be a very targeted populations of people where it will be relatively easy to distribute to sites where those individuals can get access to the vaccine. So, for example, if you think of distributing the vaccine to nursing homes, well we know where the nursing homes are, we know who is there. The federal government and the state governments oversee those institutions and regulate them. So that should be a relatively straightforward exercise. Same with trying to vaccinate doctors, frontline health care workers. In 2009, we-- we vaccinated frontline health care workers first. And we were able to do that very efficiently with the swine flu.
JOHN DICKERSON: All right. Doctor Scott Gottlieb, as always, we really, really appreciate it. Thanks so much.
And we'll be right back with a look at the economy from Allianz chief economic adviser Mohamed El-Erian. Stay with us.
JOHN DICKERSON: And we go now to Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser for the financial services company Allianz. He joins us from his home in Laguna Beach, California. Good morning.
JOHN DICKERSON: So let's start with the unemployment rate. On Friday, we learned in August, it dropped to 8.4 percent. Mohamed, what's your sense of where the economy sits right now?
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: So if you look just at the numbers we got on Friday, you would be optimistic. We-- we got a really sharp reduction in the unemployment rate. We created 1.4 million new jobs. More people came into labor force. But if you pull back John, things get a little bit less good. Why? One is the weight of improvement is declining. And two is that we're trying to come out of a very deep hole. As you pointed out at the beginning of the show, we have almost thirty million people who depend on unemployment benefits. So it's a half full, half empty picture. And that's a problem because of the stalemate on Capitol Hill. So, unfortunately, these numbers simply tell you we are still having a long road ahead.
JOHN DICKERSON: I want to get to the stalemate on Capitol Hill in a moment. But the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in an interview with NPR said that, or suggested anyway, that the future job gains were in industries and sectors of the economy that might be harder to revive because with COVID still around, those industries are-- they require people to participate in them and people just aren't ready yet. How do you read that of what's left out there to be gained on the economy?
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: He's absolutely right. There's this notion of counterparty risk or what you and I would call trust. In order for us to engage in economic activity, I have to trust that you're healthy. You have to trust that I'm healthy. And until we have a clear way of doing that, people are going to pull back. So we're not going to see the quick recovery in all sectors. And that comes at a time of increasing inequality, not just of income and wealth, but of opportunity. So, as I said earlier, it's a long road ahead. The good news is we have the policies to accelerate it. The bad news is that the political system doesn't enable that.
JOHN DICKERSON: I want to get-- stay on that-- that notion of counterparty risk for a moment. There has been this bit clumsy debate about, "opening the economy or doing what's necessary to mitigate the pandemic." What I hear you saying is as long as people are making risk assessments about their own health, they're not going to engage in the kind of econac-- economic activity that gets America back to where it was economically before this hit.
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: That's absolutely right. We have to understand there's a difference between ability to work, re-open the economy and willingness to work, willing to go in and engage in the economy. And until you improve both ability and willingness, we're not going to get back to where we were. So, no, these are not alternatives. We've got to do both. We've got to re-open in a healthy fashion.
JOHN DICKERSON: Let's talk about Capitol Hill. If-- if you could make policy by magic, what would be the most useful policy that might help the economy in its current position?
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: I would embark on a four-pronged strategy. One is relief, and we've heard a lot about it, just helping people who are suffering for no reason of their own. Two is living better with COVID, what we just talked about. Three is capturing what are long term pressures on growth. We are seeing much more industrial concentration. We are seeing much more deglobalization. And finally, reducing household economic insecurity. People have suffered. They've dug into their savings. They're not going to be as willing to-- to spend in the future unless you give them more of a safety net. We can do this, John. It's a matter of political implementation.
JOHN DICKERSON: So there's the political implementation and then there are the new numbers we got this week on the deficit. Record setting numbers, 3.3 trillion, the Congressional Budget Office said, in 2020 which is three-- more than three times the shortfall in 2019. How much should we keep the debt and deficit in our thinking in terms of these short term measures and their cost?
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: We should keep it in our thinking with an important qualification. The reason why we care about debt and deficits is because of what's called sustainability. It's like you at home. How much you spend depends on how much you earn, how much debt you get into depends on your future earning potential. What's critical is to make sure that the deficits promote long term economic growth. If they do that, and they can-- if they do that, we won't have to worry over the deficits. If they don't, then we're going to have both a growth problem and a debt problem.
JOHN DICKERSON: And sometimes people talk about the relationship between debt and-- and the cost of money or interest rates. The Federal Reserve signaled that it doesn't look like rates are going up any time soon. Help people understand where the Federal Reserve is coming from these days.
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: So basically, the Federal Reserve is pedal to the metal. They will do whatever they can in order to sustain the economic recovery, but they are only an enabler. They can't deliver outcomes. So what they're trying to do is buy time for other policy makers to step in and actually improve economic growth. So look for them to maintain interest rates really low, almost at zero. Look for them to buy more securities and look for them to continuously assure us that they're there covering our back.
JOHN DICKERSON: Help us understand why the stock market is booming even though the economy is in the difficult position it's in.
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: Because of the Federal Reserve. You know, the basic question you ask yourself, if you are a professional investor is who else is buying this market. And if you believe that the Federal Reserve with a-- with a-- with a printing press in the basement and it's not a commercially oriented entity, it's not price sensitive, if you believe that they're going to continue to support you, you buy ahead of them. But, John, I keep on stressing there's a limit to how much you can disconnect financial markets from the underlying economy. And we have disconnected them a great deal this year.
JOHN DICKEROSN: Final question in our last forty seconds, Mohamed. Think in the long term. In 2021, 2022 what kinds of long term economic questions should we be thinking about as we think about this presidential election, as we try to think of how to climb out of this for the future?
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: It's one, John, can we grow in an inclusive and sustainable manner. If we don't, we're going to have big social and financial issues. It's about inclusive growth.
JOHN DICKEROSN: All right. Mohamed El-Erian, thank you so much for being with us, helping us sort through all of this.
And we'll be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION. Stay with us.
JOHN DICKERSON: With just eight weeks until Election Day, former Vice President Joe Biden has maintained his ten-point lead over President Trump, according to our latest nationwide CBS News Battleground Tracker. That translates into a lead in our Electoral College model as well. It shows former Vice President Joe Biden with two hundred and seventy-nine electoral votes leaning in his direction, and one hundred and sixty-three leaning in President Trump's direction. Ninety-six are toss-ups. A candidate needs two hundred and seventy electoral votes to win the presidency. Our polling unit also talked this week specifically to voters in the key swing states of Wisconsin, where protests exploded after the police shooting of Jacob Blake. There, Vice President Joe Biden is up six points over President Trump. We'll have more from our latest CBS News Battleground Tracker in our next half hour.
JOHN DICKERSON: And we'll be right back with 60 in 6 correspondent Wesley Lowery, who is just back from Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Plus, more from our CBS News Battleground Tracker with CBS News elections and surveys director Anthony Salvanto, and analysis from the campaign trail from political correspondent Ed O'Keefe.
And later, David Rubenstein's new book, How to Lead. Stay with us.
JOHN DICKERSON: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. Overnight, there were tense confrontations between demonstrators and police in Rochester, New York, and in Portland, Oregon. They're the latest in a series of protests, some of which have turned violent this summer since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Joining us now is Wesley Lowery, correspondent for 60 in 6. Wesley just returned from Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he was covering the shooting of Jacob Blake. Wes, it's good to have you with us.
WESLEY LOWERY (Correspondent for 60 in 6 on Quibi/@WesleyLowery): Thanks for having me.
JOHN DICKERSON: So we have heard a lot about Kenosha. It's in the middle of this presidential campaign. You were there. What's happening there? What's the scene?
WESLEY LOWERY: Certainly, you know, so I-- I just got back earlier this week from Kenosha and spent some time on the ground there. And-- and, look, it's-- it's not unlike a lot of the other cities in the last few years and certainly the last few months where we've seen unrest on the ground. Right? Initially, there is kind of an organic anger that turns sometimes into violence. We saw this in Kenosha. Some buildings burnt down. Then you have a rush of people who come in. And in this case, that was both folks who wanted violence as well as these kind of vigilante groups. We had the shooting that involved Kyle Rittenhouse. But then once the dust settles, what you're left with are the locals, the people who live there, the people who are still there, even after some of us get on the plane and go back home. And so what we see in Kenosha is some ongoing energy, ongoing protest, frustrations. You know, Kenosha is one of a series of cities and towns in kind of southeast Wisconsin between Chicago and Milwaukee, old factory towns used to be auto manufacturers, places that in a lot of ways, you know, industry left behind. And so you do see, even though this is a primarily white stretch of the country, minority populations there that are impoverished, that feel like they're dealing with discrepancies. And so there is some tension-- racial tension beneath the surface there in Kenosha. And so even as some of the cameras leave and our attention turns to the next story, this energy from the protest and this fallout from Jacob Blake's shooting, I think, is going to remain kind of at the fore at least in Kenosha locally.
JOHN DICKERSON: And compare it for us Wes, if you would, to what you saw in Minneapolis after George Floyd, which is to say, does that energy you describe manifest itself in reform, in new laws, in pushing for that, or is it different?
WESLEY LOWERY: Well, it's different in part because in Minneapolis, you were seeing George Floyd was in many ways the latest in what had been a series of cases. That area had dealt with many high profile cases of police use of force from Philando Castile to Justine Damond year after year after year. While in Kenosha, this is the first major incident, not that folks on the ground don't have their own anecdotes and stories. And so I note that because one you see in Kenosha, a kind of protest and organizing that's more in its infancy versus Minneapolis, where it was very mature and developed. But second, you know, in Minneapolis, the demonstrators, the organizers, this energy had had time to influence the local politics. There were members-- members of the council locally who had themselves been demonstrators in protest. You had kind of progressive politicians up and down. The politics of Kenosha and the politics of Wisconsin are a little bit different. And so what we see is that this is kind of the beginning of a process in Kenosha, Wisconsin. While in Minneapolis, George Floyd was actually much later in the process as it comes to the influence and the organization of these types of folks.
JOHN DICKERSON: I want to ask you, Wes, about some of your great reporting that's in your 60 in 6 piece, which is you talk to the person who-- who took the footage of Jacob Blake. What did-- what did you hear in that conversation?
WESLEY LOWERY: Of course, yeah. Raysean White, he was the first person I wanted to talk to and I got to the ground. Having covered a lot of these police cases in the past, I'm always interested in the people who are thrust into the story, you know. Raysean White is twenty-two-year-old. He lives across the street, he hears a commotion outside. And, look, we're all nosy neighbors. He sticks his head out the window, ends up capturing this video that changes the city he lives in and one might argue, changes the nation. And, you know, when we talked, this was maybe two weeks after the shooting and-- and he was still really grappling with the implications of what had happened. He was obsessively following the coverage from the protests to the-- to looting to the shooting now by Kyle Rittenhouse of these protesters. And he was having trouble not succumbing to an anxiety that it was all his fault. Should he have taken this video? Should he have shared it? If he hadn't, would any of this stuff happened? And so I was really fortunate. I really appreciated the time he spent kind of talking through the collateral consequence of doing the right thing, seeing something happening, turning his phone on, sharing it with the world so now we can all decide what we think of that incident for ourselves. But that-- this doesn't end for him. He's still sitting there with the stress and anxiety and wondering, you know, did he do the right thing.
JOHN DICKERSON: All right. Wesley Lowery, thank you so much for your reporting on the ground and for being with us.
And we'll be right back in a moment.
JOHN DICKERSON: As we told you earlier, former Vice President Biden has kept his national lead over President Trump, maintaining a ten-point advantage through both parties' conventions. Biden holds a lead also in a number of battleground states, including a six-point lead in Wisconsin. For the state of the race, we turn to CBS News elections and surveys director Anthony Salvanto. He is in Westchester County, New York. Anthony, good morning.
ANTHONY SALVANTO (CBS News Elections and Surveys Director/@SalvantoCBS): Good morning, John. How are you?
JOHN DICKERSON: I'm well. It's always good to see you. Let's start with my favorite question at the beginning of every one of these surveys, which is: what is the story of this race right now?
ANTHONY SALVANTO: It is very much about the President. Voters tell us that they are evaluating this race based on what they have seen over the last four years, even more so than what they think might happen in the next four, and even more than what they think Joe Biden might do if elected. Now maybe that's not unusual for an incumbent President, but we also tested that directly, and that evaluation on the President for good or for bad is the thing that really stands out. It is also, John, very much about intensity. We have seen, especially since the conventions, voters locked in, who are approaching nine in ten, who say their mind is made up. Good luck finding swing voters. This year, we've done tens of thousands of interviews. I can assure you they are rare. But the intensity is why you will hear over the next weeks, both campaigns talking about motivation, talking about turnout because it really is about that intensity. John.
JOHN DICKERSON: And it's important that point about referendum because the President, in his convention, tried to turn this race into a choice. And when you're a President with a low approval rating, a referendum is not good for you.
ANTHONY SALVANTO: Indeed. In-- in fact, even half of Joe Biden's voters say that this is for them about the President. And so, yes, that despite the fact that the campaign has tried to shift this to make it about what Joe Biden will do and be more prospective in that approach. So far, not moving that needle. John.
JOHN DICKERSON: Is COVID-19 still weighing the President down?
ANTHONY SALVANTO: It is. It's not a couple of things. One is, we talk about how you evaluate the President. Well, his argument, which we've tested is, does he get credit for stemming what could have been a worse set of fatalities, a worse outbreak? And on balance, voters are telling us, no, they think the administration could have done more. They think that things could have been better had there been more planning. And the other political outcome of that, John, is that that sentiment has put in play a number of states across the country, particularly the states where the outbreak has hit hard, particularly many in the Sun Belt, that has moved those states into toss-up or lean categories, as well. So it's really had the effect of expanding the map, too. John.
JOHN DICKERSON: Anthony, we have seen the President try to shift what this conversation is about in this election, he wants it to be not about COVID-19, but about violence in the cities. What do your numbers tell you about that strategy?
ANTHONY SALVANTO: Okay. So we asked about the protests and each candidate-- how they are speaking to it, how they are handling it. Biden comes out better on that measure, and particularly we asked if each candidate seem to be trying to calm the situation or maybe encourage even more tension. Well, the President on balance is seen as encouraging more tension, more fighting. Joe Biden is seen by more as trying to calm the situation. So, that nets out towards Joe Biden or at least not moving the needle in any negative way with regard to Biden. The other point on this, John, is the argument the President seems to be making is that voters might be worried if political violence extends, even out extends into the suburbs. Well, we talked to people in the suburbs and they tell us they are not concerned that there might be violence in their neighborhoods. So, that doesn't seem to be resonating. You know, I think in a broader point, a lot of folks compare this era in this respect maybe to what we saw in the late '60s and early '70s, as far as protests are concerned. We should state for context, the country is different than it was then. The electorate is more diverse today. The suburbs have more diversity today. And racial attitudes have shifted. We've seen that certainly in the polling over the last few months. So, that could be one reason why that attempt hasn't found a lot of residents.
JOHN DICKERSON: All right. Anthony, thanks as always for giving us the rundown there.
And we're now going to turn to the man who has been out on the campaign trail seeing all of this with his eyes, CBS News political correspondent Ed O'Keefe. Ed, I want to start with that we're going to get to some of those numbers Anthony talked about. But I'm going to start with this piece in The Atlantic by Jeffrey Goldberg, which-- which recounts the number of instances in which the President had disparaging things to say about-- about those who had fought in the military and died. There have been a lot of explosive things that have happened in this presidency. Do you think this matters at all in the campaign? Or is it just another flashpoint?
ED O'KEEFE (CBS News Political Correspondent/@edokeefe): It-- it's certainly a flashpoint, where I think the Biden campaign believes there could be potential political advantage for them is with rank-and-file, members of the military, their families and military veterans. And it's all part of the broader appeal to pick off disaffected Republicans or Independents, who might have voted for President Trump before, don't want to this year, but still need reason to vote for Joe Biden. And so, I think what we saw when this was released-- and again, you know, these are remarks that the President and his team strongly dispute. And-- and we've seen more people on the President's side at least put their names to those disputes than of course people who confirmed it for Jeffrey Goldberg. Is that-- this isn't now just about John McCain or about military leaders that the President would have met with to discuss military policy. It's about you they are arguing. It's about you and your military family and the sacrifice that you or your brother or your husband made while serving in the military. Biden himself was quite struck by this, invoking the memory of his son, Beau, who served, saying, you know, how-- how could you consider his service-- or how could you consider him a sucker? How could you consider those that died in battle a loser? And that the President should apologize. So it's probably more in that regard they believe affective than to the general understanding that, yes, this is a President who has said things in the past about his rivals, about the military, that isn't necessarily a surprise to people at this point.
JOHN DICKERSON: That's right. As the commander-in-chief saying anything disparaging about people who gave their lives in their country's services is obviously a-- a flashpoint. It also seems, Ed, that it-- it is-- if-- the end of this race-- or do you see it this way-- that it's about turf? What's the debate-- is it on Joe Biden's turf that the debate is taking place or is it on turf that President Trump would like? It seems at the very least, this is not turf that President Trump wants to be talking about?
ED O'KEEFE: Not at all. And-- and-- and that was part of why I think we saw the Biden campaign seize on this report so quickly, is that it was allowed-- it allowed them to try to steer the conversation away from law and order and away from the economy, where he remains vulnerable when compared to the President, and raise, again, questions about his judgment and his character as they try to keep this focused on a referendum on the incumbent, which, as you said, would benefit him for sure.
JOHN DICKERSON: Ed, as you mentioned law order, the President went to Kenosha, Wisconsin where there have been protests and violence. Joe Biden responded with a speech this week seeming to buy into the idea that he might have some vulnerability or exposure on this question of-- of violence and law and order. Is that right to the Biden-- does the Biden campaign see a vulnerability on that issue?
ED O'KEEFE: If they didn't, then why was he spending so much time this week making clear that he believes that looters and violent protestors are people who should be held accountable for their actions. I think they saw that last weekend, and especially when the President was really hammering them on that, as a potential weak spot, but they addressed it quickly. And they also pivoted in, again, in that-- in that sense of referendum. The violence is happening now. How is it that the President can manage it if it's happening now, don't talk about how it might be handled in the future? And, look, Biden went to Wisconsin, held a listening session, actually got to meet with the Blake family, when the Trump campaign and the White House apparently struggled to make contact with them.
JOHN DICKERSON: Ed, you've reported that the-- that the Biden campaign feel some pressure to get the vice president out there. What does that-- why did they feel that pressure and what does it look like to campaign in this age of social distancing and mask wearing, and-- and all the rest of it?
ED O'KEEFE: Yeah. And it's interesting. Because at the beginning of this pandemic, Americans widely told us they didn't care if they didn't see these guys campaigning in person. In essence, they understood that it wasn't possible. That shifted. About four in ten Democrats in our poll say they've got concerns about Biden not being out there. And about half of Independents also say they'd like to see him out more. So in the coming days, you'll see Biden go to Pennsylvania twice, and to Michigan. He's talked about going to North Carolina. We'll probably see them at some point go to Arizona, which is a state they're obsessed about somehow trying to win. And, again, it's quick day trips, much like the President. Biden admitted this week he has been tested for COVID, he will be on a regular basis, and his campaign has vowed to let us know if, for some reason, at some point, something shows up in those tests that would cause concern. So, you know, they're taking precautions, but they now do suddenly feel much more willing and able to get out there, and we expect him to make trips, maybe two or three a week, for the duration of the campaign.
JOHN DICKERSON: And he'll be carrying those briefing books with him for his debate as well the next other big stage at the end of this-- this month. Ed, thanks so much.
For more on our CBS News Battleground Tracker, log on to cbsnews.com/polls.
We'll be right back.
JOHN DICKERSON: We sat down with philanthropist and author David Rubenstein last week to talk about his latest project, "How to Lead: Wisdom from the World's Greatest CEOs, Founders, and Game Changers." It's a collection of conversations about the qualities it takes to be successful, which we might keep in mind when we're picking our next leader.
JOHN DICKERSON: David, you've been a leader. You've interviewed leaders. The country is in the middle of interviewing leaders right now for the presidency. If you were holding a job interview, knowing what you know about leadership, what would you look for in candidates?
DAVID RUBENSTEIN (Co-Founder and Co-Executive Chairman of the Carlyle Group/How to Lead): I'm looking for their ability to focus, their ability to communicate well, their ability to have some sense of priority of what's most important to them, their ability to inspire people, their ability to rise to the occasion. And I also think humility is important. Anybody that is really a successful leader I think has failed in life. And you have to persist after your failures. But failure gives you some humility.
JOHN DICKERSON: How do you test for humility when you're interviewing somebody and all they're doing-- trying to do is tell you how great they are?
DAVID RUBENSTEIN: Well, I often look at their sense of humor. I often ask questions that are designed to elicit a little bit of laughter. And if they don't play along, I can realize that maybe they don't have a sense of humor, maybe they have no humility.
JOHN DICKERSON: How important is that if you're a leader, you have to have some human interaction ability with the people you're trying to lead?
DAVID RUBENSTEIN: The ability to lead really gets down to the ability to persuade. There are three ways to persuade people: orally, you can write well, or you lead by example. George Washington in Valley Forge in 1777, he could have stayed at the Four Seasons down the corner, but he didn't. He stayed with his troops. He led by example. You want people that actually want to lead for the right reason. Do you want to lead somebody because you want to be famous, you want to be rich or do you want to lead somebody because you're trying to do something really important? And I've observed in my book, in my interviews, the people that really achieve the greatest things, they're not worried about the material things. They're worried about getting to some end, proving their point. Bill Gates wanted to prove that software was important. Jeff Bezos wanted to prove that he could sell things over the Internet. Warren Buffett wanted to prove you could be in Omaha and-- and be a good investor, whatever it might be.
JOHN DICKERSON: So the material things meaning accumulation of wealth, having a yacht, having a big building. Is that what you mean?
DAVID RUBENSTEIN: What you should want to do is to help other people. The greatest satisfaction, the happiest people I've seen, are people that helped other people, people that are-- they could be teachers or they could be people that have given away lots of money or have invented things that have really helped other people, discovered material-- medical devices that are wonderful or-- or cures for diseases. Those are the people that are happy. The people that aren't happy are the people that don't really know why they are on the face of the earth. You should realize in the end, you're on the face of the earth for a relatively short period of time. And the greatest happiness comes about when you achieve things for other people, not for yourself.
JOHN DICKERSON: If-- if knowing why you're on the face of the earth is your driving, organizing principle, is that what drives you every day when you get up in the morning? How do you work that into a kind of a daily plan if you're a leader?
DAVID RUBENSTEIN: I think people that learn how to be leaders learn how to do this during the course of their life. And when they reach the point where they really are good leaders, they have reached the point where they know what they really want to do with themselves. My observation is that while there are people like Bill Clinton, who was a Rhodes scholar, became President of the United States, as a general rule, the people that are running the world were not the superstars in the first third of life. They may have burned out. They may re-- realize that being a superstar in the first third wasn't what-- what it was cracked up to be. So the people that are running the world today in the second and third, third of their lives are not people that were observed at the age of fifteen or twenty to be the superstars. And so there's hope for all of us who didn't succeed in the early part that you can rise up and-- and do something may-- maybe significant with your life later on.
JOHN DICKERSON: I have a lot of personal experience with failure, but teach me to fail.
DAVID RUBENSTEIN: Well, the truth is, with failure, you have to observe what you did wrong and why it didn't work out. And if you say, you know what, this isn't good, I'm not really talented. I'm going to just go back and sit in my office or sit in my house and not do anything, then you won't be a leader. But if you say I learned something from this, I know how to overcome this, I can do this better in the future.
JOHN DICKERSON: You said humility comes from having failed and learning to overcome them, so in that sense, it's kind of a byproduct. How does humility help if you're-- if you're a leader perspectively?
DAVID RUBENSTEIN: Well, if you're trying to become a leader, I think you have to get other people to follow you. In other words, you-- you can't say I'm going to be a leader and nobody follows you. You have to have people follow you. How do you get people to follow you? Well, you have to give them certain sense that you have a way of going somewhere, that you're going to take them on a vision and on a voyage that's going to be useful for them as well as for you. And to do that, I think you have to be simpatico with them. You have to say, look, this is good for both of us. It's not just good for me because I'll be more famous. You have to say we're going to do this together. And that's how you really make people follow you.
JOHN DICKERSON: Relentlessness, how important is that?
DAVID RUBENSTEIN: I think it's in-- indispensable. So relentlessness, another word that's often used in that way is resilience. You have to be resilient and you have to take this, the punching you're going to get in life and-- and come back. You all, when we were growing up, we all had these, like, the little punching bags. You punch it and it comes right back at you. But that's what you have to do. People are going to punch you all the time. You have to come back. And it's like when you're a little kid, you know, people who are bullies, they-- they'll punch you and you have to come back to them. And in the end, you know, in the-- in the adult bullying kind of thing, it's the same kind of thing. People say he's a terrible person. He's-- he's incompetent. He's not smart. It's a terrible idea. Well, if you take this personally and you go home and call your mother and say, look, people think I'm terrible, you're not probably going to be a great leader. What you have to do is be resilient about it and come back. And remember, nobody can be liked a hundred percent by everybody. There's always going to be people that don't like you. And so if you can't stand the heat, as they say, you've got to get out of the kitchen.
JOHN DICKERSON: How is presidential leadership different than in other sectors?
DAVID RUBENSTEIN: There are three ways you could persuade people that a president can, but other people can as well. You learn how to write well. So let's suppose you are a very good writer, and you're Thomas Jefferson, and you wrote the Declaration Independence that could persuade people. Or you're a very good orator, you're John Kennedy, and you give the inaugural address in 1961. But leading by example is the most effective way to do it, I think. And I think many presidents who have been successful have led by example, and I think Abraham Lincoln is a good example. He showed people his humility, that he was going to bring his team of rivals in with him, that he didn't brag about what he was doing and that he recognized he had lots of failings. He was the kind of person who, you know, led by example. When people were in his presence, they would-- they would realize they were in presence of a great man.
JOHN DICKERSON: Is it important for presidents to take responsibility as-- as fulfilling that example function that you talked about?
DAVID RUBENSTEIN: Well, as a general rule of thumb, I think it's a good idea for anybody to take responsibility, because if you say in any case, well, it wasn't my fault or I didn't do anything that deserved that bad thing happening. You know, again people hear you and they say, well, you know, who was responsible, you were in charge. And I don't mean-- mean a president of the United States, but any position. You should take responsibility and say, I'm sorry, I made a mistake. People will admire you more if you say you take responsibility.
JOHN DICKERSON: David Rubenstein, the book is "How to Lead." Thank you so much.
DAVID RUBENSTEIN: My pleasure. Thank you very much.
JOHN DICKERSON: And we'll be right back.
JOHN DICKERSON: That's it for us today. Thank you for watching. Margaret Brennan will be back next week. For FACE THE NATION, I'm John Dickerson.