Bob Schieffer, CBS
News Chief Washington Correspondent: Today on Face The Nation, Senator John McCain on Campaign 2000 and Vietnam. Plus, Assistant Attorney General Joel Klein on the breakup of Microsoft.
Today`s the 25th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. Senator John McCain spent last week in Vietnam, even visited the infamous Hanoi Hilton where he was a prisoner of war. What was that like? Has America learned from Vietnam? Questions for Senator McCain. We will talk as well with the U.S. ambassador to Vietnam, Pete Peterson and author David Halberstam.
We`ll also, of course, talk a little politics with Senator McCain about his role in the presidential race.
Then we`ll turn to the breakup of the computer company Microsoft. What will that mean for consumers? We`ll ask the Assistant Attorney General Joel Klein. Gloria Borger will be here, and I`ll have a final word on moving on.
But first, Campaign 2000, Vietnam and Microsoft on Face The Nation. Good morning again.
Schieffer: Senator McCain, welcome home.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.): Thank you.
Schieffer: Glad to have you this morning. Let`s talk some politics first.
Schieffer: You were scheduled to meet with George Bush on May 9. While were you in Vietnam, it looked like that meeting was going to fall apart. Now I understand it`s back on again. Number one, what was the problem? And are you in fact going to meet with George Bush?
McCain: One, I am going to meet with him. There were some problems I think in that there was not a specific agenda for us to discuss. And let me emphasize, I`m making no demands. There are no negotiations. I just think we need to reach some understandings as to how I can best be of help to Governor Bush in the campaign. And obviously I cannot abandon those people who supported me because of my commitment to reform. But I am confident that Governor Bush and I will reach an agreement on a number of issues and I`m looking forward to the meeting.
Schieffer: Do you now have an agenda for the meeting?
McCain: Yes, yes.
Schieffer: And in fact and what is it?
McCain: Well, you know, the conversation is going to be private, but we obviously are going to talk about various reform issues. I don`t think we`re going to have an agreement on campaign finance reform. But I know we have very similar views on reforming Social Security, of the military, of education, of health care. And I think there`s a number of areas where I know that we will be in agreement.
Schieffer: Do you not want the subject of whether you would be on the ticket to be on the agenda? Would you rather that be put off the table?
McCain: I would prefer that. As you know, Governor Bush has appointed Dick Cheney to start a process of selecting and ther`ll be a list, and I`ve asked that I not be on that list.
Gloria Borger, U.S. News & World Report: What about secretary of defense?
McCain: Gloria, those things are always something that a president has to decide, but I would not be...
Borger: Are you interested in that, just flat out?
McCain: No, I`m not interested in it.
Borger: Would you possibly serve as secretary of defense in a Bush administration?
McCain: Obviously for me to start categorically ruling out serving...
Borger: Well, you ruled out vice president.
McCain: Well, I did because I felt that I could serve the country more effectively as a senator, in my position in the Senate. If that other - other offers or consideration were given me in other areas, then I would have to make those judgments about that at that time.
But obviously I would be flattered to serve in a lot of ways. But the vice presidency, in my view, is not something where I could serve most effectively.
Borger: You know, there`s a lot of talk that Colin Powell could be secretary of state, John McCain secretary of defense, that that would be very attractive for any...for the Republican ticket, whatever that...
McCain: Well, if I`m placed in the company with General Powell, I`m very honored. I think he will serve this country in a variety of ways. I think he`s one of the most outstanding people ever to serve this country. To be in his company would be a great privilege.
Schieffer: Let me go back to this vice president business. I want to quote to you something Pat Robertson said - was quoted in Newsweek as saying, he says, "To think that that man" - you - "would be one heartbeat away from the presidency would scare me to death. There is a streak of bullheadedness. Women notice it. They say beneath that rather plastic smile" - you smile - "that you kept putting on television, there is an anger in his eyes."
And then he goes on to suggest that "maybe the terrible treatment he had as a POW in Vietnam put it in him. He`s a war hero but there`s an underlying anger."
What would be your response to that?
McCain: I think he`s right. (LAUGHTER)
Look, Bob, we just finished a wonderful campaign that I`m very proud of, and one of the things I`m proud of is that we didn`t have rancor and anger and bitterness. We ran an upbeat and positive campaign. I think I`ll let the American people judge me. They got to me pretty well in this campaign.
Yes, we lost, but we`re proud of what we were able to do. Reverend Robertson - he now calls himself Reverend again, I understand - is entitled to his views.
Borger: You said that you don`t think there`s going to be an agreement on campaign finance reform. Without that kind of an agreement, can you enthusiastically endorse George W. Bush for president?
McCain: Yesbecause I think if I didn`t, I would be litmus testing him, and I don`t think that`s appropriate for me to do. But I believe he has begun to and is continuing to pursue a reform agenda.
I don`t claim to be an expert; I`m the loser. OK? But I do believe there is a desire out there on the part of Americans to see the institutions of government reformed and reconnect young people to the government. We can`t do that without reforming the institutions of government.
Schieffer: You know, we saw kind of a new Bush - or at least some people say that - over the past few weeks. He seems to be moderating his position somewhat. He certainly seems to be changing the tone of the campaign.
He said on MacNeil/Lehrer last week that Republicans have sometimes fallen into the trap of tearing down somebody else. Do you think he is sincere about that? Because during the campaign it got pretty rough there from time to time.
McCain: The one thing I can`t do is look back in anger or rancor or bitterness. If I started down that road, it would be destructive to me and to the Republican Party. I believe that Governor Bush has returned to an inclusive aspect and message for our party, an inclusionary reaching out to all Americans. I think he is doing a good job in that respect. I think he`s adopting a reform agenda, and I think that he is reaching to the center, which is really the way that I think a successful presidential campaign ought to be run.
Schieffer: Are you going to endorse him?
Schieffer: You are going to - do you want to endorse him today?
McCain: No, as I say, I want to reach certain understandings, but what I mean is I think we can reach those understandings and obviously for the good of the party, the sooner the better. But I don`t feel - I want to emphasis again, I cannot abandon the millions of people who said I`m supporting McCain because I believe he`s committed to this path of reform. I believe that`s transcendent of my, if this may sound bad, but of my party loyalty.
Borger: So, when you meet with him next week, you assume you`ll come out and endorse him then?
McCain: I don`t know, but I assume that we will come out with far better understanding and I think that I can be much more supportive. And I will also no matter what, continue to do everything I can to help candidates including Rudy Giuliani.
Schieffer: Let`s shift this a little bit and talk about the hearings that the Republican leadership had planned to hold on the Elian Gonzalez seizure. It`s my understanding they have now postponed them. Do you think such hearings are a good idea and there`s anything to be gained by holding them?
McCain: I don`t know. This has been an issue that has traumatized and riveted the attention of the American people for many weeks. If there is a needed oversight and review of what the adminisration did and our relations with Cuba in that context, I don`t think there`s anything wrong with that. But I don`t think a congressional hearing is going to reverse the events. I wanted the young man to be able to stay in the United States of America. I don`t think that`s going to happen. Now I think we ought to...if there`s a need for a hearing, it would be a review of the aspects of our relations with Cuba, et cetera.
Borger: Senator, do you think George Bush should change his position on the Confederate flag flying over the state capital in South Carolina? You went back there, changed your position. Should he do that now?
McCain: It`s not appropriate for me to tell him what he should do. I had to do that because I felt it was important just for me, not for anybody else, because it was not an act of courage on my part, after to say the least, after the campaign is over. But I really do hope, and I know that Governor Bush shares my view that the people of South Carolina can get this issue behind them. It`s terribly divisive. It`s a terrible, painful experience for all the people in South Carolina and I hope they`ll resolve it soon. I know he shares that view.
Schieffer: One other political question. Do you think that - do you think it would be all right if Governor Bush chose a pro-choice running mate or would that hurt his chances in November?
McCain: I don`t know how it would hurt...whether it would hurt his chances or not, but I think that he`s perfectly correct in saying that that would not be a litmus test. I happen to believe that Governor Ridge is a remarkable individual. A strong supporter of Governor Bush and a dear friend of mine.
Schieffer: Governor Ridge of Pennsylvania.
McCain: Yes, yes. And I think there are others, also that bring enormous credentials. I also again want to emphasize we as a Republican party hold our pro-life position, but we have to send a message of inclusion. If we`re going to exclude people on any specific issue, even if it`s abortion, then I think we will lose another election.
Schieffer: Let`s talk a little bit about Vietnam, and to do that let`s bring in the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, Pete Peterson. He joins us this morning from New York City. Thank you for coming, Mr. Ambassador. And author David Halberstam who is in Detroit this morning, made the commencement address, yesterday I believe, at the University of Michigan.
Senator McCain, you kind of stirred things up in Vietnam this week when you said the wrong guys won. Ambassador Peterson, is thatÂ…how`s that going to play out?
Pete Peterson, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam: Well, I think John`s added a lot to the renewal of this relationship between our two nations, and one statement here or there isn`t going to play very largely in building this relationship for the future.
McCain: Could I make a comment on that real quick?
McCain: I have always stated throughout is that I look forward and not back, and so does Pete. We`re so proud of the job that Pete Peterson does as our ambassador. We want reconciliation, we want healing, we want progress for the benefit of the American people and the Vietnamese people.
I was asked a specific question about the war and I believe that what happened after Saigon fell, the execution of thousands, the boat people, the re-education camps, clearly indicate the wrong guys won, but could we have won? Not pursuing that failed strategy in my view, and I think David Halberstam would authenticate that. That statement, as happens many times, was taken out of the context of everything I`ve done for the last 25 years to try to promote reconciliation, healing and normalization of relations.
Borger: Well, let me ask David HalberstamÂ…
David Halberstam, author: Can IÂ…
Borger: Yes, do you agree with the senator?
Halberstam: I think that John has just been a wonderful voice on this, a healing voice. I think he - in the campaign and before that, he has helped heal the country. He gave the president of the United States cover in helping to recognize Hanoi. And we have this extraordinary ambassador there. I was on a panel at Brookings a week ago with Mary McGrory and we were talking about the war. And she said we got back a wonderful group of veterans from that war - I mean people who had gone through something terrible because the government had lied, had been disingenuous about almost every aspect of it. And these young men paid an uncommon price, had gone through something very difficult and they had come out, I think. I think the two men on this show with me this morning are a reflection of that. And John in particular, with his voice has become a national voice of healing.
Schieffer: Ambassador Peterson, and we should point out that Ambassador Peterson was also a prisoner of war in Vietnam and had a wonderful record. Ambassador Peterson, I was there in Vietnam three years ago. I came there after going out to Hong Kong for the handover of Hong Kong to Beijing. I was struck by how the country has recovered. I was struck by the good feelings that the people of Vietnam seemed to have for Americans. So many people there now speak English. But my sense is that maybe things are not as good today as they were three years ago. What`s your response to that?
Peterson: Well, I think there was a surge of interest and investment in Vietnam with the anticipation that Vietnam would move ahead with its reforms. Unfortunately they have stalled out, and what you see now is the energy of the residual investments and you`re not getting quite as much activity in Vietnam as you could you have. That`s the real sad piece of this, is that there`s probably no other developing nation in the world that holds so much potential. And then te reality is the gap between the reality and the potential is so wide. But what you saw is real. And Vietnam is reaching out to the rest of the world as the partner in the community, if you will, of nations. And at the same time a very young population is looking toward the future.
Schieffer: David, have we learned anything from Vietnam? What do you see as the lessons there?
Halberstam: Well, I think we`ve been involuntary tempered by battlefield defeat. I think there is a generation of politicians and people in the military that are wiser. I think the army, for example, went through a very, very difficult time. We sent a good army over there and got back, because of the jaded way the corruption of the promotion system, we got back a bad army and I think men like General Powell and a whole generation of officers went to modernize and streamline the army.
And we`ve made it a very good army. I think we`re a better, stronger society. And I think we`ll look very carefully at any other adventure in a foreign country. Is the government telling the truth? Is it doable? What, you know, what is the value to it? Are we following a myth or are we doing something that is in the genuine national security interest of this country?
Borger: Senator McCain, why don`t you follow up on that. Have we finally learned the lessons of Vietnam?
McCain: Well, I think so. I think the Persian Gulf War affirmed that. I also believe that what we have done in other parts of the world has indicated that we understand that there are limits to our power and our ability.
I`d like to piggyback just a comment Pete Peterson made. Symptomatic of the problems of Vietnam right now, we negotiated over the years a very - and Pete Peterson played a key role in this - a free trade agreement that`s in the benefit of Vietnam as well as the United States. The leadership backed off of that. They have a million-and-a-half citizens entering the work force every year now and they are not creating those jobs. And that`s unfortunate becauseÂ…
Borger: So what can we do?
McCain: Well, I think frankly it`s going to be up to them. I think we can encourage, we can help. But it`s not just the United States investment that`s leaving. It`s Asian investments that are declining in that country, and it`s a lovely, wonderful people who deserve, frankly, better than what they`re getting right now. I think Pete might agree.
Peterson: Absolutely. The country, if you`ll just think about it just a moment - a developing nation that is exporting both energy and food. Food security, as unlike in a lot of developing countries, is not a problem. And they are going to make it. They just have to have the leadership ultimately recommend to the Politburo and others to move ahead, take the next steps. On the trade agreement, we`re waiting from the Vietnamese a word, a signal that they`re prepared to sign th agreement. America is ready to sign it right now.
Schieffer: Ambassador, David Halberstam, Senator McCainÂ…
Halberstam: They`ve got a time bomb there.
Schieffer: We`re going to have to let it go there. Thank you so much all of you for joining us. We`ll be back in a minute to talk about the Justice Department`s plan to split up Microsoft. In a moment.
Schieffer: And with us now to talk about last week`s Microsoft case, Assistant Attorney General Joel Klein. Mr. Klein, thank you very much for coming. So let me ask the basic question: So why is it a good idea to break up Microsoft?
Joel Klein, Assistant Attorney General: The reason it is a good idea is because the court has found, Bob, that Microsoft engaged in very serious anticompetitive acts, hurt consumers and deterred innovation. And this is a critical market, the software market.
Now if you break them up, what will happen is, we will see increased consumer choice, a great deal of innovation and much more competition. And that is what really will stimulate development in a way that will be good for consumers and good for the economy.
Schieffer: Well, you know, I remember when they broke up AT&T, and we heard many of those same arguments. But I know a lot of people, myself included, who thought it was very convenient to call up one person when you wanted to have a phone installed instead of having to go to six or eight different people. Are we going to see the same kind of thing now if in fact Microsoft is broken up? Will we be going to six or eight different people instead of being able to buy our Windows?
Klein: No, I think you`ll have more choices. But take the phone example, because I think that`s perfect. Think about how we had that rotary dial telephone. Think of the telephones we now have, the hand held phones. Think of what a long distance call used to cost Americans. You used to spend 10 times as much. Now you can get long distance calls for two cents.
Look at the developments on the Internet. Look at America`s position in telephones in the world. We`ve got five, six, seven powerhouse companies and dozens and dozens of small innovators. No other country in the world has that. And that grew out of the Reagan Justice Department`s decision to break up AT&T. I think that`s exactly the model that we ought to see here. And we`ll see that kind of dynamic develop.
Schieffer: Let me ask you this: Is this actually going to happen in our lifetime? Because I understand that Bill Gates says that - told his people that this week there is no chance this breakup will happen.
Klein: Well, I believe it will, but the matter is up for the courts. One of the wonderful things about antitrust enforcement in the United States is, it takes place in the courts with judicial decision-making and appropriate appeals.
I`m confidenof our case. But in the end, the decision will be made by the courts.
Schieffer: Do you think, let`s say, there`s a Republican president, there`s still a likelihood that this will happen?
Klein: I believe so. And, you know, we have examples. Again, the AT&T case that you mentioned, it was filed by a Republican administration, prosecuted by a Democratic administration and settled by a Republican administration, the Reagan administration with the breakup.
The Justice Department is in the business of law enforcement; it`s not in the business of politics. And it has a long and noble history in that regard.
Schieffer: Well, just in the real world, how long should we expect this appeal process to take?
Klein: Oh, I think it could take a year, maybe a little more than a year. But from our point of view, we`d like to move it along. The country has an interest in seeing the matter resolved.
Schieffer: Mr. Gates, to quote him again, says that "Microsoft`s future depends on being a whole company that can create new products." He says the consumers will be hurt because Microsoft will be stunted.
Klein: I don`t believe that`s right. I actually think what will happen is, there`ll be real competition. Mr. Gates says that there wasn`t any harm in the past. You know what the federal court found? The federal court found that Microsoft denied people choice. Their own witness testified they didn`t want to give you a choice of browsers because people would choose the other browser. Their own people showed that they kept products that were competitive to theirs out of the market. Intel had a product, major company, they wanted to bring it to market. Microsoft put pressure on the computer manufacturers to keep them out.
So if you don`t want to deal with the anti-competitive activities and realize how much that harms consumers and innovation, then of course you don`t think there`s a need for a fix.
Schieffer: Well, how do you envision that the two companies, if it`s broken in two, how would that work?
Klein: What would happen is, the two companies would begin to compete with each other. Right now the office company protects - the office applications, rather, protect the Windows monopoly. If they were separate, the office products would be written for other platforms, they would be doing deals with other people, and then the operating system would be looking for other applications. That would be terribly dynamic and create real opportunities.
Schieffer: Well, Mr. Klein, thank you very much. I think you`ve helped to explain this. At least I understand it a little better than I did. Thanks for being here.
Klein: Thank you.
Schieffer: When we come back, I`ll have a final word.
Schieffer: Finally today, so we hear the congressional hearings into the seizure of Eian Gonzalez have been postponed, the excuse being the administration has not had enough time to come up with documents the investigators need. Whether or not that is a valid excuse, now that Elian`s back with his dad, taking a breather on this story is not such a bad thing. Why? Because try as all sides did to exploit little Elian for their own purposes, this was basically a family feud with implications for almost no one outside that family.
If Castro thought that this would somehow help to relax the embargo on Cuba, he can forget that. No president, this one or the next one, would risk that now. Janet Reno has been out of favor at the White House and at the Capitol for months, but don`t expect an early departure from her after this.
And is there anyone who believes that for all his pandering to Florida voters, that Al Gore improved his chances of carrying Florida? I don`t.
Oh, sure, Miami City government`s in turmoil and it`s all over Miami TV, but that`s where it belongs. It is a local story. And if Marisleysis and the fisherman get their own talk shows, that`s fine too. We`ve got a great country here.
But through it all I kept thinking of my mother. When we got sick as kids, she took great care of us for about three days. Then she would say, "You`ve been sick long enough, time to get up and go to school."
We spent enough time on Elian. It`s time to get on with something that matters.
That`s it from here. We`ll see you next week on Face The Nation next Sunday.