tv Face the Nation CBS October 2, 2011 8:30am-9:00am PDT
>> it would be fun if he got in. >> come on down, as they say. >> schieffer: he's in the papers of all the headlines and news magazines. the new jersey governor even made david letterman's top ten. >> presidential retreat moved from camp david to hershey park. number four, taxpayers would have to pay for the president's second seat on air force one. >> schieffer: who is he and where does he stand on the issues? we'll ask republican governor haley barbour of mississippi and maryland democratic governor martin o'malley. but we'll start with republican senator john mccain. all that and some final thoughts on a "60 minutes" legend. all ahead on "face the nation." captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news in washington, bob schieffer. >> schieffer: good morning again. we welcome to the broadcast this morning senator john mccain.
he's just back from libya. we'll get to questions about that and republican politics in a minute. senator, welcome to the broadcast. >> thank you. >> schieffer: the first thing i want to ask you about this morning. at the recent republican debate, the audience booed when a gay soldier asked a question and the candidates on stage said nothing. last night, the president jumped all over that at a gay rights dinner. i know you opposed ending "don't ask, don't tell," but i want to play a bit of what the president said and get your reaction. >> we don't believe in that. we don't believe in standing silent when that happens. we don't believe in them being silent. you want to be commander in chief? you can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the united states, even when it's not political convenient. >> schieffer: what about that
senator mccain? does the president have a point? >> i think he has a point but the fact is the overwhelming majority of americans support the men and women who serve in the military no matter what their sexual orientation is. i opposed the repeal without the assessment of effect on enlistment morale, the battle effectiveness, et cetera. but the fact is that we should honor every man and woman who is serving in the military and should in no way treat them with anything but the highest regard. different from the war that you and i had some involvement in. >> schieffer: do you think that the republican candidates should have spoken up at that debate about that? >> i do. but a lot of times, you know, when you're in a debate, you're thinking about what you're going to say and what the question is going to be. it's hard to react sometimes. but i'm sure that... i would bet that every republican on that stage did not agree with that kind of behavior.
>> schieffer: you're just back from libya where you traveled this week. yesterday army general carter ham who heads the u.s. forces in africa told the a.p. that he thought the military mission in libya is daunting. what do you think? should the nato mission be declared over even with qaddafi still at large? >> i think it is certainly winding down. i think there's no doubt that victory has been won. but there's enormous challenges for the libyans. there's still significant areas where they haven't gained control. they have no national army, bob. and these militias are very... it's very unclear where they will go and where they lie. they need a national army. they've got thousands and thousands of wounded. they say that they've lost 25,000 people killed, 3,000 have been maimed. 60,000 injured. that's their government figures. we should be helping them. they don't have the medical expertise and talent to take care of these people.
senator rubio and senator kirk and senator graham and i went to a hospital in tripoli. there are amputees there. we should be sending... either helping them by sending them some of to our hospital in germany. maybe even think about sending a hospital ship to tripoli. if that's too dangerous, maybe to malta. but we can help them. they don't have the medical capability to care for all of these wounded. more are still coming in. i think that would be very important in our relations with the libyan government and people. don't get me wrong. they have challenges but there are like america. they are proud of what we've done to help them. i think we could do enormous things by helping them with the casualties that they've experienced, which have been horrendous. >> schieffer: let's talk a little politics this morning. what's the deal here? new jersey governor chris christie said he would commit suicide before running for president. now, everybody tells me he is
seriously reconsidering whether to get into the race. do you think he's going to run? do you think he ought to? >> i don't know. i think it's a tough decision that only he and his family can make. i do remember in past years we've had people whose names popped up and they've been kind of the flavor of the month. i'm a great admirer of governor christie. i think he'd be a very viable candidate. remember he's starting from way behind in fund raising and organization and other areas. but, look, could i just mention that we have the deepest field in the republican party that i have ever seen in my lifetime. governors like governor christie and governor mcdonald. we have young senators like rubio and graham and kirk and kelly ayotte in new hampshire, and members of the house like eric cantor and paul ryan. we have the deepest bench that i have ever seen. i'm very excited about the future of the party. if governor christie decides to run, i wish him luck.
i think that there is a bit of a caution. the swimming pool looks a lot better until you jump right in. the water may not be quite as warm as you think. >> schieffer: well, you cite this deep republican bench, and yet the polls suggest and the anecdotal evidence i mean when i talk to republicans, they don't seem very happy with the republican field that's running. why do you think that is? >> it happens almost every time that people are not happy with the "perfect" candidate. i do note that governor romney and perry and others are very competitive now. others in the polls with the president. and i think that we have a good crop of candidates. i think the party will rally around the nominee. i think we're going to win this next election. >> schieffer: let me just quote what rush limbaugh said about
chris christie the other day. he said, "the republican establishment does not want a conservative to get the nomination. if they can co-opt the conservative, they will do it." he said that speech that governor christie made at the ronald reagan library last week, he heard a lot of john mccain in that. what do you think he meant by that? >> i don't know what rush meant. he represents a voice of a significant part of our party. i think that governor christie would probably run on his record as governor. i think that's a pretty solid base that conservatives could rally around. as you know, i'm not... could i also say that i think it's time for the president of the united states to emulate what bill clinton did after the '92... '94 elections, sit down with republicans and let's try and work something out. people are sick and tired of what's going on here in washington, both as far as congress and the president is concerned. he's not going to pass this jobs bill.
dick durbin, the number two guy, in the senate just said we're not going to pass the jobs bill through the senate in its present form. instead of saying pass the bill now, why didn't the president say "let's sit down now." everybody i talk to on the arizona streets say, why don't you all sit down and reach some agreements. this economy is in the tank. it's getting worse and the housing crisis which triggered all this is not coming back. we need to address the housing crisis in this country. while wall street is doing fine, main street is still hurting very badly. have the president take the bill clinton approach in my view. >> schieffer: wouldn't the white house say to you, i keep asking them to sit down. all they do is say no." >> i just know for a fact that our republican leaders now... they read the polls. they see how low opinion the american opinion have of us. but more important than that, the economy continues to stagger along. remember last summer, i believe
it was going to be the summer of recovery. so it's time we tried something different. and it works. the approval rating of both will go up if we will sit down and, look, there are some areas that we would agree on-- the payroll tax, a flat tax. have you met any american that doesn't agree that we should reform the tax code? and i don't think we can put our eggs in the basket of the super committee, as much as i admire and respect them. >> schieffer: john mccain, always a pleasure. >> thanks for having me. >> schieffer: when we come back, we're going to talk some more about chris christie with a republican governor, haley barbour, and a democratic governor, martin o'malley, in a minute.
barbour. he is in jackson this morning. governor barbour, let me just start with you. is chris christie going to run and do you think he ought to? >> i don't know what he's going to do, bob. if he runs, he'll have a big following. he'll be a very strong candidate out of the chute. i don't think it is too late for a candidate with his stature to decide to run. but i don't know what he's going to do. that's going to be up to him and his family. >> schieffer: you know, he's getting this... all this encouragement from a lot of people in the establishment. a lot of pundits are talking about it. but there are a couple of things about him that may not sit well with some people to the right of your party. i mean, he opposed the ban on assault weapons. he's fairly liberal on gun control, like a lot of people ... northeastern mayors and governors might be. he says that climate change is connected in some way to what humans are doing here on earth.
how is that going to play with some of your tea party friends? >> well, barack obama is the greatest uniter of republicans and conservatives in and increasingly large numbers of independents that they won't have any trouble supporting chris christie if he's our nominee. run, but i also believe those i have no idea whether he'll run, but i also believe those same people will support rick perry or mitt romney or just go down the list because this election is a referendum on president obama's record, on his policies and the results of those policies, then that will unite republicans and independents behind our candidate. >> schieffer: let me ask you this, governor. you know, like a lot of us over the years, governor christie has had a little problem with his weight. you've had that problem. i've had that problem at one point in my life. michael kinsley, the columnist wrote the other day that chris
christie cannot be president because-- and i'll just quote what he said-- because he's too fat. do you think that's a fair thing to say? >> obviously, you're addressing that question to me not governor o'malley, who has never had a double chin. >> schieffer: (laughing) >> you know, when somebody becomes very well known, those sort of superficial things become non-issues. but at first blush, you know, what do they say? you only get one chance to make a first impression. clearly, when you see somebody like me on television in comparison to somebody like martin, you know, he probably gets the first swing out of the box. >> schieffer: all right. let's go to the slim, trim governor from maryland. >> i've never quite had an introduction like that. >> schieffer: is that a fair criticism to make in american politics? >> i think at the end of the day, what this race is going to come down is effectiveness. whatever entertainment value governor christie might bring to the race-- and certainly there
will be tremendous entertainment value, especially if you like don rickles-- but when it comes to being effective at creating jobs, improving schools and expanding opportunity, his record in new jersey has not been a record of governing for effectiveness. his bond rating has been downgraded by two of the bond rating agencies. his unemployment in new jersey is one of the higher unemployment rates in the country at 9.4%. last year, new jersey created no net new jobs. and his schools, because of the choices he's made to cut education funding, have actually been declining in their national ranks. so that's not a record of leadership and governance and effectiveness. so whatever the entertainment value, it's not effective governing. >> schieffer: you're also slim and trim. i also say you slightly evaded that question. >> it was not an evasion, it was a "redirection." >> schieffer: all right. governor barbour, let me ask you this. why do you think republicans
seem so, for want of a better word, "dissatisfied" with the people who are running. i think that does have something to do with the fact that a lot of people are pumping governor christie's case. i mean, the polls suggest that less than half of the republicans polled like... they like them, but they would like to see somebody else in the race. i hear that from a lot of republicans. why is that? >> it's interesting that governor o'malley's answer, if nothing else show how the democrats are afraid of governor christie with that long pre- prepared redirection of the question. i think the reason you see so much interest in looking at other people is for the reason you think. i feel it's like the democrats fields are sometimes. big fields. some of them that are not very well known. some of them are just being introduced. but the reason people are so concerned about our nominee is republicans and independents want a new president. they want the republicans to nominate somebody who is going
to win. and end the policies of the obama administration. so i think that is why people are looking at this so hard and want to make sure we have the very, very best candidate. but i think like jimmy carter or bill clinton, democratic nominees and democratic presidents who, the summer before the election year, nobody thought was a very good candidate. i think our candidate will be very similar to that. >> i think there's a reason why haley barbour hasn't endorsed any of those that are running for president in his party yet. that's because, bob, they're not really... you've seen the spectacle. you talked about it yourself. the crowds booing the serviceman that spoke, the crowds applauding at the notion of letting someone die in a hospital. these candidates aren't running for the nomination of the republican party. they're running for the nomination of the tea party. they're not putting forward new ideas to create jobs that would qualify them to be president. they are pandering to the tea party to be the mad hatter.
this is not the sort of field of candidates that should inspire confidence in a stronger economy with expanding opportunities. if you look at the mess that the president was left because of the wreck that george bush made of the economy, you now look at some signs of our economy stabilizing. is it improving as quickly as any of us would like? no, it's not. but ten out of the last 11 months, we created more jobs than we lost as a nation. foreclosures are at their lowest level in 44 months. we see a banking industry that has been stabilized. we see an auto industry that's turned around and is actually hiring again. when president obama runs against the backdrop of the big problem and mess he was left, he will not be running against the all mighty. he'll be running against the alternative. right now, while their bench might be deep with personalities in the republican party, their pool is shallow in terms of new economic ideas or any sort of effective governance that's been proven in the field.
>> schieffer: well, governor barbour, i guess you'd like to respond to that. >> well, i hope that the democrats run on president obama's record. i mean, the idea that they're going to blame what's happening in the last three years on george bush, you know-- next, it will become about herbert hoover. the "fact of the matter" is that obama's policies and the policies of the reid-pelosi congress have made this economy, worse not better. and his idea of the jobs bill was more of the same. well, we'll only do half as much of the same but we'll do more of the same. that's what his jobs bill is. so i hope that the fact is that president obama does run on his record. however, i doubt that he will. i think what he'll do is he'll try to make whoever we nominate somebody unacceptable, and will attack, attack, attack. because the election is a referendum on obama's policies, we're going to have a republican president. >> schieffer: governor o'malley just when you mentioned hoover said "great analogy." >> hey, i'm not surprised.
the democrats ran against hoover for 70 years. they got to run against somebody because they sure can't run on "obama-care" or his proposals to increase taxes on employers when the deal we're trying to do is have more employees. so, yeah, they'll talk about hoover. george bush. richard nixon. "haley barbour is too fat." >> i think what's going to happen and what is happening right now in our nation right now, bob, is, look, there are going to be two economic plans that the people of our country will choose from. one that was the failed plan proven to have failed under george w. bush which brought us not only record deficits but worse, record job losses in our country. then, you will have the plan that has been advanced by the president, once again renewed with his drive for the american jobs act, that will create jobs in our country. and the opposition from the do- nothing tea party congress makes
it very clear that they do not have an alternative except to prevent the president's plan from fully working. we'd all like it to be creating jobs more quickly. i'm sure the president would like it to be creating jobs more quickly. if the members of the do-nothing republican congress would actually put a couple of oars in the water and help us do these things like governor barbour mentioned that make so much sense. allowing working people to be able to take home a little more pay so they can spend in the economy. the things that have been done to train workers in georgia, the republican ideas and democratic consensus that existed on investing in infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our tunnels. people are going to choose between the failed economic plan of george bush and the economic plan of president obama, which has stabilized our economy and with some help, we could actually move it forward. >> schieffer: i'll give you a quick response. >> you know, bob, bob, martin's amnesia about the fact that obama had the biggest democratic
majorities in congress since lyndon johnson. they passed everything he wanted including ramming health care, "obama-care" down the country's throat, and now they complain, well, gee, we didn't get everything we wanted, those mean republicans. bill clinton never did that. ronald reagan never did that. when they had congress's other party, they led. this president has to learn how to lead or he's going to go back to chicago. >> schieffer: all right. we're going to have to end it right there. the clock ran out. thanks to both of you have. very enlightening. back in a moment with some final thoughts.
>> schieffer: finally today on "60 minutes," tonight, andy rooney will make it official. after a career at cbs that began in 1949, when he went to work for arthur godfrey he is stepping down as a regular contributor to "60 minutes." there will never be another like him. the man who made the phrase "did you ever wonder why" en route to penning more than a thousand essays and dozens of books is cutting back. you can't blame him. he is 92, but who's checking the time? which reminds me of one of my rooney favorite questions: did you ever wonder why they call a
watch a "watch"? which is also a good excuse to recall some of the other things he said. such as "computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don't actually need to be done." "i don't like food that is too carefully arranged. it makes me think the chef is spending too much time arranging, not enough time cooking." "if dogs could talk, it would take a lot of the fun out of owning one." "nothing in fine print is ever good news." people will generally accept facts as true only if the facts agree with what they already believe. "vegetarian is an old indian word for poor hunter." and a personal favorite: "i didn't get old on purpose. it just happened." if you're lucky, it could happen to you, which reminds me with andy moving on, i may be the oldest guy on television. andy, i do wish you well. but how could you do that to me? back in a minute.
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