tv Face the Nation CBS August 14, 2016 10:00am-10:31am MDT
. >> dickerson: welcome back to "face the nation." i'm john dickerson. we pick up on where we left off on presidential atrebts with tom ridge, former defense secretary, william cohen. former head of the nsa, and c.i.a., michael hayden. rosa brooks, and from salt lake city. you wrote in your book, everything became war and the military became everything," about decision making. and presidents don't just get options "a" and options "b." they're decision decisions thatt to them because they're stuck in the bureaucracy. >> the u.s. executive branch is like an iceberg and the president and the cabinet are at the top of the iceberg, but most of the government is way below and the president never meets the people and there's no reason he necessarily should. but you have all this stuff going on at lower levels but
before it ever gets to decision makers. a lot of time when the president is sitting there and he's sitting there with his cabinet-- and you've all been in this situation-- sometimes so much has been lost-- sometimes for good reason because somebody realized early on, that's a bad idea. let's not get that up to the prospect. but sometimes because for the dumbest reason. it didn't fit in the bullet points, there was only going to be one page and it didn't make it on to that page. i think it's very hard if you're an inexperienced president pup don't know who to ask and who to go back to and say, "you know what? i bet there was more stuff and i want to see that. and i think this is the point you made, if you don't know where the more stuff is and how to access it, you find yourself facing two choices, both of which may be dumb. >> sometimes, in the effort to build a consensus recommendation to the president, the tendency is we all want to be in unity to give the president advice. and you need a president who says, if you can't-- i'm not interested in consensus at the
if it's a tough decision, "a," "b," and "c," i'll make the decision. >> dickerson: general, there has been some reporting recently with sen-com, and information on isis. how does the president know what they don't know, when it's never getting to them? and as we're thinking about a campaign, what should we look for in this the kind of management skills of a candidate that they know about their blind spots or where there might be potential blind spots. >> as rosa said, he has to poke and pull, and theor experienced you are, the better equipped you are to do that. let me give you a slightly different phenomenon, and that's when the bureaucracy actually works well and goes into the president-- this happens in intelligence from time to time-- goes into the president with a conclusion about which they have great confidence that cuts across the president's personality, his policy, or his politics. frankly, i think that happened a bit in the current administration with the growth of isis, kind of slowed there as
'07, with an assessment-- that frankly, i think still stands-- that the iranians had stopped a narrow part of their nuclear weapons program, the weaponnization of their nuclear device-- you could not get more unhappy information in front of president bush and vice president cheney. >> dickerson: they didn't want to hear it. >> lord knows, they challenged it. but we stood our ground. and in the end, not only did the estimate stand, but because the president had been rel previous estimate that said something different and made that public, he direct we made this estimate-- with which i think he still had some doubts-- he insisted we make that public, too. >> dickerson: governor levitt, let me ask you about hiring. when i asked president obama about these questions of attributes, he said, you have to realize there's a whole group of people you hire who then go and make decision that may never get to you. how important is hiring in terms of what this next president is going to do?
>> it's a very important point. when you hire a president, you don't hire just one person. it's a team game, if you will. nearly 4,000 people come in following a president, and they make a lot of decisions. but in the final analysis, when all of that blows up-- i was in the oval office one day, and president bush said, "look, they call this the oval office, because there are norn hide in." ultimately, the decision had to be his. and i think that was the point. all of this rolls up to the point that many of the decision are able to be made by others, but in the final arb that was, the president of the united states sets the tone, not just whether they will listen to information that's hostile to their original point of view, but whether those who actually come in that team of 4,000 will. >> i think that's absolutely right fi can jump in on that for a second.
at the pentagon, tremendous frustration on some issues where i felt like, president obama, if only he bourb he would make the right decision. he has these staff gatekeepers who weren't letting these important issues get to him. and i realized after a certain point he's got these people there because he wants them there. that ultimately, presidents choose the staff they want, and choose the staff who will enable them or not enable them to be in a bubble. >> good leaders attract good people and empower them to do whatevy leader's vision, and the nature of government is so large, you really do have to rely upon them. that's the the way it is. >> dickerson: william cohen, you know about communication, what role does that play in terms of presidential communication. let's talk about it externally, and maybe somebody else can weigh in, in terms of internal communications. >> let me emphasize what tom ridge talked about earlier, that what you want in a president is someone who has empathy,
person. in this country, we have a deep racial divide. you can only look at what's taking place in ferguson, missouri, in chicago, in baltimore, in terms of the divide between the black community and the police community that serves them. there are rebellions taking place. i recall when president bush 41 was traveling out to california in the wake of the rodney king beatings and the rebellion that was asked me, "how should i address this? how would you recommend?" and so he was, the president of the united states, asking me how to approach this subject. and language becomes important. i think when it comes to donald trump, he uses language to-- he uses language to divide, to demean, and ultimately, to divert. he's diverting attention from the big issues, and it forces
everything down a rabbit hole. what does he mean? was it sarcastic? was it clear. was it delphically ambiguous. and we go around and around. meanwhile you have issues with turkey and russia. you have issue in terms of what the russians are doing in syria. you have a bigger issue going in terms of how are you going to handle-- how would you ever recommend giving nuclear weapons or providing them to japan and south korea? these are big issues comment about what he would do under these circumstances or we're cheating in philadelphia and elsewhere. >> dickerson: let me ask you, secretary ridge, based on your time, also, you spent time in the house. donald trump is also a negotiator, deal maker. he's had some considerable success getting to yes. who knows how he gets there? he has a talent getting to yes. isn't that something washington needs badly. >> i think there's a difference
sometimes when i listen to some people, i think it was in the 10 commandments, yule commander turned to one of his aides and said, "let it be written. let it be done." i think one of the presidential qualities we need is somebody who is a practitioner, who understands the constitutional process, who is willing to engage the house and senate. from time to time i worry about a government that becomes very ideological. leaders become very ideological, it's my way or the highway. the everyman, the men that make america work, they're looking for leadership that understands the complexities of their world, the challenges they face, to build consensus. ronald reagan was great at that. he and tip, divergent point of view, he did it. president bush 41 told me last year, one of his proudest moments was signing the americans with disabilities act because it brought republicans and democrats together. anything big in this country has normally been around a consensus of both parties. they think that's what americans
that's aspirational, that builds a consensus around solving big problems and not just talking about them. >> dickerson: governor levitt, secretary ridge has made the case for the old bringing people together, but there's a feeling in the land that, that just doesn't cut it anymore. and that somebody does need to come in who might not have the niceties of the establishment, but can break through and get some things done with a different skill set. what's wrong with that a >> the skill set of the 21st century requires collaborative leadership and she that means the ability to bring people together and find their common purpose. there are times when you simply have to step forward and show the direction, but in a democracy like ours, what's been missing is that washington has become all about preparing for the next election. and controlling the news cycle, because you're sure if you had complete control, you would do the right thing.
well, the reality is that's true for both, and a president who can bring people together to find that common solution is what's been missing. and i think what people yearn for. and i-- there is a culture of divide that's really borne in our politics. it used to be that winning an election, you keep your base, and ride the middle enough that you can win. now we have enough apathy in the middle that people get w by lighting up their base. and enough that they can have the votes required. that's a change in the american politic. but it does require a new kind of leader, i think, for the 21st searchry. >> dickerson: all right, we're going to have to end it there. thanks to all of you for helping us sort through a little bit about what a president does to make better choices. we'll be back to talk about the highs and lows of this week and what's happening next week.
on donald trump this week. he's melting down there on the cover. audie cornish is host of "all things consider"at npr news. and michael gerson. if donald trump were deliberately trying to avoid winning the election, he could hardly be doing a better job. >> well, i think the reason for that is this is a changed environment in this election. and by his own drawing attention away from the vulnerabilities of secretary clinton on to himself by one controversial statement after another. and there's a pattern to that. i mean, the pattern is he makes a statement, there are several days of damaging coverage, he rolls it back. he sort of doesn't roll it back. so he keeps the story going, and in some ways, he creates another diversion to get out of the previous diversion. so he is not focusing on the things that he might focus on if
campaign. >> dickerson: michael in the piece in "time" in the interview with donald trump, several times he seems to go-- he says, you know, my advisers want me to behave the way dan is talk about, a traditional campaign, doing things you're supposed to do, prosecuting the case against your opponent and staying on message." it's like he's wearing an itchy shirt. and today we tweeted, "i am what i am." >> "so far, i like the way even though he's not running in the primaries, it's a different electorate. trump is caught here in a vice. from the beginning he has always trusted his own gut and his gut did something which nobody at this table or in washington could do, within the republican primary. he was proved right. the problem, is it's not going to work a second time. and he has to work against his own instincts. he has to stop talking about
candidates are way you want water. he needs to focus things on clinton. it's very hard for him to do. and he needs to find a way to keep his brand children is probably more important to him than winning the election, the idea that trump is who trump is. and cater it in a way that doesn't turn off a majority of the country, which he is doing right now. he's struggling. in our interview, he was struggling. if you see him at rallies, he's struggling. it's almost like a public therapy session he's having with the american people now where he's trying really hard to figure out how he can become the candidate everyone is contingent him he needed to be, without losing the person he clearly loves very much. >> dickerson: audie, where do you think we are in the campaign? newt gingrich compared donald trump to harry truman in 1948. he said he's an outsider candidate, a scrappy fighter, not doing things a traditional way, trying to conjure memories of dewy defeet truman, in other words, the great comeback.
or is this just a temporary little hiccup here? >> i still think he's playing to the rooms where he is most enjoying support, right. he's still playing to these people in the reallys. i don't know if donald trump has met a voter who is ambivalent, undecided, needs convincing, right. he either talks to people who are hostile-- protesters, the media, biased and hostile according to him-- and people who love him. so i think he has zero concept of what to do with people who and so his sense of noding to turn it around, i think is not there. experts and people in the beltway can certainly sit around and say, "work he's really got to do "x," "y," and "z"." but he looks around a rally and a room full of people powho adore him and says, why shouldn't i stick with my gut?" >> it's even more complicated than that. he has not solidified republicans in the same way he needs to. hillary clinton faced a tough
90-plus now among attorneys pretty consistently, trump is in the low 80s. he has to change that in order to be competitive in this election. a lot of those people are republican women, a lot of them college educated who he is not appealing to in anyway-- in fact, driving them away. >> dickerson: there was reporting this week about a letter written to the r.n.c., from 70 republicans strategists, some who have been in the political game, s recently, saying the r.n.c. should cut donald trump, focus on the senate and house candidacies. that's not that easy to do, is it? >> negotiate it isn't that easy to do. "a," it's premature. we're only in august. we're not in late september or mid-october for one. and as people within the party who have experience with this will tell you, if you start to do that now, the money is going to dry up. donald trump is helping them to raise a lot of money. and if they say, well, we're
"well, we're going to stop raising money." so the resources won't actually be there. it's a much more complicated question than simply saying, well, let's do this, and everything else will remain equal." >> dickerson: as somebody put it to me, you can't go to the big, fancy dinner and kick out the rich guy. you still have to raise the bill. they need the money he's raising for them. michael, i was struck in an interview with donald trump, when you asked about black and latino voters. his answer is-- it seemed like he is the truth." in other words, he's going to run his campaign. there's not going to be a special outreach. who is your sense of this? we talked about wanting to know his gut, but theo stuff you have to do to win a campaign. >> it was a big shift from the primaries. we asked about the same voting bloc last year, and he was very confident. he would say, i'm winning republican hispanics in nesahd "aful" he would always cite this one nevada poll. it's clearly not happening.
sort of a rare moment of modesty from trump. it sort of-- he's coming to acknowledge this. now, i think we're saying all these things about how he's in trouble. the polls show the seeds of how he could at least narrow this margin. in your battleground poll in florida, less than a third of people said he had the temperament to be president, which is a terrible under but he's still winning on fixing the economy. he's still winning on change. if he can focus the conversation away from himself and his own real path here for him to at least narrow. >> dickerson: and audie, on that point, are we in the press kind of going overboard on the trump hyperbole, which is to say, when he says, "obama was founder of isis," does he have lesroom to be hyperpollic than other candidates who say things that are totally hyperpollic and she nobody takes them that seriously. but he is being fact checked. >> i've been thinking about this, this week, because i think
outrage machine at a rapid pace. and the thing about trump that i maybe disagree with dan a little bit, is that when he says something, right, that people say is controversial, he now forces everyone to repeat the faulthood, to-- quote, unquote-- fact check it, normal eyes and contextualize it for him. you see a lot of conversations, "what you really meant was this and that." and he can say, no, maybe, just kidding." the media is doing all the work of explaining things for him and normalizing someng considered socially unacceptable. >> i think it's deeper than just gafs. >> gaffes are unintentional. >> but he's not showing empathy. when someone opposes him, he has to degrade them. he has to dehumanize them. when you go after goldstar families, when you go after a judge, a judge in your case, that's different than going after jeb bush, okay. it shows that you like empathy. and that, i think, is a real problem for him.
he now is facing the prospect of being one of the biggest losers in american history. i don't know how he adjusts to that. we have not seen how he adjusts to that. could be a major factor. >> the danger is that he adjusts to it by saying the whole process was rigged, and afterwards delegitimizing the democratic process, which could be really hazardous for the country. >> dickerson: that's right. he mentioned when he was in pennsylvania, he said the only way it would be the case that he would lose pennsylvania is if the system had been rigged. this is the state a republican hasn't won since 1988. >> it is a dangerous step that he is taking. and i'm sure there are people who will are saying to him, "do not do that." i do not know that for a fact, but it would not shock me if reince priebus in their constant conversations is saying, "don't go there. don't do that." it is a rischy strategy, as michael said, to delegitimize in
election in which you may be on the losing side. >> dickerson: michael gerson, let's talk about hillary clinton for a minute. everybody has been saying there is things that donald trump could be talking about with hillary clinton, and there are more e-mails this week showing a cozy relationship between the clinton foundation and the state department. >> there's a significant portion of her support that doesn't think she's honest and trustworthy. that is a vulnerability. she is a vulnerable candidate. we could have a wikileaks, something damaging come out. we coff a u.s. atty there are a lot of factors out here. but she is the luckiest politician in the world to face the opposition she has because she's not a great candidate. she does have significant problems. i think republicans are kicking thenselves because they know they could have a competitive race at this point. >> dickerson: what do you think of the e-mails? >> i think it's interesting. both candidates are struggling with something.
commanding media attention and controlling it. ask kanye west and tyler swift. you think you have people on the idea of the narrative you will be, and you can face a backlash. i think clinton sometimes, things that fly out of her mouth fit a narrative that already have, her doubters already have, which is i can trust you? or does it seem like every time you say something i need to go back and check, do a line-by-line copy edit to figure out, to parse it out. and it's the opposite with trump. th media, people know what a loose cannon looks like. if he says things that fit the narrative a person who can't control themselveses, that's something the voters can recognize, even if they think want media is bias. >> dickerson: the difficulty of hillary communicating, it's not just about the campaign, if president, doing press conferences it will have an effect on the way she communicates with the country.
. >> dickerson: that's it for us today. thanks for watching. if you missed any part of the show or want to watch it again, "face the nation" is on cable system through on-demand. until next week, for "face the nation," i'm john dickerson. with the help of at&t, red bull racing can share critical information about every anywhere. brakes are getting warm. confirmed, daniel you need to cool your brakes. understood, brake bias back 2 clicks. giving them the agility to have speed & precision.