tv Face the Nation CBS August 29, 2010 7:30am-8:00am PST
>> schieffer: today on face the nation, ready on the right but is the republican establishment ready for what may be ahead? an enormous crowd gathered in washington yesterday to hear fox news personality glenn beck and sarah palin talk about restoring america's honor. they said it wasn't political, but will it have an impact on the midterm elections? we'll talk to palin favorite joe miller, who may have toppled a republican establishment candidate in alaska, lisa murkowski. we'll get the take of mississippi's republican governor, haley barbour. then, we'll turn to kendrick meek, the young african american who won the democratic senate nomination in florida. is he getting the support he'll need from the obama administration? and we'll bring in debbie wasserman shultz, the congresswoman from florida to
see how democrats intend to counter all this. i'll have a final thought on science's need for basic research. but first, shake-up on the right on "face the nation." captioning sponsored by cbs "face the nation" with cbs news chief washington correspondent bob schieffer. and now from cbs news in washington, bob schieffer. >> schieffer: good morning again. we're going first this morning to fairbanks, alaska, to talk to joe miller, who may have defeated incumbent republican senator lisa murkowski, a member of the senate leadership, in the republican primary up there. we have to stress "may have beaten the senator," because they are still counting votes. at last count, he was running about 1,700 votes ahead. it may be two weeks before we know the final outcome there. but the fact, joe miller, that you ran the kind of race you did
and that it's coming down to the wire is fairly surprising, i would say, to a lot of people even those in the republican party. but you seem to be or could be kind of the poster boy for these anti-establishment republicans who are giving the republican establishment such a run this year. the first question we have to ask you-- and i want to tell our viewers first, there is a delay in the sound reaching you, so there will be some delay you between my questions and your answers. but it's our audio, not because you're sitting there trying to think of an answer. it's just the audio. how did you do it, joe miller? >> well, you know, there are a number of factors that involve, of course, obviously governor palin's endorsement, governor huckabee's endorsement, lieutenant governor lehman, a number of radio personalities
here in alaska, and at the base, our volunteer network. this is a very small state, population-wise. elections here are determined by the strength of your volunteer network. we had volunteers that worked day and night. they covered every quadrant of the state. it was just an extraordinary effort. >> schieffer: there is a lot of federal money that pours into alaska. in fact, i think alaska ranks about second per capita of the amount of federal dollars that come in to the state. as you say a small state-- 700,000 population. you've said that we can't afford all that federal money that's pouring into alaska. should alaska get less money from the federal government? >> you know, the government is going bankrupt. i don't think anybody can deny it. it's sitting at $13.3 trillion in absolute debt. by some estimates, $130 trillion in future unfunded obligations-- that we are in any way in a good financial state. that means that everybody in this nation is going to have to do belt tightening.
i think that's just common sense. but i think the answer to this is to basically transfer the responsibilities and power of government back to the states and the people. that is really the only answer i think out of this crisis. for alaska, that means our resource base. certainly, the state with its resources could be incredibly independent and incredibly economically powerful. but that really is the answer to the crisis that we're in right now. >> schieffer: i mean, are you going to the voters now as november beckons here and say, "folks, i've got to tell you, i'm going to go back to washington and tell them to send us less federal money." is that your campaign promise? >> what we're telling washington, d.c., is that we're in transition. what that means is as we continue to tighten our belts, because fiscally that's critical for the economic solvency of this nation, we also transfer to the states more power. that means more ownership of lands. it's not a situation where you just yank the financial plug,
but at the same time, you're transferring over discretion over the use of the resource base. in this state, two thirds of it is owned by the federal government. there's not a good constitutional basis for that. it's our position that as the money is restricted, the lands are transferred. so that's the plan that we want to implement. >> schieffer: you said no to stimulus money. that alaska should create its own jobs. how would you go about doing that? >> the resource base is extraordinary in this state. we have a hydrocarbon resource base, a mineral base which is extraordinary, beyond that of any other state. the resources in this state, if only a fraction of them were tapped, would create more than enough jobs for the residents of this state and could be the economic engine, frankly, of the united states. we are an incredible state with incredible, incredible resources. >> schieffer: you have also taken some fairly controversial, some would say very extreme positions. first, you say you want to phase
out medicare. you want to privatize social security. i have to say there are a lot of people in alaska who are on medicare and are getting social security. isn't that position going to be a problem for you in the election... in this general election? >> i would suggest to you that if one thinks that the constitution is extreme, then you would also think that the founders are extreme. we just simply want to get back to basics. restore essentially the constitutional foundation of our country. that means the federal government becoming less onerous, less involved in basically every item of our lives. what that means is there does have to be some transition. with respect to social security, what we've said consistently throughout this race is that if you've paid into the system, if you're dependent on the system, we have got to get the fiscal house in order at the national level so that we can continue to pay those benefits. but to suggest that there is nothing that can be done, that we have to continue as the way
things are ignores the fact that the trust fund is empty, it's full of i.o.u.s. it ignores the fact as of april of this year there are more expenditures or more outlays coming out from social security than in-lays. it would be incredibly irresponsible for us to sit back and say that this is something that shouldn't be addressed. there are a lot of different options out there. we have to look at all the options that are out there, including privatization. it's something certainly that bush championed in his first administration, something that representative ryan is looking at. i believe that it is irresponsible, it is basically part of the crisis of leadership in d.c. to not look at social security and understand that there has got to be a solution posed. we've got to take a look at it and make sure that we create a solution so our seniors aren't left out in the cold. >> schieffer: i want to thank you for being with us this morning. i hope we can visit with you again. as we get closer to november. joe miller, who may turn out to be the republican nominee for the senate, ending a 30-year period when either lisa
murkowski or her father represented that state in the united states senate. next, we're going to go south. we're going to turn to the winner of the democratic senate primary in florida, congressman kendrick meek, who is in orlando this morning. and a very different story going on down there, congressman. you know, you beat a very wealthy democrat, who had kind of a controversial past or ties to people like mike tyson and so forth. stories about narcotics being used at parties that he held. but the backstory seems to be to your race that some democrats not all that happy that you won because they're worried that you may take votes away from charlie crist, the incumbent governor, who is running as an independent in that senate race down there.
he has hinted that he will vote with the democrats to organize the senate, in other words to help them keep their majority. that could be critical because this is going to be a close election in november. some democrats are actually not so happy that you won. i mean, how do you deal with that? >> well, those are individuals. many of whom are not in the state of florida. i'm very excited by the fact that i beat a billionaire that spent $26 million in falsehood ads and what have you to try to win the nomination. what i do know is the fact that a super majority of democrats, some 20-plus percent more voted for me than my opponent. i am the nominee. i don't believe that i'm in a position to say that i will be the one taking votes away from charlie crist. he decided to bail out of the republican primary when he noticed that he was not going to win that primary. i stuck in my primary and fought. that's what i'm going to do as a united states senator. i'm the only candidate in this race that has won by a popular vote in a contested primary.
i look forward to capitalizing on that, because there's vast differences between myself and the other two life-long republicans that are in this race. i'm the only pro-choice candidate in this race. i'm the only person that stood up to oil companies in this race, before and after the b.p. spill with 100% environmental record. i'm the only person that fought against higher credit card fees in congress, and stood up for veterans. i think as this race moves on, we will see more of an equalization of the polling numbers. i think those individuals, opinion-makers, that are out there will see that i am the individual that can win and will win this senate seat here in florida. >> schieffer: congressman, have you gotten any assurances from the white house yet that barack obama is coming to florida to campaign for you? or in fact, do you want him down there? >> well, that's another interesting piece. president obama came down, like, seven days before the primary.
he didn't have to do that. we went to a sandwich shop together to show his support of my candidacy. he's always said that he's supported my candidacy for the senate. president clinton did three rallies here in florida. he looks to do more. i'm pretty sure the president will be coming back. we welcome him to come back. i think the relationship of knowing that we can count on support nationally is so very, very important. >> schieffer: let me ask you this. the reason that charlie crist is running as an independent is because the tea party candidate, marco rubio, looked like a shoe- in for the republican nomination. in fact, he got it. now, we had a lot of people here in washington yesterday at this enormous rally. it wasn't billed as political, but a lot of folks from the tea party were there. what did you think of that rally yesterday? what's your take on it? and do you think the tea party is going to be a major factor come november?
>> i think that the governor and marco rubio will be fighting for the tea party vote. i believe that this is america. folks can come together and rally any time they get ready. but what i do know, here in florida, the majority of floridians feel that both of the candidates in this race are far right of the positions that should be taken here. we have to move to a cleaner transportation system here in florida. we have to make sure that we create green jobs and not just use them as a talking point with tax credits, and supporting local governments like st. lucie county here in florida, where g.e. is seriously considering relocating their solar initiative here in florida that will create blue- collar jobs and white-collar jobs. i'm very, very excited about where i am and where the other two candidates are because it's a clear choice. i have a forward lean towards growing florida's economy. >> schieffer: congressman, we're going to have to stop it there. just because of time. thank you for being with us. hopefully, we can check in with you down the trail. we'll be back in one minute with
haley barbour and debbie wasserman shultz. [ male announcer ] this is rachel, a busy mom. she starts at dawn and so does her back pain. that's two pills for a four hour drive. the drive is done. so it's a day of games and two more pills. the games are over, her pain is back, that's two more pills. and when she's finally home, but hang on, just two aleve can keep back pain away all day with fewer pills than tylenol. this is rachel, who chose aleve and two pills for a day free of pain.
♪ and get the all day pain relief of aleve in liquid gels. ♪ >> schieffer: back now with republican governor of mississippi haley barbour. he's in biloxi this morning and democratic congressman debbie wasserman shultz who joins us from miami. governor barbour, i have to say if there is such a thing as an establishment republican, i would nominate you for that title. here you were chairman of the republican national committee. you were a long-time lobbyist here in washington, and now you are the popular, i would also add, governor of mississippi. so i want to start with this. if joe miller does win in alaska, it will be the second time this cycle that an incumbent republican senator has been denied his party's nomination to the senate. the other being bob bennett of utah. is this a little bit scary to
the establishment types like you? >> not to me. when i was chairman of the rnc, bob, as you mentioned, in the last decade, we never took sides in primaries. we did not endorse incumbents over challengers. i'm the chairman of the republican governors association today. we do not take sides in primaries. here's why. the republicans of alaska have the right and should pick their nominee. they don't need somebody in mississippi to tell them who ought to be the senator of alaska. >> schieffer: debbie wasserman shultz, we had this big rally here yesterday on the anniversary of martin luther king's "i have a dream" speech. i talked to those two candidates that you just heard about it. what's your take on what happened here yesterday? does this suggest that the tea party is a major political force now, because a lot of these folks were members of the tea party.
>> well, it certainly is clear that there is a raging battle going on within the republican party for the heart and soul of the republican party. tuesday was yet another example of that. hard to know where the republican party ends and the tea party begins. they've struggled to elect and actually have not been able to successfully elect their moderate candidates, the mainstream candidates. the tea party candidates seem to be winning because the tea party republicans are energized in their primaries. it's really caused, i think, a pretty difficult problem for them going into the november elections because they have candidates like miller who are on the extreme right wing fringe, who want to end medicare as we know i, yank the safety net out from under our senior citizens. i mean, americans are really going to have a very clear choice set up in november between moderate democrats who are centrists, where the country is, and republicans who are really off on the right wing fringe.
there's countless examples of that across the country. >> schieffer: let me ask governor barbour about that. what about that, governor barbour? because you just heard joe miller, who may wind up as the nominee for the republicans up in alaska, saying he's going to go out and campaign on less money for alaska, less federal dollars coming in. he has taken several controversial stands like that. i must say, to his credit, he didn't back off of them when i asked him about it this morning. isn't that going to make it harder for these republican candidates to get elected, because down in kentucky, you have rand paul who has the nomination for the senate there talking about, well, maybe we ought to rethink the civil rights act of '64 and '65. you've got joe buck, who won the nomination up in colorado. he's talking about bicycle paths being a... might lead to u.n. control of something or another. it seems to me you do have an exotic crew out there this time.
>> the administration and the democratic congress have taken the biggest lurch to the left in policy in american history. no congress, no administration that has run this far to the left in such a small period of time. there is a reaction to that. those hundreds of thousands or hundred thousand, however many there were on the mall yesterday, were reacting to that. they're very concerned about where our country is being driven by the democratic majority. as far as talking about less money, look, my budget this year in mississippi is 13% less than it was two years ago. i cut spending 9.7% last year. and frankly, nobody much noticed the difference. we were able to continue to provide services. people weren't kicked off medicaid. the fact is the country is going to have to spend less money. if joe miller was trying to say that in a different way, he is right if what he's saying is our
country has got to spend less money. we're been on a spending spree that made drunken sailors have a bad name. >> schieffer: congressman wasserman shultz, what do you think the overriding issue is going to be? i guess the conventional wisdom is that, all other things aside, a lot of is this is going to hinge on what shape the economy is come october. >> there's no question about that. you know, i mean, governor barbour, i know, is certainly an advocate for his state, but it's hard to look at states like my home state of florida, like his state of mississippi and look at the graduation rates, where we're near the bottom or at the bottom when it comes to graduation rates in public education from high school, when it comes to spending on taking care of the neediest in america. these are questions that any governor should be fighting for. but when i comes to jobs and the economy, that's the driving issue for the november election.
we have a lot of evidence that the economy has begun to turn around. we have a long way to go. we've got to make sure we continue to push hard. but the american people are going to make a choice in november between right-wing extreme republican candidates who want to take us back to where we were when president bush was in office, back slide toward the bush era, change social security to a privatized program that invests the money in the stock market. where would we have been if we had done that in the last few years? voucherize medicare and essentially change our tax policies to one that is again focused on the wealthiest 2% of americans. we gave americans 95% of americans a tax cut, so i don't know how giving the overwhelming majority of americans a tax break is a lurch to left. it's certainly been moderate and centrist and focused on trying to make sure that this economy gets a jump start. >> schieffer: let me just ask
governor barbour, one of the big things that's going to be coming up here in the fall is whether to extend the bush tax cuts. is it your position that all of them ought to be extended or just those for the middle class? >> we should not have any tax increases. tax increases in the height of the congresswoman says this economy is recovering. i can assure you 80% of the people who are watching us on tv right now know that the economy is not recovering. there's no recovery on main street. i can tell you that for sure. in an economy like this, we all need... we don't need to be raising anybody's taxes. if you know why this was this outpouring yesterday and why the numbers are so bad for the democrats, you ask, what's the issue? the issue is jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. yet for more than a year the democrats in congress and the administration were totally focused on a health care reform bill that's going to increase the cost of our health care. and the american people wanted
to be talking about jobs. >> schieffer: congresswoman waser shultz i'll give you 20 seconds to just respond to that because we have run out of time here. >> absolutely. if you look at the month before president obama took office, we were bleeding $750,000 plus jobs a month. fast forward a year-and-a-half later and we are adding about 100,000 jobs a month in the private sector. we've made the auto industry profitable. we've turned things around. we have a long way to go. we're going to continue to push hare. but the november election is a choice and the american people are going to continue to support democrats because they want to continue to move in the direction that we've been going not back slide toward the bush era. >> schieffer: the clock has just run out. thanks to both of you for an enlightening discussion. i'll be back in just a moment. >> thank you, bob.
>> schieffer: finally today, last week, two people i know were diagnosed with colon cancer, one of the deadliest of all cancers. because my wife and i are cancer survivors, because my mother died of cancer because she was afraid to go to the doctor, i've come to know a little about the disease. my friends have a serious illness, but there is a path to recovery that was not there not so long ago. as i talked to them last week, i was again struck by the remarkable progress science is making to give them that path. being told we have cancer no longer means we've been given the death penalty. like all scientific breakthroughs, advances in cancer research began and depend on basic research. science's ability to go not where doctrine or tradition dictates, but where research takes it. ironically, my friends were diagnosed about the time a federal judge issued the injunction placing limits on stem cell research, an area that holds the greatest possibilities
for medical breakthroughs since penicillin. i have the greatest respect for those who disagree, but to me, putting restraints on stem cell research is not far from those who refused to look through galileo's telescope because they believed their doctrines and tradition had already told them what they would see. their beliefs, too, were deeply held. but where would the store of knowledge be had they prevailed? as we try to untangle the arguments over stem cells, let us also consider this. no civilization, no society has survived if its people came to believe they knew enough and needed to know nothing more. back in a minute. but it's just the beginning of our work. i'm iris cross. bp has taken full responsibility for the clean up in the gulf and that includes keeping you informed. my job is to listen to the shrimpers and fishermen,
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