tv Face the Nation CBS September 9, 2012 8:30am-9:00am PDT
>> today on facethe nation, with two months left until election day, the sprint to the finish it on. the conventions are over, and all four candidates are back out on the campaign trail. scott pelley sat down with the president yesterday in florida. >> governor romney said he wouldn't take a deal with $10 of spending cuts for $1 of revenue increase, and the problem is the math or the arithmetic, as president clinton said, doesn't add up. >> we'll have some of that interview and then we'll talk with republican vice presidential hopeful paul ryan to see what he has to say about that and the president's ability to work with republicans. >> well, i have been more than happy to work with him, but he hasn't been acting like that. what we learned with this presidency, he says one thing and does another. >> we'll talk to white house senior adviser david plouffe, and we'll have a preview of
scott pelley's "60 minutes" interview with one of the navy seals who shot osama bin laden. and we'll get analysis frommed is sang of the "new york times." "vanity fair's" dee dee myers, "washington post's" michael gerson, and cbs news political director, john dirk son. it's all ahead because this is "face the nation." captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news in washington, "face the nation" with bob schieffer. >> good morning, and welcome to "face the nation"." bob salve today but we're joined by scott pelley who is back in new york after a trip to st. petersburg, florida, to sit down with president obama. scott, what did the president have to say? >> pelley: noragreat to be with you this morning. the the president and mr. romney have so many campaign stops in florida and ohio, it almost looks like they're running for governor. but we caught up with the president in st. petersburg, as
you said, and one of the things we wanted to ask him about is how things would change in a second obama term. we pointed out to the president, of course, if he is re-elected, it is very likely that john boehner will still be speaker of the house, and paul ryan will still be the chairman of the budget committee. so i wanted to know from the president how they would try to achieve a grand bargain on the budget with all of the players remaining the same. here's a little bit of what the president had to say. if you win, will you be willing to compromise? what are you willing to give in order to complete this grand bargain on the budget that has failed? >> well, keep in mind that the trillion dollars that we cut, you know, was a painful exercise. there are some programs that are worthy, but we just can't afford right now. and i'm willing to do more on that front because, as i argued at the convention, those of us
who believe that government can be a force for good when it comes to creating opportunity for folks who are willing to work hard and play by the rules to get into the middle class, we have an obligation to make sure government works. and there are still ways. there are still programs that don't work, there are still ways we can make it leaner and more efficient. so i'm more than happy to work with the republicans. and what i've said is in reducing our deficits, we can make sure that we cut $2.50 per every $1 of increased revenue. >> pelley: that's the deal they turned down, mr. president. >> and that's part of what this election is about. governor romney said he wouldn't take a deal with $10 in spending cuts for $1 of revenue increases. and the problem is the math or the arithmetic, as president clinton said, doesn't add up. you can't reduce the deficit
unless you tack a balanced approach that says we have to make government leaner and more efficient but we also have to ask people like me or governor romney, who have done better than anybody else over the course of the last decade, and whose taxes are just about lower than they've been in the last 50 years, to do a little bit more. and if we go back to the tax rates for folks making more than $250,000 a year, back to the rates we had under bill clinton, we can close the deficit, stabilize the economy, keep taxes on middle class families low, provide the certainty that i think all of us would be looking for, and i'm also willing, by the way, to make some adjustments to medicare and medicaid that would strengthen the programs but the way to do that is to keep health care costs low. it's not to voucherrize programs so that suddenly seniors are the ones who are finding their expenses much higher. >> there will be more of scott's
interview with president obama all this week on the "cbs evening news" and scott will be back later in the broadcast for a preview of tonight's "60 minutes." for reaction to president obama, we talked to congressman paul ryan from a campaign stop in fresno, california. congressman, thanks for joining us. >> good to be with you, norah. >> you heard the president say it. he said he is more than happy to work with republicans. are you more than happy to work with him? >> well, i have been more than happy to work with him, but he hasn't been acting like that. you know, what we learned in this presidency, he says one thing and does another. he gave us four budgets, norah, each of which had trillion-dollar deficits, none of which ever, ever proposed to actually balance the budget. his allies in the senate haven't even given us a budget for three years. so we've passed budgets. we've led. mitt romney and i have offered a specific plan to prevent a debt crisis, to save medicare and social security, to create jobs, to get us growing again. it's a five-point plan for a
stronger middle class, which is aimed to get us out of this weak recovery we have and get us back to growing our economy like we ought to. we've got a troubling jobs report on
friday, norah, that said for everybody who has a job, nearly four people stopped looking for a job. this isn't working. president obama's rhetoric to the side, it's just not working, and that's why we're offering the country a better choice. >> let me ask you about that better choice, that specific plan that you mentioned. you and mitt romney are proposing $5 trillion in tax cuts. you're proposing to increase defense spending by $2 trillion. explain to me how that adds up, and you can cut the deficit. >> neither of those numbers aree accurate, number one. number two, we're talking about revenue-neutral tax reform-- meaning not losing revenue but changing the way we raise revenue by plugging loopholes and tax shelters that are uniquely enjoyed by higher income earners so more of their income is subject to taxation so that we can lower tax rates for everybody-- families, small
businesses, get the economic growth and job creation. there are democrats who agree with us. unfortunately, it's not president obama. he has been on the outside looking in on this fair long time. he's proposing to put a new high tax rate on successful small businesses on top of the current tax code, and add even more complexities will to the tax code-- >> quar saying obamacare, that's what you mean. >> i was talking about the tax he mentioned in his quote that you just played for me. that particular tax increase that he's talking about pays for about 8% of his proposed deficit spending. if you add all of his tax increase, like the obamacare tax you're talking about, they don't even pay for a fifth of his proposed deficit spending. >> the tax policy center has done an analysis, and they say there is no way to pay for the cuts that you've proposed without either increasing the deficit or raising taxes on the middle class because you would have to get rid of deductions and loopholes that benefit the middle class in order to pay for those tax cuts that you're proposing and that increase in
defense spending. >> so the good news for us, norah, is they didn't even actually analyze the romney plan. there are five other studies-- >> there isn't a romney plan which has been specificked about which deductions and loopholes he'd close. >> let me address that. one study from princeton said we can accomplish exactly what we're saying we want to accomplish, which is broaden the base, lower rates. what do i mean when i say that? it's not what loopholes are out there, but who gets them. and we're saying by not having higher income earners utilize these tax shelters we can lower tax rates oner because they pay more of their money to taxation. here's the other issue, we don't want to do in a back room like obamacare was done. we want to work with congress, work with the public to find out the priorities we want in the tax system and what numbers do show and what studies back us up we can lower tax rates by plugging loopholes and still maintain special preferences for middle class taxpayers, not for higher income taxpayers, though.
that's what we want to do. we don't want to say our way or the highway. away whatwe learned from my experience, my working with democrats in congress, mitt romney as governor of a democratic state, is you don't say, "here's my plan. take it or leave it." you say, "here are the outlines of my plans for job creation and economic growth." >> let's talk about some of the cuts that have been agreed to. mitt romney said in an interview on nbc that republicans were wrong to agree to a deal last summer that included automatic cuts to defense spending in exchange for this agreement to raise the debt ceiling. he said it was a big mistake by republicans. he's talking about you, because you voted for those cuts, correct? >> i did. you know why i voted for it is it because i was working to find common ground with democrats to get a downpayment on deficit reduction. i worked with president obama to find common ground to get a downpayment on deficit reduction. it wasn't a big down payment, but it was a step in the right direction. here's the issue-- bob woodward wrote is this in his book-- the
devastating defense cutses were insisted upon by the obama administration so they would not have to face another debt ceiling increase before the election. that's putting politics ahead of national security. more to the point, norah, i authored bill, brought it to the floor, and passed it to prevent the president's irresponsible, devastating defense cuts from occurring by cutting wasteful washington spending in other areas of government to replace these defense cuts. >> congressman, these defense cuts are part of the budget control act. you voted for the budget control act. in fact i went and looked. you put on the a statement at the time it was passed and you called it a victory, and you called it a positive step forward. >> so-- >> so you voted for defense cuts and now you're criticizing the president for those same defense cuts that you voted for and called a victory. >> no, no, i have to correct you on this, norah. i voted for a mechanism that says a sequester will occur if we don't cut $1.2 trillion spending in government. we offered $1.2 trillion-- the super committee offered it.
we passed in the house a bill to prevent those cuts by cutting spending elsewhere. the senate's done nothing. president obama's done nothing. i wrote another bill, passed it, got signed into law. democrats suspended us. for-- supported us. if president obama is not going to help us to prevent the defense cuts by substituting it from elsewhere, what's his plan for the sequester. he's ignoring the law. he was supposed to give these to us yesterday. so the problem, norah, is we've led. we wanted to have a bipartisan agreement. we got that. and the president hasn't full filled his end of the bipartisan agreement. the goal was not that the defense cuts actually occur expect the dwell was to get to work and cut spending to prevent the defense cutses. >> congressman, it's my understanding as part of the budget krel act there was not just-- control act, there was not just the sequestration, the defense sequestration, but there is also $1 trillion in immediate cuts, including the defense cutes, legal $400 billion, proposed by the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff,
mr. dempsey, as well as secretary panetta. and you also voted for those. and now you're saying that you didn't vote for them. >> we can get into the nomenclature. i voted for the budget control act but the obama administration proposed defense cuts. we don't agree with that. our budget rejected that. and on top of that is another $500 billion in defense cuts. >> right, it's a trillion in defense spending and you voted for it. >> no, noria-- >> voted for it that include defense spending. >> norayou're mistaken. i do not propose the obama budget or the $4 billion in cuts. that's half we don't support. our budget reflected that. number two, we passed legislation to reflect what we want as part of the budget control act, which is to cut spend in addition other areas of government, instead of the pentagon, that bill is sitting in senate right now. president obama has done nothing to support it, to oppose it. he hasn't even shown us how he's going to implement this
sequester. and if you go back and read the tape-- if you go back and read bob woodward's book, the reason the defense cuts are in the sequester as they are, was the insistence of the obama administration. >> let's turn now to foreign policy. president obama said in his convention speech you may have heard, he talked about you and governor romney as newcomers to foreign policy to subscribe to a blustering and blund ring approach. do you have a response to that? >> i think this is what people do when they have nothing else to offer. i think these are the kind of name calling you're going to get from the the president. i have more foreign policy experience coming into this job than president obama did coming into his. mitt romney and i share view that we need peace through strength. that we need to have a strong national defense. i wrote the bill to prevent the sequester from happening because we think those devastating defense cuts will dramatically weaken our national security. we think the president's been wrong on iran, and we think he's dragged his feet on iran, and as a result of his poor iran
policy, they're that much closer to a nuclear weapon. now, the president has had some success. osama bin laden is a perfect example. but by and large, i think what the president is doing here is he can't run onaise record. so he's going to be offering us this kind of rhetoric. >> you can explain how do you have more foreign policy experience than senator obama did? he was on the foreign relations committee. >> i've been in congress for 14 years. he was in the senate for far, far less time that that. i voted-- you know, norah, i voted to send men and women to war. i've been to iraq and afghanistan. i've met with our troops to get their spfs. i've been to the funerals. i've talked to the widows. i've talked to the wives and moms and dads. that's something. that matters. i take this very seriously. i've done doing this for 14 years. >> who do you, america's number one enemy is? >> i think a nuclear iran is our biggest foreign policy threat today. >> the reason i ask you that is mitt romney was criticized during the democratic national
convention for saying russia is without question our number one geopolitical foe. so do you disagree with mitt romney? >> no, i think what he was saying was among the other powers-- china and russia-- that russia stands a great threat. look, i think sending our foreign policy decisions to be cleared through the u.n. security council where we're giving iran and china-- excuse me, russia and china, veto clout over us. that's not good policy. so what we have done through our foreign policy for the obama administration is we've increase the clout in the card of russia and china. i think that was a mistake. >> finally, let me ask you about the time that you gave in terms of when you were asked about running a marathon and you said you had run a two four and 50-something marathon. it turned out of course it was over four hours. when i first heard that, i thought he must have misspoke or perhaps he didn't remember. but a the lo of people-- this keeps coming up.
you are a fitness buff. you are a numbers guy. how did you make that mistake? >> it was an honest mistake. i was 20 years old. i hurt my back when i was 23 or 24 and had to quit running. i herniated a disk in my back. i lost perspective on what normal times were. i ran an ordinary race and i thought the answer i gave was an ordinary time. obviously, it wasn't. it was 22 years ago. you know, i think that's happening here is the president doesn't have a positive story to say, so they're trying to use this kind of rhetoric. my brother's been busting my chops ever since i said that because he is an actual marathon runner and he's been saying, "are you crazy? that's crazy fast." look, it was just an honest mistake. >> remember, everybody was criticizing al gore when he said he invented the internet-- >> 22 years ago-- i stopped running a long time ago because i had back issues. i lost perspective of what ordinary times were. >> all right, congressman ryan who, to be clear, ran an over four hour marathon. thank you, congressman. good to see you.
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i think if we can have a balanced approach, where we cut more spending, we can reform medicare, by savings out of the system and ask a little more for the wealthy, we can have a long-term fickle package that will really help our economy grow. >> you heard paul ryan mention the new bob woodward book, "the price of politics" that the defense cuts, the defense sequestration was put in place at the insistence of the obama administration. is that incorrect? >> well, first of all, you know, congressman ryan,un, mitt romney's running mate, voted for this sequester. as you said he put out a statement praising it. they're acting as if they had nothing to do with this. they voted for this. this sequester, the way it was dealt with was to make sure defense spending as well as domestic programs were part of the sequester is common. it's been used through the years in congressional action. so this is something that was done to force action. now, congress is trying-- republicans in congress are
trying to run away from the responsibility they signed up for. so, again, at the end of the day, you have to step back, everyone, whether the simpson-bowles commission, other independent analysts who looked at our fickle situation, say the only way we're going to solve our deficit challenges is to take a balanced approach. so the barrier to solving our fiscal challenges, the barrier to the sequester, is mitt romney, paul ryan, and too many republicans in congress, not all, but too many refuse to ask anything of the very wealthy. they want to put all the burden on the middle class, all the burden on seniors, and that's not the right way forward for our country. >> david, i'm sure a lot of americans are sitting at home scratching their heads and saying, "boy, this is deja vu all over again. didn't we just have this discussion about the debt ceiling, and the secret republicans decided to hold hands and jump off this cliff together. everybody agreed on these defense cuts, the sequestration, in order to, as an enforcement mechanism. so both sides, the president and the republicans in concerning would come back to the table
and, yet, neither side has done that. where is the president's leadership on this so that this country does not get stuck with another downgrade or something like that that could lead to another recession? >> well, you know, you have to step back. obviously the the debt ceiling was not a pleasant situation. one thing that did emerge out of it was we cooperated with the republicans in congress and democrats in congress to cut over $1 trillion in spending. very significant. down payment. the president has a plan to reduce the deficit by a total of $4 trilogy york a balanced approach. you know we have some deadlines coming up, obviously, after the election. you have a sequester deadline, tax cuts expiring. those tend to be forth actions in washington. and i do think one of the messages that will come through in this election is the american people want us to compromise and they want a balanced approach. i don't think anybody-- this president has been-- we've taken some heat from our own party for our willingness to compromise. we have been out there, willing to meet them halfway. and that is what is going to be required-- you might remember during the republican debates, the republican candidates for
president were asked if you could get one for 10, $10 in spending cuts for $1 in revenue, would you take it? mitt romney refused to raise his hand. that's not going to be the answer here. we have to have balance. >> we just finished the democratic national convention, the number of big speeches there, bill clinton won a lot of praisefor his speech. how come bill clinton, perhaps, was a better communicator than barack obama about drawing differences with the republican party? >> well, i think the president's speech was extremely well received by american people. we're not as interested so much in what the pundit gallery has to say. you know, some pundits have said good things about the president's speech. we thought the president's speech met the american people exactly where they're living. tell us where we are and how do we move forward with a middle class economic strategy that's really going to grow the economy and enhance middle class security. we looked at our convention as a three-day package. i think the first lady, president clinton, vice president biden, president obama, i think we come out of
our convention with some momentum. this is-- >> did you get a bounce? >> this is a close race, you're not going to see-- well, you're not going to see huge things. i think we definitely are going to help ourselveses in terms of turnout. i think obama supporters are very enized. and i think independent voters what they saw from the president, president clinton and other speakers was a plan to move forward. everybody understands we're in a tough economy. that seems to be the republican message. they just keep on talking about the tough economy. the president has a plan to move us forward and continue to recover. what they heard from the republicans was the same old failed recipes. >> you're one of the smartest political strategists out there and everyone looks at the national polls and says the race is deadlock. ed what do you see in the key battleground states? is president obama ahead? >> norawe always assumed presidential elections in our country tend to be very close. we don't think this one is going to be any exception. we think-- going to be very close in eight or so states. we think in the battlegrounds states, ohio, virginia,
colorado, florida, where we are today-- we have a small but important lead and we think that was enhanced coming out of both of our conventions. >> david plouffe, good to see you, thank you so much for joining us. >> thanks, norah. ...what should we invest in? maybe new buildings? what about updated equipment? they can help, but recent research shows... ...nothing transforms schools like investing in advanced teacher education. let's build a strong foundation. let's invest in our teachers so they can inspire our students. let's solve this.
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