CBS "Face The Nation" - Transcript
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BOB SCHIEFFER: And, good morning again. Well, we welcome Senator Brown for his first
Sunday morning interview since being sworn in as a United States Senator. And, welcome,
Senator. I want to say every day, including yesterday, seems to ring news of some new outrage on Wall Street. But your Republican Leader Mitch McConnell came out flatly against the financial reforms that the Democrats are going to bring to the Senate floor next week or this week, maybe. It sounded like the Republican response to health care reform--just we're against it. President Obama pushed back about as hard as we've heard him lately. He accused
McConnell of taking that stance after a meeting with big Wall Street bankers. Listen to this.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA (Yesterday): Lo and behold, when he returned to Washington,
the Senate Republican Leader came out against common sense reforms that we've proposed.
In doing so, he made the cynical and deceptive assertion that reform would somehow enable
future bailouts, when he knows that it would do exactly the opposite.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Now, you have already said you're against this reform. You're with Senator
McConnell. But what about that statement by the President?
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN (R-Massachusetts): Well, I think the President's political arm is
now taking over this debate. And it's unfortunate because I, like many others in my state and
throughout the country, want banks to be banks. They don't want them to be casinos. They don't want them to take risky bets on our money. And, I think that this is an issue that we can clearly come to common ground and just solve the problem. Where there're problems, we should fix them. But the regulation and the-- the bill that's being proposed by the banking chairman dramatically affects businesses-- mutual-- for example, Liberty Mutual, MassMutual. These folks are-- are caught in that-- that-- that regulation as well. It's going to cost potentially twenty-five to thirty-five thousand jobs. And--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Well, now, wait a minute, Senator. How-- how can you say
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: Well, I-- I can say it very clearly because the-- the regulations that
are-- they're trying to reel in with some of the risky he-- hedging-- that bets are doing also affects companies like-- like I just described in Massachusetts. It's-- it's very clear. And-- and speaking with Secretary Geithner the other day I-- I certainly noted the-- the President's comments. But, Secretary Geithner has some of the same criticisms of the bill. In that, it doesn't end the bailout mentality of the big bank--the too-big-to-fail concept. And, in addition, there are a lot of things in the Dodd bill that-- that are just bad for business, small businesses in particular. And we should do better. And, I've-- I called the President out the other day and the administration to do better and stop politicizing these issues and just start solving problems.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But don't you think that Senator McConnell might be a little bit guilty of
politicizing when he-- he comes out and just says flatly, "No, we're against it?"
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: He's not saying-- he's not saying no to financial reform unless I'm
mistaken because that's never the impression I've gotten in the seventy-three days since I've
been there. Throughout our caucuses, that issue has been in the forefront with the teams that
are negotiating with the banking chairman to try to find common sense reforms and-- and
address situations like the one that I just pointed out with-- where companies are-- are caught in the big web. And, when you have government interfering in-- in-- in businesses-- small
businesses' lives and just throwing-- like a-- a one-size-fits-all approach just to score political
points, it's-- it's sad. We should be looking at real issues-- I'm sorry, real solutions to these
problems. And, to politicize, it is clear what they're with, you know, trying to score points and he should do better.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I have to say, though, when you look at what's coming out of Wall
Street, I mean, every day tells us--
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN (overlapping): Listen. Bob, I agree-- I agree with you.
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): --the headlines tell us of some outrage. I mean, just yesterday,
the SEC claims that Goldman Sachs, which has been sort of the gold standard for Wall Street
that they defrauded customers that brought risky-- bought risky investments tied to some
subprime mortgages. Even worse, risky investments packages that had been put together by
hedge fund managers who were planning to bet against them and reap huge profits. That's got to tell you--
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN (overlapping): And that's-- absolutely.
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): --that something has got to be done here.
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: Absolutely. And I said we want banks to be banks. We don't want
them to be casinos. And I'm glad the SEC is doing their job. And they should bring those
charges, because it's wrong and we should do something about it. But that's not what the bill
does. The bill actually captures a lot of other things that-- that really in other institutions that
have had played no role in what we're talking about. So if we're going to do some realistic
reforms, let's do it and let's stop playing games and let's stop politicizing it and let's get back
down to business.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Are you prepared to work with the administration? You have said
you're against this bill.
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: Yeah.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But are you prepared to support some kind of reforms if, in fact, you have to
go against the majority of your party?
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: Well, I've-- I've done that before. I-- I look at each bill in an
independent manner and-- and vote accordingly. I did it in the first jobs bill. I-- I look at each and every proposal and read it and make sure I understand it, make sure it's good for
Massachusetts, and ultimately good for the country. But we absolutely need to fix certain areas
in-- in financial reform. And I've said very publicly that we should do that. But this isn't-- this
should-- issue shouldn't be politicized. This should be something that we all come together and
just say, "Let's just get it done, folks." And-- and when the-- when the President politicizes this
and just to try to score points and spot people, it's wrong. And I-- I'm ready to move and-- and
work as I always have been on each and every issue.
BOB SCHIEFFER: So-- so, what should be done here? What's-- what's the next step?
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: Well, the next step is to bring people, put in a room and start
solving problems. And-- and as evidenced by what I've tried to do, which is to vote with the
Democrats and be the sixtieth vote and-- or be the forty-first vote. Washington is broken. People are hurting. And they want us to do better. And we should do better.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Would you be prepared to filibuster this bill rather than let it come to the
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN (overlapping): Well, the present-- the present bill--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): --for debate.
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: --the present bill is not-- is not a good bill, period. I-- I've have
reviewed it. We've analyzed it. There-- there're so many things that-- that are--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): So, the answer is yes.
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: In this particular instance, yes.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But you're also ready to work on something else?
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: I-- I made that very clear to the chairman the other day.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Senator, you came to town to change things. You came to the Senate a
couple of months. You've been there a while now. What do you think of the place?
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: Well, certainly, I-- I-- I'm honored to represent the people in
Massachusetts. And it's been a humbling experience. And I-- I was-- it will be, gosh, three- Three months tomorrow that I was-- I was elected. Seventy-three days I've been in, and I've tried to-- certainly miss the-- my wife and my kids and the dogs. But, there-- there are certain things that we're very proud of. And that's getting an office up and running, getting our constituent services up and running, and bigger buildings, bigger numbers, same issues. And I'm just looking forward to, you know, start to get Washington moving again.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, you weren't very complimentary to Washington and how it was working
before you got here.
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: Right.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Have you changed your mind about anything, anything surprised you,
anything that pleased you or displeased you?
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: Well, I've enjoyed meeting everybody. I'm honored to be here with
you. I never thought I'd be here, certainly on this show. But Washington is broken. The
perception is-- is correct. There is too much partisan politics involved. And-- and as I've said
before I'll be the forty-first vote when it's appropriate and when it-- it deals with this-- issues
affecting my state and this country. And I'll be the sixtieth vote, because we need to get things moving. People are-- are hurting. They're angry. And they want us to solve problems. And we need to get our fiscal house in order. We need to deal with-- with the-- the taxes and spending issues and we need to focus on terrorism and how we are going to keep our people safe and secure.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You got elected and the Tea Party took a lot of credit for your election, but
you passed up the chance to appear at their rally in Boston with Sarah Palin. You had a good
excuse. The Senate was in session. But I notice you didn't show up at any of the rallies around
Washington here. What is your relationship to the Tea Party? Do you consider yourself a tea
partier as it were?
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: Well-- well, I consider somebody who's a member of the Tea
Party being a citizen, a concerned citizen who's concerned about the economic stability of our
country. That's-- in my definition that's what a Tea Party member is. And those people--
Democrats, Republicans, Independents, young, old, happy, sad, rich, poor--they're very
concerned about where our country is going financially. I am very thankful for the Tea Party's
support I-- I received. And I'm also thankful for the 1.1 million votes I received and all the
support from every walk of life and every branch. And, I'm a Republican, Bob, as you'd
remember from Massachusetts--thirteen percent enrollment. And if I didn't have the support of
all different types of groups I never would have been elected. So, I respect what they're doing.
You're right. I was voting. I had-- we're dealing with nuclear pro-- proliferation in Iran. The next
day, when you-- the Washington rally, I was the subcommittee chair on dealing with the Afghan police forces and the six billion dollars we've spent on trying to uplift that program. And where is the money? Why isn't the program working? In addition to that, you know, I had votes. I was sent here by the Tea Party members and everybody else to do my job.
BOB SCHIEFFER: well, would you have, for example, gone to the rally in Boston and appeared
with Sarah Palin had the Senate not been in session?
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: Well, I've been to rallies before. I spoke a couple of years-- last
year at two rallies in Worcester, before I was elected. And, you know, my role now is, as an
elected official, is to do my job. And that's not-- that wasn't-- those weren't the circumstances.
And I have great respect for-- for Sarah and what she's doing. She's got a lot on her plate. And, she's plays a role in-- in-- in that movement, and-- and-- and just the-- the-- the Republican
Party. And-- and--
BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you-- do you agree with-- you know, our poll last week of the-- the CBS
in it's poll showed that most people, a large group of people in the Tea Party think the President is pushing the country towards socialism. Do you believe that?
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: I know that the President should start to focus on jobs and job
creation and-- and-- and-- and-- and that hasn't been done. Since I've been here we've done
health care, which they obviously rammed through by using a parliamentary procedure that has never been used for something this big ever. And then the bill as we're finding out is-- is flawed,seriously flawed. It's going to cost medical device companies in my state, you know, thousands of jobs. But then, we're taking-- we're talking now about regulation reform. We're politicizing that. Maybe-- I've heard illegal immigration is going to come forth. When we're in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the only thing they talked about from the Presidents all the way down to the poorest farmer were jobs. Since I've been here, I've heard zero talk about jobs. So, I'll let-- leave that up to the political pundits, but I know from what I've seen that we need to focus on jobs and the President should start to do so.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But, do you decline to answer my question: is he pushing the country
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: I don't think he's making proper choices when it comes to dealing
with the-- the free market and free enterprise and allowing businesses to-- to really run
themselves and create jobs. And as a result, larger government is happening and we're creating jobs but they're all government jobs. And the private sector is definitely-- definitely suffering.
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Do you think the President shares American values?
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: I-- I think the President is a good man. He's-- has a good family.
He has two wonderful daughters. And I recognize that challenge what-- what that can hold and-- and I respect the office of President. And I've always said that, you know, he is an American. I know he cares deeply about our country. But it-- it's just different priorities. And my priority is to keep-- is to deal with the taxes and spending issues to get our economy moving again and to, also, keep us safe so when we tran-- transport ourselves throughout the country and the world, we know that our loved ones are going to be coming home.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let's talk about Afghanistan. You chose as your first overseas trip as a
Senator to go to Afghanistan. You met with the troops, but you also talked to the leader over
there, Mister Karzai--
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: Sure.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --who's been saying some, frankly, pretty weird things, like at one point
saying, he might join the Taliban, at another point seeming to suggest that all the corruption
that's going on over there is somehow the fault of foreigners, i.e., us.
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: Yeah.
BOB SCHIEFFER: How did you find this man?
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: Well, I-- I sat right here, very similar. I asked him those tough
questions. What about his comments about the Taliban? What about his-- is he a true ally? Are-
- are we friends, are we enemies? What-- what's the relationship? And don't forget, his father
got killed by the Taliban. He-- he hates the Taliban. There's no way that he's going to--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Why would he say that?
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: I think he's under a lot of stress, his-- daily assassination
attempts, obviously dealing with forty-plus coalition partners, dealing with the corruption and
other political issues that his country faces, the challenges that are there. And after our meeting, I was-- I was convinced that he was sincere. He-- he recognizes and appreciates the-- the sacrifice and support our men and women have given his country. The financial assistance that we provided and the-- I-- I left Afghanistan hopeful that General McChrystal's plan in working hand in hand with the coalition forces, the tribal leaders, and the individuals in Afghanistan that that's the best chance we have of success.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me add finally, your daughter. How does she say her name, Ayla?
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: Ayla.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Ayla Brown--
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: Yes.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --has joined CBS News as the correspondent on--
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN (overlapping): That's right.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --THE EARLY SHOW. So, how do you feel about that?
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: Well, she's a broadcast journalism major. And she's been dealing
with TV ever since her time on Idol. And, I've watched her-- her segments. They're very
professional and she works very, very hard, that she's always-- even Simon said she was the--
the hardest worker on the show. So, she's going to have to stand on her own two feet. And, I'm very excited for that opportunity. And, I hope she takes advantage of it.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Senator, thank you for coming by. And, we hope to see you many times
down the road.
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN (overlapping): Great. I-- I'm looking forward to it. Thank you.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Glad to have you. And, we'll be back in one minute with some analysis.
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