Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

CBS News "Face the Nation" - Transcript


Location: Unknown


MR. SCHIEFFER: Today on "Face the Nation" gender politics. Will women make the difference in the 2008 presidential race? And what about Sarah Palin?

John McCain wanted a game changer, and he got one when he picked little-known Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential nominee. And for sure, she has changed the game. Democrats immediately charged she lacks the experience to be a heartbeat from the presidency. Republicans say Democrats are smearing her and acting sexist. Is there a double standard?

We'll talk to four women who have run for office: Governor Janet Napolitano, Democrat of Arizona, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat of Florida, Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and former Republican Governor Jane Swift of Massachusetts. We'll talk about it from every angle.

Then I'll have a final word on -- (inaudible). But first, women in politics on "Face the Nation."


MR. SCHIEFFER: Good morning again. And our guests this morning are literally spread around the country. In Dallas, Texas, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. From Pittsburgh, the Governor of Arizona Janet Napolitano. In Albany, New York, former Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift. And finally, from Fort Lauderdale, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Senator Hutchison, I want to start with you. And before we get to what we're here to talk about this morning, I want to get the latest from you on the hurricane down in your home state. I know it hit Galveston very hard. It hit Houston hard. Apparently, though, only four people now known dead. The surge of seawater was not nearly as bad as they thought, but there is a lot of flooding.

So take off your senator hat for a minute here and be our reporter on the scene. What's the latest down there?

SEN. HUTCHISON: Well, thank you very much, Bob. I am on my way to Houston. Tried to get there this morning but couldn't because I'm trying to get to Galveston and meet the secretary of Homeland Security. But I did get a briefing this morning from FEMA. And we have over 40,000 evacuees spread out all over Texas right now. Galveston is very bad.

And the refineries are pretty much down. So we're looking at probably another week or maybe eight or nine days before the refineries are going to be up and going. So the refined gasoline is going to be in a shortage situation because of the power outages and the flooding. So I think it is going to be felt for the next week that we will have gasoline shortages. And people need to be prepared for that.

And then of course, the people who have power outages, which is over 2 million people right now, are not able to get into their homes and restart their lives and clean up their homes and all the streets. You know, the damage is really bad.

MR. SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, thank you very much, Governor (sic), and we'll look forward to more reports. What a lot of people don't know, what I do know, is that before she was even in the Texas legislature and later a senator, Senator Hutchison was a TV reporter. And she showed that this morning with that report.

Our thoughts go out to everybody down there in Texas, Senator.

SEN. HUTCHISON: Thank you very much.

MR. SCHIEFFER: All right. Let's get down to business here. Sarah Palin -- John McCain said he wanted a game changer, and boy, he got one. She did her first interview, and we got to know something about her this week when she talked to Charlie Gibson over at ABC. But Rick Davis, the McCain campaign manager, says she's not going to be doing many interviews with the media until she is being treated with respect and deference.

Now, Jane Swift, you are in charge, I'm told, of sort of the Palin truth squad, and you're here to correct any things that are incorrectly reported about Sarah Palin. So tell me this, should she be treated any differently than anyone else who's running for public office or anyone else who's been picked for a position like this?

MS. SWIFT: Well, I think that she should absolutely not be treated differently. There shouldn't be a double standard. We shouldn't ask of her questions about her ability to do the job that we wouldn't ask a guy in a similar circumstance.

But I think that we also have to acknowledge that because we've had so few women running for these high-level offices, although this is a great year on that front, that we're also not attuned to hearing women's voices and to seeing them in these positions. So it may be that we have to be most attuned to not having a double standard, to not asking any female candidate of either party to clear a bar that we wouldn't ask a male candidate in the same situation to clear.

MR. SCHIEFFER: Congresswoman Schultz, has she been asked to clear some bar that a male candidate wouldn't have been asked to clear?

REP. SCHULTZ: That's just utterly ridiculous. When you have a question about a female candidate's family and whether they are going to be able to, you know, balance work and family, then I think that Governor Swift is absolutely right, that that's out of bounds. I've been asked that question as a mom trying to juggle both things. And you know, typically, a male candidate wouldn't get asked that.

But all Sarah Palin is being asked to respond to is whether she is up to the task. And it is absolutely fair game. And all I've seen is her being asked about her background, her experience, what qualifies her to be vice president and whether she knows anything. So the tough questions that have been asked of Sarah Palin thus far just have been about the fact that she doesn't know anything and isn't ready to be vice president. That's fair game, and it has nothing to do with her gender.

MR. SCHIEFFER: You're saying she doesn't know anything, or you're saying that's what she's been asked about?

REP. SCHULTZ: Well, she's been asked what she knows. She's been asked to demonstrate her foreign policy knowledge which she clearly has very little based on the Charlie Gibson. I mean, she didn't know what the Bush doctrine was. She really had almost no grasp of America's foreign policy. She really knew very little about domestic policy.

Quite honestly, the interview that I saw and that Americans saw on Thursday and Friday were similar to when I didn't read a book in high school and had to read the Cliff Notes and phone in my report. She's Cliff-Noted her performance so far, and all of that is fair game. The American people deserve better than that. They don't deserve more of the same, which what they're getting from John McCain and Sarah Palin right now.

MR. SCHIEFFER: Well, let me go back to Senator Hutchison on that.

I must say, Senator Hutchison, that you were mentioned as a possible running mate. And I've heard even some Republicans say that probably you would be more qualified than Sarah Palin would be to be on the ticket. What do you say to what Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz just said?

SEN. HUTCHISON: Well, let me say that four of the last presidents have been governors. And they have come in, every single one of them, without an in-depth foreign policy experience. But they, like Sarah Palin, read the newspapers. They have a working knowledge of our place in the world and what we should be doing. So I don't think the fact that she hasn't been to the Middle East yet is a factor.

I think what we're looking for and what the McCain-Palin ticket is talking about is changing the way Washington works, and she does have experience in that for sure. She has shaken up Alaska politics.

And she has an instinct about reform and ethics that's very, very strong that people in this country are looking for.

So I think to say that, well, she has very low depth of foreign policy experience, name one governor who's become president who has had in-depth foreign policy experience. The fact of the matter is John McCain has vast foreign policy experience, and he's the candidate for president.

MR. SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, let's talk to John McCain's home state Governor Janet Napolitano about that. You heard what Debbie Wasserman said. You heard what Senator Hutchison said. You ARE a governor. Is she qualified to be there?

GOV. NAPOLITANO: Well, the key issue in this race is not Sarah Palin, it's John McCain and what he is proposing for this country, which really is a continuation of what we've seen over the last seven and a half years on the economy, on energy, on issue after issue. He chose Sarah Palin because she's going to support those views, and that's why she shouldn't be the vice president because she'd be the vice president continuing the same administration, the same failed policies that we seek to change. And that's what change really is about.

MR. SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, I'm going to go to Governor Swift because this morning the Obama campaign sent over a new ad that they're going to be releasing. And what they're saying is that John McCain is the one who's not being fair to women. Listen to this.

(Begin videotaped ad.)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL): I'm Barack Obama, and I approved this message.

ACTRESS: Women earn just 77 cents to the dollar a man makes for doing the same work. John McCain must think that's okay because he opposes a law to fix the problem. McCain's equal-pay proposal? Women need more education and training. He just doesn't get it. McCain says making corporations pay women the same as men for the same work would be a burden on business. Standing with business, not our families. We can't afford more of the same.

(End videotaped ad.)

MR. SCHIEFFER: Tough words, Governor Swift. What's your response to that?

MS. SWIFT: Well, first of all, I'll say that I think what they're referring to is a very narrow decision in the Supreme Court that had more to do with enriching trial lawyers and giving them more of an opportunity to sue with an endless timeframe than about whether or not John McCain has stood up for women.

John McCain supported the Family and Medical Leave Act early on in his career. He actually sponsored the glass ceiling commission. He has done a number of things, including always putting women in positions of leadership within his office. I actually just joined with some folks in honoring members of Congress this week. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, to give credit, was one of those women. And one of the things that we measured in our best of Congress is, do you put women in positions of leadership? And certainly, John McCain passes, has in his Senate career and does now pass that test with flying colors.

MR. SCHIEFFER: Well, all right. But do you believe that he supports equal pay for women?

MS. SWIFT: I think that he does not believe that that is something that should be determined by endless lawsuits. But we all believe that women have an opportunity --

REP. SCHULTZ: He doesn't believe it should be legislated, Governor.

MS. SWIFT: He doesn't believe that we should change --

REP. SCHULTZ: He opposes a bill that would require women get equal pay for equal work.

GOV. NAPOLITANO: I think you just said no, he doesn't believe in it because he has never acted to enforce it.

MS. SWIFT: He doesn't believe that we should --

GOV. NAPOLITANO: You know, and you can't minimize this. His record is very bad on this issue.

MS. SWIFT: He believes that we shouldn't extend forever --

REP. SCHULTZ: He's bad on equal pay for equal work, bad on expanding access to children's health care --

MS. SWIFT: I don't think --

MR. SCHIEFFER: I think we've got a standoff here between Governor Napolitano and Governor Swift. Let me go to Senator Hutchison.

Do you think that John McCain supports equal pay for women?

SEN. HUTCHISON: I know he does. I absolutely know it because the bill they're talking about is a bill that would extend the statute of limitations. And in this case, the person who was alleged to have done the discrimination was dead. And it was years after the discrimination occurred. So what John McCain supports is equal pay for equal work, absolutely. But he's supporting a bill that would have a reasonable statute of limitations so that you can have the evidence for a fair trial. That is the issue here.

MR. SCHIEFFER: Let's let Congresswoman Schultz get a word in here.

REP. SCHULTZ: What Senator Hutchison is talking about is the Lilly Ledbetter case that the Supreme Court just decided against Lilly Ledbetter. And what we're trying to do is make sure we can pass a law that ensures that women, when they have the same job as a many, they're doing the same work, that they are entitled to equal pay. And we want to make sure that that's guaranteed in the law.

Equality should be guaranteed in the law, and John McCain opposes legislation to overturn the Lilly Ledbetter decision that was just handed down by the Bush Supreme Court --

SEN. HUTCHISON: No. No, he doesn't.

REP. SCHULTZ: -- which has taken a hard turn to the right. Yes, he does.

SEN. HUTCHISON: No. No, he doesn't.

REP. SCHULTZ: He's on the record opposing that legislation.

SEN. HUTCHISON: No, there's an alternative bill --

GOV. NAPOLITANO: Well, I gotta tell you, he's been in the Senate --

REP. SCHULTZ: Is he or is he not on the record opposing that legislation?

SEN. HUTCHISON: -- that does require the equal pay for equal work and has a reasonable statute of limitations.

REP. SCHULTZ: No, there is no alternative legislation that ensures that women get equal pay for equal work. And John McCain opposes that bill, and that's outrageous.

SEN. HUTCHISON: Debbie, it's my bill. I know, this was my bill that he supports.

(Cross talk.)

MR. SCHIEFFER: I have to ring the bell here. I have to ring the bell here. I have to give equal time for the people who bought commercials here, so we're going to take a one-minute break. I'll be back. We'll continue all of this.


MR. SCHIEFFER: We're back again, continuing the discussion about McCain versus Obama. Well, we played an Obama ad. I want to play for our panelists today next an ad that the McCain people played. Let's listen to that.

(Begin videotaped ad.)

ACTRESS: He was the world's biggest celebrity, but his star is fading. So they lashed out at Sarah Palin, dismissed her as "good looking." That backfired. So they said she was doing what she was told. Then, desperately, called Sarah Palin a liar. How disrespectful! And how Governor Sarah Palin proves them wrong every day.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): I'm John McCain, and I approved this message.

(End videotaped ad.)

MR. SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, Governor Napolitano, why don't you head up the truth squad for Barack Obama like Governor Swift is heading up the one for Governor Palin. What about that?

GOV. NAPOLITANO: Well, I have to say that one of the disappointing things about this campaign have been John McCain's ad which now have been soundly criticized even by nonpartisan groups as being sorely misleading, taking comments out of context, all the things that in the past, the old John McCain used to criticize. We're now seeing the rejuvenated Karl Rove-faced John McCain, and we see it every day in these kinds of advertisements that really don't assist voters in making the key decision that's facing them right now, which is, who should be the next president of the United States? A man who is standing with Bush 90-plus percent of the time, who has not supported in 26 years in the Senate equal pay and other issues affecting women? Should he she the president, or should it be Barack Obama has stood for all of these issues?

MR. SCHIEFFER: Governor Swift.

MS. SWIFT: Well, first of all, let me just say that I think that the Democrats and many folks are just outraged that John McCain would actually call them on their words that are inappropriate about Sarah Palin. And we do need to step up and say, listen, when you say things that have nothing to do with her position on issues and with her record as governor of Alaska, we are going to call you on it. And if that's painful, then we're sorry.

But I do think that the point is we are trying to determine whether or not we are going to elect John McCain and Sarah Palin, proven ability to change Washington, to bring reform to Washington. Or are we going to elect Barack Obama who, on the bill that we're talking about, sides with the trial lawyers, one of the most powerful special interests in Washington?

REP. SCHULTZ: (Laughs.) On the bill that we're talking about, Governor, John McCain was the deciding vote to defeat the bill in the Senate. And Barack Obama voted for it.

MS. SWIFT: Which is probably why the trial lawyers are giving more money to Barack Obama.

REP. SCHULTZ: When it comes to who is for equal pay and proved it and who is against it, John McCain voted no and was the deciding vote, Barack Obama voted yes. And you know what? At the end of the day, Governor, the truth matters. I am a mom. You're a mom. We both have twins. I raise my kids, and I'm sure Sarah Palin raises her kids to tell the truth and that the truth is important. But when she lies about the fact that she says she went to Iraq and she didn't, when she says that --

MS. SWIFT: She did not lie about saying she went to Iraq.

REP. SCHULTZ: She did. She didn't go to Iraq. She went to Ireland for a refueling stop. She did not go to Iraq.

MS. SWIFT: She visited the troops. The general in charge said that they went to Kuwait and they went across the border. They went into Iraq to visit troops.

REP. SCHULTZ: But they didn't. They were not in Iraq.

MS. SWIFT: That's what the general says.

REP. SCHULTZ: She's -- outside of North America, she's been to Kuwait at the border, and she stopped over in Ireland on a refueling stop. The truth matters, and she's going to get called on the truth, so is John McCain, for the entire campaign. Because in this country, we have to make sure that we move in a new direction. And the American people are tired of the culture of corruption that has hung over the capital for far too long under Republican control. We do not need more of the same.

MS. SWIFT: Well, first of all, John McCain has spent --

(Cross talk.)

MR. SCHIEFFER: May I just interrupt for a moment just to clarify because this just came up over night what Congresswoman Schultz is talking about. Last night, the Obama campaign put out a report that says that Sarah Palin did not go to Iraq, as she has stated, to visit the Alaskan National Guard troops but that she stopped at a border crossing with Kuwait and that she did not get more than one-quarter of a mile inside Iraq. So that is the charge.

You're saying, Governor Swift, that that's overblown?

MS. SWIFT: I think it is overblown. The truth is she went to Kuwait to visit the troops who were going to be fighting in Iraq. She was accompanied by a general who will say they traveled into Iraq. And it has been misreported. But to say that she is lying, in all due respect to Congresswoman Schultz, is just not appropriate. She is not lying.

REP. SCHULTZ: They say she went to Iraq, and she didn't go to Iraq. I mean, it's pretty black and white.

MS. SWIFT: She was in Iraq. The general will tell you that they traveled into Iraq.

REP. SCHULTZ: (Laughs.) No, what the general said is that she never ventured beyond the border crossing. That's what they said.


MR. SCHIEFFER: Okay. All right, I'm just going to call time here and let people make up their own minds on this. I want to ask all four of you -- let me just start with you, Senator Hutchison. Will women be the deciding factor in this election, do you believe?

SEN. HUTCHISON: I think the women will be one of the deciding factors, I do. I think that women are the majority of the voters. They are looking at the experience that Sarah Palin has, and they are also looking at the issues that affect them and how the national security and the economic security of our country is going to affect their lives. So yes, I think so. I think there are other groups as well. I think blue-collar workers will also have a major impact.

MR. SCHIEFFER: Let me get to Governor Napolitano. What about those women who were disappointed that Hillary Clinton didn't get the nomination, Governor Napolitano? Will they -- do you think they're going to go for Sarah Palin?

GOV. NAPOLITANO: Well, I agree with Senator Hutchison in that when you get to the issues that really affect women and their pocketbooks, things like equal pay, help with child care, children's health insurance where Senator McCain time and time again has voted against women and families and their pocketbooks, those issues are going to begin to penetrate. And when you're talking about selecting the next president of the United States, it's those issues, ultimately, that are going to persuade the voters and persuade them that Barack Obama really is the kind of change that we need.

MR. SCHIEFFER: Okay. Congresswoman Schultz.

REP. SCHULTZ: Look, Bob, the issues that matter to women are like the ones that matter to me as a mom. I'm a minivan mom. I drive my minivan around with my kids to practices and games. It cost me $77 to fill up my gas tank last week. That's real money. Women in this country want to make sure that we have a commitment from our president to invest in alternative energy research to truly wean ourselves off our dependence on oil, not just foreign oil. There's no way that we're getting that commitment out of John McCain and Sarah Palin. They oppose expanding access to children's health care. They oppose expanding access to universal health care so that every person in America can go to the doctor when they're sick. We need --

MR. SCHIEFFER: All right. I've gotta stop you there because --

REP. SCHULTZ: -- a new direction for this country. Sure, I could go on and on, it's just so important. (Laughs.)

MR. SCHIEFFER: Fine. Thirty seconds, Governor Swift. Will it be women who turn and decide who wins this election?

MS. SWIFT: I think I actually will try to agree with everybody on the panel to end on a high note in case our children are watching. But the truth is, yes, women make a big difference in the vote. And they're going to look at a whole range of issues. And folks who suggest that women vote based on a single issue, I think, fundamentally don't understand the way women's minds work. They do care about energy independence. And by the way, that is one area of significant expertise for Governor Palin and one of the reasons, in addition to the fact that she's a reformer, that John McCain asked her to join him on the ticket.

MR. SCHIEFFER: All right. Gotta stop right there. Thank you, all, for a really good discussion this morning. Back in one minute.


Skip to top

Help us stay free for all your Fellow Americans

Just $5 from everyone reading this would do it.

Back to top