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CBS "Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer" - Transcript: Ukraine Crisis & Elections


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CHARLIE ROSE: Good to see you. Joining us now from Sea Island, Georgia, this morning, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan. Good morning, Congressman.

REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN (Budget Committee Chairman/R-Wisconsin): Good morning, Charlie. How are you doing?

CHARLIE ROSE: You heard what the vice president said, do you agree with him?

REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: I do, I do. I think we should definitely revisit missile defense. I think if President Obama himself revisited missile defense that would be a very strong signal. I think you could charitably describe the reset policy as naive wishful thinking. And there are a lot of things, I think, we can do to turn course and make a difference. And-- and I think the vice president laid out some good options. We should also bolster NATO's eastern defenses as well.

CHARLIE ROSE: Do you believe sanctions will work? I mean do you think that this Russian President is so intent in terms of trying to restore Russian influence that sanctions will not be impressive to him?

REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: Well, my crystal ball is no clearer than yours is, Charlie, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't give this every ounce of effort. I don't know if that's going to work. I think Putin is, as you describe, but I do think there are vulnerabilities within Russia that he has politically that can be exploited. I think we should consider targeting some of the oligarchs around him that are his enablers and he is their enablers. I think we are a country with vast--

CHARLIE ROSE: How would you target-- how would you target them?

REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: Well, I-- I think-- I think you target-- you target their-- their ability to travel. You target their international reserves, their-- their-- you try-- you target their holdings overseas that-- that are illicitly gained through this cleptocracy of the Russian economy. One more point I'd say we are a nation with vast energy reserves and potential but with a government that has seen as hostile toward developing those energy reserves, let alone exporting those energy reserves, if our government changed its tune on that, if we told Europe, we are going to green light these languishing permit applications for exporting LNG, natural gas to Europe. That could do a lot to send the signals that we are intent on loosening Russia's grip on its energy to Europe and that we're going to be a reliable ally to loosen their grip, they get their money from petrol, about half of their budget comes from-- from energy. If we could compromise that by developing American energy, creating jobs here, lowering prices, I think that would be a huge step in the right direction. We're going to move on that in the House and I would-- I think the President would have a great opportunity, change tune, resets failed, missile defense--


REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: --smart sanctions, energy.

CHARLIE ROSE: Now let me move to CPAC and you were one of the speakers. You said there needs to be a vigorous debate and it's taking place. Whatever happened to bipartisanship in foreign policy?

REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: Well, we used to have it. When we had Scoop Jackson Democrats; when we had Cherry Truman Democrats; when we had Kennedy Democrats; President Kennedy Democrats; we had bipartisan foreign policy. This is not that kind of an administration. This is a far more progressive left administration that I think is uncomfortable with America's super power responsibilities and status hegemony. And so I don't think that's what you have with this administration. I think it's-- it's-- it's-- it's a coincidence but the irony is very bitter. The week that Vladimir Putin invades Russia--


REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: --and the President brings a budget to Congress cutting our military deeply, so I just don't think you have that kind of administration that lends itself to good bipartisan foreign policy.

CHARLIE ROSE: Let me take you back to CPAC in-- in vigorous debate. On the one hand, there was Governor Chris Christie who talked about an inclusive party, on the other hand there was Senator Ted Cruz who talked about, you know, a different message. I mean what's happening in terms of those two polls of the Republican Party?

REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: They're within a big tent. That's my-- that was my point in my speech in the-- in the Republican Party. We are not having disagreements with each other on principles or even policies. The disagreements that--


REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: --have had occurred have been really over tactics. And so I think we should all put it in perspective. I called the Battle of Ideas, its creative tension. And I don't think there's really this vast civil war in the Republican Party that like many in the left like suggest there is. I think we're a party with a vibrant debate, adding ideas--


REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: --solving problems, and I think that's going to be-- I think we're going to be okay.

CHARLIE ROSE: There's no better place to participate in a debate than to be a presidential candidate, as you know, because you've been a vice presidential nominee.


CHARLIE ROSE: So, therefore, the question is, if you look at Iowa in a straw poll, sixty-seven percent of the people said they want you to run for President. Do you want to run for President?

REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: Mm. Oh, I'm a friendly next-door neighbor in Wisconsin. So--


REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: --what I think I ought to do is focus on my job here in-- in Congress. Jane and I are going to sit down in 2015 and give it the serious continue-- conversation, consideration that are required for keeping our options open. But right now I have responsibilities in the majority in the House of Representatives that I feel I ought to attend to and then I'll worry about those things after the selection.

CHARLIE ROSE: Would you rather be speaker of the House?

REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: No, I've already kind of ruled that one out. I-- I-- I think there are other places that I'd rather be than that.

CHARLIE ROSE: Yeah. Thank you so--

REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN: John Boehner is doing a fine job. I-- look, I know he's controversial but he's doing a very, very good job.

CHARLIE ROSE: Thank you very much, Congressman Paul Ryan.



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