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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Bob Schieffer
Aired October 4, 2004 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Bob Schieffer, the host of "Face the Nation," who is going to moderate the third presidential debate. We'll get his thoughts on Bush versus Kerry and Cheney versus Edwards, the controversy surrounding his colleague Dan Rather, and all he's seen in nearly 40 years in broadcast news. Bob Schieffer, for the hour, with your phone calls, next on LARRY KING LIVE.
One quick note. Following the vice presidential debate tomorrow night, as we did last week, we'll be on at 11:00 Eastern, 8:00 Pacific for a full hour with your phone calls. Our guests will include Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas; Alan Simpson, former senator from Wyoming; David Gergen and Ed Gordon of "BET News." Other guests will include Senator Joe Lieberman, the second lady of the United States Liz Cheney, and Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Tonight, the full hour with Bob Schieffer, who will moderate the debate on October 13, the last presidential debate. He's CBS News' chief Washington correspondent. He's "The New York Times" best- selling author, the anchor and moderator of "Face the Nation." In that connection, the new book, "Face the Nation: My Favorite Stories From the First 50 Years of the Award-Winning News Broadcast." The book includes a DVD of notable highlights from the show. And during this program, we'll be seeing these historic clips as well.
But first, Bob, let's move right to the story at hand regarding Dan Rather. What's your read on all of that?
BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST, "FACE THE NATION": Well, I must tell you, Larry, it's a sad time for all of us at CBS. You know, in some ways, it's like you've just been kicked right in the stomach. This is a proud news organization. We love it. Everybody here who works at CBS loves the place.
We made a mistake. We have admitted it. We brought in people from the outside to tell us how to fix this. When we find out how to fix it, we're going to fix it. I guarantee you of that.
But in the meantime, I think we just simply have to take our lumps. It is going to take a while to get this back where it ought to be. It's not like switching a light switch on and off. We have to do it one day and one story at a time.
KING: Can you understand how it happened?
SCHIEFFER: I don't know, Larry. I don't know how it happened. I know that Dan Rather, a source that Dan trusted misled him. Now, what these investigators from the outside are trying to find out is how that happened, and when this investigation gets done, they'll give us some recommendations on what should be done. But until then, I'm not going to start throwing stones at people.
You may be surprised to know in my 40 years as a reporter, I've made some mistakes, too. I don't think you can be a reporter without making mistakes.
So when the investigation is done, we'll have a good idea. The CBS News President Andrew Heyward will have a good idea of what needs to be done at that time. But in the meantime, we just got to get our heads down, try to do our work, and recognize that there are going to be -- we're going to have to take our lumps, as I say.
KING: I spoke with Dan the day after the thing broke, when he finally admitted -- he was due to be on this show, but the higher-ups at your network said they didn't want him to do it anymore. How is he doing? I know you were with him on first debate night.
SCHIEFFER: Well, I think he's doing -- he's working, he's going about his business. This has been a really tough thing for Dan, and I don't think you could put it any other way. But he's determined, like the rest of us are, to get to the bottom of this and find out what happened.
So once this investigation is done, we'll have a better idea of what happened here, and we'll be able to take it from there. But in the meantime, we just have to do our work.
KING: Your colleagues, Peter Jennings said, "I don't think you ever judge a man by one event in his career." Tom Brokaw criticized what he said "an attempt to demonize CBS News, especially bloggers who tried to launch a political jihad against Rather and CBS." What is your reaction to those comments by Jennings and Brokaw?
SCHIEFFER: Well, look, Dan Rather is my friend. He has been my friend for 35 years, Larry. I hope he'll be my friend 35 years from now when we'll both be about 120 years old. Dan has had a great career. He is one of the great reporters of our time, but clearly something went wrong here. And that's why CBS is taking the hard step of appointing outside investigators to try to get to the bottom of this. But until we can get to the bottom of it, until we can know what happened, I have no idea what happened. I really can't say (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
KING: I understand. One other thing, though. What about the comments that there's some sort of jihad against Dan, and there's a group out to harm him, and like, you know, sort of an attack, attack or assault on him?
SCHIEFFER: Well, you know, Larry, we're all reporters, we're all high-profile people. Charles Kuralt once said -- and people loved Charles Kuralt -- but Charles said, you know, I don't ever deliver bad news. And he said that's part of the reason, I suppose, that I'm so popular, and he was. Sometimes a reporter's duty is to bring bad news. Dan has been on the cutting edge of many, many stories. So it stands to reason there are going to be some people out there who don't like him.
But Dan Rather is a great reporter. He said he has made a mistake here, he has apologized for it, and until we can find out what went wrong and how we can fix this thing, I just don't think there's much else that we can say about it at this time.
KING: And the mood at the network is what? And we'll move on to other things.
SCHIEFFER: Well, it's a tough thing. It's been very emotional for all of us. I mean, we love this place. The people who have worked here as long as I have, love it. Those who have just worked here a short time, it has a proud history. And so nobody can be very happy about this, but we've got to get going. We've got to do our work, and we've got to do our best to turn out the kind of work that CBS News is known for.
KING: Now, let's move to the election. First, you're going to moderate that debate on the 13th, and that's economic and domestic, right?
KING: How do you view moderating, anchoring, facing a night like that?
SCHIEFFER: Well, it's a little scary, really, to tell you the truth. I had a dream the other night and I woke up about halfway through, and I didn't have any more questions. And I said, would you fellows have anything you'd like to add?
But I'm very honored. It was really a thrill to me to be picked. I'm going to work very hard to do the best job I can.
But Larry, these debates are not about moderators. They're about two men who are running for president, and my job is to give the American people, to give these two men an opportunity to explain themselves and explain their views to the American people. That's what I'll be trying to do. And I think the way you do it is the same way you conduct your broadcast, the way I try to conduct "Face the Nation" on Sunday mornings. I want to hear these men say exactly what they mean. I'm not going to try to trip them up. I don't want to hear them say something they didn't mean to say. I want to find out exactly what they mean, and then we'll put that under some scrutiny.
KING: A real debate, though, Bob, as you know, always in great debates, in debating school, in debating tournaments, the debaters can question each other. What are they afraid of in that regard?
SCHIEFFER: Well, both campaigns, Larry, wanted to make sure that there would be nothing unexpected, nothing untoward. They don't want either of the candidates -- they want -- they don't want their men surprised by anything, the way Dan Quayle was when Lloyd Bentsen turned and said "you're no Jack Kennedy."
And so they do everything they can to eliminate the spontaneity and the surprise, the element of something unexpected happening. But you know what? These are spontaneous events, and you cannot control them. And I think that first debate was terrific. I thought it was exciting. I found it compelling, because these are two very smart men, and to watch them give their answers and then to watch the other one comment on it, you know, it's not always the moderator that has to ask -- that should have asked the follow-up questions. It can be the other candidate when he comments. Yes, he can't ask a direct question, but he can pose a rhetorical question, and he can make his point, and he can -- just as both of these men did during this first debate.
I thought it was very, very interesting and enlightening. I came away with it -- from it with a much better understanding of what both men are about, I think.
KING: And at times Jim Lehrer let the rules slide a little, when he permitted some final -- final 30 seconds, another final 30 -- because you have to go to the moment. It's live television.
SCHIEFFER: Yes. Absolutely. And Jim and I talked about this beforehand, and I thought he did just a remarkable job. I mean, he made sure all of the areas that should be covered were covered in some detail. Sometimes he would extend the debate, and that's -- under the rules you can do that. Sometimes he would just go on to another question.
So I really learned watching Jim as he conducted that first debate. I think it's going to be -- I think it is going to be a lot of fun. I'm really looking forward to it.
KING: We'll be right back with Bob Schieffer to talk about some extraordinary events in the history of that great program, "Face the Nation," that he so proudly hosts every Sunday. By the way, I said Lynne Cheney tomorrow night -- Liz Cheney, Dick Cheney's daughter, will be one of our panelists tomorrow night. As we go to break, Mr. Schieffer and Mr. Cheney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIEFFER: You are saying today that in the next few days, the president is going to have to make a very difficult decision. Is war now inevitable?
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, the president, of course, is on his way to meet in the Azores with the Spanish and British prime ministers. We're coming, I think to the end of the diplomatic phase, if you will. The president has done everything he could, gone the extra mile to try to get this matter resolved through the United Nations. But he's made it abundantly clear that if the U.N. is not willing to enforce its own resolutions, than we may then be left with no choice but for the United States and others who agree with us to proceed to disarm Saddam Hussein.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We will be going to calls tonight for Bob Schieffer. We'll also be getting into the new book "Face The Nation: My Favorite Stories From the First 50 Years of the Award Winning News Broadcast".
A couple of other things in the news.
What do you make of how this election looks dead even now?
SCHIEFFER: I think John Kerry did himself a lot of good in that first debate. I think he really got back in the game, as it were. Now, the White House people will tell you they never thought he was out of the game, but I'll tell you, I thought he was out of the game there for a while. It looked like his campaign was just over a cliff, but he got himself organized. I think he had a good night. I think the president was somewhat off his game, but I'll tell you something else, Larry, one debate does not a campaign make.
You'll remember we talked a minute ago about that famous gotcha when Lloyd Bentsen turned to Dan Quayle and said you're no Jack Kennedy. He won that debate, but Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen certainly did not win that campaign. This campaign, this election is still to be decided, but I do believe these polls that suggest it's closer than ever.
KING: How important is tomorrow night?
SCHIEFFER: I think it is not as important as the presidential debates, but probably more important than some of the vice presidential debates that we have seen in the past, because Dick Cheney is one of the, if not the most, powerful vice presidents that we have seen in modern times. I think it's going to be among other things, Larry, just a lot of fun to watch. You have these two pen who could not be more different. Dick Cheney, who has all of this experience in government service on the one side, and then John Edwards, this very attractive young trial lawyer on the other side. I think it's going to be fun to watch these two match wits.
KING: Our mutual friend Don Imus said this show -- this is event tomorrow night is, Dr. Doom vs. the Breck Girl.
Is he pretty close to being right?
SCHIEFFER: I'm going to let don choose his words and I'll choose mine. I think they are two very different men.
KING: Speaking of Imus, what do you think of the whole concept of political humor now, the rise of John Stewart, the nightly takes on Letterman and Leno and O'Brien, is this healthy?
SCHIEFFER: Sure it is. I mean, this is just a modern-day version of the political cartoons, and you know, early in our political history in this country, we saw humor. It was usually in the form of newspaper cartoons. This is the electronic version of that. Some of it is just great, and some of it is very, very enlightening. And we're finding more and more of that's where a lot of people are getting their news these days is from some of the comics. I think it's just fine. I don't have a problem with it at all.
KING: Since your debate topic will be economics and domestic events, it's safe to ask your thoughts on what's going on in Iraq, 20 more killed today.
SCHIEFFER: I think Iraq is very, very difficult, Larry. I think we've got a situation there where you have big parts of the country that are now under control of the insurgents. You have almost a wild west atmosphere in this Sunni Triangle. The situation in the northern part of the country is fairly stable, I'm told. But it's going to be -- if we're able to do it, it's going to be a difficult thing. But I think right now, if you were to try to hold elections now, you certainly couldn't hold them. And I think it's still an open question whether we will be able to hold elections in January as scheduled.
And if not, what happens after that? I just see a big question mark in Iraq right now, but I do not believe the situation is nearly as good at this point as some of the administration are trying to lead us to believe. It just seem that way to me, it doesn't feel that way. I don't talk to people who come back from there who tell me it is that way.
KING: Will it be the key election night?
SCHIEFFER: I think no question about it. These closing debates will be extremely important, but I think in the end, this election is going to come down to Iraq and what's happening there.
Will people be convinced, as the president argues, that this is the most -- this is the right place to be to fight the war on terrorism?
Or will they take John Kerry's side and say that Iraq is a diversion?
That's where the -- that's where the election is now joined. And I think that is where John Kerry got back in this game when he said during the debate, when he was able to finally stake out in language you could understand what his position is on Iraq, and his position is that Iraq was a diversion. Now, you can agree with that or disagree with it, but at least you know where he stands on this. And I think a lot of people were just really had questions about what it was that Kerry wanted to do.
KING: We'll take a break, and then have questions of the host of televisions second oldest show, the only one older is "Meet the Press, that show is "Face The Nation" on CBS. It's had moderators like Ted Coop (ph), and Stuart Novins, and Howard K. Smith, and Paul Niven, and Mark Agronsky, George Herman, Leslie Stahl, and since May of '91, our guest Bob Schieffer.
We'll ask him about it,take your calls at the bottom of the hour. All ahead, don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIEFFER: The war had dragged on and by 1971, America was no longer trying to win the war, it was trying only to find an honorable way to withdraw American troops and negotiate the release of American prisoners of war. As Richard Nixon, secretary of defense Melvin Laird outlined on "Face the Nation."
Well, if Mr. Secretary, if it is succeeding or succeeding, then what do you have to lose by not setting a withdrawal date?
Obviously the other side knows we're leaving.
MELVIN R. LAIRD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We will abandon all hope for any negotiations as far as Paris is concerned. And the negotiation route is still open to us, and I think as long as it is open, we should make ever effort for a negotiated settlement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If your duties as the president came into conflict with your faith, you would...
JOHN F. KENNEDY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE; No, no, my conscience. I could never fill any office if my conscience -- after all that was our particular argument with the Nazis. We all have conscience but not -- I have stated in my judgment that there is no conflict -- there is no conflict between my responsibilities as a public official carrying out my duties and obligations, and my faith. I am sworn to carry out and serve the public interest, and that's what I'm going to do. That's what I do in the Senate. That's what I'll do if I'm president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That was Howard K. Smith talking to Senator John Kennedy, candidate for the presidency and that's part of the DVD that comes along with this incredible book "Face The Nation, My Favorite Stories From the First 50 Years." The DVD with notable highlights from that show. We'll show more of those clips. You selected them all, Bob?
SCHIEFFER: We did. Janet Leissner, our Washington bureau chief at CBS News helped me with the DVD and she produced it, but it was more fun, Larry, to go back through these old broadcasts and just watch the way that "Face The Nation" has evolved over the years. It's basically the exact same broadcast that it was when Frank Stanton, who built CBS News, envisioned it 50 years ago. You walk somebody in, sit them down at the table and ask them questions. No lights, whistles, bells, just ask questions, and that's what it was in the beginning. That's what Dr. Stanton wanted, and that's what it is today. And to see people like Jack Kennedy, and the way he had mastered television, he was the first politician of the modern age really to understand the power of television, and he was very good at it. I'm not sure there's anybody today any better at it than John Kennedy was. But that was the fun part of putting together this book and DVD, to go back and see some of these old broadcasts.
KING: What was the basis for what got on the DVD?
SCHIEFFER: Well, I went back and just tried to think about the history of the broadcast, what it was supposed to be in the beginning, and then look at some of its memorable broadcasts over the years. It had the first interview on television with a communist leader. "Face The Nation" got an interview with Nikita Khruschev. It caused a storm. It was hailed as a journalistic coup by newspapers and people around the world, but the Eisenhower administration was just furious, because they said it was just communist propaganda coming in unedited to the American people.
As a result, studies were made, and because of that broadcast, broadcast journalists had the same rights as their print brethren. In other words, if a newspaper reporter had interviewed Khruschev, the story would have been put in the paper, and no one would have thought anything about it, but because it was on television, which was a government-regulated industry -- there were actually, Larry, after that broadcast, people got up in the Congress and introduced resolutions that the next time a communist was interviewed on television, the questions had to be cleared with the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department. We've come a little ways from that since those days, but it was a real turning point for broadcast journalists.
KING: Let's take guests for this Sunday. You'll have a vice presidential debate tomorrow, presidential debate on Friday. Will you pick the guests early? Will you wait for late developments? What are you shooting for?
SCHIEFFER: Well, we haven't picked them yet, and my guess is we'll try to do what we did last Sunday, and have somebody from both camps to comment on the debates, maybe bring in an expert like Tom Friedman, who was with us last Sunday, but frankly, Larry, as you know, putting these broadcasts together, sometimes it's the last minute before you know who the guests will be. At this point I don't know who we'll have.
KING: Did you want this job?
SCHIEFFER: Let me tell you, Larry, this is the job I had always wanted. To me being the moderator of "Face The Nation" is the best job in journalism. Because I got into all of this, because I'm a curious guy. I like to talk to people and ask them why they do what they do. With "Face The Nation" they come to me, I don't have to go to them. It was the dream job I always wanted at CBS News, and I'm very honored to have it, to kind of be put in charge of this broadcast which really is one of the little jewels in the CBS crown, if we have any. And I take that very seriously.
KING: But you still enjoy being the chief Washington correspondent as well? SCHIEFFER: I do, and I still enjoy getting out and doing stories, but more and more, I'm finding that, as I've turned now to writing books as well, I find that "Face The Nation" for a fellow of my age is getting to be a full time job about all I can handle right now.
KING: Does that mean you'll leave that "Washington Post" soon?
SCHIEFFER: No, no, I'll always keep doing what I'm doing. In this political year I was in all the primary states and doing reporting there, but most of my time now I spend on "Face The Nation".
KING: We'll take a break and come back to your phone calls for Bob Schieffer. We'll also be continuing to show you his story clips from a great show for 50 years. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One most interesting thing I thing I think has been found by the CBS/"New York Times" polls is a statistic that came up the other day that said if the race were Ford versus Carter, 41 percent of those who call themselves Ronald Reagan people would defect and vote for Jimmy Carter. It also says that 23 percent of those who call themselves Ford voters would defect to Carter if Reagan is the nominee. In light of that, aren't you going to have to put Ronald Reagan on the ticket if you're going to have the backing of your party? And you've got to have the solid backing of the Republican party.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have said that I would not exclude any Republican that I've looked at or we've heard about that might qualify as being a vice presidential candidate and that would include Ronald Reagan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN RATHER, CBS NEWS: Dr. King, in light of recent statements of Senator Barry Goldwater, and in some cases Richard Nixon, do you think there's a real danger of the Republican Party becoming the white man's party in this country?
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: I think this is a real danger, and I've talked with some Negro Republicans who are very concerned about this. I see trends and developments which will reveal, and unless the liberals of the Republican Party take a much more -- play a much more decisive role in leadership positions, this will become a white man's party. And I think this would be tragic for the Republican Party as well as tragic for the nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: A clip from a historic moment on "Face the Nation" with Dan Rather, is the panelist. Our guest is Bob Schieffer. The book is "Face the Nation: My Favorite Stories From the First 50 years of the Award-Winning News Broadcast." The book includes a DVD of notable highlights. We're showing you some of them.
Hemit, California, hello.
CALLER: How come Dan Rather is taking all the heat? Didn't anybody else watch it? What about the woman? She said that the papers were not the original papers, but what was in them was the truth? Why is everybody evading that issue?
KING: Yeah, there are people who have said this week, and some have called this show to say that, was the -- the message was wrong -- the memorandum was wrong, was the story wrong?
SCHIEFFER: Well, I have no answer for that, Larry. As I say, this was a story that we broadcast. We have said that we were mistaken. Dan himself apologized, and there's an investigation going on to find out exactly what did happen. That part of it, all I know, I have to plead, is what I read in the newspapers, because this is not something I had anything to do with.
But I would just like to reassure the caller that this investigation is a very serious investigation, and has been taken that way by everybody at CBS News. We have said that we have made a mistake. We're trying to figure out what went wrong here, and once we know, then things will be done to make sure that it doesn't happen again.
KING: Dick Thornburgh is one of those charged with the investigation, a former attorney general and a frequent guest on this show, an outstanding guy. The other gentleman is who, I forget his name?
SCHIEFFER: Lou Boccardi, who is the retired editor of the Associated Press, truly one of the people most respected in modern journalism. And these two highly professional men are leading a very serious investigation here. And I'm just going to have to leave it with them. I don't know who they're talking to, I don't know how they're going about it. I just am confident that they're going to do a good job and tell us what needs to be done.
KING: Van Nuys, California, hello.
CALLER: I shall remind you of an esteemed colleague from the "Ft. Worth Star-Telegram," Wilma Wirt. She later relocated to Virginia and was inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. My question is, was Wilma's objectivity damaged by the fact that during her childhood, her father murdered her mother?
KING: Do you know that story, Bob?
SCHIEFFER: I'm afraid I don't.
KING: I don't either. Do you know the woman?
KING: Neither do I.
Ft. Worth, Texas. Hello.
KING: We're going to put that down in the category of one of the most unusual calls ever received by this program. Wherever you are, Wilma Wirt, I don't (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
KING: Are you there, Ft. Worth? Go ahead.
CALLER: Yes, hello. Hello, Larry and...
KING: Hi. Bob.
CALLER: ... Bob. We appreciate you taking my call. I want to ask you this question. We're talking about Dan Rather again, and I wonder why the big deal is made over his mistake? People keep talking about it, which it has not caused any deaths. When the mistake of the intelligence that said we have weapons of mass destruction over in Iraq, and that...
KING: All right, basically put down, was the Rather story overblown?
SCHIEFFER: Well, I don't think I would be in a position to answer that, Larry. I mean, I work for CBS News, so obviously I have views about this. I just go back to what I said before.
KING: All right, Woodland Park, Colorado. Hello.
CALLER: Good evening, gentlemen. Mr. Schieffer, I grew up in Texas and very well remember reading your reports from the field in Vietnam for "The Star-Telegram." My question is this, historically news organizations have denied requests to submit their questions in advance, but that is what President Bush has demanded for his few press conferences, and the White House press corps has agreed to do so. Now, how does this jibe with the notion of having a free press?
SCHIEFFER: Well, I would question that. I do not believe that the president has demanded to have his questions from the press corps submitted in advance, nor would anybody...
KING: I think at his rallies, they are? Aren't they? I think he's confusing the rallies.
SCHIEFFER: Nor would anybody in the White House press corps give away the questions in advance. Now, what you may be talking about is at these organized campaign rallies, organized by his campaign, maybe his campaign people are asking people who come to the rallies to submit questions in advance, but I don't know -- no legitimate news organization would submit questions in advance to the president at a news conference, nor would the president ever suggest that they do that. I'm absolutely confident of that.
KING: I agree. Do you know what the rules are for Friday night with audience participation? Are those questions submitted in advance?
SCHIEFFER: I do not know. I don't know what the format is for that on Friday night. It is kind of a townhall kind of format. Charlie Gibson is going to be the moderator. And I don't know how the questions are being selected from the people in the audience.
KING: Los Angeles for Bob Schieffer, hello. Los Angeles, hello?
CALLER: Yeah, Larry?
KING: Yeah, go ahead.
CALLER: OK, hi, Larry, I'm glad you took my call. And I just want to tell Bob, him and Dan, I've been listening to these guys for as long as I got out of high school. I went to the Vietnam War. I also listened to them through that war, I watched Dan dodge bullets.
I just want to say this, when you look in the Webster's dictionary and define "news," you have to see Bob Schieffer and Dan Rather.
KING: Do you have a question?
CALLER: They're some of the greats.
KING: Do you have a question?
CALLER: No, I don't have a question. I just tell Dan to keep his chin up, and this thing I just think it's just overblown, and this is -- it's just gone too far, and Bob Schieffer, I'll see you Sunday morning.
SCHIEFFER: Thank you very much.
KING: A lot of people will join you in doing that Sunday morning.
Tucson, Arizona, hello.
CALLER: Yes, good evening. Thank you very much for taking the call.
CALLER: I'd like to ask Bob what CBS News and what he thinks of yesterday's article in "The New York Times" concerning the disputed arms intelligence?
SCHIEFFER: I thought it was a very serious story. And I asked Dan Bartlett, the White House communications chief, who was on "Face the Nation" Sunday, along with Joe Lockhart from the Kerry campaign, what he said about it. They took some issue with it, but I thought it was a very well-researched article. And if indeed that article is true, I think this is a very serious matter.
Because what the article suggested was that the administration disregarded the opinions of their own nuclear experts when they concluded that Iraq was buying equipment that could be used only to make nuclear weapons.
Bartlett denied that. He said that was not the case. He said there had always been a dispute going on within the intelligence community about this, but that they came down on the side of the experts who said that these aluminum rods -- is what the article alleged were being bought by Iraq -- and he says they were being bought to make nuclear weapons.
But you know, we'll have to see what happens. But I thought it was a very well-researched article.
KING: Chico, California, hello.
CALLER: Yes, hello, gentlemen. I enjoy both your shows.
KING: Thank you.
CALLER: Two things. I think Dan Rather was a very stabilizing element of 9/11, and I wish him well.
KING: Thank you.
CALLER: My question for Mr. Schieffer is, do you create the questions for the debate? Or are you given some type of criteria?
SCHIEFFER: No, the way it works -- and it is a very good question, because I didn't know the answer to this until they asked me to be the moderator. The Debate Commission, which is an independent, nonpartisan group, they are the ones that organize these debates and sponsor them, they have Paul Kirk, who is a former head of the Democratic National Committee, and Frank Fahrenkopf, who is the former head of the Republican National Committee, they're the co-chairs of this commisson. They want it to be absolutely nonpartisan, to make it that way, they choose the moderator. And they say don't tell us what your questions are, all we want to tell you is we want your debate to be about domestic policy, which is the one I'm going to do. I'm responsible for coming up with the questions, the areas to be discussed. I don't talk to anybody about it before the debate, and I don't talk to the commission -- even to the commission.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with more calls for Bob Schieffer. The book "Face The Nation: My Favorite Stories From The First 50 Years of The Award Winning News Broadcast." The book includes a DVD. We'll be right back. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIEFFER: Colin Powell, that's a name that everybody recognizes outside the beltway. You said somewhere back down the line you plan to meet with him somewhere along the way and talk about all of this.
Have you scheduled a meeting?
Are you going to talk to him or...
BOB DOLE, FORMER SENATOR: No, Colin Powell called me after I wrapped up the nomination, congratulated me, and I said I would like to talk to you sometime just about Republican Party and whether or not you can help or whether or not I can talk with you about defense or foreign policy matters, he said OK. We just haven't done it yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could American leadership have prevented the war in the Middle East today?
ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, FORMER FIRST LADY: Yes, I think so if we had acted a long time ago. We did not move soon enough. We were partly held back by our oil interests, but these things don't happen overnight. They build up. And I think anyone who has watched the situation in the Middle East growing has been longing to see some kind of constructive action on the part of the administration for some time.
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KING: Incredible Eleanor Roosevelt on "Face the Nation."
Alexandria, Virginia, hello.
CALLER: Yes, thank you. And boy, I have immense for both of you, and I appreciate you taking my call.
Mr. Schieffer, would you accept that the war in Iraq that started 18 months ago, where the enemy was rather clearly defined and that enemy has surrendered. I wonder if you would accept that perhaps that war has been concluded and now a third war has begun where there's a different enemy, a group of obviously foreign nationals, radicals. There's actually what I call a sucking sound of people coming into the country and the insurgents who have political and religious motivations. Does it help, or do you think it helps us plan a strategy to accept there's really a different enemy now and that we do need a different strategy, and perhaps it would open up an exit strategy for us?
SCHIEFFER: I think you're right, in that there's a lot -- there are a lot of different things going on right now in Iraq, and I think it is absolutely correct to say that none of this was anticipated when we went in to Baghdad, it seems to me. This is an enormously complicated thing that's going on right now. It seems to me that the strategy that has to be pursued now -- look, I'm one of who is who said it was right to go into Baghdad. I was one of those who favored this invasion, because I believed at that time that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
I think even the suspicion that he had them was reason enough for us to go in there and make sure that we took those weapons away from him. So I was one of those who favored going into Iraq. Where I think this whole thing went wrong is I think we went in with a force that was simply too small to get the job done. We didn't have enough people to keep the peace. You will remember that looting that broke out. We didn't have enough people to guard the ammunition dumps that Saddam Hussein's men abandoned when we got in there.
And now we have this situation where you have these various religious factions, these other people who are maneuvering for position now. I think the one hope we have is that if we can get these elections done in January, if we can, and stay there long enough to get this Iraq army built up to where they can take on these people, and then we have to look for a way to begin taking our troops out of there. This is not something that I think we will ever be able to do for the Iraqi people. I think it is something we can help them do.
And I have to tell you, I am not one of those who believes that we can do it alone. I think we have to find a way to bring the entire civilized world to bare and to join with us in trying to declare war on these thugs. If we wind up being just one nation, the United States, against the Muslim world, that is simply not going to work.
KING: Pittsburgh, hello.
CALLER: Yes, good evening. Thank you. I want to come at the Rather thing from another side on the integrity issue. How can CBS network continue to hold up its integrity when the leader of its crown jewel, the news department, has admitted to violating his, Dan Rather's, own rules for checking out a story. I think without Rather's resignation there's no consequence for Rather breaking his own rules, not to mention the editors and the people behind him. I think it makes people like myself out here in the public request question whether we can trust the information that CBS news puts out. I think it's an integrity issue that's very prominent now, and I'd like to hear your thoughts on that. Thank you.
KING: Thank you.
SCHIEFFER: I don't think that's really a question, and I certainly respect the viewer's right to express an opinion, but I think he has expressed an opinion, and obviously it is strongly held, but I think I'll just let it go at that.
KING: All right. Hamilton, Ohio, hello. Hamilton, Ohio, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry.
KING: Hi. CALLER: Mr. Schieffer, this may be a hard question, but over the years, do you have a favorite interview or one show that stands out in your mind more than others, other than Mr. Khrushchev? Thank you.
KING: I don't think he was there for Khrushchev, I don't think.
SCHIEFFER: I was in high school, actually, when that took place. You know, I'll tell you something, it's always fun to interview the president, whoever the president might be. And I've interviewed a couple presidents along the way, and that's always -- that's always a very interesting thing to do.
But I must tell you, if there was one program that I would say I was most proud of, it was the Sunday after 9/11. This was the hardest story that any of us at CBS News had ever tried to cover, because this was the story that wasn't about other people, it was about us as well as the rest of the American people. We did a two-hour broadcast that Sunday, and when I left the studio, and we had been working around the clock. We had been on the air, CBS News had, continuously for over 90 hours.
But when I left the broadcast that day, I felt like we had done about as good a job as I felt we could do to put into context what had happened and to bring perspective from all sides from ground zero as well as from officials in Washington. And I just felt we had done a very good job under very different circumstances that day. So that's the one program that I say that I'm probably most proud of.
KING: What a day that was for you, driving to the House of Representatives, right?
SCHIEFFER: Oh, man, I, you know, I'll never forget it, Larry. I was on the way up to the Capitol, and my bureau chief, Janet Leissner, called and said, where are you? And I said I'm trying to get through this traffic to get up to the Capitol. And she said, well, get out of there, we think there's another plane headed toward Washington, and we think it's headed for the Capitol. Well, that turned out to be the airplane that of course those brave passengers forced down in Pennsylvania. Who knows, if they had not done what they did that day, maybe I wouldn't be here talking to you tonight.
But so many people have stories like that to tell. It's something that I still think about every day, and I think everybody at CBS News involved in that still thinks about it.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with our remaining moments with Bob Schieffer, who will narrate -- who will rather moderate the October 13th, the final presidential debate. We'll be right back.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In terms of the international relations between the USSR and the United States, particularly as they refer to conditions in Western Europe and in other parts of the world, what do you consider at this time to be the most pressing points that must be solved between the two countries? NIKITA KHRUSHCHEV, LEADER OF THE SOVIET UNION (through translator): I believe that the main thing is to normalize relations between our countries, between all the countries of the world, and first and foremost between the United States and the Soviet Union.
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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STUART NOVINS, HOST, FACE THE NATION: Dr. Castro, the American people hope that a true democracy will emerge here in Cuba. We want to ask you about your personal plans and about what you hope for your country. As one who has spoken very eloquently about the civil rights that must be guaranteed to the Cuban people, how do you explain...
FIDEL CASTRO, CUBAN LEADER: Yes. I will never be against any right that (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
NOVINS: Very good.
CASTRO: I am not communist, but I will never be against any right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: I don't think he's spoken English since then.
Frisco City, Alabama, for Bob Schieffer. Hello.
CALLER: Yes, I wanted to tell Mr. Schieffer that I bought his last book, and look forward to buying his new book, and I wanted to ask him what precautions CBS News are taking to avoid mistakes in projections like they did on election night last time in Florida.
SCHIEFFER: Well, I'll tell you what we've done. We've overhauled everything. We've overhauled overhauled all of the software, we've rewritten the programs, and we think we have got a good system in place. We've been working on it for some four years, and we think we've got it right this time. But I guess we'll find out election night.
KING: And finally, Solano Beach, California, hello.
CALLER: Hi there, Larry, a quick question for Bob.
CALLER: You've been around for a long time, and the American people are very divided because of the war. And do you really -- do you recall any presidential election with so much bitterness and partisan bickering as this one?
SCHIEFFER: Yes, 1968, for example. We've had some tough times before, but I agree with you that we are a very polarized nation at this point in time. And I think once this campaign is over, and it has been a nasty one, whoever is elected president, I think one of the first things he's going to have to think about is how do we start bringing this country back together, how do we start restoring the spirit and the bond that we all felt after 9/11? Because I think we've lost some of that since then, and I think that's a sad thing.
KING: Bob, always great having you with us.
SCHIEFFER: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Best of luck to you. You won't need luck on the 13th, and we'll have you on soon after and we'll get your reaction to moderating.
SCHIEFFER: All right, I would love to do it. Thanks, Larry.
KING: Bob Schieffer, the host and anchor and moderator of "Face the Nation," CBS News chief Washington correspondent, best-selling author. His new book, "Face the Nation: My Favorite Stories From the First 50 Years of the Award-Winning News Broadcast." The book includes a DVD. We've shown you just a sample of the clips that you'll see when you buy it. We'll be right back to tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.
KING: Tomorrow night, we'll be on at 11:00 Eastern following the vice presidential debate with Ann Richards, Alan Simpson, David Gergen, Ed Gordon, Senator Joe Lieberman, Liz Cheney and Reverend Jesse Jackson.
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