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tv   Face the Nation  CBS  May 23, 2022 3:00am-3:30am PDT

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>> brennan: welcome back to "face the nation". the midterm primary season is turning into an exciting one. last tuesday's republican contest for pennsylvania senate between tv doctor oz and former head six hedge fund manager mccormack probably won't be dcided until after a recount. political divorce respondent ed o'keefe is on the trail in georgia one of the four states with contest this is coming tuesday. ed. >> margaret, great to see you, some big contests here on tuesday that remind us they are all former president trumps to lose because he has decided to engage in them. first up, in the senate race
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former football star herschel walker is coasting to a republican win here and taking on democrat senator raphael warnock in what promises to be one of the most expensive and divisive senate contest this is cycle, but it is the governor's race where former president trump is perhaps most personally invested, republican brian kemp facing a challenge are the former senator david purdue put up to the race by mr. trump, kemp, however, seems to be pulling away in what will end up to be a general election match-up between the governor and his former democratic opponent, stacey abrams, but there is another contest that we wouldn't normally focus on here on "face the nation", the race for secretary of state. brad raffensperger like kemp decided to stand up against former president trump's to change the results of the 2020 election here in georgia, somehow to get him to win, raffensperger is in a crowded field and he is likely headed to a runoff election next month, but elections all across the country can there is concern if he loses it is a sign that some
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former president can come in and a try to manipulate elections. >> brennan: ed, i mean that is an important point we normally don't cover primary race this is closely on the national level, and it is very unusual former president gets directly involved in fact, endorsing candidates who are at odds with his own party's selected candidates, and the a this is even going to get more dramatic when the former vice president mike pence comes to town. >> that's right, because he is defiant to president trump by showing up tomorrow and endorsing and campaigning with governor kemp, kemp and a other handful of 0 office holders have been in georgia recently, seeing trend, seeing that kemp is going to win despite standing against the former president because they come out of the wing of the party that still believes somebody other than trump can somehow prevail in 2024, retake control of the party, and win over general election voters that continue to show up in our polling as not necessarily big fans of the former president,
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but you are right, you never see a former president or vice president quite at odds like this, the race here in atlanta across georgia is a big proxy fight. >> brennan: all right. you know, we have to talk about democrats here too, and excuse me, you heard our cbs poll, democrats view the party as weak, large number of them, there is also such sharp criticism of the president reacting too slowly. what is the signal here for democrats? >> well the biggest one and you talked about it with anthony and congressman jeffries there, the fact that young voters, black voters, latino voters now also are in agreement that the president isn't necessarily doing enough to take on the economic challenges and inflation, that's secret sauce, if you can't convince young people, black people, latino voters in this state like georgia and others across the country, you are going to see democrats lose big statewide elections. stacey abrams, raphael warnock here in georgia need those numbers to improve in order to get the biden coalition to turn out again, same story goes in places like pennsylvania,
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arizona, nevada, all across the country so the white house as to looks at these numbers with great concern, that's why you have seen the white house in recent days step up the takens to show it is in top of the baby formula short tarnlg, shortage, the flights are coming from europe, unless they show action the 0 polls will get worse. >> brennan: absolutely, and personal issue for many. thanks for your reporting from atlanta, ed o'keefe, when we come back, a closer look at the economy, stay with us. >> miss allen over there isn't checking lesson plans.
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>> brennan: jason furman was chairman of this council of economic advisors under former president president to obama and he joins us from davos, switzerland, welcome back to "face the nation", you know, it was a rough week, really, for the markets, the treasury secretary kind of spooked people when she started talking about high energy prices, high food prices, having a slowing effect on the economy, ben bernanke the former
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fed chair also used this word, stagflation, what should american consumers understand is going on? >> look, i woul the ecomy. when you look at the ecom a 3.6t unemployment rate, you see 500,000 jobs being created a month, you see consumer spending quite strongly, so there is a lot of good things going on there. 0 but the market is sending a signal and it is one we should be somewhat concerned about and pay attention to, just no time to manic. >> brennan: but the treasury secretary was also sending a signal by acknowledging that this could be weighing on consumers, which would offset the data points you pointed to there. looking at that what are the odds of a recession? >> look, we somewhere seen a remarkable things, consumers if you survey them are very pessimistic and negative about the economy.
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when they vote with their wallets, we saw the consumer spending data for april and it ws way up, consumer spending on just about everything, has been booming. over the next six to 12 months, i am not super worried about a recession. after that is where i start to get worried because that's where the fed policy will start having more of an effect. >> brennan: so, you know, we talk and have been talking about inflation on this program. it is, of course, the job of the central bankers, the f just refen acto control itu plitically there is a cost, as you know, democrats are pushing bills in congress, congressman jeffries just talked about trying to cap what they are calling price gouging, you hear president biden using that phrase also talking about a raising taxes on the wealthy. as an economist can, do any of those things have a measurable impact for consumers? in fighting inflation? >> look, as you said, most of
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the job of fighting inflation is with the fed. there is a little bit the president can do, he has done some good steps, whether opening up ports, getting more truckers on the road, releasing oil from strategic petroleum reserve, i would like to see him do more, like lower tariffs on china, placed there by president bush, i don't think these anti-price gouging bills would do much to bring inflation down. they just increase the type of shortages that consumers probably hate even more than the high prices. >> brennan: you were quoteded i bad theory of inflation,, is that another way to say what democrats are talking about is just a g kick, gimmicky, the price gouging bills, because .., you know, there is a lot of extra demand, what happens when demand goes up? prices go up. there is an old saying, the cure for high prices is high prices. that's a little bit of a painful thing to deal with, but it is
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what elicits the additional supply, it brings more producers into the market, and it is what brings prices down. we need to to let that process work. you try to interfere with it you are going to make things worse. we tried that in the seventies, there there was a big failure, we shouldn't be repeating it again. >> brennan: you mentioned that you do think the president should act to lower inflation, at least partially by lifting the trade tariffs off of china, the trump era trade tariffs, but you know there is addition agreement inside the administration about doing that because they like the leverage here for consumers. how should they ups how much exactly of the inflation they are experiencing is due to this spike? >> it is just a small portion of it. i would -- that may be a quarter o a point to half of a point of inflation that's off of an eight percent inflation rate, so it is not huge. i just think if you are the president and have made
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inflation your number one priority you want to leave no stone unturned and this is one of the bigger tools he has. it is not without controversy, but in terms of jobs, there is record jobs opening right now. this is about as good a time to take a step like this as i could imagine, because the relief is needed by consumers, anything you can do is worth it. >> brennan: it sheeps the treasury secretary would agree with you on that. on the bigger picture here, we are hearing on this campaign trail a lot of blame of where the inflation came from and, you know, there is an argument this is like 20 years worth of spending and, you know, it is all sort of added up, plus all of the geopolitical things going on, how do you digest that for someone watching at home? how much are deposition actually to blame for continuing to pump in pandemic era spending at a time when the economy was already recovering last spring? >> look, in march of 2021, the
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president signed the american rescue plan into law. that's part of why the united states has had a faster recovery than any other economy, but the it is also a part of why we have incredibly high inflation. i wished at the time that he would -- he did something smaller. i think it was larger than it needed to be but it was good that something happened. then after that the fed made a bunch of mistakes. it was behind the curve for most of last year. it kept thinking the inflation was transitory, it kept not moving to normalize rates, and now you add on top of that president's putin's invasion of ukraine and that's the cherry on top of this terrible concoction we already had. >> brennan: yes. it is quite a picture, jason, thank you for your analysis and for joining us today. we will be back in a moment.
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i think it changes the geopolitics in europe in a dramatic way. now he has got nato on his doorstep, not only in ukraine and elsewhere, he is going to have them on his border in finland, and, you know, it is an amazing thing he has done, because he has gotten sweden to abandon 200 years of neutrality, so i think putin, one of his many huge in miscalculations in invading ukraine is he has dramatically changed the geostrategic posture of western europe, and now that you have a the swedes and the fins as part of that he really has put russia in a much worse tragic position than it had before the the invasion. >> brennan: but he could still win, vladimir putin could still win in ukraine? >> if winning means taking over the country and absorbing it into russia. the whole country, i think that
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is very unlikely at this point. he has the potential to hold on to a good part of the bonn bask but i don bask, bonn bath. in drive to absorb ukraine, i think if that is winning, i don't see that he can win. >> brennan: what are the security guarantees that the west needs to put in zelensky's hands, to put in ukraine's hands to actually broker a deal? i think access to western weapons, continued training by nato countries, including the united states, a pop to have, keep a large nato presence in eastern europe next door to ukraine, the supply lines. the other thing i think is really going to be critically important, especially if this conflict drags on for a very
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long time, is the west has to come together and figure out some way to help ukraine economically long-term, both short-term humanitarian needs but then rebuilding. >> brennan: do you have a concern that if putin is cornered that he would actually use a tactical nuke? >> i think the probability of him using a tactical nuclear weapon is low but not zero. there are no large masses of ukrainian forces that would be taken out by a tactical nuclear weapon, and if it doesn't have a military purpose then the only purpose is as a terror weapon to try to break the will of the ukrainian people and i think that moment has come and gone. i don't think that there is anything at this point that will break the will of the ukrainian people. the other thing that i hope somebody around putin is reminding him of is that in that part of the world and particularly in eastern ukraine, the wins, the winds tend to blow from the west.
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if you send off a tactical nuclear weapon in eastern ukraine it is, the radiation is going to go into russia so i hope somebody reminds him of that. >> brennan: you have called vladimir putin a man of the past. but when i talked to officials now they say he could be around for another decade. >> this invasion has weakened him, and it has got now long-term economic problems. europe, i think, is very serious at this point about weaning itself away from russian, dependence on russian oil and gas, that will weaken russia significantly. where will he find that market around the world? >> brennan: china? >> china is not going to want to become dependent on russia for its energy sources. china will want to remain diversified. it might buy some more russian oil and gas but nothing like what would be required to replace the european market. putin will remain a pariah. >> it is hard to see putin ever walking in the door of the white
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house or number 10, number 10 downing street or -- so i think russia, he has put russia really behind the eight ball economically, militarily and because now people are going to look at the russian military and say, you know, this was supposed to be this fantastic military. well, they give a good parade, but in actual combat, not so hot. >> brennan: xi jinping is watching what is happening in ukraine and he is taking notes. what do you think his lesson is so far? >> he and putin have had a common narrative about the decline of the west, we are paralyzed, we are polarized, we can't get anything done, the aligns was divided and lost its purpose and so on. boom. we totally underestimated the west. we underestimated the united states's willingness to take the lead again. we underestimated the
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willingness of the europeans to come together and the united states to put this coalition together, and we underestimated how fast and how severe the sanctions are that they could place. so maybe the west isn't as weak as we thought. >> brennan:. >> the second 11 is looking at the russian military performance, he has to ask himself, what if my equipment isn't any better than the russians? what if my troops aren't any better than the russians? maybe my military is not as good as they are telling me they are. the chinese have given the russians all kinds of rhetorical and political support, but they are doing very little concretely to help the russians. my guess is, putin though xi before the olympics lookly do this, it will take a few days and it will be done. i wager that xi never expected a protracted brutal conflict that would isolate russia so much
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from the rest of the world. and so i think he is playing it actually very cautiously. >> brennan: is the rise of china still inevitable? >> china and its role as -- its growing role as a global power will continue. they do have some real problems, but the big issue for xi, where he can't admit he is wrong is on the zero covid, and, you know, when you shut down a city of 25 million people for weeks and people don't have food, they don't have water, they don't have medical care, this has consequences, and how can he say i got that wrong when it has resulted in so much economic and human costs? >> brennan: you were directly involved in overseeing the wars in iraq and in afghanistan for so long. the taliban is back in power in afghanistan, al qaeda is in the government.
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women on the street have to cover their faces and their bodies now. girls don't have widespread access to education. how do you make sense of where we are now? >> well, i think people predicted every single one of those things would happen if we got out of afghanistan altogether. i think we made a mistake in pulling everybody out. i think that had we kept a small number of u.s. troops, 5,000, 6,000, something on that order, the contractors would have stayed, the equipment would have been repaired, and taken care of. i mean, we built a military modeled on our own, which requires a lot of logistical support, a lot of sophisticated maintenance and so on. >> brennan: how was that not known after 20 years of war? how is that dependence not recognized? >> i think people did recognize it, and that's one of the reasons that people in the military argued for keeping a
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number of people there, because only if we had some representation in our military would the contractors who take care of those things been willing to stay. so they weren't at risk. and when you had military, afghan military suddenly realizing they are getting no ammunition and getting no food and getting no support and they are isolated, it is kind of no wonder that most of them gave up. it wasn't that they were cowardly or that they were unwilling to fight. it was they had poor leadership and they had this dependency on technical support that went away. >> brennan: you must have seen the special inspector general report that came out just a few days ago that blamed both president trump and president biden for withdrawing the the military and contractors. >> don't forget it started under president obama so you have three presidents.
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>> brennan: you would add culpability there? >> yes. they all wanted out of afghanistan, the forever war, but that allows for no shades of grey. it is all either in or out is the way it was portrayed, and in fact, there were alternatives and the military put forward some of those alternatives which was a relatively small number of people that we would plan to keep there some indefinite period. >> brennan: you admitted your owner record there in that model of replicating and american type military style and trying to rebuild it within the afghan forces. >> yes. i mean, it was well along that way when i got there but i certainly didn't do anything to change it. >> brennan: you said before the biggest throat the united states is our polarization and the distance, the two square miles that encompassed the white house and the capitol building. do you still feel that way? >> totally. >> brennan: you don't see signs of improvement?
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>> no. i will say this. there is a one glimmer of hope that i see, and it is kind of in my world. xi jinping and vladimir putin have done something no other living human beings have done. they have actually brought republicans and democrats together on capitol hill, and with the administration. you know, apart from a handful of isolationists republican senators you have got pretty from left to right a pretty strong consensus in washington that i would say broader than just ukraine, you have the same kind of attitudes toward china and how we react to china and to russia more broadly beyond ukraine. so maybe that's, maybe that's a foundation, maybe there is a way to build on that and who knows. if you begin to get a national security policy maybe you can get it in some other places. >> brennan: i will take the optimism. >> well, i am not sure i would take the bet but you might take the optimism.
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>> brennan: our full interview with former secretary gates is on our website and our youtube channel. we will be right back. >>
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>> brennan: that's it for us today. thank you all for watching. until next week. for "face the nation", i am margaret brennan. i'm elise preston, cbs news, new
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york. this is the "cbs overnight news." >> tonight, a welcome sight for parents panicked by a critical nationwide shortage of baby formula. the first shipments arrived in the u.s. from europe. part of what's called operation fly formula. it's a biden administration initiative that aims to quickly increase the supplies of the force. it's enough for more than half a million baby bottles. it will be inspected and fast tracked for delivery to families. christina ruffini is athe