JOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: We’re in Greenville, South Carolina, the morning after what turned into a very raucous Republican debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me just tell you this. Jeb is so wrong. Jeb is absolutely so…
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a guy who thinks that Hillary Clinton is a great negotiator in Iran…
TRUMP: Spent $44 million in New Hampshire. It was practically…
BUSH: This is a man who insults his way to the nomination…
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DICKERSON: It was political slugfest at some point.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Why do you lie?
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald, learn — Donald, adults learn…
TRUMP: You pushed him.
CRUZ: … not to interrupt people.
TRUMP: Yes, yes, I know. You’re an adult.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DICKERSON: A policy brawl at others.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: The lines are very, very clear. Marco right now supports citizenship for 12 million people here illegally.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For a number of weeks now, Ted Cruz has just been telling lies. He lied about Ben Carson in Iowa.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
RUBIO: He lies about Planned Parenthood. He lies about marriage. He’s lying about all sorts of things. And now he makes things up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DICKERSON: As six remaining Republican candidates faced off just a week before the crucial South Carolina primary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I got to tell you, this is just crazy. This is just nuts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DICKERSON: We will hear from two of those candidates, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio, about the debate and the political fall out following the death of Supreme Court conservative Antonin Scalia, who died Saturday at the age of 79.
Then we will check win Bernie Sanders on the latest development in the Democratic race.
We will have brand-new CBS Battleground Tracker poll numbers and plenty of analysis.
It’s all ahead on FACE THE NATION.
Good morning. And welcome to FACE THE NATION from the Peace Center here in Greenville, South Carolina, site of last night’s Republican debate, which was anything but peaceful.
Proving the state’s reputation for brass-knuckle politics, the candidates took their brawling primary onto the stage. Donald Trump was on the offensive, attacking George W. Bush for the war in Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Obviously, the war in Iraq is a big, fat mistake, all right? George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East.
DICKERSON: So, you still think he should be impeached?
BUSH: I think it’s my turn, isn’t it? TRUMP: You do whatever you want. You call it whatever you want. I want to tell you, they lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.
DICKERSON: All right. OK. All right.
BUSH: I am sick and tired of him going after my family.
While Donald Trump was building a reality TV show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe. And I’m proud of what he did.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BUSH: And he has had the gall to go after my brother.
TRUMP: The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign. Remember that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DICKERSON: Our CBS News Battleground Tracker shows Donald Trump with a big lead going into the final week before the primary here in South Carolina. He’s at 42 percent. Ted Cruz follows at 20 percent. Marco Rubio is at 15.
And among the rest of the field, John Kasich has 9 percent support. Jeb Bush and Ben Carson are tied at 6. The poll was conducted before last night’s debate.
We sat down with Donald Trump last night immediately after the debate and asked him how it looked from his end.
TRUMP: Well, it was interesting. I mean, they were shooting at me because I’m leading by a lot, but I found it to be an amazing evening. I thought it was fascinating, actually.
I actually liked it — as they say, I won many of the debate. I thought this might have been my best performance. The interesting thing is, I was being hit from the sides, and I’m going here, over there. I think it was probably my best performance. Who knows.
DICKERSON: It seems, though, that in some of the things in your campaign, moderated a little, you seem to recognize the fact that people might be turned off by constant fighting.
TRUMP: Oh, I do. I would like to be.
Hey, look, I went to an Ivy League school. I know how to be behave. I can be so politically correct, you would just be bored to tears, John. But I fully understand that. But at the same time, when somebody comes at you with lies, a lot of lies out there — when you look at what Cruz did in Iowa with the voter — I don’t know if you saw it, the voter violation — where they made up a fraudulent form, looked like it came to a government — demanding that people go out and vote for Cruz, when you look at stuff — or what he did to Ben Carson.
They have to be called out. These are dishonest people.
DICKERSON: You mentioned that the World Trade Center came down during George W. Bush’s presidency.
TRUMP: Right. Absolutely right.
DICKERSON: Are you blaming him for that?
TRUMP: I’m not blaming him, although the CIA and other groups, but the CIA said there was a lot of information that something like that was going to happen. I’m not blaming anybody. It’s a tragedy, horrible tragedy, worst in our country’s history, worse than Pearl Harbor because you’re talking about civilians, not the military. Right?
Thousands of people killed, a horror show. Now, could he have done something about it? His CIA knew about things happening. You could have said — but when Jeb gets up and says, we were safe under his brother, we weren’t safer. First of all, his brother got us into the war in Iraq, which is one of the worst catastrophes ever.
There were no weapons of mass destruction. The World Trade Center came down during his reign. So, you can’t say that we were safe under his reign, when the World Trade Center comes down, and the CIA said something like that was going to happen.
DICKERSON: George W. Bush is a pretty popular guy in South Carolina. When you say that he lied, as you did, and you said that weapons weren’t there, I mean, the intelligence…
TRUMP: Excuse me. There were no weapons of mass destruction.
DICKERSON: But your — this is basically the Democratic Party line.
TRUMP: I don’t care.
Look, look, I’m a businessman. I built a great company. I’m self-funding my campaign. All of the people in the audience, most of them were special interests. They were — it was all stacked for these people, which is fine. It’s fine, but it’s really not appropriate.
But the people in the audience were lobbyists and special interest people. I don’t have any of those people, because I’m putting up my own money. I tell the truth. OK? There were no weapons of mass destruction. I’m not blaming anybody. I’m just saying he went in there. He thought there were weapons of mass destruction maybe, or maybe he didn’t, OK?
But he thought they were — and there weren’t. So, I’m telling the truth.
DICKERSON: But you said he lied. That’s — that’s a little more than just he thought that…
TRUMP: Well, he may have. If he knew there weren’t weapons of mass destruction, and if he used that as an excuse to go in and try and make up for some sins for previous years, then it would be a lie. But I don’t think — maybe that’s true, and maybe it isn’t true.
DICKERSON: Impeached, you wouldn’t own that anymore. You once said in 2008 you thought he should be impeached.
TRUMP: Well, let me tell you something. The war in Iraq has been a disaster. It started the chain of events that leads now to the migration, maybe the destruction of Europe.
He started the war in Iraq. Am I supposed to be a big fan? Now, I’m a Republican. I’m a conservative. So many lies are made. But the truth is that we started the war in Iraq. We spent $2 trillion on that war. We lost thousands of lives. We have wounded warriors, who I love, all over the place. It shouldn’t have started.
We would have been so much better off if Bush and the rest of them went to the beach and didn’t do anything. If you had Saddam Hussein, who is a bad guy and all of that, but he made a living off killing terrorists.
Now, if you want to become a terrorist, you go to Iraq. That’s like the Harvard of terrorism, OK? So, look, it was not a great job. Now, people can say he’s popular. I don’t know why he’s popular. But we also had an economic collapse at the end of his term. That economic collapse gave us Barack Obama. Without that collapse, we wouldn’t have had Barack Obama.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you about politics now. You had a tough ad hitting Senator Cruz, saying he couldn’t be trusted. You said you pulled it down, but I just watched it on TV.
TRUMP: No, no, I pulled it down because I wanted to be nice. I wanted to be a very nice person.
And then I saw him do a negative ad on me, so I said, put it back up. It’s a very honorable ad. It’s a very honest ad. It’s just tough. He’s a nasty guy. People don’t like him. Think of it. You’re a United States senator, you have a lot of friends that are in the Senate — or, in his case, he doesn’t have any friends. He doesn’t have one endorsement from one U.S. senator. These are people that work with him. How can that be possible? DICKERSON: You also have questioned his Christianity. Is that a Christian thing to do, to question…
TRUMP: No, I say this. I say this. You can’t lie and then hold up the Bible, OK?
He consistently lies. What he did to Ben Carson was a disgrace. What he did with the voter violation form, which is a fraud, is a disgrace. And you can’t do that. You can’t hold up all of these values and hold up the Bible and then lie.
DICKERSON: Speaking of holding up the Bible, you promised not to use profanity anymore. Did I — did I hear that?
TRUMP: Well, you know, I have always done it just as a way of emphasis and had fun doing it.
But running in politics, we can’t do it. I mean, I get standing ovations. The other night, I got standing ovations for minor stuff. And a lot of times, I don’t use the word, John.
You had it bleeped out. I didn’t use the word. I explained that tonight, I hope.
DICKERSON: You used a few other words.
TRUMP: But not a big deal.
You know, Jeb Bush goes on, and he said he’s going to rip down his pants and moon everybody on the street, moon everybody. Nobody writes about it. It’s in a couple of papers, but nobody writes about it. That’s far worse. He says she’s going to rip down his pants and moon everybody? This is a presidential candidate?
DICKERSON: Seems like a race to the bottom to me. Tell me…
TRUMP: No, it’s terrible. I think it’s terrible. But I didn’t say it. He did.
DICKERSON: You won New Hampshire.
TRUMP: I did.
DICKERSON: And now — give me your sense of the campaign right now.
TRUMP: I think we’re doing great. I just don’t want to have people to do robo-calls.
Like, as an example, robo-calls, this is a crazy business. I deal with Manhattan real estate. These people are babies compared to the politicians. Robo-calls put out — I’m leading by a lot, as you know — and robo-calls put out by we think Cruz, because it was one of his top people, saying that Donald Trump is not going to be running in South Carolina, vote for Ted Cruz.
That’s a fraud. So, what I have is, because I have a little bit of a microphone out there, what I have is, I’m able to explain to people that it’s a lie. A lot of people couldn’t do it. Ben Carson wasn’t able to do that. They hit him very quickly. That took away a lot of votes from Ben Carson.
DICKERSON: Your tax returns, when are we going to see them? TRUMP: I would say, over the next three, four months. We’re working on them very hard. And they will be very good.
DICKERSON: That sounds like they will come out after potentially the nomination is sewn up?
TRUMP: No, I don’t know. I will do them as soon as — look, I’m the first one to put my financial statement out. I put out a financial statement with no extensions, with no anything.
But I have one the world’s most complicated tax returns. It’s a massive return. And — but I will get it done as soon as I can.
Remember this. When I did my financials, which are, frankly, much more important, when I did my financials, everybody thought it would take a year to put them out. I put them out in 30 days. And everybody was very impressed with them.
DICKERSON: Finally, the veterans money that you raised, what is the status of that?
TRUMP: Well, we have given away a lot of it. And much of it is given away. Most of it is in the mail.
DICKERSON: Six million.
DICKERSON: How much is given away?
TRUMP: Well, I don’t know. I can tell you, I don’t know. A lot of it is just going from the people that made it directly to the veterans groups.
But much of it has been — I would say millions have been given out already. I’m very proud of it.
DICKERSON: All right, Donald Trump, thank you so much.
TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you.
DICKERSON: CBS News conducted a national overnight poll of Republicans and independents to gauge their reaction to the debate.
Respondents thought Marco Rubio was the winner with 32 percent. Donald Trump was in second with 24 percent. John Kasich came in third with 19 percent support, Ted Cruz behind him at 12 percent, Ben Carson at 8 percent, and Jeb Bush at 5.
And joining us this morning is the winner of that debate, at least according to our poll, Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
What was it like on the stage for you? It seemed pretty raucous.
RUBIO: What a great poll.
RUBIO: It was an interesting debate.
It’s — I think it’s the smallest stage we have had now with six people in the race. And so there’s more time for everyone to speak. And it happened on the night that Justice Scalia left us and passed away.
And so I thought that added some somber seriousness to the beginning of the debate. And then you get into some of the differences. So, it was — when Donald and Jeb were going at it a little bit, and Jeb and Donald and Ted a little bit as well, it was a little different from the other debates, I think. And the crowd was pretty involved, too.
DICKERSON: Yes. The difference is, you called Senator Cruz a liar.
RUBIO: Well, he’s lying.
Obviously, in the last couple weeks, he has really exhibited this very troubling tendency to say things that just aren’t true, I mean, just making things up. Just this week alone, he had to pull an ad off the air, because it didn’t tell the truth about my position on sanctuary cities.
He’s lied about my position on marriage. He’s lied about Planned Parenthood and my position on that. And he’s not being honest about his previous position on immigration. He tries to portray himself as some sort of purist, but his record is something very different. And so these things are being exposed now in a campaign. And it’s really a troubling trend.
DICKERSON: What do you think that means in terms of the presidency, though?
RUBIO: I think it means someone is willing to say or do anything to win an election, even if it’s not true.
And that — I think it’s going to trouble people deeply. We all want to win, but you can’t just make things up. And if you have a campaign that’s willing to do things like what he did to Ben Carson in Iowa and what he apparently is doing here now, according to Donald Trump with robo-calls — I don’t know about that, but Donald mentioned that. I think it speaks to how you conduct yourself, especially in high-intensity situations. So, I think it’s very troubling. And I hope he will stop doing it.
DICKERSON: You were here in the debate and Chris Christie wasn’t. You guys had quite an exchange in New Hampshire, but what does the fact that you survived to continue and he didn’t, what does that mean?
RUBIO: I don’t think — ultimately, the debate wasn’t the reason why Chris is not in the race now. He will have to answer that. I like Chris Christie. And I think he has a future in public service beyond being governor of New Jersey. I don’t think we have heard the last of his service.
It was a very unusual year. In any other year, Chris Christie would have been a front-runner. But this year, we had all these people running, and it just worked out the way it did. I wish him the best.
DICKERSON: What do you think of John Kasich’s point last night that the bickering and the back and forth is going to help Hillary Clinton in the end?
RUBIO: Well, I think, ultimately, that’s true. They had a pretty intense debate the other night between her and Bernie Sanders as well.
And let’s not forget that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton said some really horrible things about each other during that campaign, and he ended up winning, and she ended up working for him.
But I would prefer the debates be all about policy. If you watch, I never launch these attacks. But if I’m attacked, I need to respond. I think that was the mistake I made a week ago, when I didn’t. I should have responded about Chris’ record. And, instead, I get pivoted to the issues, and you get pummeled in the media for that.
So, I don’t like it. But, unfortunately, sometimes, you have to do it because people are saying things that just aren’t true.
DICKERSON: I want to ask you about the replacement to Justice Scalia. What is going to happen there, do you think? The president said he’s going to nominate someone.
RUBIO: He can nominate someone. The Senate is not moving forward on it until after the election.
Senate McConnell, the majority leader, has already made that clear. And I agree with that. There’s been precedent established over 80 years that, in the last year, especially in the last 11 months, you do not have a lame-duck president make a lifetime appointment to the highest court on the land — in the land.
So, we are going to have election in November. This vacancy is going to be an issue in this election. The voters are going to get to weigh in and then they will choose a new president. And then that new president, which I expect will be me, will then be able to nominate someone and work with the Senate to confirm them.
DICKERSON: Don’t the voters weigh in when they pick the president in the first place? And then his powers extend until the last day? If there were emergency, you would still expect the presidency to participate in it.
RUBIO: But this is a lifetime appointment. This is a not a law you can reverse. This is not a policy you can undo.
Once you name someone to the Supreme Court, they’re going to be there until they die or leave. And that is a very serious thing. And so the president can decide whatever he wants, but I’m just telling you the Senate is not moving forward on it until we have a new president. And I agree with that.
DICKERSON: And if you were president, would you have that kind of last-year moratorium on a…
RUBIO: I would understand, yes, I would.
And, in fact — and it’s not just for the Supreme Court. There’s practice that in the last eight months of the presidency or nine, you stop doing appellate courts as well. And I would respect that practice.
DICKERSON: If you had a — if you were president, and you had a nominee to put forward, would there be any kind of litmus test? I asked Governor Bush about this last night, because conservatives have said, we want to make sure we have justices who are really conservative…
RUBIO: Well, it’s not about your views on the issues.
It’s very simple. Does the justice — does this person that we’re nominating have a consistent and proven record of interpreting the Constitution as initially meant? What did the society that wrote those words mean those words — what did those words mean to that society at the time in which those words were written in the Constitution?
That’s what I want out a judge, out of a justice, a justice that looks at legislation says, what were the meaning — what was the meaning behind this legislation when it was passed by Congress? If you don’t like the meaning, then there’s a process. The Constitution provides a process to change the Constitution. It’s called Article V.
And it gives you a process for changing the Constitution. But I’m looking for people that are going to look at the Constitution and apply it and interpret it based on the original meaning of the words in that document.
DICKERSON: Let’s talk about politics a little bit. You did well in Iowa, not — less well in New Hampshire. How well do you have to do in South Carolina, and when you have to put a state in the win column?
RUBIO: Well, I think it — we’re going to get into the weeds here on politics early on. But in these early states, it’s all proportional. So, whether you — if you look at what happened in…
DICKERSON: The delegates.
RUBIO: Yes. So, you look at what happened in New Hampshire, I finished in fifth, but I had the same number of delegates as the person who finished in fourth and in third. Same in Iowa. I had only one less delegate than the person who finished in first.
So, in these proportional states, we just want to continue to pick up delegates and we want to do consistently well. Once we get into the winner-take-all states, now the stakes become much higher. And so for us, I think it’s continuing to do well in these early states, get ourselves in a strong delegate position, and then really give ourselves the opportunity when the race is narrowed to do real well once it’s a winner-take-all.
DICKERSON: Is it a one-two process? In other words, basically best Governor Bush and Governor Kasich, so that you can be the alternative, then take on Donald Trump?
RUBIO: Yes, except that if you look at it, one of the reasons why I’m the candidate that gets attacked by everyone in this race — I have been attacked by Ted Cruz. I have been attacked by Chris Christie. I have been attacked by Jeb Bush.
I get attacked by everybody, because I believe our message is one that appeals to voters across the Republican Party. And so I think that’s why ultimately I am the only one left in this race that can bring this party together quickly and then grow the conservative movement.
So, I have never viewed myself in a one-on-one competition with anyone on that debate stage last night. I have a message that I believe appeals to voters supporting every one of these candidates.
DICKERSON: All right, Senator Marco Rubio, thanks for being with us.
RUBIO: Thank you.
DICKERSON: And we will be back in a minute.
DICKERSON: Late yesterday afternoon, word came that Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia had died at the age of 79.
A key conservative on the court, his death has already had an impact on the presidential campaign. We go to CBS News chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford outside the Supreme Court in Washington — Jan.
JAN CRAWFORD, CBS NEWS CHIEF LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, I mean, news of Scalia’s death sent shockwaves through Washington, just the loss of this larger-than-life figure here at the court and in the law.
And regardless of your ideology, I think it is almost hard to imagine the when the justices return to the bench next week, the empty seat will be Scalia’s.
ANTONIN SCALIA, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: The remedy for a case is always subject to the court’s discretion and always depends upon the realities on the ground.
CRAWFORD (voice-over): He was a giant in the law. Nominated by President Reagan, Justice Scalia shaped the conservative legal movement with his sharp intellect and his clear, colorful writing, like his dissent calling the court’s decision upholding Obamacare pure applesauce.
One of his most significant decisions for the court, that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. He told “60 Minutes”‘ Lesley Stahl in 2008 he couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
SCALIA: When I first came on the court, I thought I would for sure get off as soon as I could, which would have been when I turned 65, because, you know, justices retire at full salary.
So, there’s no reason not to leave and go off and do something else.
I cannot think of what I would do for an encore. I can’t think of any other job that I would find as interesting and as satisfying.
CRAWFORD: But almost immediately after the news of his death broke, the fight began over his successor.
The Supreme Court now is divided 4-4. And Republicans already are vowing to block whoever the president sends up — John.
DICKERSON: So, Jan, if they do block the person the president sends up, what happens to the court?
CRAWFORD: Well, I think that is a very likely scenario, that we will not have a ninth justice on the Supreme Court for the indefinite future.
And that means that the lower court decision in all of these controversial cases that the justices will be hearing this term, that decision will remain. So, we are going to have cases this term, John, on affirmative action, on abortion, on the future of Obamacare, on labor unions.
It is a docket chockful of controversy. But the lower court’s decision, if the court split 4-4, would stand. So, it means that all the controversy in some ways that we expect here at the court now will be shifted across the street, where the fight will be in Congress.
DICKERSON: All right, Jan Crawford, thanks so much.
We will be right back with Senator Bernie Sanders.
DICKERSON: We’re back in South Carolina, where Democrats will hold their primary a week after Republicans on February 27.
Our CBS News Battleground Tracker shows Hillary Clinton with a wide lead here over Bernie Sanders at 59 percent to 40 percent.
Senator Sanders joins us now from Denver, Colorado.
Senator, you hear you have quite a bit of work to do here in South Carolina. How do you expect to close the gap between you and Secretary Clinton?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, we have thousands of volunteers in South Carolina. We’re knocking on doors. We’re making phone calls.
And if you look at that poll, John, what you will see is that we have already made up a significant difference. The gap used to be much, much larger. The momentum is with us. And we’re going to do quite well in South Carolina. And, by the way, we are doing very, very well in Nevada as well.
DICKERSON: You have a large share — if you look inside of the polls, you have a large share where voters, but you’re having difficulty within the African-American community. I know you have been trying to address that.
Talk about what you have been trying to do and if you have been able to make any progress with African-American voters.
SANDERS: Well, I think we certainly have. We started off way, way, way behind with the African-American community. We have closed that gap. We still have a long way to go.
We have brought on surrogates who are doing a fantastic job for us, people like Ben Jealous, the former head of the NAACP. We have Nina Turner, a former state senator from Ohio, who has been out there, Keith Ellison, the co-chairman of the Progressive Caucus in the U.S. House.
So, we have just great surrogates out there. We are going to speaking in African-American communities in the next week. And I think you’re going to see a lot of momentum for us.
DICKERSON: We have just a minute left.
I want to ask you, what is your path when you look at the — going forward to states after South Carolina? Where should those who support you be looking for you to do well?
SANDERS: Well, you know, I think we surprised a lot of people in Iowa.
John, as you may recall, we started off there 40 or 50 points behind. We certainly surprised people in New Hampshire. And I think we’re going to continue to surprise people. I’m right now speaking to you from Denver, Colorado. Last night, we had a rally. We had close to 20,000 people out at that rally.
So, I think we’re going to do very well here in Colorado. I think we’re going to do well in Minnesota. I think you are going to see us doing far better across the board than people have perceived.
DICKERSON: All right, Senator, we’re going to just hold it right there. We will be back with more from you in a moment.
We’re going to take this quick break.
DICKERSON: Some are our CBS stations are leaving us now, but, for most of you, we will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION and more results from our CBS News Battleground Tracker and Senator Bernie Sanders.
Stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DICKERSON: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. I’m John Dickerson in Greenville, South Carolina, where CBS News held a Republican debate last night. And we’re back now with more from Senator Bernie Sanders on the Democratic race.
Senator Sanders, before we get back to the political questions, I want to ask you about the president’s replacement for Antonin Scalia. What do you think will happen? He’s going to nominate somebody, but Republicans have said they’re just going to let it sit.
SANDERS: Well, I’ll say, John, it is beyond my comprehension and it just speaks to the unbelievable level and unprecedented level of Republican obstructionism against Obama from day one. This is not something that is in debate. The Constitution of the United States of America provides that the president appoints, nominates a Supreme Court justice. And then the Senate holds hearings and deliberation and votes on whether or not to approve that nomination.
The idea that Republicans want to deny the president of the United States his basic constitutional right is beyond my comprehension. So I will do everything that I can to make sure that when the president makes his nomination, the Senate goes forward in as speedy a process as possible, holds the necessary hearings and hopefully appoints and selects the president — the Supreme Court justice that the president nominates.
DICKERSON: What levers, senator, do the Democrats really have, though? If the Republicans are in the majority they decide to slow walk this, what could Democrats do? How far could it go?
SANDERS: Well, I think we should do everything that we can. But I think the main leverage that we have is rallying the American people. Look, you can be a conservative, you can be a progressive, but you cannot allow — we cannot allow the Republican majority in the Senate to deny the president his basic constitutional right. There are very important cases that need to be heard that are not going to be determined if we do not have a ninth member of the Supreme Court. I think the issue is taking the situation to the American people. And I think fair minded Americans, no matter what their political point of view may be, will say, this is absurd. This is obstructionism. This is not what democracy and what the Congress is supposed to be about.
DICKERSON: Let me switch back to politics with you. When you did well in New Hampshire and the delegate counts came out, it showed that you’d picked up some delegates in New Hampshire. But because Hillary Clinton has so many of those super delegates, the numbers look quite tilted in her favor. What’s your overall feeling about super delegates and their role in the nominating process?
SANDERS: Well, look, John, we are taking on the establishment, the Democratic establishment in virtually every state that we’re running in. And most of the establishment, in fact, is with Hillary Clinton. But this is what I think. I think if we continue to do well around the country, and if super delegates whose main interest in life is to make sure that we do not have a Republican in the White House, if they understand that I am the candidate, and I believe that I am, who is best suited to defeat the Republican nominee, I think they will start coming over to us.
And I will also say this, that I think you can get a sense of the nervousness within the Clinton campaign by seeing that they are now using their super PAC money, funded largely by Wall Street, against me. So I think they understand that in this campaign we have the momentum and I think super delegates are beginning to perceive that as well.
DICKERSON: Have you heard from any of these super delegates who are not bound, they could switch, even though they’ve committed themselves for the moment to Hillary Clinton, any warning signals from them — any of them coming to you?
SANDERS: Just met with a couple last night.
DICKERSON: Well, that’s good — that sounds encouraging.
Senator Sanders, we appreciate you being with us. We’ll look forward to talking to you again soon. SANDERS: Thank you are very much.
DICKERSON: Thank you.
We’ll be right back with more results from our CBS News battleground tracker poll. Stay with us.
DICKERSON: And we’re back with more of our battleground tracker poll and CBS News elections director Anthony Salvanto.
Anthony, tell me, we’ll start with the Republicans. We’ve got Iowa and New Hampshire in the books, heading into South Carolina. What does it look like, the field?
ANTHONY SALVANTO, CBS NEWS ELECTIONS DIRECTOR: Donald Trump is up here. He is up big. Now, his lead is about the same as it’s been, but underneath that lead, the strength of his support has grown. So among his supporters, the ones who say they are now firmly committed to him, is up from last month. And, to me, John, this looks like the anatomy of a bump. This is what momentum looks like.
When you talk to these folks last month and they said, in order to us to be more firmly with Donald Trump, he has to convince me that he can win. Well, what happened, he won. He won in New Hampshire. He won big. So you see that movement and I think it explains a lot of it.
Then you also see that he is up here with a couple of key groups, namely conservatives and evangelicals. In fact, his lead with evangelicals has grown over the last month. Now, they’re not quite the same group here that they are in Iowa. They are a little more concerned about terrorism and the economy than faith and religion, as we learned in Iowa. But, that said, those are two key groups, evangelicals make up a majority of the electorate here, so that underpins his support.
DICKERSON: We’ve been, you and I, talking about for months the durability of Donald Trump’s support. It’s what allows him to survive every time something happens and people think, well this will now hurt him. So it sounds like that’s only getting more durable.
Ted Cruz, let’s talk about him for a moment, he’s the one trying to make inroads into those groups, evangelicals, conservatives, very conservatives. How is he doing after his showing in Iowa?
SALVANTO: Well, he’s got the very conservative here. That is the one subset of conservatives with which he is up. And that follows the pattern out of Iowa and even to some degree out of New Hampshire. So — also you saw, even in his closing statement with you last night, where he’s tried to reinforce that. If you want the real conservative, if you want these — and, you know, check the boxes on what conservatives are looking for. But Donald Trump isn’t really competing in that same space. So he — Donald Trump is competing more as the person who can fix things. So where — where he’s attacking Donald Trump against not being — not having the conservative (INAUDIBLE), that quite — hasn’t quite taken hold yet here.
DICKERSON: What about the non-Donald Trump, non-Ted Cruz lane, what some people call the establishment lane, the mainstream candidates, how do they sort out?
SALVANTO: Well, first of all, we saw a bump for John Kasich. He went from 2 percent up to 9 percent here. He actually does particularly well among non-evangelicals and specifically among the folks who say they would like the next Republican nominee to compromise and negotiate more with Democrats to get things done. Now, of course, the trouble for him is, that’s a minority here. You know, that’s, you know, two-thirds say they want somebody to stand up more for Democrats. So he may be limited.
DICKERSON: So if there’s a limited group out there for Kasich in South Carolina, that’s important because he needs a — to do well in say a South Carolina to get a little momentum. What about Rubio? Where do things stand for him?
SALVANTO: Rubio is in third here at 15 percent. One of the challenges for him coming out of the last debate before — before last night and even you saw in our — our instant poll is, the — his metric on being prepared for the presidency. So he’s about middle of the pack on that. He’s a little lower. Even lower than Jeb Bush in that regard. So that’s his challenge going forward. If he can build that up, he can probably build some momentum.
DICKERSON: Switch to the Democrats. Clinton and Sanders. What’s it look like?
SALVANTO: It’s still big for Hillary Clinton, as you mentioned in your interview with — with Bernie Sanders. Very clearly the African- American vote here is what is underpinning her lead. Now, we’ve got a different electorate here and the African-American vote will make up a majority of that Democratic vote coming up in two weeks. So she’s up big with them. Bernie Sanders up with white voters. And with that vote, you see most African-Americans say that they feel like they know Hillary Clinton very well. But by comparison, very few say that they know Bernie Sanders very well. So you might see that as a challenge for him because he’s got to introduce himself, but you also might see that as an opportunity, as he mentions in his interview, if he can introduce himself and find some favor.
DICKERSON: Do you — so are you suggesting her support isn’t super durable, he could go in and grab some of it if they just knew him better?
SALVANTO: I think that’s the challenge for him. Yet his support is — is based in some of the same things we saw in New Hampshire and in Iowa. He beats Hillary Clinton on the honest and trustworthy question. Although here, both candidates are seen as honest and trustworthy. And, you know, he still wins among young voters and he wins among white voters. It’s really a question of what the shape of the electorate is here. And as you mentioned in his interview, as we head south in this race, they’re just aren’t that many states that are friendly to him if he keeps the same coalition that he had up in New Hampshire.
DICKERSON: All right, Anthony Salvanto, always a pleasure. Thanks so much for being with us.
We’ll be back with analysis of last night’s debate and the week in politics from our panel. Stay with us.
DICKERSON: We’re back with some expert analysis from our political panel. Peggy Noonan is a columnist for “The Wall Street Journal” and a CBS News contributor, Dan Balz is chief Washington correspondent for “The Washington Post,” Kim Strassel is a columnist for “The Wall Street Journal” and one of our moderators at last night’s debate, and Jamelle Bouie is chief political correspondent for Slate magazine and a CBS news political analyst.
All right, to all four of you, here we are on the stage where there was so much excitement last night. I don’t want anyone calling anyone else a liar.
Peggy, give us your reaction, what happened last night?
PEGGY NOONAN, “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL”: It was lions and tigers and bears, oh, my. It’s what happens when a field — an uncoordinated field of 17 suddenly becomes six men who are really fighting and really want it. There were lots of sparks.
To me there were two headlines. One is, Donald Trump didn’t just have controversial or interesting remarks to say on — on the invasion of Iraq. By going into, by looking at Jeb Bush and saying essentially, your brother lied to get us in there and also he was president during 9/11 and he should have made us safer, to me he was getting into or he was into code pink territory. Not Democratic Party territory, not moderate Republican, but kind of code pink territory. I’m not sure how that’s going to play. I think we may be hearing a bit about it the next few days.
Second thing was, I know many people think that Jeb Bush seemed strong in his sparks moments with Donald Trump, but I think too much Jeb Bush falls back on saying he’s a 63-year-old man who’s constantly saying, don’t pick on my mom, don’t pick on my pop, my father’s the best father in the world. There’s something odd and unbecoming about it. We know his parents. We know he loves them and why that’s wonderful. But, in fact, Trump was talking about serious issues. I think he should have engaged on that.
DICKERSON: Dan, what’s your take?
DAN BALZ, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: I agree very much with what Peggy said. I mean I thought this was a debate for the ages last night and you must have felt the heat — you and Kim must have felt the heat –
BALZ: Standing a few feet away from it.
DICKERSON: I didn’t realize I’d need sunscreen come –
KIM STRASSEL, “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL”: Yes.
BALZ: It — it was remarkable. But I think to Peggy’s point, Donald Trump is clearly not a pure conservative in any stretch of the imagination. And instead of trying to kind of sugar coat that in some way that a politician might, he went in the opposite direction last night. In the short term, in this state, where he has a very strong lead, it may not hurt him. In the longer term, as this field narrows, it could very well really be a big problem for him. And I also think that — that the more there was talk about Bush and the Bush family, as Peggy said, it is a problem for Jeb bush because we know even within the Republican Party for as much affection as there is for the Bush family, there is resistance to more Bushs.
DICKERSON: Another. Kim.
STRASSEL: Yes. Yes, I mean I think South Carolina is going to be the test of whether or not Donald Trump can say or do anything and if voters just keep supporting him, because it wasn’t just Iraq. I mean on a lot of different things. On imminent domain, on the America approach to Russia, on Social Security, whether you reform it, all these — he’s to the left of lot of the party. And if they just accept that, I think it means that there isn’t really anything he can say or do that will ever turn off his supporters or a portion of the Republican electorate.
The other thing I did like about last night is that all of the talk and the conversations and the fights, the lie, lie, lie, there was actually a lot of good discussion on policy debates up there about taxes, on entitlements, on foreign policy and it was good because there were only six guys up on the stage. So I think it was a moment for a lot of voters to see a lot more about these candidates than they ever had.
DICKERSON: Jamelle, what did you take away from it?
JAMELLE BOUIE, “SLATE” MAGAZINE”: I just want to emphasize Peggy’s point, that this was a real brawl. I grew up as a kid watching a lot of professional wrestling, and it reminded me nothing — it reminded me nothing so much as cage match between a bunch of very able wrestlers. Now with that said, it’s true that Donald Trump is much more to the left on a number of issues a mainstream conservative would be, but my hunch is that Donald Trump is not so much speaking to Republican voters as he’s speaking to the broader class of American voters. A lot of people agree with Donald Trump about Iraq. Lot of people agree with Donald Trump about the — about President Bush’s administration. And I have this hunch that much in the same way that Bernie Sanders is in lot of ways not that much different from the mainstream Democrat, but he has the — sort of the appeal of a not Democrat Democrat, you can still support President Obama but not have to, you know, pull the lever for a Democrat. I think Donald Trump is a not Republican Republican. For a lot of Americans who may want a change from President Obama but don’t want to endorse things like the Iraq War, Donald Trump offers an option.
DICKERSON: Dan, what happens if Trump does well here, is that it, of to the races, it’s done? You mentioned once it gets winnowed further, but how — how much of a big thing would it be if he won here?
BALZ: Well, so much depends on how rapidly the rest of the field winnows. I mean as long as you have Kasich, Rubio and Bush competing and continuing to go on, the more difficult it becomes for anybody to stop him. But, you know, I was talking to Terry Sullivan, who’s Rubio’s campaign manager, in the spin room last night, and their view is this is a — this is, a, a delegate battle, as he talked to you in the interview this morning, and also basically a matter of survival. That you just keep going and keep going and eventually others will fall away and that when you get into the later stages of this campaign, when it is winner take all, that’s the time when the anti- Trump faction becomes large enough to be able to carry those states.
DICKERSON: Based on the aggression on the stage last night, they may literally fall away as one of the Bushs comes down.
Kim, Ted Cruz made the case with — with Donald Trump on judges, this is a — I want to get your take on how important this is. He said basically he’s going to nominate a liberal judge and, you know, pay attention to that, voters. Do you think that has resonance?
STRASSEL: Yes. Justice Scalia’s death, so unfortunate, but this is a moment that focuses all conservative minds. You know, as you were sitting there watching last night, it made everyone realize how important it was that the Republicans had won the Senate now have the ability to do something about an Obama nomination. And it put the stakes up about how important it’s going to be to win the White House next year for them. So that was Ted Cruz’s message up on the stage is, this is now an issue — this shows you all why we’re having this debate. Why this is so important and why we’ve got to win. The question is going to be whether or not Republicans can unite around one of these guys in the end and they do understand those stakes because it does help focus the mind.
DICKERSON: Let’s switch quickly then to Justice Scalia, Peggy. What’s your sense? I mean there’s a fight now over this. How do you think it plays out?
NOONAN: Oh, yes, for — the first thing is, this is an epical moment, you know, in a divided country more or less, with a divided court more or less, with a president leaving in ten months, with a major presidential election coming up, what a moment to have the U.S. Senate consider and a president consider nominating a replacement for a man who was really a giant in a way. So much meaning to conservatives in America who took such comfort in his presence on the court.
So, to me, I think my headline is, wow, this election year is turning — this is like written by Allen Drury (ph). This is advice or consent 2016.
NOONAN: It’s going to be so dramatic. I am one of those who thinks, I would love to see the president hold off on a nominee and say, I understand all the facts here. Let’s go forward. You’re electing the next president, America, in just x months. This — the nominee will depend on the next president you pick. The court can get along 8-8 for a long time.
DICKERSON: Jamelle, what do you think about — Kim mentioned the role that justices have in the conservative movement. What do you think — what role do you think it plays in the Democratic race?
BOUIE: I think in the Democratic race, this is an opportunity for both Sanders and Hillary Clinton to sort of emphasize the stakes of this election. I think this — this inter-left (ph) divide between the two candidates sort of — have sort of obscured the extent to which there are major and fundamental differences between the two parties. And I — I — you know, President Obama, yesterday, said that he fully intends to nominate someone.
BOUIE: So I think, Peggy, your dream is going to have to –
NOONAN: He could change his mind.
BALZ: A dream deferred.
NOONAN: He could say, wait, I –
DICKERSON: We’ll send him a transcript.
STRASSEL: She’s an optimist.
BOUIE: But my — my hunch is that whoever the president nominates is — the Republicans may not even consider the nominee and so we’re going to have this eight, nine, ten month period where I think both Democrats are really going to be hammering on this fact and using it to say, you know, who wins — who wins in November determines the future of civil rights, of voting rights, of climate, of this — this vast array of — of major issues. And so I think this is — might become the determinative issue of the election and it may redound to Hillary Clinton’s benefit, who is making her case — her case on the basis of electability.
DICKERSON: Dan, do you think it has a chance to play a role in any of the Senate races? I mean the — the — there are about five or six Republicans in blue states, senators who are up in blue states, do you think this matters in those states and therefore might matter to which party controls the Senate?
BALZ: I think it very well could. I mean we — we have seen really since Bush v. Gore that the notion that the Supreme Court is not necessarily an impartial arbiter of American society. That the court has been politicized and I think even more so as a result of the death of Justice Scalia. I think we are headed toward a major debate about the role of the court and the significance of having control of the power, the levers that create the next Supreme Court. So I think it’s — it’s big not just in the presidential race but also in the other races.
BOUIE: To — to add to that real quickly. I think depending on how the presidential race shapes out, that we may look back at the 2014 election as being hugely momentous, right? Republicans didn’t just win a majority, they won a pretty comfortable majority. And if Democrats can’t make that up this year, then the Supreme Court is sort of a very open question.
DICKERSON: Kim, give me your thoughts on the Democratic race and where things stand now.
STRASSEL: Well, Bernie Sanders is not going quietly into the South Carolina wilderness. I mean everyone said he doesn’t have a chance down here, but he came out very strong out of New Hampshire. And he’s working very hard to get the minority vote down here. And he’s actually, you know, as was mentioned earlier, there are lot of South Carolinian voters who do not know him, but it is his opportunity and he’s not letting that pass.
DICKERSON: Jamelle, you’ve been on the ground here doing some reporting. What have you found?
BOUIE: I found that at least in this kind of rough area that people are undecided. That precisely because Bernie Sanders is unknown and because there’s a complicated relationship with Hillary Clinton and the Clintons in general. The 2008 primary was very divisive and a lot of people have been able to walk past that, others are still sort of like apprehensive. And so Sanders is being given — given space to make his case.
I know that the Sanders’ campaign has hired staffers in rural parts of the state and I think this could be very much under looked. When people think about African-Americans, they tend to think of them living in urban areas. But in South Carolina and throughout the south, there’s large populations of rural black Americans. And if Sanders is organizing in that world, then it really does, I think, change the game.
DICKERSON: Hillary Clinton, Peggy, does well when she’s up against a wall is the argument. She’s a fighter and so now she’s in a fight. Does that help her?
NOONAN: Well, you know what, I think the story here might be Sanders’ momentum, but I don’t know how big a story it is. Mrs. Clinton is winning where we are right now by 15 points, right, according to the latest battleground. That’s a little smaller than what she used to be winning by. We are going to find out now if Bernie Sanders can take a chunk out of her support. We’re going to figure out, how much does she have to win by to look like a victor. I’m sure she’ll work it really hard. This is important. I think South Carolina is where Mrs. Clinton tries to stop Bernie Sanders’ momentum.
DICKERSON: In the last 45 seconds, Dan, how nervous are they in the Clinton camp? There’s reports of panic and then there’s, you know, more placid. Where does it really stand?
BALZ: John, I talked to four governors on Friday, all of whom support Hillary Clinton for president. And I was actually surprised the degree to which they still see her on a path to win the nomination. They know what she is — you know, got beaten badly in New Hampshire. They know that the Sanders message has taken hold. They know that she has to make some course corrections. But they also believe that as we move farther into the calendar, it’s going to be advantageous for her. I don’t know whether they are being optimistic because they feel they need to be or whether they genuinely believe that.
DICKERSON: All right. Well, we’ll see how it all turns out. Thanks to all of you for joining us here.
And thanks for you — all of you out there. We’ll be right back.
DICKERSON: That’s it for us today. We’ll see you next weekend when we’re back in Washington. For FACE THE NATION, I’m John Dickerson.