Face the Nation Transcripts March 22, 2015: Corker, McCarthy, Gabbard

The latest on the politics of an Iran nuclear deal, terror threats, and national sports, with Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-California, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, former NFL linebacker Chris Borland, and others.
The latest on the politics of an Iran nuclear... 46:56

(CBS News) -- A transcript from the March 22, 2015 edition of Face the Nation. Guests included Sen. Bob Corker, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Chris Borland, Peggy Noonan, Michael Gerson, Michael Crowley and Margaret Brennan.

BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST: I'm Bob Schieffer. And today on FACE THE NATION: Is the United States close to a deal to limit Iran's nuclear power?


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We have not yet reached the finish line. But make no mistake, we have the opportunity to try to get this right.


SCHIEFFER: But, if a deal is made, will Congress go along?

And what about the new ISIS terror threats? We will talk to the Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Bob Corker. We will hear from the House majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, and Democrat Tulsi Gabbard.

Also, San Francisco 49er rookie linebacker Chris Borland shocked the sports world by quitting the NFL. We will talk to him about his concerns that football is too violent. And we will have analysis on all the news, because this is FACE THE NATION.

And good morning again.

Secretary of State John Kerry is back in Washington after nearly a week now of negotiation with Iranian leaders over curbing Iraq's -- or I should say Iran's nuclear program. Clearly ,there is no deal yet. The U.S. and its allies are pressing for more inspections and tighter restrictions on Iran's ability to enrich uranium.

Iran is pushing for an immediate end to sanctions. The talks are going to resume Thursday.

And we turn first to the chairman of the Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee.

Senator, thank you so much.

What is your understanding at this hour of where the Iran nuclear talks stand?

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: Well, I think, Bob, that we're very close to political agreement.

I talked to Senator Kerry on Thursday and Vice President Biden on Thursday. It appears that we're close to a political agreement. I think most people understand that that is sort of a broad framework and that the final deal would be arrived at with all the details, the annexes, and those types of things by the end of June.

SCHIEFFER: Last week, 47 Republicans in the Senate signed a letter sent it to Iranian leaders telling them to be weary of signing a deal with the Obama administration unless the Congress approves the deal. Now, you didn't sign that letter. What I want to ask you is, are you for a deal, or are -- you just want to see that the Senate approves it?

CORKER: Well, look, I don't know of anyone that doesn't want negotiated agreement with Iran that is a good deal, one that will stand the test of time.

I think the concern has been from day one that we keep moving from our initial position, the P5-plus-one, towards Iran's position. And so there's a concern that the administration cares more about making a deal vs. the right deal. I think you know that one of the things that brought Iran to the table were the congressional mandated sanctions. There are the U.N. security sanctions. There's executive sanctions.

But Congress played a vital role in getting Iran to the table. And so what we'd like to see happen and what ranking member Menendez, myself and many others on both sides of the aisle have joined together in seeking is to ensure that before any deal is implemented that Congress has the ability to weigh in on the front end before the congressionally mandated sanctions that we put in place are taken off the table and suspended ad infinitum.

So, that is where we are. There is concern about the type of deal that we're negotiating. But I don't know of anyone that wouldn't like to see this come to a good end by an arrangement that would keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. But the question obviously is the substance of this great concern with what the trend is towards Iran's position.

SCHIEFFER: Do you think that that letter that the Republican signed, did it complicate this in any way?

CORKER: Look, I -- Bob, there's been a lot of drama around this issue. And I didn't think that it was something that was productive towards the end that I'm seeking. And that is, if there is an arrangement, we appropriately weigh in.

But, look, there's been a lot of drama back and forth in both places. Obviously, the administration and Israel are more strange than ever. There have been a lot of issues. But, look, we're going to be -- or moving towards what it looks like a deal. I think that the vast majority of people on both sides of the aisle are very sober and thoughtful about this.

And what we cannot do is let drama take us off our course of, again, Congress playing its appropriate role. It has been fascinating, Bob. I mean, I wake up every day trying to do everything I can to move foreign policy ahead, to work with everyone. And I have never seen such resistance by an administration towards a responsible role for Congress.

And I think that has obviously created some of the drama that you're referring to right now. It's unprecedented. And people who have looked at the piece of legislation that we have put forth have said, why wouldn't the administration embrace that? Because, if Congress were to embrace the deal with Iran, it has a much better chance of standing the test of time.

What is going to happen, I fear -- first of all, what I fear most is us entering into an arrangement that really allows Iran to get a nuclear weapon and,by the way, releases $130 billion of resources to them to continue to carry out the operations like we're seeing in Yemen, but we have seen in Syria and so many other places.

So, I fear that. But what I also fear is that they're going to negotiate a deal, and the way they go about it, that it ends up being the central element, if you will, in this presidential campaign because they didn't get American buy-in. And instead of doing something that ends up resolving an issue, it becomes even more unresolved.

SCHIEFFER: Do you think this is all the fault of the administration? You don't think that some of the tactics the Republicans have used might have added to this friction here?

CORKER: Well, look, I don't think anybody, when you get into a situation like this, I don't think any group has acted in a perfect manner.

Look, as I mentioned, there are a lot of tensions, a lot of drama. But let's face it. They have been pushing Congress away from this from day one. So, this has gone back for a long time. And please remember, Bob Menendez has signed on. We have got -- Chuck Schumer is supportive of this legislation.

So, Bob, regardless of some of the drama , the fact is, we have a building strong bipartisan consensus that, at the end of the day, before anything is implemented, Congress should at least be able to say grace over the fact that these sanctions that we put in place that brought Iran to the table, we ought to be able to analyze this deal, as is the norm, and say grace up or down as to whether we think those sanctions ought to be removed.


SCHIEFFER: What happens, Senator, if there is no deal? Obviously, nobody wants a bad deal.


SCHIEFFER: But let's say the two sides just can't get together. What do you do then?


Well, there's a couple of things that can happen. Number one, we do have JPOA in place, the interim deal. And it could continue for some time.


SCHIEFFER: Which, what, keeps the sanctions on?


CORKER: It keeps the existing sanctions in place, although there is some sanctions relief for Iran, OK, but it -- it stays in place for a while. That's one outcome.

SCHIEFFER: But don't the Iranians then just press ahead with their nuclear program? Why wouldn't they?

CORKER: Well, I don't think that's necessarily the case.

The other is, Congress reacts and puts in place the -- sort of the Menendez-Kirk place, which -- piece, which ratchets up sanctions and puts even more pressure in place.

But, look, at the end of the day, I do think that this deadline and the fact that the P5-plus-one about seven weeks ago gave way to a bilateral negotiation between the United States and Iran. Now all the groups are back involved. But I think we saw at that time, Bob, a huge movement, if you will, towards Iran's position.

And, as we see them not coming more -- becoming more responsible in how they're dealing with so many issues in the region, what we see them doing is ratcheting up their activities. So, again, I hope we end up with a good deal that stands the test of time. Negotiations are the very best way of doing that.

The other options are certainly not pleasant, but we can also maintain the status quo for some period of time until Iran becomes more serious about allowing us to know that they're not conducting covert activity, that their research and development activities aren't moving to a place that accelerates their ability to create nuclear weapons, that we understand what their previous military dimensions were that stopped in 2003, so we have access to the scientists and others that were developing what we know at that time was a move towards a nuclear weapon.

We can -- I think Secretary Kerry is right. Let's get it right. But let's not rush to a place where we end up with a deal that doesn't stand the test of time and further destabilizes the region.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, thank you so much, Senator, for joining us this morning.

CORKER: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

SCHIEFFER: And now we go to the other side of the capital, the House majority leader, Republican Kevin McCarthy. He's in Bakersfield, California, this morning.

Mr. McCarthy, do you think a full Congress has to be on record supporting this deal? Or the Senate obviously wants to vote on it. Do you think the House ought to vote on it, too?

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Well, I think the House should have some responsibility, because, just as Senator Corker said, that the House was one of the individuals that passed the sanctions that brought Iran to the table.

Regardless of what happens, we have a responsibility with whether lifting the sanctions or imposing greater sanctions, reviewing it. And we will continue to be able to review where we go forward.

SCHIEFFER: The House did play a role in this debate going on by inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu to come and address a joint session of Congress. The administration, of course, considered that a snub. Where do you think Israeli-American relations are at this point?

MCCARTHY: Well, I would tell you that, from the president and the administration, they're trying to make this about the prime minister, Netanyahu.

It's not about him. It's not about the administration. This is about the mutual concern we have for Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. But I will tell you that the special relationship that America has with the Israeli people transcends any of the politics. This administration should be better than this, that Prime Minister Netanyahu has been reelected.

We have a unique relationship, and we should build that, instead of trying to make it personal.

SCHIEFFER: Let me also ask you about something else. This week, House Republicans formally asked Secretary of State Clinton to turn over her private e-mail server to the State Department inspector general or a third examiner. Why do you think that is necessary?

MCCARTHY: Well, I think it's clear and it's fair, because, first, I think the American people have a right to know the truth.

And I think Secretary Clinton has a responsibility to tell it. We're not interested in her private e-mails. We're not even interested in her e-mails regarding Russia and the reset or Syria and Assad and the chemical weapons, only those pertaining to Benghazi.

She is the individual that has created this. And we think a third party, an inspector general at the secretary -- at the State Department could have a responsibility to know which is responsible, just for Benghazi, the sensitivity to all the different e-mails, can send just those.

SCHIEFFER: Do you think at this point that she may have done something illegal?

MCCARTHY: Well, Bob, I don't know. If you were secretary of state, would you set up a server and put it in your own house and then ask your top aides only to use that and only use your attorney to determine what is that of the public or not?

We have a federal act when it comes to how to use this. I think she brings a lot of doubt with her own use. But she has the ability to clear this up. She has the responsibility to tell the truth to the American public, and she can release them.

SCHIEFFER: Well, is what you're saying is, she was just trying to make sure she didn't leave a paper trail here for the decisions she made on Benghazi and other things?

MCCARTHY: Well, she was there for five years. I think she started the process. I don't know of anybody else that when they go into the federal government creates a server in their own house.

I just think the American public have a right to the truth. And she knows the responsibility that she has. And going to a third party is fair, it's clear. We don't want any of the other e-mails. We don't want to go through them. Just give us the e-mails pertaining to Benghazi, and this to be forwarded to the American public.

SCHIEFFER: Let me go back to the whole situation with terror. We saw two horrible terror incidents this week.

Now we hear that ISIS has sent personal information, about a hundred members of the military out and told people to attack them or do something in some way. Do we have at this point a coherent strategy to fight ISIS? MCCARTHY: I think the president has been consistently wrong with this. And this goes into the concern with any agreement with Iran.

Think what this administration has told the American public, first that we had broken the back to al Qaeda. And we know that is not true today, then that ISIS was a J.V. team. And then the president held up just few months ago that Yemen was the example to the foreign policy when it came to the Middle East.

And now he wants to trust us on getting a deal with Iran not able to attain a nuclear weapon? I believe the administration has misinterpreted the entire Arab spring. That is the concern we have. And then when you look what the president sends up to Congress with an AUMF, an authorization for use of military force, he constrains the military even further to combat ISIS.

He has more authority today than what he's asking going forward. The problems we're having today around the world are because of this administration redirection of our foreign policy that puts more emphasis on defending our enemy, instead of supporting our allies. And it's creating chaos around the world.

SCHIEFFER: All right, Congressman, I want to stop you there. And I want you thank you very much for being with us this morning.

And we're going to welcome now Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Democrat from Hawaii, to the broadcast, first time on FACE THE NATION. She sits on both the Armed Services and the Foreign Affairs committees, and before her election served two tours in Iraq in the U.S. Army.

REP. TULSI GABBARD (D), HAWAII: Aloha, Bob. Thanks for having me here. SCHIEFFER: Thank you very much, Congresswoman.

You heard this thing that's come out now about ISIS sending out this information on a hundred members of the military. Do you know anything more about this?

GABBARD: Well, I think this is exactly the kind of tactics that we are starting to see increase, not only here, but in other parts of the world, where these Islamic extremist terrorist elements are looking to different so-called soft targets, and really the unconventional approach they're taking to this war that they're waging not only against the United States, but to anyone who doesn't follow their vein of this radical Islamic ideology.

SCHIEFFER: You are a Democrat, of course, but you have not been afraid to criticize the administration on occasion on these matters. Should we be doing something differently now in this war on terror than what we're doing?

GABBARD: We should be. And I think, as we have just passed the 12th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq in the beginning of the Iraq war, I think it's important that we look at what are the lessons learned from that war, so as we look at this, we see the very clear need for a clear and winning strategy.

This is not something that can only be done militarily, right alongside the military strategy, which must consist of working with our partners in the region and must consist with working with the Sunnis and the Kurds and really going to the heart of the sectarian conflict. Right alongside that military strategy must be a political one. Again, that goes to this sectarian divide that really allowed, in Iraq, ISIS to grow and really increase in its strength and presence there.

When we looked at the continuation of the failed Bush policy now in this administration of propping up this Shia-led government in Baghdad that is heavily influenced by Iran, this is what has caused essentially for ISIS to grow.

SCHIEFFER: Do you see the Shia militia as being more dangerous than, say, ISIS? Because I think General Petraeus said something to that effect recently.

GABBARD: I think whether it's more or less dangerous, I think you have to look at the core set of problems here, that the Shia militia being there, continuing to oppress and persecute the Sunnis is what causing ISIS to grow in strength.

And that's a fact. And we look what is happening in Tikrit right now with that offensive attack there, we look at what we expect in Mosul.

To my knowledge -- and I have asked questions of military leaders here and members of the administration -- there is no clear plan in place for the Sunni people to take charge of these Sunni-dominated parts of Iraq, which is the only thing that will prevent ISIS from coming back in, even if there is a military victory.

SCHIEFFER: How important is it that Congress pass some kind of authorization that the president wants to authorize the war against ISIS and terrorists?

GABBARD: Well, this authorization goes to the military question.

And I think, before we examine that, again, we have got to look at, what is the overall strategy to defeat this threat before we drill down the details of that, because, without a winning strategy, whether it's this president or the next president, we're not getting to the heart of the problem here.

I think another issue with the authorization that the president has put forward, the administration has been very clear that they will continue the military actions that they're conducting with or without this authorization to use military force going back to that 2001 AUMF, and that this only needs to be passed as a message or a symbol to the American people.

So, I think that is where you're seeing a lack of urgency. But, again, even as we look at that on its face, we have got to go to the deeper question of, what is the strategy here? What are we going to do militarily, politically, and ideologically to defeat this enemy?

SCHIEFFER: All right, Congresswoman, thank you so much.

GABBARD: Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: We hope you will come back to see us.

GABBARD: Absolutely. Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: And we will be back in one minute with some personal thoughts.


SCHIEFFER: So, the prime minister of Israel doesn't like the president, and has decided dealing with this administration is no walk in the park. I get that. There are some in Washington, including some Democrats, who feel the same way.

And the president thinks the prime minister dissed him when he spoke to the joint session of Congress without a presidential invitation. I get that, too. It was not just rude, but disrespectful to the office.

And, yes, I can understand why the president would be upset when the prime minister blindsided him and said he no longer favored the creation of a Palestinian state, long favored by the United States and Israel.

Yet, when the prime minister backed away from that Thursday, the White House reacted with pointed, even snarky skepticism, as if they wanted to keep the public fight going. I question that. Sure, the White House is upset, but let's remember what's important here, and it is not who gets the last word on Twitter. There have been hard-to-take insults from both sides, but the relationship between Israel and America is unique. And Israel is the only true democracy in that part of the world. We need Israel, and Israel needs us. It's time to stop the back and forth and repair the alliance quietly.

Nothing makes America and Israel's enemies happy than believing the relationship between Israel and America is unraveling. And, right now, they have to wonder.

Back in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SCHIEFFER: We turn now to the other story that is getting noticed in every home in America where there are growing kids. And that is the NFL and league's ongoing problems with concussions.

Last week, rookie linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers Chris Borland stunned the sports world by announcing he was retiring because he cited fears over his long-term health.

Chris, thank you so much for coming.

And you are literally walking away probably from millions of dollars. One year in the NFL, and you say you're going to quit. Why did you talk away? CHRIS BORLAND, FORMER NFL PLAYER: Well thanks for having me, Mr. Schieffer.

To me, the decision was simple after I had done a lot of research. And it was personal. I was concerned about neurological diseases down the road if I continued to play football. So, I did a lot of research and gathered a lot of research. And, to me, the decision made sense.

SCHIEFFER: Was there one event, was there one play that led you to this decision?

BORLAND: There was a moment in camp where I probably sustained a mild concussion. And It wasn't something that was detrimental to my health immediately, but it just changed the way I viewed the risks of my chosen profession.

And I didn't want to go down a route where, for years, I was doing something that could ultimately be detrimental to my health.

SCHIEFFER: And so you just said, I'm going to do it?

BORLAND: I thought I would.

I wrote my parents a letter before the season, and that my career may be brief for those concerns, and did a lot of research throughout the season and afterwards and came to the conclusion, yes, it's the best decision for me.

SCHIEFFER: All right, we're going to ask you to hold on here for a moment, Chris.

Stay with us. We will have more of this conversation coming up.

And we will be right back.


SCHIEFFER: Some of our stations are leaving us now, but, for most of you, we will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION, including more from Chris Borland, our panel, and an update on some other sports.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SCHIEFFER: And welcome back to FACE THE NATION, continuing our conversation with Chris Borland, the star rookie linebacker of the San Francisco 49ers.

Chris, I have to say I think every parent now that has a child, especially those who have boys, has to be thinking about is it worth it, should my child play football. And I think that is why what you had to say was so important.

I want to read, though, in response to your announcement what the NFL said.

Jeff Miller, the Senior Vice President for Health and Safety, put out a statement saying, "By any measure, football has never been safer and we continue to make progress with rule changes, safer tackling techniques at all levels of football and even better equipment, protocols and medical care for players. Everyone involved in the game knows that there is more work to do and player safety will continue to be our top priority."

Do you agree, first of all, with that statement?

CHRIS BORLAND, 49ERS: I think that may be true. However, football is inherently dangerous and that will never change so long as we have football. So when I fit a full back on a run play, talking about the culture, safety is really irrelevant.

SCHIEFFER: That's the part that I think is going to be hard to fix. People talk about, well, we'll change the tackling techniques. You won't get down in a three-point stance maybe on the line.

But the fact of the matter is, I don't think football is football if it's touch football or if it's flag football. Football, it seems to me is a game, about blocking and tackling.

BORLAND: I agree. And I love the visceral feeling of the violence of the game, I think everyone that plays at a high level is passionate about that.

However, I don't think you shouldn't be informed, and I think you should have every opportunity to know all you can about the dangers of that feeling you love and the sport you're passionate about.

SCHIEFFER: What would you tell young people playing football in high school right now, should they try to go on and play in college? Or I guess every person makes their own decision.

BORLAND: Exactly. And I'm not here to tell anybody what to do, I think the one thing I can convey is not to play through concussions. I think that's unwise. Such a small percentage of players ever play in college; of that pool, such a small percentage ever play in the NFL. So don't do anything silly when you're 16, 17 years old.

SCHIEFFER: Did you play through concussions?

BORLAND: I would say so.

SCHIEFFER: In high school and college?

BORLAND: Yes. And there's a lot made of diagnosed concussions or things like that. If you play linebacker or fullback or offense on a defensive line, you're physical, I think you'll sustain at least mild concussions, of which there's over 20 different definitions. So there's a lot of gray area, but in my opinion, yes, you sustain concussions.

SCHIEFFER: How do you know if you have a concussion? Obviously if you got knocked out and taken off the field, you know you've had a concussion probably.

But can you have one and not know it?

BORLAND: Yes. And there's a term called subconcussive hits, where you don't feel anything at all. And there is still an accumulation of those things can have a terrible effect on you long- term.

BORLAND: You are a good player. And you play hard, obviously nobody gets to the NFL unless they do, but I saw you play when you were at Wisconsin. And Wisconsin played a school I know, VCU, in the Rose Bowl; you had a great game there. TCU did happen to win.

But the whole culture, do you feel that there's something in this culture of football that is causing these horrible things we see, abuse toward women and so forth, is there a connection there or are we stretching a point when we talk about it?

BORLAND: Personally I'm uncomfortable making that connection others made. But to me there's absolute culture of violence, and I loved that. That was part of my passion for football was a lot of excitement and the sensation of a big hit in front of a big crowd is like a drug.

That doesn't mean football players are pieces of meat. I think the most important people to convey that message to is the football player himself. You're not commodity, you're a person. So do what you're passionate about, play at a high level but never forget that it's what you do and not who you are.

SCHIEFFER: You're giving up millions of dollars, probably.


SCHIEFFER: And you're happy, you're satisfied with your decision, any buyer's remorse as it were?

BORLAND: Absolutely not. And to play one year is not a cash grab, as I've been accused of. I'm paying back three-fourths of my signing bonus and was taking the money I've earned. This to me is just about health and nothing else. I never played the game for money or attention.

I love football. And I've had a blast. I don't regret the last 10 years of my life at all. I'd do it over the exact same way. From here on, I'm moving forward.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Chris, thank you very much.

BORLAND: Thanks for having me.

SCHIEFFER: I want to wish you the very best. This was quite a courageous decision that I think you've made. And we thank you for coming and being here to talk.

BORLAND: I appreciate that. Thanks again for having me on.


And we'll be right back with our panel. Don't go away.



SCHIEFFER: And we're back now with our panel: Peggy Noonan, a columnist for "The Wall Street Journal" and a CBS News contributor; Michael Gerson writes for "The Washington post;" CBS News State Department correspondent Margaret Brennan is back from travels with the Secretary of State Kerry. No concussions but she is recovering from an ACL tear and we welcome her back. First time in -- not on crutches. And Michael Crowley is the senior foreign affairs correspondent for "Politico."

Peggy, I have just got to ask you about this kid we just saw, 24 years old.

I thought you were going to give him a motherly hug and --


PEGGY NOONAN, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": I really sort of wanted to. I kind of did in the Green Room. He is an impressive, well- spoken, utterly sincere young man who, with no animus or edge, makes an important case about safety in football.

SCHIEFFER: You know what, I'm impressed; we have a lot of people that are willing to speak up and get on television and somehow do a stunt, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for not.

This kid is giving up millions of dollars, and we should not overlook that and I think it gives him great credibility that he does that.

NOONAN: He's trying to be helpful. Not everybody gives up millions of dollars to try to make things a little better.

SCHIEFFER: That's a good thing. That's a good thing.

So Margaret, you're just back from all these travels with the secretary of state. You were in Switzerland, what is the latest on these talks?

Are we getting close to a deal or not close to a deal? What's the deal?

MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS NEWS STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: These negotiators have spent nearly two years getting to this point so I think many of them want to cross that finish line on March 31st with a deal in hand.

President Rouhani of Iran tweeted something to that effect in the past few days, but at the same time you're getting these mixed messages, some criticism from those at the table, negotiating alongside the U.S., the French ambassador out saying essentially the U.S. may be rushing towards this March 31st deadline.

You also had the Supreme Leader of Iran, the man who really runs that country, making some belligerent comments in the past 48 hours. So it's really not clear. But what we know is that the people at the table are making real progress and we may be able to close something by next -- end of next week.

SCHIEFFER: What is your take of this, Peggy?

Do you see -- do -- we saw those 47 Republicans that wrote that unprecedented letter, really, to the Iranian leader, saying, be wary of any deal with the Obama administration.

I'm not sure I know how to judge what the impact of that was on the negotiations, but if there is a deal, will Republicans, is it your sense that they will go along in the Congress or are they just totally against it?

NOONAN: I had a feeling, Bob Corker today reflected lot of the Republican viewpoint, which is simply a reasonable -- Corker did not sign the --

SCHIEFFER: Yes, he did -- did not -- NOONAN: -- the letter signed by the 47, which I think was yet another one of those not helpful moments that has marked the entire process but has marked the -- our entire Mideast (sic) engagement in the past few years.

I think Corker is saying, look, trying to get a deal is a good thing. Let's make sure it is a good deal and, please, Mr. President, treat the U.S. Congress, the Senate especially, with respect. Show us what you've got at the end. Bring us in for, quote, "advise and consent."

I know that's not quite the phrase, but treat us with respect. Don't do something like go straight to the UN and just get them to sign off on it.

But I think Corker was essentially saying, good, go forward, have talks, try to do something good. We'll try to help you make it gooder.

GERSON: I think Republicans have concerns not just about the nuclear deal, but about this rapprochement, broader rapprochement with Iran against Sunni extremism in the region. And that realization that that is presenting problems. You now have Iranian proxies and militias all the way from Beirut to Baghdad having tremendous influence in essentially the vacuum of American influence in many places. And so I think that undergirds a lot of this criticism here. And it makes countries like Israel and our Arab allies, fearful that there is a shift going on, a rebalancing going on by the administration as it concerns Iran more broadly.

SCHIEFFER: Michael Crowley -- and you mentioned the relationship with Israel. Netanyahu in the heat of this battle says, you know, I'm not for the Palestinian State anymore, and he says a lot of other things. And then he kind of walks it back. But the administration seems to be trying to keep the fight going instead of sort of remaining silent, which is what I would have suggested they do after he walked it back and just tried to repair things behind the scenes, whatever. It seemed like they were trying to, you know, get the last word to the news cycle in.

What is the administration's strategy here?

CROWLEY: Yeah, Bob, I think in a way we almost saw kind of exaggerated surprise from the White House, because I think they have doubted for a long time now that Netanyahu was sincere about a two- state solution.

But I think couple of things happened. Number one is I think that the president and people around him were viscerally appalled by what they saw Netanyahu say in the closing days of the campaign, particularly Netanyahu was warning his supporters that Arab-Israelis were coming out to vote against his opponents and saying you have to come out because Arabs are coming out. And I think there was a feeling in the White House he essentially played the race card. And you can imagine how that goes over in the West Wing in this White House. But I think there's also just exasperation that the peace process is not going anywhere under this guy. And that he, as one former Obama official told me, showed his true colors here, that you know he pays lip service to the two state solution, in their view, but he doesn't really want it.

I also wonder, Bob, this is speculative but this hard line that the White House, these kind of implied threats that we may not have Israel's back at the United Nations and other international forums where people are pressuring Israel, I wonder if it's a little bit of a high inside fast ball in the context of Iran. And saying, you know, maybe you can pipe down a little bit on the Iran deal and maybe we'll lay off a little bit on this other stuff. Because there is a point at which it's not clear to me why the White House keeps pressing this and pressing this.

So, what is the leverage they want here? And I wonder if it could have to do with this Iran situation.

SCHIEFFER: That's an interesting point.

BRENNAN: There's a lot of sting here. I remember, Secretary of State Kerry -- I was on that plane going back and forth for a good 18 months with him trying to negotiate a peace process between Israel and Palestine in the past year. So, that was blessed by the president. Now you have Bibi standing up there basically how they interpret it as we played you. I was never serious. And you wasted lot of time talking to me about this two-state solution. So, there's some really sort of shock at that aspect of it.

But also have, as one Arab official said to me, frustration here that he coming out in droves, Arab-Israelis, to vote that it may have empowered some extremism essentially by saying look, by us putting our cards on the guys, we'll come to negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, though it's weak, almost bankrupt, you know, may not be terribly legitimate, now you are making people say, well, what's our alternative and go more towards extremism.

SCHIEFFER: Here, let me just play the latest word on what the president in an interview with the Huffington Post said about this and about whether he thought Netanyahu had flip-flopped. Here's what he said. This is the latest.


OBAMA: We take him at his word what he said that it wouldn't happen during his prime ministership. And so that is why we got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don't see a chaotic situation in the region.


SCHIEFFER: So Peggy, do you think the Israeli-American relationship has been harmed here or... NOONAN: I absolutely do from the moment Prime Minister Netanyahu was invited to speak before the congress, by the Republicans of congress, without alerting and getting a sign off by the White House, by an administration that if you love them or don't love them, they are in charge of U.S. diplomacy and certain niceties and traditions ought to be respected.

From that moment straight through what has happened in the past week with regard to what Netanyahu said during the election and what the White House feels about it, some day history will show us a transcript of the Barack Obama-Netanyahu victory phone call in which the president called Netanyahu in which pieces of it are starting to come out. It sounds like it was a fairly abrasive conversation, not marked by trust on both sides.

I think U.S.-Israeli relations right now are in the worst shape I have ever seen them in, the worst shape they have been in since 1948 when America was instrumental in inventing Israel.

I think that relationship has had ups and downs, but always has been held together by a mutuality of affection and rough shared interests. I think the poisonous relationship between these two leaders has been very damaging in their different way of seeing the world.

SCHIEFFER: So, what do we do now Michael?

GERSON: I agree with all that. But that does not explain the failure of the peace talks. The peace talks did not fail because of the Israeli election, they are failing because of Gaza where Israel ceded territory to Palestinian Hamas authorities, and were rewarded by missiles.

There is no Israeli prime minister of either party who is going to allow the West Bank to be turned into another Gaza. And that's the situation we face right now. And that is what Netanyahu was really saying when he said, right now we can't have this deal because we don't have a responsible partner. That's been the problem all along.

CROWLEY: Well, the question is, sort of which has to come first. And I think some people in the administration think you're never going to make progress in Gaza, defang Hamas, if you don't stop the settlement building and show more of appetite for peace.

I'm not saying that clearly the right answer. This is really complicated and hard to know for sure.

But it is true, Bob, at the end of the day the fundamental relationship is still there. I mean, you know, if it came to kind of a shooting war we would have Israel's back. The -- we still send $3 billion a year in military assistance to Israel, the intelligence cooperation is very strong. And by the way, we rely on the Israelis for some very useful intelligence. The Mossad are very helpful to us in all kinds of ways particularly when it comes to Iran.

So, I don't think we're going to see relationship completely ruptured, but the poison at the top level, leader to leader right now is almost unprecedented.

SCHIEFFER: Margaret, what happens if there is not a deal now?

BRENNAN: On the Iran side?

SCHIEFFER: Will people in the administration even talk about that?

BRENNAN: The possibility of the Iran talks failing or just sort of going on, continuing to talk?

i thought it was interesting that Senate Corker told you that what they call JPOA, joint plan of action, could just sort of continue and stay in place, which the administration would say has successfully frozen Iran's program they would say for the duration of time at the table.

But there's so many unknowable factors here including how back in Tehran that would be perceived.

As the said -- you know, the supreme leader's messages are very blustery. President Rouhani wants to have these negotiations going forward.

Who wins out if this nearly two-year process is rewarded with just nothing, sort of more of the same. It's not clear yet.

SCHIEFFER: I've got to ask you a little bit about Republican politics, I guess Peggy, Ted Cruz is going to announce he's running. What do you make right now of the Republican field? I thought you wrote a fascinating column Saturday where you said, you thought there was kind of apprehension in both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party about their front runners at this point, and who is going to get this nomination.

NOONAN: The democratic establishment as it is, is worried that Mrs. Clinton is the person who keeps the party together, who can probably do that through this cycle. She's popular. She has money. She has backing, but she is a scandal magnet. She is not always a runner of good campaigns. They lived through '08. This whole thing could be very problematic for them.

On the Republican side, so much is happening, so much drama. The -- will Ted Cruz be the first GOP announced candidate tomorrow?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First announced candidate.

NOONAN: So he'll be the first, right, at Liberty University. So, he'll be in. There are a lot of people in this thing. About a year ago we thought it might be six people. Now it looks like it might be 12 or 18. A lot of chaos.

Jeb Bush is the front runner there. And there are people who are worried about him because he doesn't necessarily have a natural constituency in the party, but he's got all the money and he's got a lot of the eggheads, not that the eggheads matter that much. But it's always nice to have them.

So I see uncertainty and a sort of overlay of oh, my god, do we have to do Bushes and Clintons again?

That's how I feel a lot of people say that.

SCHIEFFER: What -- what's your sense of it right now, Mike?

GERSON: Well, I think that the scandals that surround Hillary Clinton could be a trap of sorts. Republicans have a huge reform effort they need to undergo to reach women, to reach minorities, to reach working class voters.

And just to attack Hillary Clinton as Nixonian -- and she is rather Nixonian when it comes to secrecy and resentment and other issues -- that could -- they could be drawn into a conflict that Hillary Clinton wins. People forget that Richard Nixon won two presidential elections because he was viewed as...

NOONAN: Even Nixonian.

GERSON: Right. Because he was viewed as smart and knowledgeable about -- about the world and tough. And that's often the way that, you know, people view Hillary Clinton.

So I don't think the scandal charge will be enough. Republicans have to put their own house in order, to appeal on a very difficult national map.

SCHIEFFER: And what about on the -- the Republican side?

GERSON: It's as open as I've ever seen it. And we are going to have someone -- Jeb Bush, in the summer, who will have an overwhelming financial advantage and be third or fourth in the polls.


GERSON: That's an unusual circumstance.


GERSON: Usually those things go more together.


GERSON: And that will be a very open...

SCHIEFFER: I kind of remember...


SCHIEFFER: -- when John Connolly had all the money...

NOONAN: Yes, you wonder...

(CROSSTALK) SCHIEFFER: -- and was raising all the money.


NOONAN: You wonder.

SCHIEFFER: Phil Graham and John Connolly wound up with one delegate to the Republican National Convention.


SCHIEFFER: Margaret, you wanted to say something?

BRENNAN: I just wanted to bring it back to Iran. I think it's really interesting, you know, for -- in the first two days that letter from the 47 came up twice in the room between U.S. and American -- and Iranian negotiators. And you hear from Iran now more and more of an emphasis on, OK, well, we don't know what's happening on the U.S. front, so let's get these U.N.-related sanctions, the things that stop proliferation, don't let them buy parts that could be used, perhaps, to build different kinds of weapons.

They are more focused on that than they are on the American sanctions and the European, which is what actually is being offered, to move those more quickly than the others.

SCHIEFFER: All right, well, I want to thank all of you this morning.

This was a very interesting panel.

And we'll be right back with some sports news.


SCHIEFFER: And turning now to the other sports news, as they say on TV, President Obama yesterday dropped in on the Princeton and the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay game to see his niece, Leslie Robinson, and the Princeton Tigers win the school's first women's NCAA tournament game in the school's history.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you know what a real fan he is?

He's not leaving at half time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's hanging in for the whole thing and loving every minute of it.


SCHIEFFER: Princeton won by 10 and continues their undefeated streak. Meanwhile, in Dallas, former President George W. Bush got into a discussion on the pluses and minuses of videotape with the new commissioner of basketball, Rob Manfred, who disclosed that umpires actually like instant replay.


ROB MANFRED, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL COMMISSIONER: Traditionally, they were opposed to replay as a, you know, it undermined their authority or whatever. And, you know, I think their philosophy changed be -- largely because they got tired of watching their mistakes on ESPN, and I mean that. I'm serious about that.

So they were very cooperative in terms of making that change.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes. I had to watch my mistakes on NBC, but...



SCHIEFFER: I know the feeling, Mr. President.

On videotape, all men are recreated equal, politicians, umpires, even wise old TV reporters.

Back in a minute.


SCHIEFFER: -- in sports for us today, your local station will have the weather.

And we'll see you next Sunday, right here on FACE THE NATION.