TAPPER: Good morning everyone, Happy Easter and Happy Passover. George Stephanopoulos has a well deserved morning off. All year long we've seen a renewed discussion of the role religion plays in our lives from the campaign trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANTORUM: They say people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes you throw up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Go the gridiron.
TEBOW: You know when I'm praying before games and during games and when I get on the knee and what's become Tebowing is, you know, I'm asking the Lord for strength, whether I win, whether I lose, whether I'm the hero or the ghost.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: And so on this holiday morning, we begin with a conversation about faith in America with Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church. The church he founded in Lake Forest, California now has 200 outposts around the globe and his book, "The Purpose Driven Life" has sold 30 million copies and been translated into more than 50 languages. He may be the nation's and world's most famous and influential pastor.
Pastor Rick, thanks so much for joining us and happy Easter.
R. WARREN: And happy Passover to you.
TAPPER: You Easter Sunday sermon is titled "Trusting in God When You Don't Feel Like Trusting Him." When have you felt skeptical? When have you had difficulty trusting God?
R. WARREN: Well I think a lot of times God takes away your feelings so you have to depend on faith. And faith is kind of like a tide. It rolls in and rolls out. You keep on going. When you're going through hell, you keep going.
TAPPER: How do you counsel people to trust God when they see horrible things happening...
R. WARREN: Yeah.
TAPPER: ...to good people?
R. WARREN: Yeah. A lot of people worry about this question, why is there evil in the world? Why does God allow evil? To me that's not the issue. The issue is, why is there good? It's easy to explain away evil. We have a free choice and our greatest blessing is also our greatest curse because I don't always make good choices. Other people make bad choices, I make bad choices and sometimes we hurt other people. But in spite of that, we can find comfort, we can find strength. We don't always find answers. Explanations don't comfort. What comforts is the presence of God, not the explanation of God.
TAPPER: The economy has been a very difficult thing for a lot of your parishioners, a lot of...
R. WARREN: Yeah.
TAPPER: ...people throughout the country. How do you council parishioners who come to you, congregants who come to you struggling to make ends meet?
R. WARREN: Regardless of all the problems that we see out there, I think they all have at the root a spiritual cause. And we have overspent -- the biggest problem for -- for all of our economic problems is our inability to delay gratification. I want it and I want it now. And I'm going to buy it even if I can't afford it. And not only have people done that, the government has done it.
TAPPER: The government has certainly done that. They're are big debates here in California and nationally about how to solve the problems of the deficit, how to solve the problem of -- of spending much more than we take in. Some are using religion to make their arguments. President Obama recently said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And I believe in God's command to love thy neighbor as thyself. And when I talk about shared responsibility, it's because I genuinely believe that in a time when many folks are struggling, at a time when we have enormous deficits, it's hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income or young people with student loans or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills, to shoulder the burden alone."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So, is he -- is he right?
R. WARREN: Well certainly the Bible says we are to care about the poor. There's over 2,000 versus in the Bible about the poor. And God says that those who care about the poor, God will care about them and God will bless them. But there's a fundamental question on the meaning of "fairness." Does fairness mean everybody makes the same amount of money? Or does fairness mean everybody gets the opportunity to make the same amount of money? I do not believe in wealth redistribution, I believe in wealth creation.
The only way to get people out of poverty is J-O-B-S. Create jobs. To create wealth, not to subsidize wealth. When you subsidize people, you create the dependency. You -- you rob them of dignity. The primary purpose of government is to keep the peace, protect the citizens, provide opportunity. And when we start getting into all kinds of other things, I think we -- we invite greater control. And I'm fundamentally about freedom. You know the -- the first freedom in America is actually the freedom of religion. It's not the second, third, fourth or fifth.
TAPPER: You -- you've written about this, especially on Twitter a great deal when it comes to the Obama administration's health care rule when it pertains to contraception. You -- you objected to that. Initially they dialed it back.
R. WARREN: Yeah.
TAPPER: How are you with what they called an "accommodation?" Where you OK with that, or no?
R. WARREN: Well, no I'm not. But the issue here is not about women's health. There's a greater principle and that is do you have a right to decide what your faith practices? Now I don't have a problem with contraception. I'm a -- I'm a Protestant. I'm an evangelical. But I do support my Catholic brothers and sisters who believe what they want to believe.
TAPPER: You said in December that no American could say that they're better off than they were four years ago.
R. WARREN: Well I don't think so, not economically. There may be a -- a portion but I have my ear to the ground. Most people would not think they're better off economically than they were four years ago.
TAPPER: And -- and who do you hold responsible for that?
R. WARREN: I hold everybody responsible for that. I hold the people who got themselves in debt. I hold the government that got themselves in debt. I hold multiple administrations. It's not the fault of any one person. There's plenty enough blame to be passed around.
TAPPER: This week's Newsweek Magazine which has a very provocative cover has a different perspective on what ails America's religious communities. Under the headline, "Forget the Church, Follow Jesus" Andrew Sullivan argues that American Christianity is in a crisis, it's too focused on politics and policy, too little on spirituality. And that's the same theme that was in this video by Jeff Bethke that was -- that went viral earlier this year with over 20 million views.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETHKE: Religion might preach grace, but another thing they practice is to ridicule God's people. They did it to John the Baptist. I love the church, I love the Bible and yes I believe in sin. But if Jesus came to your church, would they actually let him in?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So what is your reaction to this line of criticism from people who like faith...
R. WARREN: Sure.
TAPPER: ...but don't like religion?
R. WARREN: Sure. Well first place let me give a little personal grip. I think it's disingenuous that magazines like Newsweek know that their circulation goes up at Christmas and Easter if they put a spiritual issue on the cover, then it's always bait and switch. They never tell the stories, never tell the stories of what the good -- what good the church is doing. Never. Does the church have problems? Of course it does. Like every other institution that's made up of human beings so there's sin, failure, mistakes, stuff we would disavow. Of course.
But there's a general tendency throughout our society to distrust leadership and institutions. Not just the church, but government...
TAPPER: Sure. Corporations.
R. WARREN: ...corporations and academics.
R. WARREN: The media. Everything like that. So this is a general trend. It's -- it's like, this is news? This is worthy of putting on the cover?
TAPPER: Mitt Romney will almost certainly be the Republican nominee. And if that happens, which it looks like it will, he'll be the first member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to be the nominee. A lot of evangelicals have been talking about whether or not Mormons are Christians. Are Mormon's Christians?
R. WARREN: Well the -- the key sticking point for evangelicals and actually for many, is the issue of the trinity. That's the historic doctrine of the church that God is three in one. Not there Gods, one God in Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Mormonism denies that. That's a sticking point for a lot of Catholic Christians, Evangelical Christians, Pentecostal Christians because they don't -- they don't believe that. Now they'll use the same terminology, but they don't believe in the historic doctrine of the trinity. And people have tried to make it other issues, but that's really one of the fundamental differences.
TAPPER: When you gave the -- when you gave the invocation at President Obama's inauguration you said the following. "And as we face these difficult days ahead..."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
R. WARREN: May we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches and civility in our attitudes, even when we differ.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
How are we doing? What's the state of the nation spiritually?
R. WARREN: The coarsening of our culture and the loss of civility in our civilization is one of the things that concerns me most about our nation. We don't know how to disagree without being disagreeable. The fact is, you can -- you can walk hand-in-hand without seeing eye-to-eye. And what we need in our country is unity, not uniformity.
So I'm coming from that viewpoint in that we must return civility to our civilization in order to get on. But the reason I do that is because of the deeper reason, there's a spiritual root to my reason for civility. If you don't have a spiritual root for that reason, then you're going to be -- go for the expedient and that is we need to win.
We need to win in this issue. We need to win in this election. We need to win in this. You can't fix the problem as long as you're fixing the blame. And the thing that I dislike the most about our current American discourse is people are constantly blaming everybody else.
TAPPER: There's been a lot of talk this year about the proper role of religion in public life. For the first time, according to polls, Americans said it's too much expression of faith by politicians. When we at ABC News asked in a poll last month about whether political leaders should rely on their religious beliefs in making policy decisions, an overwhelming majority, 63 percent, said no.
Where you do you think -- what do you think about the role of faith in public life?
R. WARREN: Well, I certainly believe in the separation of church and state. I do not believe in the separation of faith and politics, and the reason why is that faith is simply a world-view. Everybody has a world-view.
So we're saying that only those with religious world-views aren't welcome at the table? Of course, everybody's world-view informs how they vote on any particular policy. So I'm in favor of everybody being able to come to the table with a world-view. I do not believe in imposing what I believe on everybody else.
TAPPER: You oppose same-sex marriage. ABC News, in a recent poll found that 52 percent of the American people now support same-sex marriage. That's definitely the direction that public opinion is going.
Do you think there will come a time when Saddleback Church needs to adjust its position on same-sex marriage in the same way the churches have throughout the years adjusted their position, for instance, on divorce.
R. WARREN: Well, if the Bible is the word of God, then I don't have the right to change it. Policies come and go over the years. And so if I'm unpopular for certain beliefs, well, then I'm unpopular for certain beliefs. And to me, the Bible is very clear that sex is for a man and a woman in marriage only.
That makes me extremely unpopular. Why? Because I don't believe in premarital sex. I believe sex is only for marriage, between a man and a woman, and it has a purpose there. Why? Because I believe the Bible. Why would -- why would anybody expect a Christian pastor to believe anything else?
TAPPER: I didn't ask you if you'd change your mind. But certainly your church has members who have engaged in premarital sex.
R. WARREN: Oh, of course.
TAPPER: And I'm wondering if you think the church, in order to continue to thrive, might have to adjust its policy on same-sex marriage?
R. WARREN: Actually, history shows that when the church accommodates culture, it weakens it. This is why there is a very weak church in Europe today. It's almost non-existent in many areas.
TAPPER: So all this talk about the culture wars makes me think of an unusual arena in which the culture wars have erupted and that is the National Football League. And Tim Tebow is very public expressing his faith. I've heard some Christian leaders say that they think his expressions of faith are too ostentatious, not private enough.
R. WARREN: The fact that this has become controversial shows how far we're moving away from where America was 50 years ago, much less 100 or 200 years ago.
The fact that Tebow would get criticized for kneeling and praying -- I could give you 15 or 50 other things you should be more worried about in that coliseum than a kid kneeling down to thank God that he played good.
TAPPER: You know this week we asked viewers to submit questions. Brian Norris tweets that we should ask you if you believe faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven.
R. WARREN: I do believe that. And I believe that because Jesus said it. See, I don't set myself as an authority. Jesus said I am the way. He didn't say I'm one of the ways, he said I'm the way. I'm the truth. And I'm the way. I'm betting my life that Jesus wasn't a liar.
TAPPER: You do a lot of interfaith -- Muslims, Jews, Catholics, and have a lot of friends of other faiths. Why would a benevolent God tell those friends of yours who are not evangelical Christians I'm sorry you don't get to go to heaven?
R. WARREN: I don't think any of us deserve to go to heaven. I don't think any -- I think the only way any of us get into heaven is God's grace.
Most of us think, well, if my good works are higher than my bad works than I'm going to kind of make it in. And most of us want -- have enough works to get -- good works to get into heaven, but enough bad works to be fun. But the bottom line is God doesn't grade on a curve.
People say, well, I'm better than so-and-so. You probably are. In fact, I have no doubt many non-believers are better than me in certain moral issues. They probably are more -- have integrity or something like that. I'm not getting to heaven on my integrity. I'm not getting to heaven on my goodness. I'm getting to heaven on what I believe Jesus said is grace. And the fact is it's available to everybody.
TAPPER: A lighter question about heaven. On Facebook we were asked to ask you do dogs go to heaven?
R. WARREN; I've been asked that 100 times. And my answer is there's no verse in the Bible on this -- yes. Absolutely yes. I can't imagine God not allowing my dog into heaven.
TAPPER: What about cats?
R. WARREN: Sure. Why not?
TAPPER: Lastly, I interviewed you four years ago. I'm interviewing you again today. There's less of you.
R. WARREN: Yes. I'm not half the man I used to be.
TAPPER: You look good. What happened? What's the secret?
R. WARREN: Jake, that's a funny story. About a year ago, I was doing a baptism. On that particular day, I baptized 864 people. It took me about four hours to do that.
Now, at 150 pounds a person, I'm putting them under water. That's about 50,000 pounds that I'm, you know, dunking. Along about number 500, I had a thought. It wasn't a very spiritual thought. It was, man, we're all fat.
And I thought, well, wait a minute, I'm fat. I'm a terrible example of this. This is not your father's Saddleback. We've been putting on weight. So I thought I can't ask people to get in shape unless I do, and I'm a terrible model here.
And I really didn't care what I looked like, so I didn't take care of my body. I just didn't. And I ate all I wanted. I was a purpose-driven eater.
So we found a passage of scripture about Daniel, in the book of Daniel, where he ate healthy food and the king's people ate bad food and Daniel's people got healthy. And I said, "we're going to call this the Daniel Plan."
I figured maybe 200 people in my church would sign up for this. 12,000.
R. WARREN: 12,000. In the first year I've lost 60 pounds, and our church has lost over 250,000 pounds.
TAPPER: 250,000 -- that's a whole mega-church itself.
R. WARREN: It's a mega-church.
I said I'm looking for the day I can say that we've lost the equivalent of a jumbo jet.
TAPPER: Well, you look good. Good luck with the rest of the diet and good luck, and happy Easter.
R. WARREN: Thank you. Happy Easter.
TAPPER: You can find more of our interview with Pastor Warren at ABCNews.com/thisweek, including his reaction to the Trayvon Martin shooting and his congregation's ambitious peace plan which he's taking to every country on the globe.
Plus, later in the show, a very personal conversation with Rick Warren and his wife Kay on how they've overcome the struggles in their own lives.
But, up next, our powerhouse roundtable weighs in on all the week's politics. Mitt Romney is all but the Republican nominee. So why won't his rivals quit?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SANTORUM, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's half-time. And who is ready to charge out of the locker room in Pennsylvania for a strong second half?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: And the controversy at the home of the Master's golf tournament. At critics right to be peed off?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY KIMMEL, LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY KIMMEL: Augusta National Golf Club is being criticized. They have a longstanding policy of only allowing men to members of their club. People don't seem to understand, the reason they don't admit women at the club has nothing to do with sexism, they're just trying to keep them away from Tiger Woods. (END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: One of my potential opponents, Governor Romney, has said that he hopes a similar version of this plan from last year would be introduced as a bill on day one of his presidency. And he even called it marvelous. Which is a word you don't often hear when it comes to describing a budget. It's a word you don't often hear generally.
ROMNEY: President Obama thinks he's doing a good job. I'm not kidding. He actually thinks he's doing a great job. It's enough to make you think that years of flying around on Air Force One, surrounded by an adoring staff of true believers telling you that you're great and you're doing a great job, it's enough to make you think that you might become a little out of touch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Oh, it's on. It's on.
And now we're going to talk about it all on the "This Week" roundtable. We're joined as always by George Will. Chrystia Freeland, editor of Thompson Reuters Digital. The Washington bureau chief for Yahoo! News David Chalian. Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan. And author and Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson. Happy Easter and happy Passover to all of you.
George, I'll start right with you. You heard President Obama trying to tie the House Republican budget like an albatross around Mitt Romney's neck. Will it work?
WILL: Well, Romney did the tying himself. This normally very risk-averse candidate has embraced this. So as you say, game on.
A few weeks ago, Geithner was -- Treasury Secretary Geithner was testifying before Ryan's Budget Committee. Ryan said, "do you have a plan to correct the fiscal trajectory of the country?" Geithner famously now said, "we don't have a plan. What we know is we don't like your plan." And that is going to be the strategy.
And I don't blame the president. He can't run on his signature achievement, excuse me, which is health care, which is intensely unpopular and perhaps unconstitutional. Can't run on the stimulus that didn't stimulate. The recovery that's the worst since the depression. Green jobs are now emblematic of crony capitalism and failed political investing. What is he going to run on? Well, no, I throw my hands up.
TAPPER: Chrystia, you think it's actually not -- I didn't hear George criticized it as a bad decision, but you think it's not unwise for him to go after the Ryan budget?
FREELAND: I think George was damning with faint praise there, about (ph) there's no other alternative. I think actually, it's terrific that the president is focusing on this, and terrific that Mitt Romney is focusing on it. Because I think that Ryan budget crystallizes the real voice that the Americans face. It is either a Republican version which is no new taxes, shrink the state, and that would be great for everyone. Or what the Democrats are saying, is we think the shape of the economy right now and the shape of our government spending requires higher taxes and more support for people at the bottom. It's a very clear choice. And I think that that's great. Americans will choose in November which version of the economy and actually which version of society do they want.
TAPPER: David, you and I were talking about this earlier this week. This was really basically the beginning of the general election this week. What did you hear from President Obama and Mitt Romney as they launched their general election campaigns?
CHALIAN: What struck me is that the two candidates now for the general election have launched on a negative frame of each other. This is not going to be a campaign -- and I don't mean to bemoan negative campaigning, we know it works and we know it's effective. But this is not going to be a campaign it seems based on a prescriptive, positive vision about what they're each going to do in 2013 should they take office. This is clearly a negative frame. On the policy, each side is trying to call the other out of the mainstream, but also in that clip you just played, Jake, on character, they're in a battle to try to convince the American public the other is more out of touch. And so by building this negative frame as the launch week of the general election, I'm not very hopeful that we're going to have much more of a positive vision going forward.
TAPPER: What did you hear as you listened to the candidates?
NOONAN: I heard the beginning of what is going to be a tough and maybe even brutal campaign. We were talking in the green room about something feels funny this year. Something feels unsatisfying, but also sort of negative I think is an obvious word.
The president -- first of all, I wasn't that aware that Mr. Romney has started his campaign, but boy, it's obvious that Mr. Obama has. He was tough. He was stark. He was dividing and labeling. Normally at this point, a candidate for the presidency, an incumbent candidate, will take a more benign, embracing tone. There was none of that. It was stark, dividing, us versus them, and that suggests brutal days ahead for the next seven months, I think.
TAPPER: What do you think is Mitt Romney's biggest challenge going forward, as he emerges from this very contentious primary season?
DYSON: Well, he has got a problem staying on message, but he has got to find what that message is first and stay on it. He's obviously got the 800-pound elephant in the room that he supported the version of health care that's now been adopted. So if indeed the Supreme Court finds it unconstitutional, then that's not just a black mark against Mr. Obama, President Obama, that's a black mark against Mitt Romney too, so he has got some explaining to do, Lucy, as well.
I think also his problems with women are huge. I mean, the tone-deaf character of Republican rhetoric about female contraception, about their relationship to the state, about who owns their uterus and how their health care is supported is incredibly discouraging when you hear from a Republican candidate who shows no sensitivity and has only personal and existential references to his wife in his own $100, $200 million home, as opposed to -- that is his domestic budget -- as opposed to being concerned about those who are the least of these.
Look at the New York Times today, top of the fold, look at what's happening to poor people, and poor women in particular. One out of four American women who are poor have children and they don't have anybody to help them. And the shredded safety net is horrible. So he's got a lot of problems.
TAPPER: One of the big problems that President Obama might have is the economy. We got a jobs report this week, 120,000 jobs were added, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in March. That means an 8.2 percent unemployment rate, 14.5 broader measure of unemployment. George, what does this mean for November, these numbers?
WILL: Well, 120,000 jobs is about what you need to create to stay even with the growth of the work force. Fact. 5.1 million fewer jobs right now, fewer Americans working now than were working when the recession started in December of 2007. I go back to the fact that the recovery is absolutely terrible.
TAPPER: And, David, if this continues, this trend -- it's not a trend, it's one month -- but if it continues, can President Obama be re-elected?
CHALIAN: If this becomes a trend, the idea of a stalled recovery, he is not going to have an easy time getting a hearing from the American electorate overall. That is their entire thing. Again, the biggest truism of the cycle so far, these trend lines matter more than the actual numbers. There's no doubt that that's true, even more so in this presidential cycle. But if the whole story line going into the summer and coming out of the summer at convention time is a stalled recovery or multiple months slipping backwards? I think no matter how negative a frame he builds around Mitt Romney, it is going to be very, very hard for him to get the full hearing from the electorate.
FREELAND: Yes, I think this is a real issue. And the key point is, it was looking pretty good up until then. We had three months of 200,000 jobs. People were starting to get really excited. And I think the reason you're having such a worried reception of the latest numbers is the expectation was it would be around 200,000. So I think it is an issue.
I think we have to be careful, though, you know, one month doesn't make a trend yet. And you know, we're going to have to see. What I think it really shows is actually echoing George, the fragility of the recovery. You know? It's not robust.
NOONAN: I think one of the things here that will have some impact on the election is that every time a jobs report comes out, Americans look at the number, see if the arrow is up or down, and then they look at each other and say, they don't count the people who have given up looking. And everybody in America knows somebody who's given up. So there is not a sense of forward momentum here.
TAPPER: Very quickly, because we have to take a break.
DYSON: You have four million jobs added in the last two years. 600,000 in the last three months. And we know that presidential -- the historical data says this: If a president is having recovery at a higher percentage, if the trending is upward despite the actual empirical fact of the loss of jobs, he'll get reelected. So Obama right now, the trend is friendly toward him. We don't know what it will be later on, but right now I don't think he's in bad shape.
TAPPER: We have to take a quick break. We have a lot more coming up. Our powerhouse roundtable will continue in just a moment. Hillary for president, again? What is behind the talk?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Do you think that there's still a possibility she might run? Wouldn't you love to see her run again?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: And with the final round of the Master's today, will we ever see a woman wearing the green jacket?
(UNKNOWN): What would we say to our your granddaughters? How would you explain (inaudible.)
BILLY PAYNE, CHAIRMAN, AUGUSTA NATIONAL GOLF CLUB: Once again, though expressed quite artfully, I think that's a question that deals with membership.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: You said your favorite member of the Obama administration is Secretary Clinton. Do you think that there's still a possibility she might run?
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: I don't know. It's -- it's entirely up to her. If she changes her mind and decides to run, I'll be happy. I -- but I don't think -- that's light years away.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA.), MINORITY LEADER: I do think though that the secretary should entertain the thought of running. I would love to see Secretary Clinton become the nominee for president in 2016.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Nancy Pelosi endorsing for 2016, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. We'll get to that in a second in our roundtable. But first, George Will, I want to -- I want to start the conversation with you about this kerfuffle between President Obama and the Supreme Court. He gave remarks earlier this week about the Supreme Court's pending ruling on the health care legislation. You think that it will be found unconstitutional?
WILL: I think it probably will if I had to bet on it. What the president said was, the Supreme Court, or as he calls them a "group of unelected people" were to strike down a law passed by what he calls "strong majorities", seven votes in the House, 60 votes in the Senate only because corrupt prosecutors from his Justice Department knocked Ted Stephens out of the Senate. Leave that aside. He said it would be unprecedented. Well, in fact the Supreme Court in 2008 in a ruling about the habeas corpus right of detainees at Guantanamo Bay struck down an important portion of George Bush's signature achievement, which is the apparatus of the War on Terror. Five to four decision. The junior Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama applauded the court for doing that.
TAPPER: So, Michael I want to go to you because I know you actually don't have a problem with what President Obama said.
DYSON: No, not at all. I mean I'm glad that he's engaged himself in a very serious expression. And -- and look, it's much ado about nothing. I think the right wing is making hay over what is a reason considered viewpoint. That is to suggest that an activist court, which has been remonstrated against by the far right with viciously escalating rhetoric, is now meeting its own end. And Obama's saying, look if you've been complaining about an activist court then don't have this activism work in your defense.
And then secondly I think, look all of this othering of Obama, like he's from some other planet. Everything he does is subject to a different lens and seen through a microscope that really tends to pick him apart. I think it's indivisible from the broader issue of his race, of his being a black man with a certain kind of authority. These are impolite things we don't want to talk about. We think that they're being extraordinary ratcheted up. But I don't see any other way to explain it but a remarkable resistance to the integrity of this man that has no other explanation.
TAPPER: When you hear Republicans say that President Obama is being a bully, you hear racial subtexts?
DYSON: Of course. Bully -- I mean look this guy -- if -- if you can't deal with this reasoned, articulate expression of difference and dissent and calling that bullying. And on the one hand Obama has to be worried about, I can't be an angry black man. I can't speak up in a certain way. He's already constrained by the stereotypes that prevail. If you can't even take his dissent as an expression of legitimate disagreement and instead of ascribing to him bullying, I don't see how...
FREELAND: You think being black has made the president less effective?
DYSON: Well, it's made his job much more difficult because even white liberals who support him, obviously play into certain racial scripts. Black people who support him -- and -- and across the board, I think it's very difficult for the president to be able to maneuver because he has to be so concerned. He can focus on the 50th anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird, but can't necessarily highlight the 44th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. There are choices to be made. I think he's done an extraordinarily interesting and powerful job of it. But I think the constraints are not his, but imposed on him from the outside.
WILL: But regardless of his skin pigmentation, what he said was factually, demonstrably false. He said something would be unprecedented that has many precedents, probably thousands since 1803.
DYSON: That I don't have a problem with. I'm talking about the overall response to him and the picking apart and the refusal to concede legitimacy of difference. Not to point out where you would disagree with him. I think that's powerful.
NOONAN: Can I say this -- the president is known as an extremely bright man. He was an instructor of constitutional law. For him to say something so deeply incorrect and almost unknowing about the -- the purpose of the Supreme Court seemed provocative. At the very least sloppy and what the heck is he doing? But at the most, provocative. A real brush back. A real, I'm going to go to war with the court.
CHALIAN: He was definitely laying a predicate. I mean the aids will say, no, no, no he wasn't thinking that far in advance. But he clearly was laying the predicate that in case the -- the law is overturned, he's going to set up sort of that politicization of the court and another 5:4 decision. And -- and these comments will be looked back at. But let's be clear, he -- he gave his critics an opening here and the White House knew it. He cleaned it up the next day because of the -- the inaccuracy. They did not want to spend this whole week talking about Marbury V. Madison. And -- and Jay Carney had to walk back these comments all week. He -- he definitely slipped here and I think they tried to make a course for it.
TAPPER: Let's switch from the dicey topic of racism to the dicey topic of sexism. Because I do want to talk about Augusta golf tournament.
Both President Obama and Mitt Romney weighed in about Augusta Golf Club saying they should admit women. Chrystia, you have some thoughts on this, because IBM, a major sponsor of this golf tournament, of this Master's tournament has a special little role in this, this year.
FREELAND: Right. I mean, I think this shows how far behind the times Augusta is. Because IBM is now run by a woman, their CEO is a woman. And IBM has been a big sponsor and traditionally the CEO of IBM becomes a member. Well, they can't do that because of this little reason that she has two Xs.
What to me is really astonishing about all this when you stand back and think about is the way in which even today, sexism is the legitimate form of discrimination.
I mean, imagine if Augusta had an overt policy of we don't admit Jews, we don't admit blacks.
TAPPER: They only admitted blacks in 1990.
FREELAND: In 1990, but imagine if today that were the case. We wouldn't even be talking about--
TAPPER: George it's an anachronism, right. I mean, you can admit that.
WILL: Sure, it's an anachronism. I'm an anachronism in a great many ways. But there are women's clubs in this country. There are women's colleges in this country. More power to them.
FREELAND: You could have black clubs. Jewish clubs.
DYSON: That's a false analogy, because women haven't been in control of American power, distribution of recourses, and matriarchy hasn't been the predicate of American political life. So that is a false analogy when you talk about...
FREELAND: Let's say that apartheid is OK, right. They say black people have their areas and white people have their areas.
NOONAN: I continue not to understand the totemic importance of Augusta so that every year we have this little argument. Forgive me, but these are fellas who want to get together want to hit little ball with sticks into holes in the ground. It never seems to me to be big enough to draw the lightning it draws each year at this time this argument.
DYSON: Well, let's move from Freud -- from totem to taboo. The taboo against women is problematic. And to justify it in any other fashion is ridiculous. And as Chrystia said, if it was about race, if it was about a certain kind of class, well it is that, but any other element we would be outraged.
We have to be outraged the fact again in 2012, that women can't participate. If we're so advanced and so enlightened as a democracy, which I think we are, then let's catch up with our ideals and make our practices reflect them.
WILL: I don't want to join a club that doesn't have women. Some of my best friends are women. I like women. But what is the problem with allowing these people to have their anachronisms? I thought diversity was one of the signal values--
DYSON: That's not diversity, that's the same old thing. That's not diversity. Diversity would be departing from a particular practice. And the particular practice has been white men enjoyed it then you let in some black men and some other folk. The real diversity would be to include women in the process.
WILL: No, your point is that Augusta has to be brought into line with the prevailing consensus. Let the prevailing consensus -- let them go their own way.
DYSON: Not necessarily consensus, because the consensus was, lot of white people were against the civil rights marches and movements. Wait a minute, I'm telling George that the polls said that most white people disagreed, but now they wouldn't. So you can't predicate it upon consensus. How about conscience? How about truth? How about a tradition that's worthy of defense? How about openness to people?
FREELAND: You don't have to impose diversity of them, but you could boycott them. You could say, we're not going to be a sponsor.
TAPPER: We only have a few more minutes left. I do want to get to the topic that we addressed at the top of this segment which is Hillary Clinton as a possible 2016 presidential candidate.
She has said she's not interested in doing it. But, David, is this serious? Do people want her really to run?
CHALIAN: Well, we certainly do, right? We can't get enough of it in the press. We hope this comes true.
But I talk to a Clinton insider this week, Jake. Everyone in her world thinks she really has made the decision not to run. They think this is -- that she speaks very differently about it. She really is quite serious about not returning to public life when she is done with her role as secretary of state.
They also understand that we will never tire of about talking about this. One insider said to me not until some other person is taking the oath of office on January 20th, 2017 will the conversation stop about Hillary Clinton in 2016.
NOONAN: I think it's an inevitable conversation. I take her at her word that when she leaves secretary of State she is going to rejoin life in some different way and maybe relax a little bit and get off the plane.
The conversation about her will continue in part because she is one of the few people in my view who has gotten out of the -- who is in the Obama administration whose reputation from her work there has been enhanced as opposed to roughened and gone down.
TAPPER: George, you would like to see her run, but not for the same reason that Nancy Pelosi would like to see her run.
WILL: Yes, I think she ought to start raising money and plunge in. She'll have to deal with Governor O'Malley of Maryland and Governor Cuomo of New York, a whole rising generation. And at that point, the Clinton will be a distant memory in elective office, in the presidency, and it's going to look so '90s.
DYSON: And I think she's one of the smartest people in politics, bar gender. I think she's incredibly savvy. She's got enough hawkish reputation to satisfy the conservative Democrats and enough liberal leanings to appeal to those who are more progressive. And she just looks very good, as Peggy said, in all the things that she's been in office so far. She is very stateswoman like. And I think she commands a certain kind of respect.
FREELAND: Yeah, I think the State Department has been the making of her. That's the really interesting point. I think in 2008, she was still really running as Mrs. Clinton, as the first lady. That was the big thing that was on her CV.
And what has changed about Hillary now, she is running as a very successful secretary of state in a difficult environment, right? I mean, that could have really been a poisoned chalice.
DYSON: With one caveat, she was a senator. And I she at least had that element.
FREELAND: Sure, but why did she get elected to the Senate?
TAPPER: We have to take a break. We're going to have you guys take it to the green room. And we'll have that on ABCNews.com.
When we come back, more from Pastor Rick Warren, plus his wife Kay, taking us inside their marriage and their very personal struggles.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAY WARREN, PASTOR WARREN'S WIFE: I'm not sure you like me. And I was like, what? Of course I like you. And he's like, no, I know you love me, but I'm not sure you like me.
TAPPER: When I traveled to Saddleback Church, I had the chance to speak with Pastor Warren alongside his wife, Kay. She has a new book out, "Choose Joy," which describes her life's new philosophy and how their struggles over three decades over marriage have sometimes made her anything but joyful.
TAPPER: I think a lot of people would look at you and think, you're lovely, you're intelligent, you have an adoring husband. You certainly don't--
R. WARREN: Why wouldn't she be joyful?
TAPPER: You certainly don't want for anything?
K. WARREN: Joy has to be something that's more permanent. And it's in God. The bottom line is joy is really only found in God, because he's the only thing in our lives that cannot be taken away.
Everything else -- Rick could die, I mean, he could die tomorrow. Our church could decide that they don't want us to be here anymore. All of those things could be gone in an instant. And for me to experience joy, it's got to be in something that's going to be last. Can't be taken.
TAPPER: So it's not just faith in Christ. It's the idea that there is -- that that's all that really matters.
K. WARREN: I think just faith by itself isn't enough. It's got to be what I do with that. Joy is a settled assurance that God is in control of the details of my life. It's about developing a quiet confidence and assurance that ultimately everything is going to be all right. We have had some pretty rough things in the last few years. And I can honestly say that I have more joy. I have cried more, but I have more joy.
TAPPER: You talk about some pain that your family has had. What are you talking about?
K. WARREN: Well, you know, I was molested as a child. And that created a lot of disruption and dysfunction in me, and carried over into adulthood. Our daughter -- we call her daughter in love -- had a brain tumor three and a half years ago, and she nearly died and was in the hospital for five weeks. Her son, her seven-week-old baby, had been born prematurely and nearly died. We have close family with some mental illness. For us it has been challenging and it has been difficult.
TAPPER: The book also is revealing about your marriage. It talks about a time that Rick said he wasn't sure if you even liked him.
K. WARREN: Yes.
TAPPER: So how are you guys sitting here today?
R. WARREN: Oh, I'm hopelessly in love with this woman.
TAPPER: I guess the question is why is she here.
R. WARREN: Yes, that's a good question.
K. WARREN: He just said to me, I'm really not sure you like me. And I was like what? Of course I like you. And he's like, no, I know you love me, but I'm not sure you like me. And I am like, what are you talking about? And he said, you're just -- you constantly just pick at me. And you know, at first, I was like, yeah, right. And -- but when I seriously thought about it, he was right. He was exactly right. I had developed -- I'm a perfectionist, and I had just spent way too much time pulling apart the things in him that I didn't like, instead of concentrating on the part of him that is so incredible and so fantastic.
R. WARREN: Oh, talk more about this. Please, go on.
K. WARREN: You're smart, you're loving.
R. WARREN: You know, the bottom line on this is, is that if you have to have things perfect in order to be joyful, you're never going to be joyful.
K. WARREN: No. I really think that life is more like this parallel set of train tracks where joy and sorrow run next to each other inseparably. Some of the highest moments in our life are still tinged with that little piece of everything is not perfect. And even in the saddest, most painful moments in our lives, the sun is still shining, there's still beauty in this world, and those train tracks, they just go side by side.
TAPPER: Our thanks to Rick and Kay Warren.
I'll be back to answer some of the questions you had for us this week.
But first, we honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice.
This week, the Pentagon released the names of nine service members killed in Afghanistan.
TAPPER: Finally today, all week you have been tweeting and facebooking us your questions at #askgeorge. And since George is not here this week, I'll take on a few of your questions. Our first one this week comes from Ford Griswold, who asks, "Newt has some great ideas. How will he remain influential when he doesn't win the nomination?"
Well, I think he'll become influential the same way he became influential after he resigned from the speakership, and that is he'll continue to be in Washington putting out ideas, talking to reporters. And I have no doubt he'll continue to be an influence in his party.
My twitter friend Diane asks, "would you accept the job as White House press secretary if it were offered for you?"
TAPPER: I would not. For any president, and I'll tell you why. Being a press secretary and being a reporter, they are the exact opposite jobs. One person is trying to shade the truth and hide the truth. The other person is trying to uncover the truth. That, of course, is probably not how press secretaries would describe their roles.
More questions next week. Send them in at #askgeorge on FaceBook or anytime on ABCnews.com.
That's all for us today. Tune in to "World News With David Muir" tonight. He'll have the latest headlines, plus a look at a new way to minimize your pain at the pump. Thank you for sharing part of your Sunday with us. George Stephanopoulos will see you back here next week.