'This Week' Transcript: Ebola in America

PHOTO: ABC News Contributor and The Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol, Republican Strategist Mary Matalin, Television and Radio Host and "Death of a King" Author Tavis Smiley, EMILYs List President Stephanie Schriock on This WeekABC News
ABC News Contributor and The Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol, Republican Strategist Mary Matalin, Television and Radio Host and "Death of a King" Author Tavis Smiley, EMILY's List President Stephanie Schriock on 'This Week'

Below is the rush transcript of "This Week" on October 19th, 2014. It may contain errors.

ANNOUNCER: ABC's This Week, this morning, Ebola in America: the two nurses still in treatment, how did they get sick? Who else is at risk? And why were so many mistakes made?

The travel ban on Ebola countries: is the White House about to reverse course?

Plus, new warnings from the Ebola hot zone. This morning, we're separating the facts from the fears.

Countdown to the mid-terms, 16 days to go. Ebola scare shaking up the race for Senate control. Who is ahead now?

And our brand new poll on 2016, the surprising name at the head of the pack.

And the Francis effect: the storm brewing over the pope's latest call for change in the church.

From ABC News, This Week with George Stephanopoulos begins now.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: With so much anxiety generated by Ebola, we're going to address the scare from all angles this morning. Reports from Africa, Dallas, Washington. And Dr. Richard Besser here in New York to help everyone understand what we should be worrying about overseas and why we shouldn't panic here at home.

We begin in Dallas, the only American city where Ebola has been contracted. ABC's Tom Llamas is there. Good morning, Tom.

TOM LLAMAS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: George, residents of Dallas woke up this morning to find a mea culpa letter in their local papers, it comes from the CEO of Texas Health Presbyterian where he acknowledges the hospital did make mistakes.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LLAMAS: The mea culpa letter comes as a lab technician who handled Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan's blood sample returned to Texas on this cruise liner this morning. Earlier, that technician who has been quarantined in her cabin had her own blood sample transferred at sea to conduct tests for Ebola before the ship docked.

Watch as a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter hovers over the deck of the Carnival Magic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The chopper was circling the ship. It never landed. It dropped off its supplies for the blood sample, came back about 30 minutes later and got the sample, and it was successful.

LLAMAS: The air and sea pickup and delivery comes after both Mexico and Belize refused to let that lab technician disembark in their countries. Experts say she was always very low risk.

In his weekly address the president took on the Ebola scares.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a serious disease, but we can't give in to hysteria or fear, because that only makes it harder to get people the accurate information they need.

LLAMAS: In Ohio, though, health officials aren't taking any chances. They're not requiring more than 100 people to self-monitor themselves. This after nurse Amber Vinson flew to Cleveland for wedding planning just days before being diagnosed with Ebola.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anyone who could possibly have come in contact are going to be contacted and judged on the basis of the risk that they may pose.

LLAMAS: Meanwhile, the first 48 people who came into contact with Thomas Eric Duncan will be cleared from monitoring tonight, including his fiancee. So far, none are showing symptoms.

And from the hospital where he died, in addition to that mea culpa letter, officials have also begun releasing videos like this one.

AMY MCCARTHY (ph), HOSPITAL WORKER: My name is Amy McCarthy and I'm Presby proud.

LLAMAS: Trying to win their reputation back.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LLAMAS: ABC News has confirmed that that cruise ship passenger tested negative for Ebola.

As for the hospital, doctors and hospital officials acknowledge have canceled appointments in concern over the Ebola scare here -- George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Tom, thanks very much.

We're joined now by the administrator charge of Dallas County, Judge Clay Jenkins.

Judge, thanks for joining us this morning. We just heard Tom say those 48 friends and family of Mr. Duncan expected to hit the deadline tonight. No symptoms yet. So do you expect to lift the quarantine?

CLAY JENKINS, DALLAS COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR: Well, we be lifting the quarantine -- there's just not a quarantine, but they'll be free to go. It's a protective order and it will expire for them at midnight tonight. And that's going to be a good thing for those families who have been through so much. And we're very happy about that.

At the same time, we're extremely concerned about these health care workers. And we continue to make contingency in the event that there are more cases.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What about that group? It's a group of I guess about 75 people. Now you've asked them all to abide by an agreement to stay off public transportation and basically stay out of public. What kind of sanctions are they subject to if they don't?

JENKINS: Well, they've signed agreements with the state's public health commissioner and they all have health care licenses. And those are binding agreements.

And they'll follow them, because these are hometown health care heroes. These are people who put their lives on the line to take care of Eric Duncan and they want to do what they're asked to do. They just needed the protocols to be put in place for them. And those protocols were lacking for them when they travel.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And judge, we're all hoping this doesn't happen, but if any of those health care workers do turn out to be infected by Ebola, what's the plan for them?

JENKINS: Well, all the intake will be done here at Presby Hospital. I've instructed all ambulances to bring them and anyone else who has a West African travel history and a fever to Presby. We'll intake them here. And we'll either send them to one of three national health centers via air ambulance or we'll send them by ground ambulance to UT&B in Galveston where we had the ability to dispose of the waste -- and there's a copious amount of waste that's created in the care of these cases.

We're also setting up a triage unit in another location here in case we have a whole lot of cases.

So, we'll have isolation units to take care of Ebola positive somewhere else in the next 24 hours. And we'll be announcing that tonight.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Judge Jenkins, thanks very much for your time this morning.

And we are joined now by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Health. Dr. Fauci, thank you for joining us this morning.

Of course, Nina Pham is being treated at the NIH. What can you tell us about her condition this morning?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIH: Condition is fair, it's stable, she's quite comfortable, had a long conversation with her last night. Obviously when you have Ebola, it's a serious disease and it kind of knocks you out, so it's mostly really being fatigue. But she's in very good spirits as of last night in my discussion with her.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you're confident both nurses will recover?

FAUCI: You know, George, I would never say that. These are serious diseases. I can tell you from being with her now since Thursday night when she came in, she came in very late, 8:54 on Thursday. We'd been with her now for three days. I feel strongly that she's going to do well, but you never say never until I walk out of that building with her and talk to you about it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And on the broader national perspective, how confident are you now that any hospital in the United States, that hospitals in the United States are prepared for a possible Ebola infection here?

FAUCI: Well, George, I think you need to distinguish between preparation to recognize that someone might have, or does have Ebola and be able to isolate them until you can get them to a facility where you have people who are pre-trained.

I think this idea that every single hospital can take care of a seriously ill Ebola patient right now is just not true. So what we're going to be doing with the CDC and the state health authorities and the hospitals themselves, we know we have four hospitals that are there now, including my own hospital, but we need to pre-train people so that if we need to surge up we can.

But I think we don't want to get people to think that any hospital, community hospital is totally equipped to care for the patient. They must be able to identify and isolate and then from there get them to a place where you have pre-trained people who know how to do it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And I know we're going to be seeing some new protocols from the CDC soon, imminently, is that a recognition that the previous ones were insufficient? What's the most important new thing that these call for?

FAUCI: Well, the previous protocols were really based on a WHO model in which people were taking care of people in a different environment, essentially in the bush, as they say, in remote places almost sometimes outdoors. Those people did not have to do the tertiary care, intensive type of training that we do. So there were parts about that protocol that left vulnerability, parts of the skin that were open.

Very clearly, when you go into a hospital, have to intubate somebody, have all of the body fluids, you've got to be completely covered. So that's going to be one of the things. The protocol will be finalized soon. But one of the things is going to be complete covering with no skin showing whatsoever.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And as you know, Dr. Fauci, there have been increasing calls now for a ban on anyone traveling from West Africa here into the United States. I know you and the president have spoken out against that. You say it could be counterproductive, could encourage people to go around traditional pathways.

But when you look at Africa, and we have a map up here showing where countries that have put up travel restrictions, you have seen that they've been able so far, at least, to isolate Ebola to those three countries: Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

So if it was working in Africa, why wouldn't it work here in the United States?

FAUCI: Well, George, I think one needs to understand that people who say that, we respect that opinion and we understand that there's some rationale for that. But would you look at what the possible side bad effects would be in the sense of counterproductive is that when people come in from a country it's much easier to track them if you know where they're coming from. But what you do if you then completely ban travel there's the feasibility of going to other countries where we don't have a travel ban and have people come in.

The most important thing we want to do is to protect the American public. And we'll discuss any way -- and the president has said that -- we'll discuss any way we need to do that.

So, we feel this way, but we certainly respect the opinion of people who do not. And we try to give them the rationale why we feel this way.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The president's new Ebola czar Ron Klain also coming under some criticism, people concerned that he doesn't have a background in medicine or infectious disease, coming from Republicans on Capitol Hill and others. How do you respond to that?

FAUCI: Well, I think that's a misplaced criticism. What we're talking about now is an Ebola response coordinator, somebody how has extraordinary -- as he does -- managerial experience, the ability to do -- to be -- leadership experience, which -- which he has plenty of.

He's going to rely on medical experts, like myself and Dr. Frieden and others, to do the medical things.

So we welcome that. You know, Lisa Monaco and Susan Rice have been doing that. But they have other big jobs to do. They've been doing a terrific job, but they have other responsibilities.

We're talking about one designated person who's an excellent manager.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, sir, as you know, there's so much anxiety out there across the country about Ebola.

What's the most important thing any American should know about the virus right now?

And what is the most important thing all of you who are dealing with this don't know?

FAUCI: Well, obviously, you don't know everything about the virus. But we do know some very important things.

What it does is that it is transmitted by direct contact with bodily fluid. That is clear from literally experience that goes back to 1976. So although we understand the fear of the American people, we respect that fear, they need to understand that you will not get it if you don't have direct contact.

So the people that we're concerned about right now and that we're trying to protect are the health care workers who are putting themselves at a risk to be able to take care of sick Ebola patients.

The general public, obviously, there's fear. We try to calm that fear and tell them over and over again that the risk to them is extraordinarily low. We never -- we always get caught when we say zero. Nothing is zero. It's extraordinarily low, much less than the risk of many other things which happens to them in their lives.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Dr. Fauci, thanks very much for your time this morning.

FAUCI: Good to be with you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's get more on this now from our in-house expert, Dr. Richard Besser, and Dr. Jay Varma. He's the deputy commissioner for disease control at the New York City Health Department.

Welcome to you both.

And, Rich, are you getting a sense -- you've been on this from the very beginning, that the federal government officials down in Dallas are getting a handle on this, that this is under control here in the U.S.?

DR. RICHARD BESSER, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I -- I think that the -- the spread of disease is under control. What I worry about is that the spread of fear of the disease is not under control.

And when I see actions being taken that aren't based on science, out of an abundance of caution -- that phrase is useful...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Like taking the blood tests of the person on a cruise ship?

BESSER: Exactly. You know, that doesn't do anything to ease people's fear. The blood test for Ebola only works when someone has symptoms. So to test somebody who -- who may in a risk category or who may not even be at risk, but to test them when they don't have any symptoms, to me, doesn't provide reassurance, it's just an action that's been done.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Dr. Varma, you have a great phrase for this. You call it an epidemic of panic. And what you're dealing with here in New York City is that ends up -- that epidemic of panic has real human costs.

DR. JAY VARMA, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER FOR DISEASE CONTROL, NEW YORK CITY HEALTH DEPARTMENT: Absolutely. It's something that we're incredibly concerned about. You know, in the past week, we've had episodes where people have, you know, come to hospitals, clearly had another explanation for why they were ill, because they were either African or had come from one of these affected countries, you know, their treatment was delayed.

And so we really need to work very carefully to reassure health care workers, who are on the front lines and the most at risk.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How about for everybody a home explain that, because New York City is a vulnerable city. It's such a port of entry from -- for the entire globe.

What happens now if you all get a report of someone showing Ebola type symptoms?

VARMA: Yes, so the way we normally get reports is from doctors in hospitals, usually emergency departments, who are seeing a patient. They've asked them about their travel history. And we have doctors on call 24 hours a day that they can call. And we consult with them over the phone.

And using the medical information and the history of where they've been and their exposures, we can pretty easily figure out whether they're somebody at high risk, something that we need to test immediately or somebody that we can observe and test for other causes of their illness.

We like to say common things are common. Ebola is not very common. There are lots of other things that cause a fever and illness.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Rich, we've been getting all kinds of questions coming in on Facebook, social media, Twitter.

One of the big ones is people concerned that somehow Ebola might get into the water supply.

BESSER: Right. This is -- I understand where the question comes from. You've got patients who have Ebola and their waste gets out there. But this is a very fragile virus. It doesn't survive long in the environment.

You know, just look at Mr. Duncan's family. Some of them were in that apartment where he had been sick for four days after he was taken out of them -- out of there and no one has gotten sick.

This virus doesn't do well in the environment. And water is not one of those ways that we've ever seen Ebola be spread.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you think these new CDC protocols will fix the problems we saw before?

BESSER: Well, I hope so. The idea that -- that in Africa, they were using standards were there was not one exposed bit of skin and in the United States, health care workers were not held to that same standard did not make a lot of sense. And it sounds like they're moving in that direction.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Dr. Besser, Dr. Varner, thanks very much.

Up next, new warnings from the hot zone.

Could the Ebola outbreak in West Africa go global?

And later, Pope Francis pushing for change in the church -- a high stakes vote at the Vatican this weekend.

And Cardinal Timothy Dolan joins us from Rome.

We're back in just two minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Our closer look now at the epicenter of this Ebola emergency in Africa, still out of control. More than 9,000 cases, at least 4,500 people have died.

One bright spot, the outbreak in Senegal just declared over. But the World Health Organization warns we could see up to 10,000 new cases a week by December.

Liberia hit hardest right now.

And "New York Times" reporter Sheri Fink is there at an Ebola treatment center.

She joins us by Skype.

And, Sheri, thank you for joining us.

Give us a sense of where things stand right now.

SHERI FINK, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, this treatment center is in Bong County, which is a more rural county. And they saw about 40 patients this week, admitted 40. About 12 of them were positive for Ebola.

They had seven patients die, but four patients who had been here for a couple of weeks were released. They were cured and that really cheered everybody up.

Of course, this is a small piece of this larger puzzle. And what we saw this week here was visits from the commander of the military forces, the U.S. military. We saw the -- the American ambassador to Liberia coming, as well as a number of charities that are going to be part of this U.S. surge, creating these types of treatment centers in all little places around the country.

They're coming here to learn at this International Medical Corps unit, this treatment unit here.

You know, one of the big issues is trying to find the people who need the help and convince them to come to the treatment centers for isolation and for treatment.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So is the feeling on the ground there and across Liberia that you're starting to get ahead of this or not there yet?

FINK: It's -- it's -- it's really unclear. I really don't think, you know, I asked the ambassador that and she said it's just too early to -- to say that yet. What we are seeing is more resources, more of these treatment units opening up.

But there's not yet a sense that everybody is being reached.

And a number of the patients who came here this week were already very sick before they arrived. And so that indicates that there's a lot of Ebola kind of out there that just, you know, the aide workers aren't reaching the -- the contact tracers aren't reaching yet.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Sheri Fink, thanks very much for your time this morning.

Good luck.

FINK: Thanks.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's get more on this now from Dr. Helene Gayle, president and CEO of the humanitarian group, CARE USA, which is on the ground in West Africa.

And Richard Preston, the journalist who wrote the 1994 book on Ebola, "The Hot Zone." His new piece on the West African Ebola outbreak is out today in "The New Yorker."

Welcome to you both.

And Dr. Gayle, let me begin with you. As we just heard from Liberia, from Ms. Fink, too early to say whether they're getting it under control. I know CARE is on the ground there, as well.

But I wonder if you might respond to something from the U.N. official in charge of this, Anthony Banbury, who says that within 60 days, according to the WHO, we must ensure that 70 percent of infected people are in a care facility and 70 percent of burials are done without causing further infection. We either stop Ebola now or we face an entirely unprecedented situation for which we do not have a plan.

What is it going to take to hit those markers?

GAYLE: Well, it's going to take the right kind of resources and the right kind of plans. And as previous speaker said, we're starting to see signs that the scale-up efforts are actually making a difference.

And so I think the good news is we know that the right kind of resources and the right kind of inputs and the right level of effort in really does start to produce results. And that's what we really need to focus on, that if we can put the kind of effort, the kind of resources and scale up the treatment as well as the prevention efforts for this epidemic, then we can have an impact.

And we're starting to see that. But nowhere yet are we doing enough to really stem the tide. And it does take, first of all, making sure that the treatment centers are in place so that people who are seriously ill can get the treatment that they need and save as many as lives as possible.

But it does mean getting to those communities where there are people who are infected already and who are continuing the chain of transmission to make sure that they're getting into isolation and treatment centers and starting to break that chain of transmission.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Richard, pressing it also means staying out of the virus itself. And you say you've talked to a lot of scientists who are tracking this virus. You say the question of how it's mutating is of significance for every single person on Earth.

So what do we know about how this virus is mutating?

You know, there's some concern out there that it could transform itself into an airborne virus.

Is that a real concern?

PRESTON: Well, the whole notion of airborne needs to be defined. I think there's been a lot of loose talk among folks about what do we mean when we say airborne. And there are really two different ways that a virus can go airborne. And what is what they call droplet infection. That's if you cough or sneeze or if you throw tiny little liquid droplets into the air. They can only go about three feet and they fall to the ground. That's considered direct contact.

But their other way that a virus could mutate and change, which Ebola is not doing and isn't going to do anytime soon is for the virus to be able to be dried out in small particles like dust motes that can then float long distances through the air and then infect somebody right through the lung.

We've never seen a virus do this as it evolves in nature. It's very unlikely that Ebola will do it here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And how about the efforts to come up with a vaccine that could combat it as well?

Are they staying ahead of the mutation?

PRESTON: Well, you know, it's very interesting. There are scientists at Harvard and MIT who are reading the code of Ebola. Ebola is a fast mutator and it changes constantly. It even changes a little bit inside the body of each person who is infected with it.

So the question is we need to keep our eyes on the enemy. We need to see exactly how it's changing because as it changes, all of the drugs and vaccines and tests for it are all keyed in to the genetic code of this virus.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, Dr. Gayle, what's the most important thing we should be doing right now that we're not doing?

GAYLE: I think the most important thing that needs to be done, particularly in the countries where the infection is having its greatest impact, is making sure that we're mobilizing communities, getting prevention information out there and making sure that people who are infected or at risk because of ill family members or close contact get the information they need and are getting into treatment and isolation so that we can break the chain of transmission. That will take resources; it will take scaling up and it will take everybody, the private sector, the not-for-profit sector, governments all working together in a coordinated fashion to make sure that we're doing what we know needs to be done in an epidemic outbreak to stop that chain of transmission.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Dr. Gayle, Richard Preston, thanks so much for your time this morning.

Up next, Ebola scares rocking the midterms. Even prominent Democrats flushing the president's strategy.

Plus a surprise leader in the race for 2016. A first look at our new poll. We're back in just two minutes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: With the Ebola outbreak and all the anxieties churning up dominating the news just two weeks before the midterm elections, candidates are scrambling to stake out positions.

But will the fallout tip the battle for congressional control?

ABC's Jeff Zeleny brings us that part of the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF ZELENY, ABC NEWS SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ebola is front and center in key Senate debates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, we've got an Ebola outbreak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn't attend the hearing on Ebola.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I released a statement about Ebola before the Congress met.

ZELENY (voice-over): Democrats are seizing on the outbreak, drawing attention to Republicans' spending cuts on government health programs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tom Cotton voted against preparing America for pandemics like Ebola.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congressman Cotton voted to cut billions from our nation's medical disaster and emergency programs.

ZELENY (voice-over): Republicans are using it as one more way to tie their rivals to President Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Pryor won't even hold President Obama accountable for not protecting our country and our families from Ebola.

ZELENY (voice-over): Two Democrats in tough Senate races, Kay Hagan in North Carolina and Michelle Nunn in Georgia, suddenly joining Republicans in calling for a temporary travel ban.

In New Hampshire, Republican Scott Brown saying the Ebola scare wouldn't have happened if Mitt Romney was in the White House.

REP. SCOTT BROWN (R), N.H.: Just imagine that if Mitt was the president, I guarantee you we would not be worrying about Ebola right now.

ZELENY (voice-over): Some of the Republicans are even linking it to immigration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Ebola epidemic, along with ISIS, shows you how we should really secure the border.

ZELENY (voice-over): Our poll finds Republicans are even more worried than Democrats about Ebola striking themselves or a family member. It's one more thing along with the economy and threat of ISIS adding to a lingering sense of voter unease, an issue perhaps becoming the October surprise of the fall campaign.

For THIS WEEK, Jeff Zeleny, ABC News, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about this now in the roundtable. I'm joined by Bill Kristol, editor of "The Weekly Standard;" TV and radio host Tavis Smiley, author of the new book, "Death to the King;" Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY's List and Republican strategist Mary Matalin.

Bill Kristol, let me begin with you.

Is this the October surprise? How much of a factor?

BILL KRISTOL, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": I'm not sure how much of a factor it is except Republicans are doing pretty well anyway. But I talked to one Republican candidate the other night, who just said, look, all I said in my speeches is Mr. Duncan from Liberia went to the American embassy there, got a visa; came in. He's now coming into the U.S. He died and of course has already infected two health care workers.

Was that a sensible thing? Shouldn't we cut off giving visas to people who are tourists basically, visiting their girlfriend from Liberia? It's a pretty easy criticism to make of the Obama administration's response so far.

And in a way, President Obama's legitimized that criticism by saying we -- now he's putting out stories that he's very upset with how his administration's responded. There's a new Ebola czar.

So I don't think -- I think it does hurt Democrats who want to make the case that the Obama administration's on top of everything.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, and Tavis, we have seen -- I think we have a graphic of it right here, those people turning the Obama 2012 campaign slogan to Ebola. And then clearly this is becoming a huge issue right now. And you do see the Democrats; they say, here, the party isolates the president from the election, Democrats walking away from the president on his travel ban issue.

TAVIS SMILEY, RADIO AND TV HOST: Well, first of all, the president's been blamed for everything else. Why should he not be blamed for the spread of the Ebola virus in this country, number one?

But secondly, this is the worst, I think, of America, when we politicize issues like this. These are life-and-death issues literally. And we politicize them. I think it just -- it underscores the worst and the darkest side of our media culture and our body politic, number two.

But thirdly, I've kind of had it, respectfully, Bill, with these arguments that we ought to quarantine certain countries in Africa. You can quarantine individuals. You can't quarantine countries.

And the concern is that -- is always about our best interests. When you quarantine a country in Africa, you -- basically you shut down that country's economy. We just had a summit of all these African leaders hosted by the president, and now we want to shut those economies down?

That's not the answer to the problem.

KRISTOL: Well, did Mr. Duncan need to have a tourist visa to the U.S.?

SMILEY: We can discuss Mr. Duncan all day long. The point I'm making is that there's a lot of talk now about quarantining the country, about not allowing persons from certain countries to come in here.

And, again, it's all about our own parochial interests. It has no concern about the economies of these other countries.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You're shaking your head, Mary.

MATALIN: Congratulations on your bestseller...

SMILEY: But?

MATALIN: ... but you are completely wrong. African leaders who have contained to five countries have done it on the basis of containment. Our CDC now stands for "Can I Do Containment?".

The reason the president gets blamed for everything, Tavis, is because he's responsible for it. There's no...

SMILEY: For Ebola? Mary, for Ebola?

(CROSSTALK)

MATALIN: ISIS.

(CROSSTALK)

MATALIN: No, for his response to it. He didn't see -- ISIS wasn't coming, the VA hospital, the NSA, the IRS. So this is just cumulative, George. You know, the weight of all these previous failures is what is animating this response to Ebola.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to bring that Stephanie. It does seem like the White House's intention to try to keep people from overreacting makes it seem like they're playing catch-up.

SCHRIOCK: But this is an incredibly, you know, serious situation in which people shouldn't be panicking. I think what is really concerning, and Tavis brought that up, is that what we're really saying now is the use of this and the politics of fear, and we have candidates right now, when we're trying to come up with common-sense solutions, as the administration and experts are trying to do.

We've got Republican candidates like Scott Brown and Rand Paul who is out there, and Ron Johnson out there, who have really just dug into the politics of fear. Like scare the voters so much they won't have a choice.

And, frankly, part of it is because the Republicans haven't had much else to say...

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: This is a legitimate policy issue. Should there or should there not be what people call a travel ban or no...

SMILEY: Yes, we're talking three people.

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: Wait a second. Neighboring countries...

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: Neighboring countries to Liberia and Sierra Leone, poor little countries, have said, I'm sorry, you can't travel from Liberia or Sierra Leone to our country unless you have an emergency reason to do so.

They have protected their citizens so far from Ebola. That's not fear-mongering. That's not talking about...

SMILEY: We're talking...

KRISTOL: That's not closing yourself off to the world.

SMILEY: Respectfully...

KRISTOL: That's protecting your citizens.

SMILEY: Respectfully, we're talking three people here, number one. Let's put this in context. The media culture, again, always blows things up. Three people we're talking about in a country of 300 million people, number one.

Number two, what's more contagious than Ebola right now is the fear that Stephanie spoke of that's being spread around the country, number two.

And number -- go ahead, Mary, I'm sorry.

MATALIN: OK. Stephanie and Tavis, if you think this is the politics of fear, then are the Democrats who are calling for a travel ban, particularly the Senate Democrats...

SMILEY: They're wrong. They're wrong, Mary.

MATALIN: ... who are all calling for a travel ban...

SMILEY: They're wrong.

MATALIN: ... they're practicing the politics of fear?

SCHRIOCK: No, I would think that the conversation about the travel bans is something that needs to be put on the table. They need to come up with a comprehensive solution. And we have now, you know, someone from the administration pooling everything together.

So now let's talk about solutions here, not saying what's right or wrong. Experts will have to decide what's right or wrong...

MATALIN: All right. But the president...

(CROSSTALK)

SCHRIOCK: Are you actually saying Mitt Romney would've...

MATALIN: Thank you. You take it away.

SCHRIOCK: If Mitt Romney were president that this wouldn't have happened?

(CROSSTALK)

MATALIN: ... political hack to be the Ebola czar.

KRISTOL: ... equally comfortable with a lawyer and lobbyist, a political operative being the Ebola czar? Isn't that a little bizarre?

SMILEY: What you want is implementation. And if he -- if Ron can put forth a plan that will address the issues you and Mary are concerned about, I think you'd be happy in the end.

MATALIN: He's not -- doesn't even have direct access to the president. When we had the homeland security czar, immediately after 9/11, he had the office across from the president's office. He had an immediate access. Klain reports up through the chain.

SMILEY: Three seconds, George. This is not -- context, context, context, context. This is not as bad as SARS was in 2003. And everybody wants to pile on, Mary, like you did on all the things Obama has done wrong.

I've been a critic on certain issues, but this is not the president's fault.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Got to take a quick break. Coming up, our brand-new 2016 poll. No surprise on the Democratic side, but who is leading the GOP pack?

And we have our "Powerhouse Puzzler." Those iconic Wheaties boxes usually feature sports stars. But here you go, "Roundtable." Can you guess which former cabinet secretary was featured on a Wheaties box this week?

We're back in less than two minutes with the answer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, name the former cabinet secretary featured on a commemorative Wheaties box this week. Let's see the whiteboards. Hillary. Condi. Hillary. Condi Rice. Hillary or Condi. You guys were all very, very close. Madeleine Albright.

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: Wow.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We didn't finish our "Breakfast of Champions." Thank you, General Mills. We'll be right back.

SMILEY: Wow.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHIEFFER: Back now with our "Politics Buzz Board." Topping it off, that strange opening to the Florida governor's debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have an extremely peculiar situation right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Incumbent Rick Scott wasn't there, protesting his opponent Charlie Crist's podium fan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The rules of the debate that I was shown by the Scott campaign say that there should be no fan.

CHARLIE CRIST (D), FLORIDA GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: Are we really going to debate about a fan?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Scott did eventually show up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: I never said I wouldn't go on the stage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: But could "fangate" actually tip a close race?

Hillary Clinton hit the trail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Hello, Kentucky!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Trying to help Alison Grimes beat GOP leader Mitch McConnell. But will that star power make a difference now that Washington Democrats have putted the plug on new ads for Grimes, signaling the Kentucky Senate race is probably a lost cause?

And with just 16 days to go, Colorado may also be breaking for the GOP, with Cory Gardner now leading Mark Udall.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your campaign has been so focused on women's issues that you've been dubbed "Mark Uterus."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: So is the Democrats' "war on women" charge falling flat this year? Add it all up, Nate Silver and his FiveThirtyEight team gives Republicans a 62 percent of taking the Senate, up 4 points since last week.

So a little more movement in the Republican direction this week. I want to bring that last question to Stephanie Schriock, and this idea that the "war on women" just isn't taking hold this year.

SCHRIOCK: Well, that's not what we're seeing at all. And we're seeing continued large gender gaps in places like North Carolina and New Hampshire, you know, even in Wisconsin recently in the governor's race, where not only is Scott -- or excuse me; Scott Walker, you know, he's starting to run away from his record because he knows that the policies that he has supported and the policies that the Republicans have supported are so bad that they're trying to blur that they took these votes or they signed these bills.

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- the gender gap is much smaller than it's been in past elections.

SCHRIOCK: Only in a few. And the truth is, you know, we still see Democrats definitely winning women across the country --

MATALIN: No, they're not. They're winning single women and they were -- by they're winning women as a cohort is because of the disproportionate minority support.

You have a horrible gender gap, men don't like. You've got a double digit men against Obama and the female vote, if you're married, if you have kids, all of that, they'll -- those women are opposed to Obama, who is on the ticket. And the gap that we typically saw -- I don't know what numbers you're looking at. The ABC poll has that three -- most three in the margin of error of women that are --

(CROSSTALK)

SCHRIOCK: -- individual races, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Georgia, New Hampshire, Michigan -- Gary Peters against Terri Lynn Land, we are seeing gender gaps. Women are going to decide these races. They're going to decide it on issues of economic stability and they're looking for --

MATALIN: Why do you only ever talk about abortion on demand and contraception if you think that women are more than a homogeneous herd --

(CROSSTALK)

SCHRIOCK: -- health care is part of an economic future. We talk about equal pay and minimum wage and you bet we talk about access to health care --

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- bring this to you. You've seen Arkansas, Louisiana, Colorado, Iowa, still all pretty close. But Republicans maintaining an edge now in all of those critical key states right now.

So is this the Republicans' race to lose at this point?

And what worries you about how they could lose it?

KRISTOL: I think Republicans could win the Senate. I think they'll win it pretty comfortably. They'll do it mostly by doing no harm at this point. President Obama's dragging the Democrats down.

I do think Democrats have made a mistake. The upscale consultants in Washington have said war on women worked in 2012. It'll work again this year.

But it -- the thing -- (INAUDIBLE) Republican consultant said to me the other night, thank God they're running war on women and it's not war on working class ads. If they ran a more economic populace message, they would do better than this kind of upscale single 27-year-old women are going to be deprived of contraception by Republicans, which is just silly and implausible.

Look at the Republicans who are under -- look at the Republicans who are underperforming, incidentally: Georgia, right? Where Republicans are at some risk, nominated a very wealthy business man.

What is the -- what are the attacks on him that are working? They're not war on women --

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: -- outsourcing. It's the Romney type attacks that are working.

So I'm happy that the Democrats are going down this war on women road and not focusing on the economic populace issue.

SMILEY: That's a good point. And I think that issue would probably play better. And a lot of the reasons it might not be the top of the agenda is that Democrats respectfully know that they haven't even done everything they could have done on this issue.

The slogan that it could have been worse is not a winning slogan. And I think the economy is certainly better now that we expected it would have been a couple years ago. I think the president gets some credit for helping put what policies that have turned this economy around slowly.

Having said that, there's been no real fight even by Democrats for increasing the minimum wage to a living wage in this country. That measure can only go so far if you don't have the record to back that up.

There's a front-page story, George, as you know, in "The New York Times" today. They talk about the --

(CROSSTALK)

SMILEY: -- exactly, that the black vote is what the Democratic Party is relying upon now to save the Senate. News flash: if you're relying on the black vote, in a midterm election -- and I'm not suggesting that black voters don't care about this -- but if you're relying on that vote, then I think it's uninspired because we have double- and triple-digit unemployment in the African American community.

And again, if the message is something other than employment and what we're going to do for you, then what's the reason to go vote?

SCHRIOCK: Now this is not the message in North Carolina, in Georgia, in Kentucky, in Louisiana. We've got candidates -- we keep saying the war on women is only about contraception. The war on women is a construct about equal pay, minimum wage and access to health care and jobs. And what we're seeing in Georgia, by the way, where you've got David Perdue (ph), who has a terrible business record, Michelle Nunn, who's a common sense leader, who's going to work across party lines, we see a race that's incredibly close. The momentum is on Michelle's side. The African American community is excited. And EMILY's List folks have decided we're going to double down and actually --

(CROSSTALK)

MATALIN: -- Colorado where "The Denver Post," no conservative publication called the incumbent, Mark Uterus (ph), for being such a single issue abortion on demand, sex selection abortions. So yet and going to your point, when you have this identity politics, you're also losing Hispanics on the same grounds, it being -- a cohort being treated so passively and the presumption, like there's a presumption about what women prioritize, the presumption that Hispanics prioritize. (INAUDIBLE).

It's economic --

SMILEY: But if you're black or brown, let's be frank about this. If you're black or brown, other than helping to save the Democrats' hide, give me three good reasons and you turn out the vote this time.

Now I'll catch hell for saying that --

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- watching Bill Kristol nod his head --

(CROSSTALK)

SMILEY: No, I am not suggesting -- I'm not suggesting that people ought to stay home and sit on their hands. What I'm suggesting is that neither party has focused clearly enough on the issues of black and brown voters to inspire them and motivate them to turn out in 2014. And we may see the same thing in 2016.

KRISTOL: One -- I think one underreported aspect of this year's race is do the Republicans have high-quality, interesting younger candidates? Tom Cotton in Arkansas, Joni Ernst in Iowa --

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: -- Gillespie --

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- big mistakes in this campaign --

KIRBY: -- right, but are younger than their rivals in many cases. Our next generations, the military veterans, it doesn't look like the Republican Party of 2012.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I do want to look quickly to 2016.

Tavis, you mentioned we have a brand new ABC News poll out this morning, looking at the fields. No surprise on the Democratic side. Let's put it up there. Hillary Clinton getting 64 percent of the vote right now to Joe Biden's 13 percent; Elizabeth Warren hanging in there at 11 percent and Jim Webb down at 2 percent.

And maybe a bigger surprise on the Republican side: look who is leading -- there he is -- Mitt Romney. Almost double, more than double with the vote totals at Jeb Bush right now, Mike Huckabee hanging in there, Rand Paul, Chris Christie as well.

You know, Mary, I know there's been this tiny, tiny, slight opening of the door by Mitt Romney, closed by his wife, Ann Romney again this week, almost certainly is not going to run yet really hanging in there in -- among the Republican faithful.

MATALIN: He's been doing yeoman's work. He's with just in Louisiana, he says. He's been campaigning everywhere. He keeps holding confabs. I don't think he's going to run. I certainly don't think both he and Bush would run. This is an ID poll, as you well know, but the organization -- there's an infrastructure of like people and operatives and such. And they want to get ahead of -- they want -- we're chomping at the bit to start running against Hillary.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, we only have 15 seconds left here.

I was surprised that Ted Cruz didn't score better in that poll. He's only at about 4 percent, even though he's been firing up people all across the country.

KRISTOL: Yes, but this is a -- this is a snapshot. The four leaders of the poll -- excuse me -- are two people who've run before and two people whose parents -- whose fathers have run before. I think you just have to discount and say it is a wide-open race. I think literally no one is above about single digits -- Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker -- any of these guys --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Anybody's race.

That's all we have time for today. Thank you all very much.

Up next, Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Pope Francis' new push for change.

Is the Catholic Church forging a new approach to gays, lesbians and the meaning of family?

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we are back now with Pope Francis presiding at the beatification of Pope Paul VI this morning. At the close of a historic synod of bishops, the conference debating a new report on family life and the church, which included high-stakes votes on gays and divorce, seen by many as a showdown between the new pope and more conservative voices in the church.

We're going to hear from Cardinal Timothy Dolan in Rome after this report from ABC's David Wright.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID WRIGHT, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For a pope who is struggling to welcome back what he calls the lost sheep of his flock, the report from the synod of bishops may be a setback. But it's not an outright defeat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's already had an impact to Catholics around the world.

WRIGHT: Gays and lesbians and Catholics who've been divorced and remarried were hoping for more, based on the open, accepting language of a previous draft. For instance, the early draft said homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community and recognize that same-sex couples offer each other precious support.

That language was stripped out of the final document, which now reaffirms the church's opposition to same-sex marriage.

The final version of Paragraph 55 does say men and women with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy. And says discrimination against gays is to be avoided.

But even that much was controversial.

The Vatican took the unusual step of revealing the vote count for every paragraph.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the name of transparency, we wanted you to see everything and to show that we still have a way to go, we're still on a journey together.

WRIGHT: Paragraph 55 was one of three that fell short of the two thirds majority ordinarily required. The other two dealt with whether Catholics who have divorced and remarried should be allowed to take communion.

All three items got a simple majority and remain part of the working document and the ongoing conversation.

Pope Francis, who had encouraged the bishops to speak freely during this extraordinary two week synod got a standing ovation in the end.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even if not all the bishops are on his page right now, I think that over time, he's going to gain support.

WRIGHT: One year from now, the synod will reconvene and next time, there may be a lot more bishops appointed by Pope Francis.

For THIS WEEK, David Wright, ABC News, New York.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we are joined now from Rome by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.

Cardinal Dolan, thank you for joining us this morning.

David Wright just mentioned this extraordinary...

CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN, ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK: My honor, George.

Good to be with you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Great to have you.

David Wright just mentioned this standing ovation that the pope got at the close of his speech, where he took on both the traditionalists, the hostile inflexibility of the traditionalists, he said, and the false mercy of the liberal do-gooders.

It seems like the pope's message here is evolution, now revolution.

DOLAN: Good way to put it. I like that. I like that, George. I wish I would have known that earlier. That would have been a good way to describe him.

You're right, Pope Francis never ceases to surprise us. And so just when you think you might have him figured out, he -- he offers another fresh, innovative way of looking.

That talk to which you just referred, at the close of the synod, was nothing less than inspirational. He spoke from the heart. He spoke of the church, he spoke about himself as the pope. And he challenged -- he challenged all of us.

And it reminds me -- it reminds me, George, of Jesus, which he said, that's his job description, to remind us of Jesus, always walking down the road and never forgetting the people on either side. Jesus always had kind of radar out for the people at the side of the road.

That's what Pope Francis is doing. For those who might stake out one position or another, he's walking right down the middle of the road and he's trying to bring everybody with him on that walk. He likes to use the word accompaniment, walking with them, the church needs to walk with people, keep them company, be next to them.

He does that so well.

STEPHANOPOULOS: These -- these debates are so emotional. Try to take us inside and give us a feel for what this debate is like. David pointed out in his piece that some of the language taken out of this document, one sentence was that homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community, also that same-sex couples offer each other, quote, "precious support."

Those phrases taking. Now give us a feel for what the argument against phrases like that sounds like.

DOLAN: Well, you know where the argument or the conversation would have taken place, George, would have been in what we call the Cherkoles Minores (ph). It's part of the the Latin language. This is one of the few places in the world you can still use it.

In those small groups, which is about 20, 25 people who share the same language, lay people, priests, sisters, bishops. That's where we offered some amendments.

I can only speak about my group. And there was a pretty good vivid conversation, especially with the African businesses, whom I love more than ever, who were a -- who -- who obviously come from cultures and societies that I admire that have a very strong definition of -- of marriage as -- as man and woman with children and are kind of afraid of attempts to water that down.

One of the fears that they would have would be what we would call same-sex marriage.

So they were -- they were pastorally sensitive about the document giving any indication that the church might be open to any change at all in the definition of marriage.

So there was a good debate. Twice as good conversation that went on.

Once again, you got overwhelming agreement on things, first of all, on -- on the definition of marriage given us by God and faithfully handed on by the church, one man, one woman, lifelong, life-giving, faithful, bringing about new life and children. All right, their enthusiastic response to that.

And then the other side, George, was how can we, though, embrace and never alienate those who are unable to live up to that noble ideal?

And as usual, Pope Francis was saying we've got to keep both those values in mind.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So where does this end up?

What is the bottom line message to gay and lesbian Catholics, to divorced Catholics?

DOLAN: I'm glad you asked that question, George, because that brings me to a point. This synod, this was what I've been calling an antipasto synod. This synod was not to make any decisions. We weren't even supposed to give any proposition.

This was to set the table for a year from now, when an even larger synod is going to come together to -- to -- to continue the conversation.

We just wanted to kind of set the tone and the agenda. And I think that was done very well, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and -- and Pope Francis.

The other thing we've got to remember is this, George, in Catholic polity, in Catholic -- the Catholic approach to things, synods don't change doctrine. Nobody changes doctrine. We believe -- we believe that we're given doctrine by -- by God and our job is to faithfully and effectively pass it on.

Synods are more of a pastoral conversation of a family coming together to kind of give ourselves a report card on how we're doing that and if we can do it better.

And so I think that conversation, especially on some of the -- on some of the more delicate issues to which you referred, it's probably going to continue next year.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And when we look back after the final deliberations, do you think that all of your efforts will be seen as this generation's Vatican Two, a real monumental change in the church?

DOLAN: No, I don't think so. I don't think so. Keep in -- and this is tough to say, George, but keep in mind that the church's major goal is not to change teaching, not to change what God has revealed, but for us to change to conform ourselves to what God has told us about life, about meaning, about purpose, about eternity, about values, that's the ch -- that's the church's job, not to change what he's told us, but to change how we are disobeying it, are not -- not using his teaching to form our lives.

That's a life-long challenge, but that's the noble vocation of the church.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Cardinal Dolan, thanks very much for your time this morning.

And it looks like a magnificent day in Rome...

DOLAN: Thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It's always good to be with you.

And we'll be right back after this from our ABC stations.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we end with some good news. The Pentagon did not document any service members killed in Afghanistan this week.

That's all for us today.

Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us.

Check out "WORLD NEWS TONIGHT" and I'll see you tomorrow on GMA.