UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so (INAUDIBLE) one out of three.
RADDATZ: Agents must prove themselves in 160 essential tasks, from the hard skills like shooting and driving to the soft skills, communications...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go (INAUDIBLE).
RADDATZ: -- planning and preparing for every possible threat.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hesitation kills in an attack. And so their actions need to be crisp and this training brings it all together.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move it!
RADDATZ: Agents must work through stress and fatigue solving complex problems with limited resources. There's no shortage of outposts that can turn dangerous, even deadly, without warning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take cover!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you guys -- do you see the (INAUDIBLE)?
RADDATZ: Last year, a security attack at the U.S. Embassy in Turkey, in 2012, a car bomb attack on a diplomatic convoy in Peshawar, Pakistan, and, of course, Benghazi.
But the mission for U.S. diplomats must move forward.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As Secretary Kerry has said repeatedly, America demands that we cannot retreat behind bricks and barbed wire. We have to be out there.
RADDATZ: Back at the consulate, a car bomb. The fake country of Erehwon suddenly feels very real. Attackers breach the gates and storm the compound.
(on camera): While the Marines claim the enemy outside continues to attack the complex, the students inside have no idea what's happening next.
(voice-over): Wounded agents are in need of medical care.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are taking (INAUDIBLE) IDF fire. They're zeroing us in. How copy.
RADDATZ: Enemy mortar fire is getting closer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay down. Stay away from the windows.
RADDATZ: Deteriorating security conditions reach a tipping point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Permission to evac...
RADDATZ: The decision is made to abandon the compound. The agents whisk the counsel general, his staff and the injured agents to a helicopter landing zone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, you just completed the capstone (ph).
RADDATZ: Ten weeks of training finally come to an end.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This may be a training environment, it may be pretend, per se, but this -- this happens and this is what we prepare for and we have to prepare for the worst.
RADDATZ (on camera): When we were in the consulate, you grabbed those flags.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. This is a symbol of our country. And when it flies over the consulate, it says that we are there, we're open for business and we represent our country. If we leave, we take it with us. It's very important to us.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
STEPHANOPOULOS: And they are very important to us.
Thanks to Martha Raddatz for that.
Coming up, from "Saturday Night Live" to the Senate, Al Franken's first Sunday show interviews next.
Plus, new heat for the White House on Benghazi.
Will that backfire on the GOP?
What does it mean for Hillary?
And HBO's John Oliver in our Sunday Spotlight.
We're back in just two minutes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANKEN: At a panel on health care reform, the first lady announced that her comprehensive package would cover people with the willies, but not those suffering from the heebie-jeebies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Al Franken at the White House Correspondents Dinner 20 years ago.
He's traded in comedy for politics now, going back home to win a Minnesota Senate seat by just 312 votes.
And now, he is trying to hold his job in a tough year for Democrats.
ABC's Jeff Zeleny joined him on the trail for a THIS WEEK exclusive.
JEFF ZELENY, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He may have the most famous laugh in politics. But these days, Al Franken is delivering a different kind of punchline.
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: This may be over representative of people who think about propane (ph).
ZELENY: We caught up with Franken in rural Minnesota. He's starting to run for reelection after spending his first term honing his serious side.
(on camera): So you're not afraid to use humor, but it seems like you've been selective in using it.
FRANKEN: When I go to the floor and I'm with a colleague, will I crack wise, as they say?
Sure, you know.
And in a hearing?
That's who I am.
ZELENY: A top Republican in Minnesota told me that you have done a remarkable job making yourself into a serious person.
FRANKEN: I was always a serious person. People who are funny are very often very serious people, and vice versa.
ZELENY (voice-over): He became famous bringing Stuart Smalley and other "Saturday Night Live" characters into America's living rooms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE," COURTESY NBC)
FRANKEN: I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: But Franken has traded a television audience of millions to sit through meetings...
FRANKEN: -- pipeline disruptions.
ZELENY: -- and tour factories in hopes of sealing a bond with voters.
FRANKEN: I do.
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Congratulations, Senator.
ZELENY: (INAUDIBLE) the far left's glamorous life of a first term senator.
(on camera): Six years ago, you won election to the United States Senate by 312 votes, the smallest margin of any senator.
How did that affect your first term?
FRANKEN: I think it did affect the term. You know, I think I felt that I wanted to prove to all Minnesotans that I was going to work for them.
Is it still the Al Franken decade?
Yes, it is.
ZELENY: What would comedian Al Franken say about Senator Al Franken's first term?
FRANKEN: He would say I did well.
FRANKEN: Because I'm the same person. There aren't two different people.
ZELENY: Wouldn't he have some fun with you, though, at some point?
FRANKEN: When I would make fun of politicians, only because they were screwing up in some way. And I -- I don't think I could find anything, frankly.
FRANKEN: Whoo, that would be a really hard subject to satirize because -- because I've done -- I've just been impeccable.
FRANKEN: Yes. I've made them -- I've made some small mistakes, I suppose.
ZELENY (voice-over): But as Republican senators tell me, not as many mistakes as they hoped. Several GOP candidates are running, but even in a tough Democratic year, for now, Franken holds a double digit lead.
(on camera): How difficult is it right now to run as a Democrat in the sixth year of President Obama's term?
FRANKEN: I'm very comfortable doing that.
ZELENY: President Obama is saying that Democrats should not apologize for the health care law.
FRANKEN: I think that the rollout was pretty disastrous. I don't think there's any question about that. I also think there are parts of the law that need to be fixed.
ZELENY: Yes, President Obama said don't be afraid of it.
FRANKEN: There's a little bit of a catch-22 there, if you think it's a bad issue in your state, so you're not going to go defend it because you think you know, you'd rather talk about something else.
ZELENY (voice-over): Franken's become a fierce critic of big corporate mergers and the loudest opponent to Comcast's bid to take over TimeWarner Cable, arguing it's a no-win for consumers.
FRANKEN: And you could charge more.
ZELENY (voice-over): But he also brings a flavor of fun to the Capitol.
ZELENY: Senator, why (INAUDIBLE) competition?
FRANKEN: Well, (INAUDIBLE) big thing (INAUDIBLE). And I thought it was a good way to get our delegation together (INAUDIBLE) friendly way.
ZELENY (voice-over): It's another chance to remind people of his roots.
But Kevin Path (ph), president of the Minnesota Farm Bureau, says voters have noticed.
Six years ago, members of his group endorsed Franken's opponent.
ZELENY: Senator Franken was on my farm two years ago and combined five acres for me.
ZELENY: How was he?
ZELENY: He was great.
FRANKEN: I did corn harvesting. You go in a straight line. So it's pretty easy.
ZELENY (voice-over): It's all part of Franken's life on this side of politics.
FRANKEN: You know, I really enjoyed my other career. This is a great job. It's a great job.
But it's also great to make people laugh.
ZELENY (voice-over): If he wins in November, he'll get the last laugh.
His transition from comedian to senator fully complete. For THIS WEEK, Jeff Zeleny, ABC News, Good Thunder, Minnesota.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And coming up has the tide turned in the death penalty debate? What happens if Donald Sterling fights to keep the Clippers? And our all-access pass to last night's White House Correspondents' Dinner. We're back in just two minutes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now "George's Pick," NBA commissioner Adam Silver is George's big winner of the week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I usually start these dinners with a few self-deprecating jokes. After my stellar 2013, what could I possibly talk about? We rolled out healthcare.gov. That could have gone better.
In 2008, my slogan was, "Yes, We Can." In 2013 my slogan was, "Control-Alt-Delete."
OBAMA: Things got so bad, the 47 percent called Mitt Romney to apologize.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Some good timing there from President Obama last night. We'll have more on the Correspondents' Dinner later but we're moving to the roundtable right now, here with David Plouffe, President Obama's top political strategist in the White House, former top strategist; Rick Santorum, served in the Senate from Pennsylvania, also the runner-up for the GOP nomination for president last time around, author of the new book "Blue Collar Conservatives;" also talk radio host Laura Ingraham; Van Jones from CNN's "CROSSFIRE" and our own Cokie Roberts.
And let's begin with this Benghazi debate.
David Plouffe, you're actually on that email that caused so much trouble this week. It was an email to you and several others from Ben Rhodes. And everybody keying on this line in the -- in the -- in the email, to underscore -- this is the goals of the Sunday morning appearance -- "to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, not a broader failure of policy."
A lot of Republicans saying this is the smoking gun.
I know you dismiss that, but was it a mistake not to release this email earlier?
DAVID PLOUFFE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No, I think, you know, lawyers have spoken to this and it's out now. I think, listen, what Benghazi was was a tragedy. What we need to do is figure out how to prevent it from happening again and to try and hold those accountable, as we did bin Laden.
Took a while, but after 11 years, we did.
I think what you see wasn't the U.S.S. Cole bombing, 17 of our sailors died. The weeks before the 2000 election. What did then-Governor Bush say? It's time for our nation to speak as one voice.
Now you couldn't handle that in this party. This has been politicized like we've never seen before.
And I think what's happening, Richard Nixon talked about a silent majority back in 1968. There's a very loud delusional minority that's driving our politics, that's in control of the Republican Party. There's no conspiracy here at all.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Loud, delusion minority, Laura?
LAURA INGRAHAM, SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: Well, this is why Obama won in 2008. (INAUDIBLE) good. And look, the -- what we know now from the email is that from the beginning the administration saw Benghazi as a political problem.
You're on that email; you were the White House, you know, senior political adviser and this was a political problem. You had a tough campaign; you had Mitt Romney. You didn't think it was going to be a big blowout at that point.
You said -- and I just want to go back. To me this is important.
You said nine on September 30th, September 12, you said in the days afterward, it wasn't clear that it was a terror attack. You said in November right before the election, you said it's unprecedented politicization. The politicizing was going on at the White House. And that email was clear evidence of it. And the State Department admitted in the new email just released -- Sharyl Attkisson had the report -- that the secretary of state, the assistant secretary of state Beth Jones said, Ansar al-Sharia (ph) responsible for this attack.
I don't think you knew it was --
INGRAHAM: I don't think you knew it was a prosecution here.
COKIE ROBERTS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The fact that --
INGRAHAM: I think people want to prosecute --
ROBERTS: -- reporting on Benghazi. It's like alternative universes. You know, you have -- you have one group of people saying, look there was nothing -- there was -- we weren't doing anything here and another group of people saying it was all evil.
The truth is the White House should have released this email. That was a big either mistake or venality. And it's also true that everybody does talking points before Sunday programs and the talking points are about politics and limiting political damage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I just say a couple things? Look, first of all, you know, I worked in the White House. You get these FOIA requests -- let's talk about reality. You get these FOIA requests, it's a judgment call. You have a lot of stuff to get out there. They got out there what they thought was appropriate. Then they looked at it again. It turns out there were two bullet points out of like 20 that were on Benghazi.
You know what? Let's get more out. So no good deed goes unpunished. They actually did another review and put more out there and now that's a --
STEPHANOPOULOS: So this was (INAUDIBLE) by the judicial (INAUDIBLE).
I want to bring this over to Rick Santorum, you know, you're not serving right now. We did see at the end of the week that the Speaker appointed a new special committee. There have been, you know, countless reviews, countless hearings on this.
Do you think it's wise politics for the -- for the GOP and the House to be pushing this again in this way?
RICK SANTORUM, FORMER SENATOR: I can tell you that there's a firestorm out there across America among a lot of -- a lot of Republicans who believe that we have not been diligent in taking this issue on and this email is going to confirm all of that.
And so I think the Speaker has no choice but to move forward. And he needs to put on someone who has credibility among the Republican base. And I think Trey Gowdy is that person and I'm very hopeful that the Speaker will put him in that position.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I think it speaks to the forces in the Republican Party. John Boehner didn't want to do this. He was forced to do it. And I think -- let's look at what should be done here. Rather than there's been 33 investigations over 25,000 documents, what ought to be done here is not another bogus committee. The real work to protect our embassies, you know, the committee that was appointed to look at this, chaired by Admiral Mullen, our former Joint Chiefs of Staff, had 29 recommendations. They're all being implemented. A big one was additional embassy security and protection, which the Republican Congress won't fund.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- instead of bogus --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's one of the things that actually is troubling here. We actually are in a situation where the Republicans, who are yelling about this now, did not do the appropriate funding, really aren't -- and --
STEPHANOPOULOS: (INAUDIBLE) respond to that.
INGRAHAM: Well, first of all, we have to not forget we have four dead Americans. The U.S. ambassador's body was dragged to the streets. OK? It was beyond heartbreaking and beyond infuriating. We saw no one in custody, have an arrest warrant out, no one in custody. And then in the immediate aftermath the response was to go political.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
INGRAHAM: And I -- I -- I would say David or Van...
INGRAHAM: If this were George Bush who had done anything...
INGRAHAM: -- like this...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's talk about George Bush.
INGRAHAM: -- you would be going nuts on it.
INGRAHAM: -- OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to respond to that. This -- this -- that is not fair at all.
INGRAHAM: You would be...
INGRAHAM: -- going ballistic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not fair at all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all, George -- no. First of all, there were -- there were 13 embassy attacks under George W. Bush. There were 13. Eighty-eight people died.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eleven Americans...
INGRAHAM: -- an e-mail...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- died...
INGRAHAM: -- had not been...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- whether you have (INAUDIBLE)...
INGRAHAM: -- turned over, you would be...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- 11 Americans...
INGRAHAM: -- screaming conspiracy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- 11 Americans died under George W. Bush in embassy attacks. We did not politicize it...
INGRAHAM: We went political.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did not politicize it. The politicization -- I knew Ambassador Stevens.
INGRAHAM: So you...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)...
INGRAHAM: -- so you're saying this was handled well?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- disservice to him. No.
INGRAHAM: This was handled well?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it is a disservice to him for you to take a...
INGRAHAM: This was handled well?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- national tragedy...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- and turn it into a political opportunity...
ROBERTS: We are always doing this business of trying to prosecute and, uh, criminalize horrible disasters. And...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did that under George Bush (INAUDIBLE)...
ROBERTS: Well, it's been going on for many, many years now in Washington.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
ROBERTS: And the -- and the fact is is that just is not, you know, it doesn't get you anywhere...
INGRAHAM: Why was the president...
ROBERTS: -- the only place it gets you...
INGRAHAM: -- on "Letterman" then selling this narrative?
ROBERTS: -- is -- the only place it gets you is -- is to some political points with the base of your party.
Uh, I think, you know, that -- I'd think the White House has handled this horribly. And I think that the fact is, you know, that when you start dribbling out e-mails...
INGRAHAM: But, Cokie, why did they do it?
ROBERTS: -- that people then start to be very, very suspicious.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only difference here is -- between these other attacks and what happened here is that the Bush administration did not put out a false narrative as to what happened in those situations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A false...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's -- that's, no, look, Van, they put out a narrative that was not supported by the evidence...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- and they knew...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- and they knew...
JONES: That is absolutely not true.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they knew it was false. From the very beginning, they knew this was a terrorist incident. The CIA knew it was a terrorist incident. It's very clear what people know...
INGRAHAM: The State Department knew.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The State Department knew. And they put out something that they knew, or at least a lot of people knew, was wrong. That's what makes this different...
ROBERTS: Well, when you...
SANTORUM: Than everything else.
ROBERTS: -- actually read the transcripts...
SANTORUM: And don't try to -- don't try to equate the two, because...
ROBERTS: But, Senator, when you read
SANTORUM: -- because George Bush did not...
SANTORUM: -- try...
ROBERTS: Yes, but when you read...
SANTORUM: -- to move the ball...
ROBERTS: When you read...
ROBERTS: -- the transcripts of those Sunday shows, actually, Ms. Rice did say a terrorist attack. That's there in those transcripts.
ROBERTS: It's not that she's put the whole thing on the video. It's just that it was...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And there were...
ROBERTS: -- you know...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- there were...
ROBERTS: -- it was...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- countries that they...
INGRAHAM: Are you still trying to sell it as a protest?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
INGRAHAM: I mean I can't even believe you're saying that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: David.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This -- this was happening in real time. As soon as information...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Real time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- was identified, it was released. That's why, over the course of those weeks, we knew exactly what happened.
INGRAHAM: Why did he go on "Letterman."..
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was no politicization...
INGRAHAM: -- and "The View?"
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- about this at all.
INGRAHAM: Why did he mention the protests?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even the Rose Garden talks about this as a terrorist attack.
INGRAHAM: Why did he go to a fundraiser the day after...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm telling you...
INGRAHAM: -- the ambassador was murdered?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- what -- what is happening here -- and it's stoked by the talk radio personalities...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- reality.
INGRAHAM: Blame game. You guys are masters of...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an amazing thing...
INGRAHAM: -- masters of this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is an amazing thing.
INGRAHAM: You're masters of this.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And I want to...
INGRAHAM: It's Fox News...
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- I want to go quickly around the table.
Is this going to be an issue in the 2014 midterms?
Is it going to end up helping Republicans or helping the Democrats?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think it's going to be decisive. But to the extent the Republicans stay mired in this instead of a positive agenda, I think it hurts them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this will be an issue, uh, in 2014 and a bigger issue in 2016.
STEPHANOPOULOS: For Hillary Clinton?
INGRAHAM: At 2:00, who's answering the phone in the White House?
Yes, it's going to matter. It's not going to be the only issue. Jobs and the economy are number one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For a very narrow section of Republicans, this is their -- their Whitewater, their fake, you know, trumped up thing that they want to go for.
For most Americans, they feel heartbroken about these four Americans who died. They don't want it to happen again. And this administration is doing everything it can to make sure -- with no help from Republicans, that it doesn't happen again.
ROBERTS: This election is about the economy. It's not about this. But -- but it could have an effect in 2016, I agree with that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And I agree with that.
Coming up, Sarah Haynes (ph) is on the red carpet at last night's White House Correspondents Dinner. One guest's scandals, Tony Goldwyn, AKA President Fitzgerald Grant, with this week's Powerhouse Puzzler.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who was the first president to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: We hear back in two minutes to see who got it right.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So who was the first president to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner?
Let's look at the guesses right here.
David Plouffe, Rick Santorum, Woodrow Wilson. Another Woodrow Wilson from Laura. Teddy Roosevelt, Grover Cleveland.
I'm afraid you're all wrong.
Tony Goldman has the answer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY GOLDMAN: The group was founded in 1914. The first dinner was held in 1921, but the first president to attend was Calvin Coolidge in 1924. And every president since then has attended the dinner at least once during their term.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we are back in two minutes with more roundtable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What happened in Oklahoma is deeply troubling. I think we do have to, as a society, as ourselves some -- some difficult and profound questions around these issues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: President Obama on Friday ordering a federal review of the death penalty after an execution in Oklahoma this week that went horribly wrong when prison officials botched the lethal injection. The convict struggled for life before succumbing to a heart attack. And that grim episode is now fueling a global debate about justice and death.
Here's ABC's Pierre Thomas.
PIERRE THOMAS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Torture -- that's how Clayton Lockett's attorneys described the state of Oklahoma's botched attempts to execute him Tuesday night. They say it violated the Supreme Court's ruling that capital punishment must be humane.
Witnesses of the execution, which involved the use of a new three drug combination, said it was gruesome.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was on the gurney, still writing, grimacing, making noises.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Clayton Lockett was tortured to death.
THOMAS: Critics of the death penalty believe the problematic execution will erode the country's support for capital punishment. The public has become more skittish, in part because over 140 inmates on death row have been exonerated since 1973. Eighteen states have abolished the practice, six since 2007.
But while support for the death penalty has fallen from 80 percent in 1993 to 60 percent in 2013, a significant majority of Americans still believe in it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How else are we going to deal with the cop killers, the baby killers, the mass murders and the serial killers?
THOMAS: Marc Klaas' daughter Polly was rapped and murdered in 1993. He has little sympathy for murders like Lockett who shot 19-year-old Stephanie Neeman (ph) with a sawed-off shotgun and watched as his accomplices buried her alive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn't about Clayton Lockett, this isn't about his victimization, this is about a heinous and unforgiving criminal act that he committed against an innocent young woman.
THOMAS: Oklahoma turned to a new lethal cocktail after European pharmaceutical companies refused to provide previously used drugs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had received neither any testing data, nor any assurances that the drugs to be used in those executions had been tested.
THOMAS: Matters of life and death, crime and punishment, never easy. For This Week, Pierre Thomas, ABC News, Washington.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's bring this back to the roundtable now.
And Cokie, let me begin with you, you saw in Pierre's piece still 60 percent support for the death penalty, yet we've seen a series of botched executions, some moratoriums in some states, and...
ROBERTS: And many doctors who won't do them.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's the problem with the injections.
So are the -- is the death penalty's days numbered.
ROBERTS: I don't think so. And I'm sorry about that. I am one of those seamless webbed Catholics and I think that the death penalty implicates us all in the state sponsorship of death. But I think that the American people still -- clearly we still see 60 percent still supporting it despite the fact that innocent people are on death row and innocent people who are not on death row, but who have life sentences are not even paid any attention to. It's only the people on death row who get some lawyers who try to pay attention and get them off.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It's quite expensive as well.
INGRAHAM: I think in 2013, there are about 3,000 people on death row, only I think 2 percent of those were executed. It's a very small number, 39 people.
I am troubled by the fact that there are people who have been exonerated through DNA. That's horrific, and we have to do something about that. The idea that it's cruel and unusual, the court handled it in 1977 that's not going to change. But I do think, you know, these images are going to have some, perhaps, political impact in the anti-death penalty crowd, of which President Obama is not, by the way. They're going to seize on this.
But my heart is with the victims of abortion and of the death penalty, because Cokie is right, I mean, a culture of life must be respected, but across the board.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I guess one of the questions is going to be do all these problems with lethal injections turn it into something that is cruel and unusual.
But I want to bring this to David Plouffe. You saw the president announce that review this week. As Laura pointed out, he's been a supporter of the death penalty, some wondering now given all these questions if we're going to see a reversal or evolution, much like he had on gay marriage, by the end of his term come out strongly against the death penalty.
PLOUFFE: I'd be surprised. I mean, he spoke specifically, you know, in issues of terrorism and crimes against children, you know, he believes it's appropriate.
I do think it's going to change -- I think you see younger people, Millenials, opposing this more strongly than people who are older. You see the countries that are part of the death penalty club -- Iran, North Korea, China. So I do think attitudes are going to change.
It's remarkable, in 1993 as you mentioned, 80 percent support. You know, when Bill Clinton went back to Arkansas during 1994, Ricky Ray Rector. So the politics of this have changed, not as quickly as Gay Marriage, but that's a pretty big swing in a generation. And my suspicion is you'll see it swing further.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Rick Santorum, for supporters of the death penalty, how do you fix -- how do you address the problems?
SANTORUM: Well, first, I'm someone who has struggled with that issue for a long time and believe that we have to have very narrow applications for the death penalty. And maybe we need to focus those a little bit more as maybe a halfway point between eliminating it. But I do believe for extreme cases -- David mentioned a couple of them -- that we have to have that ability to take someone who is a danger to society out of society. And I think that's -- I think if we can have a debate maybe of narrowing down the cases. Some of the reasons for death penalty, at least I remember passing them back in the early -- late 80s, early 90s for drug kingpins and things like that. I mean those are things I think we should probably back away.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Stop adding on.
SANTORUM: Well, I think we've stopped adding on. The question is maybe -- whether we should narrow it...
ROBERTS: That is, of course, because the federal government has very little to do with this. And so the president saying...
STEPHANOPOULOS: A way to make a statement.
ROBERTS: ...he's going to have a review is just saying something.
And the congress was doing that about, you know, the country was worried about drugs and the congress was saying, well, we're going to do something about drugs. And so they did the drug kingpins.
But the truth is the other aspect of this, and I know you want to get it in and on this subject probably, is that it is racist. I mean, we really do see a real racial division among those who get capital punishment and those who do not.
JONES: I was going to mention that, in some states people for the same crime three times more likely to sentence an African-American defendant to death. I think that's very, very troubling.
The other thing is, as other countries back away from this, as the medical profession backs away, you're now seeing -- this guy was basically a lab experiment. I mean there was -- nobody had any clear idea what the cocktail was. They wouldn't tell. So now you've got a situation where you have innocence as a big issue that people are concerned about. Race is an issue. And now you're literally just rolling the dice and making up the cocktail to kill people. That, I think, gives the Department of Justice a reason to take a big step backwards.
INGRAHAM: I think -- you know, look, we do have a problem in our culture, broader culture of -- a culture of death, to some extent. We saw that with the Gosnell case, the heinous things happening in the womb to children. And you don't equate an innocence, right. There could be innocent probably today on death row, there is a lot of innocent life -- forget the early term abortion, late term abortion, that I think young people as well are changing their mind about the issue of abortion.
ROBERTS: That's true. That's true.
STEPHANOPOULOS: One other issue you're just mentioning race. Of course race front and center this week with the Clipper's controversy, Donald Sterling.
I talked to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Let me bring this question to you, Van Jones, we saw that forceful action by Adam Silver at the beginning of the week, but now they may be hamstrung because Sterling is going to fight. So what does the NBA do?
JONES: Well, first of all, you've got to give him a lot of credit for stepping forward. People were -- a lot of players were saying they would actually go on strike if something weren't done, so you've got to give Silver real credit for stepping forward in dealing with this.
But there is a deeper issue here nobody is talking about. You know, there are about 100 teams -- you look at basketball, baseball, football. There's only two -- as best as I can tell -- two non-white principal owners in the entirety of American sports. So, we can look at this one guy, look at this one guy. Hold on a second. You've got a whole bunch of people of color out there sweating on the field and you've got a whole bunch of white folks who actually own it. That looks more like 1814 not 2014. And that's the real racial issue nobody wants to talk about.
ROBERTS: And the thing in his remarks that was in some ways the most offensive was not even the horrible stuff he was saying about, you know I don't want blacks coming to the game, it was I feed them. I...
JONES: Yeah, very paternal...
ROBERTS: It was like a plantation.
JONES: 1814 stuff. And so -- but no I will say one thing about this, I was very, very proud to see how big the response was throughout American society. Newt Gingrich actually came out, my co-host on Crossfire and said, you know what, let's stop this whole billionaire's club on ownership, let the community buy in like they do with the Green Bay Packers. So I think maybe folks in Los Angeles should buy the team.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It was remarkable, Rick Santorum, the way the whole country seemed to rise up like that.
SANTORUM: It was great. I think the reaction was uniform. My concern was, where was the reaction from the NBA years ago when they knew this man had these points of view and did nothing. And it's only when it became an issue of money and branding than they actually responded. And I think the NBA has to do some real soul searching about how they handle that and frankly other issues that go on in that place.
PLOUFFE: Yeah, I think -- Adam Silver, you pointed out, you know, he handled it perfectly, kind of an A plus in terms of crisis management.
I think it does raise a lot of issues that have been talked about here today.
I think ultimately, though, it was interesting the reaction was uniform. I think it was across ideological lines, across age lines. It was great.
There was also a lesson here, not so much about basketball. But, again, you know John Kerry had a moment, you know, nothing is off the record anymore.
STEPHANOPOULOS: No such thing as privacy.
PLOUFFE: The lesson has to be relearned and relearned.
INGRAHAM: George, the one thing is the girlfriend/personal assistant with Barbara, didn't she reveal that, well, at some point I began to be paid off the books. He now has tax fraud...
STEPHANOPOULOS: All kinds of new problems...
INGRAHAM: Lots of things happening.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, roundtable. Thank you all very much.
Coming up, HBO's John Oliver on his stake on Sundays and all the highlights from the White House correspondents dinner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who am I most excited to see tonight? I think Oprah Winfrey.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's not here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. You know, Honey Booboo. Honey Booboo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not here either.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh gosh. Oh, I don't know, George Stephanopoulos.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: More now on that fun from last night. The Hollywood-Washington mashup that brings out the comedian in chief every year to poke fun at himself and his tormentors in the press with all kinds of stars along for the ride.
And ABC's Sara Haines was there on the red carpet for her first nerd prom.
SARA HAINES, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It's Washington's party of the year, when Hollywood comes calling.
SOFIA VERGARA, ACTRESS: I feel very honored to be in the presence of the president of the United States, you know.
HAINES: And nothing is off limits.
OBAMA: We rolled out healthcare.gov. That could have gone better.
HAINES: Especially for President Obama.
OBAMA: On the plus side, they did turn the launch of healthcare.gov into one of the year's biggest movies.
HAINES: Riffing on the House speaker.
OBAMA: These days the House Republicans actually give John Boehner a harder time than they give me, which means orange really is the new black.
HAINES: Even Hillary Clinton.
OBAMA: You may have heard the other day Hillary had to dodge a flying shoe at a press conference.
HAINES: But headliner comedian Joel McHale delivered the most cutting jokes of the night.
JOEL MCHALE, COMEDIAN: It's a genuine thrill to be here in Washington D.C., the city that started the whole crack smoking mayor craze.
HAINES: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie seemed to be the favorite target.
MCHALE: Buckle up Governor Christie. Excuse me. Extender buckle up. All right.
HAINES: But the governor was also the night's best sport, mugging with McHale after the show.
The audience Saturday night, a mix of reporters, Washington A-listers and Hollywood stars. They call it the nerd prom. And we were all access out on the red carpet.
Can we do an awkward prom pose?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course. Got it.
HAINES: Yeah, we totally got it.
Uzo Aduba, star of Orange is the New Black, summing up Washington's biggest night of glitz and glamour.
Are you nervous?
UZO ADUBA, ACTRESS: I'm not nervous as much as I'm like giddy. I feel truly giddy about it. It feels like Christmas.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Sara probably stayed up most of the night, but she's here now along with Mark Leibovich who is the chief national correspondent for the New York Times Magazine, author of This Town, the new addition out just in time for the dinner.
So Sara, your first one. Did you have fun?
HAINES: I had so much fun. It was kind of like a crazy dream when you see politicians crossed with celebrities crossed with journalists it was like everyone in your world coming together.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Mark you've parodied it.
LEIBOVICH: I don't know about parody, I've certainly criticized it. I mean, we did plan the rollout of the paperback for this weekend specifically.
I mean, look, I think it's an abomination. I don't go. And I just think that it's...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Your paper doesn't go, although Peter Baker got an award last year...
LEIBOVICH: Peter got an award and we love Peter and we congratulate him.
No, we don't go. But beyond that I just think that the fact that it's morphed into this extravaganza of two dozen preparties and after parties, we have to ask ourselves what are we celebrating exactly?
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, Kathleen Parker wrote in the Washington Post this week, it's Washington's annual cocktail of self love and self loathing.
But I'm wondering -- I've been going to the dinners now for, you know, 30 years and I sense another turn in the dinner, kind of had this big rise where all of Washington and Hollywood are coming together, there's all this glamor. The last couple of years it does seem like there's a little more push back to going -- to recalibrating and going a little bit more to the old days.
LEIBOVICH: I would hope so. I mean, I think that that's a positive step.
I mean, I think basically -- I mean, my book is about disconnect. It's disconnect between how the country views Washington and how Washington views itself. And this is a classic case of just the bubble world and the unself awareness of spending however millions of dollars over a number of days to celebrate ourselves. And again you ask why?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Sara, you also brought up the roast humor sometimes gets a little uncomfortable.
HAINES: I'm not a big roast -- I'm a good-natured sense of humor and I found myself squirming most of the time
But I did get a few laughs. I love Joel McHale.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He was very funny.
Thank you both very much.
Our Sunday spotlight shines today on John Oliver, the British comedian who became a breakout star on the Daily Show now headlines Last Week Tonight, his own Sunday night gig on HBO. That's where I caught up with him after last week's launch.
JOHN OLIVER, COMEDIAN: I've done one show, which you know the whole aim was to make it not awful. So to a certain extent we've achieved that. Now...
STEPHANOPOULOS: You were happy with that -- it was not awful?
OLIVER: I'm happy with -- I set the awful bar. And I think -- and it's subjective -- I think we got over that bar.
We might have clipped the bar, but it didn't fall down.
No, so I think -- you know, now it's going to be a question of working out what the show it.
And you know who I actually feel bad for there? Pope Benedict, because it cannot be easy to be the fourth most popular pope in the roam, especially when two of the other popes are dead.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So far Last Week Tonight like a weekly version of the Daily Show where Oliver filled in for Jon Stewart last summer.
OLIVER: Jon Stewart, I'm afraid, is still not here. He's actually upstate in the Catskills teaching sexy dancing to a community not yet ready to handle it. He is having the time of his life.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Oliver grew up in Great Britain, but has planting roots in the States. He met his wife at a Republican convention.
OLIVER: She's an Iraq war veteran. And I met here in St. Paul when I was getting checked by security.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Will you be a citizen?
OLIVER: I can't yet. I'm on a green card now. And you're coming off a little like an immigration officer, but yeah I would like to -- I would like to get into the situation where I'm not suffering taxation without representation, which is what I'm suffering right now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Oliver did not attend last night's White House correspondents dinner, but he loves the way Stephen Colbert skewered the room back in 2006.
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: I believe the government that governs best is the government that governs least, and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.
OLIVER: That's about as good as it gets. In terms of degree of difficulty...
STEPHANOPOULOS: And nerve.
OLIVER: And nerve, that's right, yeah, that's about as good as it gets.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So is that an invitation you want one day?
OLIVER: I would love to do it, because as a comedian there's part of me that hates myself.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So which politicians are you rooting for as a comedian?
OLIVER: They're all probably arguably too good at producing material for comedy. As a human being I'm rooting for all of them to do their jobs, let's say 300 percent better than they currently are.
How about rebranding yourself as a great listener?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only agency in government that really listens.
OLIVER: That's what I'm saying, that's what I'm saying, because in many ways the NSA is the perfect partner. So, let me introduce you to the new NSA, Trevor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this is good.
OLIVER: Tell us about your day, everything about it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And when people walk away from your show, turn off the television after a half hour on Sunday night, what do you want them to think?
OLIVER: Turn off the telly after a half hour on Sunday night, or let's be honest, wake up when the music and the credits, roll over and go I really need to go to bed.
I just want it to be funny, that's it, you know, that's the only real -- that is the key responsibility that you have to hold yourself to as a comedian. If you're not making people laugh, what exactly are you doing?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks to John Oliver.
General Alexander, good sport there as well.
And now we honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice.
This week, the Pentagon released the names of two soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
And that is all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out world news with David Muir tonight and I'll see you tomorrow on GMA.