'This Week' Transcript: Sens. Orrin Hatch and Amy Klobuchar; Eliot Spitzer

PHOTO: Congress Panel on This Week

A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday morning, July 14, 2013 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Breaking overnight, the verdict is in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, find George Zimmerman not guilty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Protests break out after the high stakes trial that gripped the country.

As America faces big questions now about race, justice and gun control.

Then, new low? The gridlock, the squabble.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY: These are dark days in the history of the Senate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Was it Washington's worst week yet? We go to the center of the fight and take you inside the closed-door meetings.

Plus, our powerhouse roundtable on Spitzer's second chance?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPITZER: I've always believed the public had forgiveness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: And the take-no-prisoners book that has all of Washington talking. Right here this Sunday morning.

ANNOUNCER: This week with George Stephanopoulos. Reporting from ABC News headquarters, George Stephanopoulos.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we begin with that breaking news overnight. After more than 16 hours of deliberations, a jury of six women delivered their decision: not guilty of murder, not guilty of manslaughter, George Zimmerman is a free man.

This trial has captivated and divided the nation. And there were some protests overnight, but from Washington so far a muted reaction.

And in Florida, the first words from the Martin family. Trayvon's mom tweeted that this was her darkest hour. His father said, "even though I am brokenhearted, my faith is unshattered. I will always love my baby Tray."

We have the fallout this morning from our ABC News team, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Congressional Black Caucus, our powerhouse roundtable and the Martin family lawyer.

ABC's Matt Gutman, who has covered this trial all the way, starts us off from the courthouse in Sanford, Florida.

Good morning, Matt. Take us inside that courtroom last night.

GUTMAN: Good morning, George. That courtroom was intense. So many eyeballs on it. But it wasn't always this way. This wasn't always headline news. This began as a routine homicide in a small Florida town that ignited this national debate about race.

Now last night in that courtroom as those six female jurors filed, and you could see the tension on the prosecutor's face, on the defense's face, everybody looked tired.

Now, those jurors ultimately made the decision not based on race, but about the law. They decided that the state did not have enough evidence to convince them that George Zimmerman should be convicted on second-degree murder or manslaughter.

Just after that was read, you saw George Zimmerman with very muted response, and then once he started hugging his family and his attorneys, you saw him break a smile there.

Now noticeably absent from the courtroom last night, Trayvon Martin's parents, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that the security situation in Sanford has been so tight, everyone still on high alert?

GUTMAN: Very much so, especially the family of Trayvon Martin.

Now there was a reason that they weren't in the courtroom last night. We are told from the sheriff's office here and from their attorneys that the tenor and the severity of the death threats against Trayvon Martin's family increased. And they felt that it was safer for them to keep him away from the courthouse and to bolster their security -- not just them, Zimmerman and his family also the target of death threats.

Now his attorney told me that George Zimmerman may be a free man, he may have had the ankle bracelet cut off and taken off of him, but he is still walking around with a bulletproof vest. And no matter what happens over the next couple of years, that man may still have to live in hiding -- George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Matt, thanks very much.

Let's get more reaction from Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Trayvon Martin's family. Mr. Crump, thank you so much for joining us this morning. We know, as you've said, the family is heartbroken. They are still under heavy security. Do they accept the verdict? And what do they want people to know this morning?

CRUMP: Well, they are trying to make sense of it all, George. They want people to know that they're going to continue to fight for the legacy of their son, that he had every right to walk home from the 7-Eleven and not expect to be profiled and followed by a strange man. They're trying to, like many parents, explain to the young people in their family what just happened, what is this about that a child can't have Skittles and a can of iced tea and walk home and not have a bullet lodged in his heart and his killer not be held accountable for profiling and following him.

That's what they are dealing with, that's what most parents in America are dealing with this morning.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we know they're -- you know, still grieving right now. When you say they're going to fight for their legacy, what form is that going to take? Will you filing a civil lawsuit against George Zimmerman, and do you want the Justice Department to have a civil rights investigation?

CRUMP: Well, right now they're concentrating on getting to get through this very trying time, George. They have a Trayvon Martin Foundation that they have been working tirelessly on, because they know they had no power in the court system. They had to depend completely on the justice system and pray that it would work for them as it worked for everybody else.

And so the one thing they can control is this foundation. And Tracy and Sybrina have been trying to do that work so they can make sure there are no other children who get killed as a result of senseless gun violence.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Decision yet on filing a civil lawsuit?

CRUMP: Well, they are going to certainly look at that as an option. They deeply want a sense of justice. They deeply don't want their son's death to be in vain. I mean, they are still in disbelief about his death and now they're in disbelief about this verdict. It's just one of the things they have to deal with -- they're in church this morning, praying and turning to god, a higher authority, to make sense of it all.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you satisfied with how the prosecutors handled this case? Any concern that they overreached and they should have pursued lesser charges as well?

CRUMP: Well, George, I think that the prosecutors are very seasoned prosecutors. They in their summations cut right to the heart of the matter, what this case was really about. When prosecutor John Guy said if the roles were reversed, and Trayvon Martin would have followed and profiled and shot George in the heart, what would the verdict have been? And that's the question that everybody is asking, that's why the whole world was watching this case to see if everybody can get equal justice, not just certain people. And so that's troubling, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It's interesting you bring that up, because Mark O'Mara did speak out last night on precisely that question. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK O'MARA, ZIMMERMAN DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think that things would have been different if George Zimmerman was black for this reason. He never would have been charged with a crime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: What's your reaction to that?

CRUMP: George, if you go to any courtroom in America on any given day, you will see the number of African-American males being convicted on not much evidence at all. Not that it's right, but you will see that nobody in America worries that black men won't be convicted in court. That is not a big issue.

Now, black victims, whereabout -- if they are victims to others outside of their community, whether they will be convicted, but I would challenge anybody to go to courts all over America, just sit in the back and watch how the justice system plays out when it comes to black males.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So no doubt in your mind that race was at the center of this trial?

CRUMP: Well, I think we would be intellectually dishonest, George, if we don't acknowledge the racial undertones in this case. There is a reason why everybody was watching this case, and they wanted to see if everybody got equal justice.

Now, you know, we have to accept the rule of law. There is no guarantee of justice. I told Trayvon's parents that from the beginning. We just have a chance at justice.

But we do want people to know that children should be able to live on this earth, walk on this earth, and not feel that they're going to be profiled by what they wear or what ethnicity they belong to, and that has to be something we have to progress from to go from here. Do we take steps forward to make sure this never happens again or do we regress and say the precedent is set where you can shoot little minority boys and nobody be held accountable.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Crump, thank you very much for your time this morning.

CRUMP: Thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And here now for more on the verdict and what happens next, our Dan Abrams, ABC's chief legal affairs anchor, our senior justice correspondent Pierre Thomas, the editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal Paul Gigot, and Tavis Smiley of PBS.

Let me start with you, Dan, no surprise, you even said this all the way, the prosecution did not make its case.

DAN ABRAMS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Because when you look at what the legal question here was, the question was, was there reasonable doubt about the moment that George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin. And the question there was, did George Zimmerman reasonably believe that great bodily injury was going to be inflicted on him? And there was a lot of evidence in this case that Trayvon Martin had beaten George Zimmerman.

Now what led up to that is a separate question. But the legal question is only was going on in George Zimmerman's mind at the moment he did that, and was there reasonable doubt as to what he believed?

When you picture it that way, and you're talking about just the moment he shoots, and the amount of evidence there was that George Zimmerman had been beaten by Trayvon Martin, it was difficult to see how the prosecution was going to win this case.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, Pierre, that does get to the question, did they overreach?

PIERRE THOMAS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Justice Department is looking at that very issue in terms of whether a civil rights case can be brought. In terms of the prosecutors, a lot of legal scholars are going to look at this case and say maybe they should have gone for a lesser charge. But as you look at this case, you have what took place in the court, which had to deal with the law, but the court of public opinion is where this thing is exploded.

You have many in the African-American community wondering about one single issue, why was Trayvon Martin singled out when at the time of day, between 7:00 and 8:00 at night, we're not talking about midnight, we're not talking about 2:00 a.m. in the morning. We're talking about a reasonable period to be walking down the street, no report of a crime. That is the issue that many African-Americans are asking about.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that's the broad question, but given this Justice Department investigation -- the prospect of a Justice Department investigation, clearly it's open right now, but the bar is very high after an acquittal. They're going to have to show that the violence was motivated by racial prejudice, not an accident, not negligence, not self-defense.

THOMAS: The bar is extremely high, but the Justice Department will be under intense pressure by the civil rights community to do something.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Can they resist it?

GIGOT: I would hope they will. I think it would be seen by a lot of the country as a case of double jeopardy. This was not -- it's not as if this did not get an extensive trial. I mean, the state threw everything they had at George Zimmerman for a year-and-a-half. The judge in many of the rulings tended to be more sympathetic. They reduced -- they gave the option of the manslaughter change. But they still couldn't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. I think that you cannot say that Trayvon Martin did not have representation in this case.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you agree with that?

SMILEY: I disagree. I think this for many Americans, George, just another piece of evidence of the incontrovertible contempt that this nation often shows and displays for black men.

In just a matter of weeks in this nation we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and that wonderful brilliant speech by Dr. King, "I Have a Dream." In that speech you will recall the one line that we all seem to know, not much else, but we know that one line. "I want my children to one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

George Zimmerman knew nothing of Trayvon Martin's character. All he saw was his color. Something is wrong in this nation. Fifty years after the March on Washington, while the Voting Rights Act is being gutted, speaking of the Justice Department, what they'll do about that perhaps, something is wrong when adults can racially profile children.

Trayvon Martin was a child, racially profiled and gunned down in...

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: But that wasn't -- I mean, I think that is a big debate we're going to have...

SMILEY: It is.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... but that wasn't the question in the courtroom, was it?

SMILEY: Well, I think what happens is, if you go to any barbershop, any beauty salon, even prior to the trial, and I don't have the scientific data to prove this, but I'm a black man, I live and work in a black community, I don't know that you can have gotten a majority of African-Americans who believed that this case was going to end differently anyway.

They were hoping against hope that something different might come out, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As a legal matter, could it have ended differently? Is there a different kind of case that prosecutors could have...

ABRAMS: No. I mean, look, are there mistakes that the prosecutors made, in my opinion? Yes. Should they have introduced all of George Zimmerman's to show statements to show sort of minor inconsistencies as opposed to effectively forcing him to testify? Yes, that was a little mistake.

But the reality is it wouldn't have made a difference if he had been charged with manslaughter versus murder. Everyone is talking, well, maybe they overcharged here. Yes, they probably did, would it have made a difference? No.

With regard to the federal investigation, yes, there will be a federal investigation. They will publicly discuss it. And there will not be charges filed under -- the civil rights division will not file.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Because they can't win?

ABRAMS: Because they can't win in this case. They won't win, and they know that.

Now there are two separate questions here that we're discussing. And I think it's important to distinguish them. One is a sort of broad societal right and wrong, and what is wrong with our society? And that is a fair question to ask. But that is a different question than talking about what happened in that courtroom.

Because if you watch that trial every day the way that I did, you do lose the sort of big picture and you get very focused on the little picture...

SMILEY: But, Dan, respectfully, the problem is though that every time we get to that nexus, and I agree with you, there are two separate issues here, but every time we get to that nexus, we never seem to accept the fact that race in this country is real, that color will get you killed.

And every time we have one of these cases, and I believe in looking at a case-by-case situation, but here's the problem, in the aggregate, every time you have this issue, somebody can always explain away why this person got off, why this person was not found guilty, and what we have is a bunch of dead black men.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So then the question coming to that, Pierre, is then what does the Justice Department do beyond the civil rights investigation? How does the president react? We saw him step in with a very powerful statement at the beginning of this case, what now?

THOMAS: Well, I think one of things which will have to happen is a broader conversation about race. It's often discussed, but never fully put on the table. And even though you have an African-American president, even though you have an attorney general who told us in an interview he had been profiled himself, which is going to have to deal with this issue, this problem of how black men are viewed.

Conversations that we had interviewing educated black females, two-parent households who every day teach their children, young black males, when you go into a convenience store, put your hands -- do not put your hands in your pockets, never wear a hoodie, be careful what you say and how you say it. This is 2013, it's fascinating that we're still having that conversation.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And I think everyone wishes, Paul Gigot, that George Zimmerman would have never gotten out that have car that night.

GIGOT: Without question. It's terrible what happened. But you cannot try social policy in an individual case. It's very difficult to do that, and I think it does injustice to the individuals in that courtroom.

The broader conversation that Tavis talks about, yes, we should have that. I think we do have that debate. We're having a huge debate in New York City right now about stop and frisk, the policy of stopping people who are suspected perhaps of carrying weapons. That is going on in a court of law. There's a case against it. And it's going on in the larger debate that we're having.

SMILEY: But when children in America -- when our children are forced to surrender their life choices before they ever know their life's chances, our democracy is threatened.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Any chance this will lead to review of "stand your ground" laws in these states?

ABRAMS: No, because, remember, this wasn't -- didn't end up being a "stand your ground" case. They waived the "stand your ground" hearings, it became a classic self-defense case in Florida. So I don't -- I mean, look, are people going to talk about it, yes? Are they going to be able to point to this case and say, this is the example of "stand your ground"? No.

(CROSSTALK)

THOMAS: George, one interesting point, is the system capable of answering a question about what's in someone's mind? Did the actions of Zimmerman, for example, his views on race seep into how he responded once he encountered Trayvon Martin? That may be the question that the system could not address.

ABRAMS: And I want to hear from the jurors, by the way, in this case, because we don't know just based on what we've heard now, whether these jurors believe George Zimmerman or not.

SMILEY: Well, what we do know, Dan, though, at least as it appears to me, you can stand your ground, unless you're a black man.

ABRAMS: Well, look, we don't know that.

(CROSSTALK)

SMILEY: It appears to me, and I think many other persons in this country that you can in fact stand your ground unless you are a black man. George Zimmerman was allowed to stand his ground, Trayvon Martin was not allowed to stand his ground.

ABRAMS: There have been a lot of cases in Florida involving black-on-black crime, where similar results have occurred where no charges were filed. I'm not justifying it, I'm just saying that I do really want to focus on this case, and then I think we need to also have the discussion, but I don't know that when you connect the two, that it's necessarily fair in connection with this case.

But I am going to be very curious to hear what the jurors say.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We're all waiting for that. And thank you all for you insight.

When we come back, gridlock in the House, name calling in the Senate. We'll take you inside one of Washington's roughest weeks yet. Plus, our powerhouse roundtable on a new wave of political comebacks, and the book that has Washington buzzing.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: This Republican Congress has turned advise and consent into deny and obstruct.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: These are dark days in the history of the Senate.

REID: These procedural blockades are as obvious as they are unprecedented. Yet the Republican leader says there's no problem here.

MCCONNELL: Our friend the majority leader is going to be remembered as the worst leader of the Senate ever.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The Senate leaders went at it this week over what's being called the "nuclear option." More on that ahead as we bring in our congressional panel, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch; Democrat Amy Klobuchar of the Senate Judiciary Committee; and from the House, Congresswoman Karen Bass, Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee; and Congressman Tom Cole from GOP leadership team.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Welcome to all of you. And I do want to talk about the debates in the Congress this week. But first, this breaking news overnight, the not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman. Karen Bass, your reaction?

BASS: Well, it was a devastating verdict, and I just am very concerned about what message this sends to the community, the fear that people must have now. But, you know, I just think that it was very sad.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Sad, Senator Hatch, but was justice served?

HATCH: Well, it looked to me like it was, because if the rule is that you've got to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, there were plenty of reasonable doubts there. So -- but you know, it's still a very serious set of problems that exist, and I agree with some of the commentators before, that we need to look at these matters a lot more carefully.

But yes, I think the verdict was, at least from all that I watched, it seemed to me it was an accurate verdict.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Klobuchar, you're a former prosecutor, also a member of the Judiciary Committee.

Does the attorney general now have grounds to bring a civil rights case? Or should he pass?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I know that investigations is going. As a former prosecutor, I know you wait until you see all the evidence. They're going to have to make that decision. It'll be a tough one, but I think going through with the investigation is incredibly important.

And my thoughts are with the family right now. I've seen this before, it is such a hard thing to take. And I hope they take some solace in the support they have across the country. A little 16-year-old boy going out to get some snacks at a convenience store shouldn't end up dead.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Congressman Cole, we just talked about these two debates going on right now, the legal debate and I guess the moral debate.

How do we handle it?

COLE: Well, it's very hard to keep them separated. I mean, this is a tragedy that should have never happened. I mean, clearly Zimmerman should never have gotten in that car, shouldn't have had a gun, shouldn't have been out. The police advised him to stay home.

But what we don't know is what happened in the actual encounter. And I think that's what the jury struggled with. I think they were trying to determine what happened. There's a reasonable doubt here, which is a pretty high standard.

So, you know, we'll be talking about this case for a long time to come, because they have to decide on the facts of the case, but there are moral dimensions beyond the case that obviously we have to come to grips with--

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that conversation will continue. Thank you for more on that.

Now we're going to move to this immigration debate in the Senate and the House this week.

Congressman Cole in the House, your leadership decided to go forward with single bills on various aspects of the immigration problem. It sure seemed, Senator Hatch, like the bipartisan Senate comprehensive Senate bill that you supported is pretty much dead in the House right now.

Any way to get it back on track?

HATCH: Well, I don't think it's dead. I do think that our House members are going to take this as a very serious challenge, and frankly, I'm counting on them. Our bill isn't perfect in the Senate. There are a lot of things I think need to be perfected, and the House can do a very good job if they will, and then hopefully we could go to conference and come up with a bill that will solve this festering sore that exists in our country today with 11 million people who don't know where to go, don't know what to do, and we don't know what to do with them other than most of them are pretty good people and they would like to be Americans or at least they'd like a job here. And we can work these problems out. And I think the Senate bill goes a long way in trying to do that. I got to give people like Marco Rubio a lot of credit, because he took -- he had guts to do everything that he did on that particular bill, and he was a formidable force on that bill.

And all the other gang of eight people were very good, too. But let me tell you something, I'm counting on the House. I'm counting on the House getting it even better, I'm counting on the House realizing that we can't just continue on with this de facto amnesty, which is what Marco Rubio calls it. And I think that's an accurate description.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So Congressman Cole, he's counting on the House. But he raised a couple of big sticking points right there.

Number one, it sure seemed like there's not a lot of appetite in your conference to deal with the legalization of the undocumented immigrants in the country right now.

Also this whole idea of going to conference with the Senate bill, a big comprehensive bill rather than a piecemeal approach.

Can you do that? Can you go to conference with the Senate bill?

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: (Inaudible) include a path to legalization?

COLE: Well, I think you can. I mean, I'm not surprised that the Senate bill can't make it in the House. I mean, two out of every three Republican Senators voted no. So, the Republican House was unlikely to ever see that as the main vehicle.

But I do think the eight senators that started the effort produced a decent product, and I think it got better. That's why it picked up Republican support along the way. Now on our side, we have opted for the individual approach, but there's also negotiations going on between our own individual gang of seven for a larger, more comprehensive bill. We'll see that at some point.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And are you open to having a path to legalization?

COLE: A lot depends on -- yes, I am, legalization, as long as other things are done first. I think what you can't have is legalization on the promise of future enforcement. That was the formula in '86. That didn't work. I think people have very low faith right now in the federal government. So they're going to have to see some of these other things first.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Can that work, Congresswoman? Or does it have to come all at once?

BASS: Well, I think that it should be a comprehensive bill. You know, sitting on the Judiciary Committee and hearing the individual bills that have been proposed, I'm very concerned. And I'll give you an example.

On the guest worker program, for example, the proposal said that an individual should be paid 90 percent of their salary, and then 10 percent of their salary would be sent to their home country, and they have to go home and pick it up. So I'm very concerned.

But you know, there is a part that's optimistic in the sense that we felt, different than my colleague, I know, that if we put the Senate bill up, that there actually would be enough House Republicans that would vote for it if the speaker will break the Hastert rule in saying that it has to be the majority.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's not going to happen, is it?

COLE: No, it's not, and it shouldn't. And frankly, I don't think there are enough people who would vote for it.

And second, you know, we never seem to get anything out of the Senate that a majority of the Republicans voted for and only a minority of the Democrats. So this idea that we're going to constantly -- we've done it three times. I think we've been more than fair in this.

In this case, the House Republicans have to produce a bill. And it's got to command a majority of the majority.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Klobuchar, it seems like everyone is putting a fairly -- trying to put an optimistic face on this, but if you take a step back and say, boy, this is getting late here in 2013. If this doesn't move quickly, it's not going to happen.

KLOBUCHAR: I agree with that. And that's why we put such an effort in the Senate to get a strong bipartisan bill, 68 votes in the Senate. And if you're looking for a conservative bill -- David Brooks made this argument recently -- look at this bill, $197 billion in debt reduction in just 10 years. That's something Republicans should support, $700 billion in debt reduction in 20 years.

The economic growth, 90 of our Fortune 500 companies were formed by immigrants, 200 by immigrants or kids of immigrants. That's why Senator Hatch and worked together to make sure the green card and the H-1B provisions were included, that makes it easier to bring over scientists and engineers that are going to start companies.

And third, the border security, the overstays on visas, all of that has been improved. And so when you look at it from a conservative standpoint, you understand why Karl Rove and Grover Norquist are supporting this bill. And I think it's time for the House Republicans to look at this from the position of economic growth.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Which (ph) you and Senator Hatch are working together on this.

KLOBUCHAR: We did.

STEPHANOPOULOS: When (ph) you're not working together on -- we saw Senators Reid and McConnell going at it -- and this wholly -- of the nuclear option. Let me try and explain it. It's basically the idea that you would do away with the filibuster. Senator Reid is proposing to do away on presidential appointees for Cabinet positions.

Senator Hatch, you seem to have changed your mind on this. Several years ago, when the Republicans were in the majority, you wanted to do away with the filibuster on judicial nominations. Now you're hitting the Democrats for taking exactly the same route.

Why the change?

HATCH: I don't know how you could say that I felt that way years ago because nobody knows what I was thinking at the time. All I can say is I was concerned about ever exercising a nuclear option. And so was Harry Reid, so was Chuck Schumer, so was --

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you did come out for changing the rules at that time. A compromise was eventually reached. But you were willing to change the rules.

HATCH: No, I don't think I ever really did come out for that. And matter of fact, I continue to vote against filibusters with regard to judicial nominations because I think it's a principled position. I actually think the president, whoever the president may be ought to have the full choice of who they put on the bench.

And unless there's just some overwhelming reason why somebody should never be on the bench.

But let's be honest about it, the Democrats all at that time said that it would be a disaster for the Senate, that it would destroy the Senate. Harry Reid in particular made all kinds of notable statements like that, and now they're using that when we put through an immigration bill, a big major bill, we put through a farm bill, a big major bill. We put through a water bill, big major bill.

The Senate -- we put through 1,564 nominations, and only four were defeated. Where's the -- where's the problem here?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, Senator --

(CROSSTALK)

HATCH: They're driven by the unions.

STEPHANOPOULOS: In the "National Review" in 2005, where you justified the change in rules even though the compromise was eventually reached.

But Senator Klobuchar, the -- trying to have it both ways goes on both sides. We also saw President Obama, now supporting Senator Harry Reid in changing the rules. But here he was when he was a senator.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: What they don't expect is for one party, be it Republican or Democrat, to change the rules in the middle of the game so that they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: A much younger looking President Obama there.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: I think this is the kind of thing that gets a lot of people out in the country really upset. They say, listen, there's no principle, it all depends on which side you're on and whether you have the power or not.

KLOBUCHAR: OK, well, I'm telling you right now, George, if I'm on this show and ever we have a Republican president, I'll say the same thing. I think a president should have the right to put their team out there. They're going to put up a few nominees that may fail in committee or may have a scandal and then their own party won't want to vote for them.

But for the most part, I don't understand why for these nominees, I'm not talking about judges here, I'm talking about the president's team, of which there are currently over 180 people that are just pending right now before the Senate for the Executive Office nominations. Why we can't just do 51 votes is beyond me.

You know, it's not like we can amend a person, right? We have to vote if they're in or they're out. And I don't think we should necessarily change the right of the minority to have their views aired on legislation. But when it comes to these, to the president's team, we have so much to work on, the economy, we're just talking about the immigration bill, workforce training, bringing down our debt in a reasonable way. We're on the precipice right now.

Our country is in such a good position to gain in the international stage. But if we're just fighting over an EPA director who was, by the way, used to work for Mitt Romney and they're going to stop her from getting confirmed? I think it's ridiculous. And so I'm hoping Monday night we're going to have a joint caucus meeting, something I wish they did more of in the House.

(LAUGHTER)

KLOBUCHAR: The Senate, Democrats and Republicans are getting together and I hope we can work this out.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know that's one step. We only have a minute left. I wanted you to each to weigh in quickly on this. Congresses approval ratings are as low as they have ever been. You're on track to pass few bills than any Congress in history. Any way to fix it?

COLE: Yeah I think there are. We have a lot of opportunities. We have a Student Loan Bill, we have a Farm Bill that needs to get done. We've got the end of the fiscal year, we've got the debt ceiling and immigration. You know, you deal with those things successfully between now and the end of the year, you will actually have had a terrific Congress. If you don't, it's going to be pretty bad.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Possible?

BASS: Well I think the way to fix it is we really shouldn't be ruled by a small minority within our, within Congress. Within the Republican Party you have 60 or so people who are to the extreme right and that who leads the day and that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm afraid you've probably started another debate.

(LAUGHTER)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you all very much. Up next our powerhouse roundtable with the author of the D.C. tell-all that has official Washington scrambling.

MORE

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: This Republican Congress has turned advise and consent into deny and obstruct.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: These are dark days in the history of the Senate.

REID: These procedural blockades are as obvious as they are unprecedented. Yet the Republican leader says there's no problem here.

MCCONNELL: Our friend the majority leader is going to be remembered as the worst leader of the Senate ever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: The Senate leaders went at it this week over what's being called the "nuclear option." More on that ahead as we bring in our congressional panel, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch; Democrat Amy Klobuchar of the Senate Judiciary Committee; and from the House, Congresswoman Karen Bass, Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee; and Congressman Tom Cole from GOP leadership team.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Plus our Sunday exclusive with Eliot Spitzer. Forced to resign as New York governor, he mounted a political comeback this week, took an early lead. And landed on Jay Leno's couch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO: You're a brilliant guy. You're someone I always admit, you got the mob in New York, you're the guy that brought down Wall Street and the banks. How could you be this stupid?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Welcome back we're here with our powerhouse roundtable standing by to discuss a year packed with political comebacks. Mark Sanford takes back a Congressional seat in South Carolina, Anthony Weiner jumps into New York City's Mayor's Race and is an instant contender. And the latest also in New York, Elliot Spitzer, the former Governor, resigned in disgrace five years ago after getting caught with prostitutes.

But there he was, taking New York City by storm this week. Entering the race for comptroller, the City's second most power job. Eliot Spitzer joins us now from Manhattan. Good morning, Eliot, thank you for joining us this morning.

And I do want to get to your comeback, but first this breaking news overnight on the George Zimmerman verdict. You're a former prosecutor as well former Attorney General, was justice served?

SPITZER: This is a failure of justice, I don't think there's any other way to view it. The judicial system is not perfect. And in this case it has failed and before we get into a conversation of whether the prosecution was flawed, that they should have handled it in a different way, there is a simple reality here.

An innocent, young man was walking down a street, was confronted by a stranger with a gun and that innocent, young man was shot. The criminal justice system should be able to deal with situations like that. It didn't.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So should the Justice Department step in now?

SPITZER: Well, the Justice Department will step in, but it's in a very dicey position because there has been a criminal case. Double jeopardy is a fundamental principle in our American judicial system, as it should be. And so it's going to be hard for them to come back at the defendant, and, boy, this is just the, understandably, a hugely emotional moment for many people who say, that could have been my kid, it could have been my son.

Where are we when the simple principals of justice should be applied? There are notable examples where our judicial system has failed. It is not perfect. Look I will say this, it is still the best system in the world, bar none. The jury system is what we have to rely upon, but in this case it failed.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's get to your race now for comptroller of city of New York. Probably a seat you didn't ever expect to run for, but boy, you were back on the streets all week long and really shook up the race. And instantly became the biggest topic of conversation here in New York.

Here's the cover of "New York" magazine coming out tomorrow. It shows an amalgam of you and Anthony Weiner. Weiner on one side, Eliot Spitzer on the other. And it's the comparison your political components are already making. Here is Christine Quinn, running for mayor of New York. She says: "The question with both Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer is what have they done to earn this second chance? I don't think we see all that much from either of these men that would put them in a position where they would have earned a second chance -- redeemed themselves from their selfish behavior and earned a second chance by New York's voters."

Your response?

SPITZER: Well, my response is, George, first I have done a fair bit. It's been five years, I have taught, I have written, I have participated, I have hosted a few TV shows. So I'll leave you to judge whether that is a moment or not. But I have done things that are important.

STEPHANOPOULOS: (inaudible) facing the voters.

SPITZER: That may be the case. Nobody in the media for that matter. But I've asked the voters of this city to -- for forgiveness. But I have also said, look at the totality of my record. The independence of my voice when it came to Wall Street, when it came to standing up on the environment, low wage workers, immigrants.

We were talking about immigrant rights just a few moments ago on your show. Years ago remember when I said, undocumented immigrants should have driver's licenses the heavens opened and descended upon me. It's now the law of the land. It is accepted across the nation. I've been ahead of the curve and perhaps the most fundamentally, independent on the issues of finance and Wall Street and integrity in our capital markets which is the heart and soul of what the comptroller's office is all about.

My mandate is to be a fiscal watchdog, to make sure the pension funds are invested well, to make sure the City's budget is being spent where it should be spent and for the purposes for which it should be spent.

And I think the public, and you referred to a poll, I don't hate polls and rely upon them, but the poll numbers reflect the public is interested in having an independent voice in that position, and that is what I promise I will be.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know your opponent, Scott Stringer says you're a law breaker, failed governor. That should disqualify you.

SPITZER: Well, look, opponents will say all sorts of things. The voters will make that determination. I think the voters are beginning to be heard. I'm seeing it in the streets when I talk to voters and when I talk to citizens. And they're saying, you've erred, you have earned up to it. You looked the public in the eye five years ago and you said you believed in accountability. You stepped forward and accepted responsibility. And that is what I did.

And that is a fundamental point that I think the public should look at and I hope will pay some - give some deference to, but the record that I acquired as the years as attorney general, as a low-level prosecutor doing misdemeanor cases and then high level cases against organized crime. And then as attorney general, then governor, where we reformed the state budget. We fully funded education. We reformed health care. Reformed the unemployment compensation system.

And you know, there's a lot of pushback from Wall Street about the cases we made, but they have won, they are right, and they said years before the cataclysm of 2008, not just that these are individual cases, but there's a systemic problem that we need to confront. And that was the argument that I was making, and it's an argument I'm making in a book called "Protecting Capitalism." I'm a capitalist. The book says capitalism must be protected, and that is what we believe in.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that record before the voters now. Eliot Spitzer, thanks very much. And with that, let's welcome our roundtable here to the table. Mark Leibovich ""New York Times" magazine, author of "This Town" brand new book coming out Tuesday. Already created a lot of controversy in Washington.

Maggie Haberman of Politico, once again Paul Gigot of the "Wall Street Journal," Tavis Smiley of PBS. And Maggie, let me begin with you, because you were out there all week long with Eliot Spitzer, and I want to show this poll that he was probably referring to.

I guess this shouldn't be a surprise, he's a well-known man, leading the race for Comptroller all of a sudden 42 to 33 over Scott Stringer. And more than two-thirds of Democrats saying he deserves that second chance. Is that what you saw out in the street?

MORE

STEPHANOPOULOS: Welcome to all of you. And I do want to talk about the debates in the Congress this week. But first, this breaking news overnight, the not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman. Karen Bass, your reaction?

BASS: Well, it was a devastating verdict, and I just am very concerned about what message this sends to the community, the fear that people must have now. But, you know, I just think that it was very sad.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Sad, Senator Hatch, but was justice served?

HATCH: Well, it looked to me like it was, because if the rule is that you've got to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, there were plenty of reasonable doubts there. So -- but you know, it's still a very serious set of problems that exist, and I agree with some of the commentators before, that we need to look at these matters a lot more carefully.

But yes, I think the verdict was, at least from all that I watched, it seemed to me it was an accurate verdict.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Klobuchar, you're a former prosecutor, also a member of the Judiciary Committee.

Does the attorney general now have grounds to bring a civil rights case? Or should he pass?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I know that investigations is going. As a former prosecutor, I know you wait until you see all the evidence. They're going to have to make that decision. It'll be a tough one, but I think going through with the investigation is incredibly important.

And my thoughts are with the family right now. I've seen this before, it is such a hard thing to take. And I hope they take some solace in the support they have across the country. A little 16-year-old boy going out to get some snacks at a convenience store shouldn't end up dead.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Congressman Cole, we just talked about these two debates going on right now, the legal debate and I guess the moral debate.

How do we handle it?

COLE: Well, it's very hard to keep them separated. I mean, this is a tragedy that should have never happened. I mean, clearly Zimmerman should never have gotten in that car, shouldn't have had a gun, shouldn't have been out. The police advised him to stay home.

But what we don't know is what happened in the actual encounter. And I think that's what the jury struggled with. I think they were trying to determine what happened. There's a reasonable doubt here, which is a pretty high standard.

So, you know, we'll be talking about this case for a long time to come, because they have to decide on the facts of the case, but there are moral dimensions beyond the case that obviously we have to come to grips with--

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that conversation will continue. Thank you for more on that.

Now we're going to move to this immigration debate in the Senate and the House this week.

Congressman Cole in the House, your leadership decided to go forward with single bills on various aspects of the immigration problem. It sure seemed, Senator Hatch, like the bipartisan Senate comprehensive Senate bill that you supported is pretty much dead in the House right now.

Any way to get it back on track?

HATCH: Well, I don't think it's dead. I do think that our House members are going to take this as a very serious challenge, and frankly, I'm counting on them. Our bill isn't perfect in the Senate. There are a lot of things I think need to be perfected, and the House can do a very good job if they will, and then hopefully we could go to conference and come up with a bill that will solve this festering sore that exists in our country today with 11 million people who don't know where to go, don't know what to do, and we don't know what to do with them other than most of them are pretty good people and they would like to be Americans or at least they'd like a job here. And we can work these problems out. And I think the Senate bill goes a long way in trying to do that. I got to give people like Marco Rubio a lot of credit, because he took -- he had guts to do everything that he did on that particular bill, and he was a formidable force on that bill.

And all the other gang of eight people were very good, too. But let me tell you something, I'm counting on the House. I'm counting on the House getting it even better, I'm counting on the House realizing that we can't just continue on with this de facto amnesty, which is what Marco Rubio calls it. And I think that's an accurate description.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So Congressman Cole, he's counting on the House. But he raised a couple of big sticking points right there.

Number one, it sure seemed like there's not a lot of appetite in your conference to deal with the legalization of the undocumented immigrants in the country right now.

Also this whole idea of going to conference with the Senate bill, a big comprehensive bill rather than a piecemeal approach.

Can you do that? Can you go to conference with the Senate bill?

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: (Inaudible) include a path to legalization?

COLE: Well, I think you can. I mean, I'm not surprised that the Senate bill can't make it in the House. I mean, two out of every three Republican Senators voted no. So, the Republican House was unlikely to ever see that as the main vehicle.

But I do think the eight senators that started the effort produced a decent product, and I think it got better. That's why it picked up Republican support along the way. Now on our side, we have opted for the individual approach, but there's also negotiations going on between our own individual gang of seven for a larger, more comprehensive bill. We'll see that at some point.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And are you open to having a path to legalization?

COLE: A lot depends on -- yes, I am, legalization, as long as other things are done first. I think what you can't have is legalization on the promise of future enforcement. That was the formula in '86. That didn't work. I think people have very low faith right now in the federal government. So they're going to have to see some of these other things first.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Can that work, Congresswoman? Or does it have to come all at once?

BASS: Well, I think that it should be a comprehensive bill. You know, sitting on the Judiciary Committee and hearing the individual bills that have been proposed, I'm very concerned. And I'll give you an example.

On the guest worker program, for example, the proposal said that an individual should be paid 90 percent of their salary, and then 10 percent of their salary would be sent to their home country, and they have to go home and pick it up. So I'm very concerned.

But you know, there is a part that's optimistic in the sense that we felt, different than my colleague, I know, that if we put the Senate bill up, that there actually would be enough House Republicans that would vote for it if the speaker will break the Hastert rule in saying that it has to be the majority.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's not going to happen, is it?

COLE: No, it's not, and it shouldn't. And frankly, I don't think there are enough people who would vote for it.

And second, you know, we never seem to get anything out of the Senate that a majority of the Republicans voted for and only a minority of the Democrats. So this idea that we're going to constantly -- we've done it three times. I think we've been more than fair in this.

In this case, the House Republicans have to produce a bill. And it's got to command a majority of the majority.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Klobuchar, it seems like everyone is putting a fairly -- trying to put an optimistic face on this, but if you take a step back and say, boy, this is getting late here in 2013. If this doesn't move quickly, it's not going to happen.

KLOBUCHAR: I agree with that. And that's why we put such an effort in the Senate to get a strong bipartisan bill, 68 votes in the Senate. And if you're looking for a conservative bill -- David Brooks made this argument recently -- look at this bill, $197 billion in debt reduction in just 10 years. That's something Republicans should support, $700 billion in debt reduction in 20 years.

The economic growth, 90 of our Fortune 500 companies were formed by immigrants, 200 by immigrants or kids of immigrants. That's why Senator Hatch and worked together to make sure the green card and the H-1B provisions were included, that makes it easier to bring over scientists and engineers that are going to start companies.

And third, the border security, the overstays on visas, all of that has been improved. And so when you look at it from a conservative standpoint, you understand why Karl Rove and Grover Norquist are supporting this bill. And I think it's time for the House Republicans to look at this from the position of economic growth.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Which (ph) you and Senator Hatch are working together on this.

KLOBUCHAR: We did.

STEPHANOPOULOS: When (ph) you're not working together on -- we saw Senators Reid and McConnell going at it -- and this wholly -- of the nuclear option. Let me try and explain it. It's basically the idea that you would do away with the filibuster. Senator Reid is proposing to do away on presidential appointees for Cabinet positions.

Senator Hatch, you seem to have changed your mind on this. Several years ago, when the Republicans were in the majority, you wanted to do away with the filibuster on judicial nominations. Now you're hitting the Democrats for taking exactly the same route.

Why the change?

HATCH: I don't know how you could say that I felt that way years ago because nobody knows what I was thinking at the time. All I can say is I was concerned about ever exercising a nuclear option. And so was Harry Reid, so was Chuck Schumer, so was --

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you did come out for changing the rules at that time. A compromise was eventually reached. But you were willing to change the rules.

HATCH: No, I don't think I ever really did come out for that. And matter of fact, I continue to vote against filibusters with regard to judicial nominations because I think it's a principled position. I actually think the president, whoever the president may be ought to have the full choice of who they put on the bench.

And unless there's just some overwhelming reason why somebody should never be on the bench.

But let's be honest about it, the Democrats all at that time said that it would be a disaster for the Senate, that it would destroy the Senate. Harry Reid in particular made all kinds of notable statements like that, and now they're using that when we put through an immigration bill, a big major bill, we put through a farm bill, a big major bill. We put through a water bill, big major bill.

The Senate -- we put through 1,564 nominations, and only four were defeated. Where's the -- where's the problem here?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, Senator --

(CROSSTALK)

HATCH: They're driven by the unions.

STEPHANOPOULOS: In the "National Review" in 2005, where you justified the change in rules even though the compromise was eventually reached.

But Senator Klobuchar, the -- trying to have it both ways goes on both sides. We also saw President Obama, now supporting Senator Harry Reid in changing the rules. But here he was when he was a senator.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: What they don't expect is for one party, be it Republican or Democrat, to change the rules in the middle of the game so that they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: A much younger looking President Obama there.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: I think this is the kind of thing that gets a lot of people out in the country really upset. They say, listen, there's no principle, it all depends on which side you're on and whether you have the power or not.

KLOBUCHAR: OK, well, I'm telling you right now, George, if I'm on this show and ever we have a Republican president, I'll say the same thing. I think a president should have the right to put their team out there. They're going to put up a few nominees that may fail in committee or may have a scandal and then their own party won't want to vote for them.

But for the most part, I don't understand why for these nominees, I'm not talking about judges here, I'm talking about the president's team, of which there are currently over 180 people that are just pending right now before the Senate for the Executive Office nominations. Why we can't just do 51 votes is beyond me.

You know, it's not like we can amend a person, right? We have to vote if they're in or they're out. And I don't think we should necessarily change the right of the minority to have their views aired on legislation. But when it comes to these, to the president's team, we have so much to work on, the economy, we're just talking about the immigration bill, workforce training, bringing down our debt in a reasonable way. We're on the precipice right now.

Our country is in such a good position to gain in the international stage. But if we're just fighting over an EPA director who was, by the way, used to work for Mitt Romney and they're going to stop her from getting confirmed? I think it's ridiculous. And so I'm hoping Monday night we're going to have a joint caucus meeting, something I wish they did more of in the House.

(LAUGHTER)

KLOBUCHAR: The Senate, Democrats and Republicans are getting together and I hope we can work this out.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know that's one step. We only have a minute left. I wanted you to each to weigh in quickly on this. Congresses approval ratings are as low as they have ever been. You're on track to pass few bills than any Congress in history. Any way to fix it?

COLE: Yeah I think there are. We have a lot of opportunities. We have a Student Loan Bill, we have a Farm Bill that needs to get done. We've got the end of the fiscal year, we've got the debt ceiling and immigration. You know, you deal with those things successfully between now and the end of the year, you will actually have had a terrific Congress. If you don't, it's going to be pretty bad.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Possible?

BASS: Well I think the way to fix it is we really shouldn't be ruled by a small minority within our, within Congress. Within the Republican Party you have 60 or so people who are to the extreme right and that who leads the day and that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm afraid you've probably started another debate.

(LAUGHTER)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you all very much. Up next our powerhouse roundtable with the author of the D.C. tell-all that has official Washington scrambling.

MORE

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that record before the voters now. Eliot Spitzer, thanks very much. And with that, let's welcome our roundtable here to the table. Mark Leibovich ""New York Times" magazine, author of "This Town" brand new book coming out Tuesday. Already created a lot of controversy in Washington.

Maggie Haberman of Politico, once again Paul Gigot of the "Wall Street Journal," Tavis Smiley of PBS. And Maggie, let me begin with you, because you were out there all week long with Eliot Spitzer, and I want to show this poll that he was probably referring to.

I guess this shouldn't be a surprise, he's a well-known man, leading the race for Comptroller all of a sudden 42 to 33 over Scott Stringer. And more than two-thirds of Democrats saying he deserves that second chance. Is that what you saw out in the street?

HABERMAN: No it is not what I saw out on the streets. But I do think it is probably what we're going to see at the ballot box. I think that if nothing else comes out and I think that if Stringer can't bring a credible case, nobody knows who Scott Stringer is.

He's a nice man. I've known him a long time. He's been in Albany, he is not a known commodity, Spitzer is. It's a down ballot race. This is a race that is largely won on name recognition. I think what you just saw on that interview, I think he will do that in the debate. I think that he will eat Stringer alive potentially.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what did you see on the streets?

HABERMAN: The streets, you saw people sort of standing back and not quite believing what they were seeing. We were not quite believing what we were seeing candidly. But I think that people will remember the better parts of his record. And I think that, you know, I think that the public does believe in redemption. The person I think this hurts most is Anthony Weiner. I think it is very hard for him to carve a path forward now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you agree with that?

GIGOT: Yeah I think I probably do, much to my regret. I mean, I think that if you are going to run for office after you, you have to seek forgiveness. You have to be contrite. I don't hear any contrition. I think that he's only sorry about the fact that he committed a crime while he was the chief law enforcement officer of the state. I don't hear any contrition about the way he abused his office in power. Taking cases in public, accusing people of crimes and then not bringing criminal charges, trying to force people out.

I think he damaged AIG the Insurance Company by forcing out good management and letting it go to--

STEPHANOPOULOS: Now he's facing a lawsuit from the former head of AIG. And we are going to see Wall Street kind of rise up and try to stop this.

GIGOT: Well he never, he almost never brought cases that actually went to trial. He used his power through leaks in the media to try cases in public. But when he ever went to trial, he lost. That's not the way you should behave as somebody who the voters have entrusted with discretion in power.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But the voters do seem pretty forgiving of personal failings.

SMILEY: They are forgiving. I think what turns most of us off is hypocrisy, not mistakes. We all make mistakes. Hypocrisy is something very different. These are egregious mistakes I think, on the part of Mr. Weiner and Mr. Spitzer.

I've always believed, since I've made some mistakes in my own life George, that the some of the man is not the sum of the man. The S-O-M-E of us, thank God is not the S-U-M of us. Because we all makes mistakes and have a, deserve an opportunity to be redeemed.

Here's what troubles me though. It seems that in New York and for that matter, around the country, we think there are only a handful of people who are qualified to be high quality public servants. As if there isn't a larger pool of fellow citizens who ought to put themselves up. What concerns me is that dearth and paucity of other citizens who ought to put their names in the hat. As if Weiner is the only guy that can save the City. As if Spitzer is the only guy that can -- that bothers me.

STEPHANOPOULOS: In both cases Mark Leibovich, Anthony Weiner had a huge war chest left over from his congressional race, Eliot Spitzer has a personal fortune. And that name recognition that Maggie's talking about.

LEIBOVICH: Oh absolutely. But I think another thing we've seen is that the cycle of rise and fall and rehabilitation and just instant frontrunner-ness, again if you're going to throw your hat back into the right, it's just gotten really, really tight and really, really small.

And I think, look, one of the larger lessons that I've sort of learned about Washington is that the neutral sheen of notoriety sort of takes over.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Neutral sheen of notoriety.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Any publicity is good publicity.

LEIBOVICH: No I don't think so. I should have thought of that. If I was smart enough, I would have thought about that. But no, I mean, look, the right or wrong becomes secondary to the winning and losing. To the actual fame itself.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that's one of the subtexts of your book "This Town" and this is really something. It's not even out yet. It actually comes out what, on Tuesday?

LEIBOVICH: Tuesday, yeah.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You've already created, you know, an avalanche of headlines, we're going to see them, right here coming up on the screen right now. All kinds of reaction to "This Town." "A Washington Takedown." "Mark Leibovich and the Preening Egos of "This Town." "Hypocrisy, Thy Name is (Duh!) Washington." The Wall Street Journal, "The Roiling Swamp of Washington."

You know, you're creating a whole lot of conversation. I read the book, it's a fascinating look at the personalities of Washington. You're not afraid to prick a lot of egos. Although it seems you're a little bit uncomfortable with it, even as you're doing it.

LEIBOVICH: I'm not uncomfortable with it, but I am very transparent about the fact that I too am a member of the media. I'm attached to a major news organization. I love politics. I cover it willingly.

And look I don't have the luxury of being a foreign correspondent who can sort of dive into town and burn down the village. I mean, these are people I know and frankly I'm going to have to talk about my own role in it.

But I don't think I'm uncomfortable. Because I think when you've been a journalist for as long as you have in Washington, you get used to the social awkwardness and actually being able to take shots--

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what is your big takeaway after looking at this circus of the last few years? And what kind of blowback have you gotten?

LEIBOVICH: Well so far, the blowbacks been weird because there's been so much anticipation around this thing and no one's read it until, hopefully, now. I mean now that it's sort of leaked out and people will be able to buy it in a couple days.

But I think the big takeaway is one that I'm not trying to pick on any one individual or any one institution--

STEPHANOPOULOS: You take on everybody.

LEIBOVICH: Well I mean, it's the whole machine. It's the profile of the city basically in the 21st century at a time when, I think self-service has sort of replaced public service as the real play. And I think that, look, people fundamentally are very disappointed in Washington. I just don't think they have a full appreciation of the full, you know, cinema graphic, carnival that this has become.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Maggie, go ahead.

SMILEY: No I'm sorry, what I found fascinating, I haven't read the entire book but I've seen excerpts from it. What I, I'd love you to comment on this, what I found fascinating about it George is the extent to which I think the American public does not know the coziness between the two parties.

What we see on TV on "This Week" or any place else on ABC or around the dial, is this notion that Republicans and Democrats go at it like this all the time.

LEIBOVICH: Right.

SMILEY: And what you unveiled and revealed is what happens behind the scenes when these guys hang out together all the time.

LEIBOVICH: Yeah. No I would say that one of the great misconceptions is that Washington is hopelessly divided. In fact Washington is hopelessly interconnected and that includes, you know, Democrats, Republicans, the media, you know, K Street.

It has become what Senator Coburn calls a permanent feudal class of people who are doing very, very well while the rest of the country--

STEPHANOPOULOS: The insiders of the insiders. I'm going to put you both on the spot here, you're sitting next to Maggie Haberman of Politico. Your publication comes in for the microscopic criticism as well. Here's one of the things that Mark writes, he says "Politico--particularly your colleague Mike Allen--is prone to trafficking suggestive notions in the spirit of "driving the conversation." The conversation then gets picked up on cable and blogs I'm hearing talk about, and then Politico will report on something that is getting a lot of buzz to a point that merits coverage as a viable possibility, something that is out there."

Which I guess is exactly what we're doing with your book right?

HABERMAN: Right.

LEIBOVICH: Yeah.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The criticism of Politico.

HABERMAN: I mean, I think that was sort of a wet fettuccini slap as opposed to a punch. I'm really proud of Politico. I like Mike Allen a lot. I think that we have made driving the conversation and winning the morning as part of our ethos. And I don't think that comes as a surprise. I don't think Mark thinks that's a surprise.

GIGOT: I want to remind, I want to thank Mark for reminding Americans that Washington is a roiling swamp with a feudal class.

(LAUGHTER)

GIGOT: We write about that just about every day at the "Wall Street Journal". And to get to Tavis's point, the one thing both parties have in common is that they both spend other people's money. Which is I think the biggest problem. And Washington would be a lot less important and journalists would have to cover politics a lot less if Washington were much smaller, which would be better for everybody.

LEIBOVICH: Yeah I mean you're all making my points for me.

(LAUGHTER)

LEIBOVICH: No I mean I do think, right, I think again, it's the point that everyone is doing extremely well. But I also think what people miss, and they say, you know, Washington has always been very unpopular, people have always run against Washington. I mean what's really changed over the last couple of decades is one, just the flood of money into the city. I mean the city has become the most prosperous city in the United States. Its home to 7 of the top 10 most wealthy counties in the United States, the metropolitan area is. And also, just media. The saturation of new media, has made fame a very, very easy thing to attain. I mean it's made second acts much easier. It's made wealth much easier. And frankly, no one leaves.

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: We'll be right back with our Sunday Spotlight. Kids ruled at the U.N. this week all to support a very special friend. We'll hear from Malala.

STEPHANOPOULOS: She is the youngest person ever to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and she entered the United Nations this week to a standing ovation. Sixteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: In our Sunday Spotlight this morning, a young woman who is captivating the world with her courage. The Taliban tried to kill Malala Yousafzai just because she wants girls in Pakistan to get the same education as boys. But she survived that bullet to the brain.

And this week brought here message of hope and determination to the world stage. ABC's Bob Woodruff was at the U.N. when she spoke.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MALALA YOUSAFZAI: Malala Day is not my day. I speak not for myself but for those without voice can be heard.

BOB WOODRUFF, ABC NEWS: Sixteen year old Malala Yousafzai has a burning hunger to learn. The Pakistani teen was brutally attacked on her way home from school just nine months ago.

YOUSAFZAI: They thought that the bullet would silence us, but they failed. Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.

WOODRUFF: As word of Malala's tragedy spread, so did her following.

ANGELINA JOLIE, UNHCR SPECIAL ENVOY: They shot at point-blank range in the head. And made her stronger.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The Taliban recognized this young girl as a serious threat. And you know what? They were right. She was a threat.

WOODRUFF: A threat which awakened the world to an educational emergency around the globe. 57 million children, most of them girls, forced out of school and subject to early marriage or child labor. But Malala dreamed of a better life.

She wanted to be a doctor when she was younger. Now she's not going to be?

ZIAUDDIN YOUSAFZAI, MALALA'S FATHER: Your circumstances tell you and it teaches you what to be done. She came to the conclusion that if she becomes a doctor she may help some patients in hospital. But she wanted to be the doctor of society, a doctor for country. And a politician can do that. They make difference.

M. YOUSAFZAI: We call upon the world leaders that all the peace deals must protect women and children's rights. A deal that goes against the rights of women is unacceptable.

(APPLAUSE)

WOODRUFF: So hand-in-hand at the United Nations with the Secretary General and a little boost from a soap box, the Pakistani school girl launched a 21st century civil rights movement that's inspiring millions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like I've just witnessed one of the greatest speeches of our generation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The world gained strength because of her spirits.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Malala is the epitome of what a girl can do once she's educated.

WOODRUFF: It's hard to imagine such an impact from someone so young, just now celebrating a personal milestone, turning 16. The former British Prime Minister, with a poignant reminder. It was a day that almost didn't come.

GORDON BROWN, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Let me repeat the words, the words the Taliban never wanted her to hear: Happy 16th Birthday, Malala.

(APPLAUSE)

MALALA: One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.

WOODRUFF: For This Week, Bob Woodruff, ABC News, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: And boy is she going to change the world. That was really something. Thanks to Bob Woodruff for that. Thanks to all of you for a great discussion today. And Diane Sawyer is going to have an exclusive interview with Malala when her book comes out this fall.

And before we go we have some good news this week for Afghanistan. The Pentagon did not announce any deaths of service members killed in action. The first week that's happened since February.

That's all for us today, thanks to our roundtable and thank you for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out World News with David Muir tonight and I'll see you tomorrow on GMA.

END

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