'This Week' Transcript 10-30-22: Sen. Rick Scott & Dr. Jennifer Ashton

This is a rush transcript of "This Week" airing Sunday, October 30.

ByABC News
October 30, 2022, 9:20 AM

A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, October 30, 2022 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the "This Week" transcript archive.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC HOST (on camera): Just nine days to the midterm elections. As races tighten in the final stretch, we're out on the campaign trail. A special edition of “This Week” starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The choice couldn’t be clearer. The stakes couldn't be higher.

SEN. TED CRUZ, (R-XT): America is in crisis. Revival is coming.

UNKNOWN FEMALE: When we vote we win.

RADDATZ (voiceover): Over 20 million votes already cast, midterm turnout on track to break records. We're on the road, crisscrossing states that could flip control of Congress.

RADDATZ (on camera): Las Vegas is all about hospitality, restaurant jobs, hotel jobs, and not all of those jobs have come back.

RADDATZ (voiceover): What's driving voters to the polls.

RADDATZ (on camera): So are you hoping for a red wave?

UNKNOWN MALE: Kind of.

UNKNOWN FEMALE: Yes.

RADDATZ: Are there any other issues important to you?

UNKNOWN MALE: Well, the divisiveness.

RADDATZ (voiceover): Political rhetoric reaching a breaking point. Nancy Pelosi’s husband attacked in their San Francisco home, the intruder looking for the Speaker of the House.

UNKNOWN MALE: It's political violence, and there’s no place in our country, you know, for this.

RADDATZ: This morning, Pierre Thomas on increasing threats against elected officials. Reaction from the Republican tasked with flipping the Senate, Senator Rick Scott.

And --

UNKNOWN FEMALE: Abortion providers in states where abortion remains legal, are being overwhelmed by the influx of patients from out of state.

RADDATZ: A look at one of the key issues motivating voters. Dr. Jen Ashton reports on the nationwide impact of abortion bans.

Plus, Political Director Rick Klein with our new ABC poll and the Powerhouse Roundtable joins us live here in Texas to break down all of the week's politics.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, this is a special edition of “This Week,” live from Dallas, Texas. Here, now, Martha Raddatz.

RADDATZ (on camera): Good morning and welcome to “This Week.”

Nine days until Election Day, all indications this midterm will draw record turnout and be among the most consequential in a generation. And this morning, our brand-new ABC News poll with Ipsos finds a clear issue driving voters, the economy. Half the country says economic concerns and inflation are driving their votes this fall.

I spent the last week traveling out West exploring the races that could define the control of Congress and by extension the future of Joe Biden’s presidency. America remains bitterly divided and this week we saw the horror that officials have warned political polarization could fuel. The 82-year-old husband of Nancy Pelosi viciously attacked in the middle of the night of the couple’s home in San Francisco by a suspect police say was in search of the speaker herself, drawing haunting comparisons to those who hunted for her on January 6th.

We will break down our new poll and take you across the country in a moment but we begin with new details this morning on the horrific assault on Paul Pelosi and the threat level around the midterms. Here's Pierre Thomas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PIERRE THOMAS, ABC NEWS CHIEF JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): It's an apparent example of political extremism law enforcement has been warning about for years, a man seen heading toward Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home just before 2:30 a.m. Friday, police say the suspect break in, encountering Pelosi’s husband Paul demanding to see the speaker. Using words eerily similar to the chants made by the mob during the January 6th insurrection.

UNKNOWN MALE: Where are you, Nancy?

THOMAS: Paul Pelosi makes his way to the bathroom and covertly calls police, the suspect using a hammer striking Paul Pelosi twice.

CHIEF BILL SCOTT, SAN FRANCISCO POLICE DEPARTMENT: Everybody should be disgusted about what happened this morning.

THOMAS: The evidence mounting that the suspect was there to harm the speaker of the House.

SCOTT: This was not a random act. This was intentional.

THOMAS: The FBI’s dissecting the life of 42-year-old David DePape, authorities are locking in on social media posts that they believe are his, those posts portray a man obsessed with conspiracy theories like COVID-19 vaccines kill, the big lie that Joe Biden lost the 2020 election. DePape has been charged with a number of state offenses, including attempted murder. And the Justice Department’s weighing whether to charge him federally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS (on camera): Sources tell me the suspect may be the poster boy for so-called lone wolves, sometimes mentally unstable, angry and willing to take violent action including against politicians. Martha?

RADDATZ: So, Pierre, what is the threat level as we head towards the midterms?

THOMAS: Martha, a joint Homeland Security FBI bulletin sent out to police around the nation in the last 24 hours warns of a heighten threat by lone wolves to target the midterm elections. These are toxic times and are becoming more so. Threats against members of Congress have more than doubled since 2017 and threats against federal judges more than tripling over the same timeframe. Martha?

RADDATZ: Thanks so much, Pierre.

The political violence, the political divide in the country is evident almost everywhere you go. But here in Texas and out West the conversation has turned to the issues. We traveled through three states to look at the all-important Senate races where the outcome could still surprise.

We began in Nevada, a state that is widely seen as the Republican's best chance to flip a seat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RADDATZ (voiceover): Across Nevada’s rural desert landscapes to the bright lights of Las Vegas roars a bitter fight for control of the Senate.

SEN. CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO, (D-NV): They're running around pedaling conspiracy and lies about an election that they claim was stolen that wasn’t.

ADAM LAXALT, NEVADA REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE: We're doing this to save Nevada and save our great country.

RADDATZ: Nevada’s Trump-backed former attorney general Adam Laxalt --

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And there’s no one more trustworthy in Nevada then Adam Laxalt --

RADDATZ: -- who helped lead Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Nevada facing off with Democratic incumbent senator Catherine Cortez Masto, the first Latina in the U.S. Senate.

But Cortez Masto, with her low-key style, is seen as one of the most endangered senate Democrats in the nation, because despite the fiery rhetoric about 2020, this race comes down to the economy.

RADDATZ (on camera): The economy, inflation. That’s a big issue with you. Why?

UNKNOWN FEMALE: Because the prices have gone so high.

RADDATZ: So are you hoping for a red wave this time?

UNKNOWN MALE: Kind of.

UNKNOWN FEMALE: Yes. Things seemed better before.

RADDATZ (voiceover): Food, rent and gas prices are higher here than almost anywhere in the country.

RADDATZ (on camera): All over Nevada but especially here in Las Vegas there were massive job losses during the pandemic because after all Las Vegas is all about hospitality, hotel jobs, restaurant jobs and not all of those jobs have come back.

UNKNOWN FEMALE: When we vote we win.

RADDATZ (voiceover): Ted Pappageorge leads the Culinary Workers Union, one of the largest in Las Vegas, launching a massive effort to get out the vote.

TED PAPPAGEORGE, SECRETARY TREASURER, CULINARY WORKERS UNION: All right, we vote.

RADDATZ: So far the Union has knocked on some 700,000 doors encouraging registered voters to go to the polls and support Cortez Masto.

PAPPAGEORGE: If we knock on those doors and we talk to those voters, we win.

RADDATZ: The voters that may make the difference for the Democrats, Latinos who account for roughly 20 percent of registered Nevadans and a whopping 60 percent of the Culinary Workers Union.

ROMAN ALEJO, CULINARY WORKERS UNION: We're talking about, like, immigration, like, I cannot vote, I’m a DACA recipient.

RADDATZ: Even though if Cortez Masto wins in the heavily Latino areas, Laxalt is still confident of victory. Across the border into Colorado, you hear the same familiar echo from voters, it's not the 2020 election or the divided nation --

UNKNOWN MALE: Probably economy. Followed real closely by the border.

RADDATZ: Incumbent Democrat, Senator Michael Bennett, who’s seeking a third term is fending off Republican Joe O’Dea, a Denver businessman selling himself as a fresh face in politics who puts the economy first.

JOE O’DEA, COLORADO REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE: My campaign has been focused on one issue and it’s inflation, inflation, inflation. They're listening to my message because that's what they're talking about on the kitchen table.

RADDATZ: O’Dea describes himself as the Republican Joe Manchin and he supports abortion access and his incurred the wrath of Donald Trump for accepting the 2020 election results but a Republican hasn't won a Senate seat in Colorado in nearly a decade and ultimately he'd have to win over Independents to unseat Bennett.

O’DEA: Look, we’re dead even with the Independents, that’s who matters here in Colorado. Forty-five percent of our electorate is Independents.

RADDATZ: And Democrats are fighting hard to convince voters they can help families. Bennett touting recent legislative wins --

SEN. MICHAEL BENNET, (D-CO): I've led the fight for the biggest tax cut ever for working families, the Child Tax Credit and then the Earned Income Tax Credit. Those were my bills.

RADDATZ: Nationwide, Democrats are playing up social issues, Bennett no different. He's put abortion at the forefront of his campaign.

BENNET: Because Coloradoans are deeply upset that the Supreme Court has ripped away this right.

RADDATZ: Mary Keane is so passionate about the issue, she's already voted straight Party ticket.

KEANE: I don't agree with anybody telling me what I can do with my body. So, basically, the Democrats say they're not going to mess around my decisions. And so, I just voted for them.

RADDATZ: But Democrats across the border in Utah will not have such a clear choice of candidates, because there isn't one.

That anyone is even talking about the Utah Senate race at this point is astonishing in itself. Utah is a blazingly red state. Utahans have elected only Republicans to the Senate for nearly 50 years.

So the Democrats have a plan. Instead of putting up a candidate who would almost certainly get trounced by incumbent Mike Lee, they're throwing their support behind former Republican and now independent candidate Evan McMullin.

EVAN MCMULLIN, UTAH INDEPENDENT SENATE CANDIDATE: The politics of division and extremism are tearing our country apart, turning Americans against each other. We’re failing to overcome the major challenges we face, whether it’s inflation or the high costs of health care, air and water challenges, which we have very acutely here in Utah.

RADDATZ: A former presidential candidate, McMullin would need to bring Democrats, independents and Republicans into his camp.

Republicans like Tom Taylor in order to win.

TOM TAYLOR, UTAH VOTER: We pledge allegiance to the United States of America not a political party. SO, I love the fact that he's independent.

RADDATZ: And Taylor said McMullin already has his vote.

But incumbent Mike Lee knows even with McMullin's surprising strength, he is a long shot.

SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT): It’s closer than we expected initially, but we’re going to win it.

RADDATZ: And like everyone we talked to, Utahans told us they want someone who can fix inflation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The economy is really bad right now and it's hurting my family personally and so that's one of the reasons I believe we need to have Republicans elected.

RADDATZ: A Republican rallying cry across the West, across the nation, that aims right at the Democrats' most vulnerable spot.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RADDATZ (on camera): So let's take a closer look now at just how much the economy has become the driving issue in the midterms with our political director Rick Klein, back in D.C., at the midterm monitor.

Rick, it's been a long and winding campaign, but our brand new ABC poll with Ipsos sheds some light on what voters truly care about.

RICK KLEIN, ABC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Martha, we asked voters, what’s the number one issue driving your decision this fall, and you can see overwhelmingly pocketbook issues, the economy, inflation, you add those two numbers together, that’s half the country saying those are the issues that are primarily driving their votes.

You see other issues ranking as well, abortion, gun violence. Those are issues that Democrats are somewhat stronger on. But on those pocket issues, on the economy, it’s Republicans who are pushing that narrative, pushing that in a way that people really feel it.

And, interestingly, on abortion, our poll, like most polls, show that most Americans think that abortion should be legal in most cases and almost half the country says that makes the difference in the kind of candidate they're likely to support. But there’s another third of the country that actually feels the opposite. They're likely to support a candidate who wants restrictions on abortion rights, and another in five Americans telling us with this poll of Ipsos, it doesn’t make any difference at all.

So, that gives you a sense of the limits on of the messaging that Democrats are hoping pushes them over the top.

RADDATZ: It sure does. And, Rick, you know, we were in the state of Nevada. The Senate race hasn't gotten much attention as Georgia or Pennsylvania. But this could really be a game-changer.

KLEIN: Martha, it’s a 50/50 Senate. Coincidentally, right now, our partners at FiveThirtyEight think there's a 50/50 chance for either party to take over control. These are the 12 states that are almost certainly going to determine control of the Senate in November.

And take a look at Nevada, because the Republican has been leading Adam Laxalt over Catherine Cortez-Masto. If the Republicans flip Nevada, FiveThirtyEight sees it is now more than 7 in 10 that they take the entire Senate. On the other hand, if Nevada takes blue, if Senator Cortez Masto is able to withstand those headwinds, then suddenly the Democrats are 3 in 4 chance to hold the Senate.

So, there are going to be a lot of eyes, Martha, on out West, very late into the night on November 8th.

RADDATZ: And here in Texas, Democrats have long had visions of turning this state blue that doesn't really look realistic this year.

KLEIN: Yeah. Yeah, you're right, Martha. Look, this is the last time that Beto O’Rourke ran statewide. It’s in 2018 against Senator Cruz. He came close in a much better environment for Democrats. He's running again this time for governor against Greg Abbott. There aren’t many people in either party, frankly, feel like O'Rourke is going to do better in a worst environment against a stronger incumbent candidate.

But how he does and how Democrats do still matters. Take a look at the Texas congressional map. There are a couple of seats that I’ve got my eye on here in South Texas, in the suburbs of Austin, in San Antonio, down into the Rio Grande Valley. You’re talking about suburban voters, when inflation is a big deal for, Latino voters. These are the kind of voters, Martha, that Democrats need to keep in the fold this year and beyond if they're going to be competitive. There’s an interesting microcosm for the trends we're seeing around the country right there in Texas.

RADDATZ: And thanks so much, Rick.

And the roundtable joins me now here in Dallas. Former North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and journalist and ABC News contributor Maria Elena Salinas.

It’s so great to see you all here this morning on this beautiful morning in Dallas. So, let’s talk.

Chris, let's talk first about that terrible, terrible attack on Paul Pelosi in his home. Threats against lawmakers have more than doubled since 2017 according to Capitol Police. And, of course, we heard that the suspect was looking for the speaker herself. It’s those terrible, haunting cries of where’s Nancy?

CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR & ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, look, this is awful stuff. And for all of us who have held public office and – and – and especially for those of us who kind of spoke our mind when we did it and didn't care about the ramifications, it's a different world than when I first came into office in 2010 in terms of the concern about that. So I think – I think there’s -- everybody feels the same way, that, you know, that's something that we just can't tolerate. And if we're in a different world now, which we are, I don’t think there’s any doubt given those numbers, we have to change the way we secure those folks.

So, if the speaker wasn’t at her home but her husband was, the same way we're now protecting the families of Supreme Court justices, for the leadership in Congress, we’re going to have to start thinking about protecting their families as well and think about the burden and the way that's going change their families' lives too because having that omnipresent security while it increases safety it decreases your freedom and your liberty to do what you want to do with our life.

RADDATZ: And – and, Heidi, what about the rhetoric?

HEIDI HEITKAMP, (D) FORMER NORTH DAKOTA SENATOR & ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, it’s got to calm down. It’s got to slow down.

But the other ramification of what's happening right now, Martha, is, who's going step up to run? Who's going to say, I'm going to subject my family to this kind of scrutiny and this kind of danger? And so we're not only affecting the lives of people today, we're affecting what's going to happen in future in terms of recruiting great people to serve our country. And so it needs to calm down.

We need to have a bipartisan commitment to cooling the rhetoric, stopping the language, calling out bad language when people like Marjorie Taylor Greene say what she says and – and we need people to understand that -- that this is about policy. This isn't a civil war. And -- and the closer we get to not containing this, the closer we get to continuing our insurrection in this country.

RADDATZ: Maria Elena, do you really see anything changing with the rhetoric? Do you see it calming down?

MARIA ELENA SALINAS, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR & ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Actually, I – I don't. I mean I do think the condemnations will continue, and they should continue, but how long will they last? I mean I think what we're seeing is sort of like the consequences of all this hate speech and of the deep divisions that we see in our – in our country. But, you know, we're so close to the election now with just a few days away and, you know, we're hearing things like Governor Youngkin saying, yes, we really should have no room for crime and for violence, but at the same time let's send Nancy back to California with her husband and like -- like she referenced, Marjorie Taylor Greene saying treason is punishable by death and Nancy Pelosi is a traitor.

So, you know, we are, right now, being bombarded with political ads at every turn, in every platform, and most of them are attack ads. We don't see politicians telling us why they should -- we should vote for them but rather talk bad about their opponents and how disastrous their opponent should be.

So, yes, these are dangerous times and, you know, we have, what, nine days? I have lost count.

RADDATZ: Nine days.

SALINAS: Nine days until the election.

RADDATZ: Nine days exactly.

SALINAS: So, you know, you don't expect people to soften up in these last days.

RADDATZ: We’ll – we’ll hope they do a little bit, but nine days – nine days the subject is the economy everywhere I went. And you heard Rick talk about that, it's the economy. That helps the Republicans.

There was some good news this week, the U.S. economy grew in the third quarter, but is that really enough to help struggling Democrats?

HEITKAMP: Yes, what – what – what people don't experience is GDP. What they do experience is high prices when they go to the gas station, insecurity when they go to the food – to buy meat or produce, which has skyrocketed. And then all the language about what's going to happen with high heating prices.

The Democrats missed an opportunity to talk about what they were going to do and what they did do on the economy. And I think you're going to see inflation curve. We’re hearing now that the Fed may actually ratchet back some plans.

But, you know, in some ways this might be too little too late, Martha, this push to really get an economic message out there.

RADDATZ: And – and, Chris, also crime. The Republicans pushing crime. You've got crime, the economy. What are – what are you seeing overall.

CHRISTIE: Look, I think the economy overall is the biggest issue, as you said in your you’re your piece. That's touching everywhere. I've -- in the last couple weeks, I've been everywhere from Oregon to Rhode Island. And -- and you hear about inflation, first and foremost, from everybody.

Crime is more localized in certain places. When I was campaigning in the Hudson Valley in New York for House candidates, crime was a more important issue to them than inflation. But in Oregon, inflation was -- was even bigger, despite some of the things that have happened in Portland. And in Oregon homelessness is a huge issue there and one that's become the centerpiece of the -- of the governor's race there.

But think about this. And this tells you what a difficult night November 8th is going to be for the Democrats. I was campaigning in Oregon and Rhode Island. We're going to win a House seat in Rhode Island for the first time in 40 years with Allan Fung. Lori Chavez-DeRemer could win a House seat in Oregon -- I mean, you know, that's not a place...

RADDATZ: Pretty astonishing, yeah.

CHRISTIE: ... that we were competing in 2020.

So that tells you which way the wind's blowing.

RADDATZ: And, Maria, you heard Rick and me talking about the Latino vote. How much ground are Republicans gaining in the electorate with the Latinos? There's a change.

SALINAS: Right. It changed in 2020. There's definitely a shift towards Republicans, but mainly in South Texas and south Florida, to a much lesser extent in the rest of the country. you have to remember that Latinos are not a monolith, not culturally, not politically. So there are different reasons. In south Florida, of course, it was the anti-socialist message that resonated not only with Cuban-Americans but also with Venezuelans and Central Americans and those migrants that came from authoritarian governments.

But, you know, in general I think Democrats still have more support than Republicans. I think we will have to wait and see until November 8th to see if that is going to stick or not. Now, those same issues that resonated in 2020 are also issues, here in South Texas immigration, and immigration because we have to remember that there's a very strong Border Patrol presence in -- in south of Texas, about 240,000 Border Patrol agents. Half of them are Hispanic. So they do have a lot of support. It is their livelihood.

RADDATZ: And, Chris, Donald Trump -- let's talk about Donald Trump. He's making the rounds in battleground states. He's going to Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, but not Georgia -- very early before the primaries, and he's not rallying for Governor DeSantis to be re-elected in Florida. What's going on here?

CHRISTIE: Well, this is -- this is shocking...

(LAUGHTER)

Donald Trump is acting in his own self-interest as opposed to acting in the interest of the party.

Again, this is what I've been talking about for months now. Republicans are going to have to make a fundamental judgment after November 8th. Are we the party of "me" or are we the party of "us?" And Donald Trump represents the party of "me."

Now, you know, when you see how he's making those choices, you understand that it's all about him. If you said nice things about him, if you agree that the election was stolen, he'll campaign for you. If you don't, he won't.

I was with Joe O'Dea, the Senate candidate in Colorado who you interviewed. He eviscerates Joe O'Dea because he said Joe Biden is the legitimate president, despite the fact that Joe O'Dea agrees on issues with Donald Trump predominantly.

So this is not about issues, once again. It's about person. And it's about Donald Trump and his own selfish desire to want his own point of view of the world, especially about the 2020 election, reaffirmed. And if you don't reaffirm it, which Ron DeSantis hasn't, interestingly, you know, that's why he's not in Florida with Ron DeSantis.

RADDATZ: OK, and I'm going to come back to you. I have a lot more questions. The roundtable will be back for more. But first, we're one-on-one with the man in charge of the GOP effort to take the Senate. Where does he believe this race will be decided? Those questions and more, when our special edition of "This Week," live from Dallas, continues in just 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HERSCHEL WALKER, GEORGIA REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE: This is the greatest country in the world but if we don’t get leaders in Washington, we’re going to give it away. And I'm not giving America away to anyone. So come at me what you might because, let me tell you, they come after me today they're going to come after you tomorrow. But I can tell you right now, they can't take me down because I’m a bad man and I can tell you that right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RADDATZ (on camera): A defiant Herschel Walker after the latest abortion allegation that has rocked the Senate race that could determine control of Congress.

Here to discuss that and more, Senator Rick Scott, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Good morning to you, Senator Scott.

I know you saw the news, of course, about Paul Pelosi. You have heard that the suspect was specifically looking for the Speaker, who has been on the receiving ends of some very nasty rhetoric and threats, as have others. Do you think the nastiness in these campaigns needs to be toned down? Did that play a part here?

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): Well, we’ve got to figure out how to bring our country back together where we have a civil conversation and we have no violence. I mean, this -- what happened to Paul Pelosi is despicable. It’s unacceptable.

One thing I did when I got this job in January 2021, I went to the Federal Elections Commission and said, could our -- could our senators and House members -- could they use their campaign dollars to pay for security for themselves and their family. Unfortunately, it’s become a more dangerous place and we’ve got to do everything we can to lower the rhetoric, have a real civil conversation but also make sure people are safe.

RADDATZ: And let’s turn to the midterms. Your predicting Republicans will win 52 plus seats in the Senate. Which states are you most confident Republicans will flip next month?

SCOTT: Well, we’re going to keep all 21 that we have up. I think the hardest has been Pennsylvania but Dr. Oz will win against Fetterman. But we’re going to pick up Georgia, we’ll pick up Nevada. I think we have every reason to believe we’re going to pick up Arizona and probably New Hampshire. And then we have possibilities with Tiffany Smiley in Washington, Joe O’Dea in Colorado, Leora Levy in Connecticut.

So we have -- we have a lot on -- we have a lot in play. The Democrat agenda is very unpopular. The rallies, I’ve been traveling with Ronna McDaniel, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee for the last two weeks. Unbelievable support on the Republican side. Turnout looks better for the Republicans than Democrats. So I'm very optimistic that we’re going to win. We have great candidates.

RADDATZ: And I want to ask you specifically about Colorado because we were out there. You’ve said Republicans have a shot in Colorado. We spoke to the Republican candidate there, Joe O’Dea. He’s called himself the Republican Joe Manchin and is not a fan of Former President Trump. Are you concerned he’ll block (ph) the Party if he wins?

SCOTT: Well, I support Joe O’Dea. I support people that believe in the Republican principles. I -- Joe O’Dea cares about reducing inflation. He cares about getting the crime down. He wants a secure border. So I'm going to continue to support Joe O’Dea.

The election’s going to be about inflation and it’s going to be about the border and it’s going to be about crime. And Joe O’Dea’s on the right side of that. Michael Bennet’s on the wrong side of that. So I think Joe O’Dea’s got every opportunity to win this election in Colorado.

RADDATZ: If Republicans take control of both the House and the Senate, what will the next two years look like, investigations, undoing what Joe Biden has done, what do you see?

SCOTT: Well, what you hope is that we figure out how to get inflation down and that means we have to live within our means. What you hope is that we get a secure border. We can get some immigration reform done but you can’t do it without a secure border. You hope that we start supporting our law enforcement. I know Republicans do, I hope the Democrats start doing this.

I think the Democrats are going to get a rude awakening on November 8 that high inflation, high crime, open border is not what the American public wants.

So I'm hopeful that Republicans will pass good legislation and Joe Biden will sign it.

RADDATZ: Senator, you have embraced the fact that Joe Biden is the duly elected president. But our partners at FiveThirtyEight say there are nearly 200 candidates running for House, senator, governor who have denied the legitimacy of the election and 67 percent of those are in races they will most likely win. How will that change the Republican Party and do you have concerns about that?

SCOTT: Well, one thing I've really tried to make sure we do is make sure we -- make sure people feel comfortable that we have free and fair elections. And we’ve got to do that by passing ID laws, making sure we don’t have ballot harvesting, make sure we have monitored mailboxes -- our drop boxes, things like that.

So I think what we have to do is just keep trying to make sure we have free and fair elections and get the public uncomfortable. Now what I tell everybody is if you want to make sure we have a free and fair election, one, go vote, two, participate in the process. Go be a poll watcher. Do these things.

So I'm optimistic that we’re going to continue to improve our election laws so people feel comfortable that our elections are free and fair.

RADDATZ: Okay, thanks very much for joining us this morning, Senator Scott.

Coming up, Texas is where abortion rights were first upended. Dr. Jen Ashton joins us live on this report of this driving issue of the midterms is affecting not just voters but women across America.

That, plus, the roundtable, when our special edition of “This Week” in Texas, continues next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RADDATZ: The roundtable returns for more. But first, Dr. Jen Ashton is here with an in-depth look at the struggle doctors across the country are facing since Roe was overturned. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): I do support codification of Roe v. Wade. I also recognize that abortion should not be without limitation.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): People expect their government to protect their rights to their own bodies.

MEHMET OZ, PENNSYLVANIA REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE: I want women, doctors, local political leaders, leading the democracy that's always allowed our nation to thrive to put the best ideas forward.

KAMALA HARRIS (D), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The government should not be making this decision for her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RADDATZ: Abortion is on the ballot this November as both parties count on this divisive issue motivating voters to get out to the polls next week. Ad according to our new ABC/IPSOS poll this morning it ranks third among the issues voters care about most behind the economy and inflation.

Chief medical correspondent Dr. Jen Ashton joins us with a report on how the Supreme Court's Dobbs ruling overturning Roe has changed the lives of providers and patients.

And good morning to you, Jen.

DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC NEWS CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Martha.

And it certainly has changed that. The day Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court, many pregnant women in this county woke up to far fewer choices, and their doctors are now having to help them navigate the care they get across the country.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SHANNON CONNOLLY, CALIFORNIA PLANNED PARENTHOOD ASSOCIATE MEDICAL DIRECTOR: We knew from the second it happened that our lives, the way that we provided medical care, were going to change and that our patients were going to be so much more desperate.

ASHTON (voice over): Since the Supreme Court's Dobbs abortion decision, at least 14 states have ceased nearly all abortion services, leaving patients to travel to one of 24 states which allow abortion up to 22 weeks or beyond.

While the U.S. has been dealing with a maternal mortality crisis for years, the impact of abortion becoming illegal in some stats was felt instantaneously by doctors who take care of women at places like Planned Parenthood in California.

ASHTON (on camera): How quickly after that decision was announced did you start to see things change?

CONNOLLY: When Roe v. Wade was overturned last summer, we saw an additional 200 percent increase of patients coming from out of state.

ASHTON (voice over): In Texas, where nearly all abortions are illegal, this Planned Parenthood clinic is still trying to help patients as best they can.

DR. BHAVIK KUMAR, TEXAS PLANNED PARENTHOOD MEDICAL DIRECTOR: We're providing all the other care that we’ve always provided, access to contraception, STI testing and treatment, breast and cervical cancer screenings. All of those things are still available. And there’s actually more of a demand for those services given the landscape that people are navigating.

ASHTON: And timing can make the difference between life and death for a woman with an undesired pregnancy who is seeking termination.

CONNOLLY: A lot of people have irregular menstrual cycles and so they just don't know when they got pregnant. And, of course, every week that goes by it becomes more expensive, more challenging. And across the country we're seeing that abortion providers in states where abortion remains legal are being overwhelmed by the influx of patients from out of state.

ASHTON: And the emotional or psychological toll on these women and these doctors is significant.

ASHTON (on camera): What is it like for you, in your experience, and – and are there times where, you know, you run through a gamut of emotions yourself?

CONNOLLY: Abortion is just one type of healthcare, and I provide a lot of types of healthcare. And so what I would say is that it's not medical care or providing medical care that takes a toll on me. It's working within a system that provides for neither healthcare, nor is it actually a system. It's the structural challenges that weigh on me the most.

(CROWD CHANTING)

ASHTON (voice over): And now, something that was previously inconceivable, a legal or criminal threat to doctors who treat women in states where abortion is illegal.

ASHTON: Can you fathom what it would be like to risk criminal and legal consequences for doing your job as a physician?

CONNOLLY: No. It's so challenging. I mean, imagine being a doctor and having before you a patient with an ectopic pregnancy, and you're not even sure if you can provide a life-saving medical treatment. You're literally choosing between saving the life of your patient and going to jail.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ASHTON: And, Martha, it is not just doctors taking these risks. It's patients, too, traveling out of state, much more of an -- much more than an inconvenience for these women. It is putting them at higher risk, medically, not to mention the mental and financial burden this additional transportation is taking on them. It is significant.

RADDATZ: It is -- it is indeed significant. And, Jen, as you know, we've got this new data this morning from FiveThirtyEight, showing there have been 10,000 fewer abortions in two months since the Supreme Court decision in June. And if that trend continues, there could be 60,000 fewer abortions. What does that mean for women facing this?

ASHTON: You know, I think it's important, when people hear those numbers, to understand that, when this decision came out, all it did was put a stop in many states in the country to safe and legal abortion. It's not putting a stop to all abortions. So those numbers are legal, reported numbers. Abortions are still going on. They -- this is not a procedure that women should DIY it. There are significant medical risks at stake. So it's a significant concern, literally, for life and death issues.

RADDATZ: And in our poll, 62 percent think that abortion should be legal, compared to 38 percent who don't. But beyond the numbers, you're an Ob/Gyn. You deal with this. What's been your experience dealing with women who want to terminate a pregnancy?

ASHTON: Well, I think the angle that has not been discussed in this national debate and very emotionally charged dialogue is that this is not an easy decision for these women. I have never seen a woman smiling ear to ear as she's rolled into the operating room. There are significant emotional and psychological and social issues at play, both for the woman and the partner, oftentimes. And it's -- it's not insignificant. So I think we have to be able to look at it medically but also emotionally and socially as well. And what is happening now is just putting more obstacles in front of these women who are already facing not just emotional and psychological obstacles but logistical, financial and now medical.

RADDATZ: Well, we know you always take great care. And it's so great to have you here with us this morning.

ASHTON: Thank you. Good to be here.

RADDATZ: Thanks so much, Jen.

The roundtable returns to weigh in on all of this, plus what Elon Musk's Twitter takeover means for free speech in America. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There may be a lot of issues at stake in this election but the basic question -- the fundamental question that you should be asking yourself right now, is who will fight for you? Who cares about you? Who sees you? Who believes in you? That's the choice in this election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RADDATZ: President Obama Friday in Georgia, a state Democrats are increasingly nervous they might lose which could cost them the Senate majority.

The Roundtable is now back. Welcome back, everyone, and I do want to get back to the issues first. Let's go back to the issue of abortion. The blue wave that was initially predicted after Roe was overturned has really seemed to subside, Heidi, but with more states limiting rights, can Democrats get people to rally around that?

HEITKAMP: Well, you forget that in Kansas the measure that would have outlawed abortion was winning by over four points and then eventually lost by almost that many, if not more. And so there is a undertone of human rights and what does this mean for us.

Obviously, the Democratic base heavily gender-biased towards women and I think women have not forgotten that reproductive rights are on the agenda and I think it will matter in some legislative races, House races, but I think it’s also going to matter in some of our Senate races.

And so we'll wait and see, but don't assume just because you saw those numbers about it's not as important as the economy that it's not an important voting issue, it is.

RADDATZ: And, Chris, it is. It’s number three in the polls and you've also got 62 percent saying it should be legal in all or most cases. How do Republicans square that?

CHRISTIE: I don't think they square it and I don't think that it matters.

I mean, look, yes, it's the third issue but it’s three-and-a-half times less important than the economy in this race and I think the Democrats have made a serious strategic error. Remember too, the intensity of voters matters in a midterm election and I’ve seen a number of polls where the intensity of the pro-life side of this is higher than the intensity of the pro-choice side of it.

In the end, look, I think people who are voting that as their number one issue, had their jerseys on a long time ago, Martha. They were voting Democrat if they're pro-choice. They’re voting Republican if they're pro-life. And the folks that -- the vast number of folks in the middle where that issue is not their number one issue, they're making this decision based on the economy and crime, education, drug abuse and drug overdoses. Those are the things that are affecting them much more in their neighborhood every day.

And so, I think the Democrats who made this a centerpiece, and as I’ve traveling, I’ve seen a lot of ads about this from Democratic candidates, I think, are going to look back on it and say they should have come up with a different strategy.

RADDATZ: And, Maria Elena, let's look at immigration. It is not just an issue in the border state like here in Texas. This has really spread across the country.

How big of an issue do you think this is?

SALINAS: It is. It is an issue in Texas and also in Arizona, but to a different -- different views. There are some people that are concerned about the border and they want immigration to stop.

But to a majority of Latino voters, for examples, one of the most important things is immigration reform, and it’s very, very difficult, very complicated to have immigration reform, both administration from both parties have attempted to do so in the past and they have not been able to do that.

So, what do voters -- what would voters like to see? It’s a sector that would like to see controlling the border and that's very, very complicated and as long as you have poor countries with very complicated political issues at home, they're always going to come for a better life. I think the issue has been taken out of proportion. All these busing of immigrants into these cities, and treating them as if they’re invaders, and we forget that those people who are here who have crossed the border are asylum seekers, and that they have the legal right asylum, that they have -- that we as a country have the legal authority and the legal obligation to at least listen to their case.

But what's really needed is immigration reform and that's what they want, that leads to some kind of legalization for the Dreamers and for the 11 million undocumented immigrants.

RADDATZ: And, Chris, what will they get if Republicans take charge, what about that wall?

CHRISTIE: Well, look, you know, the problem here is, and this is where I disagree with Maria a little bit, is that, you know, Democratic politicians in northeastern states and in the far west have been able to declare themselves sanctuary cities, sanctuary counties, sanctuary states with no ramifications for that. They grandstand it for political purposes and there are no ramifications for it.

Now, that you have folks who are saying, okay, if you're a sanctuary state, New York, you’re sanctuary city, New York City, we're going to send folks up there. And you said that's what you wanted, you want to be a sanctuary.

You know, I think this is problem for politicians in both parties. When you can say things without ramifications, you know, they do it. But when ramifications come home to roost, and you see on this disaster aid. Governor DeSantis voted against disaster aid for Sandy, which happened 10 years ago yesterday in my state, but when the hurricane comes to the gulf coast of Florida, he wants that aid from the federal government, he wants it right away.

When you're a governor, you can grandstand and it doesn’t matter. When you’re a governor and you have to look into the eyes of misery and loss, you want that help right away. And I think it’s the same thing on this. You say you’re sanctuary state, but don’t send anybody here.

HEITKAMP: I think immigration is really complicated but you can't separate it from the economy. You grow the economy when you have more people being productive. Right now, one of the reasons why inflation is up is because we don't have a work force that can fill the number of jobs that we have, and that reduces productivity. It increases wages which is a good thing but we’ve got to have more workers.

And so, you can’t -- this is an issue that conflated with the economic issues, and ironically, the Koch Brothers have been some of the biggest proponents of immigration reform. You know, this is a right-left issue that merges in some ways as people look at a greater opportunity for a bigger and more productive workforce.

RADDATZ: And, Heidi, I want to stay with you for a minute. I want to ask you, this -- we've said this could be one of the most consequential elections if Republicans take over. That is a huge change.

And I want to ask you the same question I asked Rick Scott about the election deniers, nearly 200 with 67 percent of those will probably get in. How does the country change?

HEITKAMP: Yeah, I think there's election deniers who are true believers. They believe whatever is told them about mules or ballots.

And then there's election deniers who are opportunists, right? They're saying it because they want the Donald Trump endorsement. I think the consequences --

RADDATZ: And yet, that validates the people who believe it.

HEITKAMP: I agree, I agree.

And the problem that you have with this election and I’ve been preaching this every place that I’ve gone, this is just the second chapter of 2020, on whether we take back the country and have some semblance of normalcy in terms of addressing our policy issues. If Donald Trump elects his slate of candidates, the Republican Party will be cemented for a decade as a Donald Trump party. And that is bad for this country because he is the most divisive figure that has ever sat in the – the president’s chair.

CHRISTIE: Look, I don’t buy much of what Heidi just said in terms of what it does to the party going forward. Donald Trump’s not on the ballot this time. That changes the dynamic of a lot of these races.

And, secondly, ‘24 will come when ‘24 comes. And Donald Trump’s either going to be a part of it, or he’s not. And – and that’s when people will start to make those fundamental decisions about what kind of leadership they want in the Oval Office and what kind they’ll reject. And I don’t think we’re anywhere near making that call yet.

RADDATZ: Maria Elena, I – I – we’re running out of time here and I want to quickly, speaking of Donald Trump, Elon Musk now owns Twitter. Do you expect Donald Trump to be back on there and how much difference will that make?

SALINAS: Well, let's see how long it lasts. He says he'd rather be on Truth Social, but he has much less followers on Truth Social than he does on Twitter. But, you know, Elon Musk has been talking a lot about, yes, let's free the bird, but he paused almost immediately saying, no, we're going to have a content moderation panel before we make any changes. And he’s already lost the General Motors. I'm sure he doesn’t want to lose more.

RADDATZ: You’re dying to say something. You’ve got 10 seconds.

CHRISTIE: Trump – Trump – Trump won't be back on Twitter because he can’t make money there. He’s trying to make money on Truth Social. He'll stay where he can try to make money.

HEITKAMP: Every outrageous thing that Trump says is already on Twitter. Let’s admit it, right?

SALINAS: They are.

HEITKAMP: So it’s like, he’s on Twitter. No, he’s not.

SALINAS: They are. (INAUDIBLE) anyway.

RADDATZ: All right, thanks to all of you. Great so have you here.

More from Dallas in a moment.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a crucial race nationally. And it's the only one between these two.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been six months since the candidates (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fetterman has got the lingering stroke symptoms. No indication there's any cognitive trouble, but I think people are waiting to see how Fetterman acts on a debate stage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you may notice the large monitors that are behind us. This is part of our closed captioning system. It was requested by John Fetterman to help him –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fetterman has auditory processing issues, which means he has trouble understanding what's said to him. So, he needs a monitor that transcribes the words in real time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And responses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just because of the nature of this race, you know, Fetterman’s health in particular, this might matter more than most debates in terms of the final outcome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening, candidates. We're happy to have you here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RADDATZ: A first look at the latest episode of "Power Trip," which drops later today on Hulu.

That's all for us today.

Amy Robach, TJ Holmes and Dr. Jen Ashton will anchor "GMA3" from this very spot in Dallas tomorrow. Be sure to tune in.

Thank you for joining us and have a great Sunday.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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