ANNOUNCER: THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS starts right now.
MARTHA RADDATZ, CO-HOST: Not backing down.
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ROY MOORE (R), SENATE CANDIDATE: These attacks involve a minor, and they're completely false and untrue.
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RADDATZ: With Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore lashing out after those disturbing allegations of sexual misconduct.
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MOORE: To think that grown women would wait 40 years to bring charges is absolutely unbelievable. Why now?
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RADDATZ: The Republican Party and Alabama voters now facing a defining moment. Will they believe his multiple accusers and fight to prevent him from ever entering the U.S. Senate? Or, will they accept him as one of their own?
We'll ask President Trump's senior counselor how she'll be advising the president.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe that President Putin really feels, and he feels strongly, that he did not meddle in our election.
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RADDATZ: President Trump says he wants to move on and get to work. But should he be putting more pressure on Putin?
Plus, buyer's remorse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: Would you vote for Donald Trump again?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
From the White House to your house, we take on the moments that mattered THIS WEEK.
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's THIS WEEK. Here now, co-anchor Martha Raddatz.
RADDATZ: Good morning. It has been a year since the 2016 election and a year since Republicans were rejoicing at winning majorities that put them in control of both Congress and the White House. Fast forward to this week. The GOP suffering blows in Tuesday's elections, losing ground to the Democrats in what's being seen as a referendum on President Trump, and making the Republican push to pass tax reform and demonstrating their ability to govern more important than ever.
But the GOP now has an even greater battle ahead. On Thursday, those troubling allegations emerged in The Washington Post against Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, accused of sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl decades ago. The allegations graphic in their detail. Accuser Leigh Corfman told The Post Moore took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.
Three other women also coming forward, saying that Moore pursued them when they were between 16 and 18 years old. Moore was in his 30s. But the candidate, also known to some as the Ten Commandments judge, has fired back with a strong denial, not only calling the accusations false, but painting this as a smear campaign, blaming the media, the Democrats, the Republican establishment, and the women who accused him.
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MOORE: Isn't it strange that after 40 years of constant investigation people have waited until four weeks prior to the general election to bring their complaints? It's not a coincidence. It's an intentional act to stop a campaign.
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RADDATZ: These accusations coming at a watershed moment as more and more individuals come forward to share their stories of sexual harassment or abuse, implicating Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., and Kevin Spacey, among others.
Now the question for Republicans in Washington, Alabama, and all across America, how will they respond? Unless the election is delayed, Roy Moore will be on the ballot next month. Will Republicans choose to support a candidate accused of engaging in sexual misconduct with a minor? Will they denounce him and risk losing a key Senate seat? And if he wins, will they count him among their ranks?
It's a defining choice. Forty-two Republican senators have responded to the allegations against Moore, most of them saying, if, if the allegations are true, he should step aside. And the White House has echoed that same line as the president travels overseas this week. But Trump is promising further comments after he returns to the U.S.
So, will we see a more decisive response from the president? For more, let's bring in counselor to the president and one of his top advisers, Kellyanne Conway. Her voice among those advising Donald Trump as he decides whether to reject Roy Moore.
And good morning, Kellyanne. The Washington Post story is now three days old. You have had time to digest it, time to look through it. Do you have any doubt about the veracity of those accusations?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: I said very early in this process that the conduct as described should disqualify anyone from serving in public office. And I'll stand by that.
The president and others in the Republican Party have made clear that if the allegations are true, this man should step aside. But I've gone farther than that, and I've reflected something the vice president said as well which is everybody should know that conduct is disqualifying. And Mr. Moore has denied that conduct. I think you've got other people are out there talking about what did or did not happen many years ago.
RADDATZ: But that goes back to that if, if. If we prove this conduct, then he should leave. What is it that has to happen now for you to go into he should step aside?
CONWAY: Well, the one thing I will say is that the president also is not as focused on this as he is his major 13-day trip abroad. And so he made a statement. He's sticking by that statement. But he's not being briefed on this bit by bit because he is very focused new trade agreements. He is very focused on global cooperation against a nuclearized North Korea. He is very focused on combating terrorism.
RADDATZ: And we'll get to that...
RADDATZ: And we'll get back to that. But let me ask you again, do you have any doubt about the veracity of the accusations?
CONWAY: Martha, I only know what I read. And I take very seriously allegations like this, particularly when they involve somebody who happened to be one of my daughters' ages. I take this seriously. I have tried to be a very loud voice for a very long time against sexual...
RADDATZ: So you believe the accusers?
CONWAY: … impropriety. I know what I read. I don't know the accusers. And I don't know Judge Moore. But I also want to make sure that we as a nation are not always prosecuting people through the press. He has denied the allegations. I have read the stories. I have heard not the testimony and the evidence, but what people are saying publicly.
And, I think that the -- what we have all said stands. I came out very -- I was probably the first person in the administration to come out because I happened to be interviewed on a different network about a different topic, tax cuts. And I said this conduct should be disqualifying.
I mean, I look around and I say, is this the best we can do?
RADDATZ: But we're still -- I mean, Roy Moore says that too, that conduct like that should be disqualifying. He's just saying he didn't do it. So what is the standard of proof here? It's one thing to say this is terrible conduct. It is terrible conduct. I'm not sure anyone would disagree with you. But the question is, and you are an adviser to the president, you have been following this, what is your standard of proof here?
I mean, you either believe the women or you don't. And this isn't a trial.
CONWAY: Well, you said it best. It's not a trial. What do you mean the standard of proof and the evidence?
RADDATZ: But what I mean, what does it take for you to say, he should resign? What has to happen before you would advise the president to say, Roy Moore should step aside?
CONWAY: The president said he should step aside if the allegations are true.
RADDATZ: If, if, if. So where does the if lie?
CONWAY: But, Martha, hold on, I want to broaden this conversation. It would be a very dangerous precedent for any of us, for any person in this country to just be cast aside as guilty because of press reports. This is a democracy with a constitutional system that allows us to have a process. So if -- we're not in trial here. I only know what I read.
And what I read is very disturbing. And what I read offends me greatly as a woman, as a mother of three young girls.
RADDATZ: Understood. But you're -- what you're saying essentially is maybe those four women are lying?
CONWAY: No, I didn't say that.
RADDATZ: You have four women who The Post talked to.
CONWAY: I didn't say that. I didn't say that. OK, I didn't say that. But I also know that credibility has not been imbued on other people when they've tried to raise issues like this based on their political affiliation and based on who they work for. And we know that. There were many accusers over the years, there was much evidence against a former president, and very little coverage of that, respectfully.
The fact is that on this particular issue, we need to have a serious conversation. But on this one, you're talking about decades-long conduct, allegations in the press. And we already, in this conversation, have probably spent more time talking about Roy Moore and this than we have talked about a Democratic United States senator who is sitting in a federal courthouse as a criminal defendant in a trial, has been indicted on some serious criminal counts. And we can't get any coverage on it.
RADDATZ: And we will be talking about that. We will be talking about that.
CONWAY: I want to be very clear. I want to be very explicit here. I denounce that conduct. And if the allegations are true, he should step aside. And if the allegations are true about a lot of people, they ought to step aside. And some of them are probably holding office right now.
RADDATZ: Let me tell you what Mitt Romney tweeted this Friday. He said: "Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections. I believe Leigh Corfman. Her account is too serious to ignore. Moore is unfit for office and should step aside."
So let me ask you one more question on this. Do you believe Leigh Corfman?
CONWAY: I don't know Leigh Corfman. I believe that both sides are alleging different things here. You're asking me...
RADDATZ: So, that means it goes nowhere?
CONWAY: No, that's not true. That is not true.
RADDATZ: How does it go somewhere?
CONWAY: But you're also asking me on behalf of the White House and the president to make a judgment about something when he's on a 13-day trip and spoke very explicitly as has the vice president as have I, and as have other top advisers.
Let me say it one last time, the conduct as described is not just offensive and disgusting, it disqualifies anyone who has done it from holding public office. So let me go a little step farther, if there's anyone currently in public office who has behaved that way to any girl or any woman, maybe they should step aside, because in a country of 330 million people, we ought to be able to do better than this.
I tried to raise this issue a year ago on October 9th. I said explicitly that I had been a victim of people in power. And nobody took me seriously. And you know why? Because of who I work for, of whose campaign I was managing. I tried to have this conversation a year before everybody else. YOu want to have this conversation everybody? Let's have it. But let's be honest about it.
It goes far beyond one article in a newspaper. It's in most...
RADDATZ: Let me just -- I want to move on to Russia, Kellyanne, but -- let me say again, there are four women who were named and 30 women who have corroborated it.
CONWAY: And they should have their day. They should speak up.
RADDATZ: I think they did speak up.
CONWAY: They should speak up. And they should have their day.
The rest of it, you're asking me about political strategy and ballot access in the state of Alabama. That's up to Alabama. I can not emphatically say enough what I think of the conduct. It's hard to even read these articles.
RADDATZ: I know, but you also can't say whether you believe the accusers or not. You're not going to go that far.
So let's move on to Russia. I want to get clarity on President Trump's position on Russia and election interference. He said Saturday on Air Force One that every time he sees Vladimir Putin, Putin says, I didn't do that. And I believe, I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. He tried to clarify that in a press conference overnight. Let's listen.
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TRUMP: I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election. As to whether I believe it or not, I'm with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership. I believe in our intel agencies, our intelligence agencies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: Those two statements seem to contradict each other. Which is it?
CONWAY: No, it's what I -- I can't imagine the president could be more explicit. He said yesterday as he said today that when President Putin says it, President Putin means it. He means that they didn't interfere. What the president said...
RADDATZ: So, he thinks he's just delusional, President Putin?
CONWAY: No, he didn't use that word. He said that President Putin believes it. What the president believes is most important here. He believes the assessment of the intelligence communities. And he stands by that. He's very respectful of that. Director Pompeo of the CIA said the same thing.
And so this president has formed his judgment about that issue based on the intelligence communities in this country.
And he also -- you know, the president is not the chairman of the board of elections in this country, he's the president of the United States. He wants to deal with President Putin and other world leaders as he has for two weeks right now, Martha, on major issues like global security, on trade, perhaps, on -- in other countries, on combating ISIS, on a nuclearized North Korea.
Most Americans watching this show and everywhere in this country now appreciate having a strong leader who is willing to take his counsel from the -- along with the international community and put the case right to North Korea and say to Putin, and say to Xi, and say to Abe, and say to others -- and then Moon, join with us in making sure the nuclearized North Korea...
RADDATZ: Let's talk about what else he said about North Korea. President Trump tweeted this yesterday from Vietnam: "why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me old when I would never call him short and fat," which is apparently trending on Twitter right now. "Oh, well I tried so hard to be his friend. And maybe some day that will happen."
How is that helpful?
CONWAY: I think the whole trip is very helpful. I believe that...
RADDATZ: How is that helpful? How is that helpful?
CONWAY: Martha, what's helpful in full context is a 13-day trip where the president is very focused on global security and combating terrorism, and most importantly containing a nuclearized North Korea.
North Korea is everyone's business. This man has been on the job for nine or ten months. We inherited a mess, including a nuclearized North Korea, including the Iran deal, including many hot spots around the globe that he is trying, when he's here at his desk and when he's abroad on these trips. He's trying to make better on behalf of everyone.
RADDATZ: And you think name-calling is helpful? Calling somebody short and fat?
CONWAY: I think that that was a -- the president just responding the way he does to somebody who insulted him first, but I look at the full context of his entire trip and everything that he's trying to do. I think it's been an incredibly successful and inspiring trip for those who care about North Korea not being nuclearized, for those who care about free trade in this country, for those who care about trade agreements that don't keep screwing Americans and American workers, for those who care about Syria and what happens with China.
I mean, what this president has been able to do with leaders around the world, the cooperation is up. They have announced big new deals here, which affect American workers and American interests. And that, plus the tax cuts that we're going to get very soon, I think it's why you see the stock market and consumer confidence at all highs. People like what they see.
RADDATZ: OK, thanks very much, Kellyanne for joining us.
And joining me now from Alabama, Matt Murphy and Andrea Lindenburg. They're the hosts of Alabama's most listened to political news radio program 'Matt and Ani" which is syndicated throughout the state.
Good morning. And Matt, I want to start with you. Your radio show broadcasts all across Alabama. How are your listeners reacting to the Roy Moore story? Do they believe -- do the people believe the accusations? Are they skeptical?
MATT MURPHY, CO-HOST, MATT AND ANI: Well, initially, Martha, it was reaction of shock. Roy Moore is a known quantity in Alabama. He's been running for chief justice. He's run for governor twice. We have known Roy Moore for 20, 25 year in his political life, so it was one of shock that this type of explosive allegation would not have come out before now.
And frankly, there is some skepticism considering the source. We understand in a conservative state like Alabama, perhaps we don't share the values of The Washington Post, so listeners questioned the source and they questioned the timing of all of this initially.
RADDATZ: And Andrea, you were in touch with two of the accusers. I they are standing by their stories. This isn't just The Washington Post, these are four women coming forward.
ANDREA LINDENBURG, CO-HOST, MATT AND ANI: That's true. The day the story broke, we immediately started -- reached out to them on social media to see if I could talk with them a little bit more. And two of the women who were in the 16 to 18 age range in this article responded to me. One said that she stood by the story in The Washington Post. She thought she was represented well and she didn't have other comment. The other woman who responded said, that, she didn't have any other comment either.
The next morning, though, when we were on the air, she typed to me a message, she said, I'm listening to the show right now, and so we presented to our listeners, what do you want to say to these women? What do you want to ask? And she responded with something else before she stopping communication. She said, I have a problem with the fact that he gave me alcohol when I was 18 and the drinking age was 19 at the time. And she said it matters.
She may come forward and tell her story, she said, as others come forward. But then communication stopped and she -- her attorney released another statement.
RADDATZ: And Matt, or both of you, we heard Roy Moore deny the accusations, calling them false and untrue, fake news. Do you think Alabama residents find that response satisfactory? Andrea, why don't you start?
LINDENBURG: Well, I think that response some did, certainly his supporters are loyal. They're staunch, and that was up enough for them, others wanted more. And then he had an interview that he did and we listened to that closely Friday and Friday night, that was a little bit more detailed.
But, you really have two camps calling us. One are the supporters who absolutely believe Roy Moore and that this didn't happen, and then there are others who want more information. They don't want to discount what the women are saying, no matter the motivation.
MURPHY: Well, and I would say, Martha, whether it happened a week ago or 39 years ago, an allegation like this is serious. And I think the Alabama voters are taking it very seriously. They want to hear from Judge Moore. We have a call out to Judge Moore to come on our show to explain a little bit more. Did he know any of these other women? He claims he did not know the 14-year-old and never had contact with her. So, hopefully, we get more information so that Alabama voters can digest this prior to the election on the 12th of December.
LINDENBURG: We don't have much time left to make a decision.
MURPHY: And in light of the allegations, could another Republican step forward do you think in a write-in campaign?
MURPHY: I don't know how a write-in campaign would work. There's a fear that the vote would be split, some would suggest Senator Luther Strange, some have suggested Congressman Mo Brooks from the fifth congressional district.
There is a suggestion that the governor of the state to would have the ability to reschedule the election to a later time, maybe early in 2018, giving the Republican Party enough time to perhaps get to the bottom of all of this and convince Judge Moore to step aside, should he need to.
RADDATZ: And Andrea, just given what we have already heard in The Post, and you've heard from your listeners, do you think Roy Moore will win?
LINDENBURG: That's a good question. There's a chance, certainly. He says he's not stepping down. If they don't postpone this election.
We already have people voting absentee. The military voting rite now. Certainly, there's a chance. He stays on that ballot.
The write-in, as Matt said, could split that vote and lean toward Doug Jones, a Democrat, but there's a chance.
RADDATZ: OK, thank you so much for joining us this morning and giving us the view from Alabama.
Coming up, the Democratic response from party chair Tom Perez. Can his party turn deep red Alabama blue? And can they carry the success of Tuesday's elections through to the midterms?
And the Powerhouse Roundtable weighs in on the fallout from those allegations in Alabama. We'll be right back.
RADDATZ: Let's dive right in with our Powerhouse Roundtable. ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd; Republican strategist and ABC News contributor Alex Castellanos; ABC News congressional correspondent Mary Bruce; and historian and ABC News contributor Mark Updegrove, author of "The Last Republicans: Inside the Extraordinary Relationship Between George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush."
Welcome everybody and good morning. And Matthew Dowd, I'm going to start with you. You have said you believe the four women, the four -- what they are saying about Roy Moore. Moore says in the next few days there will be revelations about the motivations and the content of The Washington Post report?
MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, to me -- so I have a position now -- the default position of all of us should be that the women that come forward should be believed, because they have nothing to gain. There is nothing that any of these woman have to gain other than being beaten up in the press and beaten up by whomever they happen to be accusing of this.
I watched your interview with Kellyanne. She needs to teach a yoga class in how to contort the positions in all of this. It's amazing to me that is from a campaign that basically chanted lock her up to Hillary Clinton throughout the course of the campaign and were immediately quick to take to say Harvey Weinstein needs to be fired, and all of the rest of those.
So, I think he -- he -- I'm with Mitt Romney on this. I think he should step down from the ballot of this, but it's -- we are going to have an election. I think it's going to be a very competitive election.
But I think the standard should be we believe the women in these cases.
RADDATZ: So Mark Updegrove, let me go to you on that. You have seen the reaction from the White House, from Republicans, it's all very much if, if, if. Would Democrats have reacted any differently if it was someone from their party? And it certainly has been in the past.
MARK UPDEGROVE, HISTORIAN: Well, one of the things that Kellyanne said was in the last segment is that there wasn't much press coverage around President Clinton's indiscretions.
RADDATZ: There was quite a bit of press converage.
UPDEGROVE: Including an impeachment. So, that rang a little false.
I think you asked the right question, Martha, which is what is it going to take for the Republican Party to stand up and say this man is not qualified to be a candidate for our party.
RADDATZ: We didn't get that answer.
UPDEGROVE: Didn't get the answer, but that is a question that needs to be answered by the party.
RADDATZ: And Mary, the Moore news does have a political impact for Republicans, obviously not just in 2018, but for the efforts to pass tax legislation.
MARY BRUCE, ABC NEWS: There's such huge pressure on Republicans to pass tax reform and now, because the Moore controversy could put at risk a Senate seat, a key seat. If the they lose this race, they would just have a one-vote majority. And Republicans now are stuck. They don't have great options here. If Moore loses, they lose the key seat. If Moore wins, talk about awkward. You now have the majority of his colleagues blasting these allegations. It's unclear how they would work with him, how they would interact with him. What is clear is if Moore wins he would get a very chilly reception.
RADDATZ: There are some reports that Senate Republicans are trying to find a way to block his path to the Senate. Is there a chance, is there a real effort going on there?
BRUCE; There are basically three options, right. They can push the election to buy themselves more time. They can back a write-in candidate like the incumbent, Luther Strange, or they could somehow refuse to seat Moore if he does win. I mean, I have reached out to McConnell's office many times over the last few days. They're not commenting on what the leader is going to do going forward.
And it exposes sort of the lack of power, shall we say, of the Republican establishment here. If they want to go forward and somehow take on Roy Moore here, you have the establishment going once again up against the Steve Bannon wing. And do they want to do another round here?
DOWD: They could back the Democratic candidate, who from everybody's reporting, is a guy of integrity. And they could put party aside and back the Democratic candidate against a pedophile.
RADDATZ: You think changes of that happening?
DOWD: I always hope that people put country over party, but it doesn't seem to...
ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Big Luther could resign, and that could call for a new election. It's hard to -- for the Senate not to seat a Democratic choice. The Adam Clayton Powell decision kind of rule that out, but sometimes in the chess of politics, you're called upon to make the pawn sacrifice to give up something in the short-term to gain something in the longer term. And if Republicans want to keep the Senate in 2018, they don't want Judge Roy Moore to be the face of the party throughout the coming year in Washington. It would be devastating in swing states like Missouri.
You know, yes, it would be nice if the media applied the same standard -- are these women believable in the Bill Clinton days. Those days are gone. And I think sometimes you wait for the jury, sometimes the American people decide they are the jury. That's this case. Judge Roy Moore does not need to go to the U.S. senate for ethical reasons and for political reasons for the Republican Party.
DOWD: But the Alabama GOP is backing him. It's amazing to me that they're willing to back a guy that's accused of pedophilia, but they're willing to call immoral two people of the same sex that fall in love and want to marry. Talk about hypocrisy.
RADDATZ: Steve Bannon endorsed Moore. Does that tarnish Steve Bannon?
DOWD: Well, I think Steve Bannon -- the inflated...
CASTELLANOS: You can't fall off the floor.
DOWD: The inflated sense of Steve Bannon in this. I mean, I think Steve Bannon came out and tried to compare to all the accusations -- or the Access Hollywood tape that Donald Trump had in this, which of course he didn't point out, was all just reporting on what actually the Access Hollywood tape -- was in the Access Hollywood tape.
I think Steve Bannon is another sign, and I know we'll get in a segment of this, another sign in the fall of the traditional Republican Party.
RADDATZ: And Mark, you have this new book out, this wonderful new book about presidents Bush 41 and 43. Neither of those men voted for Donald Trump.
George W. Bush worried that he might be the last Republican president, the inspiration for the title of your book. How would you characterize the state of the Republican Party at this point?
UPDEGROVE: It's -- the party is clearly in a battle for its soul. You have establishment Republicans who think one way, and you have another segment of the party that thinks the rest of them think another way. And you can see that in Alabama, what is going on there. Is it better to stick by a pedophilia -- a man accused of pedophilia rather than vote for a Democrat, or get another candidate? I mean, this is a very ugly time in the history of the Republican Party.
One of the things that George W. Bush worried about seven years ago was the drift toward protectionism and isolationism. We're seeing that more today than we ever have.
RADDATZ: And Mary, just talk a little bit more about that struggle between the Republican Party right now, the fighting itself, and what they do with that. This obviously doesn't help.
BRUCE: Definitely doesn't help. And you do have these huge, varying factions within the Republican Party. How to you come together and do anything going forward? I know at least up on the hill, the hope is that if they can at least get some legislative victories, if they can get tax reform done, they can show that they and the president can get some wins. Maybe, maybe, that can start to get things on track. But that's a huge if.
RADDATZ: OK, thank you very much. We'll have much more Roundtable coming up.
Plus, the Democratic Party chair weighs in on Roy Moore and on those Democratic wins in two states' election.
And up next, Ohio Governor John Kasich ran against Trump in 2016. And he's still speaking out against the president. Our conversation is next
RADDATZ: After Tuesday's big election wins for Democrats, we wanted to see what the GOP is facing in the battleground states that were critical to President Trump's election win just one year ago, and whether Trump supporters will stand by him and his party in 2018. So we traveled to Ohio and Pennsylvania, talking to voters in both states.
And I also sat down with Ohio's Republican governor, John Kasich. He refused to endorse Donald Trump in 2016. Where does he stand today? Our conversation began with those allegations rocking the Alabama Senate race.
Governor, thanks for joining us today. I want to start with -- with Roy Moore in Alabama. You have said the actions described make him unfit for office. So you believe those accusers?
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: It's just really a matter as to whether he ought to be -- he ought to be the candidate, the standard-bearer of the Republican Party. And I just think he shouldn't be. And I hope that the people of Alabama, the party officials, will look at it again and -- and -- but this is not about, you know, Obama or left-wing -- I just don't believe that it is. And I'm saddened by it.
I mean, I'm the father of two twin daughters. And I just think it's inappropriate. And I would just really would like it if he stepped aside.
RADDATZ: But you also tweeted that the GOP must not support him.
KASICH: Yes, I don't think they should. And as Mitt Romney said, you know, he said, look we're not talking about a criminal conviction, we're talking about whether somebody ought to carry the banner of the Republican Party.
RADDATZ: Let's talk about elections. Let's talk about Tuesday's elections. What was the message there?
KASICH: It had to do with the tone, in my opinion, of our country. And a lot of people are saying, I don't like the tone, I reject the negativity. You know, we're better than that. And so to me -- and then I heard some Republicans saying, well if we would have just killed Obamacare, that would have helped. Well, I mean, throwing 25 million Americans off of health care, who the heck is thinking that that's good?
First of all, I don't care if it's good politically, it's wrong.
RADDATZ: Do you think it was a rejection of President Trump?
KASICH: I think it is a rejection, at least on Tuesday, and across the country, it wasn't just Virginia and New Jersey, it is a rejection of sort of the negative -- see, there's two paths...
RADDATZ: But where is that negativity coming from if not from President Trump?
KASICH: It comes from a lot of different places, OK? A lot of different places. Here's the thing, there's two paths. Do people have trouble? Yes. So when people have trouble, how do you deal with it? Either you tell them, yes, it's really horrible and it's this person's fault, or you see them, you tell them there's a problem and you say together we can lift you up. And I want to help lift them rather than to say, well, you know, this immigrant took your job and that's -- that's not our country, that's not the best of who we are.
RADDATZ: Exactly what you just said, sounds like you're talking about President Trump.
KASICH: There's a lot of Republicans who feel that same way. I'm not going there. I want to live on the positive side of things. And so if you want to say it's Trump, you say it. I don't have to name names. But there are other people that disappoint me in the party.
RADDATZ: Let's look ahead to 2018. I was just out in Pennsylvania...
KASICH: It would be a good time for fortune tellers.
RADDATZ: You've got a lot of still strong Trump supporters...
KASICH: Yes, they do.
RADDATZ: … in those rural states.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's shaking things up and that's what we needed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we're long overdue for a president that really wants to stand up for the people here in this country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he's doing real good. I like the idea having a businessman run the country like a business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KASICH: When you run for office -- this is just my opinion, if all you're doing is catering to your base, what about everybody else? Because there are so many independents and so many get-able Democrats who are fed up with the left-wing approach of the Democratic Party. So, to me, the best approach is to, OK, be mindful of your -- of your base, but the base, you know, people who yell the loudest are not necessarily the majority.
RADDATZ: Let's look at the suburban areas as well, the moderate suburban areas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: Would you vote for Donald Trump again?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. But I also would hope there would be a better other candidate.
RADDATZ: So why wouldn't you vote for Trump again?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lack of compassion.
RADDATZ: Would you vote for him again?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Probably not. Depends on who the other candidate is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: So what does that tell you about Republican chances next year? What's happening in those soft (ph) districts?
KASICH: Well, look, I think if they pass a good tax bill, if they start to say, we're going to solve the DACA problem, if they begin to reinforce our commitment to our allies, I mean, it's not too -- too late to turn this around. But if it's, we're going to take health care away from people, this is the one thing I don't understand where the Republicans are. Does Obamacare need reform? Of course, it needs reform.
However, in the meantime, it has destabilized the markets, so now we have a plan. We have the Alexander-Murray plan, which is very similar to the plan that governors, my colleagues and I, put together. You know what it does? It reduces the deficit slightly and it takes no one off of health care, and it stabilizes the market. And they say, that's not a good plan. What is it they want? I mean...
RADDATZ: In the Virginia gubernatorial race, health care was the one issue.
KASICH: Number one issue! Right.
RADDATZ: In Maine, voters approved Medicaid expansion.
KASICH: I saw that.
RADDATZ: So were they sending a message to Republican...
KASICH: Yes! I hope the Republicans will hear it. Look...
RADDATZ: Not to repeal and replace. Not repeal and replace.
KASICH: Martha, Martha, here's -- look, fix it, fix the system.
RADDATZ: OK. I know you want to bring people together over the issue of guns. We had this horrible mass shooting.
RADDATZ: Yet another mass shooting. President Trump said that any sort of gun measures wouldn't have helped. Do you agree?
KASICH: No -- I mean, no, of course not in Vegas with this bump stock. Those things ought to be thrown out right away. But, look, here's what I'm trying to do. Ohio is a place where people want to solve problems. They're willing to listen to one another. So what I want to do is I want to get a group of reasonable people, pro-gun people and those who favor limits on gun ownership, and I want to put them in a room and see if we can find some common ground. Everyone, however, respecting the Second Amendment.
We're not interested in having somebody come in whose idea is, we're just going to take everybody's guns away. That won't work.
RADDATZ: But this happens after every mass shooting. People talk...
KASICH: No, but nobody...
RADDATZ: People talk about -- you talked about the bump stocks. You said you would like to get rid of the bump stocks.
KASICH: Yes, but, Martha...
RADDATZ: Nothing has happened.
KASICH: Martha, here's the situation as I -- we talk about it. We fight about it. The best way to get, make progress -- and I can't tell you this effort will be successful. I don't know. But here's what I do know, if we can get pro gun and those who want to have limits on some of the things that we see -- bump stocks, people carrying arsenals in their cars, or whatever it is, that is the best chance to be able to advance something when there is a consensus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have had the gun control conversation a lot. And we have kind of come to an agreement on that, and something needs to be done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have had a lot of Democrats in office. No one has ever come to take guns away. No one has ever said they're going to come take the guns away, and nothing is getting better -- you can't just keep doing nothing forever, which is the current policy that seems to be in place.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're absolutely right.
KASICH: My purpose is to get people who respect the Second Amendment, but can agree there are some limits to it to sit in a room and develop some policy that I can then pass on to the leadership in my legislature without this process I'm not convinced we will make much progress. I can't guarantee you it will work, or it will be effective, but I know just arguing back and forth isn't working.
RADDATZ: And our thanks to Governor Kasich.
Up next, the the head of the Democratic Party, Tom Perez, is here with his view on Tuesday's elections.
RADDATZ: Can Democrats keep up the momentum after their big wins in Tuesday's elections? DNC Chair Tom Perez joins me next.
And for breaking news alerts on politics, the White House, and President Trump, download the ABC News app now. We'll be right back.
RADDATZ: And we're back now with DNC Chair Tom Perez. Good morning, Mr. Perez.
TOM PEREZ, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Good morning.
RADDATZ: It's great to see you.
PEREZ: It's great to be with you.
RADDATZ: It's been 25 years since Alabama elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate. With these charges whirling around about Roy Moore, do you think there is a chance for a Democrat to seize that seat?
PEREZ: Well, I think what we learned last Tuesday and what we have learned in the months before last Tuesday is Democrats can compete and win everywhere, that's what we showed last week, not just in New Jersey and Virginia, but in mayors races and state senate races. A few months back, we won three seats in Oklahoma.
Doug Jones is the underdog, there's no doubt about it. We've increased our investment in state parties by a third, because when we are investing and organizing, when we are investing in good candidates and when we lead with our values, we can compete everywhere.
RADDATZ: What was your real takeaway from Tuesday? Are you reading too much into this possibly being a referendum on Trump?
PEREZ: Well, the last time we won both New Jersey and Virginia was 2005, the governor's races. And in 2006 we took over the U.S. House. And what I learned from not just last Tuesday but from a number of special elections in the months leading up to last Tuesday is when we were are united as a party, when we compete everywhere, when we lead with our values, when we organize, organize, organize everywhere, in every zip code, we do very well. And that's what we did in New Jersey. That's what we did in Virginia.
There were 17 seats in Virginia that -- in the House of Delegates there that were held by Republicans where Hillary Clinton won. We were organizing there. We won 14 out of the 17 and the other three are in a run-off. We can compete everywhere.
RADDATZ: OK. In our latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, 61 percent of Americans say Democratic leaders are mainly criticizing Trump, not presenting alternatives. Is the Democratic message too much about Trump and not enough about your vision?
PEREZ: Oh, we were leading with our values in Virginia and elsewhere. And, again, we talked about health care a lot, because health care is a right for all, not a privilege for a few. And the number one issue for voters in Virginia was health care. They understand that the Republicans are trying to take their health care away.
RADDATZ: Let's go back to President Trump again -- and again, 61 percent of Americans say Democratic leaders are mainly criticizing Trump. You say that's not true. Billionaire Tom Steyer, he's the single biggest donor to the Democratic Party in the last two election cycles, put millions of dollars behind an ad calling for President Trump's impeachment. Let's look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has brought us to the brink of nuclear war, obstructed justice in the FBI, and in direct violation of the Constitution, taken money from foreign governments, threatened to shut down news organizations that report the truth. It's why I'm funding this effort to raise our voices together and demanded elected officials take a stand on impeachment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: Do you support that effort?
PEREZ: You know, I have been fighting for organizing. We've been fighting for making sure that people have access to good jobs. We've been fighting for health care. The culture of corruption around Washington, D.C., is very real. And not just the Russians...
RADDATZ: Do you support what he is saying in that ad? Would you like him to stop doing that, Mr. Steyer?
PEREZ: No. Tom Steyer has a right to do whatever he feels he needs to do. And Tom Steyer invested a lot of money in Virginia and elsewhere. And I applaud his efforts in investing in organizing and in helping elect Democrats. And there are a number of people who are very -- myself included, very, very concerned about the culture of corruption that has engulfed Washington, D.C., and places lke Alabama.
RADDATZ: So you would like to see...
PEREZ: Well, again, I am not talking about impeachment, because I'm talking about good jobs for folks. I'm talking about health care for all. I'm talking about making sure that we're fighting for the issues that matter most.
RADDATZ: I'm going to very quickly say -- and corruption charges, trial of New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez. If he is found guilty, do you think he should...
PEREZ: We'll wait and see what happens. The jury has not spoken yet.
RADDATZ: But should he resign if he...
PEREZ: Well, again, the jury has not spoken yet. So I don't like to answer what if questions.
RADDATZ: OK. Thanks very much for joining us this morning. We'll be right back with more Roundtable.
RADDATZ: OK, back now with the Roundtable.
And Mary, I'm going to start with you, and all of you, kind of a lightning round here.
But Tuesday's elections. I want your take on Tuesday's elections. Was it a referendum on Donald Trump or was it a compelling message from the Democrats?
BRUCE: This was absolutely about Donald Trump. There's no mistaking it, especially in Virginia. When you look at the breakdown here, one in three voters came out saying they were casting a ballot to protest the president. The Republican Ed Gillespie tried to have it both ways. He tried to appeal to the establishment. He tried to embrace Trumpism, and it backfired.
But, for Democrats who right now are gleeful and celebrating, looking for that anti-Trump wave, they should be cautiously optimistic. They are still going to have to give voters something to vote for. Just counting on voters coming against Trump may not work everywhere, especially in states that aren't as left leaning as Virignia.
CASTELLANOS: Pretty much on the money. Donald Trump has made the Democratic Party great again. He's unified it and given it intensity at the polls, much like Barack Obama unified and intensified the Republican Party.
Ed Gillespie actually got out the Trump vote. He met the Trump targets, or exceeded them, and it still wasn't enough, because he lost women in the suburbs. A huge, Democratic, feminist surge. And if you look ahead at 2018, those Republican districts that Hillary Clinton won, 23 of them, the House is in play.
RADDATZ: OK Mark, I want to switch overseas here. And we saw the president on Russia, his comments on Putin. What do you think about what he is saying about Russia?
UPDEGROVE: It shows how dramatically the Republican Party has changed.
Ronald Reagan, the Republican archetype, the icon of the party, his policy toward Russia was trust but verify. Donald Trump's policy seems to be trust.
Hey, listen, Putin said that they didn't do it, so they didn't do it. And by trust, it's trust Putin, but not his own intelligence apparatus.
We just had Veterans Day where we celebrated the sacrifices of our veterans, but our intelligence community puts their lives on the line every day, to throw them under the bus and call John Brennan, among others, a political hack. That's just unacceptable.
CASTELLANOS: Putin's had that effect on a few presidents.
RADDATZ: Yes, he has, but nothing like that. Nothing like that.
And Matt, last word. You've got about 20 seconds. What grade would you give the Asia trip?
DOWD: So, when I was in the elementary school, we got two grades on each course. One was a conduct grade and one was a grade in academics. so, his conduct grade D. I mean, I think his conduct throughout the trip hasn't been helpful at all in any way in America or across the world. Incomplete on his real grade. He hasn't turned his homework in on this yet.
I don't think -- I was thinking -- listening to what Kellyanne Conway said and about -- what metric would you use to grade him well on this? If you used a job approval, he has the lowest job approval of any president at this point in time. And if you used the perception of other countries, he's dropped 50 points. Our country has dropped 50 points in confidence in our country since Barack Obama.
RADDATZ: Thanks very much. Thanks to all of you.
When we talked early in the program about North Korea, so on this Veterans Day weekend, we wondered what do the men who fought the first Korean War think of the pros sect of a second.
ABC's Steve Ganyard, himself a veteran, spent Veteran's Day finding out.
STEVE GANYARD, ABC NEWS: This old army film tells the story. The Korean War, especially in those first frigid months, was brutal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The enemy was a lot stronger and better trained than we had heard. Some guys thought we would have it easy. It didn't work out that way.
GANYARD: Some may have forgotten just how hard. But the men who fought have not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were pretty well armed with hand me down World War II equipment, both weaponry and uniforms. And the weather was terrible. Everybody spent a lot of time trying to find automatic weapons, because they felt they were tremendously out-numbered.
GANYARD: Retired four-star general Vulny Warner (ph), now 91-years-old, was just a young lieutenant straight out of West Point when he shipped to Korea.
That's Warner in a bunker. That blinding light behind him, a North Korean shell exploding.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And if we were not fighting for fire power, we were fighting for some -- for rations, because we were always short rations. It was a terrible way to fight a war.
GANYARD: A war still vivid for the Korean War veterans who came to Washington from all over the country this Veterans Day weekend.
Now in their 80s and 90s, the possibility that another generation of young Americans may be called to fight in Korea is chilling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's unbelievable to even think about that.
GANYARD: But to do it with military force and to use American men again?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no way. No, never.
GANYARD: The Korean War claimed nearly 34,000 American lives, over 200,000 South Koreans, a million North Korean and Chinese soldiers, and 1.5 million civilians.
Today, we have stealth bombers, ships, a U.S. army trained to unprecedented levels. But there are still 7,000 artillery tubes and that massive enemy force to the north.
So, while veterans like General Warner have no doubt the U.S. would prevail in the end, the losses could still be catastrophic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 34,000 names on the wall is a high price to pay when I see walls now with name on it, I have to think about could there be a better solution?
RADDATZ: Our thanks to Steve.
And thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out World News tonight. And have a great day.