'This Week' Transcript 2-9-20: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren

This is a rush transcript of "This Week" airing Sunday, February 9.

ByABC News
February 9, 2020, 10:11 AM

This is a rush transcript.

ANNOUNCER: "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" starts right now.



PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going into the fight of our lives.



STEPHANOPOULOS: Seven candidates, stark differences.


BUTTIGIEG: Leave the politics of the past in the past.

JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know what about the past of Barack Obama and Joe Biden was so bad.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Is anyone else on stage concerned about having a dramatic socialist at the top of the Democratic ticket?


KLOBUCHAR: We need someone that actually brings people with her, instead of shutting them out.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Sparring over health care.


BIDEN: He's unwilling to tell us what the damn thing is going to cost.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we do what Joe wants, we will be spending some $50 trillion.




BUTTIGIEG: Systemic racism has penetrated to every level of our system.

LINSEY DAVIS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Is that a substantial answer?



STEPHANOPOULOS: And how to defeat Donald Trump.


TOM STEYER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Who can pull together the Democratic Party?

SANDERS: No matter who wins this damn thing, we're all going to stand together to defeat Donald Trump.



GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ‘THIS WEEK’ CHIEF ANCHOR: Just two days from the voting here in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg still on top.

The others hoping for a last-minute surge that will scramble the race.

Our guests this morning, Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden.


STEPHANOPOULOS: It sounded like you were writing off New Hampshire.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Plus, our powerhouse roundtable live from New Hampshire.

We will break down the politics, smoke out the spin, the facts that matter this week.

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's a special edition of "This Week."

Here now, from Manchester, New Hampshire, chief anchor George Stephanopoulos.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning from Manchester.

The final days of this New Hampshire primary are always frenetic, candidates crisscrossing the state, ads saturating the airwaves, new attacks on the stump and across the Internet.

And as we come on the air this morning, the latest tracking polls show Bernie Sanders in the lead, Pete Buttigieg right behind, with momentum out of Iowa, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar stuck in a second tier.

With survival on the line, our debate Friday night was the feistiest of this campaign. The attacks continued all through Saturday.

And I sat down with former Vice President Biden right after an emotional speech where he took on his opponents and the president.


BIDEN: I have lost a lot in my lifetime, like many of you have.

A car accident took away my wife and daughter. I lost my son Beau, like many of you have done. But I'll be damned if I'm going to stand by and lose my country too, period.



STEPHANOPOULOS: And we began the interview with those first lines from Friday's debate, where Biden seemed resigned to a loss here in New Hampshire.


BIDEN: Now, let's be realistic.

I think it's always going to be an uphill fight. When you're running against two people who are neighboring senators, you know the deal.

Bernie won here, the neighboring senator, by 20 points last time. So I think it is an uphill fight. But I think it's a fight we will do well in.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But then you're going to be bucking history, because you know the history here. No one who has come in below second in Iowa/New Hampshire has ever won the nomination.

BIDEN: Well, no one has ever won the nomination without being able to get overwhelming support from the African-American community either.

And, so far, no one's been doing that but me.

Look, the thing that changes this election is, everybody in the Democratic Party is united on one thing. You have to beat Donald Trump. In order to do that, everybody knows you have got to bring out the black vote and the brown vote, and you got to be able to do it.

I have been able to do that so far. So I don't think it's viewed the same way as it has been in the past.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You have been taking it right to Mayor Pete and basically been arguing that he's not ready to be president.

I did a debate with you back in 2007 where you said another candidate wasn't ready to be president. It was Barack Obama.


STEPHANOPOULOS: You were asked, is he ready?

You said: "I think he can be ready, but, right now, I don't believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training."

BIDEN: I think that I stand by the statement.


BIDEN: Well, let's get something straight here.

I didn't attack Pete. Pete's been attacking me. He's been saying that the reason we're in the problem were in now is because of the recent past. That's eight years of Obama and me.

I don't get that. I don't understand that. And I think he has completely misunderstood or misrepresented my record. I have done a great deal. I have gotten an awful lot done, both as a senator and as vice president.

And he talks about him being ready. Well, I managed a $900 billion Recovery Act, with no waste or fraud in it. We bailed out his city. I led the fight. The president turned to me and said, get Detroit out of its mess. I know how to handle a city. I was able to get Detroit back on its feet. That's why the mayor of Detroit endorsed me.

I have been able to get the chemical weapons treaty passed. I was responsible in large part for the -- what happened in Paris, with John Kerry, and so on.

So, I don't understand how those things don't matter. And I don't understand, when they talk about the past, why Barack was such a lousy president. I thought he was a pretty damn good president.

But that's the implication.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But why is nominating Pete Buttigieg a risk?

BIDEN: Well, because Pete Buttigieg has been nothing more -- and he's a good guy. I like him. He's a smart guy, but he's been the mayor of a city smaller than the city we're in now.

And so what has he done? What is -- who has he pulled together? Does he know any of the foreign leaders? Has he been able to -- I mean, Barack Obama was a different story. Barack Obama came from a large state. He was a United States Senator, he had run before. He'd been involved in international -- he had a clear vision of what he thought the world should look like and so on.

So, but it's very different situation.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Your campaign put out a pretty tough video on the mayor earlier today that also referenced the fact that he had fired an African-American police chief and forced out an African-American fire chief. Are you basically saying that Mayor Buttigieg has a race problem?

BIDEN: No, no, no. I'm saying he hadn't been able to unify the black community, that's what I'm saying. The most senior members of city council, African-American, endorsed me. I never met him. I never asked for his endorsement.

And so, I think, look, in order to win, George, you're going to have to be able to win states likePennsylvania, you're going to have to be able to win Florida. We're going to have to be able to win in a lot of places that in fact have very diverse populations, and so the assertion that he's ready across the board I don't see it. I haven't seen it yet.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He has fired back today. The campaign said that the fact you put out that video says a lot more about where you are in this race than his record as mayor.

BIDEN: Well, look, he's been the that's been attacking me, George. I never said about him. But he's talking from the beginning about how I don't have a record to run on, that Biden -- all the problems were in the past. And it was used to be Barack and me, now he found out how popular Barack is, so it's now just me as if I wasn't any part of that administration.

And so I was responding to -- I haven't done this, I responded to his attacks on me.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You've also talked about the risks of Democrats taking on the label democratic socialism in a national election, were you surprised last night when only Senator Klobuchar joined you in that concern?

BIDEN: No, I wasn't surprised. But I think it's just the reality. I mean, look, I'm not putting the label on Bernie, Bernie calls himself a democratic socialist.

Now, you've been around, George, as much as anybody, you're going to win with that label, you're going to help somebody in Florida win with the label democratic socialist? Because it's going to go all the way down the line. That's what's going to happen. You're going to win in North Carolina? You're going to win in Pennsylvania? You're going to win in those states in the Midwest?

It's not -- I didn't put the label on Bernie, Bernie calls himself a democratic socialist.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you think flat-out Democrats can't defeat Trump if they have to defend socialism?

BIDEN: I think it's going to be incredibly more difficult. I'm not going to say -- look, if I don't get the nomination and Bernie gets it, I'm going to work like hell for him. But I'll tell you what, it's a bigger uphill climb running as a senator or a congressperson or as a governor on a ticket that calls itself a democratic socialist ticket.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The day after President Trump was acquitted, one of your former colleagues and friends in the Senate, Chuck Grassley, asked for the financial records of your son, Hunter Biden, from the Treasury Department. This doesn't seem like it's going away.

BIDEN: Well, I don't think it's going to go anywhere, though. Look, the worst thing that happened was, according to Trump, when they acknowledged that he interfered, he got a foreign power -- to try to get a foreign country to say something negative about me or my son, the foreign leader wouldn't do it. He didn't even ask him to dig up dirt -- they keep saying that -- they said just say you're opening an investigation.

So, look what's happened. I'm worried this guy has got just a free pass now on anybody.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, did his strategy work against you?

BIDEN: I don't think so. I mean, I don't see any evidence of it working against me.

Look, when you're in a situation where you still have a majority of the people think that you should have been convicted, that's a hell of a way to start to run.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, Mayor Pete gave a pretty moving speech when he was asked about this last night talking about President Trump weaponizing a son against his father.


BUTTIGIEG: To be the kind of president, to be the kind of human being who would seek to turn someone against his own son, who would seek to weaponize a son against his own father is an unbelievably dishonorable thing.


STEPHANOPOULOS: What does that feel like to you to see you son become such an issue in this campaign, used against you?

BIDEN: I can't -- I can't let my anger overcome the desire and the need to have unite, and heal this country. And so I got to move beyond me and beyond my family. And -- because it's about your family, it’s about everybody else's family, not mine.

And the investigation of the company my son went on the board with had already been over. There wasn't anything underway, it's just pure sham.

But that's the way Trump works. But it's not going to work on me, I'll be damned -- I've been hit a lot, but it's not going to work on me, and I'll be damned if I'm going to walk away and let it -- and not take this country back.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You had a slogan in 2012, Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive. Doesn't President Trump have the opportunity to have a version of that slogan in 2020? Baghdadi is dead. Soleimani is dead. The stock markets at record. Unemployment’s at record lows.

BIDEN: The world is in disarray. We're losing our allies. We have no help in the Persian Gulf. Our NATO allies have made a moral equivalence between us and Iran.

We’re in a situation where the rest of the world wonders who in God’s name we are. This is a guy who embraced Putin, other thugs, who are just flat dictators, like Kim Jong-un. Our -- all our allies wondering, where is the United States of America?

The idea that he's made us stronger, the idea that he's increased or capacity to defend ourself, the idea that we could lead the world like we did before is absolutely bizarre. He has fundamentally shifted our role in the world.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What are the consequences of a victory by President Trump in 2020?

BIDEN: George, I, honest to God believe, they're going to change the nature of who we are for a long, long time.

Our children are listening. The idea -- the man who can belittle people, go on dividing us based on race, religion, ethnicity, based on all the things that, in fact, make up America is just incredibly divisive.

You see these white supremacists coming out from under the rocks. He’s yet once to condemn white supremacy, the neo-Nazis. He hasn’t condemned the darn thing. He has given them oxygen.

And that’s what’s going to continue to happen. That's who this guy is. He has no basic American values -- he doesn't understand the American code.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You need a comeback to be able to make that case against President Trump.

BIDEN: Well, yes, no, I do, I do.

I have some portion of all of the constituencies that make up this party. I think I’m more ready to be able to defeat Donald Trump, and equally importantly, George, elect a Democratic Senate. It’s not going to be enough just to beat him. We have to change the Senate in order to get things done.

Politics has gotten too dirty, too mean, too ugly, and it's only being inflamed by this president. So, we not only have to beat him, we have to be able to bring along the Democratic Party, not just at the Senate level but in the local races. We can do that. We can do that, I believe.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks for your time, Vice President Biden.

BIDEN: Thank you, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: There is that latest attack from former Vice President Joe Biden against the -- our next guest. Mayor Pete Buttigieg is right here this morning.

Welcome to THIS WEEK.

As you know, we just heard from Vice President Biden on the program. Listening to him over the last 24 hours, he's got -- he seems to be boiling down his message to a version of what we heard from Lloyd Benson back in 1988. I know Barack Obama. Barack Obama's a friend of mine. Pete Buttigieg is no Barack Obama.

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, he's right, I'm not Barack Obama. And neither he is. Neither is anyone running for president right now. And this isn't 2008, it's 2020. And this election is about where our country is headed next and, of course, how to defeat Donald Trump.

What I'm offering right now, and the reason I think we have been able to succeed so far, is a message that is about building the sense of belonging and pulling together a coalition, a majority, that will not only defeat Donald Trump, but do it by a big enough margin that we send trumpism into the history books.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But as you know, so far that coalition, from all the polling we've seen, does not include a sizable number of black voters. And the point that Vice President is making is, that if you don't get overwhelming support from black voters, you can't win the nomination, you can't win the presidency.

BUTTIGIEG: And I'm going to have to work to earn that vote just as I did in South Bend. I was brought and returned to office by a multiracial coalition and the voters who know me best in the African-American community are where I get the most support.

Now, I know, especially heading into the south, that I'm now getting a second look from a lot of voters who, frankly, weren't sure if we were competitive in the first place, but know how important it is that we are prepared to build a campaign that calls everybody in, that will defeat Donald Trump. And that's exactly the work that we're doing. This is about belonging both within our campaign and across our country.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You seemed to little taken aback when it -- when Linsey Davis (ph), on Friday night, challenged you about the record of African-American arrests for marijuana procession in South Bend.

Do you have to do a better job of owning your record in South Bend and explaining it.

BUTTIGIEG: Well, I've never been afraid to talk about the good, the bad and the indifferent that we've experienced in South Bend.

Look, when you're a mayor, you're not just calling for good things to happen, you have to be on the ground figuring it out. And when it comes to things like the systemic disparity in arrest rates and incarceration rates when it comes to marijuana, South Bend has not been immune.

Now, as I was quick to point out, black residents in South Bend had a lower arrest rate for drug charges than in the state or in the country --


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, “THIS WEEK” CHIEF ANCHOR: But it did go up over your tenure as mayor.

BUTTIGIEG: Yes, there were ups and downs in the arrest rates and we own that, because that’s part of the story of our city. It’s also a part of the story of a country that must legalize marijuana and end these kinds of disparities once and for all.

We made tremendous work progress in the city of South Bend. But, of course, we didn’t resolve all of these issues. And what we've got to do now is have a national effort and be ready to use the power of the presidency to reverse the harms of the incarceration policies that I have seen traumatize a generation of kids with incarcerated parents.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, what's the number one thing you would do January 20th in the White House, 2021, to address that problem?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, we need to have a systemic vision for dismantling systematic racism. I put it forward. It’s called the Douglass Plan, and it’s not only about criminal justice reform, taking federal action to lead the way in decarcerating this country.

But actually, it begins with economic empowerment, making sure that we are supporting black-owned business, making sure that, you know, not everybody's going to start a business, but also just have to have basic economic policies about raising wages that we know disproportionately benefit workers of color.

We got to have economic empowerment, criminal legal system reform, and political empowerment, because part of the reason decision after decisions after decision is made in a way that harms communities of color is that there has been systemic suppression of voters of color.

So, we need a 21st century Voting Rights Act so the kind of voter suppression we’ve seen cannot stand.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about Bernie Sanders. He attacked you by name, I think, for one of first times yesterday, saying you have billionaires by the dozen contributing to your campaign, and the guy is getting a lot of money from pharmaceutical CEOs, can’t bring about real change.

BUTTIGIEG: Look, I have never hesitated to stand up. As a matter of fact, we sued pharmaceutical companies for what they did to our community in the opioid crisis.

I’m also putting together the campaign that’s going to defeat Donald Trump. Trump and his allies are doing everything they can to hold on to power. They raised 25 million bucks in one day.

And if somebody wants to donate to a campaign, especially if they know that I’m going to raise their taxes and they’re going to donate anyway, fine, we need to accept and encourage and welcome help from everybody who's part of this cause.

And, by the way, I rely very heavily on grassroots donations, people contributing through PeteforAmerica.com by the hundreds of thousands. We’ve gotten (ph) over 2 million contributions. I think the average is under 40 bucks.

Someone like the mayor of South Bend does not become a major presidential candidate as an establishment powerhouse. We're here because we built a movement and that's what’s going to carry us to the White House.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, I was little surprised Friday night that you didn't take on the issue of socialism directly, given what President Trump is going to do with that. Are you concerned about that? Do you believe -- and I asked Vice President Biden this question -- do you believe that the Democrats can defeat Donald Trump if they have to defend socialism?

BUTTIGIEG: I think it will be lot harder. But the bigger concern that I have is further dividing the country. You know, when the campaign says that either you’re for a revolution or you must be for the status quo -- most of us don't see where we fit in that picture.

And the irony is at this moment, we actually have a historic American majority, not just the line (ph) around what we’re against, we need to get rid of Donald Trump, but what we’re for. Most Americans want higher wages, want corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share, want universal health care, action on prescription drugs, action on climate change, gun violence.

We have a historic majority that we’re going to need not just in order to win, but in order to govern. Let’s hold together and not blow up that American majority (ph).

STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the things we're seeing here in New Hampshire, I think we saw it in Iowa as well, is Democrats are real uncertain about which way to go. You know, some polls show up 40 percent still deciding this last 48 hours.

I ran into a voter yesterday who's trying to decide between Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. You all seem pretty different to me. But how do you convince that voter to pick you over Bernie Sanders?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, if we're talking about a voter interested in progressive change, my message is that I would be the most progressive president we'd had in a half century. But also, that I’m putting together the governing coalition to get it done, that I am calling everyone into a sense of belonging that will unite Democrats who had been at our side all along, but also quite a few independents and even some Republicans who aren’t going to agree with me on everything, but know that we need a different president.

That's how we're going to win. That’s how we’re going to govern. And in a moment when our country is frighteningly polarized and divided, we're going to need some healing, not at the expense of our values, but in the name of our values.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mayor, thanks for joining us this morning.

BUTTIGIEG: Good to be with you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Elizabeth Warren is up next.

We'll be right back.



STEPHANOPOULOS: Why do you think you are in a better position than Bloomberg to beat Trump, Senator Warren?

WARREN: I think the way we build a democracy going forward is not billionaires reaching intheir own pockets or people sucking up to billionaires, the we build it going forward is we have a grassroots movement funded from the grassroots up.

BLOOMBERG: So, let me just tell you why I believe I'm the best candidate to take Trump on, start with, I have workable and achievable plans to deal with all of the toughest challenges facing this country. And I will get it done.


STEPHANOPOULOS: See Mike Bloomberg looking ahead to Super Tuesday right there. We're joined now by the woman you just saw there on the screen, Senator Elizabeth Warren. Thanks for joining us again this morning.

I don't want to talk about Mayor Bloomberg just yet, but the question will be for you now, how do you get to Super Tuesday? Third place in Iowa, right now you're behind the two front-runners. What's your strategy to get there?

WARREN: So, look, I don't think of this so much in terms of strategy, I think of this as the opportunity to get out and talk about the things that people really care about. I have been doing town halls and taking on unfiltered questions really for a year now. And the things that people ask about, they ask about canceling student loan debt, they ask about whether or not we could really do universal child care and universal pre-K, they ask about whether or not we can expand Social Security payments by a couple of hundred bucks a month, and want to know how that would work. I have plans for all of those. Those are the things people ask about, those are the things I talk about.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you were talking about that in Iowa. You had a huge organization in Iowa. You have a big organization here in New Hampshire. If you can't crack the top two here, no one has ever gotten the nomination if they don't crack the top two in Iowa and New Hampshire.

WARREN: You know, look, the way I see this is it's going to be a long campaign. When I made the decision not to spend 75 percent of my time raising money from billionaires and corporate executives and lobbyists, it meant I had a lot more time to go around the country. I have been to 31 states to do town halls, red states and blue states. We have about 1,000 people on the ground.

We've built a campaign to go the distance, and that's what I think is going to happen here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, you've been making that case against the candidates who aretaking money from billionaires, you made it at the debate, you've been making it all through the campaign. We just had Mayor Buttigieg on. And he made no apologies for doing what he's doing. He says it's important to build the biggest coalition you can.

WARREN: You know, the coalition of billionaires is not exactly what's going carry us over the top.

The way I see it right now is that we have a government that works great for a thinner andthinner slice at the top. And that's been true for decades, it's gotten worse and worse and worse. So, we now have companies like Amazon and Eli Lily and Halliburton that report billions of dollars in profits, pay nothing in taxes.

Meanwhile, folks across this country -- somebody has got to keep this government running, and so they pay their taxes so that the roads are paved and the bridges still work, and we provide for the defense.

People, Democrats and Republicans, get that they're getting the short end of the stick. And what's the reason for that? It's corruption. It's a Washington that makes -- it's a bunch of billionaires that make big campaign contributions or reach in their own pockets, like Michael Bloomberg does.

Here's the thing. If it's going to take sucking up to billionaires or being a billionaire to get the Democratic nomination to run for president, then all I can say is, buckle up, America, because our government is going to work even better for billionaires and even worse for everyone else.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: But there's -- there's a -- there's a reality out there. I read it -- I read this weekend that you've had to pull back your advertising --


STEPHANOPOULOS: In -- in Nevada and South Carolina because you don't have the funds to go forward if you don't do better here.

WARREN: Yes. But look at the question you're asking. You're really putting democracy out here on the line.

I believe in democracy, and that's why I decided I was going to build this as a grassroots movement and make this system better, because, right now, we have a Washington where, in theory, everybody has the same voice. But billionaires, they may own more shoes than the rest of us, they may own more cars, they may own more houses, but they shouldn't own a bigger piece of our democracy. And so long as they can do that, that's how it is, that the things we want to see get done don't get done.

Think of it this way, more than 90 percent of Americans want to see us pass some basic, sensible gun legislation, but we can't even get a vote in the United States Senate. Why? Because the gun industry blocks it.

Huge numbers of people want to see us pass legislation to reduce the cost of prescription drugs? All those Democratic candidates stand on stage and say, yes, they're going to do that, but it never happens. Why? Because the pharmaceutical industry doesn't want it and they have more power in Washington.

And you can go industry by industry. Why do we spend so much money on defense? Maybe one of the reasons is the secretary of defense is a former lobbyist of seven years for one of the biggest defense industries.


WARREN: This is corruption. And we got a chance in 2020 to turn that around.

STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the other reasons -- one of the other reasons is, and I was talking to Vice President Biden about this, is that Republicans control the Senate right now. And he was making the case that it's going to be much, much harder for the Democrats to take control of the Senate if there's a Democratic socialist at the top of the ticket.


STEPHANOPOULOS: You didn't take the opportunity to take that on Friday night.

WARREN: So, look, I am not -- I am a capitalist. I'm a -- I believe in markets. This is what I talk about all the time.

There are areas where markets don't work, like in health care and in education. But there are a lot of areas where markets do work, and that's what gives us innovation and that's what creates opportunity and that's what can grow wealth.

But, markets need rules. Markets without rules are theft. So it's a big part of what I'm running on. I want to see an America of opportunity. And that means we need a market economy that it's got to be a market economy that's fair and that everybody gets to play. That means we need a president who's willing to enforce our antitrust laws, which I'm ready to do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: There are a lot of Democrats across the country watch this this week. They watched the chaos and confusion in Iowa. They watched President Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday. They see these new jobs numbers coming out. President Trump's approval rating going up to 49 percent --


STEPHANOPOULOS: According to the Gallup poll and saying he's going to win again.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Can you give them hope?

WARREN: Yes. You know, I hear people talk about the race against Donald Trump may be unwinnable. I've been winning unwinnable fights all of my life. I won the fight to get a consumer agency, the CFPB, passed into law when everybody said it couldn't be done. I won the fight to hold corporate executives accountable. Got the CEO of Wells Fargo fired not long ago. I won the fight to take back a Senate seat from a popular incumbent Republican.

You know, in fact, I'm the only one in this race now who has beaten an incumbent Republican anytime in the last 30 years.

The way I look at this is that people say, oh, these races are unwinnable or that person can't win, right up until you jump in the fight, you persist and you win. That's what I'm going to do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: A lot of campaigning ahead. Thanks for joining us this morning.

WARREN: Thank you. Good to see you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We'll be right back with the roundtable.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are dancing with unbridled optimism and lifting our citizens of every race, color, religion and creed very, very high.

We were treated unbelievably unfairly and you have to understand, we first went through Russia, Russia, Russia. It was all (EXPLETIVE DELETED). But this is sort of a day of celebration, because we went through hell.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Outreach on Tuesday from the president, recriminations on Thursday and Friday -- quite a week for the president, for the country.

Let's talk about it now on our roundtable.

We’re joined by Yvette Simpson, CEO for Democracy for America; our chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl; chief political analyst Matthew Dowd; Barbara Comstock, former Republican member of Congress, who served as chief counsel for the House Government Reform Committee during President Clinton’s impeachment; and Jen Psaki, Democratic strategist, communications director for President Obama.

Jon, let me begin with you.

Where do things stand right now in New Hampshire?

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, look, this is Biden's last chance to pull it back. And it’s interesting to see him run the campaign that he did not want to run. He was the guy who came in as the front-runner, wanted to save all of his firepower for Donald Trump and not hit fellow -- you know, fellow Democrats, and he is forced to run a campaign he did not want to run.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You agree with that?

YVETTE SIMPSON, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I do. You know, he's flailing. He came into the state saying he's not going to win, which means that he probably expects he’s not. The question is, does he get to South Carolina? Which is where he expects to be saved.

I don't know. Does his energy flails? South Carolinians like to be with the winner and if they don’t think he’s going to win, I think they abandon him.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, we do see South Carolina respond, that certainly happened with Barack Obama, responding to early, early results.

There was something going on with the Iowa confusion that may have -- we saw Mayor Pete get something of a bounce, maybe not as much as he would have gotten had it been announced on Monday night.

JEN PSAKI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: That may be true. But I do think that people are taking a second look at Mayor Pete. People are taking a second look at Amy Klobuchar, and we could see some impact from that in the New Hampshire outcome.

You know, just to echo on what some of our colleagues here have been saying, you know, I think the Biden team is betting on holding on to South Carolina and being able to perform better in a more diverse state. But that is based on an assumption that the African-American vote will hang with him. And we just don't know that yet.

They're taking a look at Tom Steyer. They’re taking a look at Bernie Sanders. So, that may be a tough bet for the Biden team.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And one of the things we’re seeing, Barbara Comstock, is that, you know, Bernie Sanders, basically a tie in Iowa, he's still ahead right here. If he gets a win here, it's not inconceivable that he runs the table on the first four.

BARBARA COMSTOCK (D), FORMER VIRGINIA CONGRESSWOMAN: That's right. I think the Republicans are positively gleeful about that, to see the Iowa debacle and then to see Bernie sort of in this pole position.

It does remind me actually a lot of 2016 where everyone kept kind of staying in, thinking Bernie can't win and now he keeps winning. You know, if he wins here in New Hampshire, like -- it looks like it’s very possible, then who's going to be the anti-Bernie? Nobody's going to get out.

And that’s why you see -- you know, with the economy, 63 percent approval for the economy, he's running on socialism. It was sad to see, it was only Amy Klobuchar who could actually say, socialism probably isn’t a good idea.

So, I think Republicans are absolutely rooting for Bernie Sanders, and I think the one thing Adam Schiff accomplished during impeachment was the domestic political errand of dispatching Joe Biden.

MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: It’s never -- I also think it's never a good idea because Democrats were rooting for Donald Trump in 2016, and that throughout the process, and thinking he was the most vulnerable candidate, and then it turns out he wasn't in the end.

To me, I mean, we think we have a pretty good idea that the top two in some way are going to be Bernie and Pete Buttigieg. But to me, the most interesting thing out of this New Hampshire primary could be who finishes third? Because if Amy Klobuchar finishes third, that basically finishes off Joe -- in my view, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you feel like she’s moving that much? I know there’s one tracking poll between --


DOWD: I just think the -- the -- what's -- what happened, I think post-Iowa was that Pete Buttigieg got -- got some bump, but what really happened was, there was a beginning drift of Joe Biden.

So, where do Joe Biden's voters go? I think they initially went to Pete Buttigieg. After the debate, Joe Biden still, I think, continues to drift down. And I think those voters are going to Amy Klobuchar.

I'd also add this. If -- whoever comes out of here, two-thirds of the voters in the remaining primaries are going to be women. In my view, there's going to be a woman candidate alternative, whether it's Elizabeth Warren or Amy Klobuchar, going forward in this.

There is going to be a women candidate, female candidate alternative.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Jon, one of the things that's happening here, though, is you see Pete Buttigieg making a move coming out of Iowa.

He seems to be drawing more fire from the other candidates, from Biden, from Elizabeth Warren, a little bit from Amy Klobuchar as well, than Bernie Sanders is.

KARL: Yes, because it seems like Bernie Sanders support is there. It is not going anywhere. He takes the hits. They do not hurt him.

Coming out of New Hampshire, you're likely to see a situation where it's Bernie Sanders against somebody else. And, right now, that's Buttigieg. That's why he's the target.

SIMPSON: He also has -- is the most vulnerable. He has the thinnest record. He's doing well in the first two states, but they feel like, if they can cripple him now, he's not going to do as well in Nevada when brown voters vote, or in South Carolina, when black voters vote.

And so I think they feel like, if they can cripple him now, maybe they can go in for the kill and get rid of him.

KARL: Where does the African-American vote go if Biden continues to fall?

PSAKI: You know, that's the big question, which is, of course, why you're asking it.

Look, if you talk to the Buttigieg team, they will argue that he actually finished second in Iowa among people of color. That's a small population of people of color. He's spending money in South Carolina to get -- to introduce himself.

I think they look around and they decide who they think is the best candidate to beat Donald Trump. And that is ultimately the question for every voter in this race. So they may go to Bernie. They may be looking for an alternative to Bernie, but I think it's up for grabs, really, at this point.

I will just say, people always say that everybody wants a Barack Obama, all the African-American votes went to Barack Obama in South Carolina after Iowa. It was actually a little bit before that. I mean, we were seeing some movement in the internal polling before that.

We had an operation the ground. We had organizing on the ground. And it really takes a candidate who has that. And that may be a challenge to somebody like Amy Klobuchar.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It does seem, Barbara Comstock, though, that the Democrats are -- not only had a confusing result in Iowa, but are torn internally over -- they're not -- they're really just thinking, who can beat Donald Trump?

And you're seeing candidate -- they're willing to go in any direction that gives them hope on that.

COMSTOCK: Well, and I don't think -- when you were interviewing Joe Biden, he kept saying: I don't understand. I don't understand.

And he really doesn't. And I think what Pete Buttigieg is trying to say is, elections are about the future, Joe. And here -- and he is somewhat drawing a future picture.

So, I do think he is a little bit of the turn the page that, say, a George Bush was in 2000 following impeachment. He didn't want to talk about that. He wanted to kind of talk about the future and what he was going to do.

And I think, who is going to be that candidate? And you're right. Who has the infrastructure?

I do think, if Amy gets third here, that that will open up a new lane for sort of the center left.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Does it open up a new lane, or does it just give Bernie Sanders kind of a free ride?

DOWD: Well, I think that -- I mean, I think it is very -- a little bit similar to 2016 and Donald Trump, which is, is that Donald Trump kept getting 28, 30 percent of the vote, but because there was a multi-candidate field, he kept winning. And everybody else says, well, we will take care of him once it's one on one.

Bernie Sanders may be the candidate that keeps getting 30 percent of the vote and keeps winning primary and caucus after another. I think that's why many Democrats want this race to narrow really quick.

I think the problem in the field -- it's not unlike Democrats when you have multi-candidate fields -- keep in mind, in 1992, Bill Clinton won one primary of the first 11 in 1992, and ended up becoming the nominee here -- is they're looking -- most of the voters are looking for a Goldilocks candidate, right, not too hot, not too cold, just right, the right age, the right temperature, everything's fine.

And they haven't found that candidate yet. Most of the voters have not found that candidate yet.

COMSTOCK: But you're seeing Carville...

KARL: And, look, there are no new attacks on Bernie Sanders.

I mean, he's heard this all before: You're the Democratic socialist.

He embraces the label.

You're not -- you're going to spend trillions and trillions of dollars.

Well, yes, that's what I'm going to do.

PSAKI: But I think -- Jonathan Karl, I think, though, the problem for Bernie Sanders, though, is that he needs to expand the electorate beyond.

And he didn't do that...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Which is what he was talking about Friday night, exactly.

PSAKI: That's right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And he kept going back to that message.

PSAKI: That's right. Exactly.

But he didn't do that in the Iowa caucus outcome.


PSAKI: He also raised $10 million last -- less in January than he did in December. He needs to expand beyond.

He's saying the right things. I was at the dinner last night. He was saying: We need to be unified. We need to have a unity team moving forward.

People aren't feeling that. And there's a lot of moderates and other Democrats who feel alienated. So, he's got some work to do.


KARL: But he's got that 25 percent. This guy had a heart attack.


COMSTOCK: The Democratic establishment is freaking out, Carville.


SIMPSON: And don't forget, he did. He got 35 percent -- he got a significant increase of young people in Iowa. And that is his base.


STEPHANOPOULOS: But, overall, the numbers were -- were on a par with 2016, way below 2008.

SIMPSON: Absolutely. I get that.

But what he is relying on is getting new voters, getting young voters, to the polls. It was the first contest that he was able to show that he could get those voters.

DOWD: I think the biggest vulnerability...

SIMPSON: That's where the game is for the Democratic Party.

DOWD: I think the biggest vulnerability that Bernie Sanders has is the same vulnerability that Mayor Pete has, and this has not been an attack yet on him, which is you've been serving for 30 years. You've actually done nothing in the U.S. Congress. You passed nine bills, seven of which were resolutions that were honoring a post office...

STEPHANOPOULOS: He'll say he's passed dozens of amendments to legislation.

DOWD: Well, he does. But the problem is he says I'm here. I'm doing all this. And yet you look at it and like actually well what have you done? Have you done anything on health care? Have you done anything on education? Have you done anything on -- and that's, I think, Bernie Sanders’ biggest vulnerability. He's a big speech, but can he deliver?

COMSTOCK: And Republicans already have the ad material from Hillary Clinton and other Democrats who are attacking Bernie saying, you have done nothing. People don't like you. You can't work with anybody. That is...

SIMPSON: But when he's president, it's a totally different thing, as you know.

KARL: A good point about the turnout in Iowa not being high. Last night the Democratic candidates, they were all just down the road here, had an event at the very same arena where Donald Trump will be on Monday where he was four years ago, and there were empty seats there. There was not -- I mean, there was energy certainly in the Elizabeth Warren section, energy with Bernie Sanders section, but not -- I mean, this does not look like.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me take that to you, because I think a lot of people watch 2018 where you did see incredibly high turnout, new voters coming to the the polls, suburban voters, women voters, minority voters, and you don't seem to have that feel in the early stages of this presidential...

SIMPSON: It's still really early. A caucus is a huge commitment from people, right. One, Iowa is not necessarily the reflection of the kind of diverse support that you get from a Bernie Sanders, first of all.

Second of all, a caucus requires a lot. So, we'll see what happens when you've got a traditional primary setting and whether Bernie fares better there.

DOWD: And I think it all depends -- I mean, I think we make too much of the actual turnouts in the primaries and caucus. I think there's going to be a huge turnout in November, probably 150 million people are going to vote in November in this. I think it all depends if you go into a convention without a majority nominee, how do you emerge from the convention? And if they emerge from the convention with this great unity and all that, I don't think the Democrats have to worry about turnout, but how do you emerge from a convention if 30 percent of the people or 40 percent of the people wanted Bernie?

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Jen, let me bring this to you, because on today's facts, the lastweek has gone about as well as Michael Bloomberg could have hoped. He had basically two options, either a muddle, which is a little bit what we have, or Bernie Sanders' surge sets him up for Super Tuesday. Those two seem like the most likely options right now.

PSAKI: That's right. And look, I think there's an argument that is appealing to a lot of Democrats about Michael Bloomberg, and that is that he has the money to go the distance.

And I didn't make the rules. I don't think they're fair either, but ultimately we need money todefeat Donald Trump. And he has said he's going to spend billions of dollars to defeat Donald Trump. He has campaign staff paid through November. He has staff in every early state. That's -- he’s outspent Donald Trump on Facebook. He outspent the combination of top four Democrats.

That's -- people are hearing that and they're taking a look at Bloomberg as well. And that's true in many states across the country, you'd never expect.

COMSTOCK: For all the talk you heard about Elizabeth Warren and money, they will take Michael Bloomberg's money at the end of the day.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, they will want to take...

COMSTOCK: ...the House Committee has already taken the $20 million. They will be taking it.

PSAKI: They shouldn't turn it down. Please don't turn it down.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yvette, if Michael Bloomberg continues to move up on Super Tuesday, that almost guarantees a brokered convention, doesn't it?

SIMPSON: You know, Michael Bloomberg has not been tested. He has got a really checkered past, especially with African-Americans, his stop and frisk record. I think once you continue to get him on the stump, he's never actually had to be in a debate yet. I think he's going to flail.

And honestly what does his base look like? I continue to tell us, since the Barack Obama election, we have to know as a party that it's going to take somebody who can inspire and excite. And as great as Bloomberg has been in his foundations and donating money, he does not inspire people to come out and vote for him.

KARL: And look at some of the the harshest -- the harshest attack I think of our debate was Elizabeth Warren going after Michael Bloomberg. I mean, I don't see how he -- he's playing out, this is -- Michael Bloomberg won Iowa, he may win New Hampshire by not being here, but you know, how does he unite? How does he get Elizabeth Warren supporters, how does he get Bernie Sanders supporters?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's look ahead to November a little bit. Matthew Dowd, I'll start with you. What to make of President Trump's week, skillful State of the Union, some would say cynical, but it's very skillful the way he had outreach to African-Americans and other minorities, combined with outreach to his own base. And then we follow up on Wednesday with the acquittal, Thursday with that wild scene in the East Room and firings on Friday.

DOWD: Well, to me, the most important part of the president's State of the Union was the third of the time he spent on the economy, because the biggest thing for Donald Trump is can he move the delta between the people that approve him on the economy and the people that personally approve him as president? And that's a huge gap in that.

I think Donald Trump, the biggest fear of Donald Trump is nobody running in the Democratic primary, it's Donald Trump, because Donald Trump has a capacity, in which we saw Thursday, on a good week to get in his own way and do the most crazy, ridiculous things.

And so I think if Donald Trump can be disciplined, which is a huge ask, but for him to be disciplined, it makes it very hard for the Democrats. But any guarantee we can have is Donald Trump will be chaotic and undisciplined.

KARL: And he's -- this high water mark. This is --


KARL: I mean this is --


KARL: I mean this is as good as it -- as it's been for Donald Trump.


KARL: And he's at 49 percent. So this will --

COMSTOCK: But that's 63 percent on the economy and sort of the outreach that he did, you know, whether you like him or not, people are starting to get used to this chaos. And particularly if you have a grumpy 70-year-old -- 77-year-old Bernie Sanders being just as cranky and ornery, then it's going to be -- but this guy, the economy is good. Socialism and crankiness does not go well.

KARL: But no matter -- no matter who the Democratic candidate is, nearly half the country is going to be against Donald Trump.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, but -- no, that's true but, again, I'll bring this to Jen. You say 49 percent. And, yes, you can make the argument that with an economy like this it should be 55, 60, 65.

COMSTOCK: I think it's better in swing states.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But 49 percent was about where Barack Obama was when he was going for re-election at the beginning of -- of 2012.

DOWD: George Bush was in 2004.

STEPHANOPOULOS: George Bush in 2004. And in this kind of afford -- polarized environment, that may be enough.

PSAKI, FORMER OBAMA COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR AND CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's right. It may be. And we -- and Democrats should have their eyes open about that. I mean looking back on this week, you know, the Iowa Democratic Party got a lot of attention for good reason, for the disaster that was. But President Trump is at 49 percent, as you said. Watching the State of the Union, I also was struck by the fact that he was trying to sell a story about his appeal to African-Americans across the country. I may sit here and think that's laughable, but people watching may have bought that. Some people watching may have bought that.

He's a good producer, a good producer of visuals. And he also is now empowered after his acquittal. So, you know, it's -- it's a little scary. Democrats should be a little frightened after this week would be my view.

STEPHANOPOULOS: All the president needs to do on -- with African-American voters is hold that enthusiasm for the Democrats.

SIMPSON: Yes, but he's going to say something really, really -- I mean the reality is, is he has never had a real stronghold on the African-American community. The African-American community is not stupid. They knew that that was a show. The Rush Limbaugh thing completely axed out everything that he had done before. And he has no real base there. He continues to lack real, consistent base. And I think what he's got is some of those Republicans who are black Republicans, who are trying to hold on to him, but even a lot of those people have peeled off. So I don't know how he gets African-American because, frankly, he's going to say or do something seriously offensive and he will lost them.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's the question, Barbara Comstock, will the president get in his own way?

COMSTOCK: Well, he --

DOWD: Of course.

COMSTOCK: That's a -- but, who -- the Democrats are giving him ammunition every day and they're getting in their own way and that's why you see people like James Carville and Rahm Emmanuel and the establishment Democrats freaking out because the president has a great economy. You know, the lowest unemployment for women, for blacks, for African -- you know, Latinos. And so that is a good selling point when you target it into the swing states.

And then when you have Nancy Pelosi getting in the Democratic presidential candidates' way this week also and being a foil and -- and so I -- I do think the Democrats have just as big a problem there, and particularly if it's Bernie, you're going to have socialism in the way.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That is all we have time for today. Thank you all very much.

Thanks to all of you for sharing part of your Sunday with us. I'll be anchoring our coverage of the New Hampshire primary with our whole political team. That's Tuesday night at 8:00 on ABC News Live. And I'll see you tomorrow on "GMA."