'This Week' Transcript: Ben Carson and Gov. John Kasich

ByABC News
November 29, 2015, 9:02 AM

— -- THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT FOR "THIS WEEK" ON NOVEMBER 29, 2015 and it will be updated.


ANNOUNCER: Starting right now on ABC's THIS WEEK, Planned Parenthood shootout -- startling new details about the five hours of terror. Why the gunman went on his rampage of horror.

And in an ABC News exclusive, a top Planned Parenthood official joins us live.

2016 surprises -- Ben Carson's unexpected trip overseas, meeting face-to-face with Syrian refugees.

Carson is with us live from Amman, Jordan.

Plus, new backlash after Donald Trump takes on a reporter -- what the brash billionaire is saying now.

And new football fears -- the gridiron icon who suffered decades with a traumatic brain disease.

Will his revelation change the game?




I'm Martha Raddatz.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

We'll get to the 2016 race shortly, including Ben Carson standing by in Jordan, revealing what he's learned on that surprise trip to the refugee camp there.

But we start off in Colorado -- brand new details on the investigation into that deadly shootout at Planned Parenthood, revelations the shooter may have been targeting the group. Our exclusive interview with a top Planned Parenthood official momentarily.

First, ABC's Clayton Sandell on the ground with the latest -- good morning, Clayton.


Investigators here are trying to piece together the facts here this morning, but also trying to get inside the mind of an alleged killer.


SANDELL (voice-over): This morning. Law enforcement sources are not officially saying why they think Robert Dear allegedly launched a five hour attack.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) is working an active shooter.

SANDELL: But they do say after his surrender and arrest in Colorado Springs, he allegedly made rambling hostile statements about his target, Planned Parenthood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're pinned down -- we're getting active gunfire.

SANDELL: On Saturday, police and federal agents showed up to his remote trailer home in Hartsel, Colorado, 90 minutes away, where neighbors say Dear kept to himself, but always seemed a little off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got some anti-Obama pamphlets. So that was just kind of weird, just like three minutes of meeting somebody and they're already wanting to give you that kind of stuff.

SANDELL: U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch calls the shooting a crime against women receiving health care at Planned Parenthood. The organization itself says the gunman was motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It happened at a Planned Parenthood Center.

SANDELL (on camera): What does that tell you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My -- my suspicions are is that this -- that has a lot to do with the motive.

SANDELL (voice-over): But knowing the motive won't brig back three victims, one a 44-year-old University of Colorado police officer, Garrett Swasey, a married father of two, once a champion junior ice skater.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he wanted to be in the Olympics and he wanted to make a mark.

SANDELL: The two other people killed still haven't been officially identified. Nine more were wounded, but expected to be OK.

Others just feeling lucky.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I saw myself in the mirror and it's like, my god, he was aiming for my head.


SANDELL: Now, law enforcement sources tell us the Department of Justice considers this a case of domestic terrorism, but state murder charges will take first priority. We are also told Dear is talking to investigators, sometimes rambling, other times sounding perfectly rational. But they say they may never understand his motive or mental state.

He'll be in court on Monday -- Martha.

RADDATZ: Thanks, Clayton.

Joining us now, the mayor of Colorado Springs, John Suthers.

Mr. Mayor, what more can you tell us -- tell us about the motivation in this killing?

MAYOR JOHN SUTHERS, COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO: Well, Martha, the police and the prosecutor have not officially released anything about the motivation. As a former district attorney, I’m very respectful of that. And I will wait, you know, the release of official information before I will comment on the motivation.

RADDATZ: But do you believe Planned Parenthood was targeted?

SUTHERS: It certainly appears that way. I’m sure that as the case proceeds, the criminal case proceeds, we'll learn a lot more about the motivation.

RADDATZ: Do you know anything more about these statements he allegedly made about Planned Parenthood or about abortion?

SUTHERS: I know what you know, that somebody unauthorized made some statements to the press, but I’m not going to contribute to that, Martha. I’m going to let the police and the prosecutors do their jobs.

RADDATZ: What more can you tell us this morning about how -- how this happened?

The gunman killed one of your officers and yet you still managed to take the suspect alive.

SUTHERS: Yes, it was a kind of an unusual situation in the fact that he gave himself up alive.

Martha, I was in the command center watching this unfold, and the police just did a fantastic job. From the command center, they were able to monitor security cameras in the center and advise the squad officers inside about the movement of the perpetrator. And that sort of coordination, they were, you know, e-mailing diagrams about the building inside to the SWAT team. And that coordination, I’m absolutely certain, saved a number of lives, because they were able to get people out of the building that were in areas that the perpetrator was not.

RADDATZ: Incredible work by your officers.

We also heard that the gunmen left some unspecified items outside, possibly explosives or bags.

Have you cleared the scene there now?

SUTHERS: There were some things in his truck. I’m not sure they’ve been identified as having, you know, being related. We’re just going to have to -- the crime scene is still being processed. We’re going to have to wait to see what the police and prosecutor tell us about that.

RADDATZ: But would you say, Mr. Mayor, this is an act of domestic terrorism?

SUTHERS: It certainly appears that way. We have, Martha, something that occurs quite a bit. We have a person that’s pretty much off the grid and acting for whatever motivation. Very hard to ferret out those folks. You know, I -- I was an attorney general that was a head of a committee looking at things that are consistent about these kinds of incidents. And one of the things we don’t do very well is identify these people, sometimes with mental health problems, and prevent their access to weapons. And I -- you know, we’ll wait and see here, but all indications are this guy, as I say, was off the grid.

RADDATZ: OK, thank you very much, Mayor Suthers.

Now let's turn to the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, Vicki Cowart, joining us in an ABC News exclusive.

Ms. Cowart, do you believe the facility was targeted because it is a Planned Parenthood facility?


Like the mayor, I have the same kinds of information. It’s been reported that the individual that did this crime had ramblings about abortion. But we didn’t have any advance notice.

But it does appear that it does -- it was targeted at us, from what we’ve heard.

RADDATZ: And walk us through what happened with your staff. We heard about this incredible coordination on security, but where your staff was, what you know about what happened inside.

COWART: Thank you for asking that question because our focus really has been around our staff. Planned Parenthood holds the safety and the well-being of our patients and our staff at the very top of our list. It’s our most important thing. And I’m so pleased that all of our staff got out of the building safe, uninjured.


COWART (voice-over): What happened was they evidently heard a shot and were able to move right into their training.

And I want to give a huge shout out to the building who were in that health center because they responded perfectly, according to their training. They got away from the front of the building; they got into the back, locked portions of the building. They called 9-1-1 immediately.

They moved into locked office spaces, not one big space but different office spaces around the building, and they hunkered down. They quieted their cell phones, they didn’t talk and they waited for the officials to rescue them.

And we are so, so thankful for the first responders and the law enforcement in Colorado Springs, and heartbroken at the loss of an officer, who was one of the first responders.

RADDATZ: It is truly a tragedy. I want to move back to this idea of domestic terrorism again. You’re being cautious about what the suspect may or may not have said. But you have said in a statement that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism.

COWART: We’ve experienced so much hateful language, hateful speech. Such a negative environment has been created around the work that Planned Parenthood does, around the idea of safe and legal abortion.

And we’ve seen that across the country from all sorts of speakers in the last few months. I can’t believe that this isn’t contributing to some folks, mentally unwell or not, thinking that it’s OK to target Planned Parenthood or to target abortion providers.


RADDATZ: Are you talking about members of Congress?

COWART: So I think we are at a place --

RADDATZ: Are you talking about politicians?

COWART: I think politicians have been in that conversation and, I mean, you know that the airwaves are full of anti-abortion language, of anti-Planned Parenthood accusations, much of which is false in nature.

And we at Planned Parenthood are, first and foremost, a healthcare provider. We provide life-saving services to all kinds of folks, men and women, across our communities. And the tirades against Planned Parenthood in the last few months have really been over the top.

RADDATZ: Thanks very much for joining us, Vicki Cowart, this morning.

Turning now to 2016 and Ben Carson, heading overseas to Jordan, meeting face-to-face with Syrian refugees after coming under fire for his lack of foreign policy experience.

Ben Carson joins us shortly; first, the latest from ABC's Tom Llamas.


DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're just getting a good impression of what's going on.

TOM LLAMAS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ben Carson's campaign releasing these images from his surprise trip to Jordan.

CARSON: This clinic seems to be very nice.

LLAMAS (voice-over): Carson visiting refugee camps where Syrians have fled civil war says the U.S. must do more. But bringing 25,000 refugees to the United States does nothing to solve this crisis. Jordan already houses 1.4 million refugees; Jordan needs and deserves our help.

The overseas trip coming as Carson has taken new heat for his foreign policy comments, like wrongly asserting that China was involved in the Syrian civil war.

CARSON: You know, the Chinese are there as well as the Russians.

LLAMAS (voice-over): And comparing the screening of refugees to protecting children from rabid dogs.

CARSON: If there's a rabid dog running around in your neighborhood, you're probably not going to assume something good about that dog.

LLAMAS (voice-over): And national security issues critical to 2016 candidates: our latest poll of Republicans shows terrorism now topping the economy as the most important issue for voters.

For Carson, only 6 percent of Republicans in the crucial state of Iowa believe he's best to handle foreign policy. Ted Cruz takes the lead at 24 percent. He's come out against sending U.S. ground troops to Syria.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: You asked about boots on the ground. The Kurds are our boots on the ground.

LLAMAS (voice-over): Donald Trump, meanwhile, wants more airpower in the fight against ISIS.


LLAMAS (voice-over): Trump says he's open to the idea of sending ground troops while others have been more definitive in their support, which ranges from limited intervention to large-scale deployment. For THIS WEEK, Tom Llamas, ABC News, New York.


RADDATZ: And our thanks to Tom.

And Ben Carson joins us now from Amman, Jordan.

Good morning, Dr. Carson.

We'll get to your trip in a moment.

But first, your reaction to what happened in Colorado Springs.

CARSON: Well, obviously, you know, any hate crime is a horrible thing, no matter from where it comes, and should be condemned very strongly.

RADDATZ: Dr. Carson, the Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains' Vicki Cowart said that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country.

Do you agree with that?

CARSON: Unfortunately, there's a lot of extremism coming from all areas. It's one of the biggest problems that I think is threatening to tear our country apart. We get into our separate corners and we hate each other; we want to destroy those with whom we disagree.

It comes from both sides. So, you know, there is -- there is no saint here in this -- in this equation.

But what we really have to start asking ourselves is, what can we do as a nation to rectify this situation?

How can we begin to engage in rational discussion?

You know, all you have to do is go to the -- an article on the Internet and go to the comments section; you don't get five comments down before people start calling each other names and acting like idiots, you know.

What happened to us?

What happened to the civility that used to characterize our society?

RADDATZ: And you are in Jordan right now and have had quite the trip to visit refugees.

What have you learned about refugees that you didn't know before?

CARSON: Well, you know, I was very pleasantly surprised that -- to see how welcoming they are.

I had an opportunity to talk to many of the Syrian refugees and ask them, what is your supreme desire?

And it was pretty uniform. They want to go back home, obviously.

And I said, what kinds of things could a nation like the United States do that would be helpful to you?

And, again, I was a little bit surprised with the answer, because it wasn't what we're hearing a lot. We're hearing that they all want to come here to the United States. And that's not what they want. They want to go back home.

But they said the United States and other nations could be much more supportive of the Herculean efforts manifested by the Jordanians in -- in taking in people at a lot of expense to themselves. And they cannot continue that without help from the international community.

You know, you look at last month, we spent $3 billion on Halloween candy. That's the amount of money that was needed to bridge the shortfall for a year that they're having in Jordan with the refugees.

RADDATZ: But, Dr. Carson...

CARSON: We should think about things like that.

RADDATZ: ...we -- we've spent more than $4 billion in humanitarian aid, about $668 million to Jordan for the refugees.

So what more could they possibly be doing?

CARSON: Well, you know, you have to go there and see for yourself. But you can see there are a lot of individual modules that they have created for these families. They're in the process of trying to get electricity all of them, getting plumbing to all of them and providing the kind of comforts facilities that make it a much more tolerable temporary refuge for them, until they can, in fact, get home.

But, you know, the solution for the refugees is already there. You know, and they're -- they've taken in millions of people. You know, for us to bring 10,000 or 25,000 people over here, that doesn't solve the problem.

I mean we need to look at real solutions for the problem and not things that make us feel good about ourselves.

RADDATZ: Dr. Carson, I actually have been to the refugee camps and particularly Zaatari, and found the same thing, they want to go either back to Syria, which doesn't look possible at this point, or they want to go somewhere else. They want jobs.

Do you welcome them into America now?

Has anything changed your mind?

CARSON: Well, when you say, you know, they want to escape the refugee camps, the main reason that any of them want to escape the refugee camps is because there's not adequate support there for them. If there were adequate support, it would be a completely different story.

RADDATZ: But -- but they don't want to...

CARSON: And we can provide that adequate support, so...

RADDATZ: ,,,stay there, Dr. Carson, do they?

The ones -- the people I talk to don't want to stay there...

CARSON: They don't want to stay there permanently...

RADDATZ: ...no matter what the support is.

CARSON: They want to -- they want to be repatriated into their own country. That's what they want.

And is that going to be easier from a neighboring country or is that going to be easier from the United States of America?

RADDATZ: Dr. Carson, by taking this trip in the middle of a campaign, are you acknowledging that you weren't quite prepared to be commander-in-chief?

CARSON: I'm acknowledging that I like to know what I'm talking about. You know, it's the same situation when I went this summer down to the border of Mexico. And, you know, I knew that there were problems there, but to be able to actually talk to the farmers who are being harassed and to the sheriffs and sheriffs' deputies who are frustrated after risking their lives and then being told by ICE, you must release these people, you get a much better impression seeing a fence with a big hole cut in it with a few strings of barbed wire across that people can easily go through, and that's a barrier?

You know, it's good to be able to see these things for yourself so you can actually begin to formulate the right kinds of policies with the real information.

RADDATZ: And -- and what are the right kinds of policies for those Syrian refugees?

Should America be taking some of those refugees?

CARSON: I believe that the right policy is to support the refugee program that is in place, that works that works extremely well but does not have adequate funding. If you do that, you solve that problem without exposing the American people to a population that could be infiltrated with terrorists who want to destroy us.

If you can eliminate the possibility of terrorists infiltrating them and wanting to destroy us, you have a different argument. But I don't see that being eliminated.

RADDATZ: Do -- do you think there were terrorists among those refugees who you talked to?

CARSON: I don't know whether there were or not. But I do know that the -- the ISIS terrorists have said that if we bring refugees, that they would infiltrate them.

And why wouldn't they?

RADDATZ: I want to ask you quickly about ISIS.

I was in Iraq last week and I was in the air combat control center.

Would you like to see the rules of engagement loosened?

One of the things they told me is they aim for zero civilian casualties and sole purpose ISIS structures.

Should that change?

CARSON: What I would really like to see is -- is an administration that really seriously sits down with our experts in that region and would ask them what is needed in order to accomplish our goal of eliminating this group of terrorists?

That's what I'd really like to see.

RADDATZ: So you don't know whether you'd want...

CARSON: But, you know, those of us who are not...

RADDATZ: ...those rules of engagement loosened?

CARSON: ...experts in that area -- those of us who are not experts in that area can sit around all day long talking about oh, we should do this and we should do that. But why don't we listen to the people who actually are the experts in that area, find out what it is that they need?

Then our decision should be is, do we really want to do that? Do we really want to give them what they need or do we want to continue playing around like we are?

RADDATZ: OK, thanks very much, Dr. Carson.

Much more ahead on 20 -- on 2016, including the candidate whose new video seems to be comparing Donald Trump to Hitler.

Plus, high alert with President Obama heading to that global summit in Paris and new revelations about an NFL legend that could change the future of the game.


RADDATZ: Coming up, the roundtable takes on 2016 and President Obama flying to Paris today. A live report from Jon Karl next.


RADDATZ: Paris, a city on edge this morning. Police there yesterday guarding the first soccer match since the terror attacks and now 200 world leaders, including President Obama, set to arrive for a conference on climate change just two weeks after those ISIS terror attacks.

Let's bring in chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, on the ground in Paris -- good morning, Jon.


The effort to combat climate change is what is bringing all the world leaders here to Paris. But hanging over this entire summit is terrorism and the battle against ISIS.

President Obama has said the very fact that this summit is taking place just two weeks after the attacks that rocked this city is, quote, "a powerful rebuke to the terrorists." And according to President Hollande, this is the largest gathering of world leaders ever in Paris.

Security appears to be higher here than at any time since the end of World War II. Terrorism will be on the agenda when President Obama and Hollande have a one-on-one meeting over dinner tomorrow night.

Hollande is seeking unity and a stepped up effort against ISIS.

But in the wake of the shooting down of that Russian jet by Turkey last week, unity is a very tall order. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has refused to apologize, placing the blame on Russia for violating Turkish air space and Russia has slapped severe economic sanctions on Turkey.

One of the subplots here at this summit is Prime Minister Erdogan has asked for a meeting with Vladimir Putin. They will both be here. But so far, Putin has refused to even respond to that request -- Martha.

RADDATZ: Thanks, Jon.

Joining us now, Congressman Michael McCaul, chair of the Homeland Security Committee, and Adam Schiff, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

I want to start with you, Chairman McCaul.

And I want to go back to this Colorado shooting.

Planned Parenthood is calling it domestic terrorism and saying extremists are feeding that environment.

Do you agree?

REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX), CHAIRMAN, HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: Well, I mean it's a tragedy. It's a -- we're seeing too many of these shootings, it seems like every week. It's a, I think, a mental health crisis. I don't think it -- it would fall under quite the definition of domestic terrorism, although I'll leave that to the Justice Department to make that determination.

But I do think we have to address mental health. And I think we also need to enforce existing law, which requires if you've been adjudicated mentally deficient that you have to be put on the list so you can't purchase a firearm. And what we found when I met with the New York Police Department is so many of these cases, like the Navy Yard shooter, never made it into the system. And I think that needs to be fixed.

RADDATZ: And do you think that will help, Congressman Schiff, that list?

How do you draw the line on -- on mental problems?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, I think this is a big issue that there's too ready access of people who are seriously mentally ill to firearms. But Martha, nothing we have done has worked because essentially we have done nothing. The background checks are not universal, so even if people who are mentally ill would be barred, if they buy it off the back of a truck or they buy it at a gun show, it's not going to stop them from getting a weapon. If they can still have access to very powerful weapons with extended ammunition clips, they're still going to be able to kill a lot of people.

We have to do something other than this routine now pantomime of condolence every time we have a mass shooting. That is simply not enough. And it's just unendurable.

RADDATZ: And I want to move to Paris and -- and the mass shooting there. They have somewhat lifted the imminent threat in Brussels. I was there. You feel very safe when the city is on lockdown, but they can't continue that.

What do you know now of the imminent threat in -- in Brussels in that area?

SCHIFF: I think the imminent threat is still very real and very present. There are a lot of people who are unaccounted for that pose a grave danger to people in both Belgium and France. And I think the reality is until Europe makes the decision to share information, to create a unified watch list, much like we have in this country, they either have to do that or they have to stop the free flow of people across their borders and within their borders, or it's not going to be a question of if there will be another Paris-style attack, only when.

RADDATZ: Chairman McCaul, what lessons have we learned from attacks in Paris?

MCCAUL: Well, there are several. The Paris attack were -- it's foreign fighters traveling to the region, coming back. So we have 5,000 Europeans with Western passports that have traveled to the region. Many have come back. We have hundreds of Americans and many of them have come back to the United States.

I do think the threat is far greater in Europe because of the numbers. There are far more foreign fighters traveling in and out of Europe to Iraq and Syria.

My committee issued a bipartisan task force report that the speaker and the leader now are implementing the recommendations and the legislation to help tighten up security gaps both internationally and domestic.

I think as Adam talked about, the ease of travel, they're -- they don't check their citizens past watch lists. I think a lot of that is going to change in the wake of the Paris attacks...

RADDATZ: And -- and what about here in the homeland, Chairman McCaul, what -- what do we really have to do?

You can't protect all these soft targets.

MCCAUL: Well, it's -- it's very difficult and -- and we don't want these foreign fighters coming into the United States from visa waiver countries. We've had, in the homeland, 18 plots stopped that were ISIS-related. We've arrested 70 ISIS followers. And we have 1,000 investigations in all 50 states.

So I think one thing Congress can do is we have an appropriations bill coming up in about two weeks. And I think the FBI and components of Homeland Security will need an increase in funding to help combat this threat that we see right in our homeland.

RADDATZ: Is that the answer, Congressman Schiff?

SCHIFF: Well, you know, we certainly have resource challenges, but we are fortunate that we don't have anywhere near the number of foreign fighters to track that Europe does. At the same time, I think two areas where we can really beef up our own security, one is a continuing vulnerability at our airports. All too often when we test the TSA, they don't meet the test, and that has to...

RADDATZ: And that was one of the things I was going to bring up, if we can talk about this quickly, shooting down of the Russian passenger jet -- or not shooting down, the explosion on board that, that we blame on ISIS. That is pretty incredibly. And we haven't talked about that a lot.

SCHIFF: It is incredible. And if you look at the device that ISIS claims to have used, it's no larger than the size of a soda can, that can bring down an entire plane.

RADDATZ: And you believe that's accurate?

SCHIFF: I believe that a device that small can bring down an aircraft. And that means we really have to tighten up our defenses.

And the other area I would mention, too, is while some have put a lot of focus on the refugees, by and large, the refugees have not been the problem. The real vulnerability here is people with European passports, European citizens that can travel without a visa to the United States. And we're going to have to address that issue.

RADDATZ: Thank you very much for joining us.

Up next, John Kasich taking on Donald Trump.


RADDATZ: Donald Trump's brand new firestorm this week and the candidate who is hitting back. John Kasich is here live.


RADDATZ: Back now to 2016 and Ohio Governor John Kasich who joins us from Columbus this morning. Good morning, Governor Kasich.


RADDATZ: I want to start, governor, with Ben Carson and the Syrian refugees saying what we need to do is give more money to Jordan and other places to help those refugees out there. Is that the answer?

KASICH: Well, I don't mind if we give some humanitarian aid to the Jordanians or, you know, the Saudis if need be, but you know, I've been for this no-fly zone so that we can have a sanctuary for people to be safe. And it was the Kurds and perhaps the Jordanians who could defend the sanctuaries so the Syrians could feel safe in the sanctuary, but the president has done nothing. And he's created a very big void.

And Martha, as I mentioned earlier, the Russians have now deployed S-400 air defense system that not only threatens our ability to move around, but the Turks also have coverage in northern Israel, this is profound implications for the region, profound implications for us.

And we dither and we delay and it is just not working out. And frankly the president ought to be encouraging the president of Turkey and say we stand with him against the fact that the Russians invaded his airspace, but we've done nothing. And so the Russians have moved forward to deploy an air defense system that we, at this point, really can't penetrate and it limits our ability.

RADDATZ: Well, what would you do about that air defense system?

KASICH: Well, at this point -- I mean, you know, the only thing you can do with that air defense system is to take it out. And of course that's very serious. So you make it clear...

RADDATZ: You would take out a Russian air defense system?

KASICH: No, what I’m saying to you, Martha, that's all you can do right now, because we don't have the capability. No, I think that we should proceed with moving forward on a no-fly zone. And I think we should proceed by putting boots on the ground and a coalition with Europeans and with our friends in the Middle East like we had in the first Gulf War to destroy ISIS once and for all.

But I have to tell you...

RADDATZ: You called for boots on the ground before. You're talking about an invading force, an occupying force, give us more specifics.

KASICH: No, I'm not talking about an occupying force, I'm talking about a coalition that looks awfully like the coalition we had in the first Gulf War. It would involve our friends in the Middle East who want to contribute, also to our NATO allies, because we're not going to solve this problem with ISIS by just sitting back and delaying or dithering, which is what we've done.

And the longer we do this -- we did not support the Syrian rebels in the beginning, so Assad survives. We did not create the no-fly zones. And now all of a sudden, not only are the Russians there, but they're there with a very strong air defense system that not only could potentially limit what we do, but also of course threatens the northern part of Israel and Turkey. I mean, it's just amazing what's happening.

This is reminiscent -- yeah, this is reminiscent of what happened when Jimmy Carter showed weakness to the Russians all the way back in the late-70s. It's a very serious problem, Martha.

RADDATZ: Governor Kasich, I want to move to the campaign and Donald Trump, your campaign has a new ad out that is stirring a lot of controversy. Let's listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he keeps going and he actually becomes president, he might just get around to you and you better hope that there's someone left to help you.


RADDATZ: OK, you're referencing the famous anti-Nazi poem "First They Came For." The ad appears to compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. Is that the comparison?

KASICH: No, Martha, this is Colonel Tom Moe, he was a POW for five years in North Vietnam, was beaten and tortured and came within an inch of losing his own life. And these are his words. He feels very strongly about a man who divides us. And as you know, Martha...

RADDATZ: But it is your ad.

KASICH: Well, but it's his words. And we -- look, it's about whether we want to have a leader who unifies the country. I mean, Trump has criticized and insulted women, Hispanics, Muslims and reporters. In addition to that, he was picking on...

RADDATZ: Do you believe what Donald Trump is saying that he didn't know he was insulting the reporter?

KASICH: Well, he's insulted other reporters. This one he absolutely mocked, who was disabled.

Martha, I know you're a fan of (INAUDIBLE). We all are. We need a leader that brings us together, not a leader that's separating us, one group from another.

RADDATZ: Does that mean you would not support him if he were the nominee?

KASICH: Well, he's not going to be the nominee, Martha, because, at the end, look, he may have 20 percent of the vote. But he's got 80 percent of Republicans who don't support him. And somebody has to call him out on this kind of divisive language --


RADDATZ: But answer that question. You say he won't get the nomination.

But if he does, will you support him?

KASICH: He's not going to. So we're not even going to go there. But I tell you this --

RADDATZ: So would you support him, Governor Kasich, if he is the Republican nominee?

After what you've just said about him?

KASICH: I think he's very divisive and I do not believe he will last, Martha. I know all the press keeps speculating on what he's going to do; you all said he was going to fall, then he didn't. Now you're, you know, all, you know, you're all, you know, up in the air about, well, maybe he's going to make it.

He's not going to make it, Martha.

You know why he's not going to make it?

Because somebody who divides this country here in the 21st century, who's calling names of women and Muslims and Hispanics and mocking reporters, then say I didn't do it but he did do it, it's just not going to happen, Martha. And everybody needs to get over it and take a deep breath.

At the end of the day, we have serious problems --

RADDATZ: OK, Governor Kasich, I'm going to have to -- I'm going to have to wrap it up here. We talked about foreign affairs quite a bit. We really appreciate your joining us this morning.

KASICH: But I wish you were in the race, Martha. I'd (INAUDIBLE) for you if you were the nominee.

RADDATZ: Oh, that would be a disaster.


RADDATZ: OK, next on this Thanksgiving football weekend the surprising revelation about a gridiron icon: could it change the game?



TRUMP: I would never mock a person that has a difficulty. I would never do that. I'm telling you. I would never do it. I would never do it.

I would never do it.

I don't care if I liked the person or didn't. And I don't know this person.

RADDATZ: Donald Trump there, defending himself, saying he didn't make fun of a disabled "New York Times" reporter. And the "Powerhouse Roundtable" is here, "Weekly Standard" editor Bill Kristol; Democratic strategist Maria Cardona; Matt Bai, national political columnist for Yahoo! News and ABC's Cokie Roberts.

Cokie Roberts, do you believe him and does it matter?

COKIE ROBERTS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Nothing seems to matter in terms of his voters. His base voters basically say whatever he says is fine.

I don’t -- I think it was important that John Kasich is now beginning to call him out. It's about time that others in the Republican field start to say the emperor has no clothes and that is the case, of course.

RADDATZ: Is that the case, Bill Kristol?

BILL KRISTOL, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": The case is Donald Trump isn't telling the truth and he clearly knew what he was doing when he mocked "The New York Times" reporter and then he pretended he hadn't known him.

Then he makes a pseudo-apology, which (INAUDIBLE) --



MATT BAI, YAHOO! NEWS: This is the thing, Martha, this is the thing that amazes me -- he used the word "amazing," right, about Trump, right, because we all get that he shoots from the hip. We all get that he said he's a straight talker, he says what he wants, whatever it is --


BAI: -- he wants to pass himself off as. He has absolutely zero capacity. He has demonstrated zero capacity in this campaign to say I'm sorry, to apologize for any of the things that he says. I think that could be -- to me, that's disqualifying in a leader. If you can't even reflect on the things you say in the heat of the moment when you're as rash as he is to sometimes say, you know, I misspoke, I shouldn't have done that, he's never said --


RADDATZ: -- and the latest FOX News poll shows he's viewed 41 percent honest, 55 percent not honest. But it doesn’t seem to matter.

MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, and I think that is probably the worst part of this for Republicans because it doesn’t seem to matter to his voters.

And in fact, when he does double down on his lies and his untruths, when he blames the media for any misstatements they think that he has made, it makes his voters that much more fervent about support him.

ROBERTS: But Kasich is right. He doesn’t have the majority of Republican voters.

RADDATZ: But he seems to be -- Kasich seems to be the one taking on Trump now. It didn't work so well for Bobby Jindal --


RADDATZ: -- it's not going to work for them, either.

And Cruz, Ted Cruz has taken the other side. The latest polls, Cruz is number two in Iowa with 23 percent in the Quinnipiac poll, just behind Trump at 25 percent; he will not attack Trump.


RADDATZ: Where does that go?

ROBERTS: I think he could go all the way for Ted Cruz. He is very much sailing in Trump's wake and hoping that Trump will fall and that the voters will come to him. So he's doing nothing to alienate them. And he's a serious candidate. He's somebody who took on the establishment in Texas and won and represents Texas in the Senate, big state. I mean, he could -- he could make it.

KRISTOL: And we just can't underestimate -- this is the reason why the elected officials take on Trump and it doesn’t help and, in fact, it helps Trump in a way, because people have a deep distrust of our elected officials, confidence and honesty and in some ways, frankly, after the last decade, you'd say having a distrust in political elites and financial elites is warranted.

I mean, look at the four leading candidates for Republican nomination, two people who've never held elected office -- Donald Trump and Ben Carson -- and two first-term senators. All these governors who've been in office for -- well, in Rick Perry's case, 14 years and others' case, people's case is two terms, Jeb Bush, all, by the way, side. We'll see if one of them can make a bit of a run; maybe Christie can.

But it is striking -- I just think we keep underestimating -- and I have, too.


RADDATZ: I agree he just got that New Hampshire union or the Manchester union leader endorsement.

CARDONA: That's right. Well, I think if at any time that kind of endorsement is going to help, it is now. But here's a --


RADDATZ: -- Newt Gingrich last time.


CARDONA: Well, exactly. And so what I was going to say is probably this cycle, more than any other, what the media says doesn’t matter. And in fact, could hurt a candidate in this primary process.

At this point, I don't see a path where Donald Trump probably doesn’t become the nominee. And I --

KRISTOL: Oh, that's nonsense.



CARDONA: -- and that may be true. But --


CARDONA: -- but what can he say that he hasn't said before that will make his --


CARDONA: -- no one else drops out and he starts gaining --


ROBERTS: -- make a difference. The super PACs make it possible --


BAI: -- no, the question, look, we know what we've got with Trump now. You have an inelastic base of support that maybe 25-30 percent of the party -- he couldn't shake that if he went out and, you know, killed a bunch of people today.

The question is -- the question is, you know, can he grow it?

He's shown no capacity to grow it and I think the things he's done in the last couple months make that impossible. So the -- so what you're really looking at is -- the question you have to ask yourself is can the governing establishment of the Republican Party at this point be like the Tea Party in 2012, in which they just remained split, choose a bunch of different candidates in different states and can't coalesce?

That's the scenario under which you're talking --

CARDONA: That's right.

BAI: -- that you're talking about. I don't think establishments behave that way. I think ultimately, they do congeal around one or two candidates. And if that's the case, they will eclipse Donald Trump because he can't grow 25 or 30 percent in the election...


RADDATZ: I want to...

CARDONA: -- anything that we've seen before.

RADDATZ: I want to talk about Ben Carson. You heard Ben Carson in Jordan meeting with refugees. Before the Paris attacks, you wrote that you regretted having been so dismissive of the Carson candidacy. He has the qualities of mind and soul sorely missed in recent public life."

Do you still feel the same way?

KRISTOL: I do. I also say in that editorial that I probably wouldn't vote for him for president. I prefer one of the more conventionally qualified candidates. But I regretted lumping Carson with Trump. I said neither was qualified to be president about two months ago.

I think Trump is, in my opinion -- I mean I feel I've come to kind of loathe Donald Trump, whereas I like...


KRISTOL: -- I like and admire Ben Carson. He probably shouldn't be president of the United States, but he's a decent human being and I thought the interview showed that, incidentally. He went over to Jordan. He's trying to think things through. His recommendations of sending more aid to help the refugee camps in Jordan and being wary about letting Syrians come into the U.S. isn't crazy, after all.

And so I'm -- I'm pro-Carson and anti-Trump.

But I think ultimately Carson won't be the nominee either...

CARDONA: And do you know what...

KRISTOL: -- which does raise the question to Cokie's point about Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio...


KRISTOL: -- Chris Christie, one of them is more likely...

ROBERTS: Well, and then...

KRISTOL: -- to be the nominee.

ROBERTS: -- and Chris Christie, regardless of the "Manchester Union-Leader," is in a little moment because of what happened in Paris. And -- and terrorism, once it becomes the primary issue, it really does sink everything else, because if people don't feel safe, nothing else matters, so.

BAI: Well, he's also the best pure...


BAI: -- he's the best pure...

RADDATZ: Very quickly, Matt.

BAI: -- retail candidate in the field. And that's why I think "The Union Leader" endorsement does matter at this point, because I think the establishment does have to congeal somewhere and he's got a lot of strengths as a candidate.

RADDATZ: OK, as you can tell, we're running out of time, so we'll let you guys go.

Thank you.

But we'll still ask the Powerhouse Puzzler for those of you at home and that's President Obama there conducting the presidential turkey pardon. The names of this year's pardoned turkeys pay homage to our 16th president.

Can you guess either of the names?

The answer after this from our ABC stations.


RADDATZ: Thanks for joining us, Chris.

(INAUDIBLE) the pardoned turkeys?

The answer, Honest and Abe.

Now to that surprise revelation about a football legend. Hall of Famer and former "Monday Night Football" analyst Frank Gifford died of natural causes in August, but a team of pathologists this week saying Gifford had CTE, a disease resulting from brain tumor that is detectable only after death.

The Gifford family saying our suspicions that he was suffering from the debilitating effects of head trauma were confirmed.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell saying, "We are not waiting until science provides all the answers, we are working now to improve the safety of our game."

Still, CTE and the effects of head injuries on players has had a big impact on the league.

So what will be the impact of these new revelations?

Let's bring in "USA Today" columnist, Christine Brennan, and Chris Nowinski, executive director of the Concussion Legacy Foundation.

And Christine, I want to start with you.

You wrote in your column this week that "A national conversation we all should be having about concussions will come easier now because of Frank Gifford."

Why -- why does this change the conversation?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, "USA TODAY"/ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Because he's a national name that crosses over from sports, Martha, into our culture, the same way that the HIV and AIDS issue with Rock Hudson and then Magic Johnson, that that conversation was advanced, or Parkinson's with Michael J. Foxx, addiction with Betty Ford.

Very different issues all. But the common theme there is a big name that crosses into all households...

RADDATZ: People can really identify.

BRENNAN: -- and -- and you can say now Frank Gifford had this?

Everyone knows Frank Gifford. There's not a name that -- a person who doesn't know him in a way that a football name, just a football player, Frank crossed over into our lives in a big way.

RADDATZ: Chris, I saw you listening to the quote from Roger Goodell, saying we're not going to wait for science, we're going to make the game safer.

You've said over and over and over again that the NFL is too powerful.

Will this change anything for them?

CHRIS NOWINSKI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CONCUSSION LEGACY FOUNDATION: Well, I don't think it will change much for the NFL. But the big conversation we need to have is if this -- football is causing this disease, which it is, and it's a dose response relationship, the longer you play, the more times you're hit in the head, the younger you start, we really have to look at youth football.

And the problem is while the NFL is making some moves to their game, they can't make the youth game safe. And yet they're marketing it to so many children. They're spending tens of millions of dollars to get our kids to play when we really should be getting our kids to get out of it.

RADDATZ: You played football. You played high school, college...


RADDATZ: -- and you've said you feel you have some effects of it.

NOWINSKI: Oh, absolutely. I had to re--- I -- I still have Post-Concussion Syndrome. I likely have CTE. I mean you know, we -- I'm really motivated that we -- our researchers can find a way to diagnose this in living people and treat it, because there's a lot of guys like me, that are dealing with these issues.

RADDATZ: And Christine, I interviewed recently the head of the health program for the NFL, the chief doctor at the NFL, Dr. Elizabeth Nabel. She was going through what we do for concussions and you pull them out at this time and you -- I have to say, I keep thinking but we don't really know that much about concussions, do we?

So are you comfortable with that at all...


RADDATZ: -- what they're doing now?

BRENNAN: Well, it's better than they -- what they were doing before, although last week, there was a quarterback who kept playing with a concussion and that -- they had a conference call to make sure they got the protocol right. So this is still a work in progress.

It's not just football, though the NFL and football, to Chris's point, is a huge piece of it, girls and women's soccer, it's a huge issue there.

See, it's a big issue with our youth sports.

I wonder in 50 years, will we have football?

We're going to have it for the next 10, 15, 20, 30, probably.

But 50 years?

I don't know.

And to Chris's point, what happens with those kids, especially maybe the suburban kids or whatever?

Will they choose football or will they go to other sports because moms and dads will say that we're worried about this for our kids?

RADDATZ: And very quickly, Chris, do you think we should have football?

Do you think we should have football in 50 years?

NOWINSKI: I don't think it should be for children. No way we should be hitting kids in the head hundreds of times before high school for any reason whatsoever.

RADDATZ: And Dr. Nabel said she thinks there will be a trickle-down effect.

Do you think there will be?

NOWINSKI: I -- not really.

RADDATZ: That will help the kids.

NOWINSKI: There's only so much we can do. There's only so much we can do to help kids in a sport like football, when you're hitting them so much and they're too young to even understand they have a concussion. No, I mean and concussion isn't really the issue. It's the hundreds of hits to the head is terrible for any childhood brain.

RADDATZ: OK. Thanks very much to both of you.

It's something we've talked about many times and we'll probably talk about many times coming up.

That's all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "WORLD NEWS TONIGHT." And we'll see you back here next week.

Have a great day.

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