THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT FOR 'THIS WEEK' ON JANUARY 3, 2016 and it will be updated.
ANNOUNCER: Starting right now on ABC This Week. It's 2016. With less than a month to Iowa, one-time front runner Ben Carson making big moves to shake up his campaign. But will it be too little, too late? We're one on one with Carson. It's an ABC News exclusive.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The husband is one of the great abusers of the world.
ANNOUNCER: Did he go too far in his shots against Hillary's husband? Her top Democratic rival is here weighing in.
Plus, Bill Cosby breaks his silence. What he's tweeting now after his sexual assault arrest.
From ABC News, THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS begins now.
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC HOST: Good morning.
2016 is officially here. And as we ring in the New Year, the race to the White House is getting real. Candidates prepping for what will certainly be the most intense phase of the campaign so far, the eight week sprint to Super Tuesday. The first major challenge, the Iowa caucuses, just four weeks from tomorrow where anything is possible.
Back in 2008, Barack Obama trailed Hillary Clinton by double digits weeks before winning the Hawkeye state.
Then just eight days after Iowa, New Hampshire. Will the Granite State's first in the nation primary launch a new comeback kid?
The race then heads south and west before going nationwide on Super Tuesday March 1 when polls opened in 13 states.
Amid all of that, seven debates where we're sure to hear more of the insults, the zingers and the one-liners that have shaped this campaign. It is a 58 day scramble, make or break, for so many. We will be bringing you the latest every step of the way, seeing who will rise, who will stumble and most importantly which candidates can bounce back after taking a fall.
Ben Carson is trying to do just that. The one-time front runners campaign now in turmoil. He's speaking out this morning, exclusively right here.
First Tom Llamas on where the GOP race stands as we kick off the scramble to Super Tuesday.
TOM LLAMAS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: What a difference a year makes. A year ago, Jeb Bush was considered a major 2016 contender.
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So, I'm thinking about running for president.
LLAMAS: Donald Trump himself was unsure whether he would run.
TRUMP: I'm going to give it very serious consideration. We may surprise you. You would be surprised.
LLAMAS: I would be shocked.
But Bush's promised shock and awe campaign was eclipsed in June by the ability of the brash billionaire to shock them all.
TRUMP: When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists.
LLAMAS: His rising stardom overshadowing the rest of the GOP field.
TRUMP: I've been leading from practically the time I announced.
LLAMAS: So many candidates joining the race that they couldn't ti on one stage. But with Iowa just a month away, the field has whittled down. Donald Trump saying this week he'll make his first major ad buy in early states.
TRUMP: I'll be spending a minimum of $2 million a week.
LLAMAS: The national frontrunner neck and neck with Senator Ted Cruz in the Hawkeye State. And Senator Marco Rubio now being branded by some as the party's establishment pick. A Rubio donor commissioned this New Year's Day message over the Rose Bowl game, "America is great. Trump is disgusting."
And then there are the candidates who peaked and then ebbed. Ben Carson chief among them. The one-time front runner falling to fourth place.
His team beset by chaos and back room drama this week, top staffers resigning as the former neurosurgeon tries to revive his political fortune.
If the polls seem to defy political gravity in 2015, it's now the voters' turn to decide what shock and awe may lie ahead.
For This Week, Tom Llamas, ABC News, New York.
RADDATZ: Thanks, Tom.
RADDATZ: And let's bring in Ben Carson joining us exclusively from Florida.
Dr. Carson, happy new year. But I want to get right to the questions.
You have less than a month before the Iowa caucuses. You have lost a lot of your top aides. What happened?
BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, first of all, whenever you have something that is not working the way you want it to, you have a few choices. You can double down on it, you can ignore it, or you can analyze it and make appropriate changes.
You know, we have had very good people. They've had very good ideas. And no one predicted that we would even be in the hunt. And you know a novice in this area with no background, no campaign, no funding mechanism. So it really is quite spectacular what we were able to do.
But the fact of the matter is, now we're in a different ball game, and we need the ability to execute and not just to have good ideas.
RADDATZ: Were you about to fire those aides, Dr. Carson?
CARSON: Well, I did a deep dive. And you know one of the things that I learned in my many years in corporate America is that you have to have the ability to execute a plan. And we didn't really have that. So I brought in someone, General Bob Dees, who has a lot of experience with execution. And you know there were some who decided under those circumstances it would be too difficult for them to work. And that's OK. We still appreciate them...
RADDATZ: But were you going to fire Barry Bennett, the campaign manager? Were you about to fire Barry Bennett the campaign manager and your communications director? That's a simple question.
CARSON: I was going to make some very substantial changes. And Mr. Bennett decided that he could not live with those changes. And that's OK. It doesn't diminish anything that he's done. I think he's done a fantastic job.
RADDATZ: One of the things Barry Bennett said to the Associated Press about your campaign, he said you have to surround yourself with good people and he has not demonstrated he can do that.
And you, in an op-ed from March, said that wisdom is every bit as important as knowledge and perhaps an even more important qualification for the job of president, being able to choose trusted and capable thought leaders. Shouldn't people now question whether you can choose good advisers if your own campaign manager is saying you haven't shown you can?
CARSON: Well, I think people should watch very carefully and see if, in fact, that is exactly what we have done. Again, when things are not working the way you want them to, you analyze them and you make the appropriate changes in order to be able to accomplish your goals.
I think that will become very, very apparent within the next few weeks.
RADDATZ: Your campaign described this as an enhancement.
What needed enhancement?
What was missing?
What were they doing that you did not like: specifics?
CARSON: Well, it was -- it was very difficult to execute plans. For instance, getting our policies out. You know, we talk and talk and talk but they don’t seem to get out -- and I want them out. I want people to be able to analyze them and talk about them.
I think that was a huge thing. And also a culture -- I want a culture of openness, not a culture of control. And there were a lot of people saying, you know, we have these great ideas, we want to do these things, but we can’t get an answer, we can’t get a response.
And again, not throwing anybody under the bus, but just saying that those are things that really don’t work well for a campaign. And --
RADDATZ: And what about Armstrong Williams, Mr. Carson?
What about Armstrong Williams?
Some say he is the root of the problem, your confidant.
CARSON: You know, like anybody, he’s made some bad judgments. There’s no question about it. But, you know, he’s a friend. I think he’s a valuable individual. But we can’t have people working at cross-purposes and that’s one of the things that has to be fixed and is being fixed and is fixed, in fact, at this point.
RADDATZ: So Armstrong Williams will continue to advise you.
I want to move on to some of the headlines this morning. Saudi Arabia has put to death a prominent Shiite cleric in a mass execution. Iran’s Supreme Leader says there will be divine revenge.
What is your reaction to what Saudi Arabia has done?
CARSON: Well, you know, Saudi -- the Saudis have been one of our strongest allies in the Middle East and I think it’s unfortunate that we put them in the position that we have by showing the support to Iran that we have with this foolish deal.
And, you know, there’s no reason for the Saudis to believe that we’re really on their side when we do things like that. And it won’t be surprising if they’re not looking to have a nuclear program soon and everybody else in the Middle East also.
RADDATZ: But let’s get back to the issue of the mass execution --
CARSON: We have to look at the consequences of what we’re doing.
RADDATZ: Look at this execution of this Shiite cleric. This Shiite -- this Shiite --
CARSON: I don’t --
RADDATZ: -- had criticized the monarchy in Bahrain for suppressing protest during the Arab Spring and he was executed.
CARSON: No, I don’t, I don’t condone by any stretch of the imagination. Of course we don’t condone that kind of thing. But I’m just saying we need to stop doing silly things that promote these kinds of activities; that’s what I’m saying.
RADDATZ: OK and the Islamic militant group in Somalia, Al-Shabaab, released a recruitment video which shows footage of Donald Trump proposing that Muslims should be temporarily barred from entering the United States.
Would you try to counter that image of the U.S.?
You early on said you would question whether or a Muslim should be president.
CARSON: I question whether a Muslim who wants sharia law can be a president. It’s not consistent with our Constitution. There’s no backing away from that. And the fact of the matter is, political correctness will destroy us if we don’t wake up.
And we need to expose things, like the things that came out during the Holy Land Foundation trial, where they said that foolishness of Americans and their political correctness will help us to be able to accomplish civilization jihad.
We’ve got to be smart. This is not a traditional war where you have a battle group here and a battle group there and they’re fighting each other. And we have to understand how they’re going to be attacking and we have to anticipate -- we have to know that they’re going to be shifting over to Libya right now, which is a huge problem for us.
A lot of oil there, strategic location, you go across the water, northern and you’re into Southern Europe. South Sudan, Chad, you know, Niger, you know, a tremendous opportunity for them. We need to be undermining their possibilities of establishing a caliphate there right now. Let’s not wait until they do it.
RADDATZ: Should Donald Trump watch what he says?
So he’ll stay out of those recruiting videos?
CARSON: We should all -- we should all be careful about what we say, but the fact of the matter is, let’s not get so concerned about how offended our enemies are. And let’s pay a whole lot more attention to who we are and how do we protect our people here in the United States.
RADDATZ: Thanks very much for joining us, Dr. Carson. Good to see you.
CARSON: Always good to see you. Thank you.
RADDATZ: So can Ben Carson survive his massive campaign shakeup?
The powerhouse roundtable is here to take on that very big question.
With me, Alex Castellanos, chairman of Purple Strategies and founder of newrepublican.org; Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator Van Jones; national political columnist for Yahoo! News Matt Bai; and Alice Stewart, former communications director for Mike Huckabee for President.
And Alex, I want to start with you. I saw you sort of furiously taking notes during that interview.
What do you make of that?
ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think the good doctor's campaign needs a doctor. It's in serious trouble and that’s important for a couple of reasons.
He was the cap on Ted Cruz and as he has diminished, Cruz is unleashed, which I don't think is very healthy for the Republican Party. But Carson is still the soul of the Republican Party in many ways. He's kind of the moral and spiritual leader. That's an important thing.
But you know once consumers buy a product, take it home and try it, and then decide, mmm, not happy with it and put it back on the shelf, they're not likely to go back and buy it again. It's going to be very hard for Dr. Carson to medically revive his campaign.
RADDATZ: And Alice, this was you two weeks ago. You were the communications director for Mike Huckabee; you stepped down.
So what do you make of this?
ALICE STEWART, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR MIKE HUCKABEE: Well, here's the thing. Ben Carson has had a tremendous record, a tremendous history as a surgeon in the medical community, had a phenomenal start in the presidential campaign. There's no doubt about that.
But at this stage of the game, one month out from the Iowa caucus, this is not what you want to be talking about. And you can get a sense how he's running his campaign, how he would possibly do in the White House and with a shakeup like this, it's not good.
RADDATZ: Matt Bai, can he survive? People have cleaned house before. But probably not quite so close to the caucuses?
MATT BAI, YAHOO! NEWS: One of my favorite stories from my book was in 1988, is when Gary Hart gets back in the race at the end of 1988 and he gets 0 percent in Iowa. And Martin O'Malley was actually with him on his campaign, was his campaign aide. O'Malley said to him, I apologize. I was supposed to run Iowa for you.
And Hart says, "Martin, this was not an organizational problem."
You know what Ben Carson has is not an organizational problem. He hasn't met the bar that voters have for someone ready to be the commander in chief and the president. And I think you know, you can do all the shakeups you want at this late date --
RADDATZ: But at one point people thought he would be just fine --
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, listen, you say this before it, you know, in the 2012 cycle, you know, you have a flavor of the month. The one person he needs to fire on his campaign is Ben Carson. That's the reality. I mean, he had a shot; he was in the lead. But when you can't tell the difference between hummus and Hamas, you're not going to be able to survive in a presidential campaign.
There's a level of narcissism here and you saw it in the interview --
JONES: You saw it in the interview. He was happy to talk about all these internal details. Here's a guy that's spent most of his career telling people take personal responsibility. He spent the past several days blaming his staff and the media instead of blaming himself.
CASTELLANOS: I disagree. I think he's certainly a little lost; he didn't talk about fixing the big problem, which is people want a president as big as our fears and as strong as our adversaries right now. And he doesn't seem to be that. He didn't address that.
But to say that it's narcissistic on his point, he got in because he thinks America needs a moral renewal. And it's almost a spiritual cause. And I think that's a good and decent thing and has a place in the Republican Party.
RADDATZ: OK. And you're all going to be back in a few minutes.
But next, we are just getting started. Donald Trump versus Bill Clinton, the battle gets raw with the brash billionaire attacking President Clinton's past. (INAUDIBLE) there as we have Democratic contender Bernie Sanders right here to tell us what he thinks about the growing feud.
Plus new details in that sexual assault arrest of comedy legend Bill Cosby.
Why was he charged so many years after all those accusations?
Back in just two minutes.
RADDATZ: That's Hillary Clinton's top rival, Bernie Sanders there, working the crowds this week on New Year's Eve. In just a moment, Bernie Sanders will join me.
But first we go inside the growing feud between Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, who's about to hit the campaign trail for his wife, Hillary, as ABC News Cecilia Vega reports, Trump's new attacks on his former friend, Bill Clinton, are dominating the Democratic race in the New Year.
CECILIA VEGA, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A year ago it seemed the presidency might be Hillary Clinton's race to lose.
Who would have thought 12 months later a Democratic Socialist from Vermont and a billionaire reality TV star would pose the biggest threat to her dreams?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Are you ready for a radical idea?
VEGA: Her main challenger, Senator Bernie Sanders, continues to draw large and enthusiastic crowds.
SANDERS: We have received 2.5 million individual contributions, more than any campaign in the history of the United States of America.
VEGA: And this week a twist, ugly attacks from a former friend. Just a few years ago, Trump had nothing but praise for the Clintons...
TRUMP: Hillary is a great friend of mine, her husband is a great friend of mine, they're fantastic people.
VEGA: Now aiming his attacks only at his potential rival, but taking shots at Hillary's husband as well.
TRUMP: She wants to accuse me of things? And the husband is one of the great abusers of the world? Give me a break. Give me a break.
VEGA: Those attacks not stopping Clinton from bringing what she calls her secret weapon to the campaign trails.
Tomorrow, the former president heads to New Hampshire, a place where both Clintons have enjoyed political comebacks. But this time, this is Sander's backyard where he's been leading in the polls since August.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's make this happen. I need your help. I need your support.
VEGA: For This Week, Cecelia Vega, ABC News, New York
RADDATZ: Our thanks to Cecelia.
Bernie Sanders is hard at work on the campaign trail this holiday weekend. And he joins me this morning from New Hampshire. Happy new year, Senator Sanders.
We noticed that today is the 25th anniversary of your first day in Congress. Twenty five years, what do you say to critics who say the country needs a president from outside Washington and not a career politician?
SANDERS: Well, what I say is if you study my record, I'm not exactly a career politician. Martha, during my tenure in the Congress, I have taken on virtually every powerful special interest from Wall Street to the insurance companies to the pharmaceutical industry to the military-industrial complex.
What my campaign is about is standing up to the billionaire class today, and making certain that we do not continue to see the decline of the American middle class, where people are working longer hours for lower wages and almost all new income and wealth is going to the top 1 percent. That is the issue that I find that the American people are most concerned about, the decline of the middle class, massive income and wealth inequality, and a corrupt campaign finance system.
RADDATZ: Well, let me take you back to 1990 on election night. This is what you said. "We need a mass movement of tens of millions of people prepared to say that we want national health care, that we want the millionaires and multi-national corporations who are not paying their fair share, to pay their fair share."
That sounds an awful lot like Bernie Sanders 2015, but you haven’t really been able to create that mass movement. How can we imagine that you’ll do it now?
SANDERS: Well, Martha, we’re doing pretty well. You know, I started this campaign at 3 percent in the polls. There were some polls that had me out recently at 39 percent. Come to my meetings. They’re huge all over the United States of America.
And what we are seeing is mass dissatisfaction on the part of the middle class. We’re seeing people who are really upset that they can’t afford to send their kids to college. They can’t afford childcare. The rich are getting richer; almost everybody else is getting poorer. And what people are saying is, you know, it’s absurd. That with massive income...
RADDATZ: Let me turn to Iowa.
SANDERS: ...and wealth inequality...
RADDATZ: Let me turn to Iowa, Senator Sanders. This is what you recently said at a campaign stop.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: Let me tell you a secret, don’t tell anybody. I don’t want to get Secretary Clinton nervous.
SANDERS: I think we’re going to win here in Iowa.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: I don’t know how nervous Secretary Clinton is about that. She has consistently led in the polls in Iowa through the latter part of 2015. What can you possibly do to try to stop that momentum in just four weeks?
SANDERS: Martha, should have been with us in our last trips to Iowa. The turnouts that we’re seeing in big towns and in small towns are extraordinary. The enthusiasm is very, very strong. I think that people are tired of establishment politics and establishment economics. And they are also tired of a corrupt campaign finance system in super PACs that allows billionaires to purchase elections. That’s not what the American people want.
And one of the manifestations of that is the kind of incredible fundraising that we have been doing in terms of small, individual donations. We have 2.5 million small, individual contribution-style campaign. That is more than any campaign in the history of the United States of America, and I think that speaks to the enthusiasm and support that we’re getting at the grassroots.
RADDATZ: Hillary Clinton has Bill Clinton joining her on the campaign trail there in New Hampshire this week. Donald Trump and Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus think Bill Clinton’s sexual history is fair game. Do you?
SANDERS: No, I don’t. I think, you know, we have enormous problems facing this country and I think we got more things to worry about than Bill Clinton’s sexual life. I think -- interestingly enough, maybe Donald Trump might want to focus attention on climate change, understand that climate change is not a hoax, as he believes that it is, that maybe Donald Trump should understand that we should raise the minimum wage in this country, which he opposes, and maybe we should not be giving huge tax breaks to fellow billionaires like Donald Trump.
So I think maybe he should focus on those things.
RADDATZ: You have had some very harsh words for Donald Trump recently and you said you wanted to stay away from personal attacks...
RADDATZ: ...in this campaign.
RADDATZ: Some of the things you’ve said, like calling him a pathological liar, have been pretty personal.
SANDERS: Yes. The truth is I do not get engaged in personal attacks, but Trump really is over the edge. He has attacked me very ferociously and has called me a liar because I point that out, that nobody else has seen on television thousands of Muslims celebrating the destruction of the Twin Towers.
Time after time, this guy just comes up with things off the top of his head that are lies. And somebody has got to say that he is a pathological liar.
RADDATZ: Senator Sanders, President Obama is reportedly considering executive action that would require unlicensed gun dealers to get licensed by the ATF and conduct background checks on potential buyers. Recent polling shows three in four Americans thinks it’s important that there be bipartisan consensus before implementing gun control. Is an executive action that circumvents Congress the right way to do it?
SANDERS: Well, I wish that we could get bipartisan action on gun safety legislation. I think the American people have been horrified by the mass shootings we’ve seen over the last couple of years. What I think we need to do, among many other things, is do away with the so-called gun show loophole where people are -- do not have to go through the instant background check.
Martha, there is a wide consensus, overwhelming majority of the American people believe we should expand and strengthen the instant background checks so that people who should not have guns, are i.e. criminals or people with mental issues, mental health issues, should not guns. I think that’s what the president is trying to do and I think that will be the right thing to do.
RADDATZ: And very quickly, Senator Sanders, on the campaign trail last week, you said that the retaking of Ramadi in Iraq is a model for destroying ISIS and that training of Iraqi troops may have turned things around. Eighty percent of the reason Ramadi is falling is because of coalition air strikes, though. That’s what you think should continue?
SANDERS: Right. I think it has to be Muslim troops on the ground who are fighting for the soul of Islam, supported by U.S., French, U.K., German, other major powers, and using our air superiority.
RADDATZ: Might be very difficult to get those ground troops, but thank you very much, Senator Sanders.
Next, more on that Trump-Clinton feud. What the other 2016 candidates gain from it.
Plus, Bill Cosby, the new details on what he faces now that he’s been criminally charged.
RADDATZ: In just a moment, why it may not matter who is leading in the campaign polls. Our powerhouse roundtable on why the race may change in a major way in 2016.
RADDATZ: And we’re back with the powerhouse roundtable. Let’s get right into Donald Trump’s escalating attacks on Bill Clinton.
Alice, you live in Little Rock, Arkansas. You know a lot about Bill Clinton. Is it fair to go after him that way?
STEWART: Well, here’s -- the question is, I live across town from the Clinton Library, is filled with volumes of his history as a great economic leader of this country and bispartisanship. But also there’s a part of his record which is the very reason why “The Wall Street Journal” this week referred to him as “no on in American politics better personifies a war on women than Mrs. Clinton’s husband”. And “The New Hampshire Leader” referred to him as a serial philanderer.
So for Hillary Clinton to claim she is out there fighting for women, yet to be an enabler for a womanizer, that takes that issue off the table. So in terms of that issue, out on the campaign trail, she is -- she cannot discuss that. She’s going to have to stick with Benghazi.
RADDATZ: Do you agree with that ban? Or do -- Bill Clinton is very, very popular. Gallup in May had him at 59 percent likeability. And wouldn’t they look at Hillary Clinton the same?
JONES: The one thing you can do to make Hillary Clinton more likable with independents -- especially independent women -- is to attack her on this very issue. In other words, Trump has been, in the short-term, he's firing up his base; Hillary Clinton's firing up her base.
But this is going to come down to the middle. And in the middle, when you look at it over and over again, people don't like you going after a woman because of her husband. They don't like you going after a woman because she stayed in a tough marriage. It's going to backfire on --
CASTELLANOS: That's not what the issue is. The issue is here that Hillary Clinton has said about women like Bill Cosby's accusers that, quote, "they have a right to be believed," which is not what she said about the women who basically thought Bill Clinton, her husband, was a sexual predator.
It is in her court. She was part of that cabal in the White House that went out and orchestrated this assault on these women who challenged Bill Clinton on this very same issue --
BAI: Can I just say, if this is truly dominating the Democratic race as we go into 2016, as you said, Martha, shame on us because this is -- Donald Trump is the best manipulator of media and conversation since like P.T. Barnum. He knows -- we do this every week. We do this -- you know, and I've been here talking about it before.
He finds some outrageous thing to say; somebody new to pick on --
RADDATZ: And we all talk about it.
BAI: -- and he gets them -- so attention is his prime directive. And I don't think voters really care about the fact -- yes, she's going to fire up her base, as you said, exactly right. He's going to fire up his. I don't think this is a big issue --
RADDATZ: OK, let me move on in the short time we have. Let me move on to the next few months. "The New York Times" this week looked back through old polls and it turned out those candidates who have led in Iowa or New Hampshire, polls with just one month to go, have lost as often as they have won.
So any predictions of a shakeup?
I want to start with you, Matt. Just look at the races and what you think we'll see in the next couple of months.
BAI: I would never make a prediction --
RADDATZ: He would never --
BAI: -- no, I wouldn’t, at this point --
RADDATZ: -- I want you to tell us what's going to --
BAI: I was there, you know, in Iowa this week. I can tell you that it's cold and I predict it will stay that way. And I think -- this is a very fluid race to me still. Now maybe not. I mean, Alex and I were talking in Iowa. I think that one of the key numbers here is no matter how you divide it up, no matter where the polling's been, 60-plus percent of the Republican electorate has identified with an extreme outsider, like a Ted Cruz or a Donald Trump or Ben Carson. And that tells you that maybe it doesn’t matter how this thing shakes out in the end, you know, the governing wing of the party, even if they congeal around a candidate, might not have the support.
But I think that's still very fluid. I think Chris Christie's very much in play, New Hampshire, and actually getting big crowds in Iowa. Marco Rubio's still doing quite well. You know, I don't think Jeb Bush and John Kasich are dead in New Hampshire and I think we're going to see --
RADDATZ: And you talking -- you're talking Ted Cruz.
CASTELLANOS: -- that candidate leading a month out doesn’t win, gosh, I hope that's right about Ted Cruz in Iowa. But right now, I'd say Ted Cruz does win Iowa. There's a chance that Donald Trump slightly underperforms because he is doing worse in early states than he is nationally. And usually it's kind of a tell as you get closer to picking a real president, ehh, maybe he's not the guy you want in the big chair.
So he underperforms. We go to New Hampshire. What happens there? New Hampshire looks to validate an alternative.
Who is that?
Well, right now, it's probably Trump again. But that's the opening for an establishment candidate; I think Rubio is capped by Christie.
What does that mean?
Christie's got -- by Cruz. Christie's got a lane. If Christie can gel in New Hampshire, that could be the three-way race you're --
RADDATZ: Well, Rubio had a lot of media energy this week, emerging as the establishment candidate to beat or as "Politico" put it, "establishment rivals rip into Rubio," but some reality checks to you.
Had David Axelrod tweeting, "But where does he win?"
STEWART: So the key is --
RADDATZ: Where does Rubio win?
STEWART: -- the key is Iowa is so important. But as you say, the last at least two cycles we've had, the winner of Iowa, who I worked for in the caucuses, did not go onto win the nomination.
The key is having a strong organization and ground game in Iowa but executing the same plan in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and through the early states.
And racking up that magic 1,237 delegates needed in order to become the nominee. And I see that happening with the candidate who has strong ground game in Iowa, New Hampshire, all through the SEC states and showing that they're able to be in this for the long haul, which means organization on the ground and the money to maintain as well an air campaign.
And right now I see that between the top three --
RADDATZ: -- let's hit the Democrats, first Sanders --
RADDATZ: -- Martin O'Malley.
JONES: You talked about the person we always talk about, Donald Trump. Let's talk about the person we never talk about, we just heard from.
Bernie Sanders has incredible momentum. He's had almost a media blackout. We -- I mean, he's almost never the subject of the main conversation. But out in the country, you see a lot of Bernie Sanders support. He got more contributions, individual donors, than anybody in American history. That by itself lets you know something's going on.
I think he's going to win Iowa. He may win New Hampshire. And --
RADDATZ: -- not afraid --
JONES: I'm not afraid -- listen, I love Hillary Clinton. She will be our nominee. But there is something happening in this party that -- and when you combine the authenticity of a Bernie Sanders with the popularity of his agenda.
You don’t like his agenda, there's -- being tough on Wall Street, very popular, across the board in America.
RADDATZ: OK. We'll have a bit more of you guys later. But next, new details on a major win against ISIS overseas. We break it all down from Baghdad. Stay with us.
RADDATZ: This week, that big win against ISIS as we mentioned, Iraqi forces raising their national flag after recapturing Ramadi, a recent stronghold for the terror organization.
But right now, ISIS is launching counter attacks on the outskirts of the recaptured town. And the question this morning is, can the Iraqis hang on?
"Wall Street Journal" reporter Matt Bradley is in Baghdad and that is the question, Matt.
Can they hang on?
MATT BRADLEY, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Well, that is a good question, whether or not they can hang on. But right now, the question is whether or not they can actually complete the fighting in Ramadi.
It's only about 80 percent retaken from Islamic State and all weekend there's been counter attacks all around the city against the Iraqi army.
So it's not quite clear that the Iraqi army really has it. But we'll know in a couple of days.
RADDATZ: And clearly this is something they want to do before trying to take back Mosul, which has been in the hands of ISIS for well over a year.
BRADLEY: That's right. The Ramadi experiment was something of a test. It showed that the Iraqi military was able to take Ramadi. So it wasn't just the taking of Ramadi; it was that Ramadi fell exactly the way that Iraqi and American officials wanted it to fall.
Mosul was about five times the size of Ramadi. So it's going to be a much, much harder fight.
RADDATZ: And of course the U.S. involved in airstrikes before, in fact, about 80 percent of how they've gotten this far is because of the U.S. airstrikes.
BRADLEY: That's right. This has been kind of an extraordinary form of war. This is a battle that's been fought almost entirely from the air. And the Iraqi military and the Iraqi counterterrorism forces say they've had almost no casualties, which means all of the heavy lifting was essentially done by alliance aircraft.
RADDATZ: OK. Thanks very much, Matt.
And here with me is Pulitzer Prize-winning "Washington Post" reporter, Joby Warrick, the author of "Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS," named one of the top 10 books of 2015 in so many newspapers.
And Joby, I want to ask you. We're still watching whether they have completed the takeover of Ramadi. But if they do that, it's not only a substantive win, it would be symbolic as well.
JOBY WARRICK, WASHINGTON POST: Absolutely.
So, it's not a turning point, but it's a huge milestone, not just for the Iraqis, because this is the first time the Iraqi troops are really alone on the ground, even though they do have U.S. help. But for them to recapture the city after the embarrassing loss in May is a big deal.
It's also a big loss for ISIS, because this is the capital of Anbar Province. It is an important symbolic loss for ISIS if they have to turn away.
RADDATZ: If they are in a weakened state, if the Iraqis and the Americans manage to take Ramadi, can they be more dangerous?
WARRICK: Absolutely. Because we see the counterattack going on just as part of that, how desperate they are with suicide bombings, using human civilians as shields, IEDs all over the place. So we see -- the danger right there in Iraq, but also around the world. They're calling out for help on social media. We saw Baghdadi, the ISIS commander just a few weeks ago, you know, just calling for help saying we really need professionals, we need soldiers. We need money. We also need inspirational attacks around the world, places like the United States and in the west.
RADDATZ: Joby, I hate to have you reduce your book to about a minute here, but tell us the roots of ISIS. This is the thing that's so fascinating about your book how ISIS really started?
WARRICK: Yeah, really the central idea is what we're seeing playing out in the Middle East right now, which is the idea of a caliphate. The godfather of ISIS, the guy who founded it, Zarqawi, wasn't a theologian or even a very smart man, but he had this idea of creating this caliphate and have this being a draw for Muslims around the world, something for them to come to and fight for.
And he's been very successful at that.
We think of the atrocities, the beheadings, you know, the destruction of antiquities, but for many Muslims who are on his side, the powerful idea is building this caliphate and that's what he's doing right now.
RADDATZ: And you talked about recruiting. And that's, I think, what people here in the homeland really worry about. They see the recruiting. They see the inspiration. They saw San Bernadino. They saw Paris. How do you stop that? The military campaign is one thing, but the recruiting and the inspiration?
WARRICK: Absolutely. Because eventually ISIS could be driven out of its heartland. It could lose Raqqa, its capital in Syria, but you can't get rid of an idea. And that idea is widespread. The tactics are widespread. And the idea is that you take over territory by chaos, by destruction, by horrific violence. And this is something that we see in all these little cells that have popped up in the west and it's still a very big problem for us right now.
RADDATZ: And everybody says it's a generational fight. You would agree with that?
WARRICK: Absolutely, because it is hard to eradicate that idea. You can do it gradually over time through, you know, training, through education, but this is a difficult...
RADDATZ: And their social media campaign seems so far ahead of anything we're doing.
WARRICK: They are so good at their social media. And they're really good at it right now from Raqqa, but they're also good at it from these little cells around the world, places like Libya and North Africa as well.
RADDATZ: Thanks so much for joining us this morning, Joby.
And coming up, Bill Cosby breaks his silence after this from our ABC stations.
RADDATZ: This holiday weekend, after dozens and dozens of women came forward in 2015 to accuse Bill Cosby of sexual misconduct, the comedy legend was criminally charged just before the new year. He now faces up to 10 years in prison, if convicted. But his lawyer insists in a statement to ABC News, that Cosby is innocent. And Bill Cosby himself tweeted out this simple message to his supporters, friends and fans, "thank you."
I'm joined now by ABC News legal analyst Dan Abrams. And Dan, there have been those accusers over the years. Why this case? Why now?
DAN ABRAMS, ABC NEWS LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think that there are two things that have changed in this particular case. Number one is all these other accusers. And number two is Bill Cosby's own statement.
Remember, he testified in a civil deposition, meaning he was asked questions under oath about this very case. That was held under seal, meaning no one could see it.
Well, then it gets released. And for the first time the authorities see it. The authorities get to hear what Bill Cosby said about this very case. And they're now able to use that against him -- I think that's the key reason. And number two is because they have these potential other accusers that they're hoping will be able to testify against them.
RADDATZ: But, Dan, this is still a very old case, and I would imagine a very difficult one to prove.
ABRAMS: It is going to be difficult. It's going to be difficult primarily for three reasons. First of all, it was never an easy case, which is why the authorities back then 10, 12 years ago, didn't decide to prosecute. Number two, the fact that time has passed is going to make it an even tougher case in that regard -- memories fade. And so questions will be asked about her account
And then of course there's the criminal law standard of proving is beyond a reasonable doubt. And I think that's going to be critical here, because unlike in a civil case where the question is, is it more likely than not, here the prosecution has that enormous burden. And when you're talking about a tough, old case, that burden becomes a big issue.
RADDATZ: And how hard will it be to get a jury? We told you that tweet from Bill Cosby, he has 4.1 million Twitter followers. He is a celebrity. Everyone knows who Bill Cosby is. So how do they get a jury?
ABRAMS: It's going to take longer. And some of the jurors are going to know something about the case. But the key is that the jurors haven't developed an opinion about guilt or innocence in this case or about Bill Cosby broadly.
I'll tell you, I remember watching the OJ Simpson civil case after the criminal case had been tried. The world had watched it. Suddenly, you're in Santa Monica trying to find a jury in the civil case who haven't developed opinions about OJ Simpson. And I have to say there were a lot of people out there who just simply hadn't watched the case that closely.
I think that's going to be easier here. It's going to take a long time. You're going to have to get a lot of perspective jurors. But I think they'll be able to find an objective jury.
RADDATZ: Thanks very much for joining us this morning, Dan. And happy New Year.
Let me bring back the powerhouse roundtable and get their insights on Bill Cosby and on Tamir Rice and the other big stories that have us all riveted this morning.
I want to go to you Alice and your thoughts on the Cosby arrest. More than 50 public accusers going back more than 10 years. Why ignored for so long?
STEWART: I think a lot of them, as they say, they were shamed into silence. They were told that they shouldn't come forward. They were told that no one would believe them. And several of them have come forth and said I tried to explain to my agent or my friend this happened, they said no one will believe you. Bill Cosby is a legend. People love him.
But now the fact that his supporters are saying it's shameful that this is being tried out in the media, well his attorney needs to get off the television. If she's worried about this being tried in the media, then she needs to stop doing it.
And this will all come out in a court of law and his guilt or innocence will be determined at that time.
And so it's just -- it's really disturbing because he's someone that people have grown up with.
RADDATZ: And Van, I want to turn to Tamir Rice, the 12-year old who was shot by a police officer.
A grand jury in Cleveland this week failed to indict the officers. You have called this "preposterous on its face."
JONES: Yes. Well, first of all you had the prosecutor acting like a defense attorney in front of that grand jury. You had a prosecutor spending money to bring in experts, essentially to exonerate the police officer. That's highly unusual.
Also, let's not forget, this was an open carry state. People forget you have a right. You have a weapon on you in open public. The challenge that we have here now is once again it looks like if you're a young person of color in America, you're guilty until proven innocent. It looks like -- I know how many people get the book thrown at them if you're a normal civilian. The prosecutor throws the book at you and says you tell a judge and a jury why you're innocent. In this case, it was the opposite. You couldn't even get a -- you couldn't get a charge for anything, not even medical neglect?
Don't forget, they shot him; they gave him no medical neglect. They arrested his sister for trying to save his life.
Nothing happened criminally? You can't get --
RADDATZ: The prosecutor said it was a perfect storm of human error, mistakes and communication.
JONES: -- over and over --
RADDATZ: But no criminal conduct by the police.
I want to move on. And I want us to just reflect for a moment as we begin this New Year.
Tell me, Alex, I'll start with you, what you learned about this country in the last year and what it means going forward.
CASTELLANOS: I've learned this country's afraid and that this is the end of royalty, the end of monarchical government. This is the "let them eat cake" election.
For decades now, Americans have been promised that if we send enough money and power to Washington, they're going to fix everything. And America's had its heart broken and it's scared to death because nothing works. Everything seems to be falling apart. And what do scared people do? They do scary things. And we see Bernie Sanders, you know, the populist movement on the Left; Trump and Cruz on the Right, the peasants are revolting this election. And they have a good reason to.
RADDATZ: Matt, I just have very few seconds here. Tell me what you learned culturally.
BAI: I mean, I think a lot of this has to do in the culture with technology and it's the assault on institutions that Alex is talking about.
Why is police brutality, police violence, you know, so much more in the news this year than the past?
Because there's more incidences of it?
No, because people are carrying around cell phones and are taking videos and showing the world what's going on. And I think that, to me, was one of the key ways this year and not the only one where you see technology bringing about a real transformation in the society around what we find tolerable and our faith in our institutions.
RADDATZ: We're going to have to leave it there. We'll reflect the rest of the year as well.
But straight ahead in this New Year, the U.S. Marine veteran who's taking inspiration and perseverance to a whole new level.
RADDATZ: In today's "Sunday Spotlight," if you are looking for some inspiration in this New Year, something that'll help you stick to those resolutions, look no further than U.S. Marine Tim Donnelly and those who offered him a second chance at doing what he loves -- performing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ (voice-over): For Tim Donnelly, every New Year, every new day is one he never thought he would see.
Four years ago, just days after his 20th birthday, the young Marine was on his first deployment to Afghanistan.
MARINE LANCE CPL. TIM DONNELLY: We were doing a dismounted patrol through the village and the IED was buried in the wall right next to me.
RADDATZ (voice-over): A bomb that would take both legs and seriously his damage his right arm. For a gifted singer who loved to play this guitar, the injuries were almost too much to bear.
DONNELLY: Two and a half, three months after I got hurt, I couldn't even listen to music at all. It just -- it was too hard.
RADDATZ (voice-over): It would take a very special team to help him find himself his voice again.
The MusiCorps band of Wounded Warriors. MusiCorps is the brainchild of Arthur Bloom, a Juilliard trained classical pianist.
ARTHUR BLOOM, PIANIST: I was invited to Walter Reed to meet a soldier, who was injured in Iraq. He used to play drums. He was blown up by a roadside bomb and he lost his leg and he was concerned, how am I going to play the drums again without my leg?
RADDATZ (voice-over): As the fledgling program grew, it gained the attention of some true rock stars like Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd.
ROGER WATERS, MUSICIAN: I don't treat them like wounded guys. I treat them like musicians. They worked and worked and worked, these guys. That is why they're so good.
RADDATZ (voice-over): Good is an understatement. They are magnificent.
Tim, Waters and the band bringing the house down at a Stand Up for Heroes concert just nine months after Tim's devastating injury.
BLOOM: One of the things about Tim is that you see his injuries are so severe but they're irrelevant when he's singing.
RADDATZ (voice-over): Tim says the band has played sold-out concert halls as MusiCorps hopes to help even more of the wounded, including those with invisible wounds.
BLOOM: Now we work with about 50 a year. And Walter Reed is still full of very injured patients.
RADDATZ (voice-over): For Tim, happiness now reaches far beyond the stage. Six months ago, balancing on prosthetic limbs, he married Kelly Fidler at a seaside wedding.
DONNELLY: I'm enjoying being married. It's great.
When people let me know that I -- you know, help them understand a little bit more about, you know, all these guys and what they go through, it doesn’t get any better than that.
RADDATZ: And now we honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice.
In the month of December, a suicide bomber took the lives of six of our service members in Afghanistan.
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.